We Fondue, Do You?

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Cooking Light has a great recipe for a family service meatball fondue that is lightened in substance and calories by making the meatballs out of shredded zucchini and ground chicken.

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The mini meatballs ( size of a quarter) are made with shredded zucchini, shredded onion, and ground chicken. Instead of pan frying they are cooked off in the oven.

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Doctor up a supermarket jar of low sodium marinara sauce with mushrooms. I also added the end of the zucchini and onion ( and there might have been a little bit of butter slipped in also…) Make sure to use an oven proof skillet for the sauce as it will have to go under the broiler later on!

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Add the meatballs to the skillet of marinara. Top the skillet with shredded cheese and place in a  425° oven. ( Pepperoni added by moi, because, well…pepperoni)

The fondue is served with thinly sliced whole wheat baguette. The meatballs are softer because they were not fried and also the consistency of the chicken and zucchini is much softer than ground beef.  Enjoy!

Currently Crushing

Grills grills grills!!! 😆 Thank you, @theflave69 for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
According to the archives, I have not done a “crushing” edition since July 27th, which doesn’t seem completely possible, but it could be.  I am totally off a publishing schedule. Trying to get back on track.
I have worked in commercial kitchens since I was 16 years old and have seen it all. Really…ask me about the knife throwing chef someday…or the starfish that lived on the bottom of a box of fish…
Anyway, with the rise of social media, there is a whole new world to be discovered for fans of just how funny kitchens can be. Labeling in storage is a non negotiable for food safety. Evidently, however, spelling is negotiable. I give you KitchenTape on Instagram.
( link below)
It’s like Manuel from Fawlty Towers meets Oscar Wilde in a kitchen. Some of them are just sounded out for spelling  (“Bowl in Nas for Bolognese) and some of them are really funny (“Die Kahn” for daikon, a type of radish). I haven’t seen a new post in a while so I hope whoever is behind Kitchentape continues.

kitchentape

Because kitchen tape doesn’t have spell check. 🍴🍔🍩😆 #kitchentape
(Caesar dressing) Gonna pass on this salad, thanks. 😮Thank you, @jamiestriha for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
That's one sweet sizzling jam! 🥓Thank you, @kristophermcgowan for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
(Noodles) Send nudos. 😉🍜Thank you, @mozartistic for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
(Swiss chard) A quart of wet shart. Thank you, @overmind78 for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
(Daikon) KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!! 😆🖖🏼 Thank you, @scotticusss for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #cheflife
Uuhhh... Nah, I'm good. 😐 Thank you, @dbakesacake for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #kitchenlife #cheflife #cheflaughs
(Bolognese) Just sound it out! 😂😂😂 🍝 Thank you, @xxbammiexx for the pic!!! #kitchentape #truecooks #kitchenlife #cheflife #cheflaughs
And I can honestly say, it is superb!
And it comes in cute little glass pots that can be recycled for so many things like holding votive lights or planting little succulents or hold makeup brushes or posies from the garden. The craft world is spinning on it’s axis..
If you like Greek style, this is not it. But it is creamy and full of flavor and not too sweet, just a hint of fruit at the bottom. The absolute hands down best flavor is coconut which tastes more like a panna cotta than mass retailer yogurt, but don’t question it. Given the absence of it on store shelves in last couple of weeks at Target and more, I am hoping they up the production because I am not the only one buying it. Eight flavors including plain, vanilla, coconut, lemon, peach, blueberry, strawberry and black cherry. I would humbly petition for apricot and perhaps a mango or chocolate. Thanks Yoplait!

 

Science Experiment…

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I read about this recipe for salt cured egg yolks in Bon Appetit via Pinterest. According to the recipe you can cure egg yolks in salt, just like bacon or salmon and then use it later on. The recipe claims that the cured yolks are creamy and rich ( what yolks aren’t) and will add a layer of “carbonara” like the pasta dish, even when you don’t have carbonara.It will definitely add the 5th taste, “umami”, to your dishes.

The recipe is probably the simplest you will ever make. Mix a cup and a half of kosher salt with half cup of sugar. This mixture is enough for 4 eggs. Split the mixture in half and set half aside to cover the eggs.

Using whole eggs, make little dents or cups in the salt/sugar mixture to hold the egg yolk.

Carefully crack your eggs, one at a time and separate the white from the yolk. Put the whites into a container to use later for scrambled eggs or omelettes. Gently place each yolk into an indentation. Use the second half of the mix to cover the yolks. Cover the container tightly and place in the fridge.

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After 4 days, use your fingers to gently remove the yolks from the salt/sugar mix. Don’t squeeze them or use a sharp object to do this. They will have the consistency of delicate Gummy Bears. Rinse the yolks under cold water. It’s ok if there is a little bit of salt mixture clinging after you rinse them.

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They will be almost translucent and look like large candies. While not rock solid, they will hold together really well. Place them on a baking rack on a sheet pan and place in a 150° oven for 2 hours. If your oven doesn’t go as low as 150° ( mine doesn’t) just set it for 170° for 1.5 hours. If you have a convection oven, you can use the fan feature for this because dry is what you want.

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Once you have them dried out, seal them in a jar with a lid and place back in fridge to use when you desire. What will you use the cured yolks for you might ask?

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Well, I’ll tell you.

