19 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Classic chicken and rice adapted for the pressure cooker! Combine everything in the pot, and come back to a perfectly cooked casserole. Easy, cozy weeknight dinner.

Continue reading "Instant Pot Chicken and Rice" »

19 Jan 2020 10:00pm GMT

Slow Cooker Spinach Feta Dip

This Slow Cooker Spinach Feta Dip is a terrific warm appetizer for game day ... or any party! Creamy, cheesy, and packed with spinach. Serve it with veggies or pita chips, and it'll go fast.

Continue reading "Slow Cooker Spinach Feta Dip" »

19 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

Week 3 Challenge: Intuitive Eating

Hello, week 3! We're ready for you! Today we're talking about intuitive eating (and food journaling), and how it can help us be more mindful of our cravings and what our body needs.

Continue reading "Week 3 Challenge: Intuitive Eating" »

19 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Masala Chai Recipe

My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands that I personally believe in and use.
Hot, creamy, spiced, black tea is called masala chai in India. In Hindi chai means tea and masala means a mixture of ground spices. But in the US we often refer to masala chai as chai tea or chai tea latte. During Winter I crave masala chai. I first tried it in an Indian restaurant. It was rich with milk and very, very sweet, then in college, I discovered the pleasure of making it myself. I got the recipe long before the internet, from someone I met at a party. Calling it a recipe might be a stretch, it's more like general guidelines.

Funny that tea is not even mentioned in the recipe! But that ancient scrap of paper is the basis for my recipe, which is a combination of strong black tea and milk, flavored with cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and fresh ginger. I've tried many commercial versions of chai, but they often use flavorings or ground spices rather than crushed whole spices and I like mine much better. I find the chai at most Indian restaurants to be too sweet. Making it at home, I used to use white sugar, but Sonoma Syrup White Ginger, Pumpkin Spice or Vanilla infused simple syrups are even better because they add another layer of flavor.

There's no right or wrong way to make chai. You will see some recipes that use whole spices or grind them completely, some simmer the tea bags with the spices and some simmer the tea, the spices, and milk. The best thing about making masala chai at home is that you can adjust the technique and the spices to your liking, something you can't do with chai mixes, tea bags or concentrates. Just as I adapted the recipe I was given, you should do the same, experiment with different spices or different proportions to make it truly yours.

Masala Chai
Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients

4 cardamom pods
4 black peppercorns
3 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 thick slices fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 tea bags of strong black tea or 1 Tablespoon loose black tea
1 cup milk, or more to taste (dairy or non-dairy, I use 1% dairy milk)
Sweetener-white sugar, Sonoma Syrup Pumpkin Spice, White Ginger or Vanilla infused syrup to taste

Instructions

Crush the cardamom, black pepper, clove and cinnamon and bash the ginger slices, but do not grind any of it completely. In a pot combine the water and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over low heat, covered for 10 minutes. Add the tea and turn off the heat. Cover again and let steep for 5 minutes then add the milk. Strain and add sweetener to taste.

Enjoy!
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Jan 2020 1:14am GMT

18 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Week 3 Healthy Meal Plan

Welcome to your Week 3 Meal Plan! This week we take the guesswork out of what to make for dinner with healthy recipes that are sure to inspire and satisfy!

Continue reading "Week 3 Healthy Meal Plan" »

18 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

Mini Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes

These Mini Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes won't make you feel bad about indulging! They're gluten-free (thanks to the almond flour!) and made with olive oil instead of butter. But the flavor? Still so rich and satisfying.

Continue reading "Mini Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes" »

18 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

17 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Winter Spiced Orange Mocktail

This bubbly, just-slightly-bitter Winter Spiced Orange Mocktail is the perfect non-alcoholic aperitif to enjoy before dinner! It's made from a squash (the cordial drink, not the vegetable!) flavored with orange, cinnamon, anise, and allspice.

Continue reading "Winter Spiced Orange Mocktail" »

17 Jan 2020 3:05pm GMT

The Friday Buzz: Silly Kitchen Utensil Edition

Here's our roundup of all good things, good advice, and good feelings. It's the happy hour of blog posts! This week we are diving into the ridiculous world of SILLY KITCHEN UTENSILS.

Continue reading "The Friday Buzz: Silly Kitchen Utensil Edition" »

17 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Half The Sugar All The Love Cookbook Review


Sugar has been in the news lately and it hasn't been sweet. While it isn't a surprise to learn that too much sugar is bad for your health, it is a bit surprising to learn just how addictive and pervasive sugar is. In Make 2020 The Year of Less Sugar, a story that ran in the New York Times just a few weeks ago I learned that sugar lurks in 70% of packaged food, the many health risks associated with too much sugar as well as the "addictive nature of the fructose in processed foods and beverages."

The article recommends taking a 7-day break from added sugar, and then adding it back in but carefully. The New York Times also published a "7 Day Sugar Challenge" but if you're really serious about cutting the sugar, check out Half The Sugar All The Love, a new cookbook by Jennifer Tyler Lee, a healthy food advocate and Anisha Patel, an MD and Stanford professor who researches children's health. The book definitely slants toward families, but even a household without kids like mine will find the recipes appealing. I made the Double Chocolate Brownies, twice (!) and the Creamy Tomato Soup. I already had recipes I like for both of these things so it made for interesting comparisons.

