Saturday, June 15, 2019

Red, White & Blue Scones #OurFamilyTable


Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures rounded up the bloggers to share patriotic party ideas. She wrote: "The Fourth of July is just around the corner!  Show us your red white and blue favorite recipes to celebrate this patriotic day!"

Patriotic Party Ideas


We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Red, White & Blue Scones

Happy birthday, America! I decided to go patriotic for breakfast and am sharing red, white, and blue scones. Gotta love all the fresh blueberries and strawberries at this time of year!

Ingredients
Scone Dough
  • 2 ½ C flour 
  • ½ C organic granulated sugar
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 8 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 C heavy organic cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C fresh blueberries
  • 4 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 T cream
Glaze

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2 T heavy organic cream

Procedure
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough resembles pea-sized chunks. Add the cream, egg, and blueberries, using a spatula to form a ball.


Transfer to a floured surface and gently press into a disc. Cut the disc into wedges. Gently slice each scone through the center with a floured knife. Put a few slices of strawberry in the center.


Replace the top on the scone and lightly pinch the sides closed. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon of cream on the tops of the scones. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. The scone will be nicely raised and slightly golden. Remove the scones from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the glaze.

Glaze
In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and cream until you have a smooth glaze. Pour 1 teaspoon of glaze over the top of each scone. Let set up and serve warm.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Chilled Watermelon and Rosé Soup #SoupSwappers


Here we are at the June Soup Saturday Swappers event. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm started this event and, every month, I get a new array of soup recipes to put in my to-try pile. And this month, Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise is hosting as we explore soups featuring cheese.

Ashley writes, "June is Dairy Month and let's celebrate with some cheesy soups! Any type of cheese (or cheese substitute for any non-dairy folks) is the name of the game!"

Here's the line-up of cheesy soups from the #SoupSwappers...


Chilled Watermelon and Rosé Soup
I'll be honest: I could give up any food except for cheese. Maybe. My family are full-blown caseophiles. We plan stops on road trips to incorporate cheese tasting!


One of my favorite stops is The Cheeseboard in Berkeley. Even the blackboard, with its meticulously maintained list, is daunting in its length. Then there are the cases and cases of cheese where the only thing stopping me from whispering, "I'll take a little of everything," was my wallet.


It's a cheese-lover's dream realized. Gorgeous rounds and wedges. Pungent to floral. Draped in cabbage or wrapped in straw. Bliss! That was the first place I ever saw - and tried - Camilla cheese.


Camilla, a young goat's-milk disk cheese by Italian cheesemaker Caseificio Reale, has just a little cow's cream added to give it lushness.

But this post isn't about cheese. Well, it's not just about cheese. I was challenged to make a soup with cheese. That is not so much a challenge as we've been pushing 90 degrees here on California's central coast. And I was not about to turn on my stove.


So this is a chilled soup in the style of Spanish gazpacho. It was perfect for an al fresco dinner that was mostly no-cook. It's effervescent, fruity, refreshing, and the perfect sip to stay cool this season. You can use any kind of cheese for this that crumbles or chunks. I used a raw milk feta for this version; the tang of the cheese counters the sweetness of the soup well.

Ingredients

Soup

  • 5 C cubed organic watermelon (I made this with a pink one, but I've done it with yellow as well)
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1/3 C Rosé (I used a Rosé of Cabernet Pfeffer)
  • ½" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish

  • organic mint leaves, torn
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • whole pistachios, shelled

Procedure

In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients. Process until the mixture is light and airy, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Transfer soup to a large container, cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

Serve in small bowls or glasses with mint, cheese, and pistachios on the side. Let diners garnish the soup as they wish.

Pretty in Pink: Raclette de Savoie Polenta, Salmon, & Le Cocagne Gris Rosé #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the June #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month, Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is hosting us as we explore French wine and cheese pairings. You can read his invitation here. But, thematically, it was pretty wide open. French wine plus French cheese. That's it.


You know me - caseophile here! So, I was in, immediately. And to sweeten the deal, some of the group is sponsored by VinConnexion this month; we received sample wines from Chateau de Sales in Pomerol and Cave du Vendômois in the Loire Valley. Here's the line-up...