I sweated some onions and bacon in a skillet and then added shaved brussel sprouts until they were soft. Meanwhile on another burner, I’m cooking some spaghetti.  I added a little pasta water to the pan to simmer the sprouts. The pasta water will also help tighten the sauce in a little bit. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the skillet and gently fold the pasta in with the sprouts. Add about 1/4 cup of cream and 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and turn the heat up on the burner.  Move the mixture to keep from burning, but in about 5 minutes the cream and cheese will tighten up into a yummy sauce.

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I snipped some sundries tomatoes on top and then grated the cured egg on top of that. I would not normally mix brussel sprouts and eggs, but the creamy accent of the cured eggs is just the right finishing touch.

Now I’m plotting what else I can use it on!

 

“Open the door …to your Mystery Bake”!

MysteryDateGameboxWait! What? Remember this board game from the 60’s and 70’s? Well, this weekend I launched the CashmereTea version, except I’m calling it Mystery Bake! Here’s how it all started…

This is my baking cart…it resides in my pantry. It is out of control. Out of control sends my OCD into overdrive. I can’t just throw everything out and waste all the ingredients, but as we used to say in the inventory business, we need to reduce the number of sku’s in the equation. So I’m launching Mystery Bake. Each week or 10 days, I’m going to pull an ingredient off the cart and then make something for general consumption with it.

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First up, graham flour and 2 half used bag of white chocolate chips. Let’s tackle the easy stuff first, the white chocolate chips. One bag is no longer white, it’s now dark yellow and not individual chips but one big “chip”. Trash. Second bag goes into the chocolate pot to melt slowly over even heat.

I find a recipe on Pinterest for homemade graham crackers and think, “perfect, I can bake them and then dip them in melted white chocolate”. I have 24 oz of flour and the recipe is only using like 3, so I decide to double the recipe. That will use most of it. Easy enough recipe to work up and I decided to make large crackers to eat with tea instead of cracker size.

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Once it was all mixed in the food processor, I cut the dough block in half and worked each half separately, rolled it out on wax paper and stuck in the fridge for an hour to chill.

I rolled out the dough, cut big circles and baked them off per the recipe.

Now back to the melted white chocolate…yeah, not so much. While I wasn’t looking the white chocolate left over from the Eisenhower administration had seized up. No dipping for these graham cookies. I reached back onto the cart for another mystery ingredient of sanding sugar and gave them a little sprinkle. Still delicious! Perfect with a cup of tea!

Stay tuned for the next episode of Mystery Bake!

Dinner at the Homesick Fallafel…


I was feeling nostalgic for Paris the other day (when am I not?) and in particular the great meal we had at the Number 1 restaurant in Paris, the inimitable L’as du Fallafel in the Marais. Take out or sit down, cheek by jowl with other fans, completely ‘oinked’ out with fresh Fallafel, pita, lamb, gyro and more.


I made some ginormous imitations of the namesake product the other nite. I started by quick pickling some red onion in cider vinegar with sugar and spices. Then I made some homemade tziziki and microwaved the fallafels from Trader Joe’s. 

I made you a movie to follow along!

Summer Salad Twist

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As I related here a while ago, we have had a bust of a tomato season at our little truck farm. One of the types we planted this year was a “yellow peach” tomato, described as mimicking in look and feel the same as a real tree grown peach. I managed to get one off the spindly little plant and decided to add to a salad with a real sliced peach, some buffalo mozzarella, arugula and a little balsamic. Perfect summer salad!

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Here’s the one I managed to harvest and as you can see it is shaped like a peach and colored the same way.

Plan B

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So last nite I had a lovely dinner of chickpea flour crust vegetarian pizza planned for when I finally pulled my head out of Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians”, but had to resort to plan B when I figured out that the dough had to sit for 24 hours….

Not even sure what I wanted to make I started to troll the pantry and fridge and it was already 7 pm! The Hubs and I do keep a European dinner schedule and typically don’t eat dinner before 7 pm. We like to watch the news, debrief the day, have a cocktail, you know …all those adult type things. But 7 is late to be starting something from scratch. Then I figured I could make omelettes or something with spinach, because I have a 1/3 of a bag hanging around the fridge getting schlammy. That morphed into pasta with spinach which morphed into pasta carbonara, which in turn morphed into risotto carbonara…The result, an immediate Hubs Hall of Fame favorite. ( It has rice, cream, cheese and bacon…why wouldn’t it be an instant hit?)

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For the sake of eating before 10 pm however I pulled out the trusty pressure cooker because as I have recently discovered how good a pressure cooker is to cook rice.  I started by sweating a medium sliced onion and some chopped precooked bacon in the cooker in like 1 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes until I could smell bacon and the onions were starting to get translucent.

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I added 1 cup of arborio rice with 2.5 cups of chicken broth and a little extra butter. I set the timer for 25 minutes, the recommended time for wild rice which takes a little longer to cook.

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Meanwhile back at the stove I fork scrambled and cooked a single egg, just before the timer went off. When the cooker depressurized, the consistency was perfect! I added about a 1/4 cup cream, a 1/2 cup of grated fresh parmesan, the egg, some cooked green peas and ground some fresh pepper. No spinach to be found, but totally satisfying with a glass of wine! Plan A needs to be read the whole recipe before planning dinner from it!

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