No, I Was Not Kidnapped

Ha Ha! Just a quick post for today.  I will explain in the future what has been going on, but a break was necessary.

Hey, have you ever heard of Food Hacks?  I have actually performed them before but never knew that was the term for Kitchen Tricks. I am posting a link to a video I saw on YouTube.  Their user name on You Tube is Furious Pete, you should check them out. It’s just a couple of very strong guys (at times one of them doesn’t know their own strength) performing 6 food hacks.  They were kind of charming too!  Enjoy!

 

 

Albacore Tuna Tartare

Albacore Tuna Tartare

Albacore Tuna Tartare

Last month I tagged along with a friend to Southern California for an event she was participating in. During the trip, I discovered that she LOVES Ahi Tuna Tartare, so much so she had it 3 different times.  To be fair, it is actually quite delicious.  As a result, I remembered I had bought some sashimi grade albacore tuna a while back and I still had it in the freezer.  (Lightbulb goes off over head) I wonder if I could make the same dish with Albacore Tuna.

Well, I did and guess what?  It is just as delicious as the version made with Ahi Tuna.  My recipe is just a guideline to follow, adjust to your taste preferences.  One tip though, definitely dice the tuna while slightly frozen.  The parts that were completely thawed, shredded while I tried to dice them.  I did not have a cylinder mold, so I ended up using my Hamilton Beach Food Disher (size 6), which is like an ice cream scoop on steroids.

Diced Albacore Tuna

Diced Albacore Tuna

To plate the dish, decorate with the Chili Cream Sauce & Balsamic Glaze. Then place the Albacore Tuna Tartare on top.  I also decorated with a crispy wonton skin for garnish. A note for the Balsamic Glaze, this can be purchased or just reduce Balsamic Vinegar on the stove top, to desired consistency.

Albacore Tuna Tartare
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main Course
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. Sashimi Grade Tuna, diced ¼ inch size
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • ⅓ cup Green Onion, chopped (green part only)
  • pinch Salt
  • pinch White Pepper
  • 1 ea. Avocado, diced ¼ inch size
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (just enough so Avocado doesn't turn color)
  • ½ tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup Ranch Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp. Thai Chili Paste
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Crispy Won Ton Skins (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine tuna, sesame oil, green onion, salt & pepper. Stir to mix together. In a small separate bowl add avocado, sesame oil, lemon juice, a dash of salt & pepper. Stir to coat avocado, add to the tuna mixture.
  2. To make the Chili Cream Sauce - In a separate container, combine ranch dressing and Thai chili paste and mix well. This will be a garnish for your plate along with the balsamic glaze.
  3. © Cinder's Kitchen

 

A Tuesday Tip

I am going to try and start something new here and try to give a new tip, insight or idea each Tuesday.  Maybe a little food for thought from time to time, but good stuff, I promise!

Today’s tip is a quickie.  Trying to watch my carbs these days, you would be surprised what foods have added sugar, corn syrup or added sweetener (when in my mind, it’s not necessary).  Well, today I noticed that Vanilla Extract has added sugar.  I’m thinking a lot of people would be better off making their own extract (including me :)), and it is not hard to do.  There are recipes all over the internet and it just takes a Vanilla Bean and Vodka.  Steep for a few weeks and voila!  You have Vanilla Extract!

Now there’s your “Tuesday Tip”.  Enjoy!

It All Started with A Coffee Crawl…Foodie Tours

On our way to the Coffee Crawl

On our way to the Coffee Crawl

It all started with a Coffee Crawl in Seattle. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit my daughter in Seattle. As I was perusing websites trying to find some different things to do, I stumbled upon a website called “Seattle by Foot”. They offer a variety of walking tours, but being the foodie that I am, the “Coffee Crawl” really intrigued me and then I was hooked!

