Tag Archives: Cooking

A FEAST Fit for Fall’s Bounty

16 Sep

 

Ready for a taste of fall’s bounty

A Taste for Fall

Fall is beginning its descent all across the country. Here in Portland, it’s not coming fast enough for me. I’m ready for it to kick into high gear — maybe even wanting to force it a little before its true time.

As a fall baby, I’ve always had a great affinity for my birth season. Even in the midst of a 80 degree day, I can feel myself wanting to bake more. (I’m working on perfecting a super-moist, gluten-free pumpkin cream cheese muffin with candied pepitas right now. Look for it here on the blog soon!)

While we’re still ending our days by running the in-window air conditioner to get our room cool enough to sleep in the evening, I have a taste for the crunch of leaves under foot, the orange globes of ripened pumpkin flesh floating in Thai curry and the sweet, silken flavors of rich chestnut and vibrant butternut squash soups served with a crunchy baguette and a creamy shmear of  triple cream brie.

An Apology

Things have been a bit slow on the blog lately. For that, I apologize to you my Groovy Readers. Besides the usual balancing act of  running a freelance writing business and the needs of an extremely active and talkative toddler, I’ve been juggling two major ghostwriting projects due before the end of the year,  a visit from the mother-in-law, my son’s 4th birthday, the addition of  a bit of summer fun and the delicious foodie-focused events (IFBC and FEAST Portland) descending on Portland lately.

All of this has left little time for blogging, hence the wonderful guest post by my dear friend Brad over at Cast Iron Stomach last week. Brad has inspired me to purchase my own canning supplies and make my own fresh jam with the last of summer’s berry bounty, crisp homemade pickles and juicy bright flavors of homemade pasta sauce.

A FEAST to Kick-Off the Fall Season

In fact, over the course of the next couple months you can expect to see all of these recipes and more as I enter my favorite season for cooking — Fall.  Kicking things off in a big way is Oregon’s first-ever food culture festival, FEAST Portland: A Celebration of Oregon’s bounty.

It’s four days (September 20-23, 2012) of foodie bliss that promises to not only set foodie hearts aflutter with the likes of Mark Bittman, Food Editors from Bon Appetit and Portland Monthly and top chefs from around the country giving cooking demonstrations, talks and serving up some the best food Oregon has to offer, but all net proceeds will go to help end childhood hunger in our area.  Win, win, WIN!!

Check out my FEAST Preview Post on Oregonlive.com later in the week to plan your schedule of all the action.

 

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New Cooking Tools: A Busy Mom’s Best Friend

9 Sep

RIP old friend

The Loss of a Few Trusted Old Friends

Two years ago, my toaster oven died and I didn’t have the funds to replace it, so we began using the oven for our toast in the morning. We found it worked just fine as long as you kept an eye on the toast and remembered to flip it.  I had loved using my toaster oven in the summer for baking fish and other foods. It kept the heat in the house down and it did a great job at keeping the fish juicy too!  I’ve improvised without it for the last two years.

Then, last year, unexpectedly, as I was making a beautiful tomatillo sauce in my Cuisinart Classic Pro, I heard this VERY BAD sound in my processor, like metallic ricocheting off the sides of the bowl, as the blade in my processor whirred. I immediately stopped processing and found that a small chunk of metal had come off the blade and was being whipped around in my sauce. The blade and the sauce both went in the trash. When I contacted Cuisinart about it, they said they’d never heard of someone having a problem like this and that I could PURCHASE a new blade in their online store (the machine was like 10 to 13 years old and I didn’t even remember where I bought it, let alone had a receipt.)

A replacement blade was $40 a pop, but a new Cuisinart in the same model was selling for $89 on Amazon — but, I just couldn’t do it. I’d wait until I could afford a new machine (especially when pleas to Cuisnart’s marketing department for a partnership with my blog fell on deaf ears.)