The brownies are grain and gluten free, and have only 1/4 cup of maple syrup to sweeten them! The recipe uses almond butter and sweet potatoes and is fairly low in saturated fat. They are rich, not terribly sweet and very tender, but not caky. But my favorite recipe is actually the tomato soup which is incredibly smooth and well balanced without added sugar, but with a couple of carrots to lend sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Some of the recipes are truly a marvel, each one shows how much sugar is in it, and what the typical amount of sugar is. Some recipes have 1/4 or 1/2 the usual sugar but others have as little as 1/10th the sugar. I'm looking forward to trying the Cold Sesame Noodles, the Caramelized Pumpkin Bread, Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon Burgers, and the Maple Roasted Almonds.

I received an extra review copy of this book, so I'm going to give it away to one lucky reader!
Just follow Cooking with Amy on Instagram, like the brownies post, and leave a comment tagging someone you think would like the recipe to enter.

*Must be 18+ years and have a US address to win. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, a second winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram. The contest will end on 1/23/20

Disclaimer: This book was provided for me as a review copy. I was not paid to write this post but it does include an affiliate link.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

17 Jan 2020 4:45am GMT

16 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

13 Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals with Chicken Broth

Have a box of chicken broth in your pantry? You're one step closer to dinner! From Weeknight Chicken Ramen to Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings, here are 13 quick and easy meals that'll make good use of that box of broth.

Continue reading "13 Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals with Chicken Broth" »

16 Jan 2020 4:31pm GMT

15 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

When you need pulled pork fast, make it in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker! In about half the time of other recipes, this recipe makes the oh-so-tender carnitas for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and many other Mexican dishes.

Continue reading "Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)" »

15 Jan 2020 10:00pm GMT

Mini Garlic Butter Pretzels

These Mini Butter Garlic Pretzels are the perfect snacking size! Serve them piled high for a game day snack or alongside pasta instead of garlic bread. Crazy good!

Continue reading "Mini Garlic Butter Pretzels" »

15 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

14 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Kale Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This easy kale salad comes together with dried cranberries, pine nuts, Parmesan, and a balsamic vinaigrette. No need to massage this make-ahead salad-the kale becomes tender as it rests before serving.

Continue reading "Kale Salad with Balsamic Dressing" »

14 Jan 2020 10:00pm GMT

A Handy Way to Freeze Leftover Chicken Broth

Have some leftover chicken broth? Freeze it in an ice cube tray for the easiest way to use it later!

Continue reading "A Handy Way to Freeze Leftover Chicken Broth" »

14 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

13 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Cabbage Soup

Here's an easy, nourishing cabbage soup for cold winter days. Made with just a handful of ingredients and ready in under an hour, the soup is simplicity at its best.

Continue reading "Cabbage Soup" »

13 Jan 2020 10:00pm GMT

Our Favorite Boxed Chicken Broth

Wondering which boxed broth is a cut above the rest? We taste-tested 10 brands of store-bought boxed chicken broth and stock, and found a clear winner! (Plus a dupe for homemade stock so convincing we wondered if it came right off our stovetop.)

Continue reading "Our Favorite Boxed Chicken Broth" »

13 Jan 2020 3:05pm GMT

Buffalo Chicken Chili

This Buffalo Chicken Chili is the best of two game day classics: buffalo chicken wings and chili! Top your bowl with sour cream, tortilla chips, chopped green onions, cheese, and extra buffalo sauce for a new Super Bowl favorite. (Slow cooker and Instant Pot directions, too!)

Continue reading "Buffalo Chicken Chili" »

13 Jan 2020 3:00pm GMT

12 Jan 2020

feedSimply Recipes

Instant Pot Beef Chili

Instant pot beef chili recipe is ready in under an hour! This version is made with green peppers, onions, celery, ground beef, and tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese and sliced green onions, and serve some cornbread on the side.

Continue reading "Instant Pot Beef Chili" »

12 Jan 2020 10:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

White Ginger Turmeric Latte Recipe

Disclaimer: My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands that I personally use and want to share with my readers

I love the tingle and zing of ginger, especially fresh ginger, but lately, I've been using Sonoma Syrup White Ginger Infused simple syrup to add a bit of spice and warmth to Winter recipes. Just this past week I used it in both applesauce and turmeric latte or golden milk. Instead of using sugar in applesauce, I added 1/4 cup of the white ginger infused simple syrup to 8 peeled and diced apples and the juice of one lemon. This was a change from the usual cinnamon, and it was particularly good on potato pancakes.

I'm a bit of a latecomer to the pleasures of "haldi doodh" also known as turmeric latte or golden milk. A traditional drink in India, it is purported to have all kinds of health benefits including everything from warding off colds to curing acne to supporting weight loss. I can only speak to one benefit, which is aiding in sleep. Growing up I drank warm milk on nights I couldn't sleep. It might have been the power of suggestion, but I still associate warm milk with sleep. Turmeric latte is a soothing, relaxing and warming beverage, and my version is enhanced with the addition to ginger and black pepper.

