Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Cornbread with Cheddar Cheese

The cool air of fall is returning like an old friend, tickling the nose and making me long for a warm, comforting dish that will wrap its solace around me like a blanket. I know it hasn't been that long since I posted about the caramelized onion & jalapeno cornbread, but one of the commenters on that post described a tomatoey cheddar cornbread that sounded like just the nourishment I was looking for. All of my tomatoes are getting quite ripe and I took it as the perfect opportunity to whip up another batch of one of my favorite foods.

Yep, cornbread.

I would say cornbread, kalamari, and custard are my top three favorite things to eat. A weird mix, but they've definitely got the taste/texture/savory/sweet spectrum covered. Or maybe I just have a thing for foods that start with "kuh" sounds. The universe is a mystery, y'all!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roasted Hazelnut Nutella Roulade

I like to use the fall season as an excuse to eat an exorbitant amount of nuts. I also count nut spreads as nuts, which means that a steady stream of nutella is always flowing through my veins from September to November. Because I am eating so much nutella, I wanted to diversify and do something with it other than spreading it on a piece of toast. I remembered that I had some hazelnuts from a few months back in a plastic baggie stuffed into one of my cabinets, and I had heard that wondrous things happen to hazelnuts when you roast them, but hadn't experienced this magic firsthand. So, on went the oven and in went the hazelnuts. Eight minutes later, the warm chestnut color had turned to a dark purplish brown and the skins had cracked open slightly, revealing the tanned hazelnuts underneath. The smell was overwhelmingly nutty and rich. I popped a few in my mouth and contemplated eating them all at once and sending my roulade idea straight to mordor, but instead I put them in a plastic baggie and smashed them to bits with my meat tenderizer mallet. (There, that will take care of those dangerous thoughts!) Then I made a hazelnut-flavored roulade cake and rolled it up with the nutella, the crushed roasted hazelnuts, and some cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar. The result was something that looked like a yule log and tasted like an autumny nut heaven. If you enjoy nuts, hazelnuts, chocolate, and/or cake, then this is a must-make for the fall season. Seriously you guys, if you bring this to a dinner party people will love you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Corn & Smoked Salmon Bisque

One of the best parts of having my roots in the Pacific Northwest is the large amount of salmon I get to eat whenever I come home. My parents always keep a few frozen slabs of smoked salmon tucked away in the freezer for me, so I always grab one and cart it back on the plane to enjoy once I get back to California. I've had one of these said slabs in my freezer for a few months now and have been wondering what to do with it. While the weather is still hot, my body seems to be going into fall-mode regardless and has had me craving soup. Additionally, all the ears of corn at my local supermarket have gone on sale at the same time. You can probably see where this is going. Yep, corn & smoked salmon bisque. Like a chowder, but pureed! Mine wasn't pureed to as fine a texture as I would have liked, and I am not sure if this was because I don't have a food processor and had to use my blender, or because I am impatient. Perhaps it was a bit of both. Regardless of the texture, the flavors of the sweet buttery corn went hand in hand with the savory smoked salmon. An excellent greeting to the fall season, indeed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Red Plum & Raspberry Jam With Vanilla, Lemon Balm, & Spices

Remember in my last post where I talked about raspberry picking and got 3 pints of raspberries but only used two pints to make that pie? Well, this is what I did with the last pint. I couldn't make much jam with only one pint of raspberries, which was why I picked up a pound of local red plums while I was at Mom's Country Orchards. They smelled so sweet, and when the staff cut me a slice to sample and the plums tasted as good as they smelled, it took pretty much all the self control I had to buy only one pound instead of twelve.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Raspberry Pie & A Winter Seed Giveaway

Between work, Jeremy, and the five million side projects I have going on at any given point in time, sometimes weeks end up going by before I make the time to hang out with my girlfriends. My friend Alana and I were talking about this a few weeks back and decided to do a ladies' gathering once a month. We all signed up to host it one month out of the year, but since there aren't twelve of us there were some empty months, including this one. So, I suggested we go raspberry picking, and a-raspberry picking did we go! We drove up to Oak Glen, a beautiful and scenic community that is filled with field after field of apple orchards which they harvest in the fall, but in the late summer they have small crops of various fruits for u-picking, including raspberries. Before the picking we had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, ever. It is called the Hawk's Head Public House and it is a colonial-themed restaurant where the waiters dress like it's 1782 and all the food is made from scratch and completely amazing. For a simultaneous founding fathers and foodie nerd like myself, it's pretty much the best place to eat ever (niche geekdom forever!!!). Afterwards, we went to Snow Line Orchards and filled up 3 pints each of fresh raspberries, then after exhausting ourselves having labored in the fruit fields for a full 50 minutes, we munched on a bag of their tasty apple cider mini-doughnuts and inhaled their homemade apple cider under the shade of a large oak tree. For our final pit stop we pulled into Mom's Country Orchards, which is my absolute favorite jam shop in the world. They have almost every kind of seasonal jam, jelly, or preserve you can think of, and they're all home made. So, of course, I left with 16 ounces of fresh Tangelo Marmalade (so zippy and light for a jelly!). The next morning I set about making a raspberry pie and came out with this little number. Sweet, fresh, with a slight tang from the lemon juice & zest, and warm and cinnamon-y. Just the way a summer pie should taste.