Monday, May 25, 2015

The Awesome #Giveaway and Generous #Sponsors for #HotSummerEats

Hot Summer Eats is almost here. I have rallied a talented group of 18 food bloggers who will be posting recipes for an entire week. From June 1st through June 8th, we hope to inspire you for your summer grill dates and cookouts, provide you with ideas for your beach bonfires, and get you planning those ice cream socials and cocktail hours. Not only will you find over a hundred summery recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See details below.

The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)


The Prizes
BenBella Vegan will provide one winner with one print copy of each of their Spring 2015 releases: Love Fed, by Christina Ross (March 2015); PlantPure Nation Cookbook, by Kim Campbell (March 2015); Plant-Powered Families, by Dreena Burton (May 2015); Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living, by Lindsay S. Nixon (May 2015); and China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, by Del Sroufe (May 2015).

Casabella will provide one winner with a trio of kitchen gadgets that are perfect for summer entertaining: a set of two large ice cube trays; a citrus juicer and reamer; and a cherry pitter.

Gourmet Garden will provide one winner with each of their stir-in pastes (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, dill, Italian herbs, garlic, chunky garlic, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, and Thai seasonings), each of their lightly dried herbs (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, ginger, and parsley), and two Gourmet Garden logo coolers.

Not Ketchup will provide one winner with a prize pack of four fruit ketchups - Blueberry White Pepper, Cherry Chipotle, Spiced Fig, and Smoky Date.

Quirk Books will send one winner a copy of their cookbook Summer Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa, photography by Tara Striano.

Spicely Organics will send one winner their Backyard Barbeque Gift Box.

T.Lish will provide one winner with each of the three current flavors: Sweet Garlic, Asian Sesame, and Chipotle.

Members of the Sauceology Group have donated a summery prize pack that includes six delicious products. You will receive either the Calypso Kick or Island Thyme Spice Rub from Caribeque, Garlic Goodness Hot Sauce and Chai Curry Chup from Intensity Academy, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette from Out of the Weeds, Guava Girl Gourmet Grilling Sauce from Pirate Jonny's, and Southern Gold Barbeque Gold Sauce from Voodoo Chef.

The Giveaway
begins June 1st and ends June 8th
If you are visiting before the rafflecopter opens, please check back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer - Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny's, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pickled Shrimp with Pico de Gallo for #SundaySupper


Today, in honor of Memorial Day, the Foodie Stuntman - DB! -  at Crazy Foodie Stunts is hosting #SundaySupper with a red, white, and blue theme. I only managed two of the three colors. What a fun list of dishes today.

Ingredients
Pickled Shrimp

  • 1 T peppercorns (I used a mixture of black and green)
  • 2 t coriander seeds
  • 1/2 C vinegar (I used a white 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 serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 8 to 10 kaffir lime leaves

Pico de Gallo
  • 1 T vinegar (I used a white vinegar)
  • juice from 1 orange
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 banana peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 1 hatch chile, deseeded and diced
  • 1 C fresh tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, but use what you have)
  • 1/4 C organic cilantro leaves, chopped
  • pinch of fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Pickled Shrimp
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.


Pico de Gallo
Place all of the ingredients - except for the salt and pepper - in a small mixing bowl. Blend gently and let stand for 15 minutes to blend flavors. To make this more spicy, just hotter peppers such as a habanero or jalapeno.

Serve at room temperature. This salsa stays fresh for up to 3 hours. If you refrigerate it, use quickly because it will begin to ferment.

Serve shrimp on individual plates with a topping of the pico de gallo.

Here's what the rest of the #SundaySupper crew brought to the table...
Food Using One Color 
Red Food
White Food
Blue Food
Food Using Two Colors 
Red and White Food
Blue and White Food
Red, White and Blue Food

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest boardWould you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Locavore Cooking Class + Wine Pairing Dinner Donors - THANK YOU!

A few months ago a friend asked if I would be willing to go in on donating a dinner to a local auction. I agreed. All I needed to do was secure the wine donations and come up with a menu and the recipes. Done!

I am going to keep the menu a secret for now, but wanted to thank the donors for making this a success. I will be cooking with CSA goodies from High Ground Organics in Watsonville....




And we'll be pairing wines from Scheid Vineyards in Greenfield, Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles, and Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley.



Stay tuned for the menu and recipe posts from the event which is happening tomorrow night. Very excited.

The 'So-You-Don't-Die' Rhubarb Pies


When Pia picked up our CSA boxes from High Ground Organics last week, there was rhubarb in it...and fava greens. I'm allergic to fava beans and didn't think I should risk eating the greens though they were very pretty.

Pia must have been thinking the same thing because she handed me my produce and offered: "How about I take your fava greens so you don't die. I'll give you my rhubarb and you can make me a pie?!" Fine. She and Brian were leaving for their anniversary weekend, so I whipped up some portable pies in my heart-shaped springform pans.  Brian said, "Thanks, but what is she going to eat?" He didn't realize there were four pies in that box!

