14 Jun 2021

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

News & Ways to Stay in Touch


Last year I became the editor of chief of two sites, the Cheese Professor and the Alcohol Professor. On each site you will find three new stories a week. There is also a weekly newsletter. Needless to say, I have not been blogging here as much as I did in the past. But there are still ways to keep in touch!

My old email subscription service Feedburner was discontinued, but you can sign up with Follow.it and then choose how you would like to be notified of new posts--in a feed, a direct email or otherwise. Simply click on this link to sign up (or the "subscriber now" link in the side bar).

I do hope you will take a look at both the Cheese Professor and the Alcohol Professor and consider signing up for the weekly newsletters as well. I write the newsletters and also contribute to both sites. Check out the past newsletters for Cheese Professor and the past newsletters for Alcohol Professor to subscribe.

As always, you can find pretty much all the stories I've written personally here.

Wishing you all things cheesy, boozy or otherwise delicious,

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 This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

14 Jun 2021 6:23pm GMT

18 May 2021

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe & Contest


Just as Margherita pizza is symbolic of Naples, gnocchi alla Sorrentina is emblematic of Sorrento. Like the Margherita, it features the colors of the Italian flag thanks to tomato, mozzarella and basil.That trinity seems like the most classic of Italian ingredients, but is it? Basil is not native to the Mediterranean, it came to Italy from India via the spice routes. Tomatoes came from the New World and didn't make their way to Italy until the 15th or 16th century, the same for potatoes, which are a key ingredient in gnocchi in many regions. I've read that potatoes were used because at one time the price of wheat was very high but I don't know if that's actually true or not.


My recipe for gnocchi alla Sorrentina is incredibly simple, but like all Italian recipes, it relies on excellent quality ingredients. There are lots of recipes out there for gnocchi alla Sorrentina. While they all have potato gnocchi topped with a sauce made from tomatoes along with basil, Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella, they sauce recipes vary. Some sauce recipes use soffritto, a combination of carrots, celery and onion. Other recipes use onion. Some use tomato paste. But if you use Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes all you need is olive oil and garlic.

The reason you should use Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes is twofold, the consistency of the product the taste. It's just ideal for making a quick and brightly flavored tomato sauce. You can make the gnocchi by hand or buy a brand you like, but the sauce must be made from scratch, the basil must be fragrant and the mozzarella must be soft and fresh. I have used other tomatoes in the past and had to rely on tomato paste to boost the flavor of tomato sauces, but not anymore. Grown and picked exclusively for the can in the volcanic-rich soil of Mt. Vesuvius. They have a special red and yellow PDO label issued by the European Union that ensures they are the real deal.

Now that we are finally getting out of the house, I'm pleased to share a chance to win dinner courtesy of #ILoveSanMarzanoDOP at a local restaurant valued at $250. Simply enter I ❤ San Marzano DOP contest for a chance to win! Good luck or as we say in Italian, in bocca al lupo!



Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Serves 4 as a starter of 2 as an entree

Ingredients:
1 pound potato gnocchi, cooked
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 28 ounce can San Marzano DOP tomatoes
Two sprigs fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
6 ounces fresh mozzarella (not low moisture) diced

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a saucepan and add oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and cook it over medium heat until it begins to turn golden, then turn the heat off. Using your hands, squish the tomatoes into a pulp and add them along with the puree in the can to the saucepan. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's the sauce is very thick. Add one sprig of basil, and turn off the heat.

Combine the sauce and the gnocchi, and transfer to a casserole. Sprinkle with half of the Parmigiano Reggiano and all of the mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with the second sprig of basil.

Enjoy!

Rules: You must be 18 + years old and live in the United States to win. Contest deadline is 11:59pm June 18, 2021. 21 Winners will be randomly selected and notified by phone.

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

18 May 2021 10:04pm GMT

14 Mar 2021

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

The Truffle Hunters




I got to meet people in the truffle business a few years ago when I was the blogger for the Napa Truffle Festival. I even blogged about truffle dogs. I am not a big fan of dogs but fell head over heels in love with the adorable Lagotto Romangnolos. Affectionate, smart and energetic, they were irresistible. The award winning documentary The Truffle Hunters features not just truffle dogs, but the dog's owners, and some truffle brokers.