So I began using my $10 blender for sauces and soups. At first,  everything seemed fine, I could still use my old Cuisinart to grate cheese, shred potatoes for hash browns and slice veggies — that is, until, rather suddenly, one day a big chunk of plastic to the locking mechanism on the machine’s lid flew off as it was grating some cheddar. The machine immediately stopped and so did my dreams of fast, easy cooking. I could not afford to replace the machine at the time. I was smack dab in the middle of launching my own writing business, in the most competitive writing market ever and the worst economy since the depression. Convenience was a luxury my family could NOT afford.

My third birthday with the cake my momma made.

The Cooking Lesson

What I learned from this experience is that poverty is something that can keep your cooking lean, mean and unpretentious. I grew up poor. My mom used the same dented, banged up and chipped pans and bowls my entire childhood. She never knew anything about Henkels or Wusthof knives, she didn’t use specialty avocado tools like those made by OXO, she didn’t own a food processor or an ice cream maker. There were no ricers, salad spinners or meat grinders.

My mother rolled and cut her homemade egg noodles by hand and then hung them on string throughout the house to let them air dry. The fanciest tool in her kitchen was an old stainless steel french fry cutter she picked up at an antique store around the corner from our apartment. She had only four cookbooks to her name — 2 classics (one of these a Betty Crocker), 2 obscure (including one that was just a collection of army wives’ recipes from my dad’s troop in Germany).

None of it mattered — what she didn’t have in tools, she made up for in tenacity, skill, love for her family and her love for cooking. Her repertoire included many Mexican favorites (she grew up in Los Alamitos, California) like chile rellanos and enchiladas, as well as dishes like lasagna, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, eggplant parmigiana, chicken and dumplings (with those homemade egg noodles) and dark chocolate satin pie (I swear, I requested this for my birthday every year for like 10 years!)

My mom’s kitchen tools may not have been worthy of the likes of Gordon Ramsay, but they made great meals, just the same.

Without the fancy doohickeys and time-saving devices, you learn how to cut, grate, chop and pulverize with much more efficiency — real chef skills. You learn that even a $10 blender can help take the place of a $150 food processor for soup,  sauce, and quinoa cupcake batter and that a cute and willing hubby can grate cheese just as fast.

My new baby!

Tickled Pink: Welcome Home New Besties

Still, when I received my advance for the book I’m working on, among the first purchases I made were those to replace these kitchen convenience items. After much research (looking at competing brands, reading reviews and talking to fellow food bloggers) I PURCHASED the new Cuisinart 12 cup Elite food processor in hot pink, the matching blender, and a Cuisinart toaster/convection oven.

I didn’t set out to buy Cuisinart again but when the feedback you get is this resounding (and the color is so sassy!) you just have to go for it. The great thing about the fact that I purchased these myself is that my readers (you guys) will know with 100% certainty that I have no feelings of obligation towards this brand and that over the course of the time that I use these on my blog — I will give you the straight dope on whether the purchases were worth it or not (so far it’s been bliss.)

Mama’s lil helper

Mama Needs a Little Help in the Kitchen

Why’d I go back to the tools? Because, when you’re busy juggling it all — a little help and a little speed are a welcome reprieve.  But the lessons I learned by first not having, then having and losing, will remain with me as a cook. They are the same lessons I take with me in life:

  • You can do a lot with a little
  • With a little ingenuity, a dash of commitment and fueled by love you can make magic happen
  • It’s not the tools, it’s the heart
  • Money can buy ease and convenience but not true joy

Tell me what your favorite tool in the kitchen is and what you love to make with it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Cooking!

It’s mate. . .

Live Food Blogging at the IFBC Portland

24 Aug

This weekend I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference held this year, right here in Portland. It was three days of work (I volunteered), networking, and learning.

This post is from a crazy attempt at “live food blogging” during a speed tasting event we did on day 1. By the end, I was too hopped up on sugar and coffee to make any sense of anything. Though there were 21 vendors present, each table only made it through about 10 vendors each in the time allotted.

