It’s time….pie time! Here is a cute little info graphic all about pie. Have a wonderful holiday season!
I can’t totally recall but I think I met Stepahanie Stiavetti at an IACP conference (not the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference) it’s the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Stephanie is a food writer and recipe developer and I am excited to announce that she has just written her first cookbook.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her book, Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese. I get a lot of books to review and most of the time I don’t love every book I get and rarely review them. I wanted to review Stephanie’s because it’s her first and because we both like to dye various strands of our hair bright red. (Not really, but that is true about the hair, her hair always looks great!)
I’ll start by telling you that unfortunately cheese is not my friend, I love cheese but it really hates me. UNLESS of course…..it’s very expensive, made and by hand from Pygmy goats in an obscure smallish town somewhere. Are you still with me? When I looked through Melt I instantly knew what recipe I would make, one that was kid friendly and made with a cheese I was very familiar with.
About 8 years ago my husband and I did all the photography for Cypress Grove Cheve Cheese Company. No joke, we had about 100 pounds of cheese to shoot! In that in that excessive amount of cheese were three wheels of Humboldt Fog deliciousness. We ended up having a party and inviting strangers in to take cheese home! That’s when the love affair started with a beautiful creamy wheel of snowy white goat cheese. Humboldt Fog could be mistaken at first glance for Blue cheese, but it’s so not a blue cheese. Cheese maker Mary Keehn of Humboldt County, California invented this cheese named for our famous coastal fog. We have toured Mary’s cheese making facility in Arcadia and it is fascinating, they make some of our favorite cheese. The story goes that in the morning the cream would be set into the molds and then a layer of charred vegetable ash laid atop the cream to separate the cream from the afternoon milking, creating a distinct dark green blue line of ash in the center of each wedge.
Now that you know the back story about my slight obsession with this cheese, I can tell you about the yummy recipe I made from Stephanie’s book.
Yes, Yes I know it’s not peach season but the weather is warm and the grill is right out front and begging to be used. I was lucky enough to find peaches, really beautiful ones locally and I was also trying to pick a kid friendly recipe to share from Melt. I knew my family liked grilled peaches, we usually make them for a sweet dessert with whipped cream, we haven’t eaten them in a savory dish. Another way I thought I could to add a kid zip to this dish was to use alphabet pasta mixed with the orzo, this was a hit!
We left out the mint but could have added it just as easily, ours was sad and brown and better left alone in the garden to wither. We all loved the dish, with sweet hints of peach, tart vinegar and creamy sharp cheese flavors mingling together. I loved the addition of pistachios, the kid could have done with out them but I think the added saltiness and crunch was needed. I highly recommend this dish for a summer party, I repeat summer, don’t be a seasonal rule breaker like I am! I like Melt it’s good for a twist on Mac and Cheese and is full of other great ideas.
There is a great MELT giveaway here be sure to go over to The Culinary Life and enter win a set of Le Crueset cookware
Humboldt Fog with Grilled Peaches and Orzo
What could be nicer than a blushing peach? The sun-kissed color, the ticklish feel of the fuzz, the sweet-as-sugar-cane flavor. This simple orzo salad lets these traits shine—and without the nuisance of peach juice dribbling down your arm. Summer in a bowl, this is.
3 freestone yellow peaches
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
S ea salt
10 ounces orzo (or 5 oz orzo and 5 oz alphabet pasta can be cooked together)
¼ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
¼ cup chopped spearmint
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Humboldt Fog, rind removed and crumbled into large chunks
1. Using a barely damp paper towel, lightly scrub the peaches of any extraneous fuzz. Don’t wash the peaches, as they will soak up excess water. Using a sharp knife, cut each peach in half lengthwise around the pit, using the peach’s crevices as a guide. Discard the pits.
2. Set the peach halves in a zip-top bag and toss with honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Allow the peaches to marinate for 10 minutes.
3. While the peaches marinate, cook the orzo in some salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.
4. Once the peaches are done marinating, reserve the marinade and place the peach halves on a hot, oiled grill, cut-side down. Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the peaches are soft and have developed some charming dark grill marks. Roughly chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
5. Combine the peaches, marinade, orzo, parsley, spearmint, and pistachios in a bowl and toss. Add a bit more sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper to taste. Plonk in the Humboldt Fog and toss once or twice, just enough to bring everything together.
Overmixing will melt the cheese, and our goal here is to maintain its chunky texture.
