18 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Curry Chickpea-Loaded Baked Potatoes

Who says loaded baked potatoes can't be healthy?! This weeknight recipe tops baked potatoes with a creamy mix of chickpeas and coconut milk! It's vegan, dairy-free, and delicious.

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18 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

17 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Sous Vide Beef Bulgogi Bowls

Korean beef bulgogi bowls are such and easy weeknight meal. Cooking the steak sous vide makes it extra tender and flavorful, too! Top with spicy bulgogi sauce and dinner is ready.

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17 Sep 2018 2:05pm GMT

How to Seal Foods Without Using a Vacuum Sealer

Yes, it's possible to vacuum seal your food at home without a vacuum sealer! All you need is a zip-top plastic freezer bag and a bowl of water. Here's how!

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17 Sep 2018 1:57pm GMT

16 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork

This slow cooker cider pulled pork feeds a crowd and warms the belly. Make it for a large party and let guests serve themselves, or make it for a family dinner and look forward to leftovers all week long!

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16 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

6 Different Meals to Make With Pulled Pork

Half the challenge of getting dinner on the table comes in the planning. Making up a large batch of pulled pork helps you solve that problem. Pulled pork fills the house with a great smell, freezes well, and can provide you meals for days.

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16 Sep 2018 1:59pm GMT

15 Sep 2018

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Meal Plan for September Week 3

Here's your meal plan for September Week 3! We've got Black Bean Burgers, Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa, Chili Mac and Cheese, and more.

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15 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

How to Make Pressure Cooker Egg Bites

In addition to looking darn adorable, these pressure cooker egg bites are super delicious and easy to make! Just like Starbucks' egg bites, but better because you made them yourself!

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15 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

14 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home

Pasteurizing eggs at home is EASY! All you need is a few minutes and an accurate digital thermometer.

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14 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

13 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Blistered Shishito Peppers are a delicious quick and easy snack, side dish, or appetizer. Mild and sweet, they're like single bite mini-poppers!

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13 Sep 2018 1:00pm GMT

12 Sep 2018

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7 Things to Know About Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home (+ a Recipe!)

Have questions about making cold brew coffee at home? You've come to the right place! From what's the best kind of coffee to buy to ways to flavor your cold brew, we have answers for your most burning questions.

Continue reading "7 Things to Know About Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home (+ a Recipe!)" »

12 Sep 2018 2:30pm GMT

Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)

Ever had chicken larb?! If you're looking for a quick, super flavorful, and spicy meal, look no further than this spin on Laotian chicken larb. Use either ground chicken or turkey and serve it in sweet, buttery lettuce wraps.

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12 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

11 Sep 2018

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12 Apple Desserts to Enjoy this Fall

Apples aren't just for pie. They're also for crisps and crostatas. They are for grating and adding to a bundt cake, too! We've got 12 of our favorite ways to enjoy apples this fall.

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11 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

10 Sep 2018

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Pressure Cooker Cajun-Spiced Stuffed Peppers

These Cajun-Spiced Stuffed Peppers are packed with ground beef, onion, rice, and corn, and spices! This meal is ready in the pressure cooker in a half an hour.

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10 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

09 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon, Arugula, and Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Sauce

Take advantage of salmon season and make this Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon, Arugula with Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Sauce. You can have this satisfying dinner on the table in a half an hour.

Continue reading "Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon, Arugula, and Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Sauce" »

09 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

08 Sep 2018

feedSimply Recipes

Meal Plan for September Week 2

Here's your meal plan for September Week 2! We've got Greek Pasta Salad (yes, for dinner!), Eggplant Parmesan, Steak Salad, and more!

Continue reading "Meal Plan for September Week 2" »

08 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas

Chicken and black beans work so well together, especially piled on these easy tostadas. Top with your favorite taco fixings and drizzle with a cilantro crema. This makes a fun and easy weeknight family meal.

Continue reading "Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas" »

08 Sep 2018 2:00pm GMT

28 Aug 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Easy Peach Jam Recipe

Easy peach jam



I've made peach jam several times, thanks in part to an annual delivery of peaches courtesy of the Washington Stone Fruit Growers, but I continue to look for ways to simplify the canning process. Standard peach jam recipes call for a lot of sugar and some powder or liquid pectin. The result is good, but can be a bit on the sweet side and a little rubbery. My preference is for a softer jam with less sugar and frankly less fuss. I wondered if there might be a way to make jam without bothering with the tedious job of peeling peaches? It turns out, there is.

The key to this recipe is the peels. Lemon peel and peach peel are high in pectin and so if you cook the peaches with them, you won't need to add any additional pectin. I started with a recipe from A Sweet Spoonful, but the main difference was I skipped peeling the fruit and used the lemon peel as well as the juice. I added some slices of fresh ginger in my first batch but I didn't find it added much flavor so I'm skipping it. You could certainly add some powdered ginger, candied ginger or even scraped vanilla bean if you like.

This jam is in between jam and preserves. It has some skin in it, but it's silky smooth and doesn't detract from the texture or flavor of the peaches. The pureed skins add a pretty rosy tint. How much you puree is up to you, I estimate I pureed about 1/3 cup or so. Note: You could can this in half pint or pint jars. I used a combination of both.

Easy Peach Jam
Makes 2 1/2 pints

Ingredients

4 pounds washed peaches, pitted and cut into chunks, about 8 cups
2 cups ganulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon rind from one lemon, cut into large pieces

Instructions

Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil. Put a small plate in the freezer so you can test the jam later.

Place the peach chunks in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Don't stir-just let the sugar sit and macerate, this helps to release the natural juices of the fruit. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Add the fruit along with the lemon peel to a large pot and bring to a boil. Using a potato masher mash the peaches. Continue stirring the peaches as they cook, using a wooden spoon. After about 10 minutes skim as much of the peels out of the pot using a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender then add them back to the pot. Remove the lemon peel and discard. Continue cooking until the mixtures thickens, about another 20 minutes. Test the thickness by placing a teaspoon full of the jam on the chilled plate and let it rest for about 30 seconds. Run your finger through the dollop and if it stays separated where your finger was, it's thick enough.

Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the jam 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 jam and the inside 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 process/boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Peaches were provided to me as part of the canbassador program by Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and to Ball Home Canning for the jars.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

28 Aug 2018 5:31pm GMT

26 Aug 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Alison's Peach Chutney Recipe

Peach Chutney Recipe



I met Alison McQuade 15 years ago. She wanted me to try her chutney and invited me to meet her at a local wine bar. At that time she was on the verge of quitting her day job and becoming a full time artisanal food producer. While to this day she doesn't describe herself as a cook, she has mad skills when it comes to chutney. She is also quite a wonderful person and we quickly became friends.

Over the years I have bought McQuade's Celtic Chutney to give as gifts, made recipes using her various varieties of chutney and been an all around fan of her products. Faced with a box full of peaches this year supplied to me by the Washington State Stone Fruit Growers, I knew I wanted to make chutney but couldn't imagine just turning to any old recipe. So I called on Alison for some guidance. Her recipe uses weights, so if you don't have a digital scale, please use this as the excuse to buy one, they are not expensive and are essential for baking. The one I currently use is a SmartWeight model that cost less than $20 and displays pounds, ounces, grams and milliliters. You'll note the chutney is in Ball jars for gifting, and the company that produces them makes a donation to Feeding America for every package purchased (up to $150k).

Alison has a keen sense of what flavors will go together and balancing heat, acidity and sweetness. Her chutneys are always chunky, fresh tasting and highlight the fruit. They are not goopy, gloppy, too sweet or sour and always have just the right amount of zing. This peach chutney is particularly wonderful. It uses a mixture of different vinegars and classic spices, fresh ginger, cinnamon and allspice. If you're wondering how to use chutney, it's terrifc with cheese of course, but also on sandwiches, with stews and curries on sausages or chops, or mixed in chicken salad. Honestly I could eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon!

Note: This recipe makes 3 pints, but you can easily use 6 half pint jars if you prefer. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make a bigger batch.

Alison's Peach Chutney

Makes about 3 pints

Ingredients

2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
800 ml apple cider vinegar
200 ml malt vinegar
400 gm brown sugar
Knob ginger peeled and grated, about 2 Tablespoons
1.5 kg ripe but firm peaches, about 3 1/2 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
180 gm golden raisins

Instructions

Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Add the peaches to the water and cook for about a minute then transfer the peaches using a slotted spoon to a boil with cold water. Peel and coarsely chop the peaches and set aside. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes.

In a large stock pot combine the onion, vinegars, sugar, ginger, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the peaches and stir occasionally, adding golden raisins after about 15 minutes, continue cooking until tender and jam-like about 30-40 minutes total. 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: A special thanks to Alison McQuade for helping with the recipe. Peaches were provided to me as part of the canbassador program by Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and to Ball Home Canning for the jars. This post includes one affiliate link.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

26 Aug 2018 4:56pm GMT

31 Jul 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Halibut Burgers Recipe

Halibut burgers
I get a delivery of seafood once per week from Real Good Fish, and for two weeks in a row, it's been halibut. Rather than just cook the filets, I decided to go in a different direction, burgers. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a burger even if it's not a hamburger. Salmon is very popular for burgers, but halibut works too. The trick with fish burgers, much like fish cakes, is to minimize the filler.

I came across a brilliant technique from Melissa Trainer, who wrote that she learned it from chef Jordan Mackey. The trick is to use pureed raw fish as the binder, rather than bread crumbs or egg. That's pretty much it. The burgers hold together beautifully. Halibut is lean though, so it's important not to overcook it. You can check the temperature if you like and when it's 145 degrees it's done, but I just cook it until it's firm.

I like my burger served on a bun, but you could also serve it on a bed of greens. It does benefit from a slathering of tartar sauce. Use any recipe for tartar sauce that you like. Tartar sauce is just mayo, lemon juice and some chopped capers and pickle relish or chopped cornichons. If you're not planning to use tartar sauce but just mayo, double the salt in the burgers.

Halibut Burgers
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 pound halibut, skin and bones removed
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
Oil for grilling

Instructions

Roughly dice the halibut into about 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle the diced halibut with salt and sugar and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove about 1/3 of the fish and process in a food processor until smooth. Add the puree back to the remaining fish along with the mustard, lemon peel and dill and stir until well combined then form 4 patties.

Heat a grill pan or skillet and lightly oil it. When hot, add the burgers and cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Flip the burgers and cook until cooked through but still moist, about 3 minutes. Serve on a bun with tartar sauce, arugula and a slice of tomato.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to Real Good Fish for providing me with the halibut used in creating this recipe.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

31 Jul 2018 11:34pm GMT

23 Jul 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Bourbon Cherries Recipe


The pleasure of fresh cherries is fleeting, so while there may be nothing better than eating them soon after they are picked, if you want to enjoy them year round, canning is the answer. This year I decided to make bourbon cherries from the wonderfully sweet cherries kindly sent to me by the Northwest Cherry Growers as part of the "Canbassador" program. They are terrific in cocktails but also spooned over vanilla ice cream.

This year I finally bit the bullet and bought a canner, it's a small one, it holds 7 pint jars which is just fine for me. Over the years I've accumulated a number of canning accoutrement-the jar lifter, the jar funnel and the lid lifter. I use a variety of jars, but am particularly fond of the Ball® Sharing Jars I received from Ball® Home Canning. Designed for gifting, the company that produces them makes a donation to Feeding America for every package purchased (up to $150k).

This year I used a recipe from Ball but I've expanded the recipe instructions to include all the steps you need to take. I've also replaced the brandy in their recipe with bourbon. I recommend choosing a delicious bourbon that isn't too hot and has vanilla, spice and caramel flavors to complement the cherries.
Bourbon cherries
The sharing jars are on the right, a classic Ball jar is on the left

Bourbon Cherries - adapted from Ball Canning
Makes about 6 or 7 pints

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 pounds cherries, washed, stemmed and pitted
1 1/4 cups bourbon

Instructions

Get your jars, lids and band rims ready. Wash pint canning jars with soapy water. Rinse the jars throughly and place in a canner or very large pot. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a pot large enough to hold all of the cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to make sure the sugar is fully disolved. Add the cherries. When heated through add take the pot off the stove and add the bourbon.

