Friday, August 1, 2014

Calling all Caseophiles! {Call for Recipes}




For my virtual potluck this month - August 2014 - I decided that I wanted to pool together the great, creative minds of my food bloggin' pals and collect cheese recipes. And it doesn't have to be an actual recipe; if you want to share tasting notes of your favorite cheese, do that!


Here are some ideas to inspire you...

Do you make your own cheese? Post it! Here's my Homemade Paneer. So easy.

Have you tasted an usual cheese you want to share? Post it. Here are my tasting notes from Bonnyclabber's Moonshine cheese; thought the cheese wasn't my favorite, it has a great story.

Do you have a favorite cheese appetizer? Post it. I love the ease of making these Roasted Fig-Gorgonzola Balls. They are a perfect savory morsel.

And because of the breadth of this category, I'm expanding the submissions. You're not limited to sharing three recipes this month, link in up to five. Think sweets with cheesecake. Imagine savories bubbling with salty, cheesy goodness. I could give up any food except for cheese. I am certain of that.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blanched Pea Shoots & Golden Tomatoes




When we drove into our favorite market in Arcata, on our way to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park,
there was a farmers' market set up in the parking lot. Perfect! I picked up organic pea shoots and golden tomatoes; we had fresh basil from our visit to the greenhouse in Canby.

Ingredients

  • organic pea shoots
  • golden cherry tomatoes, halved
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • olive oil

Procedure
Quickly blanch the pea shoots. Do not overcook.


Drain pea shoots and lay on your plates. Top with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Campfire Steelhead, Potatoes, & Zucchini




We just got back from our annual family camping trip around northern California. We spend three nights in Modoc National Forest with my in-laws, then hit the coast, and camped all the way back home, exploring different California State Parks as we go. It's about 1500 miles, 10 days, 1 national forest, 3 state parks, and many, many days and nights of cooking over the campfire.

Last year I discovered - and had a chance to review (click for my post about it) - Robin Donovan's Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors.

What I learned: you can cook just about anything with some parchment paper, some heavy duty foil, olive oil, and herbs. So easy!


Campfire Steelhead
  • fish filet
  • onion, sliced
  • organic lemon
  • fresh herbs (I used flowering dill)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Procedure
Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a slightly smaller piece of parchment on top of that.

Place your fish piece in the center of the parchment. Lay fresh herbs, roughly chopped, on top of the fish. Place thin lemon slices over the herbs. Drizzle it all with olive oil.

Bring the long sides of the foil together and fold down to seal. Crimp in the ends to create a foil packet. Place the packet over indirect heat on a grill over the fire. 

Cook time depends on the size of your fish and the size of your fire. But a 2-pound fish or filet usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

Remove the packet with tongs or oven-mittens. Open foil carefully to release the steam. Serve hot.


Campfire Potatoes
Use the same procedure for the zucchini. They just take a shorter time to cook, approximately 10 minutes.

  • 2 Spring onions, thinly sliced, including the greens
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • olive oil
  • fresh herbs (I used flowering dill)
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a slightly smaller piece of parchment on top of that.

Place your potatoes and onions in the center of the parchment. Sprinkle fresh herbs, roughly chopped, on top. Drizzle it all with olive oil.

Bring the long sides of the foil together and fold down to seal. Crimp in the ends to create a foil packet. Place the packet over indirect heat on a grill over the fire. 

Cook time depends on the size of your packet but potatoes usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

Remove the packet with tongs or oven-mittens. Open foil carefully to release the steam. Serve hot.


Bone Broth Risotto {Product Review}




After our attempt at sipping bone broth, I decided to cook with my Organic Bone Broth from Pacific Foods* instead. I thought about dishes where the broth is a prominent part...not just an ingredient. The two I came up with: soup and risotto. But, as it is the warmest part of our summer, soup was out. I decided to make a simple risotto. And, wanting the flavor of the bone broth to shine, I didn't use anything else that would really overwhelm the flavors; I opted for a carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta risotto. Easy peasy!

