Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Iron Foodie 2010...The treasure box has arrived!!

Update...I've decided on a recipe for my signature dish!!  My ingredient choices are...Tellicherry Pepper, Dried Aji Panca Chili, Wild Porcini Mushrooms, Smoked Sea Salt and Dulse Seaweed...I'm going shopping this Saturday to purchas all my other ingredients and will be spending Sunday and Monday preparing my dish...keep your fingers and toes crossed so I don't burn or ruin anything.  What you see on the plate is all I have to work with and if something goes wrong... I'm in deep dodo!!
Rushing home in a blizzard last night, I was hopeful to find my treasure box filled with gourmet goodies from Marx Foods.   Sure enough, my little box was sitting on the first step just inches away from the wet and snowy conditions.  I ran inside with my treasure, eager to unveil it's gourmet contents. 

As I sliced open the box, my senses were overcome with the sweet, smokey and pungent  aromas of  the contents.  What treasures inside this tiny box could offer such an array if diversity to my senses? 

Let's take a look at each item individually, starting with the most intriguing.
Dulse Seaweed

The Dulse Seaweed is one of the most intriguing ingredients in the box.  The smell is nothing like most seaweed varietals I've eaten or cooked with.  The fragrance reminded me of tobacco, slightly sweet and earthy.  Filled with antioxidants this seaweed is a super-food!  I'm really hoping to incorporate Dulse seaweed into my signature dish!

Fennel Pollen:

A delightful aroma with a light hint of licorice and lemon, crisp and refreshing. 

Dried chilies generally have very little aroma until reconstituted in water.  The Anji Panca Chilies have just a hint of the smells reminiscent of my youth, while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I adore red and green chilies and the foods of the South West.  I  learned how to eat some of the finest Mexican food on the planet at a very young age, thanks to my parents!  I'm really looking forward to comparing the taste and heat of these lovely chilies to my favorite New Mexican dried red Chilies.

Strong and pungent are these little beauties!  Like the damp forest smells after a rain. I imagine they will be filled with powerful woodsy flavors and add a dimension of hearty goodness to any dish!

 Smoked Fine Sea Salt:

Naturally smoked, the fine, black grains conjure up the smell of a camp fire but with a sweetness that is indescribable for salt.  This salt is filled with layers and layers of  complexity, smooth salinity that's  not overpowered by the natural smokiness.  I love sea salt and this one ranks very high on my scale of perfectly balanced and tasty.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans: 

A vanilla bean soaked in Bourbon...yup, that's a match made in heaven! Plump, and filled with flavor, I can't wait to slice open the brown slender bean to reach the lusciousness inside...YUM! 

 Maple Sugar:

Wow!  I'm not much for maple flavor but this sugar was the bomb!  Growing up with Aunt Jamima on the table I  never became accustom to the "real" flavor of maple syrup.  To strong for my taste in it's natural form, but not overpowering in the least, in this fine sugar.

Tellicherry Peppercorns:

After being introduced to Tellicherry  Peppers  four years ago, I haven't cooked with any other variety since!!   A complex little peppercorn with fruitiness and good heat, is a staple in my kitchen! 

Marx Foods did a wonderful job of choosing a diverse array of ingredients for this challenge.  My head has been spinning since I opened the I must choose which 3 treasures to use for my signature dish.  How will I choose my 3 ingredients?  I have no idea at this very moment!!  Stay tuned for the answer to that question as I need to cogitate for a bit! 

The deadline for posting my signature dish is December 3 and starting December 7th, the entire Foodie Blogroll will vote to award one person the title of Iron Foodie 2010! 

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giada's Homemade Orange Marshmallows

I've never tried making homemade marshmallows before because I've always thought they would be to difficult to make.   I heart Cooking Clubs: Kids at Heart was my inspiration to throw caution to the wind and make these fluffy confections with my kids. 

First, let me give you a little background on  I Heart Cooking Clubs. This club is a stress-free cooking club with a revolving roster of chefs.

Every six months, a new chef is chosen out of a line up of 4-5 well known culinary aficionados.  This round club members will be cooking from Giada De Laurentiis's repertoire. Each week a theme is chosen and anyone interested in participating can link a recipe that fits that weeks theme. 

