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Showing posts from July, 2014

Blanched Pea Shoots & Golden Tomatoes

When we drove into our favorite market in Arcata, on our way to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, there was a farmers' market set up in the parking lot. Perfect! I picked up organic pea shoots and golden tomatoes; we had fresh basil from our visit to the greenhouse in Canby. Ingredients organic pea shoots golden cherry tomatoes, halved water salt pepper fresh basil, thinly sliced olive oil Procedure Quickly blanch the pea shoots. Do not overcook. Drain pea shoots and lay on your plates. Top with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Campfire Steelhead, Potatoes, & Zucchini

We just got back from our annual family camping trip around northern California. We spend three nights in Modoc National Forest with my in-laws, then hit the coast, and camped all the way back home, exploring different California State Parks as we go. It's about 1500 miles, 10 days, 1 national forest, 3 state parks, and many, many days and nights of cooking over the campfire. Last year I discovered - and had a chance to review (click for my post about it ) - Robin Donovan's  Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors. What I learned: you can cook just about anything with some parchment paper, some heavy duty foil, olive oil, and herbs. So easy! Campfire Steelhead fish filet onion, sliced organic lemon fresh herbs (I used flowering dill) olive oil salt pepper Procedure Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a slightly smaller piece of parchment on top of that. Place your fish piece in the center of the parchment. Lay

Bone Broth Risotto {Product Review}

After our attempt at sipping bone broth , I decided to cook with my  Organic Bone Broth  from  Pacific Foods * instead. I thought about dishes where the broth is a prominent part...not just an ingredient. The two I came up with: soup and risotto. But, as it is the warmest part of our summer, soup was out. I decided to make a simple risotto. And, wanting the flavor of the bone broth to shine, I didn't use anything else that would really overwhelm the flavors; I opted for a carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta risotto. Easy peasy! Ingredients  makes 8 servings 1 onion, peeled and diced 2 carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, diced 2 T butter splash of olive oil 3 C arborio rice 6 C organic bone broth 2 C boiling water 8 oz marscarpone cream fleur de sel freshly ground pepper Procedure Bring your stock and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan. Melt 2 T butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Double Feature! {Food'N'Flix}

from It's my turn to host  Food'N'Flix ...when we watch movies and head  into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something based on a recipe they actually make in it or just something we were driven to make after watching it. As a final hoorah for summer vacation, I selected a double-feature of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs flicks. You can watch the original or the sequel or both! This post contains an amazon affiliate link at the bottom - for the DVDs and the original story. Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows Swallow Falls inventor Flint Lockwood as his Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR for short, begins to malfunction. Imagine a cheeseburger storm. Or, make something with sardines! The sequel Cloudy 2 picks up right where the first leaves off. The FLDSMDFR is malfunctioning again, this tim

Ass Kisser Ale's Strawberry Wit {Beer Tasting}

Another beer I selected for our 10-day camping trip -  Ass Kisser Ale 's Strawberry Wit - I picked because the label is pink! I'll admit it. Well, that's what drew my eye to it initially. Then I read the label descriptions and I was sold. About the Brewery Ass Kisser Ales is a family-owned craft beer brand that has partnered with Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah. Ass Kisser make small batch hand-crafted ales in traditional styles with trendsetting tastes. In the Bottle This beer was the perfect pour on a hot summer's day. It's got a white, foamy head and the cloudy beer looks like sun-dried hay. Its light yeasty aroma complements the zest of coriander and the sweetness of summer strawberries. On Our Plates I actually didn't pair this with any food. We took it with us, down the banks of the Van Duizen River. We sipped and the boys splashed before dinner time.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Stout {Beer Tasting}

When I was prepping for our 10-day camping trip, I picked up a couple of brews from breweries that were along our route. While I would have loved to pick up the beers en route , that's not always possible with two wild boys in tow. We'll do a brewery tour one of these days! One of the beers I selected: Anderson Valley Brewing Company 's Bourbon Barrel Stout. All three of those words make me smile. Bourbon. Barrel. Stout. About the Brewery Founded in 1987, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company has grown from a 10-barrel brewhouse to a 30-barrel facility whose large photo-voltaic array (AKA solar panels) provides nearly half of the brewery's electrical needs. They are a five time Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner - from 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, and 2000. WRAP recognizes California businesses for their outstanding waste reduction efforts. The brewery recycles all of its plastic wrap, paper, metal, glass, cardboard and plastic bottles. Additionally, their o

#peterbsbrewsandbitescontest: A Winning Recipe!

When I saw #peterbsbrewsandbitescontest - a cooking contest to create an appetizer using one of their brews - announced on  Peter B's Facebook page , I   was instantly inspired. I created a dish showcasing my favorite  Peter B's  brew: Legend of Laguna IPA. Then I submitted my IPA-Braised Carnitas Over Polenta Cakes to the contest...and waited. The three finalists were announced... Beer Fondue by Rachel N. IPA-Braised Carnitas over Polenta Cakes by Camilla M. Vegan Beer Caramelized Leek & Onion Dip served with Beer Pretzel Bites by Briana S.  ...followed by more waiting. Yesterday, the chef at Peter B's recreated our three dishes and we were judged by the Beer Geeks, the Grub Hunter, and KRML's Program Director AKA Chris, Merideth, Mike, and Jeff. I was oddly nervous that a professional chef was making one of my recipes. Here's the crew, judging the dishes during Pub Talk  last night. photo by Portola Hotel & Spa As is always the

Sipping Bone Broth

For once in my life, I followed the instructions... on my Organic Bone Broth from Pacific Foods * . "Heat, sip, and savor," the carton urged. Okay. Of the four versions they sent me, Jake and I decided that the chicken-ginger combination seemed the most sip-worthy. So, I heated it on the stove and poured small portions into sake cups. The aroma was fantastic. But just sipping it - like tea - was an odd sensation. I'm not sure why. Jake agreed. The flavor was great. However, I think I'll cook with these instead of drinking them. Have you ever sipped bone broth? What do you think? *Please note, I did receive bone broth from Pacific Foods for the purpose of reviewing the product. Opinions stated are 100% accurate and 100% mine.