Alternative cheeses: Though Humboldt Fog is widely available, a good stand-in would be Goat’s Leap Eclipse, Bermuda Triangle, or any stellar chèvre.
Wine pairings: rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer
Additional pairings for the cheese: plums, cherries, balsamic vinegar reduction
How did I ever buy almond milk? Had I known how delicious, creamy and refreshing the homemade stuff was I would have never bought the other stuff. The real reason is probably because before I owned my Blendtec Blender I wouldn’t have thought the regular blender could hack it. A high powered blender really makes a difference when making the nut milks, plus I use it for tons of other things.
I have been making smoothies for my morning routine for about a year now and I love them. I use almond milk because cow milk is not my friend. I was buying a 4 cup box of the Silk Almond Milk since I am the only one using it, it tends to go bad before I finish it. I started buying the one serving packs but the amount of wasted packaging just made me feel like a bad person every morning. I’m starting my day with a healthy drink, I shouldn’t have to feel crappy about what I’m throwing away.
Solution, homemade almond milk, easy, fast, healthy and delicious!! Now my only waste is the occasional old wrinkled paper bag for transporting the almonds from the store to home. I have been collecting the pulp in the freezer for baking with but even if toss some in the compost I can feel good about that too. For really great Almond milk I recommend you soak the almonds overnight, soaked almonds are much easier to digest. We love to eat the soaked plump almonds, I add them to my daughter’s lunch often.
I do like to add two dates to my almond milk even though they have sugar they also have tons of calcium and potassium, and are not refined. Make sure you get a nut milk bag for straining the milk, it will make the process so much easier than using cheese cloth. Cheese cloth works but the milk will be so much smoother with a nut milk bag. Good luck!
Here is the kicker, my kid LOVES the almond milk with lots of cinnamon, it is so good for her and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t think she would drink it but she helps herself to it, adds cinnamon and guzzles it down.
Silky Almond Milk
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup organic raw almonds*, soaked
3 1/2 cups of water, plus more for soaking
2 dates, pitted
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla extract
*I do not like Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Almonds, when they soak they give off a very brown dye I am not sure exactly why. I use Whole Foods Almonds in general.
- *Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Place 1 cup almonds in a jar or glass container with a lid, chill overnight or up to two days. Sometimes the almonds will give off a fuzzy looking stuff, it’s fine don’t worry about it.
- Set up your nut bag, I use a tall pitcher with a rubber band around the nut bag to hold it in place. If using cheese cloth line a colander in a bowl.
- Drain and rinse the almonds with cool water. THe almonds should be plump. Taste one, they are delicious.
- Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the blender with the almonds, pitted dates and vanilla.
- Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Blend until the milk is white and foamy.
- Pour the milk in to the prepared strainer.
- Let the almond milk sit to drain. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth and squeeze the nut milk out with very clean hands until no more milk comes out. Either discard the pulp, dehydrate or freeze for future use.
- Refrigerate almond milk. Store the almond milk in sealed container in the fridge for up to four days.
We have a tree that won’t quit….even though we lost an enormous branch last year due to too much weight, it still produces like crazy. The plums have gotten larger and better every season, I don’t even like plums and I eat these. Sometimes we make jam but mostly we give huge bags away. We give them away to be transformed in to jams, jellies, cakes and anything else one can imagine.
This year we decided instead of tossing the remaining plums in the compost we would make Brandy. I took a few recipes for Northern European plum liquor and a traditional Italian recipe and mashed them together.
It’s so easy, although we won’t know if it turns out for another 2 months, I’ll be sure to let you know. We usually make Nocino but our walnut harvest looks sparse this year. I want to leave as many nuts on the tree as I can. Nocino is made from green walnuts harvested early in July, If I pick them now I wouldn’t have many mature nuts left in September. Last year I canned 40 pounds of cherries but we ended up eating them this year. So before summer ended I wanted to make something, and plums we have! We will bottle it up, create a cute label and hand it out for holiday time.
We always gets the kids(s) involved, I let them put the sugar in and stir this time, and they were thrilled!
Make sure to sterilize your jar and spoon with boiling water.
The natural yeast on the fruit will act as a fermentation starter.
5 lbs washed plums, red or yellow, cut, pits removed
1 liter vodka
4 cups brandy or rum
5 lbs sugar
Put it all in a large jar and stir.
Let sit room temperature for 8 weeks. Covered or with a cheese cloth over it. I am alternating between the two.
”Noosa Finest Yoghurt would like to serve you an Aussie-style ‘brekkie in bed,’ hand delivered to your door on a morning of your choice.”
