Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Roasted Beet Hummus #BacktoSchool


This week Cynthia of Feeding Big asked us share some back-to-school recipes. Can you believe that summer vacation is almost over? It's hard to imagine, but we had a great vacation and I'm looking ahead to lunches that everyone will enjoy.

Lunchbox Ideas...

And I decided to share one of our lunchbox favorites: hummus. Well, it's not really hummus as my little one is sensitive to garbanzo beans. D developed a sensitivity to garbanzo beans several years ago, so we get creative with our hummus. He still pines for "the regular, plain old hummus" but it's gotten to the point where he no longer suffers through the stomach pain. So, we make hummus with black lentilsroasted carrotsgolden cauliflower, though roasted beet is one of our favorites.


I put containers of hummus in their lunches with either veggies, pita bread, and even chips. It's a family favorite.

Roasted Beet Hummus

Ingredients
Roasted Beets
  • 3 to 4 organic medium sized beets, scrubbed, dried, and trimmed
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
Hummus
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ C tahini
  • 1 C plain whole milk yogurt
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemon for this batch)
  • 1 t freshly ground sea salt + more for taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling, optional


Procedure
Roasted Beets
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scrub and trim the beets, then roll them in olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Lay them on a baking sheet. Roast until they are fork tender. It depends on the size of the beet, but it usually takes about an hour. Once they are cool enough to handle, rub off the skin.


Hummus
Place all of the ingredients - plus the roasted beets - in the bowl of the food processor. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning, if needed, with more salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil, if desired. Serve with pita bread, chips, or cut veggies.

The Quintessential Summer Condiment: Watermelon Pico de Gallo #FoodNFlix


So, he did not turn around and ask me to dance, but there was something about this image that reminded me of Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze gets Jennifer Grey to dance on a log! But I'm getting ahead of myself...

This month's Food'N'Flix event was hosted by Chef Sarah Elizabeth and her blog of the same name.You can read her invitation: here. She asked us to watch - or rewatch as is probably the case with everyone! - Dirty Dancing.*

On the Screen
Let me say that it disturbs me to no end that I now have to clarify: Dirty Dancing, the original one. Why is there a need to remake such a classic movie?!? Okay, it's not a classic in same sense of the Casablanca era of films, but it is a classic for anyone who was a teen in the 80s. Why ruin a classic? Back to the point with a brief summary...

The Housemans are vacationing in the Catskills. It's 1963. 'Baby', whose real name is Frances, wants to change the world, while her sister "just wants to decorate it." Baby is attracted by some music in the staff area and encounters charismatic dance instructor Johnny Castle. The staff camp world is raunchy, raucous, and a whole lot more fun than her moneyed society.

But it's more than a film about sex, class disparities, and first love affairs. It's about the liberating power of dance.

If you haven't seen it - the original, I mean - do! Actually, I can't say anything about the remake released twenty years after the original as I haven't seen it. I just object on principle.

Next month, Courtney at Fictional Fare is hosting us as we watch Second Hand Lions. I've never seen that. Have you? Back to this month's selection...


On the Plate
Surprisingly, there are many food references in this movie...

“Just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me," spat Johnny to Robbie.

“Robbie, Baby wants to send our leftover pot roast to Southeast Asia, so anything you don’t finish, wrap up.”

“I didn’t blow a summer hauling toasted bagels just to bail out some little chick who probably balled every guy in the place.”

“Last month, I’m eating Jujubes to keep alive, this month women are stuffing diamonds in my pockets.” I actually did try to find these candies. Just because.

And, lastly, spaghetti arms...you can't dance with them.

I don't know why the scene of Baby and Johnny practicing on a log appeals to me so much. Perhaps it's sheer awe. It's difficult enough to walk across some logs, much less dance on them gracefully.


We do plenty of hiking across logs, as natural bridges, during our forays into nature. So, I considered some version of Ants on a Log, such as these!

But, instead, I wanted to make something with watermelon after Baby's awkward attempt to explain why she's in the no-guests-allowed area: "I carried a watermelon." When I was pregnant with R, we joked that I was carrying a watermelon.


