Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ramen and a Martini from the Abyss #DarkRecipes #SolarEclipse


Five years ago, our friends had an Eclipse party. That might have been the first time that we discussed what an eclipse was with the boys. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun.


Tomorrow, on Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse. And anyone within the path of totality will see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights: a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely blot out the sun, will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. People outside of the path still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun.

Sue of Palatable Pastime is hosting a virtual potluck. She asked us to come up with dark recipes for the event. No special instructions, just "the theme is 'dark'." Okay...here's how we all interpreted it.

Dark Recipes for the Solar Eclipse



When I posted some sneak peak photos, a blogger friend of mine commented that she knew I would use squid ink. Yeah, I guess I'm predictable that way. It was either that or a 100% cacao solids dark chocolate; I figured this way was going to be a little less common. I've used cuttlefish ink* to make Hand-Rolled Cuttlefish Ink Pasta, Arròs Negre {Black Paella} with Allioli a la Catalana, Fideuà Negra, and Crni Rižoto.

Forbidden Rice Seafood Ramen 
with Cuttlefish Ink Broth


So, I decided to make a ramen with cuttlefish ink broth and use forbidden rice noodles*. For the "sun" part, I added hard-boiled eggs. Thinly sliced, marinated beef made this a hearty dinner.


Ingredients serves 4

  • 4 C beef stock, prefer homemade so you can control the salt
  • 2 t cuttlefish ink*
  • 2 T miso paste (I used yellow miso)
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced beef
  • 3 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 forbidden rice ramen noodle cakes
  • 8 C water
  • 4 boiled eggs, shelled and halved lengthwise (I boil them for 5 minutes, then leave them until cooled)
  • black sesame seeds for garnish

Procedure
The beef can be prepared the day before serving. Place the beef slices in a rimmed dish and pour in the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. In a skillet, cook the beef until preferred doneness. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Pour the marinade into the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Pour the cooked marinade over the beef.

In a large soup pot, bring the beef stock and cuttlefish ink to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved. Keep at a low summer.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodle cakes, and cook as directed on the package. My package said 4 minutes; you want them just cooked, but still on the chewy side. Drain and drop the noodles into the warm stock.


To serve, spoon noodles into individual serving bowls. Scoop in stock to cover the noodles. Garnish with beef and eggs. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Martini from the Abyss

Ingredients makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 1/2 ounce gin (I used the Dry Rye from St. George's)
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/8 t cuttlefish ink

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Serve immediate.


Cheers and happy eclipsing! Here on the central coast of California, we aren't going to get to view the total eclipse. But I can certainly fill a bowl and raise a glass in honor of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

*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, but it helps support my culinary adventures in a small way. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Spiced Honey-Glazed Lamb Ribs #CrazyIngredientChallenge


I love the idea behind the Crazy Ingredient Challenge (CIC). In the CIC, we are assigned two ingredients to cook and create. Lori of Lori's Culinary Creations and Kelly of Passion Kneaded
are our fearless leaders. So, here goes...

August's Crazy Ingredient Challenge = chili powder and honey


Ingredients
Lamb

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • splash of olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 T crushed garlic

Glaze
  • ½ C olive oil
  • 1 ½ C chopped yellow onion (approximately 1 large onion)
  • ½ C tomato paste
  • ½ C orange marmalade
  • 1 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 C organic, raw honey
  • ½ C Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C Dijon mustard
  • ½ C  tamari
  • 1 C  hoisin sauce
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 crushed tepin chiles

Procedure
Lamb
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add crushed garlic and sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Arrange the rack bone side down in the roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the lamb, covered with foil, in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for 20 to 25 minutes. Rub the rack of lamb with BBQ sauce and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs.

Glaze
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onions, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the tomato paste, orange marmalade, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and tepin chiles.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Use the sauce immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate.



Friday, August 18, 2017

An Affordable Red and Tapenade, Languedoc-Style #Winophiles


Here we are at the August 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, Jill has sharing affordable wines. She asked us to turn our attention to wines around the $20 price point. So, if you're reading this in time, hop on Twitter on Saturday, August 19th and follow the hashtag #Winophiles.

All the Posts

Red Wine, Languedoc-Style
The affordable red I decided to share: Gerard Bertrand's Languedoc 2011. At my local BevMo, it was $19.95 and it was part of the 5-cent wine sale. So, I picked up two bottles for $20!!

This Syrah-Grenache blend has a deep red hue with violet highlights. On the nose, I get aromas of fruit while on the palate it was more complex with notes of anise and gingerbread. This was a powerful yet pleasing wine. I'm glad I got two bottles!



Tapenade, Languedoc-Style
Tapenade can be spread on baguettes as I did tonight, but, like anchoïde, it also makes a wonderful dip for crudités. Store the uneaten tapenade in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 2 C whole olives, pitted (I used Niçoise)
  • 3 t brined capers
  • 1 t brine from the capers
  • 3 to 4 anchovies, olive oil-packed
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • juice from 1 organic lemon
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
Procedure
Place the olives, capers, bring, anchovies, garlic, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon juice. Process or blend, drizzling in olive oil until desired consistency. Season to taste with pepper.

