Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Broiled Trout with Blood Orange Olive Oil & Shrimp Skewers

The first time I had broiled trout was in Montana, and its rich and buttery flavor always stuck with me. I decided to try and make some on my own, but used Devo Blood Orange Olive Oil to add some light citrus notes. I also used garlic, shallots, and fresh sprigs of rosemary. I got the trout whole at my local whole foods market and also saw some shrimp skewers on display in the seafood case, so I picked up some of those as well and broiled them alongside the trout. This was my first time using an infused olive oil, and I was VERY pleased with the results. The blood orange olive oil was absolutely amazing and gave the ideal citrus twist to the trout and shrimp. Not too citrus-y where I felt like I was eating an orange with a side of fish, and not too light where I could barely taste the citrus. The blood orange olive oil and trout combination was the perfect combination of buttery fish and faintly sweet and citrus-y dressing. I read online that blood orange olive oil can also be used in desserts to give a bit of a blood orange flavor to cakes and other sweets, which is definitely something I am looking forward to trying. Just opening the bottle and smelling the beautiful whiff of blood orange is inspiring!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Maple Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

Remember when I told you to hold onto any leftover pumpkin puree you had? Well this is why. WHOOPIE PIES. I have actually never made whoopie pies before these, and was very intrigued by the consistency of the batter when I was scooping spoonfuls of it onto the baking sheet. Somewhere between cake batter and cookie dough, they are like moist little cake-cookies with frosting inside. I really can't think of anything I'd rather eat, especially when it combines pumpkin, maple, chocolate, and cream cheese. You don't see chocolate and pumpkin paired up together too often, and it is a real shame. The flavors go remarkably well together and are both relatively inexpensive ingredients to use. I would highly recommend making these for a Halloween party or Thanksgiving, as they are very fun to eat and also look super cute. Also, I used a mix of whole wheat and white flour for this recipe just to make it a bit healthier but without too much of a wheat-y taste, but feel free to use whichever of the two you prefer. Makes about 18 whoopie pies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chai Pumpkin Loaf

The fall season is nearly here, and this makes me excited for two reasons. One, because I will be going home next month and will be able to see the bright and vibrant colors of the Oregon autumn, and two, because pumpkins are in season. Pumpkins are my absolute favorite vegetable; they're incredibly versatile and taste just as wonderful in a savory curry as they do in a sweet creamy pie. I recently acquired a lovely pumpkin patch loaf pan from Nordicware and have been patiently waiting for fall to come so that I could make some pumpkin bread. And as soon as September came around the corner, I took it out and made this amazing loaf. This is no normal pumpkin bread people; not only is it squash-y and cinnamon-y, but it has a little extra holiday flavor because of the addition of chai tea concentrate, and it's incredibly moist and rich thanks to the buttermilk. In all honesty, this is the best pumpkin bread I have ever had. It is also incredibly easy to make, as is evidenced by the extremely brief directions portion. I didn't add any nuts to it, but if you wanted to toss in some walnut pieces it would make a great addition. There will be another pumpkin recipe in not too long either, so make sure to save any pumpkin puree you have leftover...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Date Bundt Cake with Honey Clove Glaze

I've been wanting to utilize the new bundt pan I got a few weeks ago, and decided to head over to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market yesterday morning to find some sweet produce to put in it. There were lots of peaches, berries, and oranges, but what caught my eye was a small booth with strange-looking fruits in various states of decomposition. They came in bunches like grapes, but looked like green olives. Some were fresh, and others were a beautiful, shiny, dark brown color. I recognized the dark brown ones as dates, and then realized that's what the green fruits were. There was a lady running the stand, so I started asking her about what fresh dates tasted like and she cut me a piece of one to try. I ate it and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture. They're firm, but not crunchy, and taste a lot like honey. I went ahead and bought a small bushel and brought it home to make this bundt. They're too firm to blend into the batter with a regular mixer, so I cut them in half, removed the seeds, and then placed them all in a blender with the buttermilk and blended them until a smooth puree had formed. I also added lots of cinnamon to the cake because I thought it would go well with the honey flavor. In the end, it came out perfect. Incredibly moist, and with a warm, almost banana-y flavor to the cake. I will have to use this recipe again to make a regular cake with frosting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Guava-Filled Shortbread Cookies

While I was home me and my brother and my friend Melanie set aside an afternoon to walk around Portland and try some of the city's gourmet food trucks. When we were walking down Hawthorne on the east side of the city we made a pit stop in a Vietnamese boba shop so my brother could get a bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and I could get a boba. While I was waiting for my drink I noticed some plain-looking shortbread cookies that were laid out on a shelf. Melanie told me that they were filled with guava inside and were pretty common at Vietnamese delis and cafes. It was only $1 for a cookie, so I bought one to try it and my God, was I happy I did. The shortbread was incredibly rich and buttery, and the guava filling inside was just the right combination of sweet and fruity. I have been craving those cookies ever since then, and decided to try my hand at making some this weekend. The Brazilian supermarket down the street carries guava paste, so I bought a large brick of it because I wasn't sure how much I would need. Well, I have a lot left over, so I will probably be making another guava-related dessert sometime soon, or I might just end up making these again because they turned out that good. Just as tasty as I remember them! You can find guava paste online or at your local Mexican, South American, or South East Asian marketplace. Makes about a dozen cookies.