12 Days of Christmas – Turtle Dove Cheesecake

TURTLE DOVE CHEESECAKE

  • 24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
  • 6   Tbsp.  Butter or margarine, melted
  • 1   Pkg.  (14 oz.)  Caramels
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans
  • 3 Pkg.  (8 oz. each)Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1   Tbsp.  Vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2oz.  Dove Chocolate

Turtle Dove CheesecakeHEAT oven to 325°F.

MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch spring form pan.

MICROWAVE caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.

BAKE 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

MICROWAVE reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.

~ Courtesy of Janice Leary at St Frances Inn bed and breakfast, St Augustine, Florida. 

12 Days of Christmas – Swan Cream Puffs

The historic St. Francis Inn (circa 1791) treats their guests 365 days a year to complimentary evening desserts that are homemade and uniquely created for a perfect ending before bedtime. After guests enjoy their dinner or activities throughout St. Augustine, they enjoy returning to the comforting parlor or dining room, sipping a beverage and indulging their sweet tooth on something yummy and surprising from cook Janice Leary’s kitchen.

For Christmas 2014, once again the Inn’s themed desserts will be paired with one of the 12 Days of Christmas. Each of the desserts below pays homage to the English Christmas Carol that represents a series of increasingly grand gifts presented on each of the 12 days of Christmas.

The song, first published in England in 1780 was without music and offered as a chant or rhyme. Representative of that era – the St. Francis Inn was built in 1791!

swan cream puffs

SWAN CREAM PUFFS

Pastry Puffs Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
4 large eggs
Large zip-top bag
Directions

PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. In a small saucepan, bring water, butter, and sugar to a boil over high.

Immediately REMOVE from heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in all-purpose flour. Continue to stir until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, about 2 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes.

ADD eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until batter comes together. Transfer batter to a large zip-top bag; twist and squeeze bag so batter is in one corner. With scissors, snip a 1/2-inch opening in corner (or use a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round plain tip).

PIPE batter into desired size mounds, 1 inch apart, onto sheets. For heads, pipe candy cane shapes on to parchment paper. With a wet finger, smooth pointy tops. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until puffs are golden brown and feel light and hollow inside, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Filling:

2 Cups cold eggnog
1 box white chocolate pudding mix

PREPARE according to pudding directions. Let set, then scoop into halved puffs.

~ Courtesy of Janice Leary at St Frances Inn, Florida. 

How to Make Gnudi

Gnudi means “naked” as in an inside out ravioli. While a typical ravioli is filled with spinach and ricotta, gnudi is made entirely of the filling mixture, held together with a little flour. Its a great alternative to eating pasta, especially for those who are gluten free! Serve it with a sage-butter sauce as a delightful appetizer.

The recipe below is very easy to make. You don’t want to make gnudi day before as it may dry out.

gnudi recipe

Ingredients for Gnudi:

  • 1.5 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg yolks (leave out if vegetarian)
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup 00 pasta flour (more for dusting)

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves

Steam the spinach leaves in a large pot until they are fully cooked. Drain the spinach using a sieve and allow for all the water to soak through. The spinach should be cool and dry before its ready to use. If there’s water remaining, then the gnudi will not hold together. Chop the spinach roughly and keep aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add spinach, ricotta, nutmeg, parmesan, eggs, flour and salt. Mix well until the dough is of uniform consistency. It will be soft to touch. Using your hands, take a walnut size pinch of the dough and shape it into a ball. Sprinkle flour on your hands and the gnudi if it starts to feel sticky.

Keep aside the gnudi balls and sprinkle more flours.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil ( same way you would make pasta) and drop in prepared gnudi gently. The balls will be cooked once they rise to the surface of boiling water (about 5 minutes). Remove with a strainer spatula and keep aside. Make sure the excess water is drained.

To make the sauce, heat the butter in a fry pan. Once the butter starts to brown, add the fresh sage leave and cook them for 2-3 minutes until fried. Pour over the gnudi and serve immediately.

Here is the original recipe for GNUDI in Italian courtesy of Luisa Donati, at Montestigliano Società agricola s.r.l.

INGREDIENTI PER 4 PERSONE

  • 350g di ricotta
  • 1 kg di bietole o spinaci
  • Parmigiano grattugiato q.b.
  • Una spolverata di noce moscata
  • Sale q.b.
  • Farina q.b.
  • 40g di burro
  • Qualche foglia di salvia fresca

Lavare accuratamente le verdure e bollirle in poca acqua salata per circa 10 minuti.

Scolarle bene e lasciarle raffreddare nello scolapasta affinchè si elimini tutta l’acqua in eccesso; quindi strizzarle con cura fra le mani e tritarle grossolanamente con un coltello.

Mischiare in una terrina le verdure con la ricotta, aggiungere la noce moscata e il parmigiano, aggiustare di sale; deve risultare un composto omogeneo e abbastanza asciutto.

Formare con le mani infarinate delle polpettine grandi come una noce, infarinarle bene e posarle in un piatto spolverato di farina.

Agathe ́s apple and rhubarb cake

Agathe Devisme is an adventurers French lady married, who opened Ipiutaq Guest Farm at a remote location in South Greenland. She combines her French culinary heritage with farm grown ingredients, to create delicious homemade meals for her guests. Her passion for cooking and presentation is apparent on every plate she presents. The guest house sits on a sheep farm, with a backdrop of mountains and icebergs, and has only 2 rooms, so Agathe personally prepares all guest meals during their stay. While the scenery is breathtaking, the location remote, and the surroundings peaceful, Agathe’s food is enough reason to spend a few days in Ipiutaq!

agathe on her farm

Agathe has generously shared one of her recipes with us. This cake can be baked with apples and angelica sticks instead of rhubarb, depending on preference and availability. The recipe is below and you can see photos on her website.

Agathe’s Apple and Rhubarb Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 apples
  • 250 grams rhubarb sticks (or angelica sticks)

First dough

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3  tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Second dough

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 40 grams melted butter

Wash the rhubarb sticks and cut them into small pieces. Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices.

If you use angelica sticks, you have to slice them finely and boil them for approximatly 30 minutes, and then, cook them with sugar (half of angelica ́s weight) for approximatly 30 minutes.

Mix the egg, the butter and the milk or cream. Then add progressively the flour and baking powder until you get a smooth dough. Add the pieces of fruit to the mix.

Pour the dough in a round greased and floured cake tin and cook for 20 minutes in 225oC oven.

Take the cake out of the oven and pour the second dough on top. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Serve warm with vanilla custard or vanilla ice cream.

agate's cake recipe

~ Recipe courtesy of  Agathe Devisme, chef and proprietor of Ipiutaq Guest Farm in Greenland.

20 Homemade Tea Recipes

Tea production, tea brewing, tea ceremonies and tea drinking, are an integral part of many different cultures. Every region favors its own variety of tea leaves, depending on what is locally grown and available, as well as regional flavors. Here is a mind boggling glossary for tea lovers and wannabe’s from around the world. What better place to experience it than in the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul?

Tea_and_spices Istanbul_spice_market

 

1. ISTANBUL TEA

Istanbul Tea includes herbs (golden flower, roses, hibiscus) and fruits (orange, apple, strawberry) that gives sweet and sour taste. Istanbul tea can help you get the daily vitamins that your body needs by drinking a cup every day.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

2. ANTI-STRESS TEA
Anti-stress Tea includes herbs (melisa, chamomile, amaranth, rose, hibiscus and also cannabis tea) and fruits (orange, rosehip) that calms and relaxes. Anti -stress tea can help you to get a better quality time of sleep.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

3. OTTOMAN TEA
Ottoman Tea includes herbs (green tea, amaranth, cardamom, rose) and fruits (apple). Ottoman tea is good for digestion. You can drink it after a heavy meal to feel comfortable. It also helps your metabolism to be stronger.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

4. APPLE TEA
Apple Tea includes natural apples. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. After straining it, you can drink the tea and with the left overs you can make apple pie as mixing the leftovers with powdered sugar and laying on the pie-dough.

Cup-of-tea-circle

5. ORANGE TEA
Orange Tea includes natural orange peels. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

6. LEMON TEA
Lemon Tea includes natural lemon peels. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

7. VANILLA TEA
Vanilla Tea includes vanilla beans and black seylon tea.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also boil it with milk for 4-5 mins, strain it and put cinnamon powder on top to have “hot milkshake” . You can also use the boiled vanilla tea “milk” for your pudings to have “vanilla tea puding”.

Flowering-tea-1

8. GREEN TEA -JASMINE TEA
This tea includes green tea and jasmine flowers. Green tea is very good for immune system and jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

9. JASMINE FLOWERS TEA
This tea includes white jasmine flowers. Jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

rosehip

10. RED TEA
Red Tea includes herbs (hibiscus,rose) and fruits (cranberries, rosehip, pomegranate) that gives sweet and sour taste. These herbs and fruits gives strength and boosts immune system. Red tea is also written on many article as being effective on heart.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea. After cooling down the tea, you can pour it into empty ice tray to make red ice cubes. These red ice cubes goes really well with both alcoholic (such as vodka) and non-alcoholic (such as lemonade).

11. GREEN TEA
This tea includes green tea leaves. You can drink it by itself or you can add other teas into it such as orange, lemon, apple, jasmine tea.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

Turkish_tea

12. TURKISH TEA
To make Turkish tea you should use Caydanlik which is a small tea pot-brewer (demlik) on top of a kettle. Pour 3 cups of water into the larger kettle. Put the Turkish tea leaves and 2 tbsp of water into the teapot and place it on the kettle. Bring the water in the kettle to boil over medium heat. Then turn the heat off. Wait for the water to settle*, then pour half of the boiling water from the kettle over the leaves into the brewer. Let it brew for about 5 minutes**. Then pour the brewed tea into tea glasses using a small tea strainer. Fill in half of the tea glasses with the brewed tea and the rest with the hot water. Serve Turkish tea with sugar cubes.

* If you pour boiled water immediately over tea leaves, the tea will lose its vitamins. ** If you extend brewing time, the taste will get bitter. Also freshly brewed Turkish tea should be consumed within half an hour of brewing time.

13. LINDEN TEA
This tea includes linden flowers. Linden tea is very good for respiratory system especially on winter. Some of the articles say that linden helps losing the fat stocked in the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

14. SAGE TEA
This tea includes sage flowers. Sage tea is very good for respiratory system especially on winter. Some of the articles say that linden helps losing the fat stocked in the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

15. WHITE TEA
This tea includes white tea. White tea leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. White tea is very good to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, stronger bones and it is antibacterial, antioxidant and antivirus.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

16. POMEGRANATE TEA
This tea includes pomegranate buds or/and flowers. Pomegranate tea leaves and buds are dried under the sun. Pomegranate tea is very good for relaxing both nerves and stomach.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

17. ROSE TEA
This tea includes rose buds or/and flowers. Rose tea leaves and buds are dried under the sun before its open. Rose tea is very good for relaxing both nerves and stomach.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

18. JASMINE BALLS
This tea includes jasmine balls. Jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body. One of the ball can make a bowl of tea for 3-4 people. You can add more hot water on to make more tea at a time.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 of the ball, wait for 3-5 minutes and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

19. GREEN TEA-LEMON-MINT
This tea includes green tea, lemon peels and mint leaves. These three herbs are very good together for immune system, stomach and respiratory system.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

Indian chai in Kolkata

20. CHAI
This tea includes black seylon tea, cardamom and ginger. Home of the CHAI is India.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot milk, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make iced CHAI.

~ Courtesy of Ucuzcular Spice Team. The shop can be found at the world famous Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.

Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma Recipe

One of the most popular dishes in Turkish cuisine is Dolma, meaning stuffed. The Turks stuff all sorts of dried and fresh vegetables – eggplants, okra, peppers, zucchini, grape leaves with meat, rice and nuts. More than often, dolma is served as an appetizer, but it can also be eaten as light entree. Here is the recipe for one of my favorite dolmas, roasted and stuffed bell peppers, provided by Selin Rozanes of Turkish Flavors cooking classes and food tours in Istanbul. Slight variations can be found in Macedonian, Indian and American cuisine as well.

Turkish mezzo

Aromatic Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers with Olive Oil Recipe

Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma

  • 6 large green bell peppers
  • 1 cup rice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 2 tablepoons pine nuts
  • 1 table spoon dried mint
  • 6 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh chopped herb – parsley and dill

Turkish stuffed peppersFilling (Same filling can be used for grapevine leaves):

Put the currants in hot water to allow them to swell; drain and put to one side. Soak the rice in hot salted water for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a deep pan and gently sauté the pine nuts until golden. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add drained rice, currants and spices, stirring gently to ensure the rice grains are evenly coated. Add the 1 cup hot water, salt, and sugar, stir once and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the cooking liquid is absorbed and steaming bubbles appear on the surface of the rice. It is important not to stir the rice during this time. Remove from the heat, cover the top of the pan with a cloth, replace the lid and set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the herbs and combine gently with a wooden spoon. The rice stuffing is now ready in to vegetables of your choice!

Stuffing the vegetables:

Carefully cut a thin slice from the stem end of peppers and take out the seeds. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture with a spoon or your hand. Cut small pieces from 1 tomato to cover the top part of peppers. Press the tomato slice down a bit so that it won’t come out.

Place the dolmas in an oven safe dish which is at least as tall as dolmas. Pour 1 cup of boiling water on top.

Sauce:

Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, hot water, sugar and salt and pour over. First let it boil for 5 minutes on stove. Then, bake it in a 350F oven for 35-40 minutes until rice is cooked and tops are browned. Check them regularly if you don’t want to burn the tops. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.

Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma

~ Recipe courtesy of Selin Rozanes, founder of  Turkish Flavors. The Istanbul based culinary company organizes food tours, cooking classes and team building activities. Check them out on Facebook Turkish Flavours and Turkish Cooking Classes Istanbul and Twitter Turkish Flavours.

10 Things You Must Eat at Your Tuscan Villa

Last week I wrote about staying at a Tuscan Villa in Italy where I enjoyed very authentic meals using ingredients that were grown on the farm or sourced from nearby villages. I enjoyed my trip so much and got the most out of my visit by going on one of the Tours of Tuscany. It let me see all the best parts of Tuscany in just one day! During the one week stay, I was able to get a glimpse of what Italians eat and the proper etiquettes to eat them. I was also dining with the locals during all of the meals, so it was easy to verify the technique of cooking and eating these dishes. Some of the recipes are available on Go Eat Give.

1. Prosciutto and Cheese: A Tuscan meal starts with Salumi and cheese platter. An appertivo cocktail, prosecco or Rose wine accompanies it. Besides your table cheese, you can also serve rich cream of pecorino and sheep cheese from Sardinia.

cheese tasting Italy

2. Raw Fava: Whole raw Fava beans are generally stacked in the middle of the table for everyone to share. You are suppose to grab a few strings, peel them, dip the beans in a little salt, and eat with bread and cheese. The beans are hard and dry so much of the flavor comes from the salt.

fava beans with salt

3. Olive Oil: We always had generous portions of salad, generally served toward the end of the meal. This simple salad of rugola (arugula), black olives, chopped tomatoes, red bell peppers and shaved pecorino cheese is dressed with Montestigliano brand olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. All the olives are grown and pressed at the farm, and has a spicy sharp flavor. I highly recommend doing an olive oil tasting so you can distinguish the color, fragrance and taste of different kinds of olive oil.

Mediterranean salad

4. Spianata: Hearty foccacia is cooked in the oven with a hint of salt, rosemary and olive oil. I especially liked Spianata al forno a legna con ciccioli di maiale (flat bread with pork fat made in a wood oven) which had a flaky buttery texture.

Spianata al forno

5. Farro Salad: Grains are a big part of the Italian diet. The farms grow and harvest wheat, faro, arborio and store them for year round consumption. Farro salad with roasted red peppers, chopped parsley and olive oil served on a baby bib lettuce makes for a visually appealing yet healthy side dish.

farro

6. Conchiglie al Forno: During one of the al fresco lunches, I had baked conchilie pasta al forno, pasta shells cooked with zucchini and benchémel sauce, sprinkled with pecorino cheese and baked in the oven till light brown. It was garnished with fresh basil leaves and tasted divine!

Conchiglie

7. Pinolata Senesce: For Easter dinner, the family prepared a special treat – pinolata senesce or Tuscan pine nut cake from Siena. The creamy cake had a light flaky crust and soft jam center. It was dusted with powdered sugar and lots of toasted pine nuts.

Pinolata Senesce

8. Torta Budino al Cioccolato: This was not your ordinary chocolate cake, as the bottom was a little soggy and bursted with strong dark chocolate and orange flavors. I pleaded the chef to tell me what was her secret ingredient – vanilla, orange liquor, rum? Find out for yourself as she grudgingly shared her recipe.

Torta Budino al Cioccolato

9. Crostata: I ate a lot of crostatas during my week in Tuscany. A crostata is an Italian cross between a tart and a pie. It is a rustic pastry made with butter, sugar, flour and eggs and filled with whatever fruits that are available in the season. Apricot jams, apples, plums, elderberries, tomatoes and nuts are some of the inspiring flavors for the crostata. It was served for breakfast, dessert and snacks, but I’m not complaining!

Crostata

10. Cantucci: Otherwise know as almond biscotti or Italian cookies, the only way to eat them is by dipping in Vin Santo dessert wine. The hard biscotti become moist and sweet after a few seconds in the late-harvest wine. It melts in your mouth with a delicious alcohol kick to it. Please do not dip cantucci in coffee or order a cappuccino after a meal as this is a no-no in Italian culture!

CantucciI went for a food tour of Tuscany as a guest of the Donati family. You can book a similar trip directly through Luisa Donati. Rent one of the villas located on the family farm, Montestigliano. During your stay, visit the bio gas station, do a blind olive oil tasting, talk to local producers, go Truffle hunting, learn to make pasta, have a home cook prepare your meals, and dine with the locals.

Read more about my travels in Italy.

Asian Heritage Month at The Coca Cola Company

Celebrating Asian Heritage Month at The Coca Cola Company with our first major event – with Sucheta Rawal
founder of nonprofit organization Go Eat Give
image001

Recipes from today:

Gado Gado – Gado-Gado is famous green beans dish from the island of Bali, Indonesia.

Copyright Go Eat Give

Aloo Papri Chat – Potatoes and Dough Chips mixed with Tamarind and Yogurt sauce. Popular snack food in India and Nepal.

papdi-chaat

Nepali Chicken Chhoila – Grilled Meat Marinated with Nepalese Spices and Garnished with Onions, Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro. Popular Snack with Beer/Wine

chicken choiliya

Some of the food was sponsored by Himalayan Spice Restaurant

San Diego’s Obsession With The Beet Salad

During my recent visit to San Diego for the Travel and Adventure Show, I dined at some of the most reputable restaurants in the city. I was delighted to find that many of the places cooked with fresh, high quality, farm to table ingredients that included locally sourced vegetables and meat.

San Diego is blessed with temperate climate, abundant sunshine and varied topography that allows for a variety of foods to grow year-round. Beets are in season during the winter and spring, although the chefs I inquired told me, “San Diego folks ask for it year round” and every restaurant is unofficially required to have beets on their menu. Apparently, the locals complain when they don’t see “beet salad.” Nothing wrong with that since beets are one of the healthiest vegetables out there. They are rich in antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and cancer-fighting agents.

Trust me, after 5 days of noticing the beet salad at every venue, I started to think that all the chefs in San Diego area must have received some sort of a memo about it. Here are some of the variations I discovered…

Hotel del Coronado‘s flagship ocean front seafood restaurant, 1500 Ocean served homemade burrata (Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream), with heirloom beets and valencia oranges, tossed in Temecula (a city in California) balsamic.

beet salad with goat cheese
beet salad with goat cheese

Prep Kitchen in Little Italy’s version included fresh baby spinach, satsuma (Japanese mandarin), avocado, goat cheese, whole pistachios, with a gentle dressing of balsamic vinaigrette. It tasted more like a salad with beet as an important ingredient hiding below the spinach leaves.

Amaya, the Mediterranean restaurant at Grand Del Mar, took a slight twist on the classic recipe. Their Roasted Beet Salad was a simple concoction of pickled shallots, tangerine, goat cheese, molasses-candied walnuts and mache (French name of the edible salad green Valerianella locusta).

My favorite was this elegant creation by Chef Jason Knibb of Nine-Ten Restaurant, located at at Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla. Red and yellow baby beets were adorned with a light goat cheese pudding, shaved fennel, smoked oranges, drizzled with citrusy beet vinaigrette, and sprinkled with pistachio and cacao crumble. I would have never thought of using cacao dust for garnish but its an ingenious idea. The dish was a symphony for all the senses.

nine ten la jolla

The chefs in San Diego have inspired me to cook Beet Salad at home more often. Here is a simple recipe that I have created using all that my tastebuds have guided me from this trip.

Easy Beet Salad Recipe:

Soak the beets in water with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, then scrub them well. Cut them into quarters and boil in water for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked but not too tender. If a sharp knife can go through easily, the beets are good enough to use in salad. Drain water and cool. You can also use them raw if you like.

In a large bowl, combine any greens (Boston lettuce, Bibb lettuce, Baby spinach), with fresh chopped oranges, diced avocados, crumbled goat cheese and roasted pistachios. Add good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, toss gently and serve immediately.

Difference between Spanish and Mexican paella

If you missed my presentation at Taste of Travel stage at the San Diego Travel Adventure Show, you didn’t get to taste my delicious paella. But all is not lost. You can still watch some clips from the show and follow along the recipe below.

Paella is a rice based dish that was invented in the mid 19th century around Lake Albufera, which is in the Valencia region in the East coast of Spain. Paella means a round “pan,” that is shallow, made of steel and has two handles. You can find paella pans at pretty much every kitchen equipment store, but a wok or flat deep dish would also do.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a national dish of Spain. In fact, most people in Spain don’t even eat paella unless it’s a special occasion. It has gained a lot of popularity around the world and still considered a delicious entree. There are mainly three types of paella – Valencia, seafood, mixed and others. Paella was traditionally cooked by men over open fire fueled by orange and pine branches and pine cones.

toasted rice on the bottom, called socrarrat, was considered a delicacy

Trivia: In 2001, Juan Galbis in Spain created the largest paella that served 110,000 people.

taste of travel san diego

The difference between Spanish and Mexican paella is that the Mexican version is spicier and soupier. It also does not have saffron, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing the most expensive spice in the world. Mexican paella is cooked using parboil rice. If you frown upon cooking with parboil rice, you must not know that it contains 80% of nutrients of brown rice (as it is rice with husk on boiled). This is how 50% of the world eats its rice. 

As the Mexican paella is spicy it uses Arbol (chile de arbol) in the recipe. Arbol is a small and potent red chili that is commonly used to decorate wreaths. It is also known as tree chile, bird’s beak or rat’s tail chile. If you cannot find Arbol, Cayenne is a good substitute.

Another difference is that we use white wine in the broth for Spanish paella, whereas beer is used in Mexican paella (preferable Mexican beer). Other ingredients include seafood (Clams/ shrimp/ mussels) that must be properly washed and spicy Mexican chorizo that is mashed up into the sauce as well. 

The Mexican paella is an easy dish to prepare and makes for a great one meal dinner. It can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Here’s our easy and authentic Mexican paella recipe that you can try out at home.