Ingredients makes 8 servings
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 T butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 3 C arborio rice
  • 6 C organic bone broth
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 8 oz marscarpone cream
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
Procedure
Bring your stock and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan.

Melt 2 T butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions carrots, celery, and pancetta. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the rice and stir until completely coated with oil and butter.

Add one ladle of simmering broth at a time, stirring, stirring, and stirring some more till the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is soft. If you need more liquid, just add more; if you don't use all of the stock, that's okay, too.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Season with fleur de sel and pepper to taste. Stir in marscarpone cheese. To serve, spoon out individual servings. Serve immediately.


Product Thoughts
I love their stated philosophy: "We’ve always believed that nature's work needs little refinement. That’s why we stick with just a few simple ingredients in our recipes, showcasing each ingredient’s true flavor and inherent nutrition."

They certify to the source. They are GMO-free. They are organic. And they are sourced locally whenever possible. That's how all food companies should be.

I was really impressed with how aromatic Pacific Food's organic bone broth was. Most of the time I don't buy things in packages because I can make it better. I can honestly say that this broth was outstanding; I would buy it! Or...I'll hold it as the gold standard and try to make a bone broth that tastes just as good. 

*Please note, I did receive bone broth from Pacific Foods for the purpose of reviewing the product. Opinions stated are 100% accurate and 100% mine.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Double Feature! {Food'N'Flix}



from www.totalfilm.com

Food‘nFlixIt's my turn to host Food'N'Flix...when we watch movies and head  into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something based on a recipe they actually make in it or just something we were driven to make after watching it.

As a final hoorah for summer vacation, I selected a double-feature of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs flicks. You can watch the original or the sequel or both!

This post contains an amazon affiliate link at the bottom - for the DVDs and the original story.

Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows Swallow Falls inventor Flint Lockwood as his Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR for short, begins to malfunction. Imagine a cheeseburger storm. Or, make something with sardines! The sequel Cloudy 2 picks up right where the first leaves off. The FLDSMDFR is malfunctioning again, this time producing sentient food beasts—foodimals! Foodimals? you ask. Yes. Think: Fruit Cockatiels, Shrimpanzees, Mosquitoasts, and Buttertoads.

Join the fun, then post about it on your blog with a link back to this post and to Food'N'Flix. Use of the logo is optional.

Your post must be current (during month of film). And of course we don't mind if your post is linked to other events...the more the merrier.

Have fun with it!

Email your entries to me at: constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com and include...

  • Your name
  • Your blog's name and URL
  • The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you're submitting
  • Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to "pull" one from your post)
  • Indicate "Food 'n Flix Submission" in the subject line

Deadline for submission is: August 29th.*

*watch for the roundup to be posted by August 31st!




And the movies were based on this book. Loved this as a kid!

Ass Kisser Ale's Strawberry Wit {Beer Tasting}



Another beer I selected for our 10-day camping trip - Ass Kisser Ale's Strawberry Wit - I picked because the label is pink! I'll admit it. Well, that's what drew my eye to it initially. Then I read the label descriptions and I was sold.


About the Brewery
Ass Kisser Ales is a family-owned craft beer brand that has partnered with Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah. Ass Kisser make small batch hand-crafted ales in traditional styles with trendsetting tastes.

In the Bottle
This beer was the perfect pour on a hot summer's day. It's got a white, foamy head and the cloudy beer looks like sun-dried hay. Its light yeasty aroma complements the zest of coriander and the sweetness of summer strawberries.


On Our Plates
I actually didn't pair this with any food. We took it with us, down the banks of the Van Duizen River. We sipped and the boys splashed before dinner time.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Stout {Beer Tasting}



When I was prepping for our 10-day camping trip, I picked up a couple of brews from breweries that were along our route. While I would have loved to pick up the beers en route, that's not always possible with two wild boys in tow. We'll do a brewery tour one of these days!

