The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

11:14 AM

Our Guest Post on - Ancient Fire Wine

Posted by Food Pear-ings

The Ardent Epicure's
Guest Post on - Ancient Fire Wine

What's for Lunch? - Handmade Flour Tortillas,
Tomatillo Salsa and Fresh Guacamole 

We were pleased to do a Guest Post for Jason and Margot
over at Ancient Fire Wine. On their blog, they chronicle adventures in wine
making, food pairings and more. Jason is a Certified Sommelier, and there is a
list of award winning wines that have been produced. Please take a look here
for additional information on these award winning wines... 
P.S. There are also beers and pairing for them on their site.

So here to day I will leave you with a few photos, and we can stop
by to ask Jason for the best pairing :)

If you have never tried handmade tortillas, they are easy and quick.
Stop by our Guest Post to learn how and take a look around at some fun
and wonderful wine pairings and information at Ancient Fire Wine.


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10:07 PM

A Food Art Showing - Guest Post by Carol Egbert

Posted by Magic of Spice

The Art of Food Blogging
Please allow me to introduce a very talented member of our Food World .
Carol Egbert of
Carol is a most talented artist, and for our Foodie pleasure she has given us an
 abundance of most pleasing watercolors as well as graphic designs. 
Plus some favorite food delights, as in her 50's food recipes.
She resides in Vermont,  is a mom and wife as well as most talented artist...
It is such a pleasure to have Carol join us here... 

Please welcome Carol...

I have always been interested in cooking. I like to make food that tastes
 good and the way things look is as important as how they taste. Perhaps that is 
because I am a painter who cooks and I am a cook who blogs…
I use my watercolor paintings to illustrate my blog.
 Sometimes an image has a direct connection to a recipe I post as in my post Buttermilk is Cool

and sometimes it's a whimsical choice, as in my post for
  Linguini with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Recently I found a cookbook published in Vermont in 1954. It's filled with recipes
 and hints that reflect what was happening in kitchens in the 1950s.
 I have been combining selections from this cookbook with
my paintings to create posts. Here’s one for a
Peanut and Bacon Sandwich

I also design bookmarks, labels and notecards that can be downloaded and
 printed for free. I call these PIN’s and - PIN means "Print It Now". 
When you visit my blog you'll see PIN - Print It Now in the column on the left 
under the basket of blueberries. I hope you find something there you like.

Thanks to Alisha, Adam and Grely for inviting me share some of my paintings 
in this guest post. Carol Egbert

And thank you Carol for sharing with us :)
Please note: Carol's work has a copyright. Please contact the owner for
any intent to use (c) Carol Egbert 

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Grand Marnier Cheesecake Mousse
with Caramelized Nectarines and Mango,
 plus an Award
OK, well wow, do I need to keep this short. We have been honored
with The Versatile Blogger Award, and you will see that below...
So just some quickies about this dish..,I did use something that may be a bit unique
 here. The faux crust (or crumble) is of a peanut flour.
This flour it is lower in fat and gluten free for those that are conscientious.
High in protein, potassium, fiber and a number of minerals. out great
for any number of dishes and baked goods calling for flour.
Before I get on to the recipe and award, I would like to say a few things.
To all of our friends out there that show us so much love and support...
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, you not only mean everything
to us...but you are what makes us what we are. As a younger blog, we are
always so amazed by this support as well as honored. We cherish you and hope
that we continue to  give you posts worthy of this honor.
So now after my blab :) On to the dessert...Funny last award was a mousse to :)

What you will need:
For the crust:
3/4th cup peanut flour
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or extract
Pinch of sea salt

For the cheesecake mousse:
No Bake :)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons Gran Mernier
3/4 cups whipped cream

For the caramelized fruit:
2-4 nectarines 
1-2 mangoes 
(note depending on is you want more for sides) 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4th teaspoon vanilla paste

Let's get cooking:
OK, this is so simple, it really should not look or taste so good :)
For the crust:
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, (note start with 2lbs butter)
Increase butter until dough can for a soft dough/paste
Layer you dough onto an oven proof platform
(I used the bottom of a spring-form pan)
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees(F), about 10 minutes,
or until just golden brown. Set aside to cool...

For the cheesecake:
With a hand mixer or in a food processor.
Blend together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl,
 except whipped cream.
Blend until smooth and completely incorporated.
Now in a separate mixing bowl, make your whipped cream by whipping the
heavy  cream until softly peaked.
Now just add the whipped cream to your blended cheesecake mixture,
by gently folding them together until incorporated.

Now, take your cooled crust mixture and place into the bottom
of your desired serving dish. Mold this a bit to form a crust like structure.
Then add your cheesecake mousse filling, leaving room for your caramelized fruit.
Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour, best if longer.