I am sure you have heard of a pub crawl, it is the same thing but with coffee as the main ingredient. What  “it all started” was a participation in Food (Foodie) Tours in various cities in the USA.  They are a lot of fun and each on is different in their own unique way.   It is also a chance to learn about local flavors, ingredients and local history.  Not to mention meeting new people.

I have listed the different tours I participated in last year.  A little tip – bring an empty stomach, being as you won’t leave hungry.  For the walking tours, wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.

Seattle by Foot (Coffee Crawl)

Seattle, Washington –

You visit about 5-6 different “Coffee Cafes” trying coffee at each venue.  You get to see a demonstration on “Latte Art”, which is really cool and learn a little history of Seattle and see some landmarks around town.  (Side note – after the tour visit the Crumpet Shop near Pike’s Place Market, soooooo good!)  (Walking Tour)

Some of the stops were – Seattle’s Best, Caffe Vita & Caffe Umbria

Caffe Umbria

Caffe Umbria

Latte Art!

Latte Art!

Caffe Umbria

Caffe Umbria

 

Charleston Dine Around 

Charleston, SC

This tour was really fun and unique.  Learned a lot about the history of Charleston.  You visit 3 different places, one for an appetizer, entree and then dessert.  We started with a She Crab Soup, hush puppies & champagne at Amen Street!  Next we visited 82 Queen for the entree.  We were given a custom menu with several choices.  I chose the Grilled Barbeque  Shrimp & Grits.  Shrimp & grits you ask???  Yeah, I thought the same thing, those things do not sound like they should be paired together at all!  Well, surprise, surprise the entree was delicious.  Then we were off to the East Bay Meeting House for dessert.  I chose a beautiful slice of coconut cake.  The portion size was huge!!!  It was so big, I ended up bring more that half it back to the hotel.  It was DELICIOUS by the way!  (Walking Tour)

Coconut Cake!!!

Coconut Cake!!!

Grilled Barbeque Shrimp & Grits

Grilled Barbeque Shrimp & Grits

Special Menu from 82 Queen

Special Menu from 82 Queen

 

Culinary Tours of Charleston

Charleston, SC

Savor the Flavors Tour

Yup!  We took 2 Food Tours in while we were in Charleston.  This one brought us around to different establishments where we tried grits, benne wafers, pralines, fried green tomatoes and collard greens.  (Walking Tour)

Some of the places we visited were – Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe (This place was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives), Noisy Oyster & Spice & Tea Exchange.

 

Market Street Sweets!

Market Street Sweets!

Local Roots Food Tours

Market-to-Plate Executive Chefs Tour

Sacramento, CA

This was a really fun tour.  We started at the Sacramento Farmers’s Market and shopped.  Then we headed over to the Sheraton Grand Hotel’s restaurant Morgan’s, where Chef Russell Michel had a 3 course lunch for us.  Some of us shared our goods from the market and asked questions of the Chef.  And the food was outstanding!

Here is a description of the tour from the Local Roots Food Tours website –

“Our tour continues with a 3 course exclusive lunch prepared by Executive Chef Michel at Morgan’s Restaurant (a four star, hidden gem restaurant serving farm-to-table ingredients). Lunch will be prepared using fresh local seasonal ingredients. Chef Michel will educate participants on how to use the produce they purchased at the morning market and share his culinary wisdom and passion for fresh, local ingredients. Definitely an up close dining experience! Lunch will be paired with a selected local wine.”

This particular tour is currently not being offered, Local Roots Food Tours does offer 3 other food tours that sound wonderful. (Walking Tour)

Ground Cherries

Ground Cherries

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Chef Russell Michel

Chef Russell Michel

 

Gourmet Walks

Gourmet Napa Walking Tour

Napa, CA

It was a cold day in Napa when we participated in this tour.  So, if you go in the winter or  fall, bundle up.  I have included the tasting notes from the Gourmet Walks website.  If you are ever in the Bay Area and are a Foodie, check out their website.  They offer 5 different tours and I am sure one of them will strike your fancy.  Here is the description from their website about the Napa tour and it is accurate –