One of the beers I selected: Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Stout. All three of those words make me smile. Bourbon. Barrel. Stout.


About the Brewery
Founded in 1987, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company has grown from a 10-barrel brewhouse to a 30-barrel facility whose large photo-voltaic array (AKA solar panels) provides nearly half of the brewery's electrical needs. They are a five time Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner - from 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, and 2000. WRAP recognizes California businesses for their outstanding waste reduction efforts. The brewery recycles all of its plastic wrap, paper, metal, glass, cardboard and plastic bottles. Additionally, their organic waste is also recycled; their spent grain is used by local farmers for cattle feed and their spent hops are applied to fields to fertilize naturally. The bottle glass,  from Owens-Brockway, is 50% post-consumer and 65% overall recycled content. Love it...I can drink beer and embrace my tree-hugging tendencies at the same time!

In the Bottle
This brew is aged for three months in Wild Turkey® Bourbon barrels. It's a silky smooth stout with a luscious head and inky hue. The barrel-aging imparted subtly sweet but woodsy notes to the beer. It reminded us of dark, sweet espresso with a kick. It was heavenly!

On Our Plates
I served it with some fire-grilled sausages and a barley-bean pilaf scented with ground porcini mushroom.

#peterbsbrewsandbitescontest: A Winning Recipe!




When I saw #peterbsbrewsandbitescontest - a cooking contest to create an appetizer using one of their brews - announced on Peter B's Facebook page, I was instantly inspired. I created a dish showcasing my favorite Peter B's brew: Legend of Laguna IPA. Then I submitted my IPA-Braised Carnitas Over Polenta Cakes to the contest...and waited.


The three finalists were announced...

  • Beer Fondue by Rachel N.
  • IPA-Braised Carnitas over Polenta Cakes by Camilla M.
  • Vegan Beer Caramelized Leek & Onion Dip served with Beer Pretzel Bites by Briana S. 

...followed by more waiting. Yesterday, the chef at Peter B's recreated our three dishes and we were judged by the Beer Geeks, the Grub Hunter, and KRML's Program Director AKA Chris, Merideth, Mike, and Jeff. 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.

photo by Portola Hotel & Spa

As is always the case on a Wednesday evening, Jake and I were shuffling the kiddos. R had mandolin lessons, so Jake took him and I grabbed D to go watch and listen to the show.

"Mom, I'm not allowed to go to a bar."

It's fine. We're going to sit outside and listen to the radio. 

"You do know that you can't see anything on the radio, right?"

No, the show is on the radio, but we can see the people broadcasting from the pub. 

"Really?!?"

Yes. Please walk faster.

We were already late and I only found a 30 minute parking spot at the wharf. When we got there, they were already tasting my dish. KRML posted these...


As always I learned something. I didn't want to be too stalker-ish, so I didn't go over to see who was saying what. One of the comments was "well, it's not really carnitas...because carnitas is cooked in lard." I had no idea! So, I looked it up when I got home and he was right. But, really, who cooks with lard these days?!?

Another comment was that my recipe was not easy to make, or something to that effect. I thought: okay, I am not going to win. They think it's inauthentic and complicated.

D and I had lemonades and cheese curds, then dashed off before the winner was announced. I had been keeping a close eye on the time and just barely beat the meter-man to my car. He was two cars away when we arrived; and we had sprinted from Peter B's. Phew. No parking ticket!

So, we missed the final verdict. A little while later one of the Beer Geeks tweeted me: "you won by the way." Here's the blogpost from Portola, announcing the winner: here.

Woohoo. I shouted and started dancing around the living room. D gave me a high-five and a huge hug before running upstairs to tell Daddy and R.

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 our Beer Garden adventure at the end of September. That's what I won - two tickets to the beer garden event, a night at the hotel, and a growlette.