Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#FoodieExtravaganza: The Bees' Knees Semifreddo

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month - I am hosting - I invited bloggers to come up with creative ice cream creations.

So during this first full month of summer, it's all about ice cream. But I think that can include gelato, semifreddo, and even popsicles. Go wild!

We hope you all enjoy our delicious frozen creations this month and come back to see what we bring for you next month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza.  We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Here's the Scoop!

The Bees' Knees Semifreddo

I decided to attempt my first semifreddo. It literally means half-cold...and because I procrastinated till the last possible day to make and post this, my time was short and it was a little less than half-cold. But, according to my taste-testers, it was delicious nonetheless! I love the combination of sage and honey, so I had the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf pluck a few different sages from his garden for me.

  • 3/4 t unflavored gelatin
  • 6 T warm water
  • 1-1/2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 3 to 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 5 T sage honey
  • 3 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 t salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • honeycomb for serving
Sprinkle gelatin over 2 T water in ramekin and let stand to soften. In a large mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until it holds peaks. Then chill while you prepare the remaining steps.

Stir together honey, sugar, salt, sage leaves and remaining water in medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely melted. Then boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 238°F on a thermometer, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl until they are thickened and pale, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully pour the hot honey mixture in a slow, steady stream into the yolks. Immediately add gelatin mixture to the hot honey and eggs, swirling until dissolved. Continue to beat until mixture is pale, thick, and completely cool, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Fold whipped cream into honey mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Place mixture into a plastic-lined bowl and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Six would have been better. Maybe next time my batch will be fully frozen.

INVITATION: Make Curry and Drink a Lassi with #thebookclubcookbookCC

This post launches us into a year-long journey to explore - and cook from - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.*

This team of eleven bloggers takes turns selecting a recipe from the cookbook - reading the actual book is welcome, but completely optional - and during that month we cook and post our variations and adaptations. At the end of the month, the hostess posts a round-up of the recipes and gives away a copy of the book!

Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous.

Follow this project on social media with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC. We'll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here's the team, in alphabetical order with links to their homepages.

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         

I'm the first hostess.... While there are eleven of us hosting this series, any blogger can join the fun! You're invited to make curry and drink a lassi! I've selected Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. **

How to Participate
1. Draw inspiration from the chosen recipe(s).
2. Blog about it! It doesn't have to be a lengthy post. Just share your dish.
3. Include a link back to the hosting blog (that's me!) - Culinary Adventures with Camilla - somewhere in your post. 
4. Include a link back to this invitation.
5. Your post must be current (during July 2015). And, of course,we don't mind if your post is linked to other events. The more, the merrier.
6. Email your entries to me at: constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com and include: 
  • Your name
  • Your blog's name and URL
  • The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you're submitting
  • Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to"pull" one from your post)
  • Indicate #thebookclubcookbookCC in the subject line

Deadline for submission is: Monday, July 27th. Watch for the roundup to be posted shortly after this deadline...along with the winner of the cookbook.

This Month's Selection
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Houghton Mifflin, 1999), pg. 198 - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is a compilation of nine short stories. The protagonists are all individuals whose identities straddle two cultures. Cultural assimilation and food are resonating themes. As a child of immigrant parents myself, I find myself drawn into these experiences.

This Month's Recipe(s)
When I mentioned to Judy which excerpt I had chosen, she cautioned me: "Oh boy. That's a tricky one. ...Have you tasted this dish? It's an acquired taste!" Duly warned, I have opted to post two recipes for your inspiration this month. Feel free to make either Mrs. Lahiri's Hard-Boiled Egg Curry in Mustard Sauce or the Mango Lassi or both. Or, if you're feeling creative, post your favorite Indian recipe! Also, feel free to adapt these recipes based on your tastes and preferences. I'd love to see how you personalize these dishes.

Mrs. Lahiri's Hard-Boiled Egg Curry in Mustard Sauce
reproduced with permission
  • 2 T whole mustard seed
  • 2 T corn oil
  • 9 hard-cooked eggs, cooled and peeled
  • 1 t turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • mustard oil, optional

In a small bowl, soak the mustard seed in a little water to cover, about 20 minutes. Rinse the seeds in fresh water, then blend them with some of the water in a blender until thick, pale, and creamy. This will take a few minutes. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the eggs and fry until reddish brown in color - don't move the eggs around too much, but do try to get an even color on all sides. Transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil.

Mix the turmeric and cayenne with a bit of water to make a paste. Add this to the remaining oil in the skillet. Return the eggs and cover them generously with the mustard paste.

Add salt and simmer, covered, over very low heat until all the oil rises to the top, and the sauce has reduced until it thickly coats the eggs but is not dry-looking. Remove to a serving dish and top the eggs with a drizzle of mustard oil, if desired. Serve with white rice.