Here is my valiant attempt to blog live, as I tasted and conferred (with the lovely Janelle over at Talk of Tomatoes), listened and was brochured, typed and procured (goodies for my temporarily absent table mate, the irascible, Vicki Winters over @mybigmouth on Twitter, who was checking into the hotel downstairs.) In the end, I got a little too loud and silly (after 2 extremely small cups of coffee and about 5 pieces of chocolate — I am such a lightweight!) with the wonderful ladies at Table 22!! Cheers to Janelle, Miss Vicki, Megan, Jacqueln and the gorgeous gals of Maxwell PR — had a blast with you all.

Enjoy!

 

First up: Oregon Blackberry-Ginger Dressing over Salmon and Summer Vegetable Salad

Served: by the Chef from Adalu Stew (uses food as the foundation for cancer care to optimize health) on a small bamboo app spoon

IMPRESSION:Delish, fresh, light, clean and with a clear asian influence

 

Second: Silverspot IPA (Pelican Pub and Brewery)

IMPRESSION: This beer is 6%ABV English style IPA, not hoppy, the IBU is 55 (not gluten-free)

BONUS: Portion of the proceeds goes to collaborative habitat restoration for the threatened species of Oregon silverspot butterfly

 

3rd: Nicky USA Purveyors of specialty game and high quality meat (local PacNW)

Dish: Tartar Water Buffalo on a cracker, Jacobson’s sea salt, lemon, capers

IMPRESSION: So delicious, fresh and savory, yet light with the lemon

 

FOURTH: Rockfish Bakery Cafe, Lincoln City, Oregon

DISH: Sourdough Bread

IMPRESSION: I didn’t taste it (not gluten-free) but tablemates say it’s very good bread, great chew, good crackle,and a mild sour flavor. “It’s worth the carbs to eat bread this good!”

Cool Stuff: Naturally risen bread, takes 2 days to make, simple ingredient recipes

 

5th: Wild Caught Oregon Albacore (OregonCoast.org, Lincoln, City, Oregon)

DISH: Classic Tuna Salad sandwich

IMPRESSION:Yum! Looking at the fresh canned/jarred tuna and finding out how to get from my local Oregon fisherman (will fill you all in later on a future blog!)

 

6th: Jacobsen Sea Salt

DISH: small bites, sourdough bread with butter, honey and sea salt

IMPRESSION:Lovely seas salt, knowledgeable purveyor

7th: Happyrock Coffee Roastery

DISH: Coffee (just a taste in a dixie type cup)

IMPRESSION: nicely roasted flavor, not too acrid and it packed a caffeinated whollop!

 

8th: Coastal Mist Chocolates

Dish: Box of chocolates for the table to share! Yay!

IMPRESSION: Gorgeous looking chocolates, not sure if they’re fair trade or not. Some flavors were really interesting like the yuzku, others (like the marshmallow filled) left something to be desired. All were beautiful looking though and it was awesome of them to give each table a box.

9th: Temptress Truffles

Dish: sliced apple with truffle salted caramel sauce

IMPRESSION: Divine — this was the BIGGEST hit at our table. Not only was her truffle sauce out of this world BUT she was just too sweet and adorable to not fall in love with her! You MUST support this micro-business — she’s the real deal!