This delightful and quiet documentary transports you to Piemonte in Italy and takes you into the hidden world of the truffle hunters, both the men and their dogs. But it also shares the dark side of the business. The truffle business is notoriously shady. In some sections of the film you literally get a dog's eye view of truffle hunting. But the real charm are the men themselves and their relationships with friends, clients and their undying love for their dogs. Like the film itself, they are quirky, eccentric, funny and intense.


Truffles are all about scent, and this film not only conjures up the smell of precious white truffles, but is a banquet for all the senses-the sounds of nature, the damp chill of the forest, and the beauty of lives led in a way that is perhaps as precious and rare as truffles themselves. The film is now playing in select cities. Check Truffle Hunters website for more information.

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

14 Mar 2021 11:04pm GMT

06 Nov 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook Review & Roasted Grapes and Yogurt Recipe




The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook by Toby Amidor is a book a lot of people could use right now. If you are feeling like you can't face cooking anymore, don't know how to cook, have very little in your fridge or pantry or are cooking for fussy eaters, it solves the question: What should I eat? Eat, not cook, because some of the recipes don't even require using the oven or stove.

I don't remember exactly when I met Toby but we have been on several press trips together. She's a dietician, but also a home cook and I can attest she thoroughly enjoys eating. Her recipes are good reminders of what you can do with very little but also include some really ingenious things you probably haven't seen before. She has a 3 ingredient oatmeal raisin cookie and two-grain free pancake recipes, one for pumpkin oat pancakes and another for peanut butter banana pancakes.

The book has recipes that are for every meal including snacks and treats, and have codes to indicate things like whether they are freezer friendly, food for meal prep, one pot, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. They also include scaled-down versions for fewer servings. The book includes tips for new cooks, cooking for two and cooking for students. The recipe I made from the book was Roasted Grapes and Yogurt made with vanilla Greek yogurt, grapes and honey, it was a hit.



Roasted Grapes and Yogurt
Slightly adapted from The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook
2 servings

Ingredients

1 cups seedless red and green grapes
3 cups vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons liquid honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and when shimmering add the grapes. Heat for 2 minutes then transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove skillet from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Divide yogurt into two bowls. Drizzle each bowl with a teaspoon of honey and then add top each bowl with the grapes and any liquid.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the cookbook and this post includes an affiliate link.

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

06 Nov 2020 9:27pm GMT

30 Oct 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pasta with Eggplant, Olives and Capers Recipe


Pasta with eggplant, olives and capers

October is both National Italian Heritage Month and National Pasta Month. In honor of both, I'm sharing a recipe for pasta with tomato-based sauce, and hosting a giveaway and post sponsored by TheGreatestTomatoesofEurope.

While nothing can beat a fresh ripe juicy tomato, for sauce, canned tomatoes might be even better because they are peeled and cook so quickly. When it comes to Italian style tomato sauces you'll see many recipes specify San Marzano tomatoes. The official name is actually Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP, in English DOP means Protected Designation of Origin.

A lot of tomatoes are labeled San Marzano, but are not grown and harvested according to the strict requirements of the DOP. If you try to find information about them it can be a little confusing and frankly, many food publications seem to miss the point of why you should seek them out. From a cook's perspective, it's all about consistency. Open a can labeled Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP and you will get a texture and flavor that ensures an excellent sauce. What you won't get are tomatoes that were picked by machine before they were ripe, that are yellow and tough on top with remnants of skin and seeds, packed in very watery liquid, and that taste either bland or acidic when cooked.


Left: conventional tomato and Right: San Marzano DOP tomato

The DOP designation means they meet Protected Designation of Origin certification, with strict geographical and production standards. They are a specific type of tomato with a distinctive bittersweet flavor and low acidity, they have few seeds and a long shape, and meaty texture because they have only two seed pockets. They are grown in the volcanic soil of the Sarno Valley that is high in potassium and phosphorus. San Marzano tomatoes are harvested 7-8 times or more only by hand from July to September, to ensure they are perfectly ripe and only after sunset. After harvest, the tomatoes are peeled, placed in cans, and are processed for 13 minutes.