Turmeric latte is a very flexible recipe. A pinch of black pepper and a bit of ginger both supposedly enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric but also complement the flavor of turmeric and milk. While adding sweeteners is not traditional in golden milk, it is used in a lot of contemporary recipes. Some recipes use maple syrup or honey to sweeten golden milk, but white ginger infused simple syrup is particularly good. Be sure to use really fresh turmeric powder in this drink, if you use between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon per serving it won't be gritty or require straining but it will be golden.

White Ginger Turmeric Latte
makes 2 servings

2 cups of milk, dairy or non-dairy
1/2-1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup white ginger syrup
Pinch black pepper

In a small saucepan combine the milk, turmeric, syrup and pepper. Heat over medium heat and whisk until frothy. When hot remove from the stove and taste. Adjust the amount of turmeric and syrup to your liking.


Enjoy!
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

30 Dec 2019 11:31pm GMT

23 Dec 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated Review

Joy of Cooking was one of the first cookbooks in my collection. It's been a solid reference book for home cooks since it was first published in 1936 and was the cookbook I turned to when I was learning to cook. I turned to Joy to learn how to make biscuits, cobblers, pie crust, gingerbread, how long to roast a chicken or leg of lamb, and the general guidelines for everything from how long to steam an artichoke to how to make zucchini bread.

As my cookbook collection has grown and my cooking has become more adventurous, I stopped referring to Joy of Cooking which felt a little old fashioned, and a little too Midwestern. But the latest version has brought me back into the fold and here's why. The most recent version was updated by John Becker, the great-grandson of the original author Irma Rombauer and his wife Megan Scott. They live in Portland, Oregon, and the book now has more of a West Coast flavor than ever before- which is evident in recipes for things like poke and cioppino. They are young and adventurous and have thankfully dispensed with recipes that relied on things like Jell-o and canned soup while incorporating a very wide range of international spices and condiments so you'll find explanations of things like koji, amba and gochujang. The book has sections on canning, fermenting and even how to infuse vodka.


Recently I wanted to make kimchi but having never made it before I found the recipe in Joy of Cooking was perfect for a beginner. The book has caught up to where I am in my cooking and culinary explorations while still being a solid pick for the basics. Even if you already have a copy (or more than one) of Joy of Cooking, I recommend checking out the new one. There are 600 new recipes and it feels fresh and modern while preserving everything cooks appreciate about the book, especially the intertwining of ingredients and instructions and an approachable personality. Becker and Scott have done Irma Rombauer proud.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Joy of Cooking. I was not compensated monetarily to write this review. This page includes affiliate links.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

23 Dec 2019 5:04pm GMT

12 Dec 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pantry Pasta Pomodorini Recipe

Pantry Pasta Pomodorini Recipe
I'm a big believer in a well-stocked pantry. I could probably cook everyday for a month without shopping thanks to my pantry full of beans, pasta, rice, condiments, jars of anchovies, cans of tuna, along with fresh onions, garlic and potatoes. I also have tomato paste, canned whole, diced, fire-roasted tomatoes and cherry tomatoes from Italy. I believe you can never have too many cans of tomatoes or too much pasta. No one will ever go hungry in my house.

There are probably a million things you could make from pantry staples, but pasta with tomato sauce has got to be one of the most comforting. This pasta recipe uses cannelini beans so it's kind of a mash up of pasta fagioli soup and pasta pomodoro. The beans add creaminess and starch to the pasta and also protein. If you haven't ever tried using canned cherry tomatoes, you really should. They have a flavor and texture that you won't get from regular canned tomatoes and they are perfect for a quick pasta sauce.

Pomodorini is the Italian word for cherry tomatoes. Another name for them is ciliegini. You won't find domestic canned cherry tomatoes, they are something uniquely Italian and have to be hand-harvested. They come packed in a sauce that is close to a puree of tomatoes. In addition to sauce, you could use them in place of fresh tomatoes with fresh cheeses like feta, ricotta or mozzarella, bake them on a pizza, use them with things that cook quickly like fish or seafood, or add them to chunky stews or casserole dishes. They are sweeter than other canned tomatoes and the skin helps them to hold their shape which giving them a sweet pop to recipes.


Pantry Pasta Pomodorini
Makes 2-4 servings

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 14 ounces can cherry tomatoes, "pomodorini"
1 15 ounces can cannelini beans, rinsed
3 cups ruffled pasta, I used sagne a pezzi but fiorelli, campanelli or even radiatore would work
Salt to taste
Grated cheese, such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, optional

Heat a medium skillet and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes, then add the beans and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. When cooked, use a slotted spoon or mesh strainer to transfer the pasta to the sauce. Add one ladle of pasta water and simmer for another 3 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season to taste with salt and top with grated cheese if desired.


Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Greatest Tomatoes of Europe for providing me with samples of pasta and tomatoes.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

12 Dec 2019 5:30pm GMT

02 Dec 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

All About Simple Syrup & No Oil Added Granola Recipe

Simple syrup is one of the most classic cocktail ingredients. Even though simple syrup is extremely basic and true to its name, simple, it is also incredibly versatile and can be used in so many ways other than just for cocktails and coffee drinks. I became fascinated with simple syrup thanks to Karin Campion, the founder of Sonoma Syrup. Her company grew out of her experiments developing high quality handcrafted simple syrups infused with ingredients from her garden in Sonoma.

