Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maldon Sea Salt Organic and Delicious


I was introduced to
Maldon Sea Salt while living in Sanibel Island Florida and working at a small gourmet food market.   

The buyer for the company was a master at his trade, procuring some of the finest handcrafted cheeses, characterises, sea salts and a variety of other gourmet food products; not to mention a wine collection that would blow your socks off! 

It was a pleasure to work in an environment filled with so many delicious gourmet offerings. 

The sea salt collection was modest but exquisite. Handcrafted salts made by artisans from around the world, each with their distinct geographical flavors. 


Maldon Sea Salt:  The ancient craft of hand-harvesting salt crystals, using the traditional long-handled rakes, is still practised by the company today. 





I was attracted to the Maldon Sea Salt for it's unique beauty! The tiny pyramid-shaped crystals, snow white, soft and flaky, really peaked my interest. 

The delicate ‘salty’ flavor is harmonious with the beauty of the crystals and is unmatched by any other cooking salt I'd ever tasted. 


The Maldon Crystal Salt Company is a family run business which has continued the ancient craft of panning salt since 1882, using many of the skills handed down by generations of salt makers. To view a complete history of the Maldon Crystal Salt company and it’s other fine products, visit their website Maldon Salt.






How the salt is made... 


Remember to enter The Culinary Smackdown Challenge “Battle Chile” October 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds





It doesn't matter how old our children get, we still love to carve pumpkins together as a family and display them on our porch for all to see.  It may be a messy job but carving pumpkins not only creates an opportunity to share valuable time with our children it also produces one of my all time favorite Halloween Treats...Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!


I have an insatiable "savory tooth" that hungers for a variety of salted chips, nuts, popcorn, grilled meats and cheese and crackers. This is why I look so forward to pumpkin carving day because I know, inside that squishy pumpkin flesh, awaits one of my favorite Halloween treats!   

My "savory tooth" is always satisfied by the salty crunch of roasted Pumpkin seeds!  I also have a "sweet tooth" but that story will have to wait until it's time to make Christmas goodies.




Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

3-4 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
5 cups water

Method:

Rinse and clean pumpkin seeds in cold water making sure to remove as much pumpkin flesh as possible.  Place cleaned seeds in plastic container with a tight fitting lid, cover with salt and water, cover with lid, place in the refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450

Drain seeds in a colander and set aside, cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non stick cooking spray,  pour seeds onto the cookie sheet, spreading seeds into a thin layer, place cookie sheet on the middle rack of oven, set timer for 5 minutes, turn the seeds with a spatula and continue this process until the seeds are golden brown and totally dry, approximately 25-35 minutes





Cool seeds for 2 - 3 minutes and serve as a snack, or over salads and soups.

You can create variations to this recipe by adding your favorite spices...coriander, cumin and curry spices, or dill and garlic.  Be inventive and create your own traditional Roasted Pumpkin Halloween snack.


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2 days left to enter Culinary Smackdown Challenge

Reminder to all my readers and guests, there are only 2 days left to enter this months Culinary Smackdown Challenge “Battle Chile”  Follow the link to post your entry today!!!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gifts from Norway-Thank You Krakilette


I recently received a lovely gift(s) in the mail for winning the Culinary Smackdown Challenge Battle Chocolate hosted by Krakilette (Anette from Norway).  Anette, was the winner of Battle Sandwich with her yummy Twinkle Sandwich.

Anette and I have become very good buddies over the past few months corresponding  through our blogs.  I never imagined I would meet so many wonderful food blogging friends through the Culinary Smackdown Challenge and the food blogging world. 


Opening the package from Anette, I spied a little box of black liquorice.  I have always loved the taste of black liquorice and as a professional opera/classical singer I've used liquorice to soothe my throat before performances on many occasions. 

The inscription on the back of the box states..."OPERA SINGER IVAR F. ANDERSON, praises the IFA Pastille for the prevention of dryness of the throat and larynx.  Highly recommended to singers, orators, smokers and sportsman".   What a special treat to be given a gift that goes so well with my other favorite passion, singing opera!  Anette, how did you know?? 

The soft little chews have just a slight hint of saltiness and the distinct strong flavor of  liquorice.  YUM!

