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Showing posts from February, 2013

Cooking Around the World: Malawi, Part II

I meant to make this as dessert when we had our Cooking Around the World: Malawi, Part I dinner, but we were all full. So, I opted to make this for breakfast today. Dessert for breakfast, you say?!? I know. But it has milk, orange juice, and bananas. Sounds breakfast-y to me. This is a classic dessert soup made with bananas that originates from Malawi, adapted by me because, as you know, I can't follow a recipe to save my life! Serves 4. 3 C organic whole milk juice from one orange 2 T honey 2 T cornstarch cinnamon and raw turbinado sugar for garnish 3 bananas In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk, orange juice, honey, and cornstarch. As it heats, the soup will begin to thicken. Cook till desired thickness; ours was still pretty liquidy. Float slices of bananas in your soup and garnish with cinnamon and raw sugar. Well, this wraps our tabletop travel to Malawi. We tried Roasted Mbatata, Cabbage Ndiwo, and now this Banana Soup

Pots de Crème {Pass the Cookbook}

I joined the fun for the Pass the Cookbook series kicked off by Kita, the culinary force behind the Pass the Sushi blog . Her goal: cook from some unused cookbooks on her shelf...and get some other foodies to join her. Sign me up! "Hello, my name is Camilla and I'm addicted to collecting cookbooks." I solved my crowded shelves a bit differently than Kita - giving them away with gift baskets to local friends this year - but I'm game to join her fun. Kita dusted off her copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond  and picked three recipes from which we needed to cook (I've included links to the recipes on Ree's website ): Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin , Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin , and - the recipe I ending up selecting -  Pots de Crème . I swapped out espresso for "very strong coffee" otherwise I stayed true to the original ingredients. I did, however, change the procedure a bit, skipping the blender all toget

Cooking Around the World: Malawi, Part I

We headed to Malawi in our Cooking Around the World Adventure tonight. Malawi is located in Southern Africa, east of Zambia and west of Mozambique and is slightly smaller than Greece. Chichewa is the most common language spoken in Malawi though English is also used in business and government. The flag consists of 3 colors: red, representing the blood of Malawian nationals who freed themselves from the British colonial empire; black, representing the color of their skin; and green for nature and vegetation. In the middle there is a white sun as a sign of hope. Sweet potatoes (called mbatata ) seem to be very common. I had toyed with the idea of making  mbatata biscuits but opted to just roast some sweet potatoes instead. Cabbage Ndiwo 3 C greens*, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 T olive oil 2 small tomatoes, chopped 1 cup water salt to taste Saute onions in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over medium heat for 5 min

Cooking Around the World: Tava so Oriz {Macedonia}

Tava so Oriz   (Macedonian Chicken Stew) Ingredients 1 medium-sized chicken, skin on, cut into legs, breasts, etc. 6 C organic chicken stock Root Vegetables: 2 carrots, 1 parsnip, 2 leeks 1 parsley root, ½ celery root, 1 leek 1 bell pepper (I used a yellow one) freshly ground salt and pepper 2 C short grain brown rice 1 pat of butter per person Procedure In a large soup pot, caramelize the leeks. Quickly brown the chicken to seal in the juices. Add in the stock and the vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the parsnips are tender. Add in the rice and cook for another 30-40 minutes - until the rice is soft. Traditionally this is served with a side of melted butter that is poured over the stew. We gave it a try, but it was unnecessarily rich. I will definitely make this again; it's the ultimate in comfort food! I have no idea what is going through R's head as he gnawed on the chicken bones...