We’ll be chatting about French Wine and Cheese on Saturday, June 11th at 8a PT/11a ET.  We love visitors and this promises to be a yummy chat.  Just follow the #winophiles hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation! À votre santé! 

In My Glass

I opted to shine the spotlight on the bottle of  2018 Le Cocagne Gris Rosé 2018* that I received from the Les Vignerons du Vendômois, Cave Coopérative du Vendômois.


This wine was made from a single varietal of which I had never ever heard: Pineau d’Aunis. So, I started reading.

Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned grape varietal whose story dates back to the Medieval times. And, despite enjoying popularity with both the English and French royals, it's now increasingly rare. Though it can be used to produce a distinctive, interesting red, it is primarily used to make Rosés in the area.


The Pineau d'Aunis lends Rosé  a pale pink-hued wine. It's bright and lively with a fresh acidity. but red fruit flavors - think currants - mellow the wine with a softer finish.

In My Bowl

The first thing I did when I received the wines for this event was take a field trip to my local cheese shop. I told the cheesemonger about the wines and he set about trying to pair them for me. Then I told them it needed to be French cheese, not just any cheese, and he said, "Challenge accepted!" Thanks, Kyle.


I ended up with six different cheeses for the pairings. The one in the center isn't from France, but it's called 'Camilla.' I really couldn't pass it up. In addition to the name, I was intrigued by the cheese itself. From Caseificio La Via Lattea, Camilla is a raw goat's milk cheese whose thin rind is coated with dried chamomile. The flowers imparts a subtle flavor that doesn't overpower the tanginess of the goats' milk.

I will have another post about the Chateau de Sales in Pomerol with cheese pairings but this post will be about the Le Cocagne Gris Rosé that I paired with Raclette de Savoie Polenta and Poached Salmon. I wanted something pink - salmon! - to go with my pink wine.

Ingredients

Polenta

  • 2 C polenta
  • 6 C warm water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 C cheese (I used shredded Raclette de Savoie)
  • splash of olive oil


Olive Oil-Poached Salmon
  • salmon fillets (serving sizes vary, but for a main dish I usually go with 1/3 of a pound per person)
  • olive oil as needed
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Serving

  • compound butter (I had some with dulse, a red seaweed)
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed

Procedure

Polenta
Butter a baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then spoon everything into the baking dish. Bake for an hour, but stir it every twenty minutes. When it's finished, add 1 C shredded cheese and a splash of olive oil. Stir that together until the cheese is completely incorporated.

Olive Oil-Poached Salmon
Select a large enough pot that the salmon fillets can sit flat without touching each other.

Pour olive oil into the pot so that it’s about ½” deep. Add garlic and rosemay. Bring the olive oil to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Lower the salmon fillets – skin-side down – into the warm oil. Poach for 10 to 12 minutes. Flip the fillets and poach for another 5 to 6 minutes. If using immediately, serve warm.

Serving
Spoon the polenta out onto a bowl and top it with a little bit more salt and pepper to taste. Remember: whatever you don't eat for dinner, spoon into a clean, buttered pan. It can be sliced and lightly pan-fried in the morning to go under eggs. Che squisito!

Place the poached salmon on top of the polenta and add a pat of compound butter on the top. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, as needed.


Until next time...the French Winophiles will be focusing on the Loire, specifically the Anjou-Saumur. I'm hosting. So stay tuned for my invitation. Cheers!

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Magical Color-Changing Iced Tisane


Today, Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks has the Festive Foodies celebrating National Iced Tea Month. We drink a lot of tea in my house. That's why when I put this on the table, they made sure to remind me that it's really an Iced Tisane since it's not really a tea. Fine. Before we get to that, here's the Iced Tea Parade from the Festive Foodies for National Iced Tea Month...


Magical Color-Changing Iced Tisane

Quick note on the terminology here. This is a 'tisane' because - technically - if the brew doesn't include leaves from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), it's not tea. It's a tisane. I have read about the butterfly pea flower...and how you can use it as a natural food coloring. Then I read about its "magical" color shifting properties.


