Monday, April 30, 2012

Balsamic Onion Jam

Balsamic onion jam is one of those things that generally makes people cock their head to the side and say, "huh?" Generally that's followed by, "is it sweet? What do you put it on?"

Well, dear reader, it is sweet in the sense that it's loaded with caramelized onion goodness and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar, but it isn't breakfast jam style sweet. I use a combination of onions in my jam to provide a balance of flavors and textures to the finished product.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Morel Brioche with Onion Jam Swirl ~ Morel Recipe Challenge

As part of a recipe development competition for Marx Foods* 4th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge I recently set my mind to work to create a recipe using dried morels. I did what I usually do when I begin brainstorming - I made a list. Then I called some foodie friends and asked which of those ideas they liked best. Overwhelmingly they picked "bread." Now all I had to do was figure out what kind of bread! As I started thinking about the flavors that work wonderfully with morels I kept coming back to how I enjoy mushrooms the most: sauteed in butter with herbs. But of course! A butter bread! A brioche.

If you know me in real life you know I'm not a "bread person." I don't go gaga over bread and I don't even eat it everyday. But once a year, at Christmas, my mother makes brioche and I swoon. Because I am the baby of the family (cough *spoiled* cough) she always makes me a few little extra "baby brioche" to eat on Christmas morning with tea. I shan't tell you how many years this has been going on, but I will say you are never too old to enjoy your mother's love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mediterranean Lamb Stuffed Peppers

I am very pleased to be guest posting today at Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves. I was first introduced to Becky through the lovebloghop we co-host with a number of other talented bloggers and later had the opportunity to get to know Becky better through the Food Bloggers Network. We share an "equal opportunity" love of all things culinary since we both feature both savory and sweet recipes on our blogs. Who wouldn't love a blog filled with yummy treats like Kahlua Cinnamon Brownies? I am honored to be posting on Becky's wonderful site - the hardest part of this guest post was deciding whether to bake or cook!

In the end I let the season be my guide and decided these Mediterranean Lamb Stuffed Peppers were a perfect choice for spring. The red peppers are a light yet savory compliment to the olives and feta that enhance the rich lamb filling. Combined with brown rice and paired with a fresh green salad this is a flavorful and satisfying dinner for spring. Hop on over to Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves for the complete recipe.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Rêve de Crêpes ~ Coconut Crepes with Kiwi & Strawberries

I vividly remember my first real-live-authentic-made-in-Paris-by-a-professional crêpe. I was twenty-one years old, visiting my best friend Gabriel during her study abroad program in Paris. To prevent jet lag from taking me to a more somnolent state Gaby walked me around the neighborhood where her host family lived. Alongside the beautiful architecture, lovely spring flowers bursting bright and cheerful colors, and of course the chic pedestrians, was a tiny roadside crêperie stand. Gaby helped me to order a savory chicken and guyere lunch crêpe and assured me I was in for a treat.

I was in for a trance.

I don't know if it was the overnight plane travel, the bright spring sunshine, or the joy of a simple repast well-prepared, but I was wrapped in a wafer-thin pancake reverie punctuated by mellow, gooey gruyere. As I stumbled along beside her, Gaby smiled knowingly and confided, "wait til you taste a nutella one!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grilled Pork and Spinach Salad with Blackberries

A bright and fresh salad loaded with anti-oxidants from the dark leafy spinach and the blackberries, along with a dose of decadent flavor in the grilled pork, this salad is a filling, fresh, fruity, and relatively low-fat entree for one.

As a food blogger I often feel compelled to write recipes featuring dishes created from scratch. Now, I don't mean "from scratch" as in "not from a box." I mean fresh, new, everything was chopped, prepped, cooked, and finished today. The reality is I, like many of us, eat leftovers quite often. In fact, more often than not as someone who works two-thirds of my time from home I am not only eating leftovers, I am eating leftovers for one. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roasted Asparagus Soup with Truffle Scented Croutons

Does anything else announce spring like asparagus soup? It's very color is evocative of the budding trees and nascent blades of grass peeping out from under the dry brown cover of their older brothers lost to winter chill. Then the flavor - fresh and bright like early morning but with a warmth that says, "I know it's still chilly out there, girl. Here, let me wrap you in my velvety soup love and keep you warm."

