Monday, September 15, 2014

Delicious Cookie Delivery {Review}




Just before we were running out the door for our weekend camping trip, I saw a box on our doorstep. I grabbed it and ran! Turns out it was my thank you package from Susan at The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen; I had donated - happily - to her kickstarter project awhile back and have watched her progress from idea to implemention. She's awesome, by the way. Here's her Bake Shop...


First, I have a funny story about Susan, given that we've never met in person, but I've been following her for a couple of years online.

I was binge-watching Best Food Ever and it was an episode about food trucks; they were talking about a truck that does Belgian waffles in Brooklyn. I was listening, but not totally watching. I glanced up from my laptop and saw Susan and her husband taking a bite out of the same waffle, Lady and the Tramp style. It was adorable. I think I must have shrieked 'I know her!' because my husband woke up with a start. Whoops. It was just so exciting.

But this is about her cookies! She had included her Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies, Triple Choc-o-lot Cookies, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies, and a bonus jar of Vanilla Salt that I am going to hoard till I come up with a great recipe that deserves it.

We started with the Triple Choc-o-lot Cookies. Susan describes them as "cookies in brownie form." That is an apt description! They are rich, chocolate-y, and so, so good.


Second up: Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were perfectly crisped on the outside, toothy on the inside, speckled with vanilla and dotted with big chunks of chocolate in every bite. In every bite. Then, as if that weren't enough, she finishes it with homemade vanilla sea salt. She calls them the 'perfect chocolate chip cookie.' My Love was happy, beneath the towering redwoods, with a cookie in one hand and a beer in the other.


Lastly, we tried the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookie. I was a little dubious because - just to be completely candid - I don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...and neither do my boys. But these are amazing! Think a perfect bite of salty peanut butter with the sweetness of strawberry jam. Okay, I'm not about to start making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my boys, but I just might have to order more of these.


The Verdict: I don't often buy pre-made cookies because I do bake. I usually don't buy anything baked that has to cross the country by mail. That said, I would totally order more of her cookies - and not just because I think she's a great blogger and baker...but because her cookies are delicious and unique. I love the sweet with burst of vanilla salt and salty peanut butter plus sweet strawberry. She has the flavor combination thing down. Nice job, Susan!

Hunting for Pink Pearls




Let me back up a bit. A couple of weeks ago, Jake and I went to a Farmers' Market Pop-Up Breakfast at the Scotts Valley Farmers' Market. And I discovered Pink Pearl apples. I didn't remember which farm had the apples, so I emailed and was told: Live Earth Farm. Sweet. I love that farm.


We were camping at Mount Madonna this weekend and I thought to myself: "Live Earth Farm is not too far away!" So, I left my boys at the campsite and headed down the hill. I knew that Live Earth had an honor system farmstand market and crossed my fingers that they had some Pink Pearls.

I pulled up to the stand and saw gorgeous Galas, but no Pink Pearls. So, I looked around and finally spotted Tom, Live Earth's owner, walking along the road. I waved.

"Hi, Tom!" I re-introduced myself. I had met him when I was at the farm, covering a dinner for Edible Monterey Bay. I explained that I was searching for Pink Pearls.

Apparently they are early apple and have an extremely short season. "Oh, we had four boxes like this," he said, pointing at some black crates, "but they went to Martinelli's yesterday." Bummer. "Let's see if we can find any for you." We stepped into the walk-in. No luck. "I'll tell you what...I can point you to the Pink Pearls and you can just go see what you can find." Ooooo....thanks!!


Tom set me up with a harnessed basket and, kindly, didn't laugh as I fumbled with if it went on my front or back! Off I went on my solo apple-picking adventure.



I definitely didn't get as many as I had hoped to buy. But I got an adventure out of the deal...and a good story, right? Look for these apples in recipes this week. And - next year - I'm going to buy as many Pink Pearls as I can find!

