Monday, August 28, 2017

Poached Salmon with Olive Tapenade

As we work on cutting back on carbs and eating more omega-3s, I whipped up a quick salmon dinner on this busy weeknight. Lay this on top of a bed of steamed lentils and you have a filling, healthy meal.


Ingredients serves 4
  • 1 to 1½ pounds salmon fillets (I prefer local, wild-caught)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • water

Tapenade
  • 2 C whole olives (I used a combination of Picholine and Niçoise)
  • 3 t brined capers
  • 1 t brine from the capers
  • 3 to 4 anchovies, olive oil-packed
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • olive oil

Procedure
Sprinkle the salmon fillets with a little pepper and place them flat in the bottom of a rimmed pan. Pour in enough water to come up halfway on the fish and add the garlic. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Cover and poach for 5 to 10 minutes. Length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.

Tapenade
Remove the pits from the olives with a pitter or a sharp knife. Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process to preferred texture; I left this one chunky and rustic. Let stand for, at least, 10 minutes before serving.

Adjust seasonings as needed. Served immediately.


I served this with a green salad, tomatoes, and sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Beanfields: All That and a Bag of Chips + Black Lentil Hummus #MomsMeet #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moms Meet
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review, but all opinions are honest and they are my own.
Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Spilling the Beans
Beanfields started with a big idea—to help change the way people snack—by using beans as the main ingredient in their chips. They were also committed to using non-GMO ingredients.


As a longtime vegan, Reed Glidden wanted a chip made from one of his favorite meals: beans and rice. His wife, Liza Braude-Glidden, created the first bean and rice chip in their kitchen. The result: Beanfields was born. The chips tasted great and the rice+bean combination rendered them more nutritious than regular chips.


In the Spring of 2011, Beanfields launched with its first four flavors: Sea Salt, Pico de Gallo, Salt & Pepper, and Unsalted. They garnered fans and awards and have consistently given back to their community in the form of donations for events and not-for-profit groups that serve underpriviledged children, schools, and animal sanctuaries. Gotta love that.


Until recently, the Gliddens ran Beanfields out of their home. Even as it catapulted onto the national and international market, they kept it in-house until it occupied every square inch of their home. They currently have offices in West Los Angeles.


The Scoop
I'll give you some stats before I share our thoughts...

  • Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips have 5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in every serving.
  • They are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, allergy-friendly, vegan, and kosher pareve.
  • The snack size (1.5 ounce bags) range from $1.19 to $1.49 per bag.
  • The share size (5.5 ounce bags) are $3.29 to $3.79 per bag.


The product line has grown. And, now, Beanfields offers seven delicious flavors: Nacho, Sea Salt, Pico de Gallo, Jalapeño Nacho, Black Bean, White Bean, and Barbecue. We had the chance to try them all.

We loved that these were a healthier option than other corn or potato chips. We did have to have the discussion that just because they are more healthy doesn't mean you should eat more of them!

Some of the flavors were hits; some of the flavors were deemed a little bit chalky. The Jalapeño Nacho had some heat. Only R and I like that one. I think the family favorite, though, was the Black Bean chip.

Overall, we enjoyed the chips and will certainly reach for those when we need a relatively guilt-free snack.

Beluga Lentil Hummus
When I asked my crew what they would want to use as a dip for their chips, they decided on hummus. Since my little one is sensitive to garbanzo beans, I opted to make a black lentil hummus. Feel free to use any other lentil or bean in its place.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 C black/beluga lentils, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 large organic onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 1 T olive oil + more for serving
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C tahini paste
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 C water + more if needed
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • dash of ground cayenne
  • chips for serving 
Procedure
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.

Place soaked and drained lentil in a small pan with a lid. Cover them with about 2" of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

In the meantime, roll your quartered onions in olive oil and place them on the baking sheet. Roast until the onion is softened and the edges beginning to caramelize, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

Place the cooked lentil, caramelized onions, tahini paste, and lemon juice in a blender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/8 C water. Blend a bit. Add 1/8 C water. Blend more. If you've reached your desired texture, stir in paprika, cumin, and cayenne.  If it's still too thick, add water 1 T at a time until you are happy with the texture. Spoon hummus into serving dish and refrigerate until game time.