"This cooking club aims to grow and change with its members and explore other cooks and books in the future."Click here for more...The blogroll is filled with an array of food bloggers and chefs.  Stop by the site to learn more, and become a part of this wonderful cooking club.

Giada De Laurentis:  I admire her professionalism and her effortless way behind the camera, she has such a easy manner in the kitchen and her happy spirit is contagious. 

Staying true to the theme this week I tackled Giada's recipe for:
Homemade Orange Marshmallows 

This is a recipe that I'll be keeping in my kitchen for those cold winter days when we're all stuck inside and the kids need a "sweet" diversion.

The kids and I decided to make our marshmallows with orange and lemon flavoring and add a few drops of food coloring.

Orange & Lemon flavored marshmallows

Butter, for greasing the pan
Powdered sugar, for dusting
1/2 cup water, plus 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Giada's recipe: 1 large orange, zested
My recipe: 1 1/2 teaspoon pure orange or lemon extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Colored decorating sugar
*can be found at cake decorating stores*
Special equipment: a candy thermometer


Butter the bottom and sides of of an 8 by 8-inch straight sided baking pan.  Dust liberally with sifted powdered sugar and set aside. Really...dust very liberally or they will stick to the pan like glue!

Pour 1/2 cup water into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Sprinkle the gelatin over water and allow to soften, about 10 minutes.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup water.  Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 10-12 minutes.  Pour hot syrup over gelatin mixture.  Beat the mixture at low speed until incorporated.  Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy and triple in volume, about 10-12 minutes.  Beat in orange zest or lemon extract and vanilla extract, add a few drops of food coloring,  mix until combined.  Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface.  Sprinkle with decorating sugar.  Allow the mixture to set, uncovered, in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for at least 8 hours or overnight. Using scissors, dusted with powdered sugar, cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares. Dip cut sides into powdered sugar to prevent sticking.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

These marshmallows are light and fluffy and really taste like...marshmallows!  I don't know what else I had expected them to taste like but it felt like  a culinary victory to achieve the real deal!  Creamy and soft, these sweet little morsels would be a perfect accompaniment to any hot drink or just eat them  right out of the bowl like we did!  It made the kid in me happy and you can bet, my kids were doing the happy dance!  Literally!  Sugar high!  Note to self:  Have all sledding stuff ready before making marshmallows...

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
level: Easy...if I can make these anyone can!!
Serves: 6 - 8 

Thanks to Giada for this easy and fun, kid friendly recipe and to I Heart Cooking Clubs for the inspiration!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot Buttered Rum...

Yesterday was the first day we've seen snow fall in my little mountain town this season.  About 2 inches of fluffy white powder rested nicely on the ground to welcome in a winter of cold snowy days in the rocky mountains.  The snow will be melted by the hot Colorado sun in a few short hours, just in time for another winter storm to appear and send down another 3-5 inches.

It's days like these that get my taste buds aching for the best, most delicious Hot Buttered Rum recipe, in these here parts!! 

This recipe was shared with me about 15 years ago  at a holiday party.  I've made a few changes to suit my taste and would love to share this hot satisfying drink with you! 

Hot Buttered Rum Batter:

3 sticks salted butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons nutmeg
1 gallon vanilla ice cream

Allow ice cream to sit at room temperature while preparing other ingredients, using very soft butter, blend the first 5 ingredients together until well Incorporated, add the softened ice cream and blend well.  The batter may be a little runny and chunky...this is not a problem as the chunks of butter melt beautifully in the hot water. Freeze mixture in plastic container overnight or until firm.

Hot Buttered Rum Drink:

Fill a 8 ounce glass with pipping hot water leaving about 2 inches head space, add 1 generous jigger spiced rum, and 1 ice cream scoop full of the frozen batter to the glass, don't stir...serve with whipped cream, 1 cinnamon stick, and freshly grated nutmeg..relax and enjoy a very special treat! 

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010


25 challengers - 25 recipes - 3 secret ingredients - 1 grand prize winner!

Hello Rebecka,
We are happy to let you know that you have been selected as one of the 25 challengers in the Iron Foodie competition!

I'm so thrilled to be chosen to compete in this challenge!  Thanks to the Foodie Blogroll and Marx Foods for choosing me to compete in this culinary extravaganza!! 