Quick Pickled Okra




I served these at my Pickle Bar this weekend and they were a favorite. So simple and so tasty. I think that even some people who were okra-shy ended up liking these! These are ready to eat after 24 hours, but I let mine pickle for 48 hours. They were delicious.

Ingredients
  • 2 C organic okra
  • 1/2 C white vinegar
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 C water
  • 3 T organic blonde coconut sugar
  • 1 T salt (I used some large-grained Monterey Bay Garlic Sea Salt)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
Procedure
Blanche the okra quickly. I place the okra in a medium saucepan, cover them with water, and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and drain immediately.

Place all of the other ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil and, then, simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the liquid over the top of the okra. Let come to room temperature.

Seal the jars and refrigerate until ready to eat. These will keep for approximately 2 weeks. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Meet the Bloggers - Summer of Summer Scraps



Counting down to #10DaysofTailgate...and meeting the folks who are making it happen. Summer is a new-to-me blogger and I am so happy to make her acquaintance. I'd like you to meet...

Summer of Summer Scraps

Summer writes: "Many people think Summer Scraps is all about scrapbooking – and while I do enjoy memory keeping Summer Scraps is so much more.  It’s about crafts, yummy recipes, diy projects, things I do with my family, my home and even my dogs!"

In the blogosphere: Summer Scraps
On Facebook: Summer Scraps
On Pinterest: Summer Scraps
On Twitter: @summerscraps
On Instagram: Summer Scraps
On Google+: Summer Rumsey


Come back on September 20th when we kick off #10DaysofTailgate. Thanks for joining in the fun, Summer! Glad to have you.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Meet the Bloggers - Laura of Miss Laura's Kitchen



Counting down to #10DaysofTailgate...and meeting the folks who are making it happen. Laura is a new-to-me blogger and I am so happy to make her acquaintance. She's planning to post a recipe every single day of the event! Help me welcome to the fun and games -

Laura of Miss Laura's Kitchen
whose motto is:
Practical cooking for practically everyone!™


She typcially eschews the spotlight. Sorry, Laura, but I have to share your blog! 

Her website exists because her husband tells her she's a remarkable cook who can “Conjure up flavors from ingredients that I would never suspect could taste that good!” So, she's a culinary magician! Said hubby convinced her the stuff she considered to be pretty normal is in fact, innovative, practical, helpful, cost-conscious and worth sharing. We are so grateful that he convinced her to start a blog.
In the blogosphere: Miss Laura's Kitchen
On Facebook: Miss Laura's Kitchen
On Twitter: @MsLaurasKitchen
On Google+: Miss Laura's Kitchen


Come back on September 20th when we kick off #10DaysofTailgate. Thanks for joining in the fun, Laura!

Friday, September 12, 2014

#winePW: Chuletas de Cordero + Tempranillo



Do you know what I love about the second Saturday of the month? It's our #winePW - Wine Pairing Weekend - reveal. I love it. The bloggers who participate love food and love wine. It's a great event from which I always make a wine shopping list. The theme for this month is: regional pairings. Here's David's September #winePW invite. Think Italian food + Italian wine or Argentinian food + Argentinian wine. Get it?

I opted for a Spanish Parrillada Mixta, mixed grill, with a bottle of Tempranillo. ¡Salud!

In the Glass...


Zumaya Tempranillo 2011 from Ribera del Duero is a basic Tempranillo from Spain. The vines are young - under 25 years in age. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and given two months in oak before bottling. The result: a dark purple wine with flavors of berries and aromas of spice. This is a youthful style of Tempranillo. Not bad. Basic.

In the Middle of the Plate... 



We made this meal at the end of a really horrible, rotten, no good day. So, I was happy to do nothing more than prep the meat and hand if off to my grill-master husband. In addition to the lamb, he grilled a full spread - in the style of a Spanish Parrillada Mixta - including marinated chicken, zucchini, mushroom, and even peaches for dessert. Thanks, Love.