I switched it up from my usual rhubarb pie by making a rhubarb compote and folding fresh rhubarb slices into it before spooning it into the pie crust to bake. Delicious!

Yuzu-Scented Pâte Brisée
I started with my usual Pâte Brisée and added a splash of yuzu liqueur because I thought it would complement the tartness of the rhubarb. This is a super easy, fantastically flaky crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 1 C butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 t yuzu liqueur
  • 6 to 8 T ice water
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar 

Procedure
I don't have a food processor, so I use a pastry blender and do it all by hand. Place the flour, ground almonds, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add yuzu liqueur. Then add ice water 1 T at a time, until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and cut again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough. Once the dough comes together into a ball, set 1/2 c of the dough aside and wrap the rest tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

While the crust chills, make your rhubarb compote. With the remaining dough, cut in 2 T organic granulated sugar to make large crumbs.

Roll out the Pâte Brisée between two pieces of parchment paper and lay it over your springform pans with a removable bottom. Gently press the crust into your pan, carefully removing the excess crust from the top of the pan.

Rhubarb Compote + Pie Filling
Ingredients
  • 5 to 6 C fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1" pieces and divided in half
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t yuzu liqueur

Procedure
Stir sugar and 2-1/2 to 3 C of rhubarb together in a large saucepan. Let macerate until rhubarb releases some liquid, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add liqueur and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has broken down but some whole pieces remain, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining rhubarb pieces.

Assembly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the compote filling between the crusts and top with the crust crumbles. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is lightly browned.

Serve hot or cold.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Yam Nuea Yang (Spicy Thai Beef Salad) for the Beef Checkoff #SundaySupper


This week, in conjunction with the Beef Checkoff, the #SundaySupper tastemaking team is sharing recipes that help make every meal count, offering people tasty ways to eat protein-rich foods at every meal. Here are some helpful resources for you: a sheet for how to stock your protein pantry and tips on easy ways to add protein. Additionally, the #SundaySupper team has cooked up six breakfast dishes, seven lunch dishes, and seven dinner dishes to inspire you through the 30 Day Protein Challenge - and beyond.

The 30 Day Protein Challenge is a fun, step-by-step way to help you get an optimal amount of protein throughout your day. Significant research shows that some people can lose and/or maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy metabolism, and age more vibrantly when they consume more high-quality protein, within calorie goals.

My relationship with beef has a checkered past. For the greater part of a decade - through my teens and early 20s - I didn't eat beef or any other kind of meat. I was a vegetarian. But after six or seven years, despite creating complete proteins by combining vegetable foods, I began to notice unwelcome changes. I know this might sound frivolous and vain, however, for a mid-20s gal, thinning hair and brittle fingernails is problematic. Really problematic. So, I began to ease back into being an omnivore. I started with seafood first, then added in chicken, pork, and beef slowly. Now, I can't imagine not eating beef! It's versatile and tasty.


It's important to me that my kids understand from where their food comes. I want them to know that meat comes from an animal; it doesn't just appear wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store.


Luckily I have a couple of friends who have beef cattle. So, when we were invited to a friend's ranch in south Monterey County, to help with the tagging and branding of some calves, I said 'yes!'


Sometimes, when we're eating beef, my littlest kitchen elf queries, "Have I met this beef?" 

His brother corrects him, "You mean cow. Your question should be 'Have I met this cow?'"

"No, I know what I mean. A cow has legs...and ears...and a tail....like Uncle Brian's cows. This is beef!" he gestures insistently at the plate. "Have I met this beef?"


Yam Nuea Yang (Spicy Thai Beef Salad)
by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Yam Nuea Yang, a spicy beef salad from Thailand, is a fabulous summer meal. You can cook the meat and make the dressing ahead of time. So, it's quick to assemble your salad for lunch or dinner the following day. For the record, my version is slightly less than traditional as I add in many different vegetables. Your typical Yam Nuea Yang is usually just meat, tomatoes, and onions in a spicy dressing. Regardless, it's a filling, hearty meal. And its spiciness pairs with the freshness from the citrus and herbs to make it a delight for the taste buds.

A note on the cut because I've seen different discussion streams that people outside of California are unfamiliar with the tri-tip. Tri-tip is a tender, lean beef cut that was primarily marketed in California and is still sometimes called a Santa Maria steak. Other names are bottom sirloin roast and triangle roast. If you don't see it in the meat case, you may need to request it from your butcher. 

Ingredients makes 4 entree sized portions
Beef

  • 1 to 2 pound tri tip roast (mine was cut into three steaks)
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1 t fresh minced lemongrass
  • 1 t fresh minced ginger
  • 1 t fresh minced chilis
  • 1 T fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 T fresh minced garlic
  • olive oil for searing

Salad

  • 3 tomatoes,sliced into wedges
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 mini yellow peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 purple carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, some leaves intact and some chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, some leaves intact and some chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai basil, some leaves intact and some chopped


Dressing

  • 1 T organic dark brown sugar
  • juice from 1 organic Meyer lemon (lime is traditional, but we have a Meyer lemon tree and I use what I have!)
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 1 t fresh minced ginger
  • 1 t fresh minced chilis
  • 1 T fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 T fresh minced garlic

Procedure
Beef
Let beef come to room temperature. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, lemongrass, ginger, chilis, cilantro, and garlic till it forms a paste. Rub the paste evenly over the meat until it is completely coated. Preheat oven to 425°F.

