Friday, May 6, 2016

Lavender-Lemon Madeleines for #BrunchWeek #sponsor

Here we are at day five of one of my favorite blogging weeks of the year: Brunch Week. I can't believe the week is almost over! Each year, Terri of Love and Confections coordinates this multi-blogger, multi-day celebration of all things brunch. This year Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures is co-hosting. 


I almost didn't post today. Very unlike myself, I procrastinated on a planned post and wasn't ready. When I got home this evening, ready to quickly bake a tray of lavender madeleines, all I could do was stare in dismay at my sad, little lavender bush. The drought has certainly taken its toll. There were no blossoms on my usually prolific plant. Even the leaves were tinged with brown. Ugh.

Then I remembered a friend saying that you can cook with culinary grade essential oils. And I just happened to have some culinary grade lavender essential oil that was delivered to my doorstep today. You can tell it's culinary grade, versus therapeutic grade, because it has the supplement facts on the bottle.



Ingredients
  • 3/4 C organic butter plus some for greasing pan
  • 1 C granulated sugar (I used Dixie Crystals)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t pure lemon extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 1 C flour (I used a cake flour)
  • 1/2 C roasted, unsalted hazelnuts, chopped



Procedure
Before you start, chop your hazelnuts. While you might be tempted to use pre-chopped nuts - I have done it many times myself - the aroma of the freshly chopped nuts is extraordinary and well worth the effort. I promise!


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease, or butter, your madeleine pan and set aside.

Place your butter and sugar in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted and the sugar is blended into the butter.

Let the butter-sugar mixture cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, extracts, and essential oil. Beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.

Fold in the flour and ground hazelnuts with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. Using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.


Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden. Mine took between 17 and 19 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.

For a spur of the moment, complete experiment in baking with essential oils, these are quite tasty. I will definitely make them again, next time gluten-free, so my Love can indulge. But he and R aren't home tonight, so I just made them with my tried and true cake flour.

The Other Bloggers' Recipes
Get ready to be inspired!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
BrunchWeek Desserts:

The Giveaway
Many thanks to the #BrunchWeek sponsors whose ingredients and products were used in the creation of this recipe. Thank you, Nielsen-MasseyDixie Crystals, and KitchenIQ.

Don't forget to visit my kick-off post and enter the huge giveaway: here!


Disclaimer - Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs with Crisped Morels and Maitakes


I've been jealous of friends posting photos of their morel hunts. Seriously, friends have posted photos of entire pick-up beds full of morels. I would be thrilled with just two cups. Really!

So, when I saw a scant handful of them at the market, I scooped them all up! It really wasn't enough to make a complete dish with them, but I added in the maitakes that I had on-hand. This was an easy lunch and so, so tasty. I will have to track down more morels soon.

Ingredients serves 6 to 8

Chicken
  • 6 to 8 bone-in, skin-on organic chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C white balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil for drizzling
Crisped Mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 C mushrooms (I used morels and maitakes)
  • 1 T butter
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped


Procedure
Chicken
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken in a baking dish. Rub with garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour white balsamic vinegar over the top, then drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, or until chicken is browned and crisp and cooked through.


Crisped Mushrooms
Melt butter in a large, flat-bottom pan. When the butter begins to brown, lay your mushrooms in the pan. Let the mushrooms brown and crisp. Flip the mushrooms and crisp them on the other side. Only after they are crisp should you season them. Adding salt when they are cooking will lead to soggy mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in parsley right before serving.


To Serve
Lay a chicken thigh on individual plates and top with crisped mushrooms. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Spiced Marinated Lamb Lollipops for #BrunchWeek2016


Here we are at day four of one of my favorite blogging weeks of the year: Brunch Week. Each year, Terri of Love and Confections coordinates this multi-blogger, multi-day celebration of all things brunch. This year Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures is co-hosting. 

Since I lean towards the savory in my brunch preferences, I wanted to share one of my favorite meaty finger foods! Lamb lollipops make any meal feel instantly fancy. 


I love making different variations based on what I have on-hand. I've made them with black garlic and shiitakesgrilled them with garlic salt, and glazed them with morello cherries.

