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Post in Farmers Markets 2018
We went to the WinterFeast farmers market in Bundaberg today. Excuse the poor photos. I am incredibly shy about taking them so they are all sneak shots 😁. It's an annual event in its third year. 
Lots of stalls from local producers, Cooking demonstrations, and plenty of food vendors and alot of bodies.
Demos.

 




 
Haul - Honey roasted macadamias, chilli jerky, hopped apple cider, watermelon water and $3 for 5 Avos. 

 
Jalepeno Cheese Pork Snags, Biltong, Beef Cheeks & Bratwurst. 

 
Lil dudes Breakfast - Strawberry Lime & Salted Caramel Gelato. 
 

 
And this poor dude. It may be winter. But its still 25c and humid. 
 
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Post in Dinner 2018 (Part 1)
So I watched these two videos about Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino, quite entertaining, so I got inspired to make the same for dinner.
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Post in eG Cook-Off #78: The Cane Berries of Summer
Two summers ago I created this recipe for a strawberry and watermelon summer salad for a class I was teaching on how to incorporate fresh herbs and spices into dishes.  A few days ago I remember this salad and thought it would work really well by using those big blackberries rather than strawberries.  The strawberry salad includes berries, cucumber, watermelon, feta cheese that I marinate in olive oil and dried herbs, and Italian green olives.  The dressing was olive oil with a bit of sherry vinegar and shallot then fresh basil and mint.
 
For this recipe I used the blackberries rather than strawberries, cucumber, watermelon and simply feta without marinating it in olive oil and herbs. I omitted the olives because I didn't want that strong flavor with these juicy sweet blackberries. I just drizzled a little olive oil over the salad and didn't use the sherry vinegar because again I thought it would be too strong.  Then a little basil, along with fresh mint and fresh oregano from pots on my back steps.  Pretty delicious for a light and crisp summer salad.

 
Here's a picture of the strawberry version of the salad-

 
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Post in Cooking on a Big Green Egg
For sale at a cooking outlet store affiliated with Kitchen and Company. A miniBGE. So tiny it could hold one NYStrip.
 
$400 less stand. 
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Post in Frog Princesse in Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, Point Reyes (2018 edition)
Dinner was part of the reason for the trip - I wanted to try chef Chris Consentino’s new restaurant in St Helena, Acacia House. I had already followed him from Incanto to Cockscomb and was curious to try this one. And I wasn’t disappointed! The menu is fairly limited but changes often, and there were several good options.
 

 

 
Hamachi crudo hidden under delicate little beads of tempura. The green powder was dehydrated seabean. 
 

 
Seared foie gras served in a litte Dutch baby pancake, like a decadent take on breakfast. This reminded me of the waffle and foie gras dish at Animal in LA, but a million times more refined. It was wonderful.
 

 
Iberico pork schnitzel, the signature dish. Imagine the most tender and also most flavorful pork you’ve ever had, pounded thin and perfectly crisped. 
 

 
Not very photogenic, this was the pasta with octopus and nduja breadcrumbs, and plenty of butter in the sauce. A great pasta dish and the octopus was very tender.
 
 
 
 
I loved my dessert - rhubarb and strawberries, with cream and little meringue pieces, and strawberry ice cream. It was airy and intensely flavorful at the same time.
 
 
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Spruce syrup!
Got around to a project I've been thinking about for a while: making a piney syrup with needles from the big spruce tree in my front yard.
 
Prepared with a bunch of Googling, concentrating on reassuring myself that the tree was properly identified. (Apparently some trees like spruce are great, but other similar-looking species like yews are toxic!)

step one: collect green branches, shake the dry needles off, bring inside and pluck.

step two: combine with sugar and water (I did 1:2:2).

step three: while stirring, bring to a boil for a bit, then cut the heat and let sit for a few hours

step four: strain through cheesecloth

step five: throw in a little vodka as a preservative.
 
Taste test is very appealing; now to figure out what kind of cocktails I can make with this. Open to suggestions!
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Post in eG Cook-Off #78: The Cane Berries of Summer
I found these beauties in the market this morning.  They're from Sterino Farms in Puyallup, WA, over on the west side of the state.  They were $9.00 for the 4 1/2 pint boxes.  And they had both red and orange raspberries that were nearly as big as the blackberries. The raspberries were literally 3 times bigger than the small boxes you usually find in the supermarket.  I tasted a few and they are incredibly sweet and juicy. 
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Post in Pig Ears
Pig ears are very popular in Chinese cuisine, as snacks, appetizers or full dishes.
 
Her are some crisp fried pig ears sold as a snack in many of my local food stores. My nearest supermarket also has 5-spice braised ears from time to time.
 