Lift the jars out of the water, emptying the water back into the pot as you go. Ladle the cherry mixture into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Wipe the rims and twist the rim band until "fingertip" tight. Place the jars careully into the boiling waterthen boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest for 5 minutes in the canner. Remove the jars and allow to rest to 12 hours before testing to make sure the jars are properly sealed. Store for up to one year.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to both Northwest Cherry Growers and Ball® Home Canning both are great resources for recipes and information.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

23 Jul 2018 3:20pm GMT

19 Jul 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Indo Fijian Food

I'm fascinated by the Pacific Islands, maybe it's because the San Francisco Bay Area is home to one of the largest populations of Pacific Islanders outside of the Pacific Islands. While I've spent a fair amount of time in Hawaii most of the other islands in the region are on my bucket list including Fiji. I was lucky enough to meet some Fijians recently and here is what I learned.

1. Fijians put family ahead of everthing else and are known for being very talented health care workers who say "caregiving is in our blood."

2. Fijians are passionate about rugby and were the world champtions in the Rugby World Cup Sevens twice and won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

3. Fijians partake in drinking kava made from the root of the Piper methysticum plant. It's has sedative, anesthetic and euphoric properties and relieves anxiety. Originally used in ceremonites, it's now enjoyed socially and served out of a bowl, if you're lucky by a charming and handsome Fijian.

4. Fiji was formerly a British colony, over 40% of their population is Indo Fijian. So much of their cuisine is influenced by Indian food.

5. Just as the Hawaiian word aloha means many things and is used as a greeting, Fijians use the word bula (boo-lah) which means life but implies good health.

In addition to meeting Fijians, I got to try some Indo-Fijian food. Here are a few dishes made by James Raven Chand, proprietor of Curryous? Catering. The food was outstanding and if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, James is your man.


First off, crunchy fried cassava served with pineapple cilantro chutney. In the middle are some of the tastiest meatballs, made from a combination of beef for flavor and chicken for tenderness, marinated in a spice paste and coated with a red pepper coconut glaze. Finally on the right, some classic samosas, filled with potatoes and peas. Light and crisp and delicious served with a tamarind chutney.

Last but not least, the Fijians are in San Francisco for their beloved rugby so if you'd like to meet them, head to the Rugby World Cup Sevens Welcome Ceremony at Embarcadero Plaza at 5 pm on Thursday July 19, 2018 or get tickets to see them play at AT&T Park. Or learn more about visiting Fiji.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Jul 2018 2:37am GMT

18 Jul 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Asian Night Markets coming to San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area has an incredibly diverse food scene. You can dine at Michelin star restaurants with elaborate tasting menus, or grab something on the go at a food truck and there's no shortage of options in between. Over the past 10 years street food events have provided a new option. But we've been missing something that's common in Asia, the night market. There have been a few pop-ups, but Off the Grid at Fort Mason is perhaps the closest thing we have to it on a regular basis. With music, drinks and almost 30 food vendors it's a fun and tasty way to spend a Friday night.

But if you've been to a night market in Asia, you know it offers much more than just food and music. It usually includes different kinds of entertainment, vendors and artisans selling their wares and sometimes even activities for kids. Night markets are fun but also a way to discover and connect with different people and cultures in a most delicious way. I'm happy to share two different night market events in San Francisco - one more geared towards adults and the other is all ages.


July 19th, 2018 from 7 - 10 pm
Chef's Hawker Centre Festival

Local chef Tu David Phu is the organizer of Chef's Hawker Centre style pop-ups including a ticketed event taking place at the Asian Art Museum this week. Guests will get unlimited access to food booths and two drink tickets to try cocktails by Kevin Diedrich of Pacific Cocktail Haven and Jack Daniels Cocktail Champ Adam Brogan.

Participating chefs include newly minted SF Chronicle Rising Star Chef Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage, Jason Angeles of FK Frozen Custard, Reem Assil of Reem's California, Richgail Enriquez of Astig Vegan, Deuki Hong of Sunday at the Museum, Jake Rosenbush of Hardwood Bar & Smokery, Hanif Sadr of Komaaj, and Nite Yun of Nyum Bai.

I'm really excited about this event! I can vouch for the food from Francis Ang, Jason Angeles, Reem Assil, and Jake Rosenbush and am eager to try the rest. It's a great opportunity to explore some of the Bay Area's most exciting food all under one roof. Tickets start at $65


July 21st, 2018 (August 18th, September 15th, October 20th) from 4 -10 pm
Undiscovered SF Creative Night Market

Despite its fairly low profile, food writers like me have been saying Filipino food is the next big thing for ages and maybe it finally is coming true. This Summer and into the Fall there will be a Filipino night market taking place one Saturday a month, behind the SF Chronicle building at 401 Minna St. I recently went to a preview and loved every bite.

The line up of talent is amazing-lots of terrific chefs including Alex Retodo of The Lumpia Company who makes unbelievable fillings for his lumpia like bacon cheeseburger! Deanna Sison Foster of Mestiza, Chef JP of The Sarap Shop who makes complex and flavorful Laing rice bowls with succulent braised taro leaves with ginger and shrimp paste, Hannah Huyoa of Adobos and More who could find no Filipino food in Santa Rosa and began making her own scrumptious adobo tacos, Dennis Villafranca aka Jeepney Guy who makes crispy skin pork lechon, and Reina Montenegro of Nick's Kitchen who will blow you away with her vegan versions of everything from flan to sisig and caldereta, her food is really unbelievable. I'm leaving out the desserts (there's got to be some surprises).
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

18 Jul 2018 1:08am GMT

14 Jun 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Roasted Fioretto Recipe

Roasted fioretto
It's not often that you come across a new vegetable. The first time I saw Fioretto at a market in Chinatown I thought it must be some kind of weird overgrown cauliflower. It turns out it's a relatively new hybrid that combines the best of broccoli and cauliflower. In addition to Fioretto, it's also called stick cauliflower, flowering cauliflower, Chinese cauliflower and kaurifurore. It has thinner sweeter tops than cauliflower, and stems similar to broccoli which are sometimes white and other times pale green. The stems deepen in color when cooked.