Canned tomatoes imported from Europe are more expensive than other canned tomatoes you may find, but you are getting a product that is consistently high quality and will ensure a great sauce for your pasta, especially if you're making a Southern Italian style recipe, like mine for pasta with eggplant, olives, and capers. Head to @cookingwithamy for details on how to win a gift pack of European products, including the tomatoes Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta, etc. Additionally, the winner gets to choose a family, frontline worker, charity, hospital, or person to also receive a gift pack!


Pasta with Eggplant, Olives, and Capers

8 servings


Ingredients


1 pound casarecce or similar pasta

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup green or black olives, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup capers

1 medium eggplant (or 1/2 large eggplant) about 12 ounces or 4 cups, diced

1 28 oz can Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino

Pecorino, grated


Instructions


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle or spray with olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through but still holding its shape.


Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and drain. Add the olive oil to a large skillet, sauté the garlic for one minute, add olives and capers and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, mashing them with a wooden spoon, and simmer for 10 minutes or until thick and saucy. Add the eggplant and stir until well coated.


Toss the drained pasta with the sauce, serve with cheese.


Enjoy!

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

30 Oct 2020 8:29pm GMT

19 Aug 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Lay's Supports Iconic Restaurants & You Should Too

I don't have to tell you that restaurants are suffering. In the beginning of the pandemic many launched GoFundMe style campaigns to try and stay afloat. Restaurants also keep pivoting from offering pantry staples to meal kits, cooking classes, take out, delivery and more to make up for the loss of their normal business.

Independent restaurants numbered 500,000 before the pandemic and employed over 11 million people according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition and some industry analysts believe 2/3 of restaurants will not survive the crisis in the US. Yelp data shows 26,160 restaurants have closed as of the end of July. Restaurants are pushing for a $120B Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund. You can ask your representatives to support this initiative.


Since 2104 Lay's has offered limited edition "flavor icon" potato chips that honor classic dishes. In past years there's been Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese, Fried Green Tomato, and even Crispy Taco. This year they honor four restaurants and dishes, and in light of the pandemic, they are giving a $25,000 Gratitude Fund to each of the Flavor Icons restaurants to put towards the various relief efforts that will help them recover from the impact of the pandemic. The potato chips contain no artificial flavors.


I got a chance to try four flavors:

Wavy Carnitas Street Taco flavored inspired by El Torito

Notes of bacon, onion and corn, which is interesting in a potato chip. Good for dipping.

My favorite of all the flavors.


Kettle Cooked New York Style Pizza flavored inspired by Grimaldi's

I get a combination of tomato sauce and cheese.

They would go great with a grilled cheese sandwich.


Philly Cheesesteak flavored inspired by Geno's Steaks

Very beefy, umami notes not as much cheese flavor as I expected.

I would actually like to try these with or in a roast beef sandwich.


Nashville Hot Chicken flavored inspired by Partry Fowl

Spicy! Not very chicken-y though.

These will be popular with barbecue potato chip lovers.


So what's iconic where you live? If you can, support the restaurants you love, for many of them, it's now or never.


Disclaimer: My thanks to Lay's for providing samples for me to try.


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

19 Aug 2020 10:28pm GMT

28 May 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pandemic Provisions

Shopping for groceries has changed and it may be permanent. Restaurant suppliers have had to pivot to stay afloat. The good news is that they are now selling more to consumers than ever before and most say they plan to continue to do so. I wrote about this development over at Martha Stewart, but I thought I'd also share a few of the places where I've personally been shopping and that have been recommended to me. The benefits include better social distancing but also fresher food and support for farmers, fishers and ranchers.

I've also been buying dumplings, ramen, baked goods and taking cook-along classes at home, I'll share the details on those soon along with a list of where to find great takeout and delivery options.

Fresh produce
I often shop at the farmers market, but right now I am really enjoying the produce boxes from Tomatero Farm. They are only $20 and are delivered weekly around the San Francisco Bay Area. They include a wide variety of produce and sometimes a basket or two of their fantastic strawberries. I find one box is good for almost 2 weeks for my household of two. The box varies from week to week. This week the box had fennel, zucchini, curly kale, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, a small cauliflower and savoy cabbage and 2 baskets of strawberries. I've also purchased the strawberries by the flat ($30). The boxes often sell out, so get on their mailing list and order promptly!