As soon as they arrive, I'll be taking pictures of the 10 items Marx Foods will be sending me to create my signature dish.  Won't it be fun to see what I'll be working with!  Ha!  I'm feeling a little giddy from the thrill or...maybe it's the two Hot Buttered Rum drinks I had this evening?  Recipe to follow this week..You're gonna love this one!

Here are some dates to add to your already full calendars of contest voting for Rebecka...

December 3:  Deadline for all 25 contestants to post their signature dishes using 3 items provided by Marx Foods

December 7: Voting Poll Goes Live...I'll let you know how to vote when we get closer to the date.

December 15: Voting Poll Closes Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lea & Perrins Shine at Dinner Time Video Challenge and My First Cooking Video!!

Update...Unfortunately I wasn't chosen in the challenge as a finalist...;(   However, It was a great experience to do my fist video. 
Best of luck to the six finalists!

Lea & Perrins Shine at BreakfastTime
Featuring Rebecka Evans and produced by At Home with Rebecka

Wow!  I never knew how difficult it would be to create a cooking video, all by myself in the kitchen, with my little Canon PowerShot Camera, let alone, edit the silly thing!! 

All I can say is, thank the heavens, for user friendly digital cameras and my computers Movie Editor!! Next time, I'm inviting a crew to assist me so I can better showcase my preparation of the food!  :(

I'm proud to say that have completed 
and submitted my first ever video, featuring me...Rebecka.... to the Lea & Perrins - Shine at Dinner Time Video Challenge

The Food NetWork and Lea & Perrins have joined forces to promote this challenge and showcase one of my household favorite condiments...Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce!!

For the challenge I created Tri Tip Beef Hash with Fried Eggs. A hearty, healthy, economical breakfast, that utilizes left-over cooked meats.  Simple to prepare and versatile for it's use of any type of animal protien that may be waiting in your refrigerator, to be transformed into something  simply spectacular.

This dish was born from a wonderful meal I cooked for my family, of grilled Tri Tip Steak, Roasted Coriander Herb Potatoes and Haricot Verts, sauteed with shallots and butter.  Yum!  The fist meal was delish but the second one was even better!  I'm not a "left-over" kinda eater but I hate being wasteful in the kitchen.  My solution...make the left-over meal taste like it isn't left-over! 

I know you won't be able to wait to taste the Tri Tip Hash and Eggs so here's the recipe for the steaks.  By the way...what made this recipe so appealing for the Lea & Perrins challenge...the meat was first marinated in Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce!!


4 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Montreal Seasoning
2-3 pounds Tri Tip Steak


Rub steaks with Montreal seasoning and place in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, add Lea & Perrins and marinated meat for 30 minutes, cook on a hot, well oiled grill. 

Tri Tip steak is generally a thick cut so it can take up to 20 minutes to get a good medium, pink and juicy center.  Set a kitchen timer for 8-10 minutes and turn the steaks so each side gets beautiful charred lines.  Keep testing every 5 minutes, or so to keep meat from being over cooked. Allow meat to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Slice thinly, and serve for dinner...if you are making the Hash breakfast, rest meat 15 minutes, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before dicing.

Tri Tip Beef Hash Ingredients

4 raw baking potatoes
3 cups cooked Tri Tip Steak or other left-over cooked meat
1/2 cup Honey Crisp apple
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup onion
2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Herbs De Provence
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

4-6 farm fresh eggs
2 tablespoon butter
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Wash and dice vegetables, dice cooked meat, add remaining ingredients and mix well, set aside.  Heat 2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat, Cook hash mixture for 5 minutes without turning, cover and cook additional 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, uncover and cook additional 5 minutes.

Heat butter in a non-stick pan and cook egg's until soft in the middle...over-easy. 

Serve eggs over hash, with toasted baguette, jelly and a strong cup of hot coffee....

The creamy center of the over-easy egg,  the caramelized onion and beef, paired with the sweetness of the honey crisp apple make for the perfect breakfast bite! 

Voting for your favorite video starts December 3 @ 9:00 AM ET and ends December 13 @ 11:59 PM ET....Food Network & Lea & Perrins - Shine at Dinner Time Video Challenge

The top 6 videos will be posted December 3, 2010 on the Website at 9:00 AM ET and community voting will begin on those entries at that time.  With any luck, I'll be in the top 6!  Fingers and toes crossed!!! Five finalist will be First Prize Winners and one will be declared Grand Prize Winner.