  • A sublime, seasonal selection of the best California artisan cheeses
  • Breakfast tacos from an innovative and sustainable tacqueria
  • Artisan salumi from the “first couple of charcuterie” and organic bread
  • Sought after tastes from a historic multi-winery downtown tasting room
  • Award-winning California extra-virgin olive oil
  • Local microbrew tasting and sustainable seafood on the Napa riverfront
  • Wine infused chocolates, brittle and ice cream from local brother/sister chocolatiers”

Some of the places included – The Fatted Calf, Fish Story and Anette’s Chocolates. (Walking Tour)

Breakfast Taco

Breakfast Taco

Cheese Tasting

Cheese Tasting

 

Charcuterie from Fatted Calf

Charcuterie from Fatted Calf

Historic Texas Tours

The Flavors of San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

For this tour we were picked up from our hotel in a large passenger van and were driven to each location.

We started off with a tasting at a barbecue joint, which was followed by a bakery/cafe and then to a place that was featured on Diners, Drive Ins & Dives for their empanadas.

We tried dishes I had never heard of before, such as King Ranch Chicken and Red Top Stew, which is stew topped with chili.

We ended the tour a a cupcake bakery and got to enjoy a sweet treat before we dropped off at our respective hotels.

Some of the places we visited were – Luther’s Cafe, Beto’s and Frosted Delights by Joyce.

 

King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken

As you can see each tour was very different, each one tried to show you a bit of the surrounding areas and history along with a culinary flair.  So, when you are out and about traveling check out to see if the town you are visiting offers local food tours and get a glimpse of the local community and their favorite places to eat!

Have you participated in a Food (Foodie) Tour?  How was it and where were you?  I would love to hear about it!

Here is a link to a partial list of food tours around the USA and beyond.

http://www.santacruzfoodtour.com/food.tour.directory.html

Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon & Bacon

Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon & Bacon

Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon & Bacon

I meant to post this recipe a long time ago, but never did.  I found out today that it is National Pie Day, so it would make a perfect choice to post a pie recipe today.

This recipe includes some favorite ingredients.  First being Maple Syrup.  I use a grade ‘B’ syrup because I think it has so much more maple flavor than a grade ‘A’ syrup.  Second, Bourbon.  Use your favorite brand here, I am not a connoisseur of the ‘aperitif’ so I cannot make a recommendation, I just like the flavor.  Then third, bacon.  Most everyone’s favorite food, once again use your favorite brand or buy locally from your favorite meat market.  Enjoy!!!

Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon & Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 - 10
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup, grade B
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon(s) bourbon (to taste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp & chopped
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup whole pecans for decoration
Instructions
  1. Mix together in a bowl, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, salt, butter. Add chopped pecans to the bottom of the pie crust. Top the chopped pecans with the crispy bacon pieces. Then pour the syrup mixture, very carefully, over the nuts & bacon. Then use the whole pecans decoratively around the edge of the pie.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes. You can shake the pie a little to test for doneness or the knife method.
  3. Enjoy!!!
Notes
Local Ingredients - California Pecan, Butter, Bacon ©Cinder's Kitchen

 

 

New Year – New Beginnings – Brussel Sprout Slaw Recipe

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to the New Year in a big way. To say that 2012 was a challenge, would be an understatement. I have not shared before, but in July of 2012, Mr. K became unemployed. In the beginning, we thought it would be easy to find employment, but we were very mistaken. By December of 2012, he had applied to over 300 positions, engaged in some interviews and in that said month 1 offer was tendered. A position in Georgia. GEORGIA! Being a Cali girl, this was a sad/scary moment for me. But looking into the area, etc. we came to the conclusion that it would be a nice place to land. Then something else happened, almost simultaneously another job interview was presented, and ultimately an offer was made with a company in Southern California! Nothing for 4+ months, then 2 job offers in one month! Crazy. I do not know if fate, karma or what intervened for us, but it happened and we are staying in California. Yay! So, needless to say, with Mr. K’s new employment, it will be a new beginning for our family in more ways than one.

