good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Month: April 2014

52 Weeks: 17/52

52 Weeks: 17/52

After planes, trains, and automobiles, we’ve finally arrived in Spain. It was a long flight and after that, another lengthy train ride to arrive in San Sebastian. Here’s what we’ve been up to: At the Frankfurt airport waiting to hop on the final flight to […]

52 Weeks: 16/52

52 Weeks: 16/52

Hi there! This week was especially jam-packed with more busy work than ever, mostly just getting stuff done in preparation for much deserved time off. There was far more indoor time than outdoor exploration but it was all good: It was a nice day to […]

Molten Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Thyme Sauce

Molten Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Thyme Sauce

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Every day I crave chocolate. I need a little something sweet to round off my meal and feel satisfied. Without it, I’m itchy for just a taste and it’s like wearing a wool sweater if I don’t satisfy that craving. Despite obvious lack of restraint, I do treat myself in moderation so when I do get my treat I don’t devour the entire thing in two seconds. And, I usually don’t want anything fancy or trendy. Just a plain slice of chocolate cake will do just fine. That’s why this recipe for the good old standby molten chocolate cake is perfect for me. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it easy and predictable. No frills. Of course, you can dress it up for company with some fresh blackberry thyme sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Now, that’s indulgent.

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Blackberry Thyme Sauce:

1/3 cup sugar

water

1 cup fresh blackberries

1 T fresh thyme

In a small saucepan, add the sugar and add just enough water to make a sandy consistency. If there are sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan, make sure to wash them down with additional water. This is important because the crystals will make the entire batch crystallize once sugar starts to boil. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium.

Cook until sugar and water until it reaches a light caramel color. Turn heat down to low, and add the blackberries and thyme. This will make the sugar seize up, but that’s ok. Slowly heat everything on low heat, mash the berries, and gently stir until mixture becomes smooth. Remove from heat and let steep for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and chill in the refrigerator.

Molten Chocolate Cake:

from Food & Wine Magazine

yield: 4 individual servings

4 oz unsalted butter

6 oz bittersweet chocolate

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

2T all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter and lightly flour four 6-oz ramekins. Tap out excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.

In a bain marie, melt chocolate and butter. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt at high speed until thick and pale.

Whisk the chocolate and butter until smooth. Quickly fold in the egg mixture along with the flour. Ladle batter into ramekins and bake for 12 minutes or until the sides are firm but centers are soft and jiggly. Let cakes cool in ramekins for 1 minute, then invert and unmold onto a plate.

Garnish with blackberry thyme sauce and softly whipped cream.

Sweet Potato and Chard Galette with Ossau-Iraty Cheese

Sweet Potato and Chard Galette with Ossau-Iraty Cheese

If you’ve never had a galette, you need to get this in your repertoire. It is seriously a great thing to have in your pull-it-out-of-your-@ss arsenal for things to make on the fly. All you need is a good, reliable pate brisee (simple pie crust) […]

52 Weeks: 15/52

52 Weeks: 15/52

Hello again! This week was filled with a few more exciting days than the last. After all, change is welcome and more fun is encouraged around here. So, let’s have at it: Spending some time across the border. No trip is complete without a fresh […]

Asparagus Salad with Avocado Meyer Lemon Dressing

Asparagus Salad with Avocado Meyer Lemon Dressing

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Spring is here but these past couple of days feel more like summer with the 80 degree temperature we are having. When it’s warm out, sometimes all I want is a fresh and flavorful salad; crisp and cold, of course. The local farmer’s market down the street had tender asparagus, delicate greens, and lots of radishes. They also have the very best and most beautiful kale and rainbow chard which I couldn’t resist.

I wanted to keep the freshness and natural flavors as much as possible in this salad and not over dress and drown out my earthy greens. I am a lover of salad dressing and tend to be way too liberal in my application so I was proud of myself for showing some restraint here. Besides, this avocado oil and meyer lemon dressing is best when just barely drizzled atop to give a hint of flavor since the avocado oil is a touch in the smoky side.

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Avocado Meyer Lemon Dressing:

yield: 2-3 servings

1 T fresh meyer lemon juice

3 T avocado oil

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine lemon juice, avocado oil and garlic in a dish and whip with a fork until emulsified. You’ll know when it’s emulsified when the dressing turns opaque and it looks homogenous. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Salad:

1/2 bunch asparagus, steamed but not soft. You want it to be slightly crunchy.

1 bunch mixed salad greens

1/2 avocado, sliced thin

Ricotta salata cheese, grated (just enough for garnish, approx 2 T)

Toast the ricotta salata in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat. Keep moving the cheese with a spatula so it doesn’t burn. When it turns golden in color, remove from heat and place in a small dish, set aside.

Place the greens on the bottom of the dish and layer 8-10 asparagus stalks on top. Follow with half of the sliced avocado and fan it out. Sprinkle with toasted ricotta salata and drizzle the dressing over. Enjoy!

Not Your Amusement Park Churros: Savory Edition

Not Your Amusement Park Churros: Savory Edition

On a recent jaunt to Tijuana, we had dinner at a new- to- us restaurant. To start things off, we had some drinks and along with our libations came a small dish of crunchy churros. They were made with blue corn and looked like these […]

52 Weeks: 14/52

52 Weeks: 14/52

This week went by quick which is always a good sign, but then the weekend speeds by even faster. Here’s what I was up to: The view from Cowell’s Mountain is spectacular. We took a late afternoon walk up here for the first time. It […]

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