Like hydrangeas whose blooms turn different colors depending on the pH of the soil they're in, the color of butterfly pea flower tea changes depending on the pH with whatever it's combined. It’s magical!


Before I served it, I wanted to make sure it actually worked. So, my Precise Kitchen Elf did a test run.


Ingredients
  • 3 C water + 2 C water
  • 1/2 C dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 2 C organic granulated sugar
  • organic lemon wedges
  • Also needed: ice, lemon wheels for serving



Procedure
Bring 3 C water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the dried flowers and let steep until the water is a very deep blue color. The longer you let it steep, the better. I let mine stand for, at least, an hour. Strain out the blossoms and pour the liquid back into the saucepan.

Add in the granulated sugar and 2 C more water Heat and swirl the pan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a mason jar and keep refrigerated until ready to use.


To serve, place ice in serving glasses. Pour the tisane over the ice.


Squeeze in lemon juice a little bit at a time until you get the color that you want. 


Stir...


And enjoy!

Potato Peel Pie #FoodieReads


I will be hosting this book - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows* - for my #LitHappensBookClub in July as well as the movie for July's Food'N'Flix. However, I thought I'd share the recipe that the book inspired me to make: the eponymous Potato Peel Pie.

On the Page

Typically I read the book before I watch the movie, but I did the reverse in this case. In fact, I think I watched the movie two or, even, three times before I picked up the novel.

Synopsis: Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a complete stranger Dawsey Adams, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a compelling correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, discovering their tastes in books, and seeing the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, Ashton sets sail for Guernsey and her life is forever altered...in a lovely way.

I have always loved epistolary novels. There is something inherently voyeuristic about reading a story comprised solely of letters and telegrams. You get the sense that you've uncovered a box of old correspondence in an attic, but there's no harm in reading them. And what's a little bit more intriguing, at least to me, is that you aren't inhabiting the narrator's mind; you are reading what the narrator wishes another character to read. There's always some subjectivity and, perhaps, unintentional posturing involved. It's fascinating.

Some of my favorite passages...

Juliet to Sophie. "Mark is here. Mark, who is rich and debonair and wants to marry me. Mark, whom I was doing very well without. Why can't I stop thinking about Dawsey, who probably doesn't give a hoot about me. But maybe he does. Maybe I was about to find out what's on the other side of that silence. Damn, damn, and damn. It's two in the morning, I have not a fingernail to my name, and I look at least a hundred years old. Maybe Mark will be repulsed by my haggard mein when he sees me. Maybe he will spurn me. I don't know that I will be disappointed if he does" (pg. 211).

Dawsey to Juliet. "I am happy you liked the white lilacs. I will tel you about Mrs. Dilwyn's soap. Around the middle of the Occupation, soap became scarce; families were only allowed one tablet per person a month. It was made of some kind of French clay and lay like a dead thing in the washtub. It made no lather - you just had to scrub and hope it worked. Being clean was hard work, and we had all got used to being more or less dirty, along with our clothes. ...One day Mr. Scope's pig died of milk fever. Since no one dared eat it, Mr. Scope offered me the carcass. I remembered my mother making soat from fat, so I thought I could try it. ...When the soap had hardened enough, we cut it into circles with Amelia's biscuit cutter. I wrapped the soap in cheese cloth, Elizabeth tied bows of red yarn, and we gave them as presents to all the ladies at the Society's next meeting. For a week or two, anyway, we looked like respectable folks" (pp. 79-80).

While I wouldn't call this book a riveting historical fiction, as far as World War II happenings go, I found myself growing more and more enamored with the people of Guernsey. And it has inspired me to look more deeply into the English Channel islands and their geographical role in the war.

Also, I always adore a book that is so clearly a love letter to letters and words. Quite literally the characters in the book are brought together by words and books. It's a fantastic homage to the written word.

On the Plate

There was no question in my mind that I had to attempt a potato peel pie. In a letter from Amelia Maugery to Juliet, she writes, "Will Thisbee was responsible for the inclusion of Potato Peel Pie in our society's name. Germans or no, he wasn't going to go to any meetings unless there were eats! So refreshments became part of our program. Since there was scant butter, less flour, and no sugar to spare on Guernsey then, Will concocted a potato peel pie: mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness, and potato peelings for crust. Will's recipes are usually dubious but this one became a favorite" (pg. 51).