I use Sonoma Syrup simple syrups because they come in a wide variety of flavors making them more suitable for recipes and because unlike homemade simple syrup, they don't require refrigeration and last a very long time, even though they don't include any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. After Karen shared her products with me, I discovered that in addition to using simple syrup in cocktails, and in hot and cold beverages, it could also be used in cooking.

While I rarely see recipes using it, I reach for simple syrup often to add a hint of sweetness to vinaigrettes and marinades and to round out any harsh acidity or saltiness in sauces. It adds flavor but also provides the smooth texture I prefer over white or brown sugar. Sonoma Syrup infused simple syrup provides an additional layer of flavor and can often be used in place of sugar, honey or maple syrup. I've even adapted an easy and no-oil added recipe for granola using it.

Ways to use flavored simple syrups

* Pour on sweet potatoes before or after cooking

* Combine with fruit and yogurt to make popsicles

* Use in place of sugar to make glazed nuts (1 cup nuts, 2 Tablespoons simple syrup)

* Blend with butter to spread on biscuits

* Add to fruit salads

* Mix into cream cheese and spread on banana bread or pumpkin bread

* Add to water when poaching fruit

* Freeze with water in ice cube trays and use to chill drinks

* Drizzle over plain yogurt, waffles, pancakes or hot cereal

No Oil Added Granola Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or a combination of both
1/4 cup Sonoma Syrup vanilla syrup (or try another flavor)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped dried fruit, optional

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, syrup and salt in a bowl and mix with a spoon or flexible spatula. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the mixture on top.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden, stir 1/2 way through the baking. Add dried fruit if desired and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. My thanks to Sonoma Syrup Co. for partnering with me.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

02 Dec 2019 10:32pm GMT

01 Dec 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Fall Fruit Salad Recipe

I love the Thanksgiving meal as much as anyone else if not more, but I admit, it's heavy. It needs something light, bright and frankly refreshing. I know fruit salad isn't traditional but my mother often decorates the holiday table with seasonal fruit that makes the table pop with color, and I was inspired by her tablescape to make a salad using Fall fruits. The main fruit in the salad is Fuyu persimmons. Fuyu persimmons are the rounder ones with bright orange skin and a very firm crunchy texture. They are incredibly sweet and have a very unique flavor. Hachiya persimmons are delicious as well, but too soft to use in this recipe.

While Summer fruits are probably my favorites, Fall fruits are pretty compelling too. In addition to persimmons, I used grapes and pomegranate which each provide a pop of sweetness along with acidic and sweet tangerines. Apples and pears are in season too, but they have a tendency to brown. Kiwi fruit is another fruit that is in season starting in October in California. The surprising thing about this fruit salad is how sweet it is! I thought I was going to make a dressing from honey and lemon, but the salad really didn't need any additional sweetness. In fact, the salad needed more acidity.

In Italy balsamic vinegar is used on strawberries and so I tested it with the salad and it was a hit. You could serve the salad without any dressing, but I think the vinegar helps to balance the sweetness and adds a pleasant tangy quality. The fruit salad will keep at least a day or two, but dress it as close to serving as you can. It's good on its own or served with ice cream or yogurt.


Fall Fruit Salad
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

4 Fuyu persimmons
3 tangerines
3 kiwi fruit
1 pomegranate
1/2 lb grapes, red or green
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Remove the stem, peel and cut the persimmons into small bite-size pieces. Peel the tangerines and cut them horizontally into rounds, and then into quarters. Peel the kiwi fruit and cut into round slices, then cut each round in half or quarter. Remove the arils from the pomegranate and wash and remove the stems from the grapes.

Combine all the fruit in a bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!

©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

01 Dec 2019 9:40pm GMT

27 Nov 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

A Taste of Travaglini Gattinara


The Travaglini family is obsessed with Nebbiolo and I don't blame them. Nebbiolo is a grape native to the Piedmont region of Italy and it's the grape in wines from Barolo and Barbaresco. But the Travalglini family is from Gattinara, a region of Piedmont that received a DOCG certification for wine in 1967 and wines produced there must be at least 90% Nebbiolo (a tiny amount of Bonarda and Vespolina are also allowed). In Gattinara the grape expresses itself in a way that is extraordinary-it has incredible minerality and earthiness, but also freshness, with spicy, fruity, floral and herbal notes, terrific acidity and elegant silky tannins. Imagine a wine with raspberries, cherries, violets, roses, and even a bit of licorice and sometimes tobacco. I'd say it's a great wine for Thanksgiving because it pairs with just about everything. Drink it with pasta, with cheese, with game, with turkey, with beef, even with fish.

Nebbiolo is named for nebbia, the Italian word for fog. But it's not just named for the climate, but rather poetically for the opalescent cast on the grapes that resembles fog. The very small Gattinara appellation is in the rocky alpine foothills of the Monte Rosa mountain range where cold winds blow down from the alps and the volcanic soil is rich with granite and iron. The family-run Travaglini Gattinara winery owns 146 of the 247 acres of Gattinara production so it's the label you are most likely to find.

The Travaglini bottle makes quite an impression. Literally, the bottle. It is "twisted" and was designed by Giancarlo Travaglini in 1958. While there is charming mythology about the bottle-that it was formed accidentally by fire, or designed to fit the hand of a left-handed pope, the truth is much more practical. As you might imagine, Gattinara is a wine that ages very well, but with age comes sediment, so the dip in the bottle collects any sediment when the wine is poured. I hope you get a chance to experience this exceptional wine, entry-level bottles cost around $30.

