Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Madness v.2013 {Call for Recipes}

I love pumpkins. No, I don't mean love as in a casual crush. I mean love as in full-blown-lusty-obsession love. I love pumpkins. I once ate so many pumpkins one season that I had an allergic reaction to it. Dead serious. So, I've curtailed my pumpkin creations in recent years.

Here are few of my personal favorites:

What would you say are your favorite pumpkin creations?

Link up to three of your favorites!

October #Unprocessed: Kick Off

Back in August I signed a (modified) pledge for October #Unprocessed. While I would love to be able
to go a month without anything processed, that's just not a reality. So, instead of setting myself up to fail, I pledged to serve - at least - one unprocessed meal to my family every day.

You can read more about the challenge put out by Andrew at Eating Rules: here.

And here are some of Andrew's posts that have really helped me decide what I'm including in my family's meals in October and what is verboten!

  • About Sugars and Sweeteners... click here. Molasses is out; last year I was misguided by molasses!
  • About Flours and Grains... click here. Not that we buy white rice frequently - almost never, in fact - but I was surprised that it passes as an unprocessed food.
  • About Chocolate... click here.
For the most part, I don't eat processed foods. At least I don't think that I eat processed foods; I buy ingredients and make - from scratch - just about everything my family eats. But this month is a great eye-opener for me to think about how the ingredients I buy are processed.

I'm ready for the month. What do you think? How processed are the foods you eat?

Bacon S'mores: Beer and Cheese. Yes, Please! (Part III)

Bacon S'mores launched this month. And I sent them a three-part post, pairing cheese with (wait for it, no, it's not wine!)...BEER! Click to see the final post of the trio: Stilton and a Trappist.

And, if you missed them, here's the 2nd post of the trio: Creamy Burrata and a Pear Cider...and the first post, here it is: bleu and a smokebeer. Beer and Cheese. Yes, Please!

Would love to know if you try this. Comment below...or email me at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com.

Bacon S'mores: Decadent Drunken Mousse

Bacon S'mores launched this month. I shared a recipe for my absolute favorite rich chocolate dessert. I serve them in espresso cups because they are so, so strong. Enjoy! Click to see my post: Decadent Chocolate Mousse. Use whatever liqueur you have on-hand.

Would love to know if you try this. Comment below...or email me at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com.

Bacon S'mores: Beer and Cheese. Yes, Please! (Part II)

Bacon S'mores launched this month. And I sent them a three-part post, pairing cheese with (wait for it, no, it's not wine!)...BEER! Click to see the second post of the trio: Creamy Burrata and a Pear Cider.

And, if you missed the first post, here it is: bleu and a smokebeer. Beer and Cheese. Yes, Please!

Would love to know if you try this. Comment below...or email me at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Seared Scallops with Pepper Purée {Amuse Bouche}

I remember reading something about scallops once: cook quickly, sauce lightly. Makes sense since scallops are so succulent and delicate. So, I usually follow that advice though I have no idea where I read that.

Tonight I sauced a little heavier than usual to create a flavor-rich amuse bouche to kick off our Sunday dinner. This is what I served for our first course: seared scallops with pepper purée and caviar limes.

  • butter
  • Scallops, rinsed and dried (one or two per person)
  • 1 T citrus pepper purée per scallop
  • 1/2 caviar lime per scallop 
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet melt some butter. Press the scallops into the pan to sear them quickly on each side, probably two minutes per side. Leaving them on there longer produces a thicker crust and nice color.

To serve, place a tablespoon of pepper purée on a serving plate. Gently lay a scallop on the purée. Squeeze the caviar lime pulp on top of the scallop. Garnish with freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Citrus Pepper Purée

I whipped up this pepper purée for both our amuse bouche course and the main dish this evening. So easy. So flavorful.

1 C roasted bell peppers, puréed (click here for how to easily roast and peel peppers)
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T olive oil
1/2 t smoked paprika
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl till well-combined.

The image, above, is a pan-seared scallop on top of the pepper purée topped with caviar lime and another sprinkling of freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roasting Peppers {How To}

Roasting peppers is a cinch! Here's what you need to're four, easy steps away from having freshly roasted, peeled bell peppers for whatever you choose.

(1) Place your washed and dried bell peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

(2) Roast for 25 minutes until the skin is beginning to char.