Ingredients

  • 8 French cut rack of lamb, trimmed into chops and trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • ¾ t grated turmeric
  • 1 t grated ginger
  • ¼ t ground allspice
  • 3 T canola oil
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Procedure

Whisk to combine wine, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and allspice in a medium mixing bowl. Place the lollipops in a rimmed baking dish. Pour the marinade over the top, cover, and place in the fridge. Let the meat marinate for at least 4 hours, turning the lollipops over in the marinade at least once during that time.

Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before ready to cook. When ready to cook, place a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet.

Set a grill pan on medium-high heat and brush with canola oil. When hot - but not smoking - gently shake excess marinade from the lamb and sear for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on the wire rack. Cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve these with pesto (such as this one), with chutney (such as the mango one in this post), or just dig in...


The Other Bloggers' Recipes
Get ready to be inspired!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
BrunchWeek Desserts:

The Giveaway
Don't forget to visit my kick-off post and enter the huge giveaway: here!


Disclaimer - Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

(Belated) Birthday Braised Lingcod with Baby Potatoes, Fennel, and Saffron


"I have a special birthday delivery to drop off tomorrow morning," wrote one of my best friends in a message last night. "I didn't want to give you something that you have to work for on your birthday, so the day after." She dropped this off this morning.


What is it? I asked, my curiosity more than a little piqued.

"A giant lingcod filet. I know you will come up with something divine to do with it."

Sweet!

I immediately started to look for lingcod recipes.  Lingcod is not actually a cod; it belongs to a group of Pacific fish that include sablefish, rockfish and scorpionfish. It's listed as a 'best choice' on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. Plus a friend had caught it, so I was doubly thrilled.

Her husband is an accomplished fisherman and has supplied me with crab, salmon, and more. But I don't think I've ever gotten lingcod from him. I love an adventure.

She brought me a hefty bag of fileted fish. Turns out, she wasn't supposed to bring me all of it. Whoops. So, I'm packing up the rockfish I didn't cook. It's just me and D for the next two dinners, so we definitely don't need all that fish.


Blackened or panko-encrusted seem to be the most popular ways to cook lingcod; I knew I could cook it en papillote, but I wanted to try something new. More reading let me know that I could treat it as I would any firm white fish such as halibut. So I decided to braise the lingcod with some baby potatoes, fennel, saffron, and herbs. That will be the perfect belated birthday dinner! I decided.

A funny story: Jenn didn't want me to have to cook on my birthday. My mom didn't want me to cook on my birthday which is why she dropped off a complete dinner along with a cheesecake.

I actually find cooking relaxing, so cooking on my birthday isn't a big deal. One of my sons did comment, "Mommy, you didn't make your own birthday cake this year. I'm proud of you."

My mother thinks that I'm raising my children with unrealistic expectations. "Those boys are never going to find a woman who thinks it's normal to cook her own birthday dinner...and make her own birthday cake. People go out to eat on their birthday, Cam!" she insisted.

Oh, brother. I suppose that is a valid concern for a grandmother - that her grandbaby boys are not going to find suitable spouses and it will be all her child's fault. Oh, brother. I say again.

Another of my best friends was laughing as I recounted the conversation. But even she agreed, "People do go out to eat on their birthdays!"

Maybe next year. This year, I will happily cook my own (belated) birthday lingcod. Thanks, Mike and Jenn. And thanks, too, to G for bringing Auntie Cam herbs from his herb garden!!


Ingredients
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 T sliced almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 anchovies, rinsed
  • 1 C white wine
  • 2 C water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • lingcod filets (and a few rockfish filets)
  • 1 lb baby potatoes (I used a mixture of purple, gold, and red)
  • 1 fennel bulb, julienned
  • 3 to 4 carrots, sliced on the bias
  • 4 T fresh herbs (I used a combination of rosemary, fennel fronds, and some parsley)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • edible flowers for garnish, optional

Procedure
Crush saffron threads lightly and place in a small bowl. Add 2 T hot water and set aside.


In a mortar and pestle, grind together almonds, garlic, and anchovies with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Set aside.


In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat olive oil. Season fish with salt and pepper. When pan and oil are hot, sear fish for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate or platter.


Reduce heat and add anchovy paste to the pan. Cook until garlic is fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 3 C liquid (1 C wine and 2 C water) and deglaze bottom of pan. Add potatoes, carrots, and fennel. Bring to a boil.


Add saffron with its soaking water, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are just tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Carefully add seared fish filets to the pan. Pour in any liquid that has drained onto the plate or platter. Sprinkle with 2 T herbs. and bring back to a simmer.