Serve with chips, crackers, vegetable spears, or whatever you wish. Enjoy!




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*Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet programMay Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Touring a Fortune Cookie Factory #FoodieReads


On the heels of a book following the noodle road, I am continuing my Foodie Reads Challenge with one that follows an author's musings about fortune cookies, American-Chinese food, and lots more: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee.* The '8' in her name is not a typo - it's not supposed to be a 'B'; she was named '8' because that is a lucky number.

On the Page
Despite the intriguing topic of Chinese food, I did not find this book particularly engaging. I struggled to read more than ten pages at a time. Really, I felt as if it were about 100 pages too long. Lee's book spans nearly 300 pages and it read more like a high school research paper than a book penned by a professional journalist.

Still, her premise was interesting. Lee begins by telling a story about the Powerball lottery on March 30, 2005 when 110 people played the same numbers - from their fortune cookies - and ending up splitting a pot worth $19 million. "Then came a shocking revelation. Fortune cookies weren't Chinese. It was like learning I was adopted while being told there was no Santa Claus. How could that be?" (pg. 13). So, she asks, how did those cookies come to be served in every Chinese restaurant in the country?!?

In Real Life
I wasn't inspired into the kitchen after reading Lee's book. Still, I thought about whipping up some Chop Suey which is another American invention. Instead I decided to post a few photos of the food tour we took in which we visited the fortune cookie factory in the alley in San Francisco. Lee actually wrote about the very same shop: Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Ross Alley.


"Today, the sweet, heavy smell of opium has been replaced by the fragrant scent of vanilla, luring tourists rather than sin seekers. ...Day after day, two elderly Chinese women fold hot fortune cookie wafer, their fingertips toughened by years of sticky heat. They sit next to a fortune cookie machine, and the scene is strictly Willy Wonka meets Dickens..." (pg 84).


"...spigots squirt out circles of batter, which are then whisked on a conveyor belt into a dark tunnel lit by blue gas flames. The women pick up the toasted wafers emerging from the tunnel and pinch them into the familiar crescent shape as they tuck the fortune neatly inside" (pg. 84).


These two women can fold nearly 1,000 cookies an hour. Yong Lee, a Korean engineer, created the "Fortune III, a Rube Goldbergian machine.... 2,500 pound, six-foot cube of hot steel, fans, conveyor belts, and robotic arms needed only to be fed: five pounds of flour, twenty-five pounds of sugar, a few gallons of oil, a quart or so each of vanilla and water and one hundred egg whites" (pg. 86). The Fortune III churns out fifty percent more than the Ross Alley women. Then there's the Kitamura machine that makes 6,000 cookies per hour.


I will definitely look at the fortune cookie differently from now on. Typically I don't eat them and don't even crack them open. But, I will in the future. And I'll remember how they became a ubiquitous feature in every American Chinese restaurant.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.



Here's what everyone else read in August 2017: here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Jasmine McCann #FoodNFlix


This month's Food'N'Flix event was hosted by my friend Courtney over at Fictional Fare. You can read her invitation: here. She asked us to watch Secondhand Lions.*

I had never heard of the movie much less watched it. But with a cast that includes Haley Joel Osment, Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall, Kyra Sedgwick, and Josh Lucas, I knew it had potential. Little did I know that it would become a family favorite; and we watched it twice in one day!

On the Screen
Let me set the stage: Walter (Josh Lucas) gets a phone call that his two uncles - Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine) have died. Then, you're dropped straight into 1950s Texas when young Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is being dropped off at his great uncles' house by his flaky mother, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick).

When they see Mae approach, they are standing in their pond, fishing.