Seafood & meat
I've ordered from both Four Star Seafood and Water2Table. They both offer a lot of incredibly fresh seafood, some of it local, and great prices and service. I've enjoyed fresh local salmon and black cod as well as excellent shrimp, mussels and monkfish. Water2Table is located on Pier 45 where a massive fire recently took place, but they hope to reopen soon. Four Star Seafood also offers meal kits, pantry items, meat and even foraged ingredients. They each have different minimums, and offer delivery or pick up and shipping for the rest of California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Arizona. I have also heard good things about ABS Seafood, a top choice for sushi grade seafood. They are also located on Pier 45 so stay tuned for their reopening. One more seafood purveyor I haven't used but was recommended is TwoXSea.

Duck
I just got my first order from Liberty Ducks, a local company based in Sonoma who is now selling directly to consumers. I believe the minimum order is $50 and they deliver fairly widely. The frozen product is particularly economical. You may want to consider sharing an order with family, friends or neighbors. They also ship nationwide.

Grocery
There are lots of options for grocery delivery from restaurant suppliers, but the one that intrigues me the most is Cheetah. They have an app for ordering and have turned their trucks into mobile delivery locations around the Bay Area. You order, pay and then head to a convenient spot for pick up and there is no minimum purchase requirement so you don't have to order more than you need. Some items are fairly large, but others are not. Again, I'd recommend you consider ordering with others if the quantities don't work for you. If you're looking for other restaurant suppliers with broader distribution, take a look at my article at Martha Stewart for tips.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

28 May 2020 3:08pm GMT

12 May 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Dijon Mustard Black Cod with Cabbage & Potatoes

Black cod sheet pan supper
I know a lot of people are intimidated by the idea of cooking fish. A fillet of fish can sometimes fall apart when you cook it and because it's expensive you don't want to ruin it by undercooking or overcooking. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, it's hard to mess up black cod. This recipe is actually a sheet pan supper, which makes both the cooking and clean up particularly easy.

Black cod also known as gindara, sablefish or butterfish, is incredibly rich. The names are a bit confusing since it's not actually butterfish or a member of the cod family. Butterfish is the name used for a popular misoyaki style of cooking it, popularized by Chef Nobu. It's also popular smoked like salmon and is sometimes just referred to as sable. It is sustainable and caught along the Pacific coast from Baja up to Alaska.

Recently I discovered several recipes for black cod using Dijon mustard. When I think about Dijon mustard my mind goes to sausages, and the combination of cabbage, onions, apples and potatoes. If there was ever a fish as rich as a sausage, it's black cod. The key to the recipe is layering most of the ingredients in thin slices so they cook quickly and evenly.

Note: You can easily scale the recipe up or down but do not substitute cod for black cod. That would be a big mistake. They are not the same species and cannot be cooked the same way. Black cod has 30 grams of fat in a 151 gram portion, whereas Atlantic cod has 1.5 grams of fat in a 231 gram portion.

Dijon Mustard Black Cod with Cabbage & Potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons oil, divided
1 medium savoy cabbage
1 large yellow onion, peeled
1 Fuji apple
4 Yukon gold potatoes
4 filets black cod, about 4 ounces each
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt

Dijon vinaigrette
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove the core from the cabbage and slice into thick slices, about 1/3 inch. Thinly slice the onion, apple and potatoes, you do not need to peel the potatoes or apple.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Pour the oil into a small cup or ramekin and spread about half of it around with a pastry brush, until the paper is well coated. Layer on the sliced potatoes, season with a sprinkle of salt, then layer on the onions, the apple and finally the cabbage. Brush the cabbage with the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Roast for 25 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking make the vinaigrette by combining the Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil with a pinch of sugar. Whisk together until emulsified and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Evenly coat the top of each filet of fish with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Place on top of the cabbage and broil just until the fish is cooked through and cabbage is brown in spots, about 7-8 minutes. Divide the vegetables evenly on four plates, top with a piece of fish and drizzle each portion with a tablespoon of the vinaigrette.


Enjoy!