Organic Bone Broth

While we were gone on our 10-day camping trip, I put a hold on our mail. When it resumed this week, I got a glut of envelopes...and this: a box with four samples of organic bone broth from Pacific Foods . Happy, happy mail day. Can you read the note? "We're so excited to have you be one of the first to try our new bone broth!" Me, too. What is it? As always before I write anything, I tried to get a grip on my subject. Bone broth. And I have to say that I'm a little confused about the difference between stock, broth, and bone broth. I posed the question on social media and received a flurry of responses. And, like my own reading, none were definitive...and all, somehow, made logical sense. Argh! "Stock is made with bones only and broth is made with the meat and the bones." Okay. But, then, where would bone broth fit into that?!? And, so after Thanksgiving when I toss the turkey bones and leftover meat in a pot with onions, celery, and herbs

Frozen Art Gourmet Ice Cream

As we headed inland from the coast, I cringed as the temperature gauge in the car for outside temp climbed into the triple digits. Ugh. I'm a rather wimpy central coastal Californian who begins to wilt when it's 70 degrees outside. Thank goodness for air conditioning and a planned ice cream stop. When I parked the car outside Frozen Art Gourmet Ice Cream in Santa Rosa, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that we still had to get to the campsite...and set up our tents in the heat. But we were going to enjoy the cool, sweet treats from Frozen Art first! Michoacana ice creameries are the equivalent of Starbucks in Mexico; they're ubiquitous. Purists, however, claim that operating a true Michoacana ice cream shop require ties to Tocumbo. It's estimated that almost ninety percent of the Tocumban population is currently employed in the ice cream business from making ice cream itself to making equipment. But the real art of Tocumban ice creams: imaginat

Mushroom Ice Cream at Cowlick's

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you'll know that we plan stops during our road trips to check out new-to-us ice cream shoppes. During this year's 10-day summer camping trip, we hit a handful of spots. At one of the stops, Jake asked me, "How do you find these places?" Mad skillz, Babe. This one we've driven by for years as we venture south along the coast; but, we've never stopped. It just never worked out, schedule-wise, but when I noticed that they had mushroom ice cream, I was sold and planned to swing in there this time around. Besides, last year, they were heralded as one of the Top 10 Ice Cream Shops in America. “Located along the Pacific Coast, this family owned shop serves up 'absurdly good' ice cream and sources its dairy from local Petaluma cows...and those daring enough can devour the local favorite: 'Candy Cap Mushroom.'" Yes, I'm daring enough. I've always wanted to try candy cap mushroom i

Fair Fare: Lobster Corn Dogs & Fried Gator

I avoid the fair like the plague. I can't remember the last time that I've been to a county or state fair; I definitely haven't been in at least a decade. I don't care for rides. Or crowds. Or what they consider food. Funnel cake? Corn dogs?! Blech. I know, I'm awfully curmudgeon-y, aren't I? But when Jake's cousin suggested a trip to the fair while we were passing through his town, he added, "they have really good - and interesting food." He knows how to push my buttons. My curiosity was piqued. Even Jake, who probably despises fairs more than I, agreed. We slathered on the sunblock and off we went to the Sonoma County Fair. And I will admit: I ate a corn dog...and I liked it. It was a lobster corn dog. I also ate fried gator, crawfish étouffée (in honor of our failed crawdad hunt the week before), and some truly succulent ceviche. I am still not a fair-person per se , but Obe was right: the food was really good - and interestin

Blackberry S'mores for Breakfast

"S'mores for breakfast, boysies!" I hollered from the picnic table about our last campsite of the trek. Silence descended and sticks stopped flying across the site. What did you say, Mommy?!?  both boys gaped. Actually, I think all three of my boys just stared at me. But after 10 days of cooking in the wild, and on the verge of heading home, I was done. Done, done, done, done, done. Done cooking on one burner. Done smelling like a campfire. Just plain done. And since we had skipped s'mores the night before, everything was ready to go. Jake did suggest that we hike up to pick fresh blackberries and stick them in there. That was slightly redeeming, nutritionally speaking. So, I strapped on running shoes and off we went. He whispered as we went, maybe even more excited than the boys about our breakfast prospect. "You got marshmallows, right?" Yes. "You have chocolate?" Yes.  "Dark?" Of course. "Annnnd you didn't

Pass the Cookbook: Shwarma! Assemble!

This month the  Pass the Cookbook  crew - under the leadership of Kita, the culinary force behind  Pass the Sushi  - is cooking from Julie of White Lights on Wednesday 's pick: Emeril Lagasse's Kicked Up Sandwiches .   This post contains an amazon affiliate link at the bottom - for the book. Our three choices this month were for Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchâtel, Turkey Waldorf Sandwich, or Beef Shwarma with Tzatziki Sauce. And, yes, I did pick the latter because of Julie's note: "Who doesn’t want to know what Shwarma is after seeing The Avengers? "  I actually didn't remember the Shwarma reference...from the one time I saw the movie. But my boys - all three of them - were happy to oblige and watch it with me; it was the first time our little one has been allowed to see a PG-13 movie. Gasp! He was so excited...he's ten-and-a-half. I found this still of the Avengers eating shwarma...from the extras of the DVD; we had watch