Friday, January 30, 2015

Braised Meatloaf in a Cherry-Kissed Sauce {#sponsor product review}


Last autumn I was introduced - through a fellow food blogger (thank you, Heather of girlichef!) - to Not Ketchup* when Erika agreed to sponsor an online blogging event. Erika had so much fun with us last year that she agreed to sponsor another event for me this year. So, you'll see more Not Ketchup posts when we launch our #TripleSBites event next Monday.

I will admit that my stomach used to turn at the word 'ketchup.' I envisioned the bright red goo squeezed out of foil packets from when my grandfather used to take us to his favorite fast food restaurant. Yuck. I avoided ketchup for decades. Then I became part of the mom-crowd and saw ketchup everywhere we ate. Not only did I see it, but I joined the ranks of ketchup-eaters along with my then-toddlers. Still we were careful about which brands we purchased, avoiding any with high fructose corn syrup. Eventually, when my boys were old enough, we made our own ketchup. Still, all the ketchups were tomato based.

I was tickled to learn that originally "ketchup" was an anglicization of ke-tchup, kôechiap or kê-tsiap, a pickled fish brine or sauce from the Asia.  For many years, "ketchup" referred to any type of spiced table sauce. Multiple varieties of ketchup were popular in Europe in the 19th century, including lemon, walnut, oyster, elderberry and even beer ketchup. According to NPR, the first printed ketchup recipe appeared in The Compleat Housewife [sic] and was a savory chutney made from anchovies, cloves, ginger and pepper. No tomato at all.


So, I was thrilled to learn about Erika's business, Not Ketchup. Her products are fruit-based sauces that are the polar opposite of that bright red goo of my childhood. I have tried her Smoky Date, using it in my Charred Bloody Mary with Smoky Sliders; you'll see her Spiced Fig mixed with cheese on top of an oven-roasted flank steak next week; and this recipe uses her Cherry Chipotle.

Braised Meatloaf in a Cherry-Kissed Sauce
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Inspired by the Bison Meatloaf Casserole that Jane's Adventures in Dinner shared during our #SundaySupper Captivating Casseoles event a few weeks ago, I decided to make some meatloaves that were braised in a Dutch oven...I never thought to do that before. While there look to be a lot of steps, they're all pretty simple. The hardest part: pitting all those darn cherries.

Ingredients

Roasted Cherries-Fennel

  • 1 pound cherries, washed, dried, and pitted
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper



Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds organic, grass-fed beef
  • 1 C roasted cherries-fennel
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 3/4 t minced lemongrass
  • 1 mashed garlic clove
  • 3 T Not Ketchup's Cherry Chipotle
  • 1/4 C panko bread crumbs


Sauce

  • 2 T butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 C roasted cherries-fennel
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 3/4 t minced lemongrass
  • 3 C fresh tomato sauce
  • 3/4 C red wine
  • 1/4 C Not Ketchup's Cherry Chipotle
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (I have dried ones, not sure if you can get them fresh)

Procedure

Roasted Cherries-Fennel
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine cherries and fennel in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat with olive oil, then turn out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes - until the cherries are starting to shrivel and the fennel is softened. Let cool slightly.



Sauce
In a Dutch oven, melt butter in a splash of olive oil. Add in onions and roasted cherries-fennel. Cook till the onions are softened and beginning to turn translucent. Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Meatloaf
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Massage until all f the ingredients are well-combined. Form meat mixture into two equal shaped loaves and place on top of sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil again - this time with the meatloaves in there - then cover the Dutch oven and move it to the preheated oven.

Bake 45 minutes. Uncover, spoon sauce over the meatloaves, and return to the oven - uncovered this time - for another 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 3/4" thick pieces. Serve with the sauce spooned over the top.

The unique flavor of the Not Ketchup was enhanced by the roasted cherries and complimented by the garlic, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. This was a hit! Thanks, Erika, for being a fantastic sponsor and making such a fun product.


If you can’t find Not Ketchup locally, you can order directly from their website shop or from Amazon. I'm including affiliate links below. If you are uncomfortable using the links, feel free to go to amazon and search "Not Ketchup" on your own!

