Saturday, March 28, 2015

Redemption: Kouign Amann v.2

Remember when I made briquettes? Well, I couldn't let that failure stand. So, the day after I completely failed at creating those dreamy, buttery, flaky morsels, I went back into the kitchen and gave it another try. This time - success!



Ingredients

  • 1 C water, room temperature
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 C flour, divided
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/2 C cold salted butter + more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 C organic granulated sugar, divided, plus extra for shaping the pastries
  • ground cardamom for sprinkling

Procedure
Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes for the yeast to bloom. Add 2 1/2 C of the flour, keeping 1/4 C for later, and the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour.


Once the dough has doubled, place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or as long as overnight. Pound the butter into rectangle. Some people use a ruler and make it very precise. I am less-precise. Wrap the butter in parchment and chill with the dough.

When you're ready, sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour and place dough on top. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12"x 20". Remember, I'm less than precise, but it was around that size.


Remove the butter from the fridge and lay it in the middle of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough in to form an envelope.


It should look like this...


Using the rolling pin, roll it out to 12"20" again. This time, fold one third of the dough over the other third, like folding a letter. 

Now you have to turn the dough. This process was new to me. Turning the dough, by rolling and folding, creates very thin layers of butter and dough. This recipe needs to be turned 4 times: 2 turns now, and then the final 2 turns after you chill the dough. If the butter pushes through a layer of dough, rub it with a little flour. If the butter seems to be melting, chill the dough for 30 minutes between each turn. Keep the parchment, the rolling pin, and the surface of the pastry well-floured.

To turn: Rotate the package of dough and butter so that the narrower, open end is facing you, like the pages of a book.


Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up, again like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you. Repeat. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up. That's 2 turns.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Do not refrigerate much longer than 30 minutes or the butter will break when you roll it out.

Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer it to a well-floured parchment. With the open end facing you, roll the dough out to a rectangle, again. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat. That's 4 turns.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Rub the insides of a muffin tins with butter. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4" thick. Sprinkle 1 C of sugar and ground cardamom over the top of the dough. Slice the dough into twelve squares.

Pull the corners of each square toward the center. Transfer the dough to the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops of the pastries. Cover the kouign amann loosely and let rise until slightly puffy, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 400°F about half-way through the rise.

Place the kouign amann in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350°F. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Pastries are finished when the tops are deep golden and the tips look as if they might be just starting to burn.

Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the baking dish but be sure remove them after that. If they cool completely in the baking dish, they will be impossible to remove. Gently wiggle them out of the tray, then transfer the kouign amann to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Best served the day they are baked.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Blossom Syrup from #FlowersandGin


Last week I went to #FlowersandGin - and I still do need to post about that class - where we infused booze and a cold-process simple syrup with foraged, seasonal deliciousness. It was a lovely evening with some lovely gals. Thanks, Katie and Lolo!


I received an email reminder last night to check my syrup. So, this morning, I gave it a taste and was happy with the level of flavor. I strained out the blossoms and transferred the syrup into two small bottles.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • water, enough to fill the jar
  • blossoms (I used a combination of elderflowers, jasmine, violet, chamomile, white sage, and comfrey)

Procedure
Place sugar in a mason jar. Place your blossoms on top of the sugar. Fill the jar with cool water.


Tighten the lid onto the jar and shake. Shake. Shake. Shake. And, then, shake some more. Shake till the sugar is completely dissolved and the blossoms are bruised.


Let stand for up to a week - really it's for as long or as short as your palate desires. Mine was infusing for six days. Pour the syrup through a strainer to remove the blooms. Then pour into small bottles.


Interesting note: when I smelled the syrup the evening I made it, the chamomile was overpowering. Over the course of six days, the scents and flavors mellowed out and I now have a mild, floral syrup. No single flower stands out. I love it!

Now I'm ready to play. Any suggestions as to what I should make?? I'm all ears.

Tasting Notes: Tarpy's Roadhouse

Fifteen years ago, Jake and I celebrated our wedding with a beautiful, sun-kissed afternoon on the upper patio at Tarpy's Roadhouse.

Funny story: when we told my parents that's where we had chosen for the reception, my mom pitched a fit. "Why are we having your reception at a roadhouse? What does that mean anyway? Roadhouse. That doesn't sound appetizing at all!" she objected.

It's just a name, Mom. I assure you there are no animals or carriages there anymore. And it's close to the church.

She assented and we have a lovely lunch surrounded by friends and family. The meal was served in the library and on the patio. Then we danced and sipped the afternoon away and - yes, it's true - I won the limbo contest in my wedding dress.