Happy Bellies, Happy Lady Parts?!? #MomsMeet #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moms Meet
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review, but all opinions are honest and they are my own.
Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

When the opportunity arose - through my association with Moms Meet - to try Jarrow Probiotics, I was thrilled. We have long used probiotics in our household. When the boys were smaller and were prescribed antibiotics for ear infections, etc., we fed them yogurt with live cultures to replenish the good bacteria in their bellies. When R has any digestive issues - he gets constipated when he's stressed - he takes probiotics. But we have usually taken them in the form of yogurt or a liquid probiotic that needs to be refrigerated and has a fairly short shelf-life. I've rarely tried them in pill format.


With all the research of gut health on more sustained diseases, including autoimmune diseases, more and more people in my circle of family, friends, and extended family are aiming to up their probiotic intake. I was excited to try these products. If you're wondering about probiotics' relevance on my kitchen blog, think about it this way. With my recipes, I aim for happy bellies. Probiotics help keep bellies happy and healthy.

What ARE Probiotics?
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, particularly good for your digestive system. Most people think of bacteria as harmful, as things that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad, and they are naturally found in your body.

About Jarrow Probiotics
Jarrow Rogovin founded Jarrow Formulas in 1977 in Los Angeles. They now produce a complete line of nutritional products including vitamins, minerals, probiotics, herbal concentrates, amino acids, enzymes, and other nutrition products. Their mission is reflected in its motto "Superior Nutrition and Formulation."

I have to be honest: I never actually thought there would be a difference between probiotics for women, men, and children. So, the "Promotes Healthy Vaginal Microflora Promotes Urinary Tract Health" tagline was a wee bit baffling. But happy, healthy lady parts are never a bad thing, right?

The Jarro-Dophilus Women product contains four patented strains of lactobacilli probiotics that are found in vaginal tracts of healthy women. Needless to say, the tagline made it so that my boys dropped that box like a hot potato, so I tried the formula for women and they shared the YumYum Dophilus.

My Thoughts
Would I consider these quality products? Absolutely. Do I think they do what they claim to do? Sure. Happy, happy!

As I mentioned, we've long taken probiotics, but we don't usually take them in pill or capsule form. In fact, my boys don't really take pills very well. Thankfully, the YumYum Dophilus was chewable. Perfect!

I'd call Jarrow Formulas a success for our household. You can find these products at health food stores all around the country, including Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market.

You may find them...
on the website
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet programMay Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pickled Tequila Shrimp #FishFridayFoodies


It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' August event. 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 is, easily, my favorite recipe sharing event of the month. I always come away with a list of recipes that I just have to try! This month Sid of Sid's Sea Palm Cooking invited us to make appetizers made with preserved fish, whether they're canned, dried, pickled or? Recipes incorporating preserved fish in a recipe, whether as a topper or a key ingredient. As an example, Sid shared a picture of Curried Herring, using pickled herring and making a curry sauce to go over them. Inspired!


Ingredients

  • 1 T peppercorns (I used a mixture of black and green)
  • 2 t coriander seeds
  • 1/2 C vinegar (I used an apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/2 t fleur de sel
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T tequila
  • 1 pound large, peeled, deveined shrimp with tails on
  • 4 to 6 shishito peppers
  • 8 to 10 Makrut lime leaves


Procedure
In a small saucepan, toast the seeds and pepercorns until fragrant, approximately 60 seconds. Add vinegar, water, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour in the tequila and lime juice. Let come to room temperature.

Pack the shrimp, peppers, and leaves into a lidded jar.

Pour vinegar mixture over the top. Add water if the shrimp is not totally submerged. Seal jar and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.


The Rest of the Recipes

Hand-Rolled {Gluten-Free} Noodles On the Noodle Road #FoodieReads



This is going to be a much more productive month for my Foodie Reads Challenge. Earlier this month I was unpacking (yes, we have been in this house for a year!) and uncovered a box of foodie reads that I have yet to read. Sweet! I happily dove into this one and finished it last week.



Today, I'm sharing thoughts about On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta by Jen Lin-Liu*Lin-Liu is a Chinese-American journalist and owner/chef at Black Sesame Kitchen, her restaurant and cooking school in Beijing. This is part odyssey, part travelogue, part documentary and commentary on the state of the female condition as individuals and wives, and part cookbook in a tiny way. She does include several recipes per region that she's visited in the narrative.

On the Page
On the Noodle Road is Lin-Liu's attempt to unearth the answer to the question: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? And, if not, from where did they really come?

To do so, she sets off on an overland route of the Silk Road, traveling from China to Italy via the western territories, Iran, Turkey, and Greece. And while it's a search for the truth of the noodle's origin, it's just as much a quest for her own identity.

Along her journey, Lin-Liu eats, cooks, eats, and cooks some more. Meals are her currency. As she travels, she swaps Chinese meals for Uighur, Central Asian, Persian, and Turkish cooking lessons.

