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Showing posts from January, 2015

Braised Meatloaf in a Cherry-Kissed Sauce {#sponsor product review}

Last autumn I was introduced - through a fellow food blogger (thank you, Heather of girlichef !) - to Not Ketchup * when Erika agreed to sponsor an online blogging event. Erika had so much fun with us last year that she agreed to sponsor another event for me this year. So, y ou'll see more Not Ketchup posts when we launch our #TripleSBites event next Monday. I will admit that my stomach used to turn at the word 'ketchup.' I envisioned the bright red goo squeezed out of foil packets from when my grandfather used to take us to his favorite fast food restaurant. Yuck. I avoided ketchup for decades. Then I became part of the mom-crowd and saw ketchup everywhere we ate. Not only did I see it, but I joined the ranks of ketchup-eaters along with my then-toddlers. Still we were careful about which brands we purchased, avoiding any with high fructose corn syrup. Eventually, when my boys were old enough,  we made our own ketchup . Still, all the ketchups were tomato b

Lapsang Souchong Blondies {#sponsor product review}

I was recently introduced to  Spicely Organics ' spice and tea-infused chocolates*. I've known about Spicely for awhile; I buy their spices and herbs at Whole Foods all the time. But when we took our youngest Kitchen Elf on a chocolate walking tour in San Francisco , as an early birthday adventure,   we discovered that Spicely also has chocolates infused with spices and teas.  My son was so enamored with the chocolates that he changed the dessert course for his birthday party to a Curated Chocolate Tasting of a dozen Spicely chocolates. What I love about Spicely's infused chocolates: they are distinctive and potent. The pieces are small, but because the flavor is so intense, you don't need very much. I opted to create a recipe to showcase my favorite of the infused chocolates, the Lapsang Souchong. It's exotic and smoky.  In fact, one of my friends to whom I gave a sample called me and queried, "It's not bacon in there, is it? It's smoky, but

Aphrodisiacs and #TripleSBites

Many books have been written about aphrodisiac foods. Many, many, many. So, what are aphrodisiacs? Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Her roman name is Venus. I've always loved this painting by Botticelli: Nascita di Venere , the birth of Venus. Nascita di Venere by Sandro Botticelli 1486 An aphrodisiac is anything that enhances one's mood for love; it can include tasty food, titillating conversation, a romantic moonlit stroll, or lacy lingerie! Aphrodisiacs may directly affect an the erogenous zones; they may also affect the mind, encourage relaxation and enhance lovemaking. Their shape, texture or smell may be reminiscent of sex.  Both sex and food are pleasurable and physical. Whether you place any stock in the power of aphrodisiacs, I encourage you to share meals with your beloved. Give thanks. Enjoy beautiful, delicious, and healthful food. Eat al fresco ; food tastes great when eaten outside. Relish the sensation of ea

Fresh Cilantro Focaccia

Last night when I was trying to figure out what to do with my Fresh Cilantro Cottonseed Oil from Acala Farms *- click to read my full product review: here - I realized that I had no bread in the house. It was almost midnight. That made my decision for me: I would make focaccia dough, let it rise overnight, and bake it fresh in the morning. I need to remember to do it more often. Freshly baked bread is so much better than a packaged loaf, isn't it? And this is so easy. Ingredients 2 C warm water 1 T active dry yeast 1 T granulated honey (you can use granulated sugar) 5 C flour, plus additional for kneading 1 T freshly chopped cilantro 1 T freshly ground sea salt for sprinkling 1/2 t freshly ground pepper for sprinkling olive oil for greasing your bowl oil for drizzling on your focaccia (I used the Fresh Cilantro Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil from  Acala Farms ) Procedure Combine the warm water, yeast and granulated honey in a small bowl. Let the

#TripleSBites: Welcome. Bloggers. Sponsors. Giveaway.

Almost ready for #TripleSBites! We are excited to start sharing recipes with you on Monday!! We have twenty bloggers posting over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you for a delectable meal with your sweetheart . Envision spicy morsels, saucy bites, and sexy nibbles. Think sweets and savories. Embrace celebrations, libations, and romance.  The event runs February 2nd through February 9th - just in time for you to plan and cook a Valentines' feast. But these are dishes you'll want to cook all year long to keep the romance going. Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for some lucky readers. These sponsors have contributed great prize packages for a gigantic giveaway. There are six different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter  below that will begin on February 2nd. Please check back, if you're reading this before we go live. Our #TripleSBites

Smashed Potatoes + Acala Infused Cottonseed Oil {#sponsor product review}

I was recently introduced - through a fellow food blogger (thank you, Sarah of  Curious Cuisiniere !) - to  Acala Farms and their Flavor-Infused Cottonseed Oil*.  While I am an ardent culinary adventurer and eager seeker of oddball ingredients, I am fairly pedestrian when it comes to my oil choices. My kitchen is stocked with olive oil - some for cooking lubricant and some for delicious condiment - and that's about it.  So, when I received the cottonseed oil, I was intrigued. The enclosed literature was fascinating. Acala Farms took its name from the Acala cotton variety that thrives in hot, arid climates. Cottonseed oil was first bottled in the early 1880s, just after Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin. Honestly, I had no idea that cotton was even used as a food crop. I have to say: I adore Acala Farms' motto of "drizzle, sizzle, sample, and eat". So, I did. This recipe embraces all four of those. I drizzled, I sizzled, I sampled, and I ate...and it was f

My Crisped Ginger Soy Chicken Wings for #WingWeek at Girlichef

I have a guest post over at girlichef today: Crisped Ginger Soy Chicken Wings . Go check 'em out. They are tasty and so, so easy. Who knew?

