Friday, November 16, 2018

Lingcod, Legumes, and Domaine Mittnacht Frères Crémant d’Alsace #Winophiles #AlsaceRocks #DrinkAlsace #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the November #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.


Kat of Bacchus Travel & Tours is hosting the French Winophiles as we explore Crémants. You can read her invitation here. And many thanks to Wines of Alsace USA and Teuwen Communications for sponsoring this event with samples to some of the French Winophiles crew*. Cheers!


About Crémants 
Crémants are sparkling wines made using the same method used for Champagne where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, but are made outside of the Champagne region. Grape varieties vary, depending on area. 


Champagne is mostly made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay while most Crémant d’Alsace is made from Pinot Blanc, though Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes are also allowed. Crémant d’Alsace Rosé must be 100% Pinot Noir. And though some Alsace Crémants are single-varietal wines, others are blends. However, all exhibit a crisp dryness.

The Rest of the Winophiles


In My Glass
One of the bottles I received was from Mittnacht Frères, a family-run estate begun in 1958. Currently run by Christophe Mittnacht, the domaine embraces and employs organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard. Mittnacht believes that biologically complex, complete soils are required to produce meaningful wines.


Made from biodynamically-grown grapes, this dry, mineral-driven Crémant is comprised of 50% Pinot Auxerrois, with the remainder made up of equal parts Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris.  This bubbly is very dry with notes of brioche beneath crisp apples and a refreshing minerality. This definitely feels like an autumn sipper.


On My Plate
I was so excited to see lingcod as the share for our CSF (community-supported fishery), Real Good Fish, this week. I decided to make one of the first dishes I ever cooked for Jake when we started dating over twenty years ago: local catch over lentils and topped with caramelized onions.


Yes...the way to my husband's heart was through his stomach! We've come a long way from eating this in our studio apartment while sitting cross-legged on the floor.


And a quick note in case you're looking at the fish, thinking that it's smurf-colored. No, you're not imagining it. The lingcod flesh was blue! Our newsletter said not to worry, but I did some digging anyway and found this from another local fisherman: "The cause of this rare turquoise color is due to a bile pigment called biliverdin, which is responsible for turning the blood serum of these fish that freakishly odd color – but how this pigment gets into the tissues and flesh of the fish, or why only some lingcod turn this striking shade, still leaves biologists puzzled. Biliverdin is also the pigment that is responsible for that greenish color sometimes seen in bruises." Thanks, Hans - from H & H Fresh Fish. I love learning new things. And, as promised, when it cooked, it returned to its usual milky white.

Ingredients

For the Fish

  • 1 pound lingcod or other firm white fish, divided into 1/4 pound portions
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For the Onions

  • 2 organic onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (I used a golden balsamic)

For Serving

  • Bejeweled Legume Salad (my recipe here), for serving


Procedure
For the Onions
Melt butter in olive oil in a skillet. Add the onions and toss to coat. Cook over low-medium heat until the onions are translucent and caramelized.


Stir in the honey and vinegar and let cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

For the Fish
Melt the butter in olive oil in a rimmed skillet. Add your fish and allow a sear to develop. Don't wiggle it. Once it has a nice sear, it will release easily. When the fish has cooked halfway through - you can see it on the side - flip the fish over. Cover the pan and allow the fish to steam until cooked to your desired doneness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, as needed.



For Serving
Spoon legumes on individual serving plates. Place cooked fish on top of the legumes. Top with caramelized onions. Serve immediately.


Find the Sponsor...
 
Wines of Alsace on the web, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Pumpkin and Acorn Squash Laksa #SoupSwappers


Here we are at the November Soup Saturday Swappers event. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm started this event and, every month, I get a new array of soup recipes to put in my to-try pile. And this month, Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise is hosting as we explore soups featuring pumpkins or squash.

Ashley writes, "Perfect time to cook with these seasonal ingredients. Get creative with an pumpkin or squash ingredients- or maybe a combination!"

I just made a pumpkin stew inside a beautiful blue pumpkin! If I had known...I would have saved it for this event. You can see my Jarrahdale Pumpkin Posole: here. But I loved Ashley's idea of mixing pumpkin and acorn squash. So, I went with that.


Before I get to my offering, here's the rest of the #SoupSwappers crew...



Pumpkin Laska

I opted to share a Malaysian-inspired soup with our two favorite squashes: a pumpkin and an acorn squash. We love that this is creamy, coconuty, fishy, and has noodles. It's so filling!