I suspect we'll likely see lots of watermelon creations this month - it's a memorable quote and it is watermelon season, after all. While I considered, all sorts of sweet watermelon creations, including watermelon sorbet, I ultimately went for a savory. I've decided that watermelon pico de gallo is the quintessential summer condiment. It's so versatile, I've made at least four batches this month alone.

We used this salsa on...

Grilled Beef and Fresh Slaw Bowls

Lettuce Wraps with Black Beans and Beef

Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos

I even ate it straight from the bowl with a spoon. Shhhh...don't tell!


This is also an incredibly flexible recipe. I might try adding diced jicama for added texture or even fresh radishes for a piquant bite.

Ingredients

  • 3 C seedless watermelon, diced
  • 1/2 C onion, diced 
  • 1 t jalapeno, diced - feel free to use more if you like it spicy
  • 3/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 organic lime, juiced
  • salt, to taste


Procedure
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving. That's it.

Use this wherever you would normally use salsa! Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for two or three days. But each batch won't last that long. I promise.

*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. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


   

Monday, July 17, 2017

Raw Warrior Pudding #BacktoSchool


This week Cynthia of Feeding Big asked us share some back-to-school recipes. Yes, back-to-school. It's hard to believe that summer vacation is almost over. Sad, but true. Grateful for our annual summer camping trip. We're ten years in to a ten-day trek around Northern California. This year, we went down the Eastern Sierras, camping in Lassen National Forest and Inyo National Forest. So darn picturesque.

Jake and I love creating these memories for our boys. It makes their eight-week summers seem a little less short!

Manns at Little Virginia Lake
Manns on the trail to Crystal Lake
Manns above Marsh Lake

Okay, back to the reason for this post...some great lunch box ideas from my blogging friends.  

Warrior Pudding

Chia puddings are a great, make-ahead breakfast. And I love that they are so versatile.

Why is it called 'warrior pudding'? Because, as my bag of organic whole chia seeds - tagline "Aztec Superfood" - explains: "The chia seed was eaten by Aztec for strength and was a main staple food along with corn and beans."

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C chia seeds
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 T raw turbinado sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cardamom
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground ginger


Procedure
Place all of the ingredients and let it soak overnight. Serve as you would oatmeal - with fresh berries or bananas. I topped mine with diced fresh strawberries and raw sliced almonds.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pistachio-Armagnac Sabayon with Strawberries and Meringues #Winophiles


Here we are at the July 2017 event for The French Winophiles, a wine-swilling, food-loving group started by Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva and, now, jointly coordinated by Jill of L'occasion and Jeff of Food Wine Click. This month, Jeff has us heading, virtually, to Southwest France. Here's Jeff's invitation: here.

If you are reading this early enough, we'll be chatting on Saturday, July 15th at 11am EDT. Join us on Twitter using the hashtag #Winophiles. Or come check out the stream later and try to join us next month.

To the Southwest of France...

We're referring to the region that's inland and south from the Bordeaux and Saint Emilion regions, Marcillac is a small area, but the area vineyards of Cahors, Gaillac and Bergerac are extensive and best known for their reds. The Cahors area produces some of the richest and darkest red wines in France, primarily using the Malbec grape variety, sometimes referred to as "black wine." Had I been able to track some down in time, I definitely would have tried it. But, as it is, I'm still looking!

The Rest of the Crew...
Take a look at all the discoveries made by our Winophiles group!

In the Glass

While researching the area's wines, I opted to go with Armagnac, a distinctive brandy that's distilled from wine and produced in the Armagnac region in Gascony, in southwest France.

In the 14th century, clergymen claimed it had therapeutic benefits: "It makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits."

Those would all be nice effects of drinking Armagnac. I can't vouch for any of them, but I will say that it was a pleasant sip and added that je ne sais quoi allure to my dish. In the glass, it was a shimmering amber. On the nose, I detected some muted floral notes - think lemon blossom - and honey. And on the palate, it was mildly spicy, but rounded, with a strong taste of licorice.

In the Bowl

I decided to carry the alcohol flavor over to the dish as well and made Pistachio-Armagnac Sabayon with Strawberries and Meringues. This is adapted from A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse by Mimi Thorisson. Actually, since the only thing changed was swapping the Marsala for Armagnac, I'll just send you to her recipe. Enjoy!




Friday, July 14, 2017

Salmorejo Cordobés #SoupSwappers


This year, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicked off her new group: Soup Saturday Swappers. And this month P. of The Saucy Southerner asked us to share some recipes for chilled soups. They are such a great summer dinner. I'm grateful to have a few more recipes to try.

When I started thinking about chilled soups, all the usual suspects popped into my mind. I've made Chilled Pea Shooters, Rabarbersuppe Med Vin (Danish Rhubarb Wine Soup), White Gazpacho, and at least half a dozen different versions of fruit and veggie gazpachos made with peaches, olallieberries, watermelon, cucumbers, Yes, clearly, I'm a gazpacho fanatic.

But I didn't want to make a gazpacho as there will be so many from which to choose with the group this month. I decided to go with Salmorejo Cordobés, gazpacho's richer, deeper cousin. This was something that a friend from Spain taught me last year. With its hard-boiled eggs and salty ham topping, it's more of a dinner - to me - than a starter. So, I whipped this up one summer evening and poured a hearty Tempranillo to go with it. Salud!

Salmorejo Cordobés

Ingredients

  • 1 C water
  • 1 t coarse salt (I used a smoked fleur de sel)
  • 1 C bread (I used some gluten-free sandwich bread)
  • 3 to 4 C sliced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 C vinegar (traditional would be sherry wine vinegar)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped ham (I used Jamón Serrano), crisped and cooled
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • Spanish olive oil for serving, optional


Preparation
Place torn pieces of bread in a small bowl and add in the salt and water. Let bread soak for at least 30 minutes.

Place the soaked bread, soaking liquid, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, pouring olive oil slowing through the chute. Process until smooth and thick. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve, ladle soup into small bowls. Sprinkle chopped egg and ham over the top. If desired, drizzle with Spanish olive oil and serve immediately.



The Rest of the Chilled Soups...






Friday, July 7, 2017

Ceviche + Scheid’s Albariño #WinePW

Can you believe that we're in our 38th #WinePW event? This is an amazingly fun and well-wined group. I always learn something from the other bloggers.


This month, the #WinePW crew will be talking "Summer Suppers and Wine" with Nancy from Pull That Cork; August has us pouring Rosés with Lori of Dracaena Wines; and we'll be headed to the Iberian Peninsula to explore Spanish wines with Gwendolyn of Wine Predator in September. What a great line-up!

The Summer Supper & Wine Pairing Line-Up


In My Glass..
When I was working on a menu, with ceviche as the first course, I asked my friends at Scheid Vineyards if they had a pairing recommendation. Really, when I've served ceviche before, beer has been my companion of choice. 

Without hesitation, they told me: Albariño! In fact, when they did a pairing at their tasting room with the Albariño, they served ceviche. Sold!

Purported to have been brought to the Iberian Peninsula in the 1300s by Cistercian monks, today, Albariño is widely planted in the Spanish region of Galicia as well as in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho. 

This wine was crisp and vibrant with lots of citrus flavors and a light minerality. There was a unexpected sweetness that tempered the spiciness of the ceviche and the saltiness of the chips. But the sweetness was not overly heavy. What a great pairing! I will definitely be tracking down more bottles next time I serve ceviche.


On My Plate...
Ceviche is easily one of my top appetizers of all time. It's a simple dish of seafood "cooked" by the acid in lemons and limes. It's so easy, but it requires incredibly fresh ingredients. I usually ask my fish monger which is the best choice for ceviche that day. On the day I made this, he offered me big, beautiful prawns. Perfect!


Ingredients
  • 1 lb prawns, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 6-8 fresh lemons, juiced (I used Meyer lemons from a tree we have in our yard)
  • 1/4 C fresh salsa
  • 1 organic avocado, cubed
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • tortilla chips, for serving


Procedure
Place the raw seafood pieces in a glass dish and cover them with lemon juice. The seafood should be completely covered by juice.

Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator. Let the seafood marinate or "cook" in the lemon juice for at least 4 hours. Once the seafood is "cooked" in the juices, drain the lemon juice, but reserve 2 T of the juice.

Chop the prawns into bite-sized pieces. Place the pieces back in the reserved lemon juice. Stir in the salsa, avocado, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serve with chips and the Albariño. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Chia Pudding

I thought I'd try my hand at a red, white, and blue chia pudding for Independence Day. Without the food coloring, of course. 


So I considered what I could use that would make the liquids red and blue. Funny note, when I served these, my husband joked, "What's with the brown, white, and grey chia?" But, once he tasted it, he was a fan.


Chia pudding is easy to make. I've shared 50-50 Chia Pudding, Pomegranate Chia Pudding, Coconut Chia Pudding, and it all started with Warrior Pudding. The proportion is 3T to every cup of liquid; you can get creative from there.

Ingredients

Red Chia Pudding
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1 C red juice (I used an organic beet-strawberry juice from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • Also needed: lidded mason jar that holds at least 2 C


White Chia Pudding
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • Also needed: lidded mason jar that holds at least 2 C


Blue Chia Pudding
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1 C blue/purple juice (I used a blueberry juice from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • Also needed: lidded mason jar that holds at least 2 C


For Serving
  • fresh blueberries
  • fresh raspberries


Procedure

For each chia pudding. Place granulated sugar in the bottom of a mason jar. Pour in the liquid. Swirl or stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the chia seeds, stirring so that they do not stick together in clumps. Place the lid of the jar on and shake vigorously. Place in the refrigerator overnight. You'll want to stir or shake the jar at least a few times.


To serve, spoon 1 to 2 T of the blue in the bottom of a serving glass. Add in a few blueberries. Spoon in the white, then the red. Top with fresh berries and serve immediately.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Canh Suon Khoai Tay (Vietnamese Spare Rib Soup) #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.

Sneha of Sneha's Recipe is hosting this month. And she requested that we create dishes with spare ribs this month. "Braised, Slow Cooked or grilled or as side dish preparation ... make the way your family will enjoy," she encouraged us.

The Spare Rib Smörgåsbord


About Spare Ribs...
So, when I first saw Sneha's pick, I had to do some reading about the difference between "ribs" and "spare ribs." I don't usually think about that; to me, ribs are ribs. But, I was so wrong! 


The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf pulled out some reference books - I'm not actually sure in which he found it, but I know he pulled out Farm Anatomy and Food Anatomy - and figured it out for me.


Spare ribs are the ribs cut from the belly of the animal and are formed by cutting away the breastbone The slab is more rectangular in shape. Back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. The upper ones are called baby back ribs. These are the ones I usually buy.


But, having taken part in this event, and testing several recipes, including Sticky Sesame Spare Ribs (photo above!), I realized three things: (1) spare ribs cost less per pound, (2) spare ribs are more evenly sizes, so they cook uniformly, and (3) my family really, really, really likes spare ribs. So, these will be my go-to ribs from now on. Thanks, Sneha!

Canh Suon Khoai Tay
Vietnamese Spare Rib Soup

For this recipe, ask your butcher to cut the spare ribs to 1-1/2" lengths. For this dish, I ended up with two 1-1/2" strips; then, I cut in between the bones for individual pieces 1-1/2" long.


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork spare ribs, sliced into 1-1/2" pieces
  • 1/4 C fish sauce 
  • 1 T gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and diced and divided in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed and divided in half
  • 1 t minced lemongrass
  • 1 t fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 T oil (I used olive oil)
  • 9 C water
  • 2 to 3 large organic carrots, approximately 2 C
  • 3 to 4 small organic potatoes, approximately 2 C
  • 1 small head organic cauliflower, approximately 2 C florets
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced for garnish


Procedure
Blanching the ribs ahead of time creates a cleaner broth. You can skip this step, certainly, but it's not difficult and the product is much clearer. Fill a stock pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Gently drop the spare ribs into the water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Now you're ready for the recipe.


Place the fish sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, shallot, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in a mixing bowl. Add in the ribs, toss to coat, and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Turn them once or twice during that time.

In a large soup pot, add vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the remaining shallots and garlic. Cook until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Add in the marinated spare ribs and the marinade. Stir into the oil and aromatics. Cook for another minute or two.

Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Add in the vegetables and food until fork tender. I stagger them, adding first the carrots and cooking them for 5 to 6 minutes; then, adding the potatoes and cauliflower.

Cook until all of the vegetables are easily pieces with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mine didn't really need any more seasoning.


To serve, ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with thinly sliced scallions. Serve immediately.

Next month Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm has us using peaches. Stay tuned!

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