Judging and Community Voting Criteria

1) Overall Presentation and Creativity - 40%
2) Appetite Appeal - 30%
3) Creative use of Lea & Perrins - the number of votes for a potential Grand Prize Winner...the finalist with the highest score in "Creative use of Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Products" will be Grand Prize Winner.

Grand Prize: $10,000 and two tickets (3) day (2) night trip to New York, to Meet and Greet Claire Robinson from the Food Network's, Five Ingredient Fix cooking show.  The five First Prize Winner will receive $1,000.  Not too shabby!!

Mark your calenders and make sure to vote for my video each day for the duration of the contest!!  The finalist with the highest number of votes wins.  Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, November 5, 2010


UPDATE:  great news...I was chosen to compete in the Iron Foodie challenge!! I'm one of the 25 and ready to unleash the power of my inner, Iron Chef!!

Marx Food's is teaming up with the Foodie Blogroll for the IRON FOODIE 2010 Challenge!  What a great honor it would be to be chosen to compete in this challenge and be given the opportunity to cook a signature dish using 3 delicious gourmet foods from Marx's Foods.  Yes, you heard it right here!  25 challengers will be chosen and each will receive 10 gourmet items with the instructions to use three of the goodies to create a signature dish.  Count me in!!

Marx Foods hosts a plethora of gourmet foods and kitchen gadgets. One of my favorite items is their Eco friendly Palm Leaf Plates that I reviewed a few months ago.  If you haven't checked out their site, take a trip over there today and get a look at their diverse selection of kitchen goods and gourmet foods.

As part of the challenge, I was asked to write about the person I would most like to spend the day with, in their kitchen and why.  How can I pick just one?  There are so many chef's that have shaped my love and desire for the culinary arts. 

Julia Child, spent most of her days in my living room teaching my mother and I how to tress ducks, stuff a turkey and boil the perfect egg.  I used to love watching her take on food with so much passion and finesse.  I could say that she lite the ember that started my love of cooking. 

My mother, fanned the flame of my culinary quest because of her passion in the kitchen.  She was a woman "before her time", making stuffed squash blossoms before anyone in our neighborhood, or any where else for that matter, knew the were even eatable. 

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Julia and my mother so I better follow the rules of the challenge and pick the person I would choose today.

Hands down,  it would have to be...Ina Garten!  Ina's biography inspired me and turned my culinary flame into a roaring fire.  Her grace, food knowledge and determination to follow her culinary dream, is what I aspire to create in my own life.  She is the consummate business woman and I could learn so much spending a day with her.  A day in the kitchen with Ina would be excellent!

Another question in the challenge...what morsel would I most likely swipe from a family member or friend's plate when they aren't looking?  It would have to be a french fry! Easy to swipe and worth every bite!

My childhood in one meal...perfectly cooked roast beef, mashed potatoes, fresh picked veggies from the garden, music and a lot of love!  Oh, and I can't forget dessert...home made tapioca pudding!  Comfort foods to the max!

The one main stream food I can't stand...I have to admit, there are very few foods I can't stand, even main stream/fast foods.  The one thing that really chaps my hide...I can't stand paying good money for mediocre food!

Thank you Marx Food's and Foodie Blogroll for the opportunity to be a part of this challenge! 

Pick Me, Pick Me!!!!!  Print Friendly and PDF


This has to be the best ever, Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, I've ever made! 

I wish I could boast and tell you that I'm a fabulous baker but alas, I'm not!  I've always been challenged when it comes to baking.  I think it's my need to add a pinch of this and a pinch of that to my recipes, that throws me off coarse. Being forced to measure ingredients is my undoing every time!  Luckily, this style of cooking has worked well for me in the kitchen, developing new recipes, making soups, stews, appetizers and main dishes.  

Now that I'm food blogging I've been trying to change my ways and follow the directions!!  Thanks to the Food Network and Paula Deen, this recipe has lifted my spirits and given my inner baker a voice.....yeah!  I made a freaking cheesecake that didn't look or taste like the funky tan blankets on the beds at motel 6!