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

12 May 2020 4:22pm GMT

22 Apr 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Caesar Salad Recipe

Just as there are phases of grief, I'm pretty sure there are phases when it comes to food cravings while sheltering in place. I have officially reached the salad phase. When I got back home from a short vacation in Hawaii we were eating a lot of Japanese food. I cooked ramen, gyudon (beef bowl), Japanese curry and Japanese hamburger steak. After that, I craved carbs and it was pasta, rice, grits, tortillas, pizza, potatoes day after day. Along with the carbs, I wanted cheese. After all, what's better than carbs and cheese? Maybe a Caesar salad.

I guess Caesar salad is a transition from the cheese phase (with some croutons for carbs) into the salad phase. Caesar salad is a favorite in my house, but I usually don't make the real original Caesar. I doctor some mayonnaise with Worcestershire sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano and call it a Caesar. But it's not a real Caesar.

A really good Caesar salad makes a fine main course and never needs the addition of chicken. It only takes a few ingredients, but using high quality ingredients and taking the care to make the dressing and the croutons from scratch are well worth the effort. The usual way to make the dressing is by slowly whisking the olive oil into the other ingredients, but I found using a stick blender is faster, easier and much more efficient. If you don't have one, you'll need to mash the garlic, blend it with pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and then the egg yolk and finally whisk in the olive oil, a little at a time, to fully incorporate it into a smooth emulsion.

Note: This dressing in this recipe makes enough for 4 main courses or 6-8 as a side salad. The salad dressing will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

Caesar Salad
4-8 servings

Ingredients

2-3 slices of sourdough bread
Cooking spray
1 egg
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
4 medium hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
White anchovies, optional
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, optional

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into cubes and place on a foil or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray the cubes with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes or just until golden and crisp.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the egg and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the egg, and cool it under cold running water. Peel and separate the yolk and white. Place the egg yolk into a large beaker or wide mouth jar. Add the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano. Use a stick blender to blend and emulsify the dressing.

Toss the lettuce and dressing and add croutons. Add white anchovies and or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired.


Enjoy!

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

22 Apr 2020 5:18pm GMT

21 Apr 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Ginger Matcha Walnuts Recipe

Ginger Matcha Walnuts
I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Walnuts and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Everyone has their own way of coping during a crisis. For me, it's time spent in the kitchen and lately, coloring. Yes, I've taken up coloring. The title of my coloring book is Meditations on Tea. Doesn't that sound soothing? Of course, I need a snack to keep me going. And since the coloring book is tea themed, I figured my snack should be too. While the California Walnuts contest is all about how walnuts can work well in savory or sweet snacks, I tend to prefer a balance of both so I leave it up to you to decide which category it fits in.

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the hardest to perfect. This recipe was no exception to that rule. I tried roasting the nuts in a pan and in the oven with a bit of oil, but I found that the oily surface of the roasted nuts made the matcha look very unappetizing. I messed around with the recipe several times before settling on both the technique and the ingredients.

I use walnuts in baking quite frequently so I often have them on hand. I also use crystalized ginger in my granola so I usually have a stash of it. I was inspired to combine the two along with matcha tea powder. It's all pretty healthy stuff and the toasty nuts which are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3, sweet and spicy ginger and just a bit of bitterness from the matcha make a tasty snack you can actually feel good about eating. Not quite nirvana, but it will do.


Ginger Matcha Walnuts

Ingredients

1 cup California Walnuts
1/4 teaspoon matcha
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the walnuts on it. Roast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove and let cool. Sprinkle with the matcha and salt and add the diced ginger, gently toss until well combined.


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

21 Apr 2020 11:12pm GMT

17 Apr 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Lavender London Fog Latte Recipe


My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands I personally use.


While it may sound like a drink from England's Victorian era, legend has it that the London Fog latte drink, Earl Grey tea flavored with vanilla and topped with foamy milk, was invented in the late 1990s at a Vancouver cafe for a customer who was pregnant and did not want to drink coffee. We may never know if the story is true, but it is a very popular drink on the West Coast and especially in and around Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia.

The origins of Earl Grey tea are also a bit mysterious. It is said to be named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey who was a British Prime Minister in 1830. Who came up with the blend and why remains a source of some debate but there are ads referencing Earl Grey tea from the 1880s. Earl Grey tea is a Chinese black tea flavored with bergamot, a type of sour orange that is very fragrant, and possibly a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange, it pairs quite nicely with lavender or vanilla. In fact, both are quite frequently blended into Earl Grey tea.