 
But probably the best pig ear dish I have eaten was this one in Hunan. I don't know how long they cooked it, but it was soft, spicy and delicious.
 

 
Finally here is an excellent article and recipe from member and cookbook author @C J Phillips' blog.  I haven't cooked the recipe but have eaten it.
 
 
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Post in Chocdoc - Noshing in NYC
First stop this am - the L’ecole Valrhona where we were warmly greeted by Chef Derek Porier and Chef Philippe Givre. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
checked out Jacque Torres 

 

 

 
 
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Post in Gas range: Wolf? Thermador? Bluestar? Viking?
I have a Blue Star. It is a beast (in a good way). I love it.
 
Essentially a home model of a restaurant range, it puts out the heat and is without frills. There are no electronics except the oven thermostat and the convection fan and the ignitors.
 
The broiler is nuclear-powered.
 
The only failing is that the burners lack a real simmer setting. Even the simmer burner is too hot. So I use a heat-diffuser.
 
I love the Blue Star
 
 
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Post in Felafel/Falafel--Cook-Off 30
The Puffed up Falafels are caused by three essential factors:
 
1- The Fava Beans should be the peeled type (Makshour).
 
2- Mixed to "string" consistency by regulating the water content and by allowing the mix to rest for couple of hours so the Bicarb does it's thing.
 
3- Oil temperature.
 
Importantly:
1.1- The use of non peeled type of Fava beans will result in the color of your Falafels to be dark.
1.2- As for the Puff or Rise  It is to be noted that the Bicarb needs an acid such as Lemon juice to create carbon dioxide gas so the dough expands when cooked. This is common culinary knowledge.
1.3- The oil temp and type is preferably used from a previous fry as the oil will not only be flavoured by the previous fry but would have also lost it's viscosity and cook/brown the Falafel faster.
 
In Egypt, the saying is that a good Falafel from the street carts uses car engine oil and the stench is what gives Falafel it's true taste. 
 
We don't cook Falafel in house as it so happens that we like the three different types namely: Egyptian - Lebanese and Jordanian and it is a palaver cooking the three types which are readily available at respective Falafel shops.........and we are running short of car engine oil  
 
This is a pic of the Egyptian allegedly fancy ones with sesame and French fries.
 
 

 
 
Enjoy your Falafels

Post in Newfoundland Re-Visited
Seen while waiting for the ferry:
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Post in From Memphis to Lexington
Last night we had our dinner at Flight in Memphis and we were delighted to have @kayb join us! It was so nice to be able to meet up! We had fun talking and sharing a wonderful meal. Kay, thanks again for taking the time to join us and for recommending this restaurant!
 

 
The lighting in the restaurant was very soft, so not the best photos, but everything was delicious!
 

 
We started with wine! I had a flight of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay from Oregon titled Northern Exposure. Very nice!
 

 
My husband had the Butcher’s Flight - Pork Tenderloin, Veal Scallopini and Wild Boar Tenderloin
 

 
I chose two small plates, rather than a full flight - the Louisiana Redfish and the Lamb Ribeye
 

 
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Acquerello
We celebrated my hubby's 60th birthday tonight at Acquerello.
 
Highly recommended and much better execution than our recent experience at SPQR which is another place that does "new-style Italian cuisine".
 

 
Orange juice and vermouth
 

 
Smoked mascarpone and herb financiers
 

 
Lobster beignets with espelette pepper
 

 
Savory egg custard, mint and pea puree, white chocolate-almond dust", pea shoots
 
The custard was lighter than air which told me that someone in the kitchen has serious attention to detail. It made me sit up and take notice.
 

 
Butter is house-made, topped with lava salt. The dish with the sea salt has a mother-of-pearl spoon.
 
I judge restaurants by the bread they serve. At Acquerello, it's piping hot, fresh from the oven.
 

 
Venetian seafood salad - with mackerel, pickled shrimp, calamari, trout roe and finger lime
 

 
Smoked sturgeon galetta with leeks, crème fraiche, brioche and ossetra caviar
 

 
Risotto with abalone, roasted turnips and seaweed.
 
B prononced it one of the best he's ever eaten. Each grain of rice was distinct and fused with flavor.
 

 
Raviolo with slow-roasted tomato, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano crema, served with brown butter and balsamic.
 

 
Turbot with Taggiasca olives, potato, clams and brown butter.
 
Not very visually appealing but it did taste wonderful.
 

 
Sea scallops, cauliflower, blood orange, candied kumquats.
 
This was interesting and well-prepared but not something I would order again. Flavors were on point though. FYI, Acquerello's food is "modern Italian". I thought it was operating at a higher level than that of SPQR.
 