Readers who anticipate following Lin-Liu's quest in one continuous strand will be disappointed. She traverses rice country - China and Iran - and explores bread country - everywhere else really - and finds noodles are not primary in any of the areas she visits. So, after nearly seven thousand miles, she still doesn't have an answer. Whoops. That's a spoiler. Sorry.

On the Noodle Road ends up being many things, including a search to carve out her place in the world, to define - or at least - embrace being a wife and a mother. As she ends her journey, she discovers that she's pregnant with her first child. Okay...another spoiler.

While I enjoyed the book, it definitely didn't answer the question Lin-Liu posed.

On the Plate

We make a lot of noodles, including: Gluten-Free RombiHand-Rolled, Hand-Cut Spinach Papardelle; and Maltagliati . So, I had the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf hand-roll some gluten-free noodles for me.

Ingredients
  • 2 C all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • water


Procedure
Place all of the dry ingredients in the body of the food processor. Add the eggs. Pulse. Add in 1 T water at a time until it comes together in a ball. Turn the dough onto a floured cutting board and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

To roll: Slice your dough ball into quarters. Cover the portions you aren't rolling. Turn the rested dough out onto a lightly dusted board and roll out as thinly as you can. I found that rolling it into a long rectangle make the most even strips. If you don't have a rolling pin, a wine bottle works well! 

Once the pasta dough is as thin as you can get it, starting at one (short) end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a cylinder.

  
With a sharp knife, hand cut the roll into pieces whose width is the width you want for your pasta. I went about the width of linguine. Carefully unroll the strips and you're all set.


You can hang them to dry a little bit before cooking. We usually just hang them to get them off the counter. 


Cook in salted, boiling water. Because they are fresh, they cook fairly quickly. As soon as they float, they are ready. Drain and use with your favorite sauce.

*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.



Here's what everyone else read in August 2017: here.

A Summery Salad and a Plea: Support Local Farms. Eat Seasonally.


I know I'm spoiled to live on California's central coast. The weather is temperate. The views are phenomenal. And, then, there's the food. Fresh, gorgeous produce abounds. And we're lucky enough to have farmers' markets all year round, multiple days of the week. Additionally, many local farms offer CSA programs.

I read a newsletter from one such farm and was disheartened to hear about a larger company, essentially, hijacking screen space on a search engine. Less savvy consumers sign up, thinking that they are supporting a local, organic farm. They are not. Click to read High Ground Organics' newsletter from this week: here.


So, here's my plea: Whether you go to farmers' markets every week (or multiple times a week) or you subscribe to a CSA, please, please, pretty please, support local farms and eat seasonally!


Why Eat Local?
People define 'local' differently. I've heard it as 'within your state', but California is a large state. I mean, we drive over nine hours to visit my in-laws and we're still in California! I've also heard it defined as 'within a 100-mile radius.' That's slightly better. But, for me, if I can, I try to support people within my county and within my city when possible. And, better yet, if I can meet the farmer and visit the farm, I do! Not only do I want my kids to know that food doesn't just appear in the grocery store, wrapped in cellophane; I want my kids to know the faces and hands behind the food that we eat. Local food nourishes my family and bolsters the community and local economy.


Why Eat Seasonally?
About eating seasonally, I've heard people object that "it's in season somewhere on the globe." Refer to the first part of my plea - please eat local. So, when I urge you to eat seasonally, I mean in season in your area.

Seasonal produce tastes better. Nothing is worse than mealy tomatoes, pithy apples, or limp greens, right? Because it's naturally ripened and harvested at the proper time, in-season produce has richer flavor and more nutrition.

A Summery Salad

During the summer months, I love to make quick salads with whatever fresh produce I have. I pick three or four items with varying colors (yes, I cook by color!). If I have fresh herbs, I'll toss those in, but they aren't necessary. This is easy, seasonal, local, and delicious.

Ingredients

  • lemon cucumbers
  • watermelon
  • tomatoes
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil


Procedure
Wash produce and slice or cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Brennan's Bananas Foster #FantasticalFoodFight


I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here. I haven't been very good at participating, but this month, I couldn't resist. We were given the challenge of making a recipe with rum. So. Many. Possibilities. I did test a Honey and Rum-Glazed Salmon that didn't quite make the cut, but it was a nice starting point and a tasty dinner.


All the Rum Creations

Brennan's Bananas Foster

This is a riff on the Bananas Foster recipe from the original creator of this dessert: Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans. In 1951, Chef Paul created Bananas Foster, naming it for Richard Foster, a frequent customer and very good friend.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 4 bananas, sliced into thick coins
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Procedure

Combine the butter and sugar in medium skillet. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. 

The sugar will dissolve, bubble, begin to burn, and form a smooth caramel.



Place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften, carefully add the rum.


Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames die down, scoop the bananas over ice cream in individual serving dishes. Generously spoon warm caramel sauce over the top and serve immediately.

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