Earl Grey is one of those teas that is complemented by either lemon or milk. A bit of sugar also rounds out the tangy citrus notes. The foamy milk in the latte version is supposed to be reminiscent of fog, but someone I know who normally drinks tea with lemon likes milky tea on rainy days. I also like Earl Grey tea with milk on cold days, it's invigorating and adds a bit of brightness and the latte version feels particularly cozy. For my version of a London Fog, I use lavender rather than vanilla. It enhances the fragrance and floral qualities. But you could try it with vanilla syrup if you prefer or maybe a bit of both! This drink is very good with shortbread cookies or scones.

Lavender London Fog Latte
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

1 Earl Grey tea bag
1/2 cup boiling hot water
1/2-1 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup Lavender Infused Simple Syrup, or to taste
1/2 cup milk
Culinary lavender, optional

Instructions

Bring water to a boil and place a tea bag into a cup. Pour the hot water over the tea bag and let it steep for 3 minutes and then add the syrup and stir. In a small saucepan or in a mug in the microwave, gently heat the milk until hot and use a milk frother or whip it in the blender until very foamy. Pour the foamy milk into the tea. Garnish with the tiniest pinch of crushed lavender if desired.

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

17 Apr 2020 1:54am GMT

03 Apr 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Angkor Cambodian Sauces


For many years I've been wanting to write a cookbook about how to cook with condiments and sauces. I have a refrigerator and pantry filled with all kinds of ingredients from everyday ones like ketchup and miso to more unusual ones such as pomegranate molasses and preserved lemon paste. My Asian sauce collection is massive and I don't just use Asian condiments in Asian recipes but in all kinds of things. Which brings me to Angkor, a line of Cambodian ingredients.

A couple of years ago I met Channy and Kent Laux at the Winter Fancy Food Show. I was blown away by their first product, lemongrass paste which also includes garlic, jalapeno, onion, fish sauce (there's a vegan version as well), galangal and makrut lime, and couldn't wait to experiment with it. It's herbal and tangy with funky notes from fish sauce. Channy has shared a number of traditional Cambodian recipes on the site Angkor Chef but I knew the sauces would work in so many non-Cambodian dishes as well. Earlier this year I took some samples into the kitchen and began experimenting. Many of my recipes are now up on the Angkor Chef blog. This was not a paid project, I was just so enthusiastic about the products I really want to see them succeed and help to demonstrate how versatile the products are.

If you're looking to add new flavors to your favorite recipes, the Angkor line of sauces is really great. Here are some of the sauces and links to the recipes I created that use them:
1. Lemongrass Paste
This pungent, herbal and funky paste complements artichokes beautifully. I used some in both the steaming liquid and blended with mayonnaise and Greek yogurt for a dip. I also used it as a marinade for shrimp to use with tacos. It's great with any kind of seafood.
chrouk metae deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese
2. Chrouk Metae - Cambodian Hot Sauce
A spicy hot sauce, but thick and very fresh tasting, not overwhelmed by too much vinegar it also has a hint of garlic. I used this in both macaroni and cheese and in place of mustard with deviled eggs.
tuk meric eggplant salad and meatballs
3. Tuk Meric - Kampot Pepper Sauce
I am crazy about this sauce, it's traditionally used with fried foods and hard-boiled eggs. It is peppery but also has lime juice and sea salt. I used it in meatballs and it quickly became a favorite. I also used it to season a salad of grilled eggplant, tomatoes and green onions.
Tamarind sauce three bean salad
4. Tamarind Sauce
The tamarind sauce is for Cambodian wraps and spring rolls, but it is really a perfect dressing for salads. It has extra virgin olive oil, dried shallots, garlic, and chili as well as some fish extract. I loved it on a three-bean salad.

All of the products are available online, check their website for special offers.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated monetarily for this post, I did receive samples of the products.
©2020 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

03 Apr 2020 8:57pm GMT

06 Mar 2020

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Mint Matcha Latte Recipe


Mint Matcha Latte Recipe

My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands I personally use.