10th & Final: Fishes Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

Dish: 1 slice of a crab roll with Oregon wasabi

IMPRESSION: Yum! But I needed more and some saki. 🙂

 

 

 

Bonus: Blackberries are high in antioxidants and fiber

 

Going Coco-Nutty! The Ultimate Quintuple Coconut Cupcakes

1 May

When I was 7 years old, my mother stayed up late one night, in our house on Kent Street in Riverside, California and baked the most-perfect coconut cake I have ever seen or tasted in my life. Granted — it was my very first coconut cake experience and the only one baked by my mother in the entirety of my childhood. But I still remember it fondly to this day. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Recipes with Virtual Potluck and Taste

26 Jan

A delight for an anniversary or Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Virtual Potluck is going to show you how to make more than reservations this year. Each week until Valentine’s Day four of our 12 bloggers will be putting their best food forward as part of a 4 course lovers feast and what Valentine’s Day is complete without a TASTE-y libation? So we teamed up with Otis over at Taste on The N8tion.com to make us custom cocktails to go with each course — they even whipped up some yummy non-alcoholic beverages to help you celebrate, even if you don’t imbibe.

About Taste on The N8tion

Taste is a new mixology show that features cool cocktails from the common guy. From the creative minds at N8tion.com, our resident “booze head” Otis showcases classic and not-so-classic cocktail recipes. Who is Otis???? We found him under a bar in downtown Atlanta nursing a Corona while holding a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. No seriously, after tending bars for countless college parties, he honed his bartending skills in local taverns on the nights he wasn’t moonlighting as a bouncer. Taste is a product of N8tion.com, an independent television and radio network founded by brothers Myron and Otis McDaniel.

This week’s participating VP blogs and their dishes

Check them all out and keep an eye out for next week’s 4 course Valentine’s Day Menu.

*APPETIZER by  Diabetic Foodie:  Sweet Potato Wontons

This dish is paired with a  non-alcoholic and low carb drink called A Night in Old Mandaly

*INTERMEZZO by Thyme in Our Kitchen  French onion soup

This dish is paired with a non-alcoholic drink called Light La Garda.

 

*ENTREE Cookistry: Noodles with Tomatoes, fresh basil and artichoke hearts

This meal is paired an alcoholic drink called a Grand Ginger.

 

*DESSERT by Farm Girl Gourmet: Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake

This dessert is paired with an alcoholic drink called A Peace of Heaven

A Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge with Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch

4 Jan

It’s a new year and that means people all over the world are gearing up to be the very best they can be. Instead of just focusing on weight loss in 2012, some of us are focusing on better overall health. That’s why the Virtual Potluck Bloggers have teamed up with Bob’s Red Mill (BRM) and California Olive Ranch(COR) (like this GrooVy Foody did back in December for their “Bake a Better Holiday”) to bring you “A Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge.”

Each week the VP participants will cook up their fabulous BRM/COR Healthy New Year offerings and GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO WIN A BOB’S RED MILL/CALIFORNIA OLIVE RANCH PRIZE PACKAGE! (See details below.)

Virtual Potluck’s January 2012 mission

Duration: 4 weeks during January 2012

Challenge: To develop, inspire, create – 1 recipe per week for a 4-course meal, over course of month’s time

Ingredients: 1 new California Olive Ranch Olive Oil paired with 1 fresh Bob’s Red Mill product every week  (see schedule below)

Participants:  Virtual Potluck Members at 12 blogging outposts around the country

Week 1: Appetizer – Hard White Whole Wheat Flour – Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
Week 2: Side Dish – Grande Whole Grains Blend – Miller’s Blend extra virgin olive oil
Week 3: The Main Event– Quinoa Grain – Arbosana extra virgin olive oil
Week 4: Dessert – Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Everyday Fresh California extra virgin olive oil

(Some may branch off from this schedule, so don’t be surprised to find different pairings or different types of dishes.)

The Virtual Potluck Bloggers


A little extra focus on health is always in fashion over at Diabetic Foodie where Shelby whips up culinary creations that won’t spike your blood sugar but still taste divine.

Warm Herbed Goat Cheese with Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Breadusing the Arbequina and Hard White Whole Wheat Flour. I made the pita bread dough in a bread machine, then rolled it out in individual rounds and baked it. It was so much fun to see it puff up in the oven. Once it puffed, it stayed puffed – even after it cooled – so when you sliced it in half, there was already a built-in pocket (no trying to peel the two layers apart and then tearing the bread as with store-bought).For our second week, Shelby has set out to dazzle you with her sumptuous Onions Stuffed with Grande Grains, Currants and Pine Nuts and week 3 brings a hearty Quinoa and Lentil Chili.

