Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roobios-Smoked Pork Tacos with Plum Grapefruit Salsa



This past month has been pretty crazy. I started a new position at work, which is going great, and have started jogging again after my several-month-long holiday break from any kind of physical labor. The combination of these two things has made me pretty tired once I get home from work, and it's also made me crave my one of my go-to comfort foods, tacos. But I didn't want to have just any kind of tacos to come home to, I wanted to have some that would brighten my day and really give me something to look forward to after my jogs. So, I looked around the McCormick Flavor Forecast and used their recipe for roobios-smoked sea bass and caramelized plums, but gave it a Mexican-spin. I also added some grapefruit to the salsa because Chef Mark Garcia kept mentioning grapefruits in the McCormick Flavor Forecast webinar and how they should be used more frequently, as one would use lemons or limes. The result was awesome. Smoky rich pork meat covered with a refreshingly sweet and spicy salsa.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lemon Ginger Cheesecake



In last week's post I mentioned how inspired I was by McCormick's 2012 Flavor Forecast and that there would be more fun and unique new recipes to come. Well, here is another one of the ideas that sprang to life after my participation in the Forecast. One of the flavor combinations that they discussed was ginger and coconut, which of course sounds amazing, but for some reason the taste combination of lemon and ginger popped into my head, and since I'd been craving cheesecake for a couple weeks, I decided to combine all of these marvelous ideas into one simple and flavorful dessert. I made the crust from scratch and put some ground ginger in it for a little bit of an extra gingery kick. The filling is no-bake, which I love because baking cheesecake can be tricky, and has candied ginger, grated ginger root, lemon juice, and lemon zest in it, plus cream cheese and cool whip. I especially loved the filling because the cool whip made it nice and light and fluffy, and there's just a pleasant hint of lemon and ginger, not at all overpowering or intrusive. I'm definitely making this again in the summer, if it tastes this great when it's chilly outside I can only imagine how wonderful and refreshing it would be on a hot sunny day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blueberry Mole with Chicken



This past week I was invited to participate in McCormick's Flavor Forecast for 2012. I took part in their webinar and watched as chef Mark Garcia went through the various ingredients and flavors that are going to be making a broader appearance within the culinary world this year. They also posted the 6 trends of the Flavor Forecast up on their website, along with some recipes that went with each one. They all looked and sounded delicious, but I was particularly intrigued by the Blueberry Cardamom Mexican Atole. The idea of blueberry and chocolate alone was enough to make my stomach start growling, but the physical appearance of the atole reminded me a lot of mole sauce, which is what inspired me to make this dish.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blood Orange Bundt Cake



The end of winter is blood orange season here in California, and the farmer's markets and grocery stores are starting to show signs of this wonderful occurrence. I love the color of blood oranges, not really a "blood" color, but more of a deep, almost purpley, magenta. I picked some up at the market because I wanted to incorporate them into a dish I'm adding to the Gojee potluck. Gojee is having an actual potluck in New York city, but they're also creating a digital potluck for all us out of town bloggers to participate in too. It will be fun to see what everyone else makes, although I am kinda sad I won't be able to actually eat any of it through the screen. So, I decided to make a bundt cake with the blood oranges because cake seemed like a fitting item for a potluck. I also had some orange blossom water, (weird thing to have in the cupboard, I know, but Greeks use rose water and orange blossom water from time to time in desserts), which I decided to incorporate into the glaze. The cake came out wonderfully, very rich and moist, and the floral notes in the glaze paired well with the citrus in the cake. I had hoped it would come out pinkish inside, but alas it did not. When I make it again I think I might put a few drops of red food coloring in the batter to give it that fun, pink hue I was hoping for. If you're really digging the idea of a potluck, on Thursday January 26th you can take a peek at other potluck dishes fellow gojee contributors shared for some inspiration. Go to gojee.com and enter “gojee potluck” into I Crave.  You can also follow #gojeepotluck on Twitter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fancy (But Not Really) Pizza Trio





Figured I would start 2012 with a bang and do a triple post, but not just any kind of triple post, non non. This, my friends, is a TRIPLE PIZZA POST. Mmmmm pizza. Best way to start the new year if you ask me! This past week was very relaxing and exciting. I've been at my parents' house in Oregon since the 23rd and have spent my time here with my friends and family, and I also tried on wedding dresses for the first time with my Mom and Aunt Jan which was completely wonderful. I narrowed it down to two dresses, but they are just so different I feel like I should keep looking to try and find a happy medium between the two. I also looked at a couple different wedding locations and, even though the weather forecasters predicted snow for the day, me and my brother decided to drive over and take a look at a few places, and found one by Mt. Hood that was absolutely perfect. It dropped 10 degrees during the hour we were there, though, so we knew our luck with the rain was running out and gunned it back down to the valley before the snowfall started. Whew! Also, yesterday was my parents' last day at their restaurant, Foti's Greek Deli. They are finally retiring after 33 years of business. I worked there on the last day, it seemed fitting since I had spent so many summers and school breaks working behind the counter while I was growing up. Seeing my Mom and Dad closing up shop for the last time was exciting, because now they'll have time to visit me and spend more time with the family, but also sad because I felt like I was saying goodbye to a large part of my childhood. Very bittersweet. I am really looking forward to the New Year, though. Wedding planning will hopefully continue to be a blast and *fingers crossed* things on the job front should continue to improve on my end.