Saturday, February 18, 2012

Foodie Find: GOJEE

I just heard about this new website, and I thought to myself, “do I really need another food site to keep up with?”    I know, shame on me, as if there could be too many food sites.   And I would've been really sad to miss out on this one especially. 

All I can say is WOW!   This is certainly a site to check out, but not if you are hungry as the photos will have your stomach growling in no time.    

Basically you type in an ingredient that you are craving (or that you have on hand and want to use up) and up pops a bunch of recipes using that ingredient. 

When I first logged on I was craving Peanut Butter (I usually am as I love peanut butter).  I typed it in and 34 fabulous recipes popped up; one of which I actually had all of the ingredients for (how often does that happen?).  So I quickly whipped up some No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites.

Here is the recipe. 

No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites (Recipe by Bobbi Bower)

What you need:
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped*
  • 1/4 cup dried carob chips, roughly chopped*
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Feel free to substitute any dried fruit you like, totaling 1/2 cup.

How you do it:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, making sure everything is very well combined.
  2. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough, and then gently roll it in your hands to form a ball. If you find that it’s not sticking, add more peanut butter or honey. Likewise, if you find that it’s too wet, add more oats.  This amount of dough makes 12 – 15 bites, depending on the size of your cookie scoop.
  3. Store the bites in the fridge in an airtight container.

My Notes: 
  • I didn’t know what Carob chips were, so I used chocolate chips.  I did look it up though. Carob chips are an edible product, similar to chocolate chips, made from carob. They are used in baking and in trail mixes, often serving as a substitute for chocolate chips. The color is the same as that of dark chocolate, although the taste is somewhat different, with slightly nutty and bitter overtones. Their appearance is nearly identical to a regular chocolate chip. They are made using carob powder, which has the same look, color and texture as baking cocoa.  Carob chips are a safe chocolate alternative for dogs.
  • I used sunflower seeds that were salted and then didn’t use the kosher salt.
  • These are perfect before or workout because they give you lots of energy and are filling - seriously just one is pretty filling.
  • I ended up putting some in the freezer.  You can take them out individually and they defrost in less than 30 minutes for the perfect snack. 
I did like them and would make them again.   My only negative was that they made me extremely thirsty, but it just made me drink more water and hydration is good, right?   

I'm so excited for you to check out Gojee!   I'm in love with this site and am in love with the photos (good food photography inspiration).   Everything looks so good, and they have drink recipes too.  Let me know what you think and if you try any good recipes. 

Seriously, go check it out right now!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romantic Dinner for Two: Tuna Tartare & Chocolate Fondue

This is what I chose to make for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day.   I always prefer to stay in for dinner on Valentine’s Day (and New Year’s Eve) because the restaurants are always packed; and because they are serving so many peoplethat the food and the service usually is disappointing.  

But, please, don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to make a romantic dinner.  

Tuna Tar Tare
1 lb. sashimi grade Ahi tuna cut into cubes (it helps if you put it in the freezer for 30 minutes before trying to cut it).
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
½ Tablespoon Chili Oil

1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Garlic (minced)
1 Tablespoon Scallions (sliced thin)
½ Avocado (cubed)
½ Cucumber (diced)
½ of a bunch of Cilantro (chopped)

Combine all of the above ingredients and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

* Feel free to play with the measurements; add more of what you like and less of what you don’t.   
* I usually have enough tartare leftover for lunch the next day.  It is a filling entrĂ©e.

I always arrange the tartare in mold of some sort.  I have deep round ones that I normally use, but for this “romantic” occasion, I used heart shaped cookie cutters. 

Garnish plate with wasabi (I buy it premade in a tube in the Asian section of the grocery store) and Sriracha.

Press tightly into mold and let sit for 2-3 minutes in the fridge before pulling off the mold.

Remove mold and sprinkle tartare with toasted and black sesame seeds.

Serve with deep fried won tons (fry square won ton wrappers in peanut or canola oil).

Chocolate Fondue

12 ounces Milk Chocolate
½ cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine chocolate, whipping cream and vanilla in a pan over very low heat.  Melt slowly.   Transfer to a small fondue bowl.

Arrange Chocolate Dunkers attractively on a plate.   Spear and dunk into chocolate.   

To dip in the chocolate, I used long-stemmed strawberries (which are easy to find around Valentine’s Day), homemade caramels (I bought them), almonds, blackberries, and pretzels.  

You could also use:
Pound cake
Angle food cake
Unfrosted brownies
Chocolate-chip cookies
Doughnut holes
Dried apricots or cherries

Be creative - so many things taste good dipped in chocolate.

I highly recommend serving this dinner with a Rose Sparkling Wine.   


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sugar Cookies

I spent my Saturday night making these sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day.   This is my grandmother’s recipe and my family has enjoyed them for many years.  You can have them plain or frosted.  You can make them for any holiday, all holidays, or just because; just change out the cookie cutter and get creative.

I personally like them frosted with red hots and cold glass of milk.  YUM!   Admittedly, I had a couple for breakfast.   They are good at anytime of day as a meal or for a snack.   I suggest sharing them with your friends.  I packed mine into Valentine bags and put them in the freezer and will be shipping them out to some lucky family members on Monday morning.  

Be warned, they are dangerous to have in your house.   They are addicting and you might find yourself eating more than you should.

Without further adieu, here is my grandmother’s famous recipe.

Deluxe Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar 
Make or buy vanilla frosting (I cheat and buy frosting - I like the whipped Vanilla frosting).  
For decorating, I recommend red hots (you'd be surprised how good these are on the cookie), sprinkles, food coloring (to change frosting color), candy hearts, and whatever else you can think of.  There are fun options in the cake isle at the grocery store.  
-  Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours.

Don't worry if the dough looks or feels hard, it will be fine once you start to roll it out.

-  Heat oven to 350-375 degrees.

- Roll and cut out (use lots of flour on the counter and rolling pin as the cookies tend to stick; I like my cookies a little thicker – if you roll them too thin they break easily)

- Bake on greased cookie sheet for 7-8 minutes (keep an eye on them as they can brown quickly)

- Cool; then frost and decorate.

- Enjoy with cold milk & share with family and friends.

There is still time to make these for your Valentine!   Happy Valentine's Day!

TIP:  Remember to always wear an apron.  You will avoid stains on your clothes and flour hand prints on your pants.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Food Porn: Part 2

I attended my second (of four) Food Porn class at Kitchen in the Market this past Sunday.   Once again, they had me at the start with the “welcome to class” Champagne cocktail.   I brought along my nice, big Nikon camera this time; but also had my little point-and-shoot tucked snuggly in my back pocket just in case.  

The theme of this class was focused on the sensual side of food: “Food for Lovers.”   Perfect timing with Valentine’s Day right around the corner.  

My is goal to tell a story of what we ate and drank through photos.   On a winter Sunday, gathered in an indoor kitchen.......

I love this idea of sticking an herb sprig in a pitcher of water.  It looks pretty and adds just a hint of flavor (in this case rosemary) to the water.   I will definitely be doing this at home - you should too!

If these photos tell a story of eating and drinking well then I succeeded.  You'll be happy to know that I did take my camera off "auto" - yay me!   I've decided break my camera learning into parts and learn one thing at a time so I don't get overwhelmed.  This week I upped my ISO to allow for more light to enter the lense.   It is helpful that there is photo pro, Amber, on hand at class to help with tips and suggestions.   Some of my photos turned out a little yellow, so I will have to get to the bottom of that next time but I had fun playing with my camera and the food (both were encouraged).

I'm curious what your most sensual food or recipe is?   Talk to me........