I received complimentary bottles of Spiced Fig and Smoky Date; I purchased Cherry Chipotle for myself. I think I need to get the 4-pack next time!



*DISCLOSURE: I received have complimentary bottles of Not Ketchup for my participation in  blogging events...and for the purposes of review.  I have received no additional compensation for this post and the opinions expressed here are my own and the recipe shared in the review of this product was not sponsored.

Lapsang Souchong Blondies {#sponsor product review}


I was recently introduced to Spicely Organics' spice and tea-infused chocolates*. I've known about Spicely for awhile; I buy their spices and herbs at Whole Foods all the time. But when we took our youngest Kitchen Elf on a chocolate walking tour in San Francisco, as an early birthday adventure, we discovered that Spicely also has chocolates infused with spices and teas. 

My son was so enamored with the chocolates that he changed the dessert course for his birthday party to a Curated Chocolate Tasting of a dozen Spicely chocolates.

What I love about Spicely's infused chocolates: they are distinctive and potent. The pieces are small, but because the flavor is so intense, you don't need very much. I opted to create a recipe to showcase my favorite of the infused chocolates, the Lapsang Souchong. It's exotic and smoky. 

In fact, one of my friends to whom I gave a sample called me and queried, "It's not bacon in there, is it? It's smoky, but it doesn't taste like bacon." I told her what it was and realized: it lends that bacon flavor without the bacon. It's a perfect vegetarian substitute for getting that smoky taste into baked goods. Eureka!



As I mentioned, the flavor is strong, so I didn't need very much to make the taste vibrant and enticing.

Lapsang Souchong Blondies
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 C organic light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C butter, melted
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 t organic chocolate extract
  • 1 t lapsang souchong tea leaves, slightly crushed
  • 1-1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t freshly ground sea salt
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C lapsang souchong-infused chocolates from Spicely Organics, chopped


Procedure
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate extract, and crushed lapsang souchong leaves just until blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to brown sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped chocolate.

Spoon into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan and spread with a spatula to reach the edges of the pan. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. 

If you’d like to learn more about Spicely Organics, visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, @spicelyorganicsIf you can’t find Spicely Organics locally, you can order directly from their website.

*DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary samples of infused chocolates for my participation in #TripleSBites, an upcoming blogging event...and for the purposes of review.  I did, however, purchase the Lapsang Souchong-infused chocolate on my own. I have received no additional compensation for this post and the opinions expressed here are my own and the recipe shared in the review of this product was not sponsored.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fresh Cilantro Focaccia


Last night when I was trying to figure out what to do with my Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed Oil from Acala Farms*- click to read my full product review: here - I realized that I had no bread in the house. It was almost midnight. That made my decision for me: I would make focaccia dough, let it rise overnight, and bake it fresh in the morning. I need to remember to do it more often. Freshly baked bread is so much better than a packaged loaf, isn't it? And this is so easy.


Ingredients
  • 2 C warm water
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 1 T granulated honey (you can use granulated sugar)
  • 5 C flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 T freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 T freshly ground sea salt for sprinkling
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper for sprinkling
  • olive oil for greasing your bowl
  • oil for drizzling on your focaccia (I used the Fresh Cilantro Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil from Acala Farms)

Procedure

Combine the warm water, yeast and granulated honey in a small bowl. Let the yeast bloom for 10-15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and fresh cilantro with the yeast mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes smooth and soft. Sprinkle with more flour if the dough is really sticky.

Coat the inside of the bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover it with a dish towel and leave it overnight. If you're not doing this overnight, let it rise for at least an hour.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Turn the dough into the jelly roll pan. Stretch the dough to fit the pan. Then press your fingers through the dough, making dimples all the way to the pan, all over the dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then, drizzle with oil over the top.


Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. It should be firm to the touch. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

The cilantro flavor was unmistakable. So, if you're one of those for whom cilantro tastes like soap, definitely skip this. But, if you love cilantro like I do, give this a try. You can also use whatever infused oil you have in your pantry.


