1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses
Mix both together until blended. Use much in the same way you would brown sugar for a richer, more robust flavor.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses
Mix both together until blended. Use much in the same way you would brown sugar for a richer, more robust flavor.
American, land of the free and home of the brave. Once she was thought to be the land of milk and honey. Full of splendor and promise, she was the belle of the ball, exuding opulence and grandeur. During the late 1800’s, heavy industrialization proliferated throughout the eastern states of a still young America. Fortunes where made and the rich, luxuriated in their lavish lifestyles of wealth and abundance. This sprang forth the Gilded Age, an era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.
The Gold Boom’s of California in 1848 and Colorado in 1859 further expanded both the population and fortunes of our great nation. The Colorado gold rush, which followed approximately a decade after the California Gold Rush, was accompanied by a dramatic influx of emigrants into the region of the Rocky Mountains and exemplified by the phrase “Pikes Peak or Bust”, a reference to the mountain in the Front Range that guided many early prospectors to the region westward over the Great Plains. The prospectors provided the first major white population in the region, leading to the creation of many early towns in the region, including Denver and Boulder, as well as many other smaller mining towns, some of which have survived.
Many struck off to Colorado, looking to stake their own claim on fortune. Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter-turned-real-estate entrepreneur from Ohio, came to Denver in 1860 after a number of adventures in California, Peru, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri. In Denver, Brown purchased several acres of land, including a triangular plot at the corners of Broadway, Tremont and 17th street, where he grazed his cow.
Brown originally left his Ohio home in 1860, planning on striking it rich in California. However, as his family passed through Denver, his wife liked it so much, she reportedly said to him, “Mr. Brown, thou may press on to California if such be thy wish. I shall remain here.”
Making Denver their home, the Browns soon homesteaded 160 acres on what would later become known as Capitol Hill. A shrewd businessman, Brown soon developed the acreage into the most influential neighborhood in the city, where the wealthy began to build palatial brownstone mansions up and down Grant and Sherman Streets.
Henry made a fortune from his real estate development; however the economic panic of 1877 nearly destroyed him. He was forced to sell his palatial estate to Horace Tabor for $50,000, but the enterprising Brown soon recovered his fortune and by 1880 was worth nearly five million dollars, making him one of the wealthiest men in Colorado.
When the Windsor Hotel, one of Denver’s most elegant at the time, would not let Brown enter because he was dressed in cowboy attire, Brown decided to build his own hotel, and in the process, outdo the Windsor. In 1888, he retained architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design a new hotel, the likes of which had never before been seen in Denver.
Edbrooke designed Brown’s hotel in the Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. For a finishing touch, artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting a native Rocky Mountain animal. The hotel’s “silent guests” can still be seen between the seventh floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.
For the interior, Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby, with balconies rising eight floors above ground, surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. No one knows for sure whether it was done intentionally, but two of the grillwork panels were installed – and remain – upside down. Edbrooke imported onyx from Mexico for the lobby, the Grand Salon (now the Onyx Room) on the second floor, and the eighth floor ballroom. The hotel was hailed as the second fire-proof building in America. No wood was used for the floors and walls, which were instead made of hollow blocks of porous terracotta fireproofing.
After an expenditure of $1.6 million – a remarkable sum for the time – and another $400,000 for furniture, The Brown Palace Hotel opened on Aug. 12, 1892. It had 400 guest rooms (compared to 241 today) that rented for between $3 and $5 a night. There were two banquet halls, a ladies’ ordinary (lounge), and a Grand Salon. The lobby housed a smoking room, a men’s bar, a ladies’ waiting room, and at least 18 stores. Today, there are four restaurants, 11 banquet rooms (all but one on the second floor), a gift shop, spa, floral shop and business center.
There were, and still are, many interesting and unique features about The Brown Palace. Because of its triangular shape, all rooms face the street. Early on, guests were asked whether they preferred morning or afternoon sun. The hotel derives all of its water from its own original artesian well. A huge carousel oven, at least half as old as the hotel and one of only three known to be in existence, still turns out the melba toast, macaroons and other baked goods on a daily basis in The Brown Palace bakery.
The Brown Palace Hotel has been open for business every minute of every day since Aug. 12, 1892. Unlike most and perhaps even all historic hotels, The Brown Palace has never closed for renovation. Instead, it has been remodeled, refurbished, updated and redecorated on an ongoing basis, including the latest $6.5 million restoration of the top two floors, and $3 million for the newly constructed Spa at The Brown Palace.
Standing the test of time, The Brown Palace today remains what it was originally meant to be – a grand, unprecedented hotel. Indeed, The Brown Palace is still known for many of its original qualities: its unusual triangular shape, its stunning, eight-story atrium lobby, its elegant atmosphere, and perhaps most importantly, its ability to treat weary travelers like royalty.
The Brown Palace is truly a rare gem. Few places exist in this day and age which exude the same grandeur and regalia. They sure don’t make them like they used too! A chance last minute business meeting landed us in Denver last week- on a long Memorial Day weekend, nevertheless. We stayed at the Brown Palace, where we did indeed feel like we had stepped back in time and where we also felt like we were being treated like royalty.
What has this all got to do with my meager little food blog, you may ask?
We where also very pleased to find out Denver happens to be a splendid little food town. Here are a few highlights from our food-filled adventure in the Mile High city…
located at The Brown Palace, Denver Colorado
1851 West 38th AVE.
1110 Washington Avenue
Golden, Colorado 80401
The Brown Palace Atrium
The Brown Palace
Denver has a fabulous food scene indeed. We just touched the tip of the iceberg in the four days we where there. On a return trip, and very soon, I might add, we hope to visit Table 6, Riajo, Bistro Vendome, and Panzano as well as the many other outstanding eateries, food trucks and other culinary delights which Denver has to offer!
Since Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1905 en route to a bear hunt in the Colorado Rockies, every U.S. President except Calvin Coolidge has stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel. Dwight Eisenhower even ran his 1952 presidential campaign from offices on the second floor of the hotel.
During World War II, troops were quartered at the Brown Palace Hotel and soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division were known to rappel from the balconies, much to the management’s chagrin.
Pop-star Billy Joel once joined the lobby pianist for a duet, and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cat was once lost in the hotel heating system.
The Beatles stayed at the Brown Palace during their 1964 tour and the hotel was inundated with applications from young women eager to work as housekeepers during their stay.
The Rolling Stones brought more than 200 pieces of luggage during their two-night stay in 2003.
When you cook, No greater compliment exists than when someone asks you to share a recipe, assist them in their kitchen efforts or comes to you for advice. I am finding, the longer I cook, the more frequently this tends to happen.
Such was the case recently when an old friend sent me an email asking me to help her out. You see, she is currently acting as the “cookie” on an historical re-enactment project called the Flagship US Niagara.
Docked at the Erie Maritime Museum, in Erie, PA, the Flagship US Niagara serves as a reminder of a very critical piece of the history of the United States. In service during the time of the War of 1812, the real Flagship Niagara, under the command of Oliver Hazard Perry, was very crucial in our countries defeat of the British Naval fleets which allowed us to go on toe rather decisive victory in the War and eventually go on to open up the west to settle the remainder of the United States.
Later called the Hero of the Lake, At his request, Perry was given command of United States naval forces on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton had charged prominent merchant seaman Daniel Dobbins with building the American fleet on Presque Isle Bay at Erie, Pennsylvania, and Perry was named chief naval officer.
On September 10, 1813, Perry’s command fought a successful fleet action against a task force of the Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie. It was at the outset of this battle that Perry famously said, “If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it.” Initially, the exchange of gunfire favored the British. Perry’s flagship, the USS Lawrence, was so severely disabled in the encounter that the British commander, Robert Heriot Barclay, thought that Perry would surrender it, and sent a small boat to request that the American vessel pull down its flag. Faithful to the words of his battle flag, “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” (a paraphrase of the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, the ship’s namesake and Perry’s friend), Perry ordered the crippled Lawrence to fire a final salvo and then had his men row him a half-mile (0.8 km) through heavy gunfire to transfer his command to the USS Niagara. Once aboard, Perry dispatched the Niagara’s commander, Captain Jesse Elliot, to bring the other schooners into closer action while he steered the Niagara toward the damaged British ships. Breaking through the British line, the American force pounded Barclay’s ships until they could offer no effective resistance and surrendered. Although he had won the battle aboard the Niagara, he received the British surrender on the deck of the recaptured Lawrence to allow the British to see the terrible price his men had paid. Perry’s battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: “We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”
This was the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered, and every captured ship was successfully returned to Presque Isle. Although the engagement was small compared to Napoleonic naval battles such as the Battle of Trafalgar, the victory had disproportionate strategic importance, opening Canada up to possible invasion, while simultaneously protecting the entire Ohio Valley. The loss of the British squadron directly led to the critical Battle of the Thames, the rout of British forces by Harrison’s army, the death of Tecumseh, and the breakup of his Indian alliance. Along with the Battle of Plattsburgh, it was one of only two significant fleet victories of the war.
This brings us to modern times and the Flagship Niagara replica, which now calls the Erie Maritime Museum its home. The museum opened its doors May 21, 1998. As home port of the Flagship Niagara, the Erie Maritime Museum presents the story of the Niagara as the reconstructed flagship of Pennsylvania and the warship that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Offering a wide range of multi-media and interactive exhibits, and coupling with lively interpretive programs, Erie Maritime Museum vividly illustrates Niagara’s history and the region’s rich maritime history.
At a time when our country is reeling from record unemployment, declining economics and political unrest, never has this phrase stood as a more fitting or worthy “Battle Cry” which to rally behind!
Here are a dozen classic Chowder, Stew and Soup recipes I sent to my “cookie” friend on the Flagship US Niagara to stymie off hunger and fuel their bodies while hoisting sails on deck!
1 28 can Whole Tomatoes
1 cup water
1 Medium Sweet Onion, Chopped
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch raw sugar
In dutch over, combine 1 can fire roasted tomatoes and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Add garlic, celery salt, sea salt, white pepper and nutmeg and cover. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Sauté until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and add to food processor. Add tomatoes and mascarpone then puree until smooth.
Return to dutch oven and simmer over medium heat until warm. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
* 4 slices bacon
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 cup bottled clam juice
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 2 (6 ounce) cans minced clams
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the pan, crumble and set aside.
2. In the same saucepan with the bacon fat, saute the onion and potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well to coat.
3. Pour in the clam juice, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
4. Add the half-and-half and minced clams and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, whisk in the heavy cream, if desired. Allow to heat through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and crumbled bacon. (Note: Do not boil if adding cream.)
* 4 pounds bottom round, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
* 2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
* 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
* 1/2 pound baby carrots (about 2 cups)
* 2 cups beef broth
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1. Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a heavy casserole or a heavy, covered saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the casserole. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the casserole. Stir in the broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
3. Cook the casserole in a 325° F oven for 4 hours, or in the saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat for about 2 1/2 hours. In either case, stir occasionally and add up to 1 cup of additional beef broth if necessary. Add the potatoes and carrots during the last hour of cooking, and the peas just before serving.
* 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound)
* 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
* 1 medium onion
* 1 large roasted red bell pepper (available in jars)
* 3 cups tomato juice
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
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Cut 1 tomato, 1/2 cucumber and 1/2 onion into 1-inch pieces and transfer to processor. Add bell pepper and puree. Transfer to bowl. Add tomato juice, cilantro, vinegar, oil and hot pepper sauce. Seed remaining tomato. Dice remaining tomato and cucumber and onion halves and add to soup. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.) Serve well chilled.
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 1-pound bag classic-cut peeled carrots
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon brandy
* 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
* Fresh tarragon sprigs
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Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; sauté until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add broth; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat, uncover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in orange juice, brandy, and chopped tarragon. Simmer 5 minutes for flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish soup with tarragon sprigs and serve.
* 2 tbsps olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
* 1 cup tomato sauce
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1 tsp dried thyme, or 3-4 sprigs of fresh
* 1 can (15-oz) butter beans, drained
* 1 can (15-oz) white cannellini beans, drained
* 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 lemon, juiced
* salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic slices on medium-low heat, until the garlic begins to sizzle. Cook for about 1 minute, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the tomato sauce, water, pepper flakes, thyme, and beans. Turn up heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the shrimp, and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot in bowls with bread.
* 8 slices bacon
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1/2 onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup diced carrots
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 1 quart chicken broth
* 4 cups cubed potatoes
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* salt to taste
* sour cream, as needed (optional)
Cook bacon in a soup pan until crisp. Remove, and reserve. Discard bacon fat, and add olive oil to the pan. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté on medium-low until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, until melted. Dice bacon and add to soup. Seasoning with salt, and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 rib celery, chopped
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 can crushed tomatoes (28-oz)
* 2 cups clam juice or fish stock
* 2 cups white wine
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoons dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 Dungeness crab (about 2-lbs), cracked and cleaned, or 1-lb frozen crabmeat thawed
* 2 pounds walleye fillet, cut into 1-in slices
* 24 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
* 12 mussels
* 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1. In a large pot, on medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the celery and onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the seafood and fresh parsley. Simmer on low, uncovered, for one hour. Add a splash of water if the sauce gets to thick. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
2. Add the crab, shrimp, and halibut, and simmer covered another five minutes. Add the mussels, cover the pot and simmer for 3 minutes more, or until the mussels open. Turn off the heat, and stir in the Italian parsley.
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
* 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
* salt and pepper
* 3 cups water
* 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 pound fresh lima beans
* 1/2 cup okra
* 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
* 2 tablespoons butter
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, cook chopped onion in the bacon grease. Add the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. When chicken is browned on all sides, pour off the excess fat. Add the water, tomatoes, sherry, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook slowly over low heat for 1/2 hour, then add the lima beans, okra, fresh or frozen corn kernels from the cob. Simmer 1 hour. Add the butter and cook 1/2 hour longer.
* 1 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 pound spicy, garlicky, and possibly smoky sausage (Italian, Cajun, Chorizo, etc.), cut in 1-inch pieces
* 1 onion, chopped
* 6 zucchini, cut in 2-inch pieces
* 1 1/2 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, cut same size as zucchini
* 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 6 springs fresh thyme
* water as needed
* salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives (and/or any fresh herb)
* 6 thick slices of crusty bread
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, brown the sausage and onion in the olive oil, over medium-heat. Add the zucchini, potatoes, broth, bay leaf, thyme, and a big pinch of salt. Add enough water to just cover.
Note: I didn’t use garlic in this recipe since the sausage I used was quite garlicky. If you’d like, you can add a few minced cloves just before the onions are soft.
Bring to a simmer over high-heat. Reduce to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly. Adjust with water or broth as the stew cooks if it is getting to dry. Use a spoon to skim any excess fat that pools on the surface.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn off heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes and chives, or other fresh herbs. Serve hot with crusty bread.
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 2 quarts hot water
* 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
* 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 2 cups cooked long grain rice
* 2 cups chopped green peppers
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender. Yield: 10 servings.
* 10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or two 14 oz cans of tomatoes, drained)
* 3 medium carrots
* 2 medium leeks
* 5 ribs of celery
* 2 red onions
* 1 cabbage
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 clv garlic, finely sliced
* 1 heaped Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
* 3 cup ham, chicken, or vegetable stock
* 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, torn
* 6 oz spaghetti
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* extra-virgin olive oil
* Parmesan cheese, grated
Score the tomatoes and place briefly in boiling water. Then skin, seed and roughly dice. Peel or scrape the carrots, quarter lengthwise and chop. Remove the outer leaves of the leeks, quarter lengthwise, wash well and chop. Peel the celery with peeler to remove the stringy bits, then cut in half lengthwise and chop. Peel and chop the onions. When you are chopping all these vegetables, try to make them more or less the same size (around inch dice. Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.
Put the olive oil into a warmed thick-bottomed pan and cook the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary over medium heat until just tender (about 15 minutes). Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming if necessary. Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the basil and the pasta, which will absorb the flavors of the soup. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or more. Taste and season. The soup should be quite thick, full in flavor, and the cabbage shouldn’t be overcooked–you want to retain its deep color.
Erie Maritime Museum Homeport
150 East Front Street
Erie, Pa 16507
Sustainable food- It’s a cause near and dear to my heart. You see, farming is in my roots and if you trace the blood lines back as far as you can go, I come from a rural people. My kin, on both branches of my family tree, left rural Germany to land here in the United States then venture forth to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area to live off the bounty of the earth. Eventually moving on to the Ohio valley, They toiled long and hard to clear the land and make it fit for hearth and harvest.
For generations now (more than seven strong), local food was so much more to my families than a buzz word or catch phrase for the latest foodie trend. Local food was running a farm by which to feed your family, friends and neighbors. The land provided you with just what you needed and any abundance was stored back for the leaner, harsher seasons. There where no large industrial farms and if you didn’t grow it yourself, you could find the products you needed either from the neighbor down the road or the little market “up the way a piece”.
My father was a farmer, that is up until he decided he had enough of waking at the crack of dawn to milk cows or bail hay! It was there that my roots strayed elsewhere- but not far enough that I forget not only my heritage, but the value of a hearty meal born of the earth as well!
With this heritage and remembrance of times past, I have not forgotten my link to the days when you feed yourself directly from the earth. All the nutrients and soul where not sucked out of your diet via the process of making food “commercially accessible”. Our creator provided us with a food system, and as we have run astray from that system, we have lost site of the true value of where and how are meals are born.
This is precisely why I am sharing story of The Farmer, The Miller and The Baker Brand, a line of local food products that are grown, processed and produced within a 30 mile radius in west-central Ohio… the heart of American agriculture.
This is how food was meant to be- “REAL FOOD, REAL GOOD!”
The ghost of Martha Stewart, apparently, came to visit me in the wee hours of this Sunday morning, as I awoke with the uncontrollable urge to bake today. Sunday’s tend to be a free-for-all kind of day at our household and one never knows what might surface on the stove or emerge from the oven. It’s truly a mixed grab bag as we let our culinary desires run a tad bit wild on the Sabbath. So much for a day of rest, as the dishes tend to pile up and the kitchen looks as if the Keebler elves have had their way with it!
It seemed my time in the kitchen this week was invariably cut short no matter how deep my desires to indulge in some cookery might be. There was this tasty sounding recipe for the most unusual of muffin offerings I had been wanting to “toy” with and tweak a bit more to my own liking. It seemed we would never find a spare minute from our daily grind to pick up a few essentials for them. Nevertheless, we managed to slip out last night, take in a movie, and swing by the local market for a stock up. For the record, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston score two BIG thumbs up from Les and I both for “Just Go with It”. If you are up for some light-hearted comedy, this one is definitely a must see!
So, our Sunday began, with Martha whispering her sweet nothings in my ear and I managed to throw together both my Ham and Cheddar Scones AND these very tasty Parsnip and Pecan Sour Cream Muffins…
A strange sounding combination, I know, but trust me, they are Delish!
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature. ( a bit more to coat the muffin tin )
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup whole mapled pecans, chopped ( plus an extra 12 to garnish muffin tops with )
½ cup golden raisins
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 ½ cups parsnip, peeled and coarsely grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Stir in the pecans, raisins, sour cream, grated ginger and grated parsnips.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients, stirring just until blended. Do not overmix.
Bake until a toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overbake or the muffins will be dry. Let the muffins stand for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool.
Life around our house can get crazy. Sure, we are a work at home family but with 3 teen age kids, two dogs and oodles of side projects or activities, we can all be fairly overloaded with “stuff” to do. Nothing destresses me from all the hustle and bustle more than spending time in the kitchen. I have never looked at cooking as a chore, but more as a pleasurable means to an end. Hacking away at veggies and other food as you cook can be quite therapeutic indeed!
Nevertheless, there are days when our schedule is so overloaded the idea of a decent meal is left to the mercy of dinning out or throwing together something quick with what ever is on hand. Not ever meal can be an iron chef affair with multi-course offerings and lengthy prep times. A quick salmon recipe with a nice, healthy salad is often times our go-to meal when we are left with little spare time or energy. Nothing beats quick, easy and healthy.
Here is a quick and easy twist on a tasty Salmon dish-
prep time: 15 minutes
Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Oakleaf Lettuce and Citrus Honey Dressing
4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tblspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tblspoon Organic Honey
1 Tblspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir together balsamic, vinegar, honey, and sesame oil.
Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Increase heat to high and sear salmon, skin sides up, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over and sear until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Transfer salmon to plates and carefully add vinegar mixture to skillet (liquid will bubble vigorously and steam). Simmer, stirring, until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes.
Spoon glaze over salmon.
¼ cup Orange Marmalade
2 Tablspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablspoon Honey
1 Tablspoon Fresh Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
½ teaspoon Maple Syrup
Salt to taste
Combine marmalade, vinegar, honey, orange juice, sesame oil and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Can be made in advanced and refrigerated. Rewhisk before serving. Serve salad with fresh orange sections.
2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Reisling
Riesling is a chameleon of a grape, able to produce world class wines that range from bone dry to unctuously sweet. Germany is most closely associated with Riesling, where all styles are made and the range of flavors runs the gamut from steely and crisp with crunchy mineral-driven flavors to fresh lime, apple and peach flavored expressions – even rich honied, candied fruit tones in the great dessert wines.
The heart and soul of a nation lie in its cuisine. The colors and flavor of any particular locale come to life in its food. You can feel the pulse of a nation in how it feeds its people. In judging its food, Nicaragua is alive with vibrancy, her people warm and welcoming.