So, when my parents offered to keep the boys overnight for our anniversary, I dug out a gift certificate that a friend had given us during the holidays. I heard that Tarpy's had rolled out a new menu and I figured it was a fitting evening to try it. We haven't eaten there in years. I think the last time we ate there together was the day I found out I was pregnant with D. Yes, it's been that long. I've eaten there for work meetings and for girls' nights, but I hadn't been there with Jake in over a decade.

We had just hit two different wine tasting rooms, so we didn't order any wine with dinner. And I had my Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake waiting for us at home, so we didn't order dessert either. But we sampled two bites offerings, one salad, one entree, and two veggie sides. These two were my favorites...


Coal-roasted beets. These magenta lovelies were swimming in a pool of cumin-scented yogurt and sprinkled with Pistachio Dukkah. The beets were perfectly done.


Blistered Salmon Belly Bun. If there's salmon belly on the menu, I'll order it. No matter what. I should have skipped our entree and ordered two more of these! It's served with charred okra, scallions, sambal and honey. Nicely done.

And though I didn't take photos of them, our veggie sides were tasty, too. We ordered Bacon Braised Chard and Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Leaves with Bourbon Syrup.

The two larger items we ordered - the salad and the main dish - were just okay. They were interesting combinations of flavors, in theory, but execution was slightly off in my opinion. So, I'm glad we tried out the new menu...I'm just really glad I had a gift certificate to cover it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Apricot Apple Pie & Whiskey Sours Helped Us #PartyLikeaMadMan


When the authors of The Unofficial Man Men Cookbook extended an invitation to toast the Mad Men Season Finale at their Mad Men Blogger Virtual Dinner Party, I almost skipped reading the rest of the email because, well, I had never seen Mad Men. Then I discovered I can stream the episodes on Netflix. Sweet. So, over the course of several weeks, my husband and I knocked out five seasons! We're still plugging away on the sixth.

But this cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin - below along with the seasons on DVD - inspired me to host a Mad Men-themed Party for one of my best friend's 42nd birthday celebration.

Along with another friend, who borrowed the cookbook to pick some recipes, we whipped up Sterling Cooper Blini and Caviar, Classic Shrimp Cocktail, Jackie Kennedy's Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa, Betty's Swedish Meatballs, and Trudy's Ribeye in the Pan. We planned on letting the kids try the Popcorn Balls, but my air-popper decided to poop out that evening. Boo. However, the kids really enjoyed eating the marshmallows by the handful.

The two recipes I'll share today have special meaning to me...and the birthday girl. At least this first one does. The second? Well, it's not a celebration without some festive libations.

I have been friends with Jenn since we were in high school. And while most teenagers were probably out on dates on a Friday night, you could usually find me and Jenn at home. Most Friday evenings, we'd have dinner, bake an apple pie, and watch movies. Yes, we were hell-raisers, weren't we? Apple pie and movies...I can only hope that when my boys are teenagers, that will appeal to them. I'm not too hopeful, but maybe I'll entice them with some really awesome pie!

Henry and Betty's Apricot Apple Pie
~ Culinary Adventures with Camilla
adapted from The Unofficial Man Men Cookbook 

I used my own crust recipe, spiked with a little booze; but I (mostly) followed the recipe for the filling. I did reduce the sugar a bit and added a few more spices. I would never have thought to add apricots to an apple pie. And, when it came to serving, everyone opted for ice cream - versus cheddar cheese. For the grown-ups, I upped the ante even more by drizzling the entire thing with an ice cider. Delish!

Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 T cold water
  • 2 T rye whiskey

Filling
  • 1/2 C dried apricots, sliced into thin strips
  • 5-6 C apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3 T flour
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • dash of ground ginger
  • lemon juice from one organic lemon
  • 1 T butter

Procedure
Crust
Place the butter cubes, flour, sugar, and ground almonds in a large mixing bowl. I used to use a pastry cutter, but after watching a pastry chef, I have started pressing the butter by hand. Flatten the butter by hand into leaves, blending it in to the flour. Add in the water and whiskey and press the dough together till it comes together into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper.

Transfer the crust to a pie pan. Trim to the correct size. Crimp the edges and prick the crust with a fork. Place the crust in the freezer to chill while you preheat the oven and prepare the filling. Refrigerate any remaining dough for the top of the pie.

Filling
Place dried apricots in a small saucepan, covered with water. Cook over medium heat until softened, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the apples and apricots with flour, sugar, spices, and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into the prepared crust and dot with butter.

If you had extra dough, roll it out and cut it into strips. Form a lattice over the top of the fruit.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes - until the crust is crisp and golden.

Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with melted cheese or ice cream.