#TripleSBites - Celebrating Romance with Spicy, Saucy, and Sexy Bites

I don't really care for Valentines' Day. There, I said it. Something about being the most stressful day of the year when I worked as a florist. Or maybe my disdain goes deeper than that. But I do love romance, particularly romance mixed with tasty food and libations.  So, when I was debating on a theme for my next blogging event, I decided to wrangle some of my favorite foodie bloggers to create and share recipes that were Triple S worthy. Triple S. That means spicy, saucy, and sexy. And, notice the "...and Beyond." It's not just for Valentines' Day; these ideas are meant for romantic meals. All. Year. Long. WHO Me and these nineteen fabulous food bloggers, listed alphabetically with links to their homepages... A Day in the Life on the Farm  A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures Amy's Cooking Adventures CafeTerraBlog Cheese Curd In Paradise Cooking In Stilettos Culinary Adventures with Camilla Curious Cuisiniere Dancing Veggies

SRC Rescue: Coconut-Almond Barfi

It's time for Group D's  Secret Recipe Club   January reveal. This month I get to post a bonus recipe from , who was left out of Group C's reveal last week. Nanya lives in the United Kingdom and started  in October 2008. She shares: "I love spending time in the kitchen, creating and styling my dishes so that they can be captured on camera and of course eaten. I have a passion for food props and I adore authentic crockery. My cupboards are exploding with tea towels, crockery of all shapes and colours and many home made props." I'd love an afternoon in her cupboards. I realized, as I perused her site, that I have cooked from her blog before...sort of. Three years ago, I took part in her Flavours of Singapore Challenge when I made Gajar Halwa , carrot halwa. Here's Nanya's  Carrot Halwa . Her blog provided several options for a dessert to go along with our lamb curry. I thought about her Singapore Coconut Milk Pud

HOW TO: Make a Heart-Shaped Cake without a Heart-Shaped Pan

I don't do many how-to posts. Would you like to see some more? I thought I'd share this "hack" so you don't feel as if you have to buy a heart-shaped cake pan just to make a heart-shaped cake. This is really a piece of cake...or two cakes. Hehe. Here you go... For each layer, bake an 8" round and an 8" square. You can use 9" also. Just make sure that the diameter of your circle matches the side of your square. Let cakes cool. It's actually easiest to work with cake layers that have been frozen. Slice the round cake in half. Arrange pieces to form a heart. Adhere the round halves to the square with frosting. Shave the cake down so that the surface is flat. Eccolà ! A heart-shaped cake without a heart-shaped pan. It's almost magic!

Syrena's Seduction Kimchi for #TripleSBites

You will see this Syrena's Seduction Kimchi as part of an upcoming dish. But we will be enjoying it in many different ways. When I received the Syrena's Seduction hot sauce from  Pirate Jonny's *  - for participating in the upcoming online blogging event #TripleSBites - I knew that I wanted to make some kind of kimchi. We just love homemade kimchi. Ingredients 1/4 C salt (I used a red salt from Hawaii) enough warm water to submerge all the cabbage 1 large head of savoy cabbage, cored and leafed 4 cloves of garlic, crushed 1/3 C hot sauce (I used Syrena's Seduction by  Pirate Jonny's *) 1/2 C apple cider vinegar 3 T ginger syrup Procedure In a large mixing bowl place salt and cabbage pieces.  Add in enough warm water to dissolve the salt. Submerge the cabbage into the salt water and weigh it down with a plate, so it stays submerged. Let cabbage soak and soften in the brine for 2 hours. Once the cabbage has finished s

Chai Sweet Chili Pickled Cherries for #TripleSBites

You will see these Chai Sweet Chili Pickled Cherries as part of an upcoming dish. But they would be a wonderful addition to any cheese and charcuterie platter. When I received the Chai Sweet Chili sauce from Intensity Academy * - for participating in the upcoming online blogging event #TripleSBites - I knew that I wanted to make some kind of pickles. Then I saw cherries at Whole Foods and a lightbulb went on. Pickled Cherries. I mirrored the spices you would use in chai instead of the typical pickling spices. Ingredients 1/3 C organic granulated sugar 1 1/4 t salt (I used a red Hawaiian salt) 1 t coriander seeds 2 cinnamon sticks 8 whole cloves 3 star anise 1/2 C organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar 1/2 C water 2 T Chai Sweet Chili sauce (thanks,  Intensity Academy * ) 1 pound fresh cherries Procedure In a small saucepan, combine water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and stir in Chai Sweet Chili sauce. Cook for