Anette also sent a packet of powdered Malt, (which I plan to use the next time I make chocolate malts with the family), a cheese slicer and a bag of HAVGULL Spro Torrfiskchips!  Now that's a mouth full! 

The chips are made from  "Torrfisk"  dried  Cod fish, sliced thinly and dried on racks.  The chips look a lot like beef jerky and pack a whopping 83 grams of protein. 

I plan to share my Torrfiskchips with my husband when he returns from China. My husband travels take him to many far away places, allowing him the pleasure of bringing  home adventurous foods from his exotic destinations.  I wrote a post all about the last treat he brought home from South Africa, Biltong.  It was a very adventurous eating experience to say the least.  I would like return the favor by offering him another adventurous eating experience of Norwegian Torrfiskchips! 

Anette, Thank you so much for the gifts from Norway, and the pleasure of your friendship!!

Reminder to all my readers and guests, there are only 3 days left to enter this months Culinary Smackdown Challenge   Follow the links to post your entry today!!! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, October 22, 2010

Only 5 Days Left...October Culinary Smackdown Challenge "Battle Chile(s)"

Reminder to all my readers and guests, there are only 5 days left to enter this months Culinary Smackdown Challenge “Battle Chile”  Follow the link to post your entry today!!!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes...my happy place!!

Fried Green Tomatoes

First let me remind all my readers and guests, there are only 9 days left to enter this months Culinary Smackdown Challenge “Battle Chile”.  Follow the link to post your entry today!!!
Ingredients

4-6 green tomatoes sliced thick
1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup butter or vegetable oil

This is my favorite version of fried green tomatoes. There are other recipes that call for eggs and making more of a batter and deep frying just too heavy for me...
method:Slice tomatoes thickly, in a medium bowl mix dry ingredients, flour both sides of a tomato and place in a hot skillet, repeat until your skillet is full but the tomatoes aren't to crowded.








Cook on first side for 3-5 minutes without turning, flip over and cook the other side 3-5 minutes. The idea is to creat a very brown crisp crust without loosing any of the flour mix. Season with salt and pepper taste.

Serve alone or as a side dish
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just 11 days left to submit your entry for October Culinary Smackdown Challenge

I hope you're all whipping up your entries for this months "Battle Chile" Culinary Smackdown Challenge!!!  You only have 11 days left to get your entry posted to be considered in this months challenge! 





To link up your recipe and read details and official rules for the challenge click the link above!!
Remember to post a link back to the challenge in your recipe so others can find us and view all the great entries.

FYI: I was hasty in naming this challenge and have run into some difficultly with the title. There are so many definitions for word Chile (the country), chili (the dish from the South West, with or without beans), chile(s) or chilli...(any assortment of hot or mild red or green..whew! I must say I'm sorry for the confusion but either way, what's done is done so...

Your challenge, should you decided to accept it.... make an appetizer, entree or dessert  using one or any combination of your favorite Chile(s).  Sweet or savory dishes with roasted green, stuffed, habanero, pabalano, jalapeno...what ever you choose, the skies the limit! 


You have until October 29th to post your entries here and I'll announce the winner October 31!   

Please post a comment on your blog about the October Smackdown challenge and remember to post a link back to my site! If you use Twitter, please Tweet the challenge.

 
There is no need to invent a new recipe if you already have a gem you'd like to share. 

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stuffed Waffles


I know we all begin to crave our favorite warm dishes this time of year and if your are like me, the struggle to keep from gaining "winter weight" is in full swing! 


My inner clock has decided it's time to fatten me up and my cravings for all my favorite, wonderful Fall comfort foods has hit an all time high!  This morning my cravings got the better of me and I was forced by my "inner voice" to make Stuffed Waffles for breakfast. 


Fluffy, tender waffles stuffed with bacon and eggs fried in bacon grease!  YUM!!  Some of you may need to turn your heads away as I indulge the rest of us with the details!!


Before I get to the recipe, I have to confess to you that it wasn't just the cravings that persuaded me to make the waffles. Yesterday, I had the good fortune of visiting one of my favorite stores, Bed Bath and Beyond, where I was lucky enough to find a KRUP'S waffle iron,....on SALE!!  The last of kind on the clearance rack, 50%!  Oh, how I love a great bargain not to mention, I was able to use my coveted 20% coupon to get even more of a discount.