Playboy Whiskey Sour
~ Culinary Adventures with Camilla
adapted from The Unofficial Man Men Cookbook 

I skipped the sugar completely, but added a little sweetness with a ginger syrup. If you don't want the ginger flavor, use a simple syrup instead. And I upped the lemon juice for a bigger pucker factor. For us the maraschino cherries were not optional; they were mandatory. And, in a few drinks, we plunked in some boozy blueberries, too.
Ingredients make 1 cocktail
  • 2 ounces whiskey (I had a small batch rye whiskey)
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 t ginger syrup
  • 1 organic lemon wedge
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • ice cubes
Procedure
Add whiskey, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and ice cubes to a cocktail strainer. Shake well. Strain into a prechilled class. Garnish with a lemon wedge and cherries.


What a FUN, FUN party. I can't wait to see what the other bloggers did to #PartyLikeaMadMan. Thanks, Judy and Peter, for the fantastic, easy-to-follow recipes. Our nibbles and sips were amazing. Jenn felt very celebrated...and we were all happily stuffed and sauced.

Below are affiliate links to amazon for the cookbook and the seasons on DVD.

     
   

Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake + Waaaaaayyy More Than #FifteenCheesecakes


My husband Jake and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage today. Fifteen years. On one hand that feels like a lifetime; on the other, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.

In this past decade and a half, we've had two kids, lived in two states and five different houses, and juggled probably about dozen different jobs between us. We've been to Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona; we've traveled to Italy and Costa Rica. We've SCUBA'd, zip-lined, canoed, and tangoed. It's been an amazing adventure.

But it's also been work. Don't let anyone tell you that marriage is easy.

So, today, as we celebrate fifteen years, I have an amazing crew of foodie bloggers lined up to share cheesecake recipes with you. Initially I put out a call for fifteen cheesecakes - hence the hashtag #FifteenCheesecakes - but the spots filled up within an hour and I had more friends who wanted to participate. So, I figured: you can never have enough cheesecakes, right?!? We had seven cheesecakes at our wedding instead of a traditional wedding cake. So, maybe more than fifteen cheesecakes made sense here. I removed the cap on the event and off we went.

Thanks, all, for helping me celebrate 15 years with 
Waaaaaayyy More Than #FifteenCheesecakes! 
Here's what everyone else brought to the cheesecake table...listed in alphabetical order.


Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon Gelée by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Sopapilla Puff Pastry Cheesecake by Pink Cake Plate
SkinnyVanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

And though I was really tempted to make a savory cheesecake for the occasion, I ended up going sweet with a matcha cheesecake spiked with yuzu liqueur and glazed with a Meyer lemon gelée. Thanks to Shiho for the bottle of yuzu booze. You know what I like!

Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake with a Meyer Lemon Gelée
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Crust
Mix all of the ingredients together until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a springform pan that's been wrapped in foil. Chill crust while preparing filling.

Filling
  • three 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 C organic sour cream
  • 2 T yuzu liqueur
  • 1 T matcha green tea powder
  • zest from one organic Meyer lemon
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Beat cream cheese in large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs - one at a time. Finally, mix in sour cream, yuzu liqueur, matcha green tea powder, and lemon zest. Spoon filling into prepared crust.

Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan and place some water-filled ramekins on the tray as well. Bake until cheesecake puffs around edges, approximately 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, leaving oven door ajar.


Sour Cream Topping
  • 2 C organic sour cream
  • 1 T yuzu liqueur
  • 1 T organic dark brown sugar
Beat the ingredients together. Spread over the cheese cake and bake in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Let cool for an hour and prepare the Meyer lemon gelée.

Meyer Lemon Gelée
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • Juice from 4-5 organic Meyer lemons, approximately 12 T
  • 4 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t cornstarch
In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 4 tablespoons of the juice; let stand until soft, about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and 8 tablespoons juice to a boil. Combine remaining juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved; then, whisk into boiling lemon juice. Remove from heat. Stir in softened gelatin. Cool to lukewarm, and spoon over cake. Let set.

Run a butter knife around pan edge to loosen cake. Cool completely. Remove foil from pan sides. Chill some more. Remove pan sides to serve. Slice into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Foraging Miner's Lettuce


While I've been more inspired this Spring, after having attended the Cooking Class at the Big Sur Foragers' Festival, I am still wary of foraging edibles unless I am absolutely certain of what it is. Maybe I need a pocket guide book for my area. In any case, I know what miners' lettuce is. So, when we came across a verdant patch during a Sunday morning hike, we paused for a nibble and plucked a small bag full of them for salad later that afternoon.