Cover and poach until fish is opaque, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove fish, potatoes, carrots, and fennel to a serving platter.

Turn up heat, bring the braising liquid to a boil, and reduce liquid in pan by half.


Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in the remaining herbs and simmer for just 30 seconds. Spoon broth over fish and vegetables and serve immediately, garnished with edible flowers, if desired.


Thanks so much for the (belated) birthday dinner, Gonzalezes!
You definitely know what I like: delicious inspiration!
xoxo
~Cam

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Charred Onion Rickshaw for #BrunchWeek #sponsor


Here we are at day three of one of my favorite blogging weeks of the year: Brunch Week. Each year, Terri of Love and Confections coordinates this multi-blogger, multi-day celebration of all things brunch. This year Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures is co-hosting. And I challenge myself to post everyday, getting creative with all of the sponsor goodies we receive for participating. It's so much fun.

When I received a package of onions from  Vidalia Onion Committee, the enclosed note challenged us to get creative and posed the question: Who's brave enough to make a cocktail? 



That got me thinking. And I decided: Yep, I'm doing it. I'm brave enough to make an onion cocktail. Challenge accepted!



I thought about what flavors would go with an onion...in a drink. And I asked friends for their opinions. The general consensus was gin. So, I opted to create my own version of a rickshaw which is a gin-based libation made with basil.

Add to that the sweetness of charred onion and you have cocktail bliss. The ingredients are simple, but the flavors are fantastic. You do need to plan a little bit ahead as the onions should infuse in the gin for at least 24 hours.


On the day that I made this, I didn't have any basil and didn't want to go to the store. But I walked around the corner of the house and found my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's African blue basil plant. That's serendipity...and just a wee bit more exotic than the basil I had planned to use. Even better!


Ingredients
This recipe is intended for individuals ages 21 & up. Please drink responsibly.


Charred Onion-Infused Gin

African Blue Basil Simple Syrup
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C granulated sugar (prefer Dixie Crystals)
  • 1/4 C fresh African blue basil



Cocktail makes 1
  • 2 oz. charred onion-infused gin
  • 1 oz.  basil simple syrup
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 1 lemon, I used a Meyer lemon)
  • cucumber slices, for garnish
  • basil blossom, for garnish
  • charred onion for garnish
Procedure

Charred Onion-Infused Gin
Place thick slices of onions on a grill or grill pan until charred and softened. Pour gin into a sterile jar with a lid. Drop the onions into the gin. Cover and let infuse for at least 24 hours.


African Blue Basil Simple Syrup - click for my recipe

Cocktail
In your cocktail shaker pour in simple syrup and lemon juice. Pour in the gin and shake. Fill a glass with ice and pour cocktail over the ice through the strainer.

Garnish with blue basil blossom and a skewer with a cucumber slice and a few pieces of charred onions.


Cheers!
Many thanks to the #BrunchWeek sponsors whose ingredients were used in the creation of this recipe. Thank you, Vidalia Onion Committee and Dixie Crystals!


The Other Bloggers' Recipes
Get ready to be inspired!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
BrunchWeek Desserts:

The Giveaway
Don't forget to visit my kick-off post and enter the huge giveaway: here!


Disclaimer - Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

HOW TO: Make a Jam Glaze


Tonight my mom made and sent over dinner for my birthday. She made roasted pork tenderloin, barley, and a green salad.


What does this have to do with making a jam glaze? you ask. 

Well, she also sent over a plain white cheesecake. Plain. White. Cheesecake.

R quipped, "Mamma, we're so proud of you that you didn't make your own birthday cake this year!"

While I was grateful that my birthday dessert was taken care of, I wanted to fancy it up a little bit. So, I whipped up a jam glaze with Friend in Cheeses Jam Co.'s brand new Prickly Purple Heart Jam and topped it all with some edible flowers I had on-hand.  Happy birthday to me!!


This recipe is more of a procedure. Use whatever jam or jelly you have. Use any liquid you want, even liqueurs would be fantastic.


Ingredients


Procedure
Place the jam and liquid - either simple syrup or water - in a small skillet. Heat until the jam is melted and loosened into a sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring over whatever you're glazing. If you want it to set quickly, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Kheema Aloo Burgers with Fresh Mango Chutney Wrapped in Garlic Naan for #BurgerMonth2016


Each year, Kita at Girl Carnivore coordinates a month-long event that makes my three carnivores so, so happy. Okay, I know they're actually omnivores, but you know what I mean.