Um OK, who doesn’t like breakfast in bed? When Noosa decided they wanted to drive to Novato to serve us brekie we said heck yes-sir-ee!! We usually eat eggs but I made an exception for this morning. I set the alarm for 7:30 and on the dot at 8 the van rolled up. Out came the most bubbly delivery gal, the sun wasn’t out but it didn’t matter she was so sunny and cheerful.
Not only did we get yoghurt hand delivered we got, organic granola, fresh juice and fruit brought right to our door. She unpacked her cooler onto the breakfast table and then we went outside to take photos of the van. She drove back to San Francisco and we dug in. We opened all the flavors right away, tasting them and giving our opinions. The raspberry was a hit even though I didn’t think I would like it, I loved it. I really loved the honey flavor and so did Claire. The fruit purees are delicious too, not gummy or overly sweet. Noosa yoghurts stay away from artificial ingredients of any kind, including flavors, colors and preservatives, it just feels like good homemade food.
I had seen them at the store but I never picked one up but now I will, for sure, in fact when we were in Nantucket last week I grabbed a few at the market there. Noosa uses the best seasonal produce the market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy. And it was lush, I am used to lactose free yogurt so this to me was like the most creamy luscious treat. I had never had Aussie style yoghurt, it has a uniquely sweet/tart tang and thick, velvety texture, I’m hooked. Noosa is made in small batches, on-site at the family-owned Morning Fresh Dairy in Bellvue, Colorado, and infused with locally produced clover alfalfa honey.
We decided that we could get used to this breakfast delivery thing. I think this would be a great business for someone, I am lazy in the morning, just ask my husband! Once a week can someone can come over and bring breakfast to us, I would be so in to that?
Yoghurt has roots all over the world, India, Greece, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France and so on…..It’ s used in savory and sweet dishes you can read more here.
Lets clear up this spelling thing…yogurt or yoghurt?
The word is originally derived from Turkish, to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken. There are many variations of spelling but they are mostly all pronounced the same so spell it however you want. Just don’t forget to try Noosa!!
Sorry Noosa I don’t think I’ll be tasting the Vegemite anytime soon…I’m sure it’s delicious
Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
This is my favorite most filling meal, kids think it’s yummy too because it has apples and a bit of honey for sweetness. You can save it for leftovers because kale is hearty and won’t get limp like lettuce after it has been dressed.
You can adjust the sweetness in this recipe to your liking. I like my dressing a bit sweeter when it is on raw kale, it cuts the harshness of the kale.
Makes 1 1/2 cups dressing enough for a few salads
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup XVOO
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs honey
Add to a blender and blend to emulsify.
A hand or stick blender works well too!
Raw Kale Salad
Makes two large servings
To break up nuts, put in a baggie and smash with a pan or meat tenderizer
Curly or Red Russian Kale is best for this salad
1 head raw kale, washed, de-stemmed, dried and torn in small pieces or cut with scissors
1/2 cup of raw almonds chopped or broken
1 hard apple, Fuji or Granny Smith, diced
Sliced red onion, to taste
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and dress to your liking.
Let sit for about 1/2 hour to meld the flavors. Serve.
Yes was the answer….when Tillamook wants to send you free ice cream you just say yes!
Before the Fourth of July a large box arrived on our porch, full of ice cream! I knew that I was going to give it away at the parade but we couldn’t resist getting in to it the very night it arrived.
We got, strawberry, marionberry pie (my fave), s’mores, chocolate peanut butter, mud slide (my other fave) and vanilla. Luckily I have two freezers or this large delivery would have been an issue!
Yes, the truth is that we chipped away at it for a few days, we just couldn’t help ourselves.
On the fourth, I set up outside our art gallery and started scooping, it as about 99 degrees out, I scooped fast. I yelled out “free ice cream” and it worked, I had a bit of a line but managed to give it all away. One man took what was left in the bottom of one of the gallons and added all the flavors right in to the container. It put a smile on everyone’s faces, ice cream just does that. You can’t help but love this happy food, especially when you can get all six flavors from some stranger in the street, for free.
I don’t really buy ice cream and wouldn’t have thought about Tillamook but I have to tell you, this stuff is really good. It’s creamy and not too dense, not to airy, just right. Some companies have more over run than others (that’s ice cream lingo for air added when mixing) this one got it right. I would buy this again for sure. Thanks ice cream fairy for delivering this to us and letting us put smiles on other people’s faces.
Tillamook has a contest going until July 16 th, get in on the action here!