Ingredients
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 2 T  olive oil, divided
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 C fennel, trimmed and diced
  • 1 C carrots, diced
  • 6 C homemade stock (I used a fish stock)
  • 1 T orgainc peanut butter
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground paprika
  • 1 (13 ounce) can organic coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 fillets firm white fish (I had some local lingcod)
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
  • 1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
  • noodles (I used organic rice ramen noodles)


Procedure
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice squashes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and strands. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Invert into your baking dish or a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, approximately for 55 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large souppot, melt butter in 1 T olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook till fragrant and beginning to brown. Stir in the fennel and carrots. Cook till beginning to soften. Pour in the fish stock and bring to a boil.

Whisk in the peanut butter until smooth. Pour in the tamari, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring that to a simmer. Whisk in the turmeric, cumin, and paprika. Add the fish fillets and poach until they turn opaque and begin to flake apart.

Add in your noodles and cook according to the package directions. Mine cooked in 4 minutes. In the meantime, peel the cube the pumpkin and squash. You won't use it all, so reserve what's not used and make puree. Just before serving, stir the chopped cilantro and mint into the soup.

To serve, place noodles in the bottom of your bowl - I used mini cocottes  - ladle broth and chunks of fish and pumpkin over the noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and serve immediately.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bejeweled Legume Salad #HolidaySideDishes


This week Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks rounded up a group of bloggers to share holiday side dish recipes. I completely blitzed on getting my Monday post done as we were gone all weekend at a robotics competition. But I was determined to finish my other two. Before I get to that, however, please check out the other recipes for the day...


    Bejeweled Legume Salad

    This is a hearty salad that I usually make with French green lentils, but I made it with heirloom beans for this version. It's beautiful to look at and hearty enough to be filling. If you need it vegetarian, just skip the chicken broth and substitute a veggie broth or water for cooking the beans...or use canned beans to make it an even easier preparation. This is also really flexible; the only thing is that you need lots of colors. So, instead of carrots, use sweet potatoes. Or instead of cherries, use cranberries. Get creative.

    Ingredients serves 8 to 10

    Salad
    • 4 C cooked beans or lentils (HOW TO: Cook Dried Beans), cooked in chicken broth
    • 3/4 C diced onions
    • 3/4 C carrot coins
    • 3/4 C sliced celery
    • 1/2 C dried cherries (susbstitute dried cranberries, if you wish)
    • 1/2 C fresh pomegranate arils
    • 2 T olive oil
    • freshly ground salt
    • freshly ground pepper

    Dressing

    • 2/3 C olive oil
    • 5 T golden balsamic vinegar (substitute aged balsamic, if you wish)
    • 1 t maple syrup
    • 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise, seeds scraped
    • freshly ground salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • Also needed a lidded mason jar
    Procedure

    Dressing
    Place all ingredients in a lidded mason jar and shake to combine. Set aside. Remove the pod before dressing the salad.


    Salad
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until desired level of doneness; I prefer them with a little bit of crunch still.


    Place onions, carrots, and celery in a large mixing bowl. Add in dried cherries, pomegranate arils, and cooked beans. Toss to coat with dressing and let stand for at least 30 minutes.


    I actually used this legume salad underneath some lingcod topped with caramelized onions this week. Delish!

Black Cod with Fermented Beans Over Sesame Noodles #FishFridayFoodies


It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' November event. 

In any case, we are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month.

This month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories is hosting as we share stir-fries
. She wrote, "The theme for November is Stir-Fry. Create a stir-fry featuring seafood of any kind. If you don't have a wok, a good skillet will also work just fine."

Before I get to my recipe. Here's the rest of the #FishFridayFoodies' stir-fry menu...





Ingredients
  • 1 pound black cod, with skin still attached, cut into 1/4 lb portions
  • 6 baby leeks or 3 large leeks
  • 2 T cooking oil
  • 1 T chili bean paste
  • 1 t sweet bean paste
  • 1 T fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 t soy sauce, divided
  • 1 t organic granulated sugar
  • noodles, cooked according to package direction
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • black sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Procedure
Cook the noodles. Drain and toss with 1 t soy sauce and 2 t sesame oil. Set aside.

Add the oil to a seasoned wok or other heavy pan and heat till sputtering. Stir in the chili bean paste and the sweet bean paste. Cook until the oil in the pan is red and fragrant. Stir in the black beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining soy sauce and sprinkle in the sugar. Stir to combine well then add in the sliced leeks. Stir-fry until the leeks are softened. Nestle the fish pieces in the sauce, cover and cook until the fish is opaque, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, if needed. I find I rarely add additional salt to dishes that include soy sauce. 