Miners' lettuce. Claytonia perfoliata. If you've never tried it, it's mild, pleasingly crunchy, and is so loaded with vitamins it  can stave off scurvy. The plant took its common name from Gold Rush miners who ate it to avoid a massive vitamin C deficiency.

Typically when I make a salad, I mix greens to create a variety of flavors and textures, but I prefer to eat miner’s lettuce alone. All it needs is a light coating of vinaigrette.

I whisked together a light mustard vinaigrette and added some freshly ground green peppercorns and a little fleur de sel for texture and crunch. The result is a tart, smooth, crunchy, and very Spring-tasting salad.

Miners' lettuce is also known as winter purslane (they’re both in the portulaca family). If you have ever eaten summer purslane, you can appreciate - and recognize - the succulent texture of this plant.

The best leaves flourish in the shade. Once picked, miners' lettuce leaves will last in a bag in the fridge for up to five days. Keep a damp paper towel in the bag to keep everything nice and fresh. I've included an affiliate link to the reusable produce bags that I use for miners' lettuce and other produce.


Do you forage? Have you ever had miners' lettuce?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Crab-Stuffed Artichokes with a Cajun-Garlic Aioli #BloggerRecipeChallenge


I created this recipe as an entry for the 2015 Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Recipe Challenge.*

With my recipe, I wanted to honor local farmers by including artichokes - I am only about 5 miles from the self-proclaimed 'Artichoke Capital of the World - and local fisherman since it's still crab season.

So, this was a natural combination for my recipe submission for the 2015 Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Recipe Challenge: crab-stuffed artichokes. And, with the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Cajun Seafood Blend, I created a Cajun-garlic aioli whose spicy tanginess perfectly complements the sweet meatiness of the artichokes.

Crab-Stuffed Artichokes with a Cajun-Garlic Aioli 
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 large artichokes
  • salt
  • water
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
Stuffing
  • 1 ¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 t Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Cajun Seafood Blend
  • 1 C panko bread crumbs
  • 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T fresh chopped basil
  • 1 t fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 C crabmeat, cooked, cooled, and cleaned 
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Cajun-Garlic Aioli

Procedure
Artichokes
De-stem the artichokes and pull off the small leaves at the bottom. With a sharp knife, slice off the top inch of each artichoke. Then, use kitchen shears to trim off the spiky ends of the remaining
leaves.


Simmer the artichokes in a large pot of lightly salted water over medium heat until the bases are tender, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.


Transfer the artichokes to a colander and let them drain upside down until cool. Once they are cool, you can scoop the center leaves out, leaving a hollow for your stuffing.


Stuffing
While the chokes are cooling, make the stuffing. Place all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and combine thoroughly with a wooden spoon - or your hands! Set aside.


Assembly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Gently pry apart the artichoke leaves and pack a spoonful of the stuffing in between. Place the stuffed artichokes in a rimmed baking dish and pack their middles with the rest of the breadcrumb mixture.


Cover the dish with foil and bake the artichokes for 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking the artichokes until the stuffing is golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes more.

Cajun-Garlic Aioli
While the artichokes are baking, make the aioli. Place all of the ingredients - except the olive oil - in a blender.


Blend to combine. With the blender on low, drizzle the olive oil in slowly. Let each addition incorporate into the egg mixture before adding more. As more oil is incorporated, you can add the oil more quickly.


Season to taste with freshly ground salt and freshly  ground pepper.

To Serve
Garnish the artichokes with parsley and serve immediately with the aioli on the side.


*I received a complimentary pouch of Cajun Seafood Spice Blend by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends for participating in this recipe contest. Feel free to use whatever Cajun spice blend you have on-hand. I received no additional compensation for this post; all comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.

Kitchen Flop: I Made Briquettes!


I think it's just as important to show kitchen flops as it is to celebrate culinary triumphs. So, I'm sharing the day I made briquettes, instead of the kouign amann I had intended to make.

Failing at a recipe means that you know what to do differently next time; or, at least, you know one thing you would change. In this case, I was trying to do too many things at a time and completely forgot they were in the oven. Boo.

I wanted to bake a special birthday treat for one of my best friends. I diligently set the dough to rise. I enveloped a layer of butter in the dough. I folded, flattened, and folded again. I let it rise. And the dough looked fantastic.

Then the morning I was going to bake it, I had one strike after another that ended with me running out to do an errand. How did I forget they were in the oven?? This is what happened. Little dough briquettes!


I texted Jenn: Nevermind about coming to find me on campus, I burned the kouign amann. Ugh.

But since the inside of the briquettes look pillowy and tasty, I knew I had a good dough recipe. And I knew I had to try again. That post is coming. This kitchen flop fed a fierce determination to do it correctly next time. I did. Stay tuned.

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