So, while your cheesecake mixture is a chillin'... Start you caramelized fruits.
Now I had to caramelize these fruits separably, but you do not have to
unless you happen to have a non-lover of mango (?) Anyway here is what you do...
Melt your burrer in  a skillet, once melted add the brown sugar.
Now add your sliced fruit and cook, stirring frequently
until the fruit is softened and coated.
Cool to room temperature place on top of cheesecake mousse

And Serve:

Now for the Award!
The Versatile Blogger Award
This is the second Versatile Blogger Award that The Ardent Epicure
has been honored with :) This is such a wonderful award for a variety of
reasons, my favorite of which is that each recipient pays this award forward to
some of their favorite newly discovered blogs. This giving our friends a chance to
discover new sights that they may otherwise not have come across. 
As well as giving us the opportunity to discover other sites that the 
giver of the award has chosen to honor.

The rules for excepting this award are: 1. Thank the person that gave it to you.
2. List 7 things about yourself , and team members if you have them.
3. Pass on to 10 bloggers that are new to you and you admire.

This award presented to us by:
This lovely award was presented to us by Shirley of Shirley's Luxury Haven
Shirley resides in Singapore and has quite literally traveled the world, this
shows in the rich and abundant diversity of her posts. I will not go too far here as I
 do not wish to leave anything out. May I suggest that when visiting Shirley you take
 a moment to view her profile first, I feel this will add a richness to your experience :)
You will have no trouble spending an entire afternoon or more devouring her site.
So to Shirley, we most graciously and humbly except this gift from you...
We are truly honored and look forward to many more years of enjoyment with you.
Seven things about us:
1. We are a team of three members - Consisting of ;
Truffle Shuffle = Adam, Sugar and Spice = Grely, Magic of Spice = Alisha
2. Truffle Shuffle - Is never without a cup of coffee
3. Truffle Shuffle - Is a drummer
4. Sugar and Spice - Is a former volleyball coach
5. Sugar and Spice - Loves reality shows
6. Magic of Spice - Loves champagne
7. Magic of Spice - Preferred attire (on her day off) is her pajamas

Our choices to pass this award to are:
These are a few of our more recently discovered and loved sites.
Here are ten sites that we wish to pass this honor to for their
versatility in many different forms. Whether it be in types of posts, recipes,
photos, or any given number of delights that make them who they are....
These are not in any particular order and some are non English speaking sites.
Please take the time to translate them if you are not familiar with the language,
I absolutely promise you will not be sorry you took the extra moment :)

1. Mi otra ella  (Spanish) Itzi, gorgeous photos, and the! She has a section
on her site that allows you to request a recipe! The site is new May 2010 I believe?
2. Mangiabella (English) The photography is always stunning, the posts poetic and lively.
This site is also from May 2010...A delight of energetic passion for food to be sure:)
3. Tuga gourmet  (Portuguese) Tiago, has multiple sites actually, and each is a delight
and tribute to culture and cuisine. You can view links to the other sites from here.
4. La cucina di Federica  (Italian) Federica , a vast array of dishes, but oh those
 sweets and the cakes... indescribable, a must see...Such talent...
5. Kitchen Flavours  (English) from Malaysia. Wow the flavor pairings are divine.
Unique and always beautiful dishes.
6. Saveurs et Gourmandises  (French) Nadji, the photography is always stunning,
and the dishes exquisite. Her site has my French genes in a frenzy :)
7. Alison's Trials  (Romanian) Simona, beautiful blog with beautiful photos,
recipes, stories and more. Always a treasure :)
8. Les Platsromaines (French) Culorile din farfurie (Romaine) Sarah and Miki.
Two sites with extraordinary dishes a must visit for any food lover :)
9. Lexibule (French)  Belle ! I am not sure what else to say. The photography is
absolutely gorgeous, and the dishes are varied and wonderful...
10. Cajun Delights   (English) Marguerite, wants some southern comfort? Well
here you go...Always entertaining and oh so fabulous dishes :)

Well there you go...please take a moment to visit if you are not already
familiar, each site is a beauty for a variety of reasons.

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3:07 AM

Gift Certificate Winner!

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

CSN Stores Gift Certificate Results

A winner has been drawn at random for our giveaway.  The winner is:

You have won a gift certificate in the amount of sixty dollars redeemable from any CSN stores site!  I will send you a confirmation e-mail, and you will be contacted by a representative from CSN stores regarding telling you how to redeem your prize.
Congratulations, and enjoy your gift!

Hopefully we will be able to host another giveaway very soon, and I would very much like to be able to do something international.  Thank you for all of the entries, and thanks for all of the wonderful comments and suggestions!

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5:26 PM

What's for Dinner? - Fresh Lobster with Drawn Butter

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

Five-Pound Monster Lobster
with Lemon and Clarified Butter

Lobster Claw

I was looking to make something special for dinner the other night, so after some discussion, we finally decided on lobster.  We went to a local Asian market that has fresh live seafood ranging from lobster to crabs, prawns, tilapia, clams, oysters, and more.  Everything looked beautiful, but the lobster is our kind of shellfish!  
We asked for two lobsters, and the fishmonger pulled out one male and one humongous, monster female (not that the male was not also large!)  Considering the size of these babies, I decided we only needed one, so we took the female, and he wrapped her up for us. She was a whopping five pounds!  Larger than our smaller cat.

Live Lobster

We took her home, and I placed her on a bed of ice, as you can see in the image.  The ice helps to calm her and put her into a semi-sleeping state.  Do not ever put a lobster in fresh or tap water without salt, since the saltwater lobster cannot live in this state, and will quickly die.

Lobster Lovin'

I brought a large stockpot of water with salt to a boil, leaving room for the lobster.  Once the water was at a raging boil, I carefully placed the lobster into the water (she did not fit well!), and placed the lid on the top, bringing it back to a boil.  It was cooked for approximately twenty-five to thirty minutes.
I served the lobster simply with fresh lemon juice and drawn butter.  It was absolutely delicious!  There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh lobster, and this one had enough meat to feed all four of us very well.  

Cooked Lobster

When you take a lobster out of the water, pay careful attention to its tail.  When cooking, the lobster's tail will curl under its body, and will stay that way during and after cooking.  If you have a cooked lobster with an unfurled tail, the lobster died before cooking.  Lobster meat goes bad extremely quickly, and they must be cooked alive.  Never eat a lobster that was dead before it was cooked.  Note that the one exception to this is if the lobster is killed by piercing it through the head immediately before cooking. 

Tail meat

As an interesting side note, this lobster was carrying eggs, and we were able to scoop the coral-colored roe out after cooking.  The lobster carries tens of thousands of eggs, only a small percentage of which have any chance of surviving in the wild waters.

Lobster Plate


P.S. Don't forget only a few more days for our Give Away, if you have not entered already just click here

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11:30 PM

What's for Dinner? Grilled Kobe Tri Tip

Posted by Food Pear-ings

Family Night Dinner with The Ardent Epicure
Grilled Kobe Tri Tip, Red Quinoa,
a Summer Salad and more

Well it seems that summer has been slow coming, at least here in Southern California.
Until the last few days we have been in a deep June Gloom...Well the fog has lifted...
Here at the beach, there is still the morning overcast, but the afternoons have
 been heating up. We now have loads of the ever so famous California sunshine :)

Now normally Family Time Dinner is not something we think about posting,
however we have a couple of lovely stars worthy of a mention. One being
these beautiful white asparagus, second a perfect kobe tri tip steak.

There however is one thing missing from Family Time, and that is our show...
We record on the dvr the show Modern Family, and this has been a tradition
since the shows first airing. This is now called "Our 15 minutes of family time"
(30 minute show, recorded - commercials = 15 minutes family time)

OK, we know, we are nerds, but it is a very funny show :)
If you are already not familiar,postings under "Food Pear-ings" are when
two or all three members cook together...This is another non-recipe post,
with the exception of the salad dressing. The ingredients speak for themselves here.

What you will need:
So here we will tell you what we used and what we did...

For the salad:
 Red tip leaf and leaf lettuces
Tangelos, pealed and sectioned
Yellow bell peppers, sliced
Kalamata olives, pitted
Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Arrange as desired
TAE summer dressing, on the side

For the Red Quinoa:
Red quinoa
Replaced 1/4 cup of water with fresh tangelo juice
1-2 dried red peppers
Cook as directed for approximately 20 minutes
In a covered sauce pan

For the kobe tri tip:
1-2 pounds kobe tri tip steak
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt
Cut steak in half lengthwise (if it is a thick steak)
Tenderize with a meat tenderizer for a bit
Baste with olive oil mixture
Grill on a hot grill at high heat,
until outer side is seared and crusted, 
with meat at a medium rare

For the white asparagus:
Fresh white asparagus, trimmed
Cook until tender
Salt and pepper to taste

For the The Ardent Epicure summer salad dressing:
Blend of extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil and
White balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime, and 1/4 zest
1 nectarine, pitted
Salt, pepper, and Italian dry herbs to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth

For the tangelo tinged butter sauce:
Butter, cubbed
Zest of 1/4 tangelo
A few leaves of fresh sage, chopped
Slowly melt butter with additional ingredients
Pour through a fine strainer, reserve butter

You will notice that very little is done for prep as far as the tri tip.
The kobe beef tri tip is highly marbled and intensely flavorful,
so the less the better...For more information on this type of beef please
see our Food of the Week post on Wagyū beef...

Dinner is served :)
Grilling credits - Truffle Shuffle
Shopping credits - Magic of Spice
Served with more of the Red Dragon Cheese :)

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12:09 AM

Make a Comment, Win Big!

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

CSN Stores Giveaway

WIN A $60 Gift Certificate!