So with our new beginning ahead of us, I would share a new recipe for Brussel Sprout Slaw. It is excellent as a side dish, maybe serve it with some of your holiday leftovers. This recipe is for a lightly dressed slaw, the Young One likes the slaw a little saucier, so just make your own adjustments depending on how “saucy” you like it. Additionally, I sliced the brussel sprouts with a food processor using the thinnest blade for slicing.

Local Products – Brussel Sprouts, Raisins, Red Onion

Sliced Brussel Sprouts

Sliced Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprout Slaw
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
 
Easy, tasty side dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, sliced
  • ½ c mayonaise
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled (save a little for garnish)
  • ¼ c. red onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. raisins
  • Sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine mayonaise, sugar & vinegar together in bowl.
  2. Once combined, add remaining ingredients except sunflower seeds.
  3. Toss until combined.
  4. Garnish with bacon & sunflower seeds. Season with salt & pepper, if desired.
  5. Chill & serve.
Notes
© cinderskitchen.com

 

 

Mom’s Meatballs – A Fall Comfort Food

Mom’s Meatballs

I have made these meatballs dozens of times, we usually remember to make them around fall because they are very filling and one of our own comfort foods. I have never followed a recipe, just tossed the ingredients in a bowl and voila! Delicious meatballs occur!

My special equipment for this recipe is an electric skillet that we got as a wedding gift 28 years ago.  I do not know if they still make them anymore and pretty much to only dish I make in it are these meatballs and the gravy too!

THE Electric Skillet Circa 1980’s

Serve the meatballs with a nice green vegetable (green beans or broccoli come to mind) and some creamy mashed potatoes.  Yummy :)

On a local note, the beef in this recipe is from a ranch in Tracy, California.  We decided to purchase a quarter side of beef this year from Connolly Ranch. I will write about our experience with them at another time, but I will say I am not going back, I have been converted!

Well, I hope you enjoy “Mom’s Meatballs” and you can always tweak the recipe here and there based on what you have on hand and what you enjoy.  But to tell you the truth, it’s the skillet that’s the trick!  <3

Mom's Meatballs - A Fall Comfort Food
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 - 3 slices white bread, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk, (approximately)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt/pepper
  • Oil
Instructions
  1. Mix together in a bowl ground beef, onion, garlic and cubed bread. (I use the best tools in the kitchen for this, my hands). Then add enough milk to just moisten the mixture. Add the Worcestershire sauce and salt/pepper to taste.
  2. Form into small patties and chill for about 15 minutes.
  3. Warm up skillet and add oil.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes a side on medium heat or until desired doness.
  5. Then make gravy with the pan drippings.
Notes
© Cinder's Kitchen I make a simple gravy with the pan drippings. I don't measure and it's different every time. I use milk, flour (Wondra) and some seasoning salt.

 

Ready for that fancy skillet!

Ready for my plate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinder’s Notes – Local foods Connolly Ranch Natural Beef – Beef (Tracy, CA), Strauss Family Creamery – Milk (Petaluma, CA), Onion (Stockton, CA), Shelly’s Farm Fresh – Eggs (Brentwood, CA)

Grandma A’s Potato Chip Cookies

Yum! Potato Chip Cookies :)

Christmas already?!? I don’t know about you, but it is too early for me to think about Christmas.  But on the flip side, maybe it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

I am going to share a recipe with you from my Grandma A.  We used to visit her during the summer at her home in Mesa, Arizona and she would make some treats for our arrival.  One of my favorites was her Potato Chip Cookies.  They resemble a shortbread cookie with a salty, crunchy surprise of a potato chip.  I bring up Christmas, because every year for our holiday baking we make these Potato Chip Cookies and share them with friends and family.  For me, biting into these cookies is just like sharing a memory, fun times and family.