(3) Flip over and roast for another 25 minutes. Your peppers should begin to look deflated and softened.

(4) Now to steam them...Place your peppers in a sealed bag or covered glass dish. The steam helps loosen the skins so you can peel them easily. Leave them sealed until they are completely cool.

That's it! Enjoy.

Rose-y Lamb Lollipops with a Morello Cherry Glaze

When I signed up to bring a meat dish for a potluck baby shower, I couldn't decide between roasted chicken, grilled lamb, or braised beef. So, I asked the mamma-to-be; she chose Lemon Lavender Chicken. Since she's watching her sugars, I halved the honey and put Dylan to work juicing the lemons for me. But - just for fun - I decided to do the lamb lollipops as well. They were a hit!

I've made lots of version of this, including a garlic-sea salt version. To dress it up, I decided to add some rose petals and top it with a cherry glaze. Make the sauce first, so you can brush it on the lamb while it's grilling.

For the Sauce...
I started with the leftover juice from the Morello cherries I used in my Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte - from my Cook the Books project this month.

3 C cherry juice
1 C organic granulated sugar
3 T balsamic vinegar

Place the cherry juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cool until the syrup thickens - remember,  it will continue to thicken as it cools. I usually just cook it until it coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the vinegar and simmer for another minute.

For the Lamb...
Create a mixture of freshly ground sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and dried rose petals. Rub the mixture on a Frenched rack of lamb and let sit for at least 10 minutes before grilling. Grill till desired doneness. While cooking, brush the glaze on the meat every so often. Once cooked, slice the rack into separate pieces - with the bone like a lollipop stick - and serve with the remaining cherry sauce.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New to Me: Caviar Limes

When I interviewed a (fairly) local farmer who is growing coffee - yes, in California! - I took a look at some of his other products and ordered the one that was new to me: caviar limes. My box from Good Land Organics arrived yesterday and they are fantastic!

Also called 'finger limes' these are a micro-citrus native to Australia. They are referred to as vegan caviar because the flesh is similar in texture but has a distinct lime flavor. Like caviar, the tiny beads burst in your mouth; unlike caviar, the sensation is bright and citrusy versus dark and salty. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy caviar, too. But these limes are phenomenal. Think lime but multiply its intensity by fifty and add an herbaceous aroma. It reminds me of a Makrut lime. Sort of. If you can get your hands on any, try it and tell me what you think.

So far, I've used them in a cocktail. You'll see that recipe soon. And I'm hoarding the rest...until I can come up with a unique way to feature them. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Our Karaage Adventure {Hashi Hotto}

Friday, 27 September 2013. At the end of July, Hashi Hotto hosted its first Asian-inspired pop-up dinner at Carmel Belle in the Doud Arcade. We missed it because we were already off on our annual 10-day camping trip around northern California. But I heard rave reviews. So, when I saw that Chef de Cuisine Elizabeth Murray and Pastry Chef Yolanda Santos, both of Sierra Mar, were at it again, I put it on my calendar immediately. The pop-up dinner runs from 7pm to midnight; you still have an hour or so! We got there at 6:30pm and were first in line. By the time they unchained the opening, there was a line out the door.

While we waited, we perused the side dishes. For $15 you get the karaage plus three sides. Between the four of us, we meant tried them all: Umami Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Edamame Salad with Citrus, Okana-Onigiri with Bonito, Salad with Kale, Lettuce, and Seaweed in a Red Yuzu Vinaigrette, and Tomatoes in an Anchovy Oil. Actually, I think they made a mistake in our order because none of us had the tomatoes on our plates. Bummer.

So, here's how it works...

You place your order at the counter.

Pay. Remember they only take cash!

Find a table and wait.

They bring the food to you.

Have you read this far and are still wondering: what is karaage? This is what it is...

Karaage (唐揚げ) is the Japanese version of fried chicken. Comfort food, Asian-style. Pronounced kah-rah-ah-geh, it's a method of that involves marinating your meat - in this case chicken - in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and other spices, dredging it in flour, then deep-frying it until it's crispy and golden.

Not only was the preparation fantastic, the chicken was from Fogline Farm. Always a favorite. Since we have visited the chickens up there, Dylan asked, "Do I know this chicken?!" No, definitely not, I retorted. I wonder what he would have said if I told him 'yes.'

The karaage was tender and juicy. The sides were rich with flavor. But one of my favorite bites was the self-serve kimchi in jars near the water jugs. We love kimchi; Riley even makes his own kimchi!

And at the end of it, we had Red Bean Mochi Ice Cream Sandwiches. Well, we split two orders between the four of us and, maybe, I snagged half a bite.

By the time we were leaving, about an hour after they opened, we were stuffed, every table was occupied, and the line was still out the door. I'd say Murray and Santos have something of which to be proud. I can't wait to hear when their next event will be. We will definitely be there. This was the perfect end to a busy week.


Thank you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seoultown Ham and Eggs {Pass the Cookbook}

It's Pass the Cookbook time again...this was all started by Kita, the culinary force Pass the Sushi blog. This month we had the option of cooking one of three recipes from Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share with Friends and Family by Debbie Lee - Ginger Soy Beef with Chile Tomatoes, Chile Chicken Wings, and Spam and Eggs. All three looked delicious and flavorful. But, in the end, I opted to do a twist on the Spam and Eggs; sorry, folks, I don't do Spam and I don't - typically - eat white rice. So, my version is made with Madagascar pink rice, Canadian bacon, poached eggs and a chile-ginger syrup. Enjoy...we surely did! This recipe serves 4.

8 eggs
8 slices of nitrite-free Canadian bacon
4 C cooked Madagascar pink rice
black sesame seeds for garnish
Chile-Ginger Syrup   (makes about ½ c)
½ c ginger syrup
2 t finely ground chile powder
½ t cinnamon
1 t smoked paprika

First, make the chile-ginger syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the ginger syrup, chile powder, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 10 min to allow the flavors to melt. Remove from the heat and cover the pot with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Bring water - about 2" deep - to boil in a large, flat bottom pan. Gently break eggs into the boiling water. Poach until desired doneness. We like ours with the yolk still a tad soft. Remove the eggs to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon slices and brown on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they can attain a nice crust. Remove from the heat.

To assemble, place 1 C of the hot rice on a middle of a plate or bowl. Top with 2 slices of Canadian bacon and 2 poached eggs. Drizzle with the chile-ginger syrup and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quince Marshmallows

With the advent of autumn comes a whole new set of foodie fun. Come September every year, apples abound, plump pumpkins are ripening on the vines, grapes are plucked in area vineyards, and – for my family – we always love hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows.

This weekend I had poached some quince to slice on top of yogurt in the mornings and I decided to use that poaching liquid to make some quince marshmallows. Though these didn't retain the rosy hue of the poaching liquid, the scent was unmistakable and wonderful. And marshmallows are so easy to make; you can use any sugar, any syrup, any liquid. Just keep the proportions the same. The only thing I do recommend is a good candy thermometer. Then, it really is a cinch!

powdered sugar
1 C poaching liquid from quince, divided
3, 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 C organic raw sugar
1/3 C ginger syrup
1/3 C raw organic honey

Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by oiling it with or butter. Dust powdered sugar over the oiled sides of the pan. Place 1/2 C of poaching liquid in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and allow to soften, 5 minutes.

Place remaining poaching liquid, sugar, syrup, and honey into a large saucepan. Melt all of the ingredients together, without stirring, and bring to a boil. Boil until the syrup reaches 240 F on a candy thermometer.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour hot syrup down the side of the bowl, being sure to avoid the whisk as it will splatter the syrup and could possibly burn you. Once all of the syrup is incorporated gradually increase mixer speed and whip on high until the mixture turns white and become very thick and stiff. Beat for another two minutes. Then, spread the marshmallow into the prepared pan and with wet hands, smooth the top.

Dust liberally with powdered sugar and allow to set at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight, if possible. Once they are set, cut them, roll them in more powdered sugar.

In Sweet Company - Edible Community News

I just received a forwarded email. Edible magazines have been chronicling the honey bee crisis in their own communities. Out of the 80 Edible publications around the country, Edible Monterey Bay - and my beekeeper article - was highlighted in the national newsletter. Sweet!