Click for the 2016 burgers so far: here. We have 31 days of burgers planned. Here's the 2015 line-up, where I made a salmon burger on cuttlefish ink buns.


When I served this - Kheema Aloo Burgers with Fresh Mango Chutney Wrapped in Garlic Naan - the Precise Kitchen Elf asked, "Is this for an event, Mom?" Yes, it's for Burger Month." He continued, "I love Burger Month!" The other two chimed in immediately, "We love Burger Month, too!!"


Inspired by a stop at Curry Up in Palo Alto a few months ago, I was intrigued by the flavors in Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's samosa burger and decided to create a burger with an Indian twist for my Burger Month offering. It's a triple layer of deliciousness on a garlic naan: jeera aloo topped with a kheema-inspired burger and a dollop of fresh mango chutney. Delish.


Jeera aloo is a vegetarian Indian dish made with potatoes, cumin seeds and Indian spices.


Kheema is a traditional meat dish made with minced meet, ghee or butter, onions, garlic, ginger, chilis, and other spices. I couldn't decide between using beef or lamb since both Certified Angus Beef® Brand and the American Lamb Board are #BurgerMonth sponsors. So, I did the only fair thing: I used both!



For some reason I couldn't locate any ground Certified Angus Beef® Brand in my market, so I ended up mincing it myself...with my knife. Many, many, many cuts. But it was worth it.


Ingredients

This is a multiple step recipe as I really wanted all of the elements to be infused with an Indian feel. It was! If you want to buy mango chutney, that will save you time, but it's really so easy and tasty when you make your own!

Burgers makes 4 servings
  • 3/4 lb minced lamb
  • 3/4 lb minced beef (prefer Certified Angus Beef® Brand)
  • 2 T fresh cilantro
  • 1 T fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 t fresh lemon zest
  • 1 t fresh lemongrass
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 4 garlic naan for serving


Jeera Aloo
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, parboiled
  • 3 T ghee or oil
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • ½ t grated turmeric 
  • ½ t grated ginger
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly ground salt 
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ C fresh cilantro, chopped


Fresh Mango Chutney
  • 2 C fresh mango, cut into chunks
  • 1 C chopped sweet peppers (I used a variety of yellow and red peppers)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 fresh turmeric, peeled and minced
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt

Procedure

Burger
Add all of the ingredients - except for the naan - to a large mixing bowl. Mix until well-combined. Form the meat into 4 equal size patties, or 8 smaller patties. Place on a parchment-lined plate and set aside until ready to cook. Cook, as desired, on a grill or on the stove with  grill pan.

Jeera Aloo
Quarter the baby potatoes lengthwise or cube if using larger potatoes. In a large, flat-bottom pan, melt the ghee or heat your oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them toast and sizzle. Add the grated turmeric and ginger and cook until aromatic. Add the potatoes and cook until fork-tender, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the cilantro leaves and set aside until ready to serve.


Fresh Mango Chutney
Combine all of the ingredients - through turmeric on the list - in a large, flat-bottom pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender and mixture is thickened. Stir in the lemon juice, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Let simmer for an additional 5 minutes. It will thick as it cools.

To Serve
Toast your naan in the oven or on a skillet and lay on a plate. Place a scoop of the jeera aloo on the naan and flatten a bit. Place  cooked patty on the potatoes. Top with 1 heaping T of mango chutney. Garnish with a fresh cilantro leaf, if desired.

I needed to make a gluten-free version for my husband, so we just skipped the naan.


And, on the side, I made baked okra fries. Click for my Baked Okra Fries recipe.


Where this epic burger creation is my own for #BurgerMonth 2016, I would love to thank Certified Angus Beef® BrandChar-broil, KitchenIQ, Cabot Cheese, Grill Masters ClubAmerican Lamb BoardCowboy Charcoal and CuttingBoard.com for the kick butt grill prize packages! There are new prize packages for each week.

This Week's Prizes
  • KitchenIQ V-etched Container Grater ($39.99)
  • American Lamb
  • Cabot cheese box
  • Cert Angus Beef
  • Charbroil Grill
  • Cowboy Charcoal Samplers
  • Cuttingboard.com cutting board
  • GrillMasters Club Box

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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