Proving that healthy doesn’t have to mean deprivation, Heather over at Farmgirl Gourmet decided to make an orange infused baked (not fried!) donut using the Hard White Whole Wheat Flour and Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The donuts came out light and moist and needed only a quick dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Coming up for Weeks 2-4 will be a “Homemade Spicy Sausage & Grande Whole Grains Stuffing”, a Pear and Bacon Quinoa Pizza and lastly a “Peach Upside-Down Whole Wheat Olive Oil Cake”.

Over at Not Rachel Ray‘s, our resident Rachel has whipped up quite an assortment of recipes for her Healthy New Year including:
Dessert: Yogurt Tart in a Whole Wheat Crust

Donna at Cookistry bakes her way to health with mini-flatbreads served with hummus and warm olive salad and says,” Just a few bites, but packed with flavor. Even better, you can make this in advance, and assemble just before your guests arrive. Or, let the guests assemble their own.”

As an accomplished baker, Donna put a new twist on the second week’s grande grains by baking them into her Grande Grain Miller’s Blend Muffins. Check out Week 3’s Rice-i-Noa– a healthier alternative to a familiar box.

The “Miss” of Miss in the Kitchen used Bob’s Red Mill Hard White Whole Wheat Flour to make blinis topped with homemade ricotta, fresh rosemary, pine nuts and a good drizzle of California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it sounds fancy doesn’t it?  Well, it’s super easy and will be the appetizer that is totally impressive to your guests!
For week two, using the Grande Grains and Millers Blend Olive Oil, Miss made a healthful and tasty Sesame-Stir Fry Vegetable Grande Grains Pilaf that she says is, “perfect along side a grilled chicken breast, fish or even steak.” Quinoa takes center stage in Miss’s Week 3  Smoked Salmon Quinoa Patties and lemon tartar sauce.

Looks like Nelly (our newlywed) over at Cooking With Books, has some scrummy treats in store for us this month:

Appetizer: Lemon Thyme Cookies with Roasted Pepper Spread
Side: Cape Cod Cranberry Grande Grain Salad
Main Dish: Quinoa and Sausage Casserole
Dessert: Olive Oil and Marzipan Spiced Brownies
Our resident Celebrity Chef, Jay DuCote of Bite n’ Booze (He was on MasterChef, did you catch him?) put together Elk Sausage and Black Bean Soup.  Jay made a roux for the soup with BRM whole wheat flour and COR Arbosana olive oil.
For week three Jay has whipped up Toasted Pecan and Parmesan Quinoa plus a Giveaway!
If you know Theresa over at Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine you know she hunts down and serves up with the best of ’em. For this challenge, Theresa baked up fresh whole wheat bread from scratch for her Caprese Bruschetta.
“I made whole wheat bread with the flour and an amazing pesto with the oil.  I also, drizzled the oil on the bread before constructing.  This was one of the best wheat breads I’ve ever made and the oil was also very flavorful.”
Theresa’s second week entry over at Food Hunter is a Mediterranean Whole Grain Salad and for the third week a fresh Quinoa Primavera to set your heart aflutter.

Any meal with family or friends deserves an appetizer that really kicks things off. This Olive Oil Flatbread from Matt at Thyme in Our Kitchen is easy to make and can be adapted to fit any health goal. The flatbread is made with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour and the fruity Arbequina olive oil from California Olive Ranch. Toppings on this heart healthy version include caramelized shallots, roasted egg plant and fresh spinach. It’s drizzled with a cilantro chutney and of course a bit more olive oil. Week 2 saw Matt whipping up Curried Whole Grain Pilaf with Bacon, Mushroom and Cabbage and in Week 3 he wowed with Quinoa Cakes with Walnut and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette.