The hybrid was developed in Japan in 2012 by a seed company and I started noticing it the past year or so but couldn't find much information about it. Once I tried cooking it, I became a fan. Because it's less dense, it's easy to cook and lends itself well to raw, steamed or stir fried recipes. One of the ways I particularly like preparing it is by roasting it with olive oil, salt and garlic. Like traditional cauliflower it develops a very appealing sweet flavor when cooked. It's a great side dish, but also good tossed with pasta or in a roasted vegetable salad served either warm or at room temperature.

I've seen Fioretto at both farmer's markets and frequently in Asian produce markets and it's also distributed by Melissa's and Specialty Produce. Like other brassicas it's high in vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium. If you've tried it, let me know in the comments.

Roasted Fioretto
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 head of Fioretto broken into small pieces, about 4 cups when sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Break the vegetable into bite sized florets and toss in a bowl with olive oil, garlic and salt. Place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until tender and brown in spots.


Enjoy!
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

14 Jun 2018 3:09pm GMT

06 Apr 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Indian Spiced Rum Punch Recipe



Indian Spiced Rum Punch Recipe
Rum puts me in a happy mood and I know I'm not the only one. It conjures up tropical destinations and pairs beautifully with a variety of fruits, spices and even herbs, which brings me to this rum punch. The idea was to have a welcome cocktail that would be celebratory and special but also complement Indian food being served at an intimate anniversary get together.

Rum punch is often a Caribbean affair, which makes sense since rum is produced there. But this punch had a few Southeast Asian ingredients to boot. It was created by award-winning bartender Christopher Chamberlain who has worked with an incredible number of brands. The base of the drink was built around RumHaven, a particularly delicious coconut rum, made with coconut water. It's sweet but not cloying and has a lovely freshness.
The recipe is rather involved. Seriously. I've made full dinners that took less preparation! But in the end I have to say, it was worth all the work that went into it. I only made a couple of changes to the original recipe. I used fresh turmeric rather than the dry powder. I really love the depth of flavor in fresh turmeric and it's pretty easy for me to find. I also substituted Thai basil for regular basil. I thought since this drink had an Indian vibe that Thai basil would be a better fit. If you don't make this rum punch I would like to suggest that you consider the technique of grilling pineapple and macerating it with rum. The result was absolutely divine! Both the rum as well as the incredibly boozy pineapple.


Indian Spice Rum Punch
Makes about 10-12 servings

1 pineapple, peeled and sliced and heavily grilled, plus a few fresh slices for garnish
1 bottle RumHaven coconut rum
1/2 teaspoon corriander seeds
1 thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric, thinly sliced
6 ounces agave syrup
9 ounces cold freshly pressed lime juice
10-12 Thai basil leaves, plus additional leaves for a garnish
12-16 ounces cold ginger beer (Fever Few brand recommended)

Begin by combining the rum with the grilled pineapple and macerating overnight. I used a large plastic tub. Crush the corriander seeds and combine with the sliced turmeric and agave syrup in a small saucepan. Heath generly and cook over low heat until fragrant. Let cool then strain.

Place the basil leaves n a large bowl (not the punch bowl)and lightly press with a muddler to release the flavor and oils. Strain the rum into the bowl, reserving the pineapple to enjoy later. Stir together to incorporate flavors. Strain the mixture and measure 24 ounces into into the punch bowl. Add the lime juice, spiced agave and ginger beer and stir to combine. Add a large block of ice and garnish with fresh Thai basil and fresh pineapple.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to RumHaven for supplying both the rum and cocktail expertise. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Apr 2018 11:15pm GMT

06 Feb 2018

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Top Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

I've already shared some of my favorite finds from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018, but another reason I attend the show is to try and identify what's trending. Here are my topic picks.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms seem to be everywhere and showing up in ways that are a bit unexpected. I first discovered crispy oyster mushroom "chips" in Taiwan, but at the show this year I saw Yuguo shiitake chips from China.They are light and crunchy and supposedly healthy. I like them a lot. There were also two kinds of mushroom jerky, one made from mushroom caps and another made from mushroom stems in "Zesty Thai" flavor, available from Pan's Mushroom Jerky. Last but not least there were somewhat medicinal elixirs, cocoa and "coffee" made from lion's mane, chaga and reishi mushrooms by Four Sigmatic. I wasn't crazy about how they tasted but they are being sold more as a health product than a gourmet one.

Coconut snacks
Coconut is nothing new, but it's being used as a component in lots of different and frankly delicious snacks. If you like coconut, you will like these. Some top picks for me were the wafer-like Sejoyia coconut thins, the clusters from Creative Snacks Co with cranberries cashews and almonds, and Cocomos toasted coconut chips with orange and sunflower seeds, which were somewhat in between a cluster and a wafer.

Vegetable Chips
Vegetable chips have been in vogue for quite some time, but I'm seeing more and more unusual options like red rice and quinoa crisps from Grounded from Lundberg Family Farms, pea puffs from Peeled cassava crunch and beet snacks from Plant Snacks, carrot and beet chips from HardBite, kumara and parsnip crisps from Proper Crisps.

Legume Snacks
Pea protein is big, and it's especially evident in snacks. I also saw crispy broad beans and puffs from peanuts. Other products I noticed included colorful "chickbean crisps" from Saffron Road, chickpea snacks from Kay's Pass the Peas, quinoa and lentil snacks from The Daily Crave but I'm sure there were even more. New guidelines now recommend introducing infants to peanuts to help ward off allergies, so snacks like puffs may prove popular with kids.

Non-dairy yogurts
Just as non-dairy milks and "cheeses" have become more popular, more non-dairy yogurts are popping up. I particularly liked the coconut yogurt from Anita's but also the Greek style almond yogurt from Kite Hill.

Aloe
Aloe has been on trend in Japan since the 1990's but it seems to be gaining in the US as well. I saw it in Alove yogurt from Japanese manufacturer Morinaga as well as in a myriad of drinks. Aloe is hydrating and can help with digestion.