 


Pristine and beautiful compared to my old and tattered Westinghouse Waffle Iron, Mr. Krups was just waiting to be filled with the tasty batter! My old dinosaur of a waffle iron is still working great and will be going to a good home.  My 20 year old daughter will be adopting her today!!


Waffle Batter:
This recipe is from the Krups booklet that came in the box.  I adjusted the recipe adding Buttermilk and an additional 1/2 cup 2% milk, to reach my preferred consistency and taste.


2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil




Method:


Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl on high speed until light yellow and fluffy, add the milk, butter milk and oil and blend for 1 minute on medium speed






Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and add to milk mixture

In a small mixing bowl whip egg whites until thick soft peaks form, then add them gently to the prepared batter.  






Batter is ready to cook in your waffle following the manufacturer instructions.

I used 1/2 cup batter for each of the waffle plates (4).  Makes 12-16 large waffles

While cooking the waffles prepare 1 pound bacon till crisp

Cook 4-6 eggs in bacon fat, I like my egg a little runny in the center. Drain eggs on paper towel.




Butter one waffle and place on a plate, add a layer of bacon 4-5 slices onto the waffle and then add a fried egg on top, cover egg layer with an additional buttered waffle and serve with hot maple syrup, dust with powdered sugar



Serve immediately
Variations on the theme...honey, walnuts, bananas and whip cream, jam or jelly fresh fruit compotes, chocolate chips and hot fudge sauce...remember to add the bacon to this one..it's divine!




What was left after my morning feast...my eyes are always bigger that my belly!

Remember to visit the link below to add your entry to the Culinary Smackdown Challenge "Battle Chile"  Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kozy Shack Review and Giveaway

Kozy Shack Review and Giveaway


Gotta love the Tapioca Flavor! Can't wait to share my recipe for the contest! It's top secret for just a few weeks so hold on to your seat....it's gonna pack a great punch!! Hint...Pumkin♥ Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wordless Moments-When Nature Speaks

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SOPAIPILLAS



Once or twice a month, on Sunday after church, my parents would pack us kids into our four door AMC Rambler American, and set off to the Square, in Olde Town for dinner.  Our favorite restaurant, The Plaza Hacienda was built in the 1800's in Albuquerque New Mexico, and was with out a doubt, the best Mexican food in town. 


Dad would park the car and we would make our way through the busy Square, listening to the street performing Mariachi Bands and flamenco guitarist, play as we strolled through the plaza. 


Just outside the entrance of the Plaza Hacienda there was a small glass room that extended from inside the kitchen.  I'm not sure if the glass room still exists but the Hacienda is still open for business. 


Behind the glass was a handsome dark man, dressed all in white, making sopaipillas. He looked so pleased with himself as we watched him roll the soft dough and place the cut pieces into the fryer.The tender dough would fill with air and puff up into golden brown perfection. The smell of the cooking sopaipillas filled the air as my tummy growled for the first bite.


Waiting until after dinner to eat freshly made sopaipillas, drenched in honey was pure torture!


I remember the smells and tastes of the Haciendas perfectly prepared foods like it was yesterday.  The beefy tacos, rich and cheesey enchiladas, savory bean burritos, and crispy fried, chile rellenos, bubbling hot on our plates.  Creamy fresh guacamole, smooth refried beans and crisp home made tortilla chips, awaited my lips with the sweetest of anticipation.  Smothered in a variety of succulent deep red and hot green chile sauces, each creation tasted better than the last.


About half way through dinner my 4 year old thoughts would turn to what waited just a outside the restaurant doors.  Dessert!! 


The Plaza Hacienda served traditional sopaipillas in the restaurant but on several occasions, the man behind the glass window would make us something very special.


With a twinkle in his eye, the chef would begin to twist and bend the soft dough into a strangely familiar shape.  With a big toothy grin, the man would hand us the hot sopaipilla wrapped in a large white napkin.  To our amazement, inside the napkin awaited a sopaipilla shaped just like a person!  