To get the holiday started, so to speak, I am sharing the recipe with you and those from other blogs.  Enjoy!

Grandma A's Potato Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ pound butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ to 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and cream together. Add flour and mix well. Fold in potato chips and nuts.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Press with fork dipped in powdered sugar.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges are brown. 350 degree oven.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar while warm, if desired.
Notes
Cinder's Notes - Local Products are Walnuts - California, Butter - California, Eggs - Shelly's Farm Fresh, Brentwood, California,

Local Sources/Finds – Shelly’s Farm Fresh (Eggs), Continente Ranch (California Nuts)

Steamed Almond Flour Cake – With the Ninja Kitchen System

Luvin’ from the Oven! Or in this case the Ninja!

Earlier this year I attended the International Food Bloggers Conferences (IFBC) in Portland, Oregon.  It was a fantastic event where bloggers from all over gather to network, learn new techniques and meet new friends.  On Saturday of the conference, a luncheon and presentation was held by the Ninja Cooking System.  What is a Ninja Cooking System you ask?  Well, it is an appliance for the kitchen that can sear foods, bake and slow cook, all in ONE device! It is amazing!  I have browned, slow cooked and now have tried to steam bake in it.  So far, I have made soup, spaghetti sauce, carnitas and now cake!  One of the perks of steam baking is that you can use 1/2 the fat in a recipe and it will still be extremely moist. Oh, I forgot to mention by attending the conference we all had the privilege of having one delivered to our home to try out.  Sweet!

Showing the oven setting on the Ninja Cooking System

I used a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill called Magically Moist Almond Cake.  The recipe called for a 9 x 13 pan, but I used the pan provided by Ninja for the Cooking System which is 7 x 9.5 inches.  Per the recipe, the cake was to bake for 30 minutes.  The insturction booklet said for steam baking add 1  cup of water for every 10 minutes of baking time.  In this case, I added 3 cups of water for the 30 minute baking time.  I checked the cake at 30 minutes and low & behold it was done!

Ready for the Ninja!

The adjustments I made to the recipe was to use 1/2 the fat, in this case butter, added a little almond flavoring and sprinkled some sliced almonds on top.  I took a class on how to make butter last week, so I had some fresh buttermilk and replaced the milk called for in the recipe with that.  I also swapped out the sugar for a natural, no calorie sweetener for dietary reasons.

Let me talk about the cake.  It was utterly moist and remember, I used half of the amount of butter!  It was a little crumbly, but I cut it while still warm.  I would say to let the cake cool thoroughly before serving.  A very light almond flavor was a lovely touch.  I was very impressed with the way this cake turned out and  will absolutely try this method again. This cake would be an enjoyable treat whether for dessert or with a cup of coffee in the morning.  I think serving it with some fresh local fruit would be a tasty addition.

Local Notes:  Buttermilk – Cindi’s Kitchen, Almonds & Butter – California

Equipment:  Ninja Cooking System

Loaded Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower

This is a version of “Twice Baked Potatoes” using cauliflower.  Who does not love loaded baked potatoes?  I know I do, but if you are looking to lower your carb count, here is a great alternative.  A special tool that I used for this recipe was a “Potato Ricer“and I used the smallest “die”.  I wanted a really smooth product like mashed potatoes.  I tried a blender, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer but the ricer produced the smoothest result between the three.  If you have a food mill, you could also try that and I think next time I will to see if I get a smoother result.

The ingredients in this recipe really worked well, but you can always add or take away something as desired.

Local note – Cauliflower is from Sanger, California.

Loaded Cauliflower
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut cauliflower in to medium to small chunks. Steam until tender.
  3. Using a potato ricer, "rice" cauliflower into a medium bowl.
  4. Add sour cream to "riced" cauliflower and stir. Save some of the green onion, bacon and cheddar cheese for garnish. Add remaining green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese and stir.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
Notes
© Cinder's Kitchen

 

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