Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes {Food'N'Flix} Round-Up

Today's the day that the round-up of our October Food'N'Flix entries went live. Click for the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes-inspired culinary creations. Everything looks so good - from the bloody mary to the BLT. It's all on my to-cook list now. Thanks for hosting such a fun movie, Elizabeth at the Law Student's Cookbook. I'm looking forward to next month's pick; I'll get to re-watch and cook from Julie & Julia.

Spiced Zucchini Bundt

2 C white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground ginger
3 large eggs
1 1/2 C organic raw turbinado sugar
2 T maple syrup
1 T molasses
1 C melted butter
2 C grated zucchini

Butter your bundt pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all of the wet ingredients (except for the zucchini) together. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in the zucchini and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove cake to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Mushroom, Poblano, and Cilantro Salsa

Ever heard of mushroom salsa? I haven't. But this will definitely be on my fresh salsa rotation from now on.

Salsa de Hongas
adapted from Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavors
by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

1 pound crimini mushroom, washed, dried, and chopped
1 t crushed garlic
1 roasted poblano pepper, deseeded and diced
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
juice from 3 limes
2 T olive oil
salt to taste

In a bowl combine all of the ingredients. Let sit for a couple of hours - at least - to allow the flavors to develop and the mushrooms to soften.

This will appear at my friend's Halloween Street Taco Party. Happy Halloween!

Dylan's BOOtiful Fruit Salad

This hardly merits a recipe, but I wanted to share my mini-chefs' creativity for this BOOtiful Fruit Salad with Goolish (sic) Grapes and Scary Berrys (sic). Happy Halloween! The boys argued about whether they would put mint in with the fruit. Riley said, "Not everyone likes fresh herbs in their fruit salad." Dylan argued that it was his class party and he liked mint! And in they went.

black grapes
1 C chopped fresh mint

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mandazi {Kenya} + Coffee

Mandazi - also known as Maandazi or Ndao, sometimes called Mahamri or Mamri - are, basically,  East African donuts. You can find them in large urban areas and also among the Swahili people of East Africa. Most small restaurants, called hotelis in Kenya, serve mandazi as a breakfast or a snack. You can also find them being sold by street vendors. Usually mandazi are eaten with chai, spiced tea, or coffee.

D had a great time shaking the finished mandazi in a bag filled with sugar. It was the perfect activity to get his early morning energy out. One more note, these are typically fried. I decided to bake them in a butter pan instead.


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C milk
  • [2 Tbsp. butter, melted] I forgot to add this in...whoops!
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • more organic granulated sugar for shaking

Mix all the ingredients together, adding more flour if necessary. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Turn dough into a buttered dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the dough is risen and slightly golden. Invert onto a cutting board and cut into triangles. Place granulated sugar in a bag, put three or four mandazi in the bag at a time and shake to coat. Serve warm.

Kenyan Coffee
Despite its proximity to Ethiopia, from where coffee is said to have originated, coffee was not cultivated in Kenya until the late 19th century when French missionaries introduced coffee trees from Reunion Island. The mission farms near Nairobi, Kenya's capital, became the hub around which Kenyan coffee production grew. Kenya's coffee industry is known for its cooperative system of production, processing, milling, marketing, and auctioning coffee. Almost three-quarters of Kenyan coffee is produced by small scale holders. And it is estimated that six million Kenyans are employed directly or indirectly in the coffee industry. The major coffee growing regions in Kenya are the High Plateaus around Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare Range, Kisii, Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru and Kericho where the elevation and acidic soil provide excellent conditions for growing coffee plants. Coffee from Kenya is of the 'mild arabica' type and is well known for its intense flavor, full body, and pleasant aroma. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually had a bag of Peet's Coffee Kenya Auction Lot in the house. Hooray!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cooking Around the World: Kazakhstan

We are launching into the K-countries this week in our cooking around the world adventure. Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world's ninth largest country in the by land area and is also the world's largest landlocked country. It is located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. 

Kazakh national cuisine is heavy on meat and milk. And though a traditional Kazakh dinner involves a multitude of appetizers followed by soup and, then, one or two main courses, I kept it simple with a single dish tonight: Kazakh Plov, rice pilaf.

Their traditional drinks are intriguing, but not readily available here. They drink mare's milk - kumys, camel's milk - shubat, and sheep milk. We poured airan, cow's milk, and I had some goat's milk leftover from our Jordanian dinner. I also made a pot of chai which is one of the staples of the Adai Kazakhs. Black tea was introduced from China along the Silk Road and is usually served with sweets after dinner.

Plov (Rice Pilaf)

  • 2 C cooked rice (I used a short-grain brown rice)
  • ⅓ C raw sliced almonds
  • ⅓ C raw pumpkin seeds (not traditional, but I had some)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 C dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 C prunes, pitted and chopped
  • 1 C apricots, pitted and chopped
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 pound ground meat, traditional calls for ground lamb but I had beef
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom (not traditional, but I wanted to match the flavors in the drink)
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds (not traditional, but I wanted to match the flavors in the drink)
  1. Mix the meat, almonds, fruits, salt, and garlic in a large bowl.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Brown the meat mixture until beef  is no longer pink.
  4. In a serving bowl, combine the lamb with oil and rice then mix with another splash of olive oil.

Kazakh Chai

This is a traditional Kazakh tea of milky black tea flavored with cardamom and fennel. I've made lots of chai over the years, but I've never added fennel seeds. And I also like that this is flavored with honey. Love it! I will definitely make this again.

These Global Table Ambassadors are signing off for now. We are headed back to Africa - to Kenya - next.

Cardamom Pannekoeken with Poached Quince

Click to read how I re-discovered this childhood favorite during a cookbook review for Shauna Sever's Pure Vanilla. And since I knew it would be the perfect way to kick off this chilly autumn week, I doubled the recipe and made several pannekoeken. I topped them with my Vanilla-Yuzu Poached Quince.

1-1/3 C milk
6 eggs
4 T salted butter, melted
2 t pure vanilla extract
caviar from one vanilla bean
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t baking powder
1-1/3 C white whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter two baking dishes and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla caviar, vanilla extract, and ground cardamom. Blend in the flour and baking powder. Whisk for a full minute.

Pour the batter into your prepared dish and bake until the Pannekoeken is puffed and golden, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar. I topped ours with poached quince.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cranberry-Quince Sauce with Cardamom

Looking forward to Thanksgiving - and my Bounty of the County theme this year - I decided to make a cranberry sauce with the poaching liquid from my quince.

Jake's response: "That's different. Wow!" And that is one of the reasons I married the man - he is always up for an adventure, culinary and otherwise.

2 C leftover quince poaching liquid
1 C poached quince
3 C cranberries
3/4 C organic granulated sugar
1 t ground cardamom

Place all of the ingredients in a flat-bottom pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until set. Hot pack in jars to seal. This will be the perfect with our marinated, grilled quail.

*Update 11/16/2012: I just added this post to Katherine Martinelli's Thanksgiving Blog Hop*

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quince-Poblano-Pumpkin Salsa

Enough of the sweet quince's time for something smoky, spicy, and savory: quince-poblano-pumpkin salsa.

Before you start, roast two poblano peppers and one mini sugar pumpkin. Poach four quinces (cored, peeled and sliced). Thinly slice the peppers and cube the pumpkin.

In a large flat-bottom pan, brown three sliced shallots and the peppers in a splash of olive oil. Add the quince, 1 C water, 1/2 C white balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer. Cook until the quince begins to soften and come apart. Add in 2 T yuzu juice, 2 C cubed roasted pumpkin, and more water if needed. Continue cooking until the pumpkin begins to soften. Then stir in 2 t smoked paprika and season with freshly ground salt to taste. Spoon into sterilized jars and process in a water bath.

Vanilla-Quince Jelly

Not wanting to waste the poaching liquid from my vanilla-yuzu poached quince, I simmered it down to make a bit of jelly. And I do mean, a bit. A wee bit.

After topping off my jars of poached quince, I strained the liquid through a mesh and had about 2 C left. I added 1/2 C organic granulated sugar and the vanilla bean. I brought it a boil and boiled rapidly until setting point is reached, about 15 minutes. As the liquid cooks, it will turn from golden to a rosy, apricot color.

I ended up with about 1/2 a cup of jelly. Next time I'm going to have to set out to make jelly...versus making jelly from leftovers!

Vanilla-Yuzu Poached Quince

Today is Quince least it's the day that I was able to pick up the ten pounds of quince that I ordered from Happy Girl Kitchen.

There's something magical about quince and I'm sure it's only augmented by the fact that it's in-season time is so brief. But that scent is intoxicating and I waiver between wanting to cook it all immediately and just wanting to sit here with a fruit to my nose, breathing in the heady, floral aroma.

I decided to poach a batch first. When Barbara Ghazarian writes in Simply Quince, "the old-fashioned, long simmer method on the stove top is the only process that develops the characteristic caramel color and full-bodied flavor of the fruit," I'm going to trust her and not try to re-invent quincing. Yes, I'm making it a verb: to quince. But I added in a whole vanilla bean and used yuzu as my citrus.

7 C water
1 C organic granulated sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
2 T yuzu juice
8 C peeled, cored, sliced quince wedges

Combine water, sugar, yuzu juice in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the quince and vanilla bean. Simmer uncovered for 75 to 90 minutes until the quince is tender. The fruit will turn golden; the longer you poach it, the more pinkish it becomes. Spoon the fruit into sterlized jars, insert a cinnamon stick, cover with poaching liquid. As the quince cools, the jar will seal. Refrigerate and use within two weeks.

I cannot wait to serve these golden, poached quince - with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon - over a scoop of creamy gelato!

Cooking Around the World: Japan

I almost wasn't sure we needed to cook for Japan on our cooking around the world adventure. I mean, that's our usual escapist meal. When we don't want to cook, sushi, teriyaki, and udon are at the top of our list. So I decided that instead of trying to replicate our favorite eat-out-dinner, we would make something completely different. I had a whole head of cabbage in the fridge; we decided on okonomiyaki for the main course.

We started with inarizushi and steamed edamame. And I let the boys get some package treats for dessert.

Fun facts about Japan that the boys found interesting:

Raw horse meat is a popular food in Japan.

A musk melon, similar to a cantaloupe, may sell for over $300.

Coffee is popular and Japan imports 85% of Jamaica's annual coffee production.

Japan's literacy rate is almost 100%.

Sumo wrestlers eat a stew called Chankonabe to fatten up. 

Noodles, especially soba (buckwheat), are slurped loudly when eaten. Slurping symbolizes the food is delicious, but the slurping also serves to cool down the hot noodles for eating.

Tsukiji market in Tokyo is the world's largest fish market.

Japan still hunts whales under the premise of research and the harvested whale meat, often, ends up in restaurants and supermarkets.
Ovens are not nearly as common as rice cookers in Japanese households.

Geisha means "person of the arts" and the first geisha were men.

It was customary in ancient Japan for women to blacken their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly. This practice persisted until the late 1800's.

This Global Table Ambassador is signing off for now. We are wrapping up the Js with Jordan and will launch into the Ks next week. As the 10th month of the year draws to a close, I realize that we are definitely not going to make it through all 195+ countries in 2012 as I had, irrationally, hoped. So, our Cooking Around the World adventure will continue into 2013.

Edible Flower Friday: Saffon

Welcome to my monthly post about cooking with flowers! I kicked off this series last month by showcasing recipes with elderflower. This month, inspired by my pulling a bottle of Liquore Strega out for Halloween, I decided that saffron deserved the spotlight today.

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Because each flower's stigmas must be collected by hand and there are only a few threads per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. 

Saffron also has a long, colorful history, with cultivation documented as far back as ancient Persians in the 10th century B.C. Inhabitants in Derbena, Isfahan, and Khorasan wove saffron threads into textiles, included them in dyes and perfumes, and even steeped them into teas to fight depression. Legend has it that Cleopatra used saffron in her baths to enhance sensations during sex. Alexander the Great used saffron in his infusions, rice, and baths - not as an aphrodisiac but -  as a curative for battle wounds. Alexander's troops, imitating the practice from the Persians, brought saffron-bathing to Greece.

While I won't be dropping those expensive little threads into my bathwater anytime soon, I will cook with them. Here are some saffron recipes to inspire on the titles to go to the recipe post.

Enjoy! And if you have any great saffron recipes to share, let me know. You can email me at constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Okonomiyaki {Japan}


Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake. Okonomi means something along the lines of "what you want" and yaki means "grilled" or "cooked." Widely available around the country, the dish is typically associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas. And toppings and batters vary by region.

We kept ours simple: cabbage, dried shrimp, and green onions.

The batter: 1-1/2 C chicken stock, 1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour, and three eggs. Whisk all of the ingredients together to form a thin pancake batter. Stir in 6 C of cabbage, 1/2 C dried shrimp, and 1/2 C chopped green onions.

Cook in a flat pan until the batter is cooked, the cabbage is softened, and the pancake is lightly browned.

I had seen beautiful images of okonomiyaki garnished with okonomiyaki sauce marbled with mayonnaise. Dylan opted for the plop and smear method. So, it wasn't very photogenic, but it was delicious. All the okonomiyaki sauce recipes I found were slightly different. I mixed some ketchup, molasses, yuzu, and soy sauce for ours. Yum!

Yuzu Inarizushi {Japan}

Riley's absolutely favorite Japanese food is inari, a fried tofu pouch stuffed with seasoned rice. So, when Dylan and I were picking up some things at the market, Dylan insisted that he was going to make inari for his brother. Sweet boy! Well, he can be...

Typcially you would use sushi rice - for its stickiness - but we had some leftover rice from our Jamaican dinner, so we used that.

We brought our leftover rice to room temperature, seasoned it with a mixture of sugar, yuzu juice, and a splash of soy sauce, and folded in some Nori Furikake (sesame seeds mixed with mini strips of seaweed). Then Dylan stuffed the rice mixture into the fried tofu pouches. We didn't measure; he just improvised.

He kept it under wraps until dinner. When Riley came over, he squealed and gave Dylan a huge hug. Awwww...brothers. They are either best friends or worst enemies. There is no in between.

Cooking Around the World: Jamaica

It been a busy couple of weeks. And though I've been cooking, I haven't been blogging as much about the Cooking Around the World adventure as we have been eating. I'll try to catch up this week.

When looking for what to make for our tabletop travel to Jamaica, I kept singing this in my head...
Down the way where the nights are gayAnd the sun shines daily on the mountain topI took a trip on a sailing shipBut when I reached Jamaica I made a stop
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayWon't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundI had to leave a little girl in Kingston town
Sounds of laughter everywhereAnd the dancing girls swinging to and froI must declare my heart is thereThough I've been from Maine to Mexico
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayI won't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundI had to leave a little girl in Kingston town
Down at the market you can hearLadies cry out while on their heads they bearAckee rice, salt fish are niceAnd the rum is fine anytime of year
But I'm sad to say I'm on my wayWon't be back for many a dayMy heart is down, my head is turning aroundHad to leave a little girl in Kingston townLeave a little girl in Kingston town...
ackee fruit photo from

I've always wondered: What's ackee rice? What's an ackee?!? So, this was the chance for me to research that and think about making it. I mean, it's in the song, right?
Turns out that ackee is a member of the soapberry and related to the lychee and the longan. And, despite all my trips to obscure produce markets, I have never seen one. Scratch that off the list for possible Jamaican dishes.

What was definitely appearing on the table - for the tall Manns - was the Jamaican beer Red Stripe! I hadn't thought about Red Stripe until there was a story on NPR, as I was driving to the grocery store, about the James Bond connection to the Jamaican beer. Talk about serendipity...and inspiration. Apparently author Ian Fleming was a fan of the beer, keeping his fridge stocked at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye. And the beer appeared in 007's first film in 1962, Dr. No. Bond enters Puss Feller's bar where there are several cases stacked behind the bar. During an altercation, Bond throws Puss into the stack of Red Stripe cases. Sold!
We decided to make Jamaican Rice and Peas, which actually doesn't have any peas in it at all, and Jamaican Jerk Chicken. So, in addition to answering my question of - what is an ackee? - I also answered: Why is it called 'jerk'?
Here's what I found on the etymology (from the 'jerk' derives from the Peruvian word  'charqui', a word for dried strips of what we call jerky. But another food historian claims that it is called jerk because that's what people might do with errant bits of meat while it's on the spit; they might jerk off pieces to eat before the dish is served. I think I like the former versus the latter.
Jamaican Rice and PeasJamaican Rice and Peas = long-grain rice cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and chicken stock + cooked kidney beans. For added flavor, I cooked the rice with three whole shishido peppers that I removed before serving.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar (the traditional recipe called for malt vinegar)
10 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2 shishido peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
2 t ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons  organic dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup (I used some homemade vanilla bean ketchup)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
chicken pieces

Blend all of the ingredients - except the chicken -  in a blender to form a thick paste. Adjust texture by adding water if it's too thick. Rub the paste on the chicken and let marinate overnight. Then you can cook the chicken however you wish - grill it, roast it, or pan fry it. I roasted mine.

This global table ambassador is signing off for now. I'm excited about our virtual travel to Japan tonight!

Spiced Chocolate-Molasses Cake

During this October #Unprocessed month, I learned that molasses is the epitome of processed, but it adds such depth to cakes that I couldn't resist.

1 C butter, softened
4 eggs
1 C organic sour cream
1 C dark molasses
1 C organic, raw turbinado sugar
3 C white whole wheat flour
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground ginger
1 t pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter your baking dish (I used a 9"x13" rectangle for this recipe). Whisk together all of the wet ingredients until they form a smooth batter. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the dish and bake for an hour - or until the cake bounces back to the touch in the middle. Serve warm or cool with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Get ready for some Mexican cooking adventures! I just received my copy of the tri-generational cookbook - Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor - from Hippocrene Books. Today.

And perfect timing, too. Our friend assigned me to bring salsa and guacamole to our Halloween street taco feast. Can't wait to get cooking.

Nonna's Pink & Purple Bundt Cake

I got to see my boys' sense of humor when we were talking about my mom's birthday cake. Dylan said, "I want to make her a pretty pink and purple cake with - " Riley interrupted "with Medusa snakes made of marzipan!" They both collapsed on the floor in a fit of laughter. Why? "Mom, Medusa is a witch." Let's just hope that Nonna has a sense of humor, too. She did.

I was able to talk Dylan into the fact that pink and purple blend to a magenta color - the same color as beets. So, he went with a beet bundt cake with a beet-lemon juice glaze. To make it pretty, he added sugar pearls.

1 C all-purpose flour
1 C white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 3/4 C organic raw turbinado sugar
1 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C julienned beets (I roasted them, peeled them, and used my julienne peeler on them)

Butter your bundt pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all of the wet ingredients (except for the beets) together. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in the beets and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove cake to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix up the glaze. It has to be applied when the cake is warm for it to stick.

1/4 cup beet juice
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 C organic confectioners’ sugar

After 10 minutes of cooling, invert your cake and glaze. At this point, Riley mixed up some marzipan and formed them into one-eyed snakes with forked tongues.

Ta-da! Nonna's Pink & Purple Bundt Cake with Medusa Snakes!!!