This recipe is so creamy and moist and the pumpkin flavor isn't over powering.  Just the right blend of ingredients, to make even the most novice baker look like a star!

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter


1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For Crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon.  Add melted butter, press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan.  Set aside

For Filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth, add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices.  Add flour and vanilla.  Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust, spread mix evenly and place in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Serves 8

I can never wait the 4 hours...warm cheesecake is sooo yummy!  Serve with whipped cream!

True confessions.......due to my inability to take direction, I used vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers for the you can didn't work!! LOL!  Stuck to the bottom of the pan like glue!  Will I ever learn??
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winner of Culinary Smackdown Battle Chile...

Check out the newest winner of the Culinary Smackdown Challenge "Battle Chile"!! Congratulations, kitchen flavours!!

in reference to: Blogger: Dashboard (view on Google Sidewiki)
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Monday, November 1, 2010

And the Culinary Smackdown Winner is..........

This months Culinary Smackdown Challenge "Battle Chile" has come to an end and now I have the arduous task of choosing the winner.    All of the contestants brought their "A" game with a wonderful menagerie of delightful chili dishes to this months battle. 

Thanks to all the contestants for joining in the fun...your dishes are all wonderful and represent the diverse nature of the use of chile's in cooking.  This is going to be a very difficult battle to judge!  

girlichef, brought her talents to the table with her beautiful Cheddar Serrano Bread!  Fresh bread is one of my weaknesses, add to that two of my favorite foods...cheddar cheese and chile's and this dish is very hard to refuse!  I would love to sop up some delicious tortilla soup with this spicy, bread! 

Gloria's Blog Viva La Vida, brought on the hot stuff with her Polenta with Chili's and Crema Fresca.  This dish looks so inviting with the hot bubbly smoothness of the polenta, paired with Serrano chile's and cilantro.  The perfect dish for the family after a long cold day sledding in the Rocky Mountains. Grab me a comfy blanket and a bowl of this dreamy dish and I'm in heaven!

PALATABLE used her cultural culinary abilities to bring us this spicy hot Samabal Goreng (Fried Tofu & Tempeh).  A traditional Malaysian dish, this one packs a powerful punch, with a combination of dried red and green chile's, garlic, lemongrass and tamarind, and coconut just to name a few.  I'm ready to book a flight to Malaysia and get a taste of this beautiful dish!

Christo, ChezWhat brought on the hot stuff with FIVE recipes from his arsenal of chile dishes.  To be fair to the other contestants I had to choose just one of Christos fine offerings.  It wasn't hard for me to choose his Three Layer Panacotta with Mulato chile's, chocolate, coconut and blueberry layers...Wow!  You had me at chocolate and chili!!

Anette, Krakilette, went down to the wire by posting her recipe for Chicken and Chile Soup with Pumpkin Seed Bread at the last minute.  I'm so happy she made the deadline because this soup is beautiful!  The rich broth is flavored with hot red peppers, chunks of carrots and chicken, and accompanied by delicious pumpkin rolls.  I'm ready for a visit  Anette, you better put some soup on!!

Finally, kitchen flavours shows her culinary talent with this amazing Sambal Petai with Eggs.  Petai is a Malaysian fruit that is "high in potassium and low in salt, making it perfect to beat high blood pressure. This unique fruit can prevent a substantial number of illnesses."  I just love the way kitchen flavors gives her readers a personal look into her diverse, cultural cooking style!!

The Sambal is made with a mixture of chile's, kaffir lime leaves, candlenut and belecan!  Honestly, I've never heard of some of these ingredients but they look amazing, pictured her!  Quail eggs add their amber color making this dish irresistible! 

With so many wonderful food bloggers competing in this months challenge it was a very difficult to choose just one recipe, but in the end someone has to be crowned the winner.......

Drum roll please............the winner flavours!!! I really couldn't resist the complexity of this beautiful dish! 

Congratulations, on winning the October 2010 Culinary Smackdown "Battle Chile"!!  You have the honor of hosting next months challenge on your blog and bosting the title of Culinary Smackdown Winner on your blog!! You will also receive a gift from me for winning this months challenge, a lovely Tea Set for One and a tin of Apple Spice Tea. 


Contact me by email to claim your!
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