Cooking Around the World: Madagascar

Years ago when the movie Madagascar  first came out, my then toddler had a pair of shoes with the characters on them. Here he is! You can almost make out Alex the Lion's mane, right? He was so proud of those shoes and was trying to show them off to his Aunt Pia and Aunt Jenn when we were having a picnic with them. 'Ma-ga-gar!' he announced, pointing at his shoe. What, Sweetheart? they both asked.  'Ma-ga-gar!' he said louder, inching closer and lifting up his foot. I'm not quite sure how long this exchange went on; I think I must have been occupied with Riley somewhere. By the time I got back, Dylan had Pia's face in his hands and he was saying it if the problem was his volume...with his foot up in the air: 'Ma-ga-gar!!' She looked at me and apologized, "Cam, we have no idea what he's trying to say, but he's very enthusiastic about something. What is he trying to tell us?" Dyn, what are you trying to say to Au

Cooking Around the World: Luxembourg

When I started looking for recipes to cook for Luxembourg, I quickly realized that I loved what I was seeing - fresh seafood + fresh herbs + wine. They make Moulen , a dish with mussels steamed in Riesling, that looked amazing, but it was a bit too similar to the Moules dish we had when we traveled by tabletop to Belgium last February. I wanted something with a little bit of novelty. I settled on two Luxembourg-style dishes for tonight's dinner: Hiecht mat Kraïderzooss  and  Kriibsen. Or, at least, my variation of them. I didn't have pike or crayfish, so I swapped in cod and large prawns. I took lots of liberties with these dishes, using the traditional recipes as a jumping off point. Fish in Green Sauce Poach the fish in a mixture of fish stock, water, and a splash of riesling. Top with green sauce... 3 T butter 1 t crushed garlic handful chervil and chives bunch of parsley pepper and salt 1/4 C organic heavy cream Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.

Smoked Salmon + Brie + Bacon Jam

This afternoon I had lunch with one of my best friends. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, she handed me a cooler. "Mike has been experimenting with cold smoking salmon," she explained. Have I mentioned how much I love getting gifts of goodies and ingredients?!? I already had plans for dinner, so I started brainstorming about turning Mike's cold-smoked salmon into our first course. Here's what I came up with... Crusty French bread spread with a triple creme brie, topped with cold-smoked salmon, and smeared with bacon-fennel jam . Thanks, Mike. You'll have to explain cold-smoking to me next time I see you.

Rhubarb Heart Tarts

Completely missed posting these before Valentines'. This has been sitting in my drafts folder. Whoops. So easy. So yummy. And pretty! Tart Crust 2 C flour + 1/2 C more, as needed 1/2 C organic powdered sugar 3/4 C butter, at room temperature 2 T cold water Blend all the ingredients - except the water - together to form pea-sized chunks. Add the water and gently press together until it forms a ball. Lightly knead in up the 1/2 C more flour until the dough is not sticky. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll crust out to desired thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut into  desired shapes; hearts were appropriate for this week. Lay bottom crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon jam into the center of the tart. I used fresh rhubarb sauce , but use whatever you have on-hand. Lay another crust on top, then press the edges of the crusts together to seal it. You can use the tines of a fork to create a crimped look, if you wish. Brush the

Cooking Around the World: Kugelis {Lithuania}

We're moving forward in our Cooking Around the World Adventure , traveling to Lithuania by tabletop for dinner tonight. While I toyed with the idea of making Bulvinial Blynai , Lithuanian potato pancakes, potato pancakes are generally met with wrinkled noses and the admonition, "Mom, you know that potato pancakes are not our favorite." Yeah, I know. So, to avoid, that interchange altogether, I opted for Lithuanian's national dish: Kugelis , potato pudding. Traditionally served with sour cream, lignonberry sauce, and more bacon bits, I swapped out the lignonberry for some fresh rhubarb sauce I had made. I used lots and lots of culinary license with this. How can you go wrong with potatoes, bacon, and eggs, right? So, my proportions might be "all wrong" for a traditional kugelis , but it was delicious! And Dylan, my kitchen elf of the evening, helped me out with all the grating. 3 potatoes, grated 1 onion, diced 1 pound applewood smoked bacon, di

Bacon-Fennel Jam

Back in September, Jake, Pia, Brian, Jenn, Mike, and I went to Edible Monterey Bay's pop-up dinner at La Crème . While many of the flavor combinations that Chef Jon created were unforgettable, one stood out in my mind and has inspired me to experiment: bacon jam. You read that correctly - salty, smoky bacon + sticky, sweet jam. I started with David Leite's version , then tweaked to make this... 1 pound applewood smoked bacon 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely diced 2 t crushed garlic 3/4 C espresso 1/2 C pear vinegar 1/2 C raw turbinado sugar 1/4 C wildflower honey 1/4 C unsulphered molasses Place the bacon in a large, flat-bottom pan and begin to render the fat. Add in the fennel and garlic and cook until softened. Add in the sugar, then pour in the liquids, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. The jam will be dark, caramelized, and delicious. I plan to use this to adorn