Disclaimer: My thanks to the Taub Family Selections for including me in an event where I got to meet the Travaglini family and enjoy their wines.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

27 Nov 2019 5:59pm GMT

01 Nov 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

The Art of Escapism Cooking Cookbook Review

Lady and Pups is a blog by Mandy Lee an expat living in Hong Kong. But perhaps living is not the best word to describe it. She is suffering in Hong Kong, and before that, she suffered in Beijing. Cooking is her refuge and her blog is a chronicle of how she throws herself into cooking as an escape, hence the cookbook title, The Art of Escapism Cooking. In many ways, her blog and cookbook, are like any others - lots of great photography, impressive recipes and personal stories. Except for one thing, Mandy Lee is unapologetically negative and dark. She does not try and sell some happy vision - real or imagined. She wallows. The politics and pollution are major downers in China, I totally get that. Though I could be wrong, I am fairly certain she does not work outside the home. Her recipes are not the "quick and easy" type, but rather the type that relies on ingredients many Americans are unlikely to have on hand and take a degree of preparation and time that is at times daunting. That isn't to say her recipes aren't worth cooking or at very least, using as a jumping-off point. The book includes recipes for things like Poached Eggs with Miso Browned Butter Hollandaise, Buffalo Fried Chicken Ramen, Cumin Lamb Burger and Mochi with Peanut Brown Sugar and Ice Cream. Most of the recipes are very rich and indulgent, not terribly healthy and with very little to no vegetables.


I spent quite some time looking through the recipes for something I could cook that wouldn't take too much time or shopping and I ended on a recipe with a rather unpleasant name - Saliva Chicken Meatballs. As Lee explains the Chinese have a quirky sense of humor when it comes to naming food. I would say the name does not translate well into English. While I love the recipe, I don't love the name. I also have to admit, I needed to adapt the recipe to make it work. Lee cooks the meatballs in a takoyaki pan. Surprise! I don't have a takoyaki pan. She says you can broil them for 12-14 minutes, but I would certainly recommend baking them instead. If you broil them, they cook too fast on one side and have to be rotated to cook evenly, which is a bother.

The meatballs are made from chicken and seasonings and no filler ingredients, the sauce is an emulsion of tahini, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and ice. The finished dish also includes some of her ultimate chili oil but frankly, making two recipes was enough for me, so I substituted a chile oil I already had and that worked fine. Speaking of which, I would recommend adapting the recipes to your liking and using them for inspiration, rather than following them exactly as written Would I make this recipe again? Absolutely. While Lee says it's a popular appetizer, I found with rice and some quick pickled cucumbers the tender meatballs with a boldly flavored and creamy textured sauce made a great weekday dinner. I look forward to using up the rest of the sauce soon.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: Lady and Pups, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me as part of TLC Book Tours, this post does not include any affiliate links.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

01 Nov 2019 5:52pm GMT

29 Oct 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Infuse the Holiday Season with Flavor


Photo by Lee Sherman
I've been a fan of Sonoma Syrup Co. ever since I discovered the brand at the Winter Fancy Food Show 15 years ago. Bursting with bright flavor, Sonoma Syrup Co.'s infused syrups are made with fresh ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Over the years I've written about them and their founder for KQED's Bay Area Bites, over at SF Station, and on my blog. Because of my long relationship with the company, I'm happy to partner with them to share some of the ways I love using them the most.

While infused simple syrups are a great everyday ingredient that adds pizzazz to everything from iced tea to cocktails, they are particularly wonderful for entertaining. During the holiday season, we all want easy ways to impress family and guests, and Sonoma Syrup infused simple syrups fit the bill perfectly. Here are three great ways to boost the flavor at your holiday gatherings.

1. Breakfast and Brunch
Whether it's Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas day or New Year's day, an easy way to satisfy your guests is with a brunch buffet. Even if you're just using pancake mix, a little infused simple syrup will make your crepes, waffles or pancakes special. Simply add a tablespoon or two in place of other liquids such as milk or water. I've also added it to the batter for French toast but it's also good as a topping. Offer guests a selection of different infused simple syrups to drizzle on their hot cereal instead of brown sugar or make Toasted Vanilla Coconut Oats from Toot Sweetness.

2. Winter Drinks
The first thing I ever made with Sonoma Syrup was a sparkling cocktail with Sonoma Syrups lavender simple syrup and sparkling wine. It couldn't have been easier, just a splash of simple syrup in a glass that was then filled with sparkling wine. It took something already festive-bubbles-and made it even more fun. With raspberry syrup you could also make a pretty Raspberry Champagne Spritzer from Design, Eat, Repeat.

Simple syrups were originally designed for use in cocktails, but they are also great to sweeten any kind of drinks-alcoholic or not. Consider vanilla almond syrup in hot chocolate, Meyer lemon syrup in tea, white ginger syrup in hot apple cider or lavender syrup in coffee. Of course, there's also Vanilla Egg Nog from Cali Girl Cooking.

3. Desserts
Let's face it, holiday season is dessert season. There is no Thanksgiving without pie and no Christmas without cookies. There are so many ways to use Sonoma Syrup flavored simple syrups in baked goods and desserts of all kinds. The easiest might be as a sweetener in whipped cream. Vanilla, vanilla almond or white ginger are great flavors to complement pumpkin pie, gingerbread and apple pie.

Bakers recommend using simple syrup on cake layers to keep it moist. Use a pastry brush to coat each layer before frosting. Infused simple syrup also is the key to making the easiest 2 ingredient glazes. Combine 1/4 cup of infused simple syrup with a cup of powdered sugar to make an icing or glaze to go on cakes or cookies. Try the glaze on cinnamon buns or on to turn a plain pound cake into Meyer Lemon Pound Cake.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. My thanks to Sonoma Syrup Co. for partnering with me.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Oct 2019 6:02pm GMT

22 Sep 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Snøfrisk Waffle Tartines Recipe

Snøfrisk means "snow fresh" in Norwegian and is a goat cheese blend made from 80% goat's milk and 20% cow's milk. It is an extremely creamy, smooth and spreadable cheese that has all the tangy freshness of chevre but is as soft as sour cream. It's not aged, and has no additives or stabilizers, just a bit of salt. Made by a farmer-owned company in Norway, it's being introduced in a 3-pack at Costco in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two packages are plain and one is flavored with red onion and thyme.

There are lots of ways to use Snøfrisk. Not surprisingly it's great to spread on toast, crackers, bread or vegetables. You can also toss it with pasta or add fresh herbs to it to make a dip. I also created a recipe for Snøfrisk Zucchini Risotto for the brand. But I found it's smooth enough that you can even spread it on waffles. I make waffles from a mix but I skip adding any sugar or honey and keep them slightly savory. Waffles, just like goat cheese can pair well with both sweet or savory ingredients.

After smearing Snøfrisk on freshly-made waffles, I topped them with various things--slices of avocado, flakes of salmon, sliced strawberries and even blueberries. But really, the only limit is your imagination! I think they would be good topped with smoked salmon, cucumbers, arugula, tomatoes, peaches, you-name-it. I made my waffles with a mixture of buckwheat and whole-grain mixes, but use any waffle recipe or mix you like. This is more of a serving suggestion than a recipe and infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

Snøfrisk Waffle Tartines
Makes 5 waffles

Ingredients

4 waffles, buttermilk, whole grain or buckwheat
1/4 cup Snøfrisk
Toppings such as sliced fruit, vegetables, seafood, jam or chutney

Instructions

Spread each waffle with about a tablespoon of cheese and top with slices of fruit, vegetables or topping of your choice. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Norseland Inc for providing me with the cheese. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post on this blog.


©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Sep 2019 10:57pm GMT

28 Aug 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California and their nut oils are all expeller pressed and are GMO-free. Their walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecan and pistachio oil are made in house and their almonds and walnuts come from California.

Earlier this year I got a chance to visit the La Tourangelle mill and also a farm that supplies some of their nuts. Bullseye Farms grows tomatoes, cucumbers, hay, and nuts sustainably on about 16,000 acres. They have 500 acres of walnuts and they use a black walnut rootstock which is resistant to diseases. The walnuts are a cross between different varieties and are self pollinators. You might be surprised to learn that ugly nuts make the best oil. It's the variety of different nuts rather than uniformity that makes the oil taste better.

The process La Tourangelle uses to make their oil is unique and combines two different styles-refined and unrefined to make an oil that is full-flavored and yet affordable. All their oils are made in small batches and they use only French presses for their limited edition oils. All the nut oils are handcrafted by the master roaster who relies on years of experience to know exactly how to roast the nuts for maximum flavor.

The scent in the mill is intoxicating! Luscious and buttery, roasted walnut oil is the essence of walnuts. Walnut oil has a very short shelf life. Unopened it will last about two years, but once opened it's best to use it within six months. So don't hoard it! Use it! If you don't think you can use a whole tin of it, La Tourangelle now sells it in convenient single-serving pouches. While making a vinaigrette is probably the most common way to use roasted walnut oil, there are plenty of uses. Here are some of my favorite ways to use roasted walnut oil:

+ Use on top of pancakes or waffles instead of butter
+ Add to pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped toasted walnuts
+ Drizzle over grains such as farro, bulgar or freekeh, top with fresh herbs
+ Combine with toasted walnuts and use on top of brussels sprouts, green beans or asparagus
+ Use in place of olive oil in pesto
+ Substitute it for butter or vegetable oil in granola recipes
+ Dip bread in it instead of olive oil or butter
+ Use in shortbread recipes
+ Add a few drops to soup before serving
+ Use in a carrot walnut slaw salad with Dijon mustard
+ Drip on top of vanilla or chocolate ice cream
+ Add to popcorn instead of butter

More about the visit from my colleague Anneli Rufus over at Oakland Magazine.

Disclaimer: My thanks to La Tourangelle for hosting me, I was not compensated monetarily for this post.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

28 Aug 2019 6:38pm GMT

25 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Cherry Cranberry Chutney Recipe



It's #canbassador time again. That means I get a big box of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers and head into the kitchen to do some canning. Last year I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canner. It's not terribly expensive and stacks inside one of my stockpots. I generally can small batches and this time around I decided to make chutney with the help of my pal Alison. She shared the ingredients she would use and I tweaked the proportions.