[Hub and Garth look up, staring between Mae and each other in confusion.]
Garth: Huh?
Hub: You send for a hooker?
Mae: Uncle Hub, Uncle Garth- it's me, Mae!
[Hub and Garth stare at her, still confused.]
Mae: Mae! Pearl's daughter! And I brought Walter, your nephew!
Garth: Relatives.
Hub: [Groans] Damn.

There were so many laugh outloud parts of this film. But there was also a great love story, a tragic, beautiful love story when Hub fell in love with Princess Jasmine who was betrothed to a sheik. Jasmine chose Hub but they didn't live a fairy tale ending because, well, you'll have to watch it to find out. Okay?

movie still from Secondhand Lions
Hub tells Walter, in his speech that he gives to all boys on the cusp of manhood: Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies... No matter if they're true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.

And, before I tell you what I made for this round, I want to make sure you know that next month, Eliot's Eats will be hosting us, watching To Kill a Mockingbird.* I love that it's another film I haven't seen. I've read the book, more than once, but I never watched the movie. It looks like a great one.


In My Glass
Inspired by Hub and Jasmine's romance, I knew that I wanted to use fresh jasmine blossoms. I asked all my local gardening gals and found a blooming bush. Though true love never dies, the jasmine bush does. I picked just a few sprigs.


There wasn't quite enough to do what I wanted, so I used some jarred jasmine jam to make a simple syrup. This is a great trick to making a small amount of syrup; I do this when I don't have enough of whatever I'm trying to infuse.

Jasmine Jam Simple Syrup

Ingredients
  • 3 T jasmine jam
  • 4 to 5 T water


Procedure
Add ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil, whisking to break up the jam. Simmer until slightly thickened. Strain out the petals and wet aside to cool.

The Jasmine McCann

I set out to make a cocktail with the jasmine jam simple syrup. I thought I would just call it 'The Jasmine,' but it turns out there is already a cocktail with that name. That figures. But it uses Campari and, while I would enjoy that, it didn't seem to go the direction I wanted. So, to marry Hub's life with Jasmine and his life in Texas, I used jasmine syrup and whiskey! Violà - the Jasmine McCann!!


Ingredients makes 1 cocktail

  • 1-1/2 ounces whiskey (I used Jefferson's Ocean Bourbon Whiskey)
  • 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur (I used St. Germain)
  • 1/2 ounce jasmine simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • fresh jasmine blossoms for garnish
  • thin slice or organic lemon for garnish
  • Also needed: ice and cocktail shaker

Procedure
Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Pour in whiskey, elderflower liqueur, jasmine simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with jasmine blossoms and a lemon slice. Serve immediately.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ramen and a Martini from the Abyss #DarkRecipes #SolarEclipse


Five years ago, our friends had an Eclipse party. That might have been the first time that we discussed what an eclipse was with the boys. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun.


Tomorrow, on Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse. And anyone within the path of totality will see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights: a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely blot out the sun, will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. People outside of the path still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun.

Sue of Palatable Pastime is hosting a virtual potluck. She asked us to come up with dark recipes for the event. No special instructions, just "the theme is 'dark'." Okay...here's how we all interpreted it.

Dark Recipes for the Solar Eclipse



When I posted some sneak peak photos, a blogger friend of mine commented that she knew I would use squid ink. Yeah, I guess I'm predictable that way. It was either that or a 100% cacao solids dark chocolate; I figured this way was going to be a little less common. I've used cuttlefish ink* to make Hand-Rolled Cuttlefish Ink Pasta, Arròs Negre {Black Paella} with Allioli a la Catalana, Fideuà Negra, and Crni Rižoto.

Forbidden Rice Seafood Ramen 
with Cuttlefish Ink Broth


So, I decided to make a ramen with cuttlefish ink broth and use forbidden rice noodles*. For the "sun" part, I added hard-boiled eggs. Thinly sliced, marinated beef made this a hearty dinner.