*DISCLOSURE: I received two complimentary bottles of Acala Farms Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil for my participation in an upcoming blogging event...and for the purposes of review.  I have received no additional compensation for this post and the opinions expressed here are my own and the recipe shared in the review of this product was not sponsored.

If you're interested in trying the Acala oil, here's an affiliate link to their product on Amazon. I do receive a small commission if you purchase through this link. If you are uncomfortable with that, feel free to search for "Acala cottonseed oil" on your own.

#TripleSBites: Welcome. Bloggers. Sponsors. Giveaway.


Almost ready for #TripleSBites! We are excited to start sharing recipes with you on Monday!!

We have twenty bloggers posting over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you for a delectable meal with your sweetheart . Envision spicy morsels, saucy bites, and sexy nibbles. Think sweets and savories. Embrace celebrations, libations, and romance. 

The event runs February 2nd through February 9th - just in time for you to plan and cook a Valentines' feast. But these are dishes you'll want to cook all year long to keep the romance going.

Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for some lucky readers. These sponsors have contributed great prize packages for a gigantic giveaway. There are six different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter below that will begin on February 2nd. Please check back, if you're reading this before we go live.


Our #TripleSBites Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Our #TripleSBites Bloggers
And...THE giveaway! runs from February 2nd thru 9th, 2015
Terms & Conditions

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment (below) and tell me What's your favorite romantic dish to cook for your sweetheart? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. This #TripleSBites 2015 giveaway runs from Monday, February 2, 2015 12:00am PT through Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on February 10, 2015. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: All prize packages were provided free of charge. Participating bloggers received complimentary product(s) for their #TripleSBites posts. All opinions stated are my own.

Please click on the arrows in the rafflecopter to scroll through the prize packages!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smashed Potatoes + Acala Infused Cottonseed Oil {#sponsor product review}


I was recently introduced - through a fellow food blogger (thank you, Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere!) - to Acala Farms and their Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil*. 

While I am an ardent culinary adventurer and eager seeker of oddball ingredients, I am fairly pedestrian when it comes to my oil choices. My kitchen is stocked with olive oil - some for cooking lubricant and some for delicious condiment - and that's about it. 

So, when I received the cottonseed oil, I was intrigued. The enclosed literature was fascinating. Acala Farms took its name from the Acala cotton variety that thrives in hot, arid climates. Cottonseed oil was first bottled in the early 1880s, just after Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin. Honestly, I had no idea that cotton was even used as a food crop.

I have to say: I adore Acala Farms' motto of "drizzle, sizzle, sample, and eat". So, I did. This recipe embraces all four of those. I drizzled, I sizzled, I sampled, and I ate...and it was fantastic.


Smashed Potatoes 
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla


I don't know where I first read about 'smashed potatoes.' But the name definitely intrigued me. "Smashing." There's something destructive and aggressive about that word. More so than "mashed." Or is that just me? 


In any case, I decided to try it out. All the recipes I came across were virtually the same: Boil till soft, smash, roast till crisp. That sounds easy enough. I decided to make some loaded smashed potato bites for a sidedish and I used some baby Dutch potatoes that would be two or three bites when finished. I added a drizzle of cottonseed oil and was quite impressed with the results.

Ingredients serves 4 as a first course
  • 8 baby potatoes
  • Acala Farms Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil (I used their Fresh Cilantro) for brushing and garnish
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • handful of oyster mushrooms
  • pat of butter
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Boil the baby potatoes for 30 minutes - until they are soft and smashable. Drain and let cool for 5 minutes, or until you can handle them comfortably.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Smash them with the bottom of a glass. Brush them with oil and return the pan to the oven.


Roast for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are crisped and browned.


You could eat them just like that with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I opted to "load" them with a quick saute of chopped leeks and mushrooms in butter...and did a quick drizzle of the cilantro oil to finish the dish.

The Verdict The flavor in the oil was phenomenal. Crisp, fresh, and distinct. I'm a fan! Stay tuned for more recipes when we launch into the #TripleSBites event.