Mango Lassi
reproduced with permission
developed by Shikha Kapoor for Masala Art
  • 3/4 C plain yogurt
  • 1-1/4 C cold water
  • 1 C prepared mango pulp
  • 1 T sugar
  • 8 ice cubes, crushed (approximately 3/4 C)
  • 1 t rosewater
  • crushed pistachios for garnish

In a blender, combine the yogurt, water, and mango pulp. Puree until smooth. Add the sugar and crushed ice cubes and blend again.

Add the rosewater and serve chilled in a tall glass with pistachios over the top, if desired.

Other Possibilities
If neither of those appeal to you, don't limit yourself to these two recipes. Other dishes that might interest you: samosas, masala dosas, dal, shahi paneer or an assortment of Indian breads. I know that I'm going to have a tough time deciding. I might just have to do an entire dinner to decide. My taste-testers won't argue with that decision.

And to kick-off the event, enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish! 

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-PenguinGiveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are my own. I received no further compensation for my post.

**I've included an affiliate link below for a copy of the anthology itself...if you would like to read that. If you are uncomfortable using the link, feel free to go to amazon and search "Interpreter of Maladies" on your own!

Butterscotch Bark, a Failed Attempt at Foraging

No, my husband is not smooching a tree. The boys discovered this tree. It's a kind of pine, but I have to do some research as to what kind of pine it is. When you stick your nose up to the bark, it has a distinctive butterscotch scent. I'm not joking. Jake and I talked about making some butterscotch bark bitters.

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and I went on a little foraging mission with Katie Blandin of Bar Cart Cocktail Co. last week. So, as we were hiking around Yosemite this past weekend, D kept pointing out edibles. "Mommy, we could make something with the pine tips...Mommy, look at the wild berries."

But I explained that we do not collect from National Parks. I told him we'd drive outside of the park and as soon as we saw the same things, we'd pull over and forage a few.

So, I'm sure you can imagine what happened: I followed rules about not collecting, we drove outside of the park, and...we couldn't find the tree anywhere. We pulled over at every pine stand for 10 miles and stuck our noses against trees to no avail.

Ugh. They were disappointed, but I told them it was the right thing to do.

**UPDATE** Just read this article on NPR: Rugged Trees with a Sweet Smell. Does anyone have a Ponderosa Pine they'd be willing to share some bark from?? Anyone?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chef Brad Briske's MEarth Sustainable Chef Dinner Menu

If you've been following my blog, you probably know that I have a pretty hefty foodie crush on Chef Brad Briske of La Balena Carmel. It's our special occasion restaurant and we actively seek out any event at which he's cooking. So, when I noticed that he was cooking at the MEarth Sustainable Chef Dinner - so close to Fathers' Day - I bought tickets and used it as a slightly belated celebration for my Love and my Dad.

Brad is truly impressive. Just amazing. Not only is he an incredible chef, but he is passionate about his craft and generously shares his wealth of knowledge and vast experience. He's also patient and kind. One example: he didn't mind having my boys underfoot at this week's MEarth's dinner. Grazie mille, Brad.

Tanja Roos shared that typically they receive menus ahead of time from the visiting chefs. Here she demonstrates how she followed Brad around with a pen and paper in the few hours ahead of the event to handwrite the menu on a bulletin board. 

She was largely unfazed because Tanja, like me, knows that anything Brad makes will be delicious. Here's what he, and Team La Balena, prepared for the diners...

Lamb Meatballs with Peperonata

Heirloom Bean Soup with a Chevre-Blossom Mousse 
in a Crisped Grape Leaf

Salad with Summer Squash and Fresh Beans

Roasted Lamb and Braised Lamb with 
Onion, Garlic, & Beans and
Preserved Lemon, Cucumber-Mint, and Flower Salsa Verde

Strawberry and Raspberry Macarons

If you're local and you haven't had the pleasure, what are you waiting for? You need a Briske-meal in your life. Stat.

You can find him at La Balena and Il Grillo.

Homemade Nasturtium Compound Butter for #FoodNFlix

Evelyne at Cheap Ethnic Eatz is hosting this month's Food'N'Flix event. We watched, or rewatched as the case may be, Butter. Click to see Evelyne's invitation.

On the Screen...
Despite being a huge Jennifer Garner fan - yes, I own the Alias box set* and have no problems watching and re-watching the episodes - Butter never appealed to me. But, for Evelyne, I decided to risk it.

Butter immediately makes it clear that it won't be taking itself too seriously. The entire backdrop for this light satire/dark comedy is, after all, a cutthroat butter carving competition. And the cast of characters is largely caricaturized and one-dimensional. We have the ruthless, ambitious Laura, played by Jennifer Garner; Laura's unfaithful husband and reigning butter-carving champ Bob, played by Ty Burrell; a gold-digging hooker/mistress who is also a butter-carving competitor, played by Olivia Wilde; and (new to the Hollywood scene) Yara Shahidi plays Destiny, a darling orphan recently placed in a foster home with parents played by Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry.

In the end, I did enjoy the film and I would definitely recommend it for a light, easy watch. The cast was impressive in the roles they were given; they didn't disappoint.

On the Plate...
I toyed with actually trying to carve butter. But, then I decided, that I wanted to just make butter. Homemade butter. It's so easy. Then, inspired by some nasturtium blossoms from my friend's garden, I decided to make a nasturtium compound butter.

  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 to 5 nasturtium blossom, petals pulled apart
  • pinch of fennel pollen

My mom taught my boys how to do this and they shared it with me. It tastes amazing. I'm sure there's an easier way; but this was fun.

Pour cream into a lidded jar, filling it up about 2/3 full. Shake. I'm not kidding. Just shake. We put on some good music and shook that jar like a maraca.

Once the cream is to the point where it's holding peaks, place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and compress the cream with a spoon. We ran the cream through about 4 times before the solids separated and butter turns a brighter yellow. Reserve the liquid - we made pancakes with it the next morning.

While your butter is still soft, fold in petals, salt, and fennel pollen. Roll the butter into a cylinder inside some parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm. Now you can serve flower-flecked butter wherever you wish. We slathered it on dinner rolls one evening. So pretty!

Next month Deb from Kahakai Kitchen is hosting. We'll be watching Eat Drink Man Woman.Keep an eye for her invitation on our Facebook page: Food'n'Flix.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the book or item of your choice.

Straight from the Garden to the Plate {MEarth}

Some kids have a favorite musician or athlete. Mine has a favorite chef. What a treat to help Chef Brad Briske of La BalenaCarmel pick some things for the MEarth Sustainable Chef Dinner this week. The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf was thrilled...and he was chuckling to himself about some menu secret.

They picked onions, garlic, borage, amaranth, peppers, and more!

Then, on the day of the dinner, D helped Anna pick nasturium blossoms...

It's so neat to see something go straight from the garden to the plate.

Roasted Rhubarb Scones

  • 2 ½ C flour (I refrained from using whole wheat)
  • ½ C ground almonds*
  • ½ C organic raw turbinado sugar + more for sprinkling
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 8 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 C heavy organic cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C Agrodolce Roasted Rhubarb
  • 1 T cream
*This is more dry ingredients than I use in typcial scones. However, the rhubarb added a lot of moisture to the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough resembles pea-sized chunks. Add the roasted rhubarb, cream and butter.

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to form a ball. Transfer to a floured surface and gently press into a disc. Slice into wedges, sprinkle the top with sugar, then drizzle a tablespoon of cream on the tops of the scones.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. The scone will be nicely raised and slightly golden. Remove the scones from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Agrodolce Roasted Rhubarb

Do you love rhubarb? We're a little rhubarb-mad in my house. This week I grabbed an armload-full at a local organic farm and roasted up a pan for use in baked goods this weekend. So easy!

  • 4 C rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/3 C organic raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 t vanilla paste
  • 1 to 2 T white balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Toss till well-coated. Spread the rhubarb out in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes. The rhubarb should be softened, but still hold their shape.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Call of the Cricket (Il Grillo Carmel)

Chi è che mi chiama? — disse Pinocchio tutto impaurito.
Sono io!

Le Avventure di Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi

Click to read my blogpost for Edible Monterey Bay about Carmel's newest restaurant, Il Grillo. In the meantime, I will tempt you with some photos of Chef Brad Briske's gorgeous - and delicious - carpaccio plates!

Lacto-Fermented Pickles, Take 1

I have always made pickles with vinegar. Then I read that not all fermented foods are pickled and not all pickles are fermented. Huh? Naturally, I did more research. Here's what I found...

Foods that are pickled have been preserved in an acidic medium. But those don't offer you the same probiotic and enzymatic nutritional value of homemade fermented vegetables. If you ferment vegetables, they will create their own self-preserving, acidic liquid that is a by-product of fermentation. Ubiquitous and beneficial lactobacilli proliferates to create lactic acid that pickles and preserves the vegetables.

Okay, I was ready to try...

  • 6-7 cucumbers (I used organic seedless Persian cukes)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 to 3 fennel stems
  • 1 T fresh fennel fronds
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/2 t fennel pollen
  • filtered water
  • 3 T Himalayan or unrefined salt 
  • 1 large, sterile glass jar with a lid

Rinse your pickles. Stuff the cucumbers into the jar with the fennel stems until they fit snuggly. Add the garlic, fennel fronds, dill, thyme, oregano, fennel pollen, and salt. Pour in filtered water to cover the cucumbers. Cover with a lid and shake until the salt is dissolved. The liquid will be completely clear.

Leave the jar to ferment on the counter for between 7 to 10 days. If the lid begins to bulge, crack open the jar every once in a while to let the excess gas escape. After 7 to 10 days, refrigerate the pickles. The liquid will be milky at this point - from the lactic acid production.

These pickles were a little too salty for my tastes. I will try to reduce the salt a little bit next time. Also, I read that if you like pickles on the vinegary side, which I do, you can add a splash of vinegar after the fermentation process is complete, then let them macerate for a few more days before eating. I'll try that!

This recipe was ridiculously easy and I imagine all the possibilities with different herbs and spices.