28 May 2012

Summertime Flavours ... Cinnamon-Basil Ice Cream

Silent Bob is the biggest fan of ice cream that I have ever known. He has been known to sit down with an entire half-gallon and slurp his way blythely toward the bottom of the container before being shamed into saving some for others. He's an ice cream fiend!

Since summer is on its way I got thinking about his ice cream cravings.  So, this week, when we made our pilgrimage to the town library, I brought home a book devoted to ice cream and cold desserts. I've been leafing though it for the past few days, bookmarking yummy ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet recipes.

26 May 2012

Foodspotting ... 49th Game Changer(s) Spot Lobster Macaroni & Cheese

... a chunk of lobster in almost every bite ... this is the goal with a killer lobster mac & cheese

No longer must we go blind in any city we're visiting when it comes to picking a restaurant or finding that dish that we are dying to knosh! Join Foodspotting, an on-line foodie network! Build up a trusted group of foodies to 'follow', check out their posts for restaurants that they find worthy, and when you're in town, you've got a pretty good line on 'killer eats'. Then, go where it looks and sounds best.

If you really want to get specific, search for just what you're craving and you'll get a list of visuals and short blurbs on the posters' impressions. The posting people may be unknown, but pictures don't lie and if you link to the reviews, you can make a decision pretty quickly as to whether a restaurant's dish will hit your spot ... of not.

23 May 2012

Tuscan Malfatti or ... Making Gnocchi

Last night's dinner was one more for my culinary bucket list. Making a good batch of gnocchi has always been a goal, but I was intimidated by the dough and the cooking process. To boot, when I did some research, I learned that there are a bunch of different gnocchi recipes out there and all sorts of combinations of flours and cheese and vegetable additions that can make these soft little dumpling -like bites so different from each other! When I Googled 'gnocchi', I found out that they are usually served as a first course, but I was planning them as a main dish. I also discovered that they can be served in different ways - dressed with a variety of tomato sauces, in soup broths, or tossed with herbed butters. My goal initially was just to be successful in making them and if I failed, we were going to go out to a restaurant to salvage the dinner hour. So ... here's my 'making gnocchi' story.

22 May 2012

Random Recipe - First or Last ?

This month Dom has challenged us to randomly pick a cookbook and decide whether to make the very first or the very last recipe in said book. Well, THAT'S fun! We get to choose this month!

My random cook book is one that is a recent addition to the collection. It's called Farmstead Chef and it has a mish mash of recipes that revolve around homesteading and agricultural advocacy - that is, families on small farms and in residential settings that use their homes and acreage for producing their own foods and supporting the local farmers that supplement with their fresh and local produce. The key here is homemade, preserved, less processed and more fresh and local meats and produce, and making the process of mealtimes a family affair. The authors are enthusiastic and fun-loving and the recipes reflect that ... the book has everything from homemade play dough and homemade cocoa mix for the kids to  Rhubarb Cordial and Creamy Leek Pastries for the more sophisticated palate ... it's a good little cookbook.

I chose to make the last recipe in the book - Lentil and Polish Sausage Soup. It's been a chilly cloudy day here and I have a big loaf of multigrain bread and a chunk of Cheddar that would sit nicely beside a big hot bowl of soup.

20 May 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

When the kids were little, we'd take them to the shopping mall when it was time to upgrade the toy box. They would be sooo excited to go into the Toys R Us store; their eyes would be the size of quarters as we walked up and down the aisles looking for the perfect new toy. When we finally helped them make the final decision and got through the checkout line, it was time for a snack. It was always a tough call between a big Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookie or a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone.

That Mrs. Fields sure made good cookies! She branched out after a good while in the malls and published a couple good dessert cookbooks - chock full of the most over-the-top desserts!  My daughter gave me a copy of her Great American Desserts one year for Christmas and I periodically pull it down off the shelf when I want to make a totally decadent baked treat ... like today.

18 May 2012

Pan Seared Poppy Seed Crusted Scallop Salad with Romesco Sauce

Today's light dinner comes to my kitchen from Cat Cora, # 48 on Gourmet's 50 Woman Game Changers.

16 May 2012

Avocado and Orange Salad

Just a fast fly by post today ... it's been a busy couple of days all around between gardening, errands, some housework, and life. You know! You have your busy days too! So what do you make when you've been straight out, the fridge door is wagging, and your hunger is staring you in the face at the end of the day?

An easy roasted chicken and this salad did it for me last evening. I  was initially suspicious of the combination of oranges, avocado, onion, and the French dressing, so I made small salads. We were pleasantly surprised though! The avocados were perfectly ripened and so smooth and silky and the citrus packed a sweet hit ... I used Bibb lettuce because we love the buttery softness of the flavour.


14 May 2012

Zarela Martinez and a Different Kind of Chile Relleno

I am late posting this tribute to Zarela Martinez. I almost skipped this last week's exercise in researching and blogging to the 47th game changer, but I found a recipe of hers that sounded so delicious and seemed so unique that I had to go ahead ... lateness, be damned.

Image: San Diego RED file photo

If you haven't already visited the other women who have posted their tributes to Ms. Martinez or if you're new to the 50 Woman Game Changer blogshare posts, visit Mary's most recent post at One Perfect Bite to see more about Zarela Martinez and her incredible recipes.

13 May 2012

Burnt Sugar Sponge with Sticky Burnt Sugar Frosting

This was one gooey, sweet, soft and crumbly confection ... a total exercise in decadence ... and perseverance. I came across a recipe for a burnt sugar cake in an old Better Homes and Gardens cooking series from the 60's. Had to try it ... however, the cake was a disaster. Really. I followed the recipe to the letter ... against my better judgement, but you know how it is when you're dealing with an unfamiliar recipe? I figured I should stick to it. Surely, it would come out 'okay' and if it was 'meh', then I could play with it. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The cake stuck in the pan and was far too crumbly. It was impossible to go any further, so it got broken up and left on a plate for picking at without any frosting. I retreated to the couch and sipped a strong drink (a good single malt Scotch, to be exact!) ... fuming and thinking how to correct the recipe.

12 May 2012

Semolina Pizza Dough

Friday night dinner had to be an easy affair ... time for pizza ... again! This pizza has a semolina dough. That's a change from my usual whole wheat and wheat germ dough ... it's much lighter and has a grainier texture because of the semolina. There is a cornmeal flake on the bottom of the crust and a beautiful white color. It's puffy and lighter than my other whole wheat dough. 

I love pizza for its quick ease. I love that there are any number of combinations of vegetables, herbs, cheeses, meats, and yes, even fruits making for a kazillion new pizza experiences. So many Friday nights - so many pizzas!

11 May 2012

Cauliflower and Mushroom Gougère

The quest for new and different vegetable dishes took me in a very different direction this evening. I have been slowly collecting the library of The Cook's Encyclopedia, a series of cookbooks compiled by various editors through Anness Publishing Limited. I like the books, as they have a wide variety of recipes that I have never come in contact with. This recipe is a great example.

09 May 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Indian curry is just what the doctor ordered. It's been much slower around the grey cottage the past couple weeks, as I have been laid up with a severely sprained ankle. My leg up with an ice pack and ankle wrap securely wound snug, I've used the time to research and browse for slow cookers. There is a pork butt and some short ribs that are in need of a slooow braising. But first, I require a chicken curry ... my favorite crockpot dinner.

02 May 2012

Turkish Carrots and Lentils

Cheap, nutritious, spicy, and good! That's it in a nutshell! Excellent with grilled meats and a plain green vegetable or salad to cool the palate ... make these! Really! I found the recipe in a Diana Henry cookbook called Plenty.