Heat olive oil in large, flat bottom pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking, then sear steaks for 1 minute on each side. Transfer beef to a rimmed baking dish and roast to desired doneness. Here's a rough guide to internal temperatures...

  • Rare: 120 to 125°F - the center is red, approximately 25 minutes.
  • Medium Rare: 130 to 135°F - the center is very pink, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Medium: 140 to 145°F - the center is light pink, approximately 40 minutes.
  • Medium Well: 150 to 155°F - the center has no pink, approximately 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and tent with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.


Salad
Arrange all of the ingredients on your serving plates. I just try to balance layers and color.

Dressing
Place all of your ingredients in a small mixing bowl.Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust as needed. The key to the dressing is to achieve a balance between the sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors.

To Serve
Top the vegetables with thinly sliced beef. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Here's what the rest of the #SundaySupper team made...

Start your day deliciously:
Power up at lunch:
Make a fantastically satisfying Sunday Supper:
Get your knife supply ready:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. We have a special Sunday Supper Protein Packed Recipes Pinterest board as well.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
 It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.


You'll find The Beef Checkoff: on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

Friday, May 15, 2015

#HotSummerEats: Getting Ready for the Summer Season


So, when I was debating on a theme for my next blogging event, I decided to wrangle some of my favorite foodie bloggers to create and share recipes to get you in the mood for summer. Think grill dates, cookouts, bonfires, ice cream socials, and more. 

What does summer cooking mean to you?

WHO
Me plus these seventeen fabulous food bloggers, listed alphabetically with links to their homepages...


WHAT
An online event showcasing recipes that are perfect for the summer. AND we have a great giveaway thanks to some incredibly generous sponsors, listed alphabetically with links to their homepages. Details on the prizes and how to enter the raffle coming soon!



WHEN
The event runs from Monday, June 1st through Monday, June 8th - with 18 bloggers sharing summery bites. We kick off in just over two weeks. Can't wait!

WHERE
Find posts on our blogs and shared across social media platforms with the hashtag #HotSummerEats. We will be chatting on twitter - Saturday, June 6th from 8am to 9am Pacific time.

WHY
Because it's about to get hot. Hope we inspire you to create some fantastic meals for the season.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#PeterBsWingsContest: A Winning Recipe


When I saw #PeterBsWingsContest - a cooking contest to create a chicken wings sauce using one of Peter B's brews - announced on Peter B's Facebook page, I was inspired. I created a sauce showcasing a stout then I submitted my Sumpin' Stout Doubled Down Chicken Wings to the contest...and waited.


Yesterday, the chef at Peter B's recreated all the entries - or maybe just the finalists' entries, I'm not sure - and six different recipes were judged by the Beer Geeks, the Grub Hunter, and Peter B's brewmaster Kevin Clark AKA Chris, Merideth, Mike, and Kevin. I was oddly nervous that a professional chef was making one of my recipes. Here's the crew, judging the dishes during Pub Talk last night.

The Judges, photo via the Peter B's Brewpub facebook page

Here's what the wings looked like, coming out of Peter B's kitchen...

The Wings, photo via the Peter B's Brewpub facebook page

I was on assignment somewhere else, so I didn't attend the tasting. When I got back home later (and to my laptop), I saw that one of the Beer Geeks had tweeted me: "You won...I took your prize since you weren't here." He was kidding. I hope he was kidding!

I also received a text from another friend and an email from yet another. "I heard your name on KRML this afternoon winning 1st place for some chicken wings! LOL! Way to go!"

I liked the challenge they posed. I really liked the culinary adventure of creating a new dish. And, I'll be honest, I loved winning the contest!

Look for the post of about Jake's and my Peter B's adventure later. That's what I won - dinner for two and a night at the hotel. Can you say 'stay-cation'?? Love it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Upside-Down Spiced Cherry Cake

Last week we were invited to our friends' house for dinner. When I asked what we could bring, she answered, "Bring dessert!" Sure thing. I debated and decided to bring two desserts. This was the first one I made.


Ingredients
  • 2 C cherries, pitted
  • butter for the pan
  • brown sugar for the pan
  • 3/4 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 C organic brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 C ginger syrup
  • 1/2 C organic sour cream
  • 2 T olive oil
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter your baking dish and spread a thin layer of brown sugar over the bottom. Arrange cherries in a single layer on top of the brown sugar.

Blend all other ingredients to form a batter and pour over cherries. Ensure that the batter goes to the edge of the pan; it's alright if the bottoms of the cherries are still showing - the cake batter will rise and you'll invert to serve.

Bake until cake is a deep brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 50 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a serving plate or board. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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