To serve, place noodles in individual bowls. Top with black cod. Spoon some of the cooked leeks over the top. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Grilled Mushroom Skewers #HolidaySideDishes


This week Heather of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks rounded up a group of bloggers to share holiday side dish recipes. I completely blitzed on getting my Monday post done as we were gone all weekend at a robotics competition. But I was determined to finish my other two. Before I get to that, however, please check out the other recipes for the day...

Grilled Mushroom Skewers

I had visions of doing this on the grill - hence the recipe title - but when it came down to it, Jake didn't have time to start the grill and I was reluctant to do it myself with only a few mushroom skewers to grill. So, I opted for Plancha-Grilled Mushrooms. A plancha is a griddle; I use mine over a flame though, so it feel like grilling.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brown crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 t organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (I used an aged balsamic)
  • Also needed: bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 10 minutes; plancha or grill


Procedure
Place all of the marinade ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Place the washed and dried mushrooms in the liquid and toss to coat. Let the mushrooms marinate for 15 minutes, then turn them over and let marinate an additional 15 minutes. Heat the grill or plancha.

Skewer the mushrooms snugly onto the bamboo/wooden skewers that have been soaked. Several of mine cracked, so I need to figure that part out, but Jake told me I needed to skewer though the stem...not the way I did it. Whoops!

Place the skewered mushrooms on the hot plancha for about 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately or tent with foil to keep warm before serving.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup #KitchenMatrixCookingProject



Can you believe that Thanksgiving is fast approaching? That means that the Kitchen Matrix Cooking Project - really Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, and I - have been doing this for ten months already. You can read more about our project here. And this month, Wendy picked the recipes. This week, she selected Cabbage + 12 Ways. Check out the line-up...




I enjoy cooking with cabbage and was more than a little interested in trying several of Bittman's recipes. The Thai Style Raw Cabbage will definitely be on our table soon as will the Stir-Fried Cabbage with Pork and Peanuts. Yum! But the recipe I decided to try for this week was Bittman's Hot and Sour Soup. I did substitute brown crimini mushrooms for the shiitakes and forgot to add the scallions. Otherwise, I stuck pretty close to the original. I really love that this was on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients serves 4 to 6

  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 8 C chicken stock or broth
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 C sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 6 C shredded cabbage (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 C rice vinegar
  • 1 C tofu, cubed
  • pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 1 t sriracha hot sauce
  • 4 T fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


Procedure

Add sesame oil to a large souppot. Stir in onions, garlic, and fresh ginger. Cook until they become aromatic, but aren't starting to brown. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, then stir in the cabbage and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper chile flakes and hot sauce. Add in the tofu and mushrooms and simmer until warmed through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and serve immediately.


Ladle individual servings into bowls and serve with more sriracha, if desired. We will definitely be adding this recipe to our soup rotation this season. It was delicious!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Keema Matar (Indian Beef with Peas) #EattheWorld


Here we are in November for another installment of our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge.


In February we kicked off the project with Cuba; in March we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a tabletop trip to IrelandThailand was our April destination. May had us headed to Kenya. You get the idea. Last month Evelyne invited us to a special edition: #EattheWorld for Halloween. What spooky, delicious fun! And, this month, we are continuing our culinary nods to international festivals by posting Indian recipes in honor of Diwali.


Diwali
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and is celebrated every autumn in this hemisphere. From my limited research, the festival symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. That is much needed in this day and political climate. So, while I'm always up for learning about different international traditions, this one seemed particularly appropriate. These tea lights actually fulfilled a multitude of things - I lit them around our yurt during the annual Halloween camping trip so the kids knew that we were one of the sites they could trick-or-treat; these were in honor of a grade-school friend who is succumbing to the cancer that's invaded her body; and, as my friend Priya said, it's for Diwali.

The Other Indian Recipes


Keema Matar (Indian Beef with Peas)

Indian food is a family favorite. We've made and posted Kheema Aloo, a slightly untraditional Sungta ani Bende Kodi, Shrikhand, Palak Paneer with Homemade Paneer...


...and my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf is our resident master of Biriyani! So, when we were scheming on what to make - that we haven't made before - I was inspired by the fresh peas that I found at the market. I roped D into shelling them for me and made our own version of Keema Matar, Indian beef with peas. This isn't totally traditional - big surprise there - as we added in some julienned carrots as well.