 
Cheese cart.
 
All selections are Italian. The cart is arranged so that cheeses in the background are hard and those in the foreground are soft. Cheeses on the left side are the most intense and those on the right side are fairly mild.
 

 
Vin santo
 

 
Cheese plate.
 
Clockwise from upper left: buffalo milk cheese; aged cow's milk and sheep's milk cheese mixed with Barolo wine; sheep's milk cheese; hazelnuts and raisins mixed with chestnut honey; apricot marmellata; candied fennel.
 

 
Napoletano - strawberry mousse layered over pistachio mousse, surrounded by chocolate mousse, covered with white chocolate and served with 66% dark Caraïbe chocolate.
 
When I reserved, I mentioned to staff that my hubby's birthday was the occasion and they pulled out all the stops.
 

 
Birthday dessert plate.
 
Clockwise from left: lychee-apricot panna cotta with apricot coulis; meringue; dark chocolate truffle over chocolate ganache; chocolate bar.
 

 
Clockwise from foreground: vanilla spongecake stuffed with pastry cream, soaked in Italian liqueur; chocolate caramel; almond cookie.
 

 

 

 
Total bill was $459 (including tax and 20% tip) for two people.    This place is definitely on our "return" list. Simply lovely.
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Post in Why we fell for clean eating
Well I read the  thing all the way through but there was a drumbeat of “first world problem” echoing in my brain and visions of emaciated infants and children in war zones and refugee camps popping up with every paragraph.  I will stick to the  idea that clean eating means I don’t need to wear a bib most of the time.  Thanks for sharing. 
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Post in eG Cook-Off #78: The Cane Berries of Summer
Here are two raspberry pastries I do every early summer when we see some local berries in Eastern Washington.  We're about a month later than the growing season for raspberries West of the Cascade Mountains.
 
The raspberry lemon bars are pretty simple.  I make a bottom crust of melted butter and powdered sugar.  That's it.  Then a basic lemon bar filling, but I always double the recipe and triple the lemon juice.  I boost it with some pure lemon extract.  Then cool, dust with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.  All I do is just put the raspberries on top.

 
Then the same crust, crème anglaise and again just fresh raspberries from the local farmer's market on top.  I haven't made either of these this season, but will this coming week!
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Post in Farmers Markets 2018
Stopped briefly at farmers market this morning. A plethora of greens and really good cherries. I got white nectarines, apricots, cherries, lacinto kale, red amaranth, fresh sweet onions with tops, young zuke, tiny super juicy Persian cukes, and a few teeny brussels sprouts. 
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Post in Butter Tarts
I last made butter tarts a couple of months ago, but can't even remember what I put in them. I have a photo of them, for some reason. Pretty sure some of them had nuts. I had a friend who gave me her mom's recipe, which might have had currants instead of raisins, but I know I didn't do that. I do like a thick pastry shell, not too gooey because it's a pain to try and eat them on the go and I like them to be portable. 
 
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Post in Breakfast! 2018
Wontons with a Sriracha dip.
 
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Post in Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)
Battered hake pieces from the fishmonger. I ate half of it standing in front of the market stall, the rest was lunch the next day.

 

 
Made a bunch of confit yolks recently.

 
The seasoning: sesame oil, Korean chilli flakes, tamari.
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Post in Dinner 2018 (Part 1)
Tonight party after the last Dragonboat race of the season (unthankful 4th place) ...
 
Made rye flour-based Flammkuchen with onions and Guanciale 😊
 
 
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Post in Dinner 2018 (Part 1)
CSO Steam Baked: Chicken Thigh with Cauliflower and Asparagus 
 
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Post in Baking with Myhrvold's "Modernist Bread: The Art and Science"
Made the master brioche (50% butter) recipe yesterday, left the dough in the fridge until this morning, took it out, shaped and baked (made a double recipe so I did a tray of rolls and also a pan loaf). Marvelous, decadent bread. (Brushed the tops of the rolls with a confectioners sugar/egg white glaze for some added sweetness - breakfast of champions, really).
 
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Post in Remembering Anthony Bourdain, 1956–2018
Seen today on Facebook:
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Post in Lemon Curd: The Topic
@Anna N Never too late to reply. Well I have found a method for making lemon curd in a blender (Vitamix or blender of it's kind) which can be made in about 6 minutes. The Vitamix does all the cooking. I usually use a recipe calling for whole eggs and which brings the curd to a simmer for a minute to two and tweaked it for the Vitamix. Bloody genius. The finished product needs to be stashed in the fridge to set. Yummmm. See "thekitchn.com for the method. Use what ever recipe you like and tweak it to fit. 
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