Thursday, January 24, 2019

Cali'flour Kitchen Eggs in a Basket #AbramsDinnerParty

As part of the Abrams Dinner Party, I've been getting a ton of cookbooks published by Abrams Books. This time around the book was Cali'flour Kitchen.

Cauliflower has gotten trendy these days, thanks in part to the low-carb movement using cauliflower to make pizza crust. I never tried that particular delicacy, but when I got the book Cali'flour Kitchen by Amy Lacey, I figured I'd be making some of that crust.

But then ... they also offered some of their pre-made crusts, so I just moved on to using them rather than making them. Easy peasy.

The book isn't ALL about the crusts, though - there are recipes for using cauliflower in all kinds of recipes, including soup, mashed cauliflower, buffalo cauliflower ... there are recipes for making and using cauliflower rice, and for using cauliflower in pretty much every was imaginable ... and some ways that I might not have imagined.

So, anyway, the pizza crusts arrived, I had no other plans for dinner, and I browsed the book to see what recipes I could make with what I had on hand.

First, I decided to try avocado toast because I happened to have avocado on hand. They had a pretty long list of variations, and like most avocado toast it starts with smearing mashed avocado on the toast. Or in this case, on the cauliflower pizza crust. The caprese version had tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I didn't have fresh basil, so I left that off. Another version had salsa.

I don't know that I'd ever consider combining avocado and cauliflower on a normal day, but I figured I'd give this a try, and it was certainly interesting. To be totally honest, I think I'd prefer regular toast, but then again I don't have issues with wheat flour. For folks who can't have wheat, these recipes - and the pre-made crusts - are a great option.

Next up, I tried the eggs in a basket, which were pretty familiar. Basically, you cut a round hole where you want the egg to nestle, then cook the egg and crust together in a skillet along with some cheese. You almost don't need a recipe for this, considering it's so simply, but since you'd be working with a cauliflower crust rather than bread, it's nice to have the tips for working for the crust.

After trying both recipes, I have to say that the eggs in a basket inspired me a bit more, because I happen to like the flavor of cauliflower and cheese together. I think it would be awesome with some roasted red peppers.

If you're going low carb or you need to stay away from gluten - and if you like cauliflower a lot, I think you'll enjoy this book. But that's not all. Every recipe indicates whether it's gluten free, grain free, paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, or dairy free.

Oddly, I'm none of those, but there are still a bunch of recipes that sound pretty interesting. Hello, cauliflower ... nice to eat ya!

Yes, I did get the book at crusts at no cost to me.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Chocolate Sorbet #AbramsDinnerParty

As part of the Abrams Dinner Party, I've been getting all of the cookbooks from Abrams Books at no cost to me. Yay, me. Send bookcases.

The most recent book to land with a thud on my doorstep was Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux.

The subtitle of the book is 100 Sun-Drenched Recipes, so of course I expected a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. And since Ibiza is an island off the coast of Spain, I expected seafood.

There were a couple potato recipes that looked pretty darned good (I kind of love potatoes and had a fresh bag of them waiting to be cooked), then I thought about making a lemon tart (mmm, lemon) or eggplant parmesan.

But then I found myself in the chocolate chapter, and I got stuck there. And then I saw the chocolate sorbet. I knew I had to make it.

This is a freakishly simple recipe with just a few simple ingredients. The result is pretty amazing. It's rich. Almost like a very cold ganache or a super-rich gelato. If I didn't tell you there was no dairy, you might assume it's simply a super-rich ice cream. It's not crazy sweet, but it's sweet enough. But still, you could serve it with something sweet, like the dulce de leche in the book, or maybe a pillow of sweetened whipped cream. But really, it's great on its own, although I really do suggest small servings. It's worth savoring.

Because this has so few ingredients, you'll want to choose a chocolate that you love, because that's what this is going to taste like.

The recipe calls for mineral water, which isn't something I ever have on hand, so I used plain old tap water. Next time I'm at the store, I'll grab some mineral water and see what difference it makes.

Since this book has a European heritage, it's assumed you're going to weigh the ingredients. I'm fine with that, but if you don't have a scale, you'll need to convert the weights to volumes. Some of the ingredients also needed a little translation, like the caster sugar called for in this recipe. I couldn't remember if caster sugar was granulated or powdered sugar, so I asked my cooking buddy Alexa who told me that it was a finely granulated sugar. I went with regular granulated sugar. It was supposed to melt, anyway, so it seemed like it would work.

This stuff is definitely a keeper.

Chocolate Sorbet
From Ibiza, Land and Sea by Francoise Pialoux

120 grams (4 ounces) caster sugar
200 grams (7 ounces) dark chocolate, 53-60% cocoa solids
80 grams (2 1/2 ounces) bitter chocolate powder

In a saucepan, combine the caster sugar (I used regular granulate sugar) with 1/2 liter (2 cups) mineral water. (I used tap water. Yes, I'm a risk taker!)

Heat over a moderate flame, stirring until the sugar has melted.

Now add the chocolate, broken into pieces, and mix. Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted.

Add the cocoa powder, stir, and allow to cool.

Pour into an ice cream maker or turbine to freeze.

Yup, I did get this book at no cost to me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Degusta Box, December 2018

Every month, I get a box of goodies from Degusta Box, so I can tell my readers all about it.

I usually write about it on my review blog, but I thought I'd move it over here for this month. It's all tasty food, and it would be awesome as a gift for yourself or a friend.

Each box is different, so it's a sure bet you'll find things that you've never seen before. Some you'll love, some you'll sample and decide it's not what you're looking for. But that's great, too, because sampling is fun, no matter what.

Speaking of samples, most of these items are full-size products, although sometimes there will be sample or snack sizes.

So, anyway, here's what was in the December box.

Garden of Life protein bar
Back when I used to spend a lot more time commuting, these kinds of bars really came in handy. Like, when traffic was at a standstill and I was getting grumpy hungry. Working from home has shortened my commute, but these things can come in handy for days when it's half past lunch and I need something to curb my appetite. I haven't tried this one yet, but the ingredients sounded good.

G.H. Cretors Popped Corn
Oh my. I got a couple snack-sized bags of the caramel and cheese mix which is insanely good. I need, like, a 55-gallon drum of this stuff to dive into. Seriously good snacking.

Sunspire SunDrops
These are candy-coated chocolate candies that are kind of like a big brand name you know, but these don't have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. I've had these before, and they're really nice. I've got a big bag here and I'm imagining that I'll bake them into cookies. Realistically, I'm just going to eat them as-is.

Campfire Marshmallows
Ah, marshmallows. These are great for Rice Krispies treats, for topping hot chocolate, or for all kinds of holiday baking and treats. Yum. I got a large bag of white marshmallows and a little bag of colored marshmallows. I'm not exactly sure how I'll use these, but they will get used.

Hu Chocolate
Seriously, who says no to chocolate? This is a vegan and paleo chocolate bar, so pretty much no one can say no to it, right? It's also free of pretty much all the things that people are allergic to. Yup, it's a chocolate bar that you can consider healthy.

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blend
I used to think that seasoning mixes were silly, because I have a lot of spices that I can mix on my own. Except when I'm cooking and I'm feeling lazy, the last thing I want to do is grab all those spices. And then put them back again. It's not fun. So, seasoning mixes have become a thing here. I got the "Poultry Magic" version which would also be lovely on pork. Or vegetables. It's got a little garlic and some herbs and it's a well-balanced and not-too-salty blend.

Vahdam Teas
I have a love-hate relationship with tea. I love tea. Hot tea, iced tea ... but sometimes I'll find one that's just ... oh, no. So I love sample packs, like the one that came in this box. So I can try a bunch of flavors and pick out the ones I like best to buy in larger quantities.

Dave's Gourmet sauce
I've been buying Dave's Gourmet products for quite some time, and I've never run into one I didn't like. This time around, it's a hot sauce that's great as a condiment, as a cooking sauce, or even as a dip. This one was nicey hot with notes of ginger and lime. But, hey, they've got a lot of flavors, so you can no doubt find at least one you love.

Bahlsen Iced Cinnamon Stars
Awwwww ... stars. These are a perfect little holiday cookie. From Christmas to Fourth of July, I guess. Or any time it's starry outside. And they've got cinnamon flavor, which is one of my favorites in baked goods.

Chimes chewy ginger candies
We all know that ginger is great for a rumbly tummy, but it's also a nice flavor in a candy. These are chewy and flavorful and great to have on hand as a little snack or an after-dinner treat.

Why yes, I did get this for free.