Now that I'm older and a pretty good home chef, I'd like to spend a few hours in his presence watching and learning his techniques.   Of course, at that time all we cared about was how terrific the little "man" sopaipilla tasted, with his arms and legs and a little round head.   


Laughing wildly, we would bite off the poor fellows head and pour sweet honey down his neck, eating every bite no matter how stuffed we were from that nights dinner. 


I always say...there's always room for dessert!! Simply, wonderful memory of simply wonderful food!


Brief history of the "Sopaipilla. A deep fried fritter usually served with honey. Sopaipillas, whose name is from the Spanish, are a staple of Mexican-American menus...history reveals they originated in Olde Town, Albuquerque, [New Mexico] about 300 years ago...Diana Kennedy, in her Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico (1978), writes "For years I have been denying to the aficionados of the sopaipillas of New Mexico that they have a Mexican counterpart. I have now discovered that they can be found, though rarely, in the state of Chihiahua...I have yet to see them on an restaurant menus in the north." A good sopaipilla is supposed to resemble a puffed-up pillow; if cut into a round shape, it is called a "buneulo." "Sopaipilla" was first found in American print circa 1940."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 303)


My recipe comes from one of my favorite cook books, Culinary Classics by Gloria Preston Olson. I purchased her cook book at a bargain sale for only $3.98 several!!


Every recipe I've tried has turned out beautifully and the stories and anecdotes are truly special to read.  Gloria has a new publication, Global Culinary Adventures, which you can find online for about $38.00. 


Gloria Preston Olson:


An insatiable cook and traveller, Gloria Preston Olson has now written an unprecedented tome of approximately 600 ethnic recipes which reveal her palate of exquisite sensitivity and taste buds of discriminating discernment. The lucid instructions and comprehensive information on foods, wines, cooking equipment, and, techniques make GLOBAL CULINARY ADVENTURES a truly remarkable cookbook. This comprehensive collection of recipes is arranged geographically, providing insight to the historical relationships of the foods of the entire world. Each chapter introduces the reader to the countries whose recipes are included; thus, it is also a must for the armchair traveler and those with an intellectual curiosity of the world. Extensive head notes reveal the Herculean and sometimes tumultuous adventures endured during Gloria’s quest for culinary knowledge. They include a close call with Rwanda’s Hutus and Tutsis which resulted in meeting Boutros Boutros-Ghali in an elevator; arriving in Kabul on the eve of the Communist coup; and Gloria's most memorable experience-a personal visit to the Shilat caviar processing site on the Caspian Sea in Iran, where she observed the entire production of caviar, followed by an invitation to partake of all five types of caviar, as well as lunch with five Shilat executives.
1st World Publishing




SOPAIPILLAS


Gloria's sopaipillas are tender, very flavorful and easy to make.  I've never found a better recipe!


1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons water


Mix dry ingredients and blend in butter.  Stir in liquids and knead dough till smooth and shiny.  Let dough rest 5 minutes, then roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.











Cut dough into diamond or triangle shapes and fry, a few at a time, in deep fat fryer or cast iron skillet heated to 400. Turn immediately so that they will puff up.  Drain on paper towels and serve with plenty of honey, to be poured into the sopaipilla after taking the first bite.  Sopaipillas can also be served with powdered sugar.  Fill the bottom of a brown paper bag with powdered sugar and add few hot sopaipillas at a time.  Fold down the top of the bag and shake gently to coat the sopaipillas.  Remove and serve immediately.








Makes about 1 dozen Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Winner of the Culinary Smackdown Challenge October 2010 "Battle Chile" will receive...

I've found the perfect prize for the Winner of this months
Culinary Smackdown Challenge "Battle Chile"!! 

This months Winner will receive two great gifts...."Tea for One",  hand painted Tahiti, BIA  staking Teapot and Cup made just for One!!



and an attractive tin of  First Colony, fine leaf Apple Spice Tea made by Bencheley.  



Curl up with a great book and sip a warm and spicy cup of tea made just for One!  

Follow this link to post your winning "Battle Chile" recipe for the chance to win this lovely heart warming prize and the title of Culinary Smackdown Winner!! Print Friendly and PDF

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