The first rule of cooking with fruit is you need to taste it. How sweet is it? How juicy is it? That should guide your recipe. Adapt the recipe based on your preferences and the quality of your fruit. My cherries turned out to be very juicy so I added some dried fruit towards the end of the cooking to thicken the mixture. While this chutney has a great sweet and sour flavor, someone in my household actually used it in place of jam on toast. So far I've used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and on lamb chops. How you use it is entirely up to you!

Cherry season is short, but there are so many great ways to preserve the fruit. In past years I've made cherry barbecue sauce and cherry vanilla balsamic shrub. When Winter comes, I'll be making cocktails with bourbon cherries and eating turkey with cherry cranberry chutney...

Cherry Cranberry Chutney

Makes about 5 1/2 pint jars

Ingredients

9 cups pitted cherries
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
2 onion chopped
Zest of two oranges
3 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 heaped teaspoons allspice
1 heaped teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes.

Roughly chop the cherries and in a large stockpot combine them with the vinegar, sugar, onion, orange zest, ginger, allspice, garam masala and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until the fruit is cooked and soft about 30-40 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for another 15 minutes. Chutney will thicken further after being processed.

Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the chutney and the inner surface of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Northwest Cherry Growers for providing me with fruit. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.


©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

25 Jul 2019 10:52pm GMT

12 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread Recipe

I always crave pizza but I am trying to cut back on carbs, so when I saw little street taco sized whole wheat tortillas at the store, I was inspired to revisit a recipe I created a few years back for Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas. This time I went in a slightly different direction, making flatbreads that are not very pizza like at all-no grated cheese, no tomatoes, no sauce, no meat.

Right now it's corn season and the combination of corn, smoked salmon, a little crunchy cucumber and goat cheese is a real winner. What takes this recipe from good to even better, is the addition of a bit of Chili Onion Crunch. Chili crisp has been a condiment I've been seeing all over the internet and I finally bought a jar from Trader Joe's. It was so good I decided to do a little taste test and compare it to the more well known Lao Ganma brand.

A comparison-

Lao Ganma Spicy Chili Crisp, 7.4 ounces, $2.19. available online or in Asian markets
Ingredients: soybean oil, chili, onion, fermented soybeans, MSG, salt, sugar, prickly ash powder, sulfur dioxide and sodium sulfite
- Very oily and very crunchy, more salty than sweet, not much heat at all

Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch, 6 ounces, $3.99 availabe at Trader Joe's stores
Ingredients: olive oil, dried onion, dried garlic, dried red bell pepper, crushed chili pepper, toasted dried onion, sea salt, natural flavors, paprika oleoresin (color)
- Fine texture, more crisp than crunchy, not very oily, balanced sweet and salt, heat on the back end

Both are delicious, but I prefer the vegetal sweetness, texture and heat of the Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch. I also appreciate that it doesn't have any artificial ingredients. Also, doesn't garlic make everything better?

Fresh Corn & Smoked Salmon Flatbread
Serves 4

4 small whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons water
1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 ear corn on the cob
4 slices smoked salmon, torn into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons or to taste, chili oil, crisp or crunch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Strip the corn off the cob and place 2-3 tablespoons of the corn on a piece of foil. Prick the tortillas with a fork to minimize puffing. Place the tortillas on a non stick pan along wit the corn on the foil, and bake for 5 minutes, flip the tortillas at about the halfway point. You want the tortilla to be crisp and browned, but not burnt.

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese with the water in order to make a spreadable texture.

Spread each tortilla with a tablespoon of goat cheese, top with the salmon and cucumber slices and scatter about 2 teaspoons of the corn. Drizzle the flatbread with the chile oil.

Enjoy!
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

12 Jul 2019 7:25pm GMT

10 Jul 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Ten Grapes to Know Book Review



Over time I've tried selling wine books back at a used bookstore with very little success. I'm sorry to say it's because many wine books just aren't that good and quickly become out of date. Sure there are some exceptions, but it can be hard to find a book that hones in on just the useful stuff you really need to know. That's exactly why I'm so enthusiastic about Ten Grapes to Know by Catherine Fallis, the "grape goddess of Planet Grape." Fallis is a master sommelier but is not in the least bit snooty or pretentious and doesn't fall into the trap of writing for other wine writers and sommeliers. She's all about enjoying wine and makes learning about it fun. And she lets you in on many of the secrets that sommeliers know and many wine drinkers don't know.

The book begins with what feels like the best cheat sheets on tasting wine, pairing food with wine and buying wine in a store or restaurant. She walks you through exercises for your senses and how to properly store wine (as well as explaining which wines will last longer once opened) and even explains how markups typically work. The main sections of the book are devoted to ten wine varietals. Each chapter follows a set pattern-there is a description of the varietal, the history and geography, taste profile and styles, a sense exercise, a section on matchmaking (what to pair with the wine) what to look for when shopping or dining out (with specific labels and price points) and "branch out" which gives you some other varietals to consider that are in some way related. There are also plenty of personal stories and anecdotes along the way all written in a light and breezy manner.