Ingredients serves 4

  • 4 C beef stock, prefer homemade so you can control the salt
  • 2 t cuttlefish ink*
  • 2 T miso paste (I used yellow miso)
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced beef
  • 3 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 forbidden rice ramen noodle cakes
  • 8 C water
  • 4 boiled eggs, shelled and halved lengthwise (I boil them for 5 minutes, then leave them until cooled)
  • black sesame seeds for garnish

Procedure
The beef can be prepared the day before serving. Place the beef slices in a rimmed dish and pour in the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. In a skillet, cook the beef until preferred doneness. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Pour the marinade into the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Pour the cooked marinade over the beef.

In a large soup pot, bring the beef stock and cuttlefish ink to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved. Keep at a low summer.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodle cakes, and cook as directed on the package. My package said 4 minutes; you want them just cooked, but still on the chewy side. Drain and drop the noodles into the warm stock.


To serve, spoon noodles into individual serving bowls. Scoop in stock to cover the noodles. Garnish with beef and eggs. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Martini from the Abyss

Ingredients makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 1/2 ounce gin (I used the Dry Rye from St. George's)
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/8 t cuttlefish ink

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Serve immediate.


Cheers and happy eclipsing! Here on the central coast of California, we aren't going to get to view the total eclipse. But I can certainly fill a bowl and raise a glass in honor of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more, but it helps support my culinary adventures in a small way. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Spiced Honey-Glazed Lamb Ribs #CrazyIngredientChallenge


I love the idea behind the Crazy Ingredient Challenge (CIC). In the CIC, we are assigned two ingredients to cook and create. Lori of Lori's Culinary Creations and Kelly of Passion Kneaded
are our fearless leaders. So, here goes...

August's Crazy Ingredient Challenge = chili powder and honey


Ingredients
Lamb

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • splash of olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T crushed garlic

Glaze
  • ½ C olive oil
  • 1 ½ C chopped yellow onion (approximately 1 large onion)
  • ½ C tomato paste
  • ½ C orange marmalade
  • 1 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 C organic, raw honey
  • ½ C Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C Dijon mustard
  • ½ C  tamari
  • 1 C  hoisin sauce
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 crushed tepin chiles

Procedure
Lamb
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add crushed garlic and sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Arrange the rack bone side down in the roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the lamb, covered with foil, in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 20 to 25 minutes. Rub the rack of lamb with BBQ sauce and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs.

Glaze
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onions, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the tomato paste, orange marmalade, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and tepin chiles.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Use the sauce immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate.



Friday, August 18, 2017

An Affordable Red and Tapenade, Languedoc-Style #Winophiles


Here we are at the August 2017 event for The French Winophiles, a wine-swilling, food-loving group started by Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva and, now, jointly coordinated by Jill of L'occasion and Jeff of Food Wine Click. This month, Jill has sharing affordable wines. She asked us to turn our attention to wines around the $20 price point. So, if you're reading this in time, hop on Twitter on Saturday, August 19th and follow the hashtag #Winophiles.

All the Posts

Red Wine, Languedoc-Style
The affordable red I decided to share: Gerard Bertrand's Languedoc 2011. At my local BevMo, it was $19.95 and it was part of the 5-cent wine sale. So, I picked up two bottles for $20!!

This Syrah-Grenache blend has a deep red hue with violet highlights. On the nose, I get aromas of fruit while on the palate it was more complex with notes of anise and gingerbread. This was a powerful yet pleasing wine. I'm glad I got two bottles!



Tapenade, Languedoc-Style
Tapenade can be spread on baguettes as I did tonight, but, like anchoïde, it also makes a wonderful dip for crudités. Store the uneaten tapenade in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 2 C whole olives, pitted (I used Niçoise)
  • 3 t brined capers
  • 1 t brine from the capers
  • 3 to 4 anchovies, olive oil-packed
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
Procedure
Place the olives, capers, bring, anchovies, garlic, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon juice. Process or blend, drizzling in olive oil until desired consistency. Season to taste with pepper.

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