Susan at 30AEats  brings us a Sundried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia. Since Susan’s whole family works in healthcare (so they know health!)  she solicited input from her husband and daughter to come up with this recipe, “My daughter is a huge fan of pesto, and we all adore kalamata olives, we came up with our Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia. . . I paired it with a beautiful salad of local greens from my Seaside Farmer’s Market. I  also used the Arbequina drizzled on top as a dressing.”

For Week 2 Susan made Whole Grain Quinoa Tabouleh With Peppers  and for Week 3 Grande’ Grains Jambalaya.

Tara over at Foodie just took on a new promotion at work that’s keeping her busy — but not too busy to take part this challenge! Watch as she wows you with Prime Rib and Shrimp Whole Wheat Fried Ravioli. Look for Tara’s second week entry of Grande Whole Grains with Spinach and Serrano Ham and the Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa with Ribeye and Roasted Brussels Sprouts she just cooked up for week 3 .

Week 1 Cheesy Asian-Inspired Sesame Rolls right here on The GrooVy Foody.
Week 4

A Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge Giveaway

Each week, the VP bloggers will challenge you to find (and use) the secret code word of the week, posted in the contest tab labeled “Virtual Potluck” on the California Olive Ranch Facebook page.

Each blogger will pick a single winner per week to receive a pack of the featured products from Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch.

That’s right- four weeks, 12 winners each week! That’s like 48 chances to win! The more blogs you visit the more chances you have to win~ so what are you waiting for?! Let’s get cooking (and eating!) A Tasty and Healthy New Year!

For more information on how you can win– visit the sites listed above!

Virtual Potluck’s Official Launch

14 Nov

Today is the day — it’s the first day, of the first event, for Virtual Potluck.

Don’t know what a Virtual Potluck is?

It’s good times, good friends and plenty of good food (or at least recipes), shared — potluck stylie (to borrow from Jamie Oliver‘s lexicon. Luv Jamie!)

The quick and dirty on us and our events is this — 100 became 20 then narrowed to 13 and finally settled at a dozen — how appropos!

A dozen passionate food bloggers linking up a network of posts, tastes and Tweets just for YOU! (Want the long version — check out the link up top for the complete Virtual Potluck story.)

Today’s event features a variety of recipes, recommendations and chit chat about Abrams Books cookbooks. To get in on all the fun visit the host page  (Donna Currie of Cookistry for today’s VP event. It will link you to each and every participating blog and give you sneak peak at what they’ll sharing with you today.

Join us at the Virtual Potluck!

But wait! That’s not all. Like every good party — it’s not just about the food, it’s about the mingling. So join us on Twitter hashtag #virtualpotluck throughout the day to whet your appetite, get your recipe card filled and your drink refreshed!

Head on over and meet my friends ~ I’ll be happy to make the introductions.

See you at the potluck!

Red Beans and Rice: Emeril One-Pot Cooking Party

30 Sep

This is the last post of the cooking party before I announce the winner of the Cookbook Giveaway tomorrow. I know that we’ve been sort of Emeril-centric around here the past few weeks but we also had some awesome giveaways! After tomorrow’s announcement (and one more recipe peek to round it out) we’ll be back to diving into an exotic variety of food, most of which you can cook in 30 to 45 minutes or less.

In fact, I’ve been saving up pics of some fabulous dinners we’ve had in between and before Emeril mania started around here, so keep an eye out for tons of great new recipes!

Now, without further ado, Emeril’s Red Beans and Rice (supposed to be Soup but I just couldn’t bring myself to put the rice in the pot and instead served it atop a nutty brown rice.)