Cold Vegetable Soups
This is an interesting one I didn't see coming. Anyone who has been to a supermarket in Spain has been amused by the refrigerated cartons of gazpacho. I saw several lines of cold, ready to drink soups, with unique flavors like cauliflower cashew, pumpkin cinnamon sage and beet orange basil from Zupa and carrot yellow tomato and spicy avocado from gazpacho maker Tio. Most were vegetarian but at least one, Bonafide uses a bone broth base and calls their products "drinkable veggies."

Cold Brew
If cold brew coffee is big in coffee shops, it's perhaps even bigger in retail stores where you can buy it in cans or bottles. I saw so many brands this year it was hard to keep track but they included Jittery John's, Coffee Blenders, Fog Dog, Peerless and Grady's. While I mostly saw cold brew coffee, I also saw "ice steeped" cold brew tea from Japanese maker Ito-En.

Drinking Vinegars
Drinking vinegars have been gaining momentum and this year I saw more than ever. Some are traditional apple cider vinegar based while others use balsamic or add other ingredients like ginger or fruit juices. There were two I particularly liked, Fire Cider's apple cider vinegar-based tonics made with horseradish, onions, black pepper, and garlic, organic habañero peppers, turmeric, lemons and oranges. It tasted like it could banish a cold. The other was the deliciously fruit forward one from Olitalia in blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Drip tea and coffee packs
Last year I was excited about a Vietnamese drip coffee as part of the DIY kit trend, from Copper Cow, this year they are introducing Thai ice tea packs. Meanwhile I saw other companies like Vietnamese grocer Lee's are also selling Vietnaemese drip coffee packets, albeit without the condensed milk.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

06 Feb 2018 10:38pm GMT

29 Jan 2018

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10 Highlights from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

This year I'm sharing several posts recapping the Winter Fancy Food Show. Kicking things off are a few of my favorite things (cue The Sound of Music). Stay tuned for posts on trends and the newest products.


Tropical Fruitstand Jackfruit jam
In my round up of all things bananas last year I mentioned a unique banana jam. This year I tried the latest jam from the same producer, made from jackfruit. You may know jackfruit as a fiberous vegan replacement for pulled pork. In this jam it has an incredible tropical flavor that tastes like a combination of mango, pineapple and banana--think Juicy Fruit gum but so much better. It's like a little tropical vacation in a spoon.

New couvertures - Valrhona inspiration passion fruit, inspiration almond and Cruz 1879 coffee thins
I'm lumping these three things together because they fit in the category of couverture, that's chocolate speak for a product that has a very high percentage of cocoa butter. Coffee thins are made with a unique coffee product and cocoa butter, no cocoa solids at all. It's has the texture of chocolate, but it's coffee. It's available in three different varieites, latte, espresso and cruz special blend and makes use of a proprietary technology that transforms coffee into something smooth and creamy. Valrhona is introducing two new couvertures, one with passion fruit and one with almond, neither of them contain cocoa solids either. They won't be available in a retail product but expect your favorite chocolatiers to start using this divine stuff in their confections.

Flavored maple syrups
I talked to a retailer who told me that this past holiday season his company saw an incredible increase in sales of maple syrup. Having tasted some of the more recent flavored maple syrups I can't say I'm surprised. My favorites come from a company called Runamok. They infuse maple syrups with flavors such as makrut lime leaf, cardamom, ginger as well as bourbon and rum barrel aged maple syrup and my favorite, pecan wood smoked maple syrup.

Humphry Slocombe Black Sesame ice cream
You may have had black sesame ice cream before but the black sesame ice cream from Humphry Slocombe is a game changer. It's made from their base with ground black sesame seeds but the secret is an addition of toasted sesame oil which is fragrant and lusicous.

Wadaman organic white sesame oil
While we're on the topic of sesame oil, I have to say, this one is the best I've ever tried. It's has a lusicous buttery flavor and an almost floral aroma. It's so good, and much more delicate than the typical toasted sesame oil which can be overly intense and almost bitter. It's available in Asian speciality stores and online from Japanese Pantry.

Sauerfrau squeezable sauerkraut
I was already a fan of sauerkraut, but not only is this sauerkraut delicious and comes in 3 varieties, classic, sweet Bavarian and craft beer mustard. It's ridiculously convenient because it comes in a squeeze bottle. It's tangy, but not too juicy, still raw and filled with probiotics, but it will keep in the fridge for ages. Good stuff and coming soon to stores.

BakWa eggplant bacon
I wrote about Bakwa a few years ago. Of course pork jerky is delicious but now Little Red Dot Kitchen has applied their magic touch to eggplant to make something they call jerky. I just call it good. I'd love to layer it on a baguette and make sandwich with it.


Axel Provisions pickled onions
Axel Provisions launched with three versions of their chimichurri sauce. It's very good. But what I really liked was their pickled onions. The founder ate these onions in Argentina and decided to make them himself. You could make them too, but his are really, really good. They come in two versions, one is red and spicy with habanero and the other sweet with jalapeno. Both are irresistable.


Heirloom grain pasta
This year I saw more pastas made with different grains, including heirloom varieties of wheat. I sample pasta from two different companies, Monograno Felicetti from Italy and Sfoglini from Brooklyn, Monograno uses several different types of wheat, I tried the pasta made from a variety of durum wheat called matt. Sfoglini uses a variety of different grains but in blends that keep the pasta al dente, something that can be tricky when experimenting beyond wheat.

Vitali Prosciutto di Modena
Which is the best prosciutto? Generally speaking, he one in front of you. But in tasting San Daniele, Parma and Modena, I have to admit, Modena won me over. The texture and flavor of prosciutto is dependent upon not just origin, but also which part of the prosciutto it comes from. It's formed in a pear shape, then often trimmed and formed into a block for easier slicing. One end is saltier than the other. The prosciutto I had from Modena was from the center and it was rosy, meltingly tender and delicate. It was the perfectly mild balance of sweet and salty. Prosciutto from Modena may be new to us, but it has been made in Modena since the 16th century. The meat is massaged with salt twice, and allowed to rest for 70 days. Once dried it's massaged with a mxiture of lard, salt, spices and flour. The entire process takes 14 months. It's recently gained entry to the US and like San Daniele and Parma prociutto it is a DOP (protected denomination of origin) product, look for it at a deli or gourmet shop.

©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Jan 2018 8:29pm GMT

15 Jan 2018

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Ramen Heads - Movie Review

Ramen Heads is a documentary about ramen in Japan. As the name implies, it's about the obsession of both ramen makers and ramen eaters and dives deep into more bowls in more styles than you can possibly imagine. The film focuses on Japan's number-one ramen master Osamu Tomita, who has won the highest ramen honors 4 years in a row. Unlike other ramen masters, Tomita is happy to expose every part of his process. He reveals the highest-quality ingredients and his constantly evolving approach to cooking the perfect bowl with equal attention to both noodles and broth. Surrounded by apprentices there is still much he insists on doing himself. His shop is so popular he sells tickets ahead of time to decrease the long wait for seats.

Tomita proclaims, "if you're not a ramen head yourself, you can't possibly satisfy other ramen heads." and so perhaps not surprisingly, he spends his one day off a week eating ramen on his own and with his familly; next to his bed are ramen magazines and recipes. He's singularly focused on ramen, not just for his customers but for himself and for his appreciation of ramen in Japanese culture. It is and has been his calling since he had a bowl of ramen that changed his life. After that he became an apprentice to a top ramen master before opening his own shop. Ramen it seems, is so much more than just noodles and broth, it's truly a way of life.

As you probably already know, ramen is a big deal in Japan. There are magazines, guidebooks and websites devoted to it. As the films narrator explains, ramen is "cheap, immediate and deeply satisfying", and in Japan, unlike many other iconic dishes, it allows for great creativity.The film introduces viewers to some of the other top ramen masters in Japan and their individual styles of ramen, briefly explores a ramen festival and offers a quick timeline of the rise of ramen in Japan. All along the way the cinematography will make your mouth water. The soaring and majestic music can seem cheesy at times, but it is the cinematography that cements this film as the ultimate ramen food porn and I warn you, if you decide to see this movie you better make plans to eat ramen afterwards because you will seriously crave it. Check out the trailer below and you'll see for yourself.

Ramen Heads plays at the Roxie as part of the SF Indie Film Festival on February 10th and 13th, 2018 in San Francisco. Learn more or buy tickets.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

15 Jan 2018 3:49pm GMT

29 Dec 2017

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Miyagi Oyster Mushroom Bisque Recipe

Miyagi Oyster Mushroom Bisque

A few weeks ago I received a dozen and a half miyagi oysters from Real Good Fish as part of my my seafood subscription. Because miyagi oysters are delicate and small, I generally just serve them on the half shell, but this time I decided to make bisque. Bisque is a creamy soup traditionally made from seafood and in particular broth from seafood shells.

Searching around online I found a recipe for oyster bisque from Chef Greg Atkinson in Seattle that called for cooking the oysters in the shells. While I have gotten better at shucking oysters with practice, this appealed to me greatly! It's a stunning recipe but I only had half the amount of oysters required so I could only make a half batch. The second time around I was inspired to make a bisque with both oysters and oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms look a bit like oysters in color and shape. They have a very mild earthy flavor that reminds me of oysters as well.

My recipe uses less heavy cream than the original and I puree the mushrooms as well as the bits of onion along with the oysters. The resulting soup is rich and complex and the luxurious topping of whipped cream really takes it over the top. This is a soup worthy of a special occasion. Maybe New Year's Eve? Next time you find yourself wiht some oysters, I hope you'll give it a try.

Miyagi Oyster Mushroom Bisque
Adapted from a recipe by Greg Atkinson
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 dozen live miyagi oysters
2 cups water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced white onion
1/2 pound chopped oyster mushrooms
Pinch freshly ground pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg, or to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, chives or tarragon

Instructions

Scrub the oysters to clean off any mud or shell chips. Bring 2 cups of water to a full rolling boil in a 1-gallon Dutch oven or pot over high heat. Put the oysters in the pot, cover, reduce the heat to medium and let them steam until they open or become very easy to pry open with an oyster knife, about 8 minutes.

Remove the steamed oysters from their shells and put them and their liquor in a blender. Strain the liquid in which the oysters were steamed into the blender as well.

Rinse or wipe the Dutch oven and add the butter, heat over medium-high heat and add the onions, Cook for about 2 minutes or until softened then add the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to dry then add the sherry. pepper and nutmeg and cook until the sherry has evaporated and the mixtures sizzles in the pan. Add 1/4 cup cream and bring this mixture to a boil.

Transfer the mushroom mixture into the blender with the oysters and blend to make a very smooth purée. Return the mixture to the pot, add the milk and heat through.

Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped herbs.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I received the oysters from Real Good Fish I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

29 Dec 2017 5:58pm GMT

22 Dec 2017

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Cooking from the Books in 2017

Because I've been cooking all my life and it comes easily to me, I can generally take a look at a recipe and anticipate with some degree of accuracy, how it will turn out. But that's not the same as actually cooking a dish from a cookbook. On this list I am covering only the cookbooks that got a "trial run." For each of these cookbooks I cooked at least one recipe, sticking as close to the recipe as I could. I'm hoping my results along with my comments will help you to decide which of these books are for you.


So far I've just made one recipe from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark and I really liked it. It was the Tofu Spaetzle with Gruyere Gratin. It's more of a main dish than a side since the spaetzle is actually shredded extra firm tofu, baked with gruyere and caramelized onions and topped with bread crumbs. My problem with the book is that in addition to really inspiring creative recipes like Fusili and Roasted Cauliflower with Capers, Kimchi Pork Chops with Kale and Blood Orange Chicken with Scotch Whiskey and Olives, there are other recipes that frankly seem like filler. There's nothing wrong with recipes for Black Bean and Roasted Poblano Pepper Quesadillas, Smoky Fish and Potato Chowder or Mexican Tortilla Soup but none of them are anything new. They are the kind of dishes I can certainly make without a recipe. I love how many recipes use ingredients like tofu and farro, and the idea of "changing up" dinner from meat and 2 sides into something more free form.
Yemek is written by three women who I believe are German, but live in Turkey. They share the recipes for things you will commonly find in Istanbul. I was extremely excited to make cezerye, a candy that is similar to Turkish delight or "aplets and cotlets" if you ar familar with those. They are made from carrots and sugar and studded with nuts then rolled in coconut. The recipe was easy to follow and the results pleasing. The book is "kebab free" but features the kind of things you typically find in Istanbul including breads, salads, sweets, vegetable dishes, stews and dumplings. The book has a lovely design and features little insets with Istanbul locals and informative pages on ingredients and small gifts to buy for foodies. It's a great introduction to Turkish cuisine and if you've been to Istanbul you'll rejoice in having a source for things like manti dumplings, pide flatbread and gozleme spinach and feta stuffed bread and mercimek koftesi lemony lentil dumplings.