If you’d like to learn more about Acala Farms, visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, @AcalaFarms

If you can’t find Acala Farms locally, you can order directly from their website shop or from Amazon. I'm including affiliate links below. If you are uncomfortable using the links, feel free to go to amazon and search "Acala Farms" on your own!

I received bottles of Fresh Cilantro and Chili Cumin. I have already placed orders to try a few others.






*DISCLOSURE: I received two complimentary bottles of Acala Farms Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil for my participation in an upcoming blogging event...and for the purposes of review.  I have received no additional compensation for this post and the opinions expressed here are my own and the recipe shared in the review of this product was not sponsored.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Crisped Ginger Soy Chicken Wings for #WingWeek at Girlichef

I have a guest post over at girlichef today: Crisped Ginger Soy Chicken Wings. Go check 'em out. They are tasty and so, so easy. Who knew?

#TripleSBites - Celebrating Romance with Spicy, Saucy, and Sexy Bites

I don't really care for Valentines' Day. There, I said it. Something about being the most stressful day of the year when I worked as a florist. Or maybe my disdain goes deeper than that. But I do love romance, particularly romance mixed with tasty food and libations. 


So, when I was debating on a theme for my next blogging event, I decided to wrangle some of my favorite foodie bloggers to create and share recipes that were Triple S worthy. Triple S. That means spicy, saucy, and sexy.

And, notice the "...and Beyond." It's not just for Valentines' Day; these ideas are meant for romantic meals. All. Year. Long.

WHO
Me and these nineteen fabulous food bloggers, listed alphabetically with links to their homepages...


WHAT
An online event showcasing recipes that are Triple S worthy. Triple S. That means spicy, saucy, and sexy. Plus we have a great giveaway thanks to some incredibly generous sponsors, listed alphabetically with links to their homepages...



WHEN
Starting a week from today, there will be 20 bloggers sharing some spicy, saucy, and sexy bites. The event runs from Monday, February 2nd through Monday, February 9th.

WHERE
Find posts on our blogs and shared across social media platforms with the hashtag #TripleSBites. We will be chatting on twitter - Thursday, February 5th from 6pm to 7pm Pacific time.

WHY
Because food and romance are awesome bedfellows. Hope we inspire you to create some fantastic, romantic meals for your sweetheart.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SRC Rescue: Coconut-Almond Barfi


It's time for Group D's Secret Recipe Club January reveal. This month I get to post a bonus recipe from simply.food, who was left out of Group C's reveal last week.


Nanya lives in the United Kingdom and started simply.food in October 2008. She shares: "I love spending time in the kitchen, creating and styling my dishes so that they can be captured on camera and of course eaten. I have a passion for food props and I adore authentic crockery. My cupboards are exploding with tea towels, crockery of all shapes and colours and many home made props." I'd love an afternoon in her cupboards.

I realized, as I perused her site, that I have cooked from her blog before...sort of. Three years ago, I took part in her Flavours of Singapore Challenge when I made Gajar Halwa, carrot halwa. Here's Nanya's Carrot Halwa.

Her blog provided several options for a dessert to go along with our lamb curry. I thought about her Singapore Coconut Milk Pudding or Barfi (a Milk Pudding). And on the savory side of things which is where I usually land, I considered making her Lesun Chutney (garlic chutney); you can scare away many a vampire with that recipe!

I decided on a version of her Coconut and Mixed Nut Barfi, a quick and easy no cook barfi that's delicately fragranced with ground cardamon and sweetened with rich condensed milk. I didn't have any whole nuts, so I added in black and white sesame seeds to create a visual contrast.


Coconut-Almond Barfi

Ingredients 
  • ½ C sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ C dried, unsweetened coconut (I used finely shredded coconut)
  • ¾ C finely chopped almonds
  • 1 t ground cardamom
  • 1 t black sesame seeds
  • 1 t white sesame seeds

Procedure
Butter a dish and set aside.

Place the coconut, almonds, cardamom, and sesame seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well. Stir in the condensed milk and create a stiff mixture. Add in more coconut if the mixture is too sticky.

Pat the barfi mixture into your buttered dish, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then cut into desired shape. I made diamonds...or are these parallelograms? I'm geometrically-challenged. 

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