PREP: Jalapenos, red kidney beans and short grain brown rice

This is Emeril folks and this dish is, traditionally, a dish with a wee bit of heat. While I like and can take a little heat, mostly in the name of flavor, because of heartburn issues — I took this down a notch (sorry, Em!) The way to reduce the heat in this dish, while still retaining the flavor is this: I changed the chorizo for kielbasa sausage, removed the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos and skipped the Louisiana hot sauce. This made the dish mild enough to bypass the heartburn but flavorful enough to enjoy.

Bringing the beans to "simmer n' soak" to soften and de-gas

PREP: Chopping & assembling ingredients in slow cooker

PREP: Add the beans!

Swimming in broth

A finished dish of red beans and kielbasa, Emeril-style, topping rice:

Red beans and rice -- sooo nice (Kudos to anyone who notices)

Leek and Bacon Quiche in Potato Crust: Emeril’s One-Pot Cooking Party

29 Sep

The opening of Sizzling Sillets: A message from Emeril

OK, so I’ll admit it — with going out of town for my birthday and looming writing deadlines, my Emeril Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders posts have been lagging. With all of the prep required in most of these dishes and/or lengthy cooking times, it’s been hard to get all my posts in BUT fear not, I found a solution!

Simplify.

For all you busy working moms out there, that want to cook these delicious dishes but maybe don’t have the time necessary to execute the big and fancy versions of Emeril’s dishes, I say don’t give up — simplify. So today, though I cannot give you Emeril’s recipe (you’ll need to order the book — available now at your local bookseller) I can tell you how I used his ingredients (well, most of them) and tweaked his recipe a bit to suit my needs.

Doesn't it look yummy?

I love a good quiche or frittata for dinner with a nice peppery arugula salad so  I had chosen to cook up Emeril’s  Leek and Bacon Quiche in a Potato Crust (on page 93) and purchased all the requisite ingredients early in the day (or rather sent the hubby/personal assistant to the store to gather the ingredients) but then, as always — life happened. Clients called with issues, editors emailed with last minute rush deadlines (a good freelancer never turns down work!) and before I knew it — it was 7pm and I still need to cook dinner. Since my little one has an 8pm bedtime — this posed a problem — but not for long.

Inspired by Emeril ~ The Bacon, Leek Quiche-Frittata

While a quiche is delightfully more fluffy and light and a bit more uptown than a frittata — I get just as much satisfaction from eating a frittata as I do quiche and let’s face it, folks, most of us are a bit more downtown or east of town than uptown. (HA!) So I adapted Mr. Lagasse’s recipe to suit me, by employing a few easy steps:

  • First, quiche takes so long to cook because it is essentially a custard — which means a considerable amount more liquid than a frittata (some frittata’s are made with only egg and no other liquid.) In order to cut the cooking time, I cut the milk, cream and sour cream down to a simple 1/8 cup of cream to 7 eggs.
  • Next, since I would be making this in a deep dish skillet instead of a spring-form pan and would therefore be unable to fully execute the potato crust ~ I cut the amount of potatoes in half from 2 pds to 1 pd.
  • Then, with red potatoes, freshly scrubbed and skin on, I popped them in the processor on grate and in seconds had shredded potatoes suitable for hashbrowns. I did this and hand cut the leek and Thyme leaves, while broiling the bacon in the oven and blending the eggs, cream and salt and pepper in the blender.
  • Next, I heated the skillet with oil and added the potatoes frying them crisp, so that they would stand up to the wetness of the egg during the cooking process and still allow me a semblance of a crust.
  • Pulled the crisp bacon from the oven, added the leeks to a saute pan with butter until soft, while turning the potatoes to ensure crispness on both sides.
  • With the bacon and leeks cool, I added them to the egg mixture, arranged the crisp potatoes to cover the bottom and a bit of the sides of the pan and slowly poured in the mixture to the pan, so as not to disturb the layout of crispy potatoes.
  • After the egg mixture began to set a bit on the bottom (4 to 5 minutes) I popped the whole thing into the oven on broil for 2 to 3 minutes, watching it carefully. As it puffed, but before it turned golden, I topped with 3 oz of grated white cheddar cheese and gave it another minute under the broiler.
  • Removing the golden delight from the oven let it rest for a few minutes and then cut and top with fresh sliced green onions, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and salsa, if you like. I served it all with greens and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Voila! By 7:30pm we were eating a scrummy and satisfying (even for a 3 yr old) dinner and by 8pm my little one was safely tucked in bed dreaming of the day’s adventures.