Okay, I couldn't quite manage a dessert potato pie; but I did create potato peel ribbons and whipped up a savory potato pie. The boys sat down to breakfast and objected, "This isn't the way it was described, Mom." Well, I took some liberties. "And it's not new. This is just your regular potato frittata. True enough.

But, for this version, I made sure to make the potato peels very apparent!

Ingredients makes one 9" frittata

  • 1 pound organic potatoes (peeled, then thinly sliced. I use my mandolin slicer set on the thinnest setting)
  • water
  • 1 T butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 C fresh herbs (I used oregano, thyme, and parsley)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • flake salt for serving

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place your potato peels and slices in a pan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are firm but piercable with a fork. Drain and set aside.


Butter your baking dish and layer in your potatoes. I reserved the peels for the top. Beat the herbs and ground pepper into the eggs. And pour the eggs over the potatoes. Move the potatoes around to make sure that the egg mixture penetrates to the bottom of the pan.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Uncover and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle with good quality flake salt and serve. This is just as good cold the next day.


Stay tuned for more recipes inspired by this story come July when I host it for #LitHappensBookClub and #FoodNFlix.

*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.



Click to see what everyone else read in June 2019: here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lemon Lavender Blackberry Cupcakes #CupcakeLoversDay


Inspired by my Lemon Lavender Blackberry Cake that I made for my birthday, I decided to adapt that recipe into cupcakes for Mothers' Day...and #CupcakeLoversDay that's hosted by Valentina, The Baking Fairy. You can see the original cake here...


And here's the translation to the cupcake version...


And here's our Cupcake Case...



Ingredients

Cupcakes
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 t lemon extract
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1-1/2 C flour
  • 1/3 C almond flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C fresh organic blackberries
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • Also needed: cupcake tin (I used a stoneware pan), paper liners (I double them up)

Buttercream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T organic corn syrup
  • 2 C butter, softened
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • blue and red food coloring, as needed (I prefer vegetable and fruit-based dyes)

For Serving
  • fresh organic blackberries
  • organic lavender sprigs
  • decorator sugar (I used a light lavender color)
Procedure

Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add in the egg yolks, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Mix again, then pour in the milk.

In another mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in gently with a spatula until just moistened.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter, taking care not to deflate the egg whites too much.

Divide the cake batter evenly between 12 cupcake hollows. Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the cornstarch, then press 1 or 2 berries into each cupcake.


Place pans on baking sheets and place them in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the layers are firm and golden. Remove the trays from the oven and cool the cakes completely on wire racks.


Buttercream
Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl and beat on high until they are thick, pale, and ribbon off the whisks.

Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. You can attach a candy thermometer to the side; I just kept testing until it reached soft-ball stage. If you're using a thermometer, heat until it reaches 238 degrees F. For testing otherwise, dip a spoon into the syrup, then into ice cold water. The syrup should immediately set up into a soft ball. Mine took about 8 minutes to reach the correct consistency.


Once the syrup is ready, remove it from the heat. While one hand hold the mixer, use the other hand to pour the syrup into the yolks. When all of the syrup is added, turn the mixer up to high and beat until the yolks have doubled in size and have reached medium peak stage. The bowl should be cooled and just lukewarm to the touch. Mine took about 9 minutes.

Begin adding butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. The more butter you add, the more firm the buttercream will be.


Once your buttercream resembles what you think of as buttercream, add in the lavender essential oil and the food coloring. I started with equal parts red and blue, but it just looked strange. So, I added more red and went with a muted pinkish shade!


For Serving
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe the buttercream on top of your cupcakes. Garnish the top with blackberries, lavender, and decorator sugar.


Funny story: When D walked by the counter when these were cooling, he asked what the muffins were for. I told him they were cupcakes. "Ummm...no, those are muffins, Mom."


"What's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?" I was genuinely interested in his take on this.

The frosting, of course. A muffin is naked.

Makes sense.

As soon as I added the buttercream, he accepted them as cupcakes. That kid cracks me up.

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