Instanbul & Beyond is a landmark book but almost the opposite of Yemek. Despite Istanbul being in the title, it features in large part the things you don't find in Istanbul. There are all kinds of unusual dishes and interesting techniques to learn. I made the meatballs with spice butter and will be making them again! The book also offers information about ingredients and often very detailed head notes with each recipe.You'll find many recipes from regions like the Black Sea and the Hatay Province. There are lots of vegetarian recipe, seafood recipes as well as recipes with lamb I plan to try. See my interview with author Robyn Eckhardt.

Burma Superstar the restaurant has an almost cult following and now so does the cookbook. If you love Burmese food you need this book! Many of the recipes require ingredients that will take a little sleuthing to find, but not all of them. I made the Egg and Okra Curry. It's filled with onions and garlic and mild spices and very comforting. The recipes are very solid and clearly written.The book includes reicpes for curries, vegetables, stir fries, noodles, soups, salads, drinks, snacks, rice and snacks.

The Farm Cooking School is a book from two food magazine veterans and it offers a compelling combination of the basics like how to bone a chicken, how to make puff pastry and croissant dough, and veal stock but then surprising recipes like an Elvis Pavlova, Roasted Whole Carrot Tart Tatin and the recipe I made, the roasted Delicata and Celery Salad. I'd say this is a particularly good book for "advanced beginners" in other words, people who already know how to cook, but want to take their skills to the next level.

Autentico is written by Rolando Beremendi who is an importer of fine Italian food. His enthusiasm for quality ingredients makes him the perfect author of a book that is the very definition of "ingredient driven." I made his recipe for Farro Soup which consists of just farro, water, olive oil, Italian fish sauce and oregano. The book is filled with Italian soul food, simple recipes but the essence of why we love the cuisine. It's always about using the best ingredients even if it's just simple day old bread. As an Italian food fanatic, I basically want to make everything in this book! The recipes are from different regions but most have very short ingredient lists and easy techniques, nothing fussy. Now that Winter is here I plan to make the Sausages with Lentils and Tuscan Kale, Fennel Braised in Chianti, Sweet and Sour Onions and Risotto with Radicchio.

The memoir with recipes category seems to be holding steady, and books like Unforgettable show why the category is so popular. This book spans a lifetime so there are recipes from many countries and using different techniques. You will absolutely find things in the book that you have not seen before. I made the Egg and Mint Salad repeatedly! If you're already a fan of Paula Wolfert or never heard of her, I feel certain you will find this book as endearing as it is unforgettable. Most of the dishes are French, Mediterranean or Moroccan. If you've been intimidated by Wolfert's recipes in the past, this book is particularly good as there are plenty of very, very easy unfussy recipes and basic techniques that can be used again and again such as her oven steamed salmon, decontructed hummus and the book also has many classics in one place, from hand-rolling couscous to making preserved lemons.


I became a fan of chef Jeremey Fox when I dined at the groundbreadking Ubuntu in Napa. Since then he has moved on to Los Angles but is still known for his incredible approaches to vegetables. On Vegetables is a book to inspire you! His recipes are incredibly original such as Parnsip Cream, Meringue and Citrus or Rhubarb, Ricotta and Radish Toast. His flavor combinations like goat cheese and horseradish are fresh and exciting. I made the Miso Bagna Cauda. It's delicious but I felt the recipe needed a little tweaking to get the consistency right. His vegetable based bacon, stocks, powders, crumbles and "soils" are all wonderful building blocks for imaginative new dishes.

Disclaimer: I received all but one of these books as a review copy. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Dec 2017 8:33pm GMT

19 Dec 2017

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Bay Area Chocolate Gifts

The Bay Area is a wonderful place for chocolate. We have bean to bar manufacturers as well as talented confectioners and pastry chefs all crafting wonderful treats. Today is the deadline for 2 day delivery, so if you're looking for gifts to arrive in time for Christmas, here are some of my top picks:
Recchiuti is famous for their burnt caramel truffle, fleur de sel caramels and their wonderful s'mores kit. This year I got a chance to try their Dark Hot Chocolate. Please note, this is not cocoa, it's real chocolate pistoles, made with a custom South American blend. What are pistoles? It's the French name for a Spanish coin; the chocolate coins melt into a rich, yet mellow and smooth drink when dissolved with water or milk (or a combination). Or you can add some to your coffee, as my mother-in-law likes to do. It's won raves from many publications and is a great winter time treat for kids or adults, just under $20.
One of my favorite local confectioners is Charles Chocolate. I'm crazy about their triple chocolate coated almonds and their sweet salty cashew bar, this year I tried two more recent additions to line of chocolate bars, the Toffee Coffee dark milk chocolate bar and the Caramelized Crisped Rice bittersweet chocolate bar. The Toffee Coffee bar has chunks of almond toffee and coffee beans in it, the toffee flavor really comes through deliciously. The Crisped Rice bar has caramelized crisped brown rice that might remind you of a Nestle Cunch bar but it's much darker and with just a light crunch.The bars are available in mini versions for about $3 each.