Moral of the story ~ Don’t give up on cooking for your family ~ there’s always a way to simplify!

Happy Eating!

Wanna Win Emeril’s new cookbook? Only 2 Days left to Enter!

Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets: A Quiz, A Recipe — A Giveaway!

26 Sep
Emeril Lagasse, American celebrity chef, resta...

Image via Wikipedia

We’re in the final week of the Emeril One-Pot Cooking Party over here, folks and if you haven’t had the chance yet to make it over to some of my fellow bloggers in the party, then you should scoot on over and increase your chances to win Emeril’s new cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders , which goes on sale tomorrow! (SEE Contest Rules and “How to Enter” below.)

In this final week, I still have many posts to get to you all. I have been cooking up a storm but behind on posting due to my 40th birthday, which took me on an out-of-town adventure that made me feel 20 again! (Thanks to that hubby of mine!)

As we’ve been cooking our way through Emeril’s dishes some of the other bloggers and I have become rather chummy, because well, what’s not to like about a fellow foodie! There are 20 of us in all and I encourage you to make your way around to all of us but a few of us have really stuck by each other throughout this one-pot journey.

Some of my new favs include:

Wanna test your Emeril knowledge? Check out this quiz:

A Sizzling Quiz with Chef Emeril Lagasse

Here’s another new Emeril recipe that I can share! (Thanks to Morrow for allowing us to pre-release a few of these recipes.)

Wok-Seared Duck Salad photo courtesy of William Morrow

Wok-Seared Duck Salad

This recipe was inspired by a Thai dish called laap, which is made with minced or ground chicken, fish, pork, or duck and seasoned with the wonderful flavors of chiles, ginger, fish sauce, and citrus. I decided to use the same flavors with a seared duck breast and make it into more of a main-course salad. This is a refreshing take on northern Thai street food.
2 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
2 magret duck breasts (about 12 ounces each) or 1 ½ pounds other domestic duck breasts
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼ cup fish sauce (see page 213)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup julienned red bell pepper
1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the rice. Toast the rice, shaking the wok constantly, until all the grains have turned golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mortar and set aside to cool. Once the rice has cooled, grind it using a pestle until it reaches a sandy consistency. Alternatively, grind the toasted rice in a clean spice grinder. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Place the chile in the wok over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the wok, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to the bowl with the rice.
3. Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily. Place the duck breasts in the wok, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the wok. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck from the wok to the bowl with the rice and chile and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine.
5. Serve the salad immediately.
4 servings

SizzlingSkillets & other On-Pot Wonders jacket cover Hi-Res

Emeril’s Cookbook Giveaway!

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for — how to get your hands on Emeril’s new book (if you want to guarantee you get it, head on over to pre-order it for yourself). To win your free copy, comment below telling me which of the Emeril recipes GroovyFoody has previewed that you just can’t wait to make! To increase your odds of winning — get a second entry by tweeting the link to this post and posting the link in the comments section below. Wanna stack the deck in your favor? Check out the other 19 Emeril One-Pot Party Bloggers (listed above or to the right) and enter to win on their sites as well.

That’s all there is to it.

Winner will be chosen by random drawing by my precocious 3 year old. Contest is open to US residents only, and will be open from now through midnight, pacific time,  October 1.

Full disclosure: For my commitment to this blogger cooking party, I received a copy of this cookbook, as well as a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls, and Emeril Seasoning; a $50 grocery reimbursement and Emeril cookbooks upon completion of the party. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker.