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Showing posts from 2011

Posole de Camarones (Shrimp and Hominy Stew)

Have I told you that I have a girlichef crush? I love that blog and everything she cooks. I was intrigued by her recipe for Posole de Camerones  last week and decided it would be the perfect New Year's Eve lunch. Of course I used it more as a point of inspiration instead of an actual recipe, making more than a couple of changes. However, I think I stayed true to the flavors. Delicious! INGREDIENTS Herbed Salsa Verde: 1 C arugula 1 C fresh mint leaves 1 C fresh cilantro leaves zest of 1 orange ground black pepper big pinch sea salt Lime Sea Salt: grated lime zest 1 tepin chili 2 T coarse sea salt Posole: 2 T olive oil 1 chopped onion chopped celery chopped carrots 5 C vegetable boullion 2 lbs uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 C cooked white hominy juice from 1 orange Additional Garnish: sliced sundried tomatoes anchovy filets fresh squeezed lime juice PROCESS Herbed Salsa Verde: Mince everything and set aside. Lime Sea Salt: Mash all of the ingredie

Datil-Cardamom Truffles

I debated between tamarind truffles , lavender truffles , or bee pollen truffles . Then I spied the bottle of Datil, a date liqueur that Pia brought back for me from Mallora, in my cupboard. Truffles at midnight. Done deal, baby. 10 oz high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 1/2 C heavy whipping cream 1/4 t ground cardamom 2 T Datil (date liqueur from Mallorca) unsweetened cocoa powder In a small, heavy saucepan bring the whipping cream to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl with date liqueur and 1/4 t ground cardamom. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk till smooth. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Roll half-teaspoon sized balls in your hands as quickly as you can. Roll in unsweetened cocoa and another dash of cardamom. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Lemon Chicken Over Quinoa

When a friend excitedly replied to a post about my lemon chicken recipe, I realized that I should have specified, it's more like chicken with lemon. I am certain that the term 'lemon chicken' brings to mind a certain dish. Mine is not that...I don't think, but it is tasty and easy. While my pot of quinoa steamed in organic chicken broth, I thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts and browned them with a pat of butter, a splash of olive oil, and some minced garlic. When the chicken is almost cooked, squeeze in the juice of one meyer lemon. Season with sea salt, freshly chopped oregano and freshly chopped dill and cook till the chicken begins to brown and crisp. Serve over a bed of quinoa and some freshly chopped mint leaves.

Lettuce-Wrapped Falafel

One of the Christmas presents I most appreciated: a bag full of different kinds of flour. Barley flour, coconut flour, corn flour, garbanzo flour and coconut flour. In other words, a culinary challenge. Since my husband graciously took the boys for a bit this evening, I cranked up Journey, cooked dinner in peace, and went to town with my bag of garbanzo flour, using the recipe on the back as a starting point for falafels. Mine didn't really resemble the crispy golden orbs I loved from a falafel stand in Berkeley; they were more like patties. But they were tasty and I will definitely make them again. 2 C garbanzo flour 1/4 t baking soda pink Himalaya sea salt freshly ground pepper 2 T meyer lemon juice 1/2 C hot water 1/2 t minced garlic 1/2 t dried oregano 1/2 t dried dill Mix all ingredients together and let rest for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a flat-bottom pan and place teaspoons of the batter in. Cook till browned. Flip and brown the other side. I had some lettuce from

My Top Ten of 2011

On Christmas Eve we played a version of Family Feud at the dinner party my mom hosted. When it went to the sudden death round, she hand-picked the questions for each player until one team couldn't answer. Totally unfair. The final question for me was: name foods that most people have never tried. Everyone on both teams chuckled, "she has no idea what most people have never tried." But I did it. Of course, I adopted the mindset of what would some of my friends in the Mid-West say to that question. Sorry, guys. Face it, you don't live in the most culinarily adventurous area; it's one of the reasons I fled and returned to California. Final answer = caviar. I am proud to say that though it was a challenging topic for me, since I eat just about everything, my team "The Fat Garfield Team" (yes, my 8-year-old picked our name) prevailed. In the vein of adventurous eating, I want to take a walk down my culinary memory lane and run down the list of my to

Thibarine (Tunisian Date Liqueur): Step One

I was looking for a quick, but unique liqueur to make for a birthday dinner in early January. I found it: thibarine , a date liqueur from Tunisia, is infused with caraway and cardamom. Oh, my! Even the brief ten-day decant seems too long. I started with a gluten-free potato vodka. I crushed 1 t organic green cardamom pods and 1 t black caraway seeds in a mortar then placed all of that with 1 lb deseeded medjool dates in a small saucepan. I covered it with vodka - just enough to submerge the dates - and heated the mixture until it just began to steam. I placed all of that plus the remainder of the vodka in a large glass container. Cover and let the mixture age in a cool place for 10 days. Stir once or twice. Strain the liqueur into a colander over a large bowl. Discard fruits and spices. Strain through cheesecloth and pour into bottles. I'll let you know in a couple of weeks how it turns out, but how can you go wrong with these ingredients?

Chestnut Soup

When my mom asked me to bring a soup and a vegetable for her international Christmas eve dinner, I told her I'd make a chestnut soup. What country is that from? Ummm...Italy. Really? Well, that's where I first saw what a chestnut looks like fresh off the tree - seemingly inpenetrable balls of threatening brown spikes which then reveals the shiny, still ridiculously difficult to crack inner shell. It's where I became enamoured with the Italian sweet Marron Glace (candied chestnuts). The bags of chestnut flour I buy, when I can find them, are imported from Italy. Yes, really. In a large soup pot I caramelized diced onions, shallots, and celery with fresh rosemary. When they started to caramelize, I added roasted and peeled chestnuts - thank goodness for Trader Joe's vacuum packed ones! - and cooked them for about ten minutes, stirring constantly. Then I topped all of that with organic chicken broth and added sliced brown crimini mushrooms and fresh bay leaves, bringin

Less-Than-Traditional Cottage Pie for Boxing Day

I have always known that the day after Christmas is Boxing Day in the UK, Australia, and other Commonwealth nations; what I didn't know was what that meant. Honestly, I despise that sport, so I never took the time to read up on the holiday. Today that changed when a friend, on a social networking site, wrote about Boxing Day. When I realized that it's actually a day about goodwill and generosity - when wealthy people in Britain would give a box, with a gift, to their servants - I decided we would honor that with a British dish for dinner. Okay, you know me, it's more like a British- inspired dish. In the end, my cottage pie would probably be unrecognizeable to a real Brit. Oh, well. It was delicious. I learned, in my recipe hunt this afternoon, that the term 'cottage pie' is used when the meat inside is beef and 'shepherd's pie' refers to a lamb-based dish. The meat pie is topped with a potato crust and baked till the peaks are slightly browned. Not

Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch)

In my usual weekly blog crawl, I came across a recipe from girlichef that I had to make for my parents' international Christmas Eve dinner: Ponche Navideño , a Mexican Christmas punch made with fruits and spices. It sounded perfect. So I jotted down the ingredients and headed over to our local Mexican market, prepared to go on a ponche scavenger hunt through the aisles. No need. As soon as I walked into the produce section, there was an entire display with all of the ingredients I had on my list...and then some. There was even a printed recipe for ponche - written in Spanish! - that would have been helpful if I actually read Spanish. I stood there for a bit, comparing girlichef's recipe with what I could make out on the market recipe. Then I picked and chose and came up with my own combination. I skipped the prunes and halved the sugar but added quince and dried hibiscus blossoms. Here goes... 12 tejocotes (hawthorne apples) 6 guayabas (guavas) 6 tamarindo pods (tamarind

Eggnog Waffles for Dylan Day

We call today "Dylan Day" because it's all about Dylan. The birthday boy picks our breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He picked waffles with whipped cream and raspberries. Okay... 2 C white whole wheat flour 2 T organic granulated sugar 1/2 t pink Himalaya salt 2 t baking powder 1 egg 1-1/2 C organic eggnog 4 T olive oil Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir till just moistened. Cook in your waffle-maker according to its directions. Serve with whipped cream, raspberries, a dusting of powdered sugar, and an exuberant version of 'happy birthday.' Wishing my fiesty, sweet boy who lives up to his name - Dylaney which means 'the challenger' - the best of birthdays! Now off to pick number two: a hike through Point Lobos. Then returning for chicken noodle soup. Not surprisingly, he plans Dylan Day around the meals. That's my kid!

Carrot-Potato Latkes for Hanukkah

Okay, so we're not Jewish. But we are attempting to raise socially-aware citizens of the world who are not just tolerant of, but are knowledgeable about, religious and cultural differences. So, we celebrate Hanukkah. Riley wanted a menorah as soon as he learned about Hanukkah in kindergarten; and every year I make latkes. I read that the secret to making the perfect latkes - golden on the inside and crispy on the outside - is the starchiness of potato. The best, supposedly, are the baking russets; the worst are boiling potatoes. I opted to use what I had: Yukon golds. They fall in the middle of the starchiness scale. This year I changed it up a little by adding shredded carrots, too. Delicious! Mix together shredded potatoes, carrots, diced onions and shallots, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and beaten egg. Heat oil in a large flat-bottomed pan. When the oil is hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork.

Rhubarb Liqueur

As Christmas is this weekend - yes, really! - I decided it was time to filter and bottle my attempt at rhubarb liqueur. Kinda like limoncello, but with rhubarb. If you'll remember back to September, I used a potato vodka, washed and trimmed the rhubarb, thinly sliced the rhubarb and combined with sugar. [Click here for my original blog post .] Some changes: I did not strain out the rhubarb after 4 weeks, but left them in for the 3-month aging process. Now I have some potent pieces of rhubarb and am thinking about what to do with these. Candy them and make some really festive panetone?!? Also my liqueur never took on the rosy red hue I wanted. Then again, my stalks weren't really red either. BUT we gave it a sip this morning and it was delicious! Next year I'll have to make more! This year, I hope two of my friends will enjoy it. Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Meyer Lemon-Almond Cake with Raspberry Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting

Months ago when my friend Pia started planning her son's 5th birthday party, he came to Aunt Camillala (that's not a typo, that's what he calls me) and requested a Go, Dog, Go! cake. Jake and I have baked the Garneau boys' cakes since they first had parties. My job is baker; Jake's job is cake-architect. If you think that "cake-architect" must be an exaggeration, well, then you haven't seen his cakes. Go, Dog, Go! That didn't sound so hard. "...in a tree." Okay. "...with a green dog in a canon." Okay. "...with rainbow frosting." Okay. Two things we ensure about these birthday cakes: (1) they have cool details that match the party theme and, most importantly, (2) they are fresh and delicious. Though, truth be told, as we were cutting out and backing dogs and assembling this cake in a tree, Jake exasperatedly said, "Cam, it's called a sheet cake from Safeway. Why are we doing this?!?" My love, we are

Han Solo in ... Chocolate!

Almost two years ago one of my favorite bloggers - Rook No. 17 - posted about making her own mold from a Han Solo in carbonite toy . I never got around to (1) finding a Han Solo in carbonite toy of my own and (2) figuring out how to make a mold with Silicone Plastique. But I've always enjoyed the idea of this treat: Han Solo frozen in a block of carbonite, I mean dark chocolate. I found some pre-made chocolates at ThinkGeek for $11.99 ; they also had a silicone mold to make ice cubes or chocolate for $9.99 . No brainer - twelve dollars for something that we could enjoy once or ten dollars for something we could use multiple times. Done. I ordered it and if just arrived. Time to temper some chocolate! This is going to make some of my favorite Star Wars fans a very nice stocking stuffer.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

With some leftover roasted sweet potatoes in my fridge, I decided to make a sweet potato gnocchi for dinner. Most people roll their gnocchi dough into a thick straw and cut the gnocchi; in Italy I was taught to hand-form them, so mine look less uniform. For this batch I used 3 C of sweet potato puree. Add two pats of butter, one beaten egg, then mix in flour, slowly, until you get a medium (not stiff, but not too sticky either) dough. Usually I add about 3/4 C by the time I'm done. Using about 1/2 teaspoon of dough, with floured hands, I form a ball and flatten it slightly with fork tines. I cook the gnocchi in chicken stock for added flavor. Once your broth - or water - has come to a boil, gently drop the gnocchi in the pot. They will float when they are cooked. Because this is a fresh pasta, it cooks very quickly, maybe a minute or two. Remove the gnocchi with a slotten spoon and place in a colander to drain a bit more. Jake had a suggestion, so I gave it a whirl. I melted bu

Plain and White Cheesecake

If you read my entry about Dylan's Eggnog Cheesecake and Jake's admission more than fourteen years in the making, you'll know why I made a plan and white cheesecake... Ingredients Crust 2 C crushed cinnamon graham crackers 1 C ground almonds 1/2 C (stick) melted butter 2 T organic granulated sugar Filling 3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 C organic granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 C organic sour cream 1 T vanilla extract Procedure Crust Mix all of the ingredients together until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of a springform pan that's been wrapped in foil. Chill crust while preparing filling. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Filling Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Transfer filling to prepared crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan

Dylan's Eggnog Cheesecake

For Dylan's birthday celebration, he originally asked for a baked alaska but I disuaded him because I didn't want to be in the kitchen making a last-minute dessert while the party was going on. He finally decided on cheesecake. It was then that, fourteen years together and two dozen cheesecakes later, the love of my life finally copped to an awful secret: he doesn't like my funky, fruit-laden cheesecakes. I had been thinking of a cranberry-lemon cheesecake ; he told me that cheesecakes should be 'plain and white.' So I took it to my facebook wall and, in horror, realized that I was in the minority. Even some of my closest friends, with what I consider sophisticated palates, agree with my husband - plain and white. Ugh. Thankfully my child doesn't agree. Dylan requested an eggnog cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. Perfect! I put his crushing skills to work and he helped pulverize the lemon-ginger cookies from Trader Joe's. CRUST 2 C crushed lemon-ginger