Growing up I loved pistachio ice cream, green marzipan covered princess cake, and shamrock shakes from you-know-where. Yes, green was my favorite color. I'm not sure I would have liked matcha as a child, but I certainly like it now. I usually make matcha with just water, but for St. Patrick's Day I created a minty green matcha drink as a treat.

Matcha is a Japanese green tea, ground into a powder. You can easily find matcha powder suitable for recipes at the supermarket nowadays. Matcha can be used in cookies, ice cream, cakes and more. It has a lot of health benefits including antioxidants and is reported to help protect the liver, boost brain function, may help prevent cancer and even support weight loss. In many recipes matcha is combined with milk, if you combine it with cow's milk the calcium counteracts the absorption of many of the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Some non-dairy milk also has calcium added. But if you're not drinking it for health reasons it's fine to use any milk you like.

The flavor of matcha is usually pretty subtle in recipes, so I like combining it with other complementary flavors. Sonoma Syrup Peppermint Simple Syrup adds both sweetness and the hint of mint flavor that makes this drink so special. I particularly like using coconut milk in this recipe because while it doesn't have any real coconut flavor, it does add richness. This drink is intended to be served hot, but I tried it cold and it's good that way too!

Mint Matcha Latte
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 serving matcha powder, about a teaspoon
2-3 Tablespoons hot water
1 cup coconut milk (or other milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup Peppermint Simple Syrup, or more to taste

Instructions

Heat the coconut milk until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, in a mug whisk together the matcha powder and hot water until smooth. Add the hot milk and simple syrup. Whisk to combine and serve immediately

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

06 Mar 2020 3:45pm GMT

03 Mar 2020

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Emma's Famous Beet Borscht Recipe


Emma's Famous Beet Borscht


There are a few dishes that I grew up eating that are my soul food. High on my list is borscht, a beet soup from Eastern Europe. I like it hot, I like it cold. I like it thin, I like it thick. I like it with beef, I like it vegetarian. And I particularly like it with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. The beets somehow transform mundane carrots, onions, and potatoes into something sweet, juicy and scrumptious.

I used to make borscht from a recipe from The Victory Garden Cookbook. It's a great recipe from a really great cookbook, but it is incredibly involved and time-consuming. To the rescue comes my friend, Emma. Emma is a colleague of mine so I get to see her fairly frequently at events around town. She is in some ways a bit like me - she is curious, has a great appetite, is interested in art and strongly opinionated. We don't always agree about everything but I am guaranteed a good conversation with Emma and I truly enjoy her company. Recently on a long drive together I learned about her life in Kiev and her story of coming to America.

So it should come as no surprise that Emma has a good recipe for borscht. The most common variety of borscht is from Ukraine. It's not just good, according to Emma, it's famous. She tells me I'll love it so much, I'll soon be making it once a week, just like she does. While it's not exactly a quick recipe, a big pot can be made in just about an hour. I used a bit more liquid than she did, adjust the liquid as you see fit. A few things to note, I peeled the potatoes but did not peel the beets or carrots. I also added water in addition to broth, and used at least a teaspoon of Kosher salt to season it.

Emma's Famous Beet Borscht Recipe
Makes about 6 servings
This recipe is adapted from Emma Krasov of Art and Entertain Me

Ingredients

1 32 ounce box chicken stock or broth
2-3 cups water
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2-3 red medium beets, scrubbed, tops and bottoms trimmed
1 medium green cabbage
1 large potato, peeled and diced
Fresh dill
2-3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sour cream

Instructions

Heat the broth and water in a large soup pot. When it comes to a boil add the onion, carrots and beets. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the diced potato and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the beets with a slotted spoon and let them cool. Add shredded cabbage. Cook for 10-15 min. until soft but not mushy. Add the tomato paste and stir until it dissolves. Meanwhile, grate cooled beets on a big-hole grater. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat for a couple of minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning again as necessary. At this point, Emma says you can add paprika, cayenne, more lemon juice, any herbs, but in small portions, to taste. Turn off heat, stir in chopped fresh dill. Serve hot, and garnish with sour cream. Keeps well for a week.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post includes an Amazon affiliate link.

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

03 Mar 2020 9:34pm GMT

19 Jan 2020

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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

17 Jan 2020

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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