Of all the meals served in Nicaragua, no dish is eaten more often than gallo pinto. It is considered by many as the national dish. Though many variations exist, the dish at its most basic is composed of pre-cooked rice and beans fried together then seasoned to perfection with onion and peppers.
Gallo Pinto has grown to become a very common dish through out Latin America, and the variations on its theme abound. In the Nicaraguan version, Red Beans are the standard fare. When the beans and rice are combined, the rice gets colored by the beans, and the mix results in a multi-colored, or specked appearance. Beans are quickly cooked with the rice until the juice is almost consumed. Deriving its name from the Spanish term ‘spotted rooster’, Gallo Pinto is thus named to fit with the colored rice.
I set out today on what was my first guest blog and commercial photo shot as a food stylist. My client- one of the largest and most significant economic groups in the Central American region. As we speak, I am awaiting my freshly pressed passport to return so we can leave behind the bitter cold of the Midwest for the more favorable, sunny beaches of Nicaragua. The trip will be both a vacation of sorts and a business trip to further future projects.
One thing is for certain, I look forward to the adventure!
NOTE: Nicaraguans on the Caribbean coast use coconut oil instead of regular vegetable oil.
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Discard the bay leaves. Set rice aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (onion through garlic); sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add rice, cilantro, and beans, and cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
*Serve with Tangy Tamarind Sauce
Yield: 1 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.
Food is love! It is somewhat of a mantra…at least around our household. The care we place upon gathering up a meal in our home borders on the absurd to most. Yes, we sweat the details. From where, how and by whom our locally grown food is produced to the way we season and even how we plate the food. Food blogging peculiarities aside, we lavish our food with love!
Feeding those you love is one of the ultimate signs of caring. Not only are you nurturing your loved ones nutritionally, you are also feeding their soul and showing them you are willing to take the time for their well being. This sentiment extends out beyond your immediate household. We often entertain guests in our home and one of the first thoughts on our minds in menu selection. Painstaking care is shown to those who sit at our tables, whether be it a holiday gathering, special event, or just a simple meal shared over great conversations.
Nothing says “I Love you” like a full belly and a glad heart!
Here is a great little recipe to share with your loved ones this Valentines Day. The love of my life just happens to be out of town on business this week and I can’t wait to cook her up some loving!
P.S. I Love you Baby!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 baking apples, sliced
3 large organic, free range eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 400º F. In a large ovenproof skillet (see Note) over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apples and sauté until slightly tender, 6 to 7 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Add milk, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over apples. Bake until puffed and golden, about 18 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve topped with caramel cinnamon cappuccino mascarpone and a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.
*NOTE: A Black cast-iron skillet works well.
8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese, at room temp
2 tablespoons instant caramel cappuccino powder
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon roasted Saigon cinnamon
In a medium blending bowl, place mascarpone, cappuccino powder, sugar and cinnamon. Whip with a wire whisk in the mixer for about 3 minutes until all ingredients are well mixed, mascarpone should be peaking. Chill and serve.
Won Ton Stuffing
1 ½ lbs. Pork Shoulder
Cut pork shoulder into 1”strips and place in freezer for 20 minutes. Mix Carrots, Diakon, Ginger and Garlic in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix Cilantro and Chive.
With KitchenAid stand mixer (or similar), grind pork shoulder with meat grinder attachment using a fine grind on speed setting of 4. Grind pork strips one at a time, alternating with carrot and green herb mixture, until all are combined.
Add dumpling and fish sauces, then hand blend. You may wish to run them eat mixture through your grinder a second time for a finer meat texture.
With a small mellon-baller, spoon a small dollop on meat into center of won ton wrapper. Brush the edges of won ton with egg wash, fold in half and press firmly to seal. Brush ends of folded won ton with egg and pinch together.
Place folded won tons on a cookie sheet and chill in the freeze for at least 20 minutes before cooking. This insures wontons will not come unfolded during cooking.
*Won Tons can now be steamed, deep fried in oil or boiled in broth for soup.
In a large stock pan, add chicken stock, soup base and bay leaf then start to boil on high. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer. Add bacon fat, garlic, ginger, white end of scallions, Daikon. Gently place 10-12 prepped won ton dumplings into soup stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add fresh squeezed lime juice then serve.
Garnish with chopped green scallions.
*Left-over won ton stuffing can be made into tasty Asian Meatballs by adding panko bread crumbs and egg.