Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pastries from Nazareth

I have so much info and so many photos to share of my current trip, but I'll start with these luscious pastries from a generations old firm in Nazareth, Israel. The bottom left has a layer of cheese and is served warm. Above it are ones filled with nuts and soaked in sweet syrup. Consumed with lots of cold water on the side!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Panderia Haul

The pan dulce attendees sampled on my recent international food walking tour.  The drink is chumparrado, a hot chocolate thickened with corn meal. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Making Mole with Ernestina

My friend, Ernestina, invited a few of us over to make Oaxaca-style mole. It's the first time I've made mole as a group activity, but it worked well. The mole recipe had 27 ingredients (not including making stock) and numerous steps. Ernestina (seen in top left) had us seeding and toasting three types of dried chilis (and then setting the browned chili seeds aflame prior to being ground into the sauce)

How did it taste?  Our immediate tastes were amazing with depths and layers of complex flavors. Ernestina, who originally hails from Texas and now lives in Northern California, says it tastes best after it rssts for a few days so th big dinner will be tomorrow night. 

Looking forward to the feast. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Return of the Peppermint Candy Cookie

My boys are now men but during a time that seems like long ago and just yesterday I would entertain them by letting them browse a photo-laden Sunset cookie cookbook and let them pick out recipes for us to bake. This Peppermint Candy Cookie, kind of an oat crisp, was one of their favorites. 

I was fortunate to have both sons home for Chanukah dinner so in addition to the latkes, brisket and jelly doughnuts that are traditional holiday fare I made a batch of these cookies. 

For the recipe (and a few other peppermint-flavored treats), please see my version of the recipe here. For large or vegan versions, use a dairy-free margarine. This recipe is egg free. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pick a Peck of Oven-Fried Peppers This Chanukah

This Chanukah try oven frying/roasting shishito or padrone peppers. Rinse and dry then toss in a bowl with lots of olive oil and coarse sea salt to taste. Pour peppers with oil on ungreased, rimmed baking trays. Place in preheated 450 degree oven. Roast, turning occasionally until soft and the peppers are blistered and browned on all sides

Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. 

These peppers have a slight bite and a nice grassy/herbaceous taste. Sometimes you will bite into one that's a bit milder or hotter. 
Hanukkah, Hanukah 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Montserrat --The Confection Named After a Mountain

In Barcelona, a meringue cookie filled with hazelnuts is known as a Montserrat, after the famous moutnatin, with its rocky peaks, which the confection is said to resemble. I got to eat one today in its wild habitat, the cafeteria of the Montserrat monastery. I had a choice of lemon (which was pure white) or vanilla (yellow).  You can see my choice above.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My Spanish Kitchen, Well Actually Just One of Them

Gary and I are on the road again. This time we are combining 10 days in London (son's wedding) with  a wide-ranging itinerary by train, car, boat and bus. Along the way we have been renting apartments with kitchens so I can cook and take advantage of the wonderful, fresh ingredients we have been finding throughout Europe. I am determined to share a lot of that here in the blog, so watch for updates on food and markets from England, France and Spain. More later. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Plum Good - Roasted Plum Compote Recipe. Sweet, Tart and Very Versatile Direct From My Neighbor's Tree

Roasted Plum Compote over Cake with Ice Cream

Nina gifted us with several bags of tart plums from her tree. I turned the fruit into a simple roasted compote that was delicious on its own or as a topping for cake, ice cream or both.

The quantities in the recipe below are based on how many plums I had left after noshing. Adapt for other amounts as needed. Recipe works well with the other stone fruits. Yield will vary depending on type of fruit and water content. The recipe will work with less than ripe fruit, but you may need to use more sugar. Very ripe fruit will work as well, but be sure to taste to adjust sugar. My plums were small. Larger plums or other stone fruit may require additional baking time.

Roasted Plum Compote 

Serves about 4 as a compote, 6-8 as topping

1 lb. 12 oz. ripe plums
2 Tbs. lemon-flavored olive oil
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste - use less with very sweet fruit, more with very tart)

Heat oven to 400 degree oven. Line rimmed baking tray(s) with parchment paper.

Slice fruit in half, remove pits and cut out any bruised sections. Mix fruit with oil and sugar. Pour out in single layer on tray(s). Bake. When top is browned (about 20 minutes), flip over fruit and stir in juices. Bake another 10-20 minutes until fruit is browned and juices are bubbly and reduced down. Let cool slightly and scrape fruit and juices into bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature as a compote or serve atop cake and or ice cream as a topping.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Kitchen in London

Gary and I are in London for a month enjoying the international restaurants, food,stalls, street markets, and famed eating spots, but what we really like (some of the time) is coming home to our apartment rental and cooking dinner.

The stores and supermarkets here don't have some of the range of produce I'm used to but they have a lot, usually impeccably fresh and beautiful.  The markets are also full of intriguing local and international groceries and the dairy, oh, my goodness, the dairy, it's wonderful.  There is one whole refrigerator filled with varieties of clotted cream, marscopone and creme friache (full or low fat, French or English style).

Pictured above is a whole eggplant (aubergine), cut in half and scooped out.  The eggplant boats (shells) were partially baked then filled with a sautéed mixture of ground beef (mince) and chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper (capsicums) and eggplant innards. The mix was seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and sautéed in olive oil. The eggplant was baked until the top was browned and the eggplant shells cooked through. It was topped with hummus and chopped cilantro (coriander). I served it with couscous, a vacation standby since it is so versatile and quick cooking and can be made without a pot.

Cooking at a vacation rental can be tricky from lack of ingriendents and or equipment, but I like to treat it as my personal reality show and see how creative I can get with minimal effort. This dinner was a winner on both counts.