You can use the book in several different ways. You can use it to learn about wine (there are even quiz questions to test your knowledge), to shop for wine or as a general reference guide. Now about the varietals. They are Pinot Grigio (Gris), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah (Shiraz), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Now if I had chosen the varietals, I would have swapped out the Viognier for Riesling and the Sangiovese for Tempranillo or maybe even Grenache, but those are just minor quibbles. The book is really entertaining and easy to understand and one I do not plan on parting with anytime soon. It would make a great gift for anyone who is interested in learning more about wine.

Disclaimer: This post includes an affiliate link
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

10 Jul 2019 4:42pm GMT

04 Jun 2019

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

StarChefs San Francisco 2019

Courtesy of StarChefs

I've long been impressed by the Rising StarChefs awards. Unlike chef awards, their process is transparent and has a rigor that is often missing. I spoke with Antoinette Bruno, the CEO and Editor in Chief of StarChefs to discuss the upcoming awards and the diversity that they reflect. The StarChefs Gala takes place on June 11, 2019, buy tickets or learn more.


What's the process for selecting Rising StarChefs?
Antoinette Bruno (AB): The selection process has more or less remained the same since 2002. The awards program has just grown in size and scope. StarChefs covers four cities or regions a year. From the nomination process through the Gala, it takes about six months per city. Today, we have a network of more than 1,200 Rising Stars alumni who contribute their nominations. We also accept recommendations through social media, our website, and during in-person interviews. We do in-house research as well, and candidates are vetted through a "pre-interview." Generally, an editorial crew of two, sometimes more, visits the restaurants for an in-person interview, tasting, and photography, and then reports back to the editorial team at StarChefs HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Many times we will return to restaurants for more than one visit.

Often the StarChefs Rising Stars Award is the first major award or national recognition a young chef, sommelier, bartender, or artisan may receive. Because StarChefs is on the ground in restaurants interviewing and tasting with hundreds of chefs and other industry professionals across the country every year, we have insights into the hospitality industry on a micro level. No other publication in the country has been able to do this kind of grassroots work.

The current list of Rising Star Chefs in San Francisco is incredibly diverse, was that intentional?
AB: Talent is talent. Identifying the talented young leaders of the hospitality industry is our intention. We intend to find winners that represent the diversity of the industry and the city or region they represent. We have gotten better at this over the years by expanding the pool of communities we reach out to for nominations and from whom we gather information and recommendations. Unless the people involved in our process are diverse, generally the group of winners won't be terribly diverse either.

How important is diversity in the restaurant industry?
AB: The diversity of the workforce in the restaurant industry is what drives it forward. It's the industry's greatest asset and strength. Some of the most exciting restaurants in America right now are run by immigrants or the children of immigrants-San Francisco Rising Star Chefs Robert Hernandez of Octavia, Nicolas Delaroque of Nico, Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Noosh, Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage, Reem Assil of Reem's, Janice Dulce of FOB Kitchen, and Bartenders Emilio and Miguel Salehi of The Beehive are among them.

It's been a few years since StarChefs had an awards gala in San Francisco, what brought you back this year?
AB: We've been taking a deep dive into the San Francisco Bay Area every three years since 2005. We return to a city in search of a new class of Rising Stars based on the city's size and depth of the restaurant industry there. For example, we cover New York every other year, Chicago and Los Angeles every three years, and Washington, D.C. every four years.

How would you characterize the San Francisco dining (and bar) scene?
AB: The Bay Area has always been a region of peaks and valleys, and indeed we saw a metropolis bouncing with growth and change. Still, in a challenging city for cooks, we found no shortage of talent-in San Francisco and Oakland. StarChefs gave out 23 Rising Stars Awards this time around, to a total of 26 winners. Eleven of those award winners are women-the most of any class of Rising Stars in the 17-year history of the program. The San Francisco Bay Area's diversity-including the second largest population of Filipino Americans in the country-is reflected.

2016 Rising Star Chef Yoni Levy is now the chef of Salesforce HQ. He left his post at beloved Outerlands so that he could spend more time with his growing family. Chefs are now taking care of themselves and their staff more than ever. We saw these trends of self-care and tech influence merge at Rising Star Chef Adam Tortosa's restaurant Robin, where he has created an extraordinary benefits program (including a trip to Japan!). We found San Francisco and Oakland in love with natural wines, with Rising Star Somm Louisa Smith leading the charge. And, of course, so much outstanding bread-more than you can stuff in a suitcase.

In what ways is the dining scene in San Francisco different from other American cities?
AB: The Michelin stars for California were released today, and Northern California has the highest concentration of stars in the country. No surprise there. So, the bar is high in San Francisco. StarChefs is an industry-facing publication, rather than consumer. I encourage all young cooks to come to San Francisco to stage around if they can swing it. Because the city is such a tough one for young cooks to survive financially, the labor shortage is acute. Kitchens need the extra hands and it can be relatively easy to get in the door and gain valuable experience at some of the best restaurants in the country.

Looking forward, any predictions for how dining will continue to evolve?
AB: I hope that we will continue to see more of what we found in this class of Rising Stars: more women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community represented in leadership roles. I also hope we continue to see the expansion of proper benefits programs for restaurant workers, like we have seen in the Bay Area, as well as a continued focus on the work/life balance and the mental and physical health of chefs and hospitality professional on the whole.

Thanks StarChefs!

©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

04 Jun 2019 10:50pm GMT