Showing posts from December, 2015

French 75 Cocktail Recipe

Whether you are saying goodbye to the previous year or hello to the new one, Champagne or anything bubbly is traditional for New Year�s Eve. It�s light, refreshing and pairs well with many kinds of festive meals from briny oysters and caviar to rich and creamy cheeses and just about anything fried. Should you happen to have a splash of Champagne leftover or better yet, a bottle, consider a Champagne cocktail for brunch the following day.

While the classic mimosa is fine, I am a big fan of the French 75. The French 75 dates back to World War I and is named for the French 75mm field gun, the �Soixante Quinze� thanks to it�s kick from gin. It�s as simple as can be, just gin, lemon juice, sugar or simple syrup and Champagne or another sparkling brut wiine. There are some other versions of the drink and some prefer cognac or brandy, but I think gin is really the way to go.

The gin you use is important. I am particulary fond of London dry gin, and Plymouth in particular although you are welco…

Moringa Chia Pudding with Raspberry Recipe

A current food trend is the emergence of exotic superfood ingredients such as elderberry, aronia, haskap and moringa. Moringa is a plant native to South Asia and grown throughout the tropics. It's considered a superfood because the powdered leaves provide protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Peace Corps volunteer Lisa Curtis discovered it when she was living in West Africa and suffering from malnutrition. Now back in the US, she is the founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, a company that sells moringa based product in the US and helps to improve the lives of women like the ones she worked with, in Africa.

When I met Lisa I was inspired by her story and also curious to try experimenting with moringa, which comes in a powdered form, looking a bit like matcha but tasting more herbal with a slight bitter but not unpleasant edge. Aside from adding it to smoothies or using it bars, I thought it might be good in a chia pudding. 
Lots of chia pudding recipes use coconut or almond milk in …

Unusual Cookbooks of 2015

Looking for something different? These are some of the more unusual cookbooks I came across this year. 
The Food of Oman is one of the most exciting cookbooks I saw this year, because I am so unfamiliar with the cuisine and the influences are so varied. The book includes Bedouin meat and rice dishes, South Asian curries, East African vegetable dishes and Indian style tandoori seafood as well. There are recipes for quickly made flatbreads, Sweet Vermicelli with Salty Egg, Yemeni Style Roasted Chicken and Saffron Rice, Swahili Coconut Shrimp Curry, some hot tea-like beverages, and plenty of snack foods like Chile-Lime Chickpeas and Chili Spiced Potato Chips. For the cook who seems jaded and world weary this is the perfect book to inspire. 
Who�s it for? Anyone looking to cook something different, but expecially fans for Southeast Asian and African food.
Do you need a book about what to serve on toast? No. But Better on Toast is a really fun book loaded with cool ideas for snacks, appetizer…

Bison Rib Roast

For a big celebratory meal, a rib roast is very impressive, especially with the bones in. While beef might be a common choice, bison is also available in a rib roast. I�ve shared my experience cooking several different cuts of bison and how much I enjoy it. I like the texture and flavor but also really appreciate how environmentally sustainable and how healthy it is, particularly when compared to beef. It's lighter and less fatty so I find I'm able to enjoy it more. When Durham Ranch offered me the opportunity to try one of their products I decided to go with a rib roast.

Durham Bison Ranch is one of largest bison operations in the US, with a 55,000 acre ranch in Eastern Wyoming with around 3,000 bison. Unlike some producers, the bison from Durham is not completely 100% pasture raised. It�s finished on a feed lot where it is fed mostly grass based silage and very little grain, since it is not part of their natural diet. Why are their animals finished this way? Drought condition…

Jewish Cookbooks 2015

Are you suffering from an overload of everything Christmas? Shabbat Shalom! Here are a few books worth taking a look at, whether you are Jewish or not.

NOMA: My Perfect Storm movie review

Even after reading the NOMA:Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine cookbook and going to see chef Rene Redzepi speak, I am still curious about the restaurant and the chef. Short of flying off to Copenhagen and dining at the restaurant (it�s on my bucket list!) I really enjoy reading anything I can about this restaurant that has been chosen �#1 in the world� four times.

The latest attempt to dig deeper into the Noma phenomenon and psyche of chef Rene Redzepi is the feature length documentary, Noma: My Perfect Storm. Towards the beginning it�s easy to fall under the spell of the chef and his concept for the restaurant. It�s a concept which has had and will continue to have a ripple effect. Because really, this is more than just about one chef or one restaurant, it�s about a philosophy that is changing food, cooking and how we approach it everywhere. It's about creating a cuisine that reflects time and place in the most authentic way possible. Not surprisingly, it�s also about the process o…

Speciality Food Holiday Gifts 2015 & Giveaway!

Over the past year I've gotten to try a lot of speciality foods. Here are some of my absolute favorite sweet and savory treats. 
This year I fell in love with the products from Tonewood Maple. They make maple products in many different forms, but also highlight different styles and flavors of maple. If you think as I did, �maple is maple� there�s a reason for that. In many places, such as a certain well-known province of Canada, all the maple products are processed together. So you don�t get different flavors from different estates, just different grades. 
Tonewood offers single estate maple syrups in their grade collection in golden delicate, amber rich and dark robust flavor profiles, and each are completely different. These are maple products that reflect place, just like wine! Some are earthy, some are spicy, but they all have a depth of flavor missing from other maple syrups. Honestly this is the best maple syrup I�ve ever tasted. 
In addition to syrup, they offer maple cream, w…

New Dessert Cookbooks Winter 2015

This holiday season there are several new dessert cookbooks, here are some of my top picks.
Home Baked isn't strictly a dessert book, it also contains savory baked goods, but the vast majority of the recipes are for sweets with just one section dedicated to breads (and a few recipes for dog biscuits). This book is mammoth! It has over 150 recipes for everything from Viennoiserie to cakes, cookies, pies and patisserie. 
What sets the book apart is that the instructions are incredibly clear and well written and for the most part feel very easy to accomplish. The photographs are appealing as are the creative flavor combinations like Zaatar, Carrot Banana Cake, Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Grapefruit, Peach and Berry Tarts with Buttermilk Custard and Fig, Apricot, Stilton and Goat Cheese Tart.
Who's it for? Any baking enthusiast or as the author says, "domestic adventurer." 
Marie Asselin the author of Sweet Spot: Modern Better-for-You Dessert Recipes, with Clever Tips to B…

Artisanal Italian Pasta

If you go to most grocery stores or supermarkets you can find dried pasta for as little as about $1 per package. At the same time there is �artisanal� dried pasta which costs at least twice as much, and often much more. Is it worth it? Yes, it is and here�s why.

Recently I was at an event where there was an in depth discussion about pasta. Big producers like Barilla make in 2 days what a smaller artisanal company like Rustichella d�Abruzzo produces in an entire year. But it�s not just about volume, it�s also about how the pasta is made.

One big difference is how the pasta is extruded. Artisanal producers use bronze dies, these create a rougher surface texture which allows the pasta to better absorb sauces or condiments. While sauces are important, so are the noodles! They should really taste good. Extruding the pasta through these dies is a slower process than using the teflon dies that industrial producers use. Bronze dies don�t last as long and are much more expensive.

The drying time …