Ingredients serves 4
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced (approximately 1 C)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1⁄2 t garam masala (our homemade version)
  • 1⁄2 t ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 lb ground beef (prefer organic, grassfed)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 C water or beef stock
  • pinch salt
  • 2 C fresh peas, shelled
  • 1 C julienned carrots
  • 2 t vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1⁄4 C fresh herbs, torn or chopped (I used cilantro)
  • steamed rice for serving

Procedure
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until softened and beginning to turn caramel colored. Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute. Add in the coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin, and cayenne, if using. Cook for another minute before adding in the beef,

Brown the meat until fully-cooked, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon. Add in tomatoes, carrots, and 1 C liquid - either water or beef stock - and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fold in the peas. Stir well and simmer, partially covered, for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. The peas should be cooked but not mushy. Pour in the vinegar and fold in the chopped cilantro. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Celebrating Sonoma: Lamb Lollipops with Spiced Apple Chutney + Wild Ridge Pinot Noir 2014 #WinePW


Welcome to the November edition of Wine Pairing Weekend (#WinePW)! The past two years have had devastating fires in wine-growing regions the world over. Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is hosting and you can read her invitation here. She asked the bloggers to pick an affected area and shine the spotlight on that region.

The Posts


Sonoma in My Glass
In January of this year, also for #WinePW, I posted about the Sonoma fires and shared Za'atar-Crusted Rib-Eyes with 2014 Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cab. As I was preparing for this event, I started seeing previews and stories about Chef Tyler Florence's documentary Uncrushable. It's a compilation of interviews - filmed as the fires were still burning - with residents, emergency crews, vintners, and more. I haven't been able to see it, but I can't wait.

For this month, I decided to stick with a focus on Sonoma. We often wind our way through the county on our annual ten-day camping trip. It's usually our last, or second to last stop, as it's not too far from where I live. And I've certainly felt the aftermath of the 2017 fires within my circle of friends. 


So, I uncorked a bottle of Wild Ridge Pinot Noir 2014 from the coast of Sonoma County. And I was slightly wistful as I got a whiff of smoke on the nose. I paused, wondering if I was really sensing that, or I just had the fires on my mind. But Jake swirled the beautiful garnet liquid, stuck his nose in the glass, and declared, "It's like that smoky tea you like. What's it called?" Ahhh...lapsang souchong...good, I'm not imaging it!

This was a beautiful wine with sweet, fruity aromas and complex delectable layers on the tongue. I swear I could taste the sea and the smoke even though I know this wine predates the fires. It was a perfect match with an oven-roasted rack of lamb.

Spiced Lamb Lollipops on My Plate
Though this looks impressive on the plate, it's largely hands off. You just need to rub the spices on the lamb the night before you plan to serve. And you can stick it in the oven and do other things. The night I made this, we were packing for our annual Halloween camping trip. Actually, I had planned to bring the lamb and the wine up to the campsites and share with friends. But when my little one wasn't feeling well, we delayed our departure and I roasted these up for just us. Selfish, I know.



I always make a batch or two of this chutney when my family goes apple picking. It usually lasts us through the end of the year and the boys like telling our holiday guests that they picked all those apples!         

Ingredients 
serves 4 as an entree or 8 as an appetizer

Lamb
  • 2 racks of lamb
  • 2 T smoked paprika
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground sumac
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil

Spiced Apple Chutney makes about 3 pint jars
  • 6 to 7 peeled, cored organic apples (approximately 6 C when diced)
  • 1 C golden raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 large onion (approximately 1 C when diced)
  • 1 large sweet red pepper (approximately 1 C when diced)
  • 1 hot red pepper (I used a jalapeno)
  • 1 C lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T mustard seed
  • 1" knob ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 t ground allspice
  • 1 t ground salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar

 Procedure

Lamb
Place the smoked paprika, paprika, coriander, cumin, sumac, salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl. Divide the spices evenly over the two racks. Massage the spices into the lamb. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in a lidded container, or in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight. Before roasting, let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place lamb on a roasting rack with the fat-side up. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip the rack over and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes.


Remove the lamb from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into lollipops. Serve with a side of chutney.


Spiced Apple Chutney
Place all of ingredients into a large, nonreactive pot. I use a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer, stirring about 1 hour until thickened. Spoon into sterlized jars and place in hot water bath for 10 minutes to process.

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