Cooking Around the World: Kasknopfle {Liechtenstein}

I have been slacking on my Cooking Around the World (home) adventure. I did teach a 6 week class at my sons' elementary school called "Culinary Adventurers: Eating Our Way Around the World." And when I teach those Friday afternoon electives, all of life's extras stop. Who knew that wrangling a dozen 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders would be so consuming - and stressful?!? Probably everyone, except for me. Thankfully, I'm done teaching for the year and can get back to cooking with my two boys. We headed to Liechtenstein via tabletop tonight and whipped up some Kasknopfle , cheese dumplings. Two fun facts I came across: Liechtenstein produces more sausage casings and false teeth than any other country in the world. 100% of the Liechtenstein population older than 10 years of age can read. Now back to the Kasknopfle... 1 1/3 C flour 1 1/2 t salt 3 eggs 3 T water 1 large onion 10 1/2 T mixed grated cheeses Place flour and salt in a mixi

Food Matters Project: Kicked-Up-a-Notch Paella

This week Meg of Fledgling Foodie picked our recipe for the week: Pared-Down Paella with Peas, Clams, and Chorizo. While the simplicity of Mark Bittman's simplified version is appealing, I decided to kick it up a notch instead. I merged Bittman's recipe with Esperanza's Paella in José Pizarro's Seasonal Spanish Food  that my cousin Tiffany gave me for Christmas. I like José's inclusion of chicken and green beans, but skipped the rabbit and the fava beans. I'm allergic to fava, sadly. Click to read what all of the creative cookers in The Food Matters Project made:  here . Look in the comments section. Then, join us next week when Keely Marie  hosts us making Bittman's Rolled Cabbage! Here's my Kicked Up a Notch Paella ... olive oil 2 shallots, minced 6 oz chorizo (I used soy chorizo) 1 red bell pepper, sliced 2 C brown basmati rice 1/2 C fresh tomato sauce 1 C fresh peas 1 C cut green beans 1 C cubed chicken 2 lbs clams pinch o

Rethinking Bee Pollen... {Poll}

While I'm working on a story about bees and beekeeping, I have had the opportunity to meet and visit local backyard beekeepers. Today, I spend some time with Bill and his bees in Del Rey Oaks. We watched bees coming in and out of the hive with pollen in the baskets on their legs. I had a twinge of guilt as I realized that when I purchase bee pollen, someone is robbing those little bees of their hard-earned bounty. Question one: am I still a thief if I didn't personally harvest the pollen? Question two: would these dishes have been just a good without the bee pollen? Pollen-Dusted Honey Truffles Honey-Lemon Cheesecake Cardamom-Spiced Pineapple with Honey Bruschetta with Bee Pollen, Brie, & Bresaola What do you think?! Comment below or email me at constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com.

Another Homerun at La Crème {Tasting Notes}

When I write that I will never pass up an opportunity to be wined and dined at La Crème , that is no exaggeration. There are two reasons why: Chef Jon Moser and Tamie Aceves. An unforgettable dining experience is about the atmosphere, sure. And Tamie nails that every time. Last night was no different - ivory silks, scarlet napkins, voluptuous vases filled with fragrant red roses and delicate wax flowers adorned the cozy tables set for two. But hers is not the kind of decor that feels stuffy or pretentious. Votive candles in jam jars cast starry patterns on the table. You feel right at home, well, a more elegant version of your home. It's certainly about the food and the wine. Chef Jon creates masterful, elegant combinations of flavors and mouthfeel. And while the selected wines stand on their own, when paired with Jon's creations, they sing. Opera-style, misty eyes-inducing amazing. But when those two - what's on the table and what's around the table - are aligned