The Spanish region of Castilla is famous for their lamb dishes and this, Chuletas de Cordero, is traditional and deliciously simple. It's just grilled lamb chops rubbed with garlic and salt. That's it. Basic, but fabulous.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 lamb chops
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Rinse your chops and pat them dry. Rub the minced garlic on each side of the meat. Sprinkle them with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper. Let stand for, at least, 15 minutes before grilling.

Place lamb chops on heated grill. Cook chops over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes on each side. The fat may cause flare ups on the grill, so keep a close eye on the grill. Once you remove the chops from the grill, serve the lamb immediately.


Wine Pairing Weekend #4 Bloggers
Be sure to check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the September Wine Pairing Weekend! [Note: links go blog homepages right now. I'll update to permalinks shortly.]

Be sure to check out these great pairing from my fellow #winePW 4 bloggers!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla is posting "Chuletas de Cordero + Tempranillo"
Vino Travels -- An Italian Wine Blog will share "Piedmont Pleasures"
Grape Experiences is pairing "Avantis Estate Malagousia 2013 and Greek Shrimp"
Curious Cuisiniere will share "Wisconsin Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Door County Winery's Peninsula Red"
foodwineclick is sharing "Minnesota Wine at the Midwestern Table"
Pull That Cork will be sharing "winePW 4: Sicily"
Confessions of a Culinary Diva will blog about "New Mexico: Burgers, Bubbles and Beer"
Rockin Red Blog will share about "A Rustic Meal in Valpolicella"
Cooking Chat is blogging about "A Paso Pairing: Grilled Tuna with Halter Ranch Syrah"


Join the #winePW conversation: 
Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you're getting this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme "Regional Food and Wine Pairings" on Saturday, September 13th, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time.


And that's a Wrap...
...on our September #winePW event. My Chuletas de Cordero + Zumaya Tempranillo pairing was delicious! I'll pin this recipe and other posts on my #winePW pinterest board. David, our host, also has a Wine Pairing Weekend pinterest boardStay tuned for the October Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on "Fall Fruits and Wine Pairings" on Saturday, October 11; I'll be hosting!

If you can't find Zumaya Tempranillo, swap out for any Tempranillo. And if you try this pairing - or just the wine - I would love to hear what you think. Comment below or tweet to me at @Culinary_Cam.

#10DaysofTailgate: Meet the Bloggers - Susan is The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen



Counting down to #10DaysofTailgate...and meeting the folks who are making it happen. I have a funny story about Susan, given that we've never met in person, but I've been following her for a couple of years online.

I was binge-watching Best Food Ever and it was an episode about food trucks; they were talking about a truck that does Belgian waffles in Brooklyn. I was listening, but not totally watching. I glanced up from my laptop and saw Susan and her husband taking a bite out of the same waffle, Lady and the Tramp style. It was adorable. I think I must have shrieked 'I know her!' because my husband woke up with a start. Whoops. It was just so exciting.

In any case, Susan is not just one of our bloggers, she is also one of our prize donors. She just kicked off The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop and has donated two dozen cookies as prizes for our rafflecopter. Woohoo. I'm pleased to introduce you to...

On Facebook: The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
On Twitter: @littleredkitchn
On Instagram: Little Red Kitchen
On Pinterest: Little Red Kitchen
On Google+: Susan Palmer


Come back on September 20th when we kick off #10DaysofTailgate. Thanks for joining in the fun, Susan! Can't wait to see what you create.

Quick Pickled Peppers




These are easy to make and showcase the late summer's bounty of peppers. I had a few Corno di Toro peppers from my High Ground Organics CSA and some mini sweet bell peppers. You'll see this jar on my pickle bar this weekend.

Ingredients

Procedure
Place all of the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring everything to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Spoon the peppers into a sterilized jar. Pour the liquid over the top of the peppers.


Seal the jars and refrigerate until ready to eat. These will keep for approximately 2 weeks. Let come to room temperature before serving.