Confession time: I was a picky eater as a child. Gasp! You're shocked, I know. And here's the kicker: not only did I love to eat (yeah, big surprise), I didn't know I was a picky eater! I ate everything my mother made me. I just didn't realize that she only gave me food she knew I would eat. Oh, those crafty Moms! My Mom (both my parents, really) were adamant that their children not grow up to be rude and spoiled brats. If someone else cooked for you, or invited you to their home, you ate as much as you could, even if you wanted to die inside, and you thanked them for it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chai Almond Cake with Toasted Coconut Buttercream

The deep color and flavor of this chai layer cake is balanced by the delicate middle layer of almond sponge cake and the sweet coconut buttercream. I have been thinking about making a chai cake for a long time and am thrilled with the way this layer cake turned out. Chai is such a luxurious drink; The sweetly aromatic flavors in the tea are heightened by the creamy milk in which it is steeped, leading me to think a chai cake paired with a buttercream frosting would combine to form a similar, deeply flavorful and creamy result. Adding a rum syrup in between the layers provided additional moisture and flavor ensuring this cake will have a lasting place among the pages of my family's favorite recipes.

Quite frankly, I'm immodestly pleased with myself over this cake. Allow me to pose this little question: whose got two thumbs and knows how to make a damn tasty cake?

This gal.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pork Belly with Blackberry Sauce

This post should be titled "How to Make Thom Love Me Forever" since pork belly, whether smoked as bacon or slow roasted until it's practically butter, is definitely in his top ten all-time loves of his life. I am pretty sure I hold the number one spot but it never hurts to hedge your bets, even in a marriage. This pork belly is also a marriage - of two fabulous restaurant experiences.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Cake Family Easter - Photo Review

Asparagus and Brie Crostini

First Course
Roasted Asparagus Soup with Truffle Scented Croutons

Panko Crusted Lamb with Herb-Apricot Stuffing
Roasted Carrots with Bulls Blood Micro Greens
Minted Peas
Celeriac Puree

Key Lime Cheesecake
Easter Candy. Lots. And lots of Easter candy. 

I hope you had a happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Butcher, The Baker, The Blogger

Dating Thom was so much fun that our time together flew by. Suddenly, it had been one month since our first date and there he was, taking me out to dinner and saying, "happy one month-aversary, honey." For the first year we were together, on the fourth day of the month he would say, "happy 4 months, happy 7 months, happy 10 months..." until we hit our first year together. We love celebrating our anniversary so much that we celebrate two: the anniversary of our first date as well as our wedding anniversary. It hasn't always been smooth (oh the trials of young love!) but we're on a good path.

Today marks one month since the Food Bloggers Network was created. I am astounded by the success this group has had in our first month together. Our membership has grown in leaps and bounds and we have members across the US, in Canada, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Spain and Israel. Our members come from a variety of careers and our blogs have all different foci: from vegan to gluten-free to baking to savory cooking to wild game and hunting! What we all have in common is the desire to improve ourselves professionally as bloggers and to help other bloggers reach their goals.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blackberry Peach Teacake

It is no exaggeration to say that this Blackberry Peach Teacake was devoured in twenty-four hours between Thom and me. I have a spectacular fondness for cake... which you... uh... probably already knew considering the name of this blog... but anyway... this style of teacake is one of my particular favorites. The cake is dense and rich while remaining moist. The fruit on top adds a wonderful fresh burst of natural flavor to the mildly spiced and creamy cake.

If you've been reading this blog regularly you know this cake is a springtime variation on a theme; the Pear Marzipan Teacake is brilliant in early autumn and the Orange-Fig Teacake with Caramel Glaze is perfect for bridging the gap between the fall and winter seasons. For spring I lightened up the cake a bit with less sugar and cream as well as added richness to the flavor with almond flour and almond extract. Some slivered almonds on top of the cake would be great, too.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Berrylove ~ Flower Berry Angel Food Baskets

I found this darling shortcake basket pan on sale recently at a local shop and I couldn't pass it up. First off, I absolutely love Nordic Ware designs (I use this petit fours pan for bridal showers); second, I absolutely love that their products are made in the USA when so many industries have moved overseas and I will always buy as local as possible; and third, as soon as I saw it the idea for this recipe sprang into my head. I had to have it!

If you don't have an adorable basket weave mini cake pan you can use mini angel food molds or you can double the recipe and make a full size angel food cake.