Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Warm Potato Salad with Tea-Steeped Figs #FoodieExtravaganza


Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month.

Posting day for #FoodieExtravaganza 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.

Today we're celebrating National Fig Week; and I am hosting. Although dried figs are available all year long, there is nothing quite like the taste and texture of fresh figs. They are luscious and sweet with a texture that marries the toothiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.

Here in California fresh figs are usually available from June through September. This was a lone fig on one of my best friend's fig trees.


I was mortified when my husband plucked that single fruit from the branch and ate it! Thankfully when we went back the next time there were many more figs to be had!


Because fresh figs are hard to come by in many parts of the country (and world), I opened up the event to include both fresh and dried figs. Here's what the bloggers are sharing....


Ingredients
  • 1/2 C dried black mission figs or other dried figs
  • 1 ½ C brewed tea (I used a rooibos chai)
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 bulb fennel, shaved (approximately 1 C)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme + more for garnish
  • ⅓ C olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Procedure
Brew tea in a deep bowl or pot. Destem the figs. If the figs are small leave them whole; if they are large, halve or quarter them. Gently drop figs into the tea. Let steep for at least 30 minutes until the figs are softened. Drain and set aside.

While the figs steep, shave the fennel and toss with fresh thyme.


Add in the tea-steeped figs.


Boil the potatoes until they are barely fork-tender. Drain and toss into the figs and fennel. Pour in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more fresh thyme. Serve warm.

Halloween Cheese Ball v.1


Inspired by a blogging friend's post - Sincere Pumpkin Patch Spicy Cheese Ball - and on the hook for a cheese plate for D's MYP Halloween party, I decided to give it a try.


But I didn't have a broccoli stem and I didn't read her instructions very carefully. Mine ended up being a little soft. But it tastes great. So, I'll share my version of the recipe when I get it nailed down a little better. 


And, as Stacy said, "Taste matters more than looks when it comes to cheese." I agree!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cobweb Eggs #SundaySupper


Today the Sunday Supper crew is celebrating Halloween and sharing some Halloween Finger Foods recipes. I've made marbled eggs before, but I thought they were the perfect, eerie appetizer for a Halloween potluck because they look like spiderwebs, right?

Halloween Finger Foods #SundaySupper Spooky Snacks and Starters
Tasty Trick-or-Treats

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.



Ingredients makes 12
  • 12 eggs
  • water, as needed
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 3 T red wine
  • 2 C water
  • 3 T black tea leaves
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 t red chili flakes
  • salt for serving

Procedure
Place the eggs in a pot with the water, making sure that there is at least an inch of water over the eggs. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 - 20 minutes. Run the under cold water to cool. Reserve 1 C of the cooking water in the pan.

Tap the boiled eggs to make a series of cracks all over the eggshells. Try to keep the shells intact. But if some pieces happen to flake off, don't worry.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan with the water. Bring back to a boil. Add the eggs. If there's not enough liquid to submerge them, add more water. Simmer for 2 hours.


Turn off the heat and let the eggs cool in their liquid.


Before serving, peel and place on a platter with black salt.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stovetop Skillet Pizzas #NationalPizzaMonth


Coleen of The Redhead Baker asked us to come up with a new recipe in honor of National Pizza Month. I was in! We love, love, love pizza. But we have been having a crazy heat wave. October is usually our warmest month here on California's central coast, but this is ridiculous. It's been eecking towards 100 degrees F everyday this week.


Needless to say. I wasn't keen on turning on my oven in that heat. So, I decided to try a method I've read about: cooking pizzas in a skillet on the stovetop. I tested a cast iron Lodge skillet, an enameled cast iron Le Creuset braiser, and a Danish Scanpan griddle.


The resulting pizza was a little too thick for my tastes, but it got a thumbs up from everyone else. And I'll just fast-forward to my conclusion before I get to the recipe: the Lodge cast iron was the winner.


Here's how to make quick, easy skillet pizza on the stovetop. No oven required. I also made it super easy by using pre-made dough and sauces. Thank you, Whole Foods! I made a few pepperoni and a few with just pesto and cheese.


Ingredients makes 2 skillet pizzas (but I think I'll roll them thinner next time and get 3!)

  • 1 (14 ounce) pizza dough
  • flour for sprinkling on the dough
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 C jarred pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C pesto 
  • 12 slices pepperoni
  • 3/4 C mozzarella, shredded
  • Also needed: a cast iron skillet with a lid (I used an inverted pan on top)


Procedure
Sprinkle some flour on your work area and spread out the pizza dough. Using your hands, adjust the size of the pizza to correspond with the skillet you are using. As I mentioned, I will try to get the dough thinner next time.

Brush the skillet with olive oil and place the pizza dough in it, gently pressing down with a spatula. Cook for 6 minutes until the dough is lightly toasted.


Turn the pizza dough over carefully to cook the other side. And press down, again, with the spatula.


Top your dough with sauce and cheese and pepperoni, if using. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the bottom of the pizza is lightly crisped.


Then cover the pan with a lid - or another pan - to trap the heat in and melt the cheese on the top. Leave it covered for 1 to 2 minutes.


Remove pizza to a cuting board and let cool for a minute before slicing.


Pronto al tavolo!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Red Wine-Poached Pears in a Boozy Chocolate Sauce #NationalPearDay


For National Pear Day, hosted by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, I decided to poach some adorable Seckel pears in red wine and serve them in a pool of chocolate-wine sauce. Oh, delicious, chocolatey decadence was achieved! But, before I get to that, please take a look at the pear-y delicious goodness my fellow bloggers have shared.


Red Wine-Poached Pears 
in a Boozy Chocolate Sauce

There seem to be two distinct camps: one who thinks red wine and chocolate are a darling pair; one who thinks that those should never be served together. I fall firmly in the first camp, with the proviso that I mean good, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao solids and good red wine. You need the flavor intensities to be equally matched or one is going to overpower the other.

Ingredients serves 8
For the Pears
(you should poach the pears the day before you want to serve them)
  • 8 Seckel pears
  • 2 C red wine (I used some already opened Merlot)
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
For the Sauce
(you should make this right before you want to serve because there's not much better than warm chocolate sauce)
  • 1 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (minimum of 64% cacao though I prefer 75%), chopped or use chips
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 to 2 T red wine (I used some already opened Merlot)


Procedure
For the Pears
Peel the pears, but leave the stem intact. That makes it easier to pick them up without damaging the flesh and it also looks cool!

Pour the red wine into a saucepan and add the sugar. Heat and swirl the pan until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the pears in the red wine and simmer gently  at a very low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. You want the pears softened, but still retaining their shape. Once softened, remove from the heat, and leave the pears in the poaching liquid. You will need to turn the pears if they are not completely submerged in the liquid. I probably turned mine 4 times while they cooled. Then I refrigerated them - in the liquid - overnight.


Before serving, remove them from the liquid and bring them to room temperature. They should look like the pear above!


For the Sauce
Combine the cream, wine, and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until the cream begins to steam and small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour in the chocolate and swirl until it's completely submerged. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until a smooth sauce forms. This sauce is best served warm.


To Serve
Pour a small pool of chocolate into the bottom of a shallow bowl. Place your poached pear in the center. Serve immediately!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Maple-Kissed Horchata #AroundtheWorldwithRice

I made a batch of horchata last week for SEM. You can read about that here. This week, since we were making a traditional Mexican rice, I decided to make another batch of horchata.



Funny story: my co-teacher is from Spain. And when she saw that I was making horchata for class, she was perplexed. In Spain, horchata is not made with rice; it's made with a kind of nut. So, she didn't know how that was applicable to our class.



For this version, I decided to skip the granulated sugar and use some maple syrup instead. I also used less water for a thicker version. The kids - and my husband - thought this was a better horchata.

Ingredients
  • 1 C uncooked rice (I used Thai jasmine rice)
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 2 C warm water
  • 1 C milk (you can use any kind of milk - rice, almond, etc. - I used whole cow's milk)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • Also needed: food processor or blender, mesh strainer or cheesecloth
Procedure
Add rice and 1 C boiling water to a blender (preferably high-speed blender) and let stand for at least 10 minutes for the rice to soften. Blend for several minutes until the rice is broken up a bit. Pour into a lidded jar and add remaining water. Add in the cinnamon stick and let sit for 2-4 hours.

Add milk, ground cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup and give it a quick stir to mix it up. Let sit for another 2 to 4 hours – longer is fine, too!

Strain the horchata through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve and press out the pulp in the cheesecloth. Discard the rice pulp and serve the horchata with ice.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Creepy Eyeball Martini #HalloweenFoodFun


Carlee of Cooking with Carlee invited us all for some Halloween Food Fun. While the fun factor is in the eyeball garnish, I have to admit that the cocktail is pretty darn tasty, too.


All the Fun Creations...

Creepy Eyeball Martini

Ingredients makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 ounce gin
  • 1-1/2 ounces syrup fro the canned lychees
  • 1 ounce Chartreuse liqueur
  • Also needed: cocktail shaker, ice cubes

Eyeball Garnish

  • canned lychees
  • blueberries
  • skewers


Procedure
Drain the lychees, reserving the canning syrup for the cocktail. Place a blueberry in the lychee to form the eyeballs, then skewer them to make a pair.


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour all the ingredients into the shaker. Shake well and strain into a serving glass.


Serve immediately! Cheers.


To make these non-alcoholic substitute, just use the lychee syrup and sparkling water. The boys were happy to be able to take part in the pre-Halloween fun.

Friday, October 20, 2017

An Easy Dinner with Anchoïade and Mas Cavalier de Lascaux #Winophiles


This weekend the French Winophiles are heading to Languedoc, formerly Coteaux du Languedoc. It's an appellation in France's Languedoc-Roussillon wine region and produces mostly red wines. I read that 75% of all Languedoc wines are red; and the remaining 25% of the wines are split evenly between whites and rosés.

The typical Languedoc red is medium-bodied and fruit-forward wine. And most of the time, the grape varietals used are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, sometimes with hints of Carignan or Cinsaut.


In My Glass...
The vineyards of Château de Lascaux have been in the family for thirteen generations. The name of the domaine, “Lascaux” comes from a limestone specific to the domaine’s vineyard sites. Jean-Benoît Cavalier took over management of the property in 1984. Over the course of the next decade, he consolidated the vineyards, restructured the ancient cellars, and created the official domaine, Château de Lascaux.

A quarter of a century later, the domaine has more than tripled its hectares of vineyards and is completely surrounded by three hundred hectares of forest, filled with deciduous oaks, evergreen pines, and garrigue. Those aromatics are reflected in the wines with notes of laurel, thyme, rosemary, and mint. There is an intriguing balance of freshness and finesse in the Lascaux wines.

I found this deeply hued wine approachable with subtle aromas of fruit with floral undertones. The same fruity richness bathes the palate to make this an easy-drinking Languedoc.


On My Plate...
For my pairing, I decided on a unique salad from Languedoc called anchoïade, a tomato and anchovy salad that is a celebration of land and sea.


I couldn't find the salt-packed anchovies that are traditionally in this salad. So, I used some sustainably fished anchovies packed in water. If I ever get my hands on the salt-packed ones, I'll definitely make this again.

Anchoïade (Tomato and Anchovy Salad)

Ingredients
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 1 to 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 large eggs, hard-boiled, shelled and halved
  • ¼ C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • ¼ C capers
  • freshly ground salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


Procedure
Arrange the tomatoes on a platter. Drape the anchovy fillets over the tomatoes and sprinkle with capers. Add the eggs to the platter.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and anchovies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

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