Kika's Treats makes all kinds of things, including outstanding Salted Crunch Caramels and Salted Nutty Caramels. They also make a line of chocolate covered cookies including different flavors of shortbread and graham crackers. The Caramelized Graham Crackers coated in chocolate are a favorite of mine and you can get them coated in dark chocolate, milk chocolate or 70% Dandelion chocolate. You've never had graham crackers like these before, they are thick, crisp and crunchy, and positively irresistible. Each box is $8-10.
Earlier this year I got a chance to try the chocolate panettone From Roy studded with Guittard chocolate. I had never had a panettone as luxuriously airy yet moist, rich and delicious. From Roy recently received an investment in cash and is expanding, offering panettone year round and in a variety of different flavors. It's made with an Italian starter made from wild yeast and takes 40 hours to make! Last week I ordered one for a friend, but I'm sorry to say they are now sold out. The cakes are $50, but lofty and worth every penny.

Another choice for chocolate lovers would be a book on chocolate, and this year there are two I strongly recommend, neither are cookbooks per se, but both include some recipes.

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America's Craft Chocolate Revolution this compact volume starts by explaining just what bean to bar means and how chocolate is made. It has a lot of Bay Area connections including pages devoted to Scharffen Berger and Guittard, both "chocolate pioneers" and a profile of Dandelion Chocolate.

Along the way there are wonderful features on pairing chocolate with cheese, tea, spirits and more plus recipes including a few from locals Michael Recchiuti and Alice Medrich.

This book is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate and wants to know more about the American chocolate makers, and is looking for new ways to enjoy chocolate.

Making Chocolate from Bean to Bar to S'more, written by Todd Masonis, founder and CEO of Dandelion Chocolate. It's a gorgeous coffee table volume that covers everything form how to temper chocolate, how to source cacao and even the equipment used to process chocolate.

The recipes come from Dandelion's in-house pastry chef, Lisa Vega. Vega gives away the secrets to recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes, drinks and more.

This book is for chocolate aficionados, especially those who want to try their hand at making it or just want to learn more about it. It's also good for those who want to use different percentage chocolate in recipes. The recipes don't call out specific brands.











Disclaimer: I purchased each of the items featured in this post, with the exception of the hot chocolate. The books were review copies and this post includes affiliate links. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Dec 2017 11:43pm GMT

11 Dec 2017

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Fig & Almond Crisps Recipe

fig and almond crisps
If you've been to a party recently, there's a good chance you've come across raincoast crisps®. They are highly addictive crackers filled with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, created by Lesley Stowe, a Parisian-trained chef based in Vancouver. They come in all kinds of flavors such as apricot and ginger, and fig and olive and have a sweet and savory flavor so they pair exceedingly well with cheese. A slim little sleeve of them is about $7 so I was thrilled to see a recipe for a copycat recipe from Dinner with Julie blogger and genius cookbook author and food writer, Julie Van Rosendaal. I was lucky enough to meet Julie a couple of years ago and in person she's just as funny and charming as she comes across on the blog. She's also has mad skills as a recipe developer.

Julie's recipe is for Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, but I happened to have plenty of figs and almonds so I went with those and added a healthy dose of cinnamon rather than rosemary. The recipe is really easy, it just requires a lot of ingredients. It's basically like a biscotti recipe, you make a batter, bake a loaf, then slice it and bake the slices again. It does requires the ability to slice the loaf very thinly. Julie recommends freezing the loaf but I'm not nearly patient enough. I make my slices a bit thicker than she does and reduced the recipe by half, so I get just about 3 dozen crackers per batch. Obviously if you want to make more, you can simple double it.

These crisps were a bit hit at Thanksgiving this year. They are great for any cheese or charcuterie plate or just for snacking, and a package of them would make a nice hostess gift. They are also incredibly easy to adapt. You can pretty much make them with any combination of dried fruit and nuts you like, just adjust the herb or spice to complement your choice (or leave out the spice entirely if you prefer). For my next batch I'm considering apricots, pistachios and cardamom or cherry, walnut and nutmeg.

Fig & Almond Crisps
adapted from a recipe by Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie
Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons flax seed, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. and grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir, then fold in the figs, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax and cinnamon and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden and springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack (the bread needs to be very cool in order to slice thinly).

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice the loaves thinly and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake until crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Let the crisps cool on a rack. If they aren't crunchy enough, return them to the oven set to 200 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen crisps.

Enjoy!
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

11 Dec 2017 3:31pm GMT

27 Nov 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Greek to Me & MyHeritage Special Offer

Do I look Greek to you? I don't think I do but my dad and my uncle both have olive skin and brown eyes, as did their mother who was sometimes misidentified as Italian. Recently I got a chance to try out one of those DNA tests and it estimated my ethnicity at 89.1% Ashkenazi Jewish, 2.2 Balkan and 8.7 Greek. The Ashkenazi and Balkan are not surprising but the Greek is. Of course, Greece isn't all that far away from Romania and I know that some of my ancestors did come from Romania.

If you would like to either take one of these DNA tests or give one as a gift, MyHeritage is offering the kit for half off the normal price, just $49 today only and you can get free shipping by going to https://www.myheritage.com/dna and using the code MHCOOKINGWITHAMY

Whether or not I'm Greek is up for debate since DNA tests cannot definitely determine your ethnicity, but they are fun. Also have I mentioned I love Greek food? Unfortunately many Greek restaurants in the US have rather limited menus. My two favorite Greek restaurants that go way beyond the most typical dishes are Kokkari in San Francisco Molyvos in NYC. And for rotisserie pita sandwiches or salads I frequent Souvla in San Francisco (don't miss their frozen Greek yogurt with baklava crumbles or Greek sour cherry syrup).


If you want to cook Greek food, I'd like to point you in the direction of two fantastic Greek food writers, Diane Kochilas and Aglaia Kremezi. They both have wonderful recipes on their websites. What I love about these two writers is that they really delve beyond the dishes everyone already knows and are part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Kochilas wrote Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die and Kremezi is author of Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts. I was fortunate enough to meet them at a culinary conference a few years ago. On my wish list? Taking Greek cooking classes from them in Greece, Kremezi teaches at Kea Artisanal and Kochilas teaches on Ikaria.

Disclaimer: I received the MyHeritage kit free of charge I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. This post does include affiliate links.
©2018 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

27 Nov 2017 9:02pm GMT