EDIBLE EMERGENCY: The Plight of the Pollinators

From Edible Boston...
By Leigh Belanger
Photo by Michael Piazza
Styling by Catrine Kelty

From Edible Allegheny...
By Abby Dudley, with research by Elsa Hellberg
Illustrations by Sasha Henry + Allie Wist
Photographs by Cayla Zahora

From Edible Sarasota...
By Megan Greenberg
Photo by Jenny Acheson

From Edible Monterey Bay...
By Camilla M. Mann
Photo by Camilla Mann

And from Edible Santa Barbara...
By Krista Harris

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hahn Vineyards: Wine Tasting and Imagined Pairings

After our ATV tour of the vineyard, Colleen whisked us into a private room for a wine tasting. Before yesterday, I think I'd only been to Hahn twice before. Once was for a wreath-making event when I was pregnant with Riley, so I didn't try the wine. And about 5 years after that - and 5 years ago - we stopped there during the River Road Valentine's Passport event. So, I would say that I'm fairly unfamiliar with the Hahn wines.

We told Colleen that we were typically red wine drinkers. But she wanted us to try a pair of their whites: the 2012 Pinot Gris and the 2011 Viognier. I'm glad she didn't listen to us; we really enjoyed both of those wines.
The Pinot Gris was surprising. It was colored like hay and crystal clear. It reminded me of Fall fruits - Asian pears and green apples. And unlike other Pinot Gris, this one was rich and velvety. I envisioned sipping this with a Roasted Lobster or Olive Oil-Poached Salmon.

The Viognier is one of the most interesting whites you've ever smelled. It's intoxicatingly exotic with notes of peach, melon, jasmine, and bananas. And while the flavor isn't as sophisticated as its nose, it is enjoyable. I picture this wine with a Cardamom-Scented Lamb Stew with Pears.

Next we tried three Pinot Noirs: 2011 Estate, 2011 Lucienne Lone Oak, and the 2011 Lucienne Doctor's Vineyard. Of the three, Jake and I both liked the Doctor's which came from a more southern vineyard at a slightly higher elevation. The shade of a clear ruby and incredibly aromatic, this wine begins with scents of spruce and lavender. Once you take a sip, it's less herbaceous and more fruity - blackberries and dark plums, I'd say. This is a strong, but subtle red. I could see pouring this with Lubyee-Bi-Lahmi.

We tried two reds that neither of us really liked and ended with two that we did! We ended up purchasing the final wine that we tasted, Smith & Hook Bottle Rock 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.
I can't remember the last time I've purchased a cab. We tend to drink a lot of Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. But this one was unique...and fabulous. It has big, bold aromas such as spicy cloves, but it's simultaneously smooth and lush. With this, I picture eating Sea Salt Lamb Lollipops. Add in a few crushed lavender blooms and you'll be so happy.

Cin cin! This was a great date.

Hahn Vineyards by ATV

I had a Living Social coupon for an ATV tour of Hahn Vineyards for awhile. It just never fit into our schedule...until this weekend. My parents said that they wanted to take the boys to the Salinas Airshow. As soon as I heard that, I hopped on the phone and booked the tour. So glad we did.

 Colleen was our driver and vineyard guide. We stopped at various locations throughout the property, looked at different vines, and enjoyed the day. At one point, rain began to dump from the clouds. Colleen quickly steered us beneath the canopy of a tree, near the avocados, and we waited out the rain. Thankfully it only lasted a few minutes. Afterwards the skies were dramatic and gorgeous. The sun came out and warmed us quickly.

Oh, this picture [see right] is me holding on to the O.S. bar. I think I held onto that darn thing the entire ride. The ATV tour was quite an adventure!

Lafayette's Tartine

Yesterday when Jake and I went to the new French bakery in town - Lafayette - we tried lots of different things. This was my savory-loving palate's favorite thing: a tartine. I knew that Tartine was a bakery in San Francisco; I've perused the cookbook, but I didn't really know what a tartine was...until yesterday. I am definitely going to add this to my rotation!

A tartine is essentially an open-face sandwich. This version had a smear of "white gravy" - I'm guessing that's a beciamel sauce -; slices of ham, melted gruyere, and topped with shredded bacon. Oh, my!

I loved hearing the sharp staccato of French carrying through the store as all of the family members behind the counter conversed about what they were doing and what they needed next. It made me realize just how rusty my French is. Je suis désolé, Monsieur Pucci!

 We will definitely put this on our list of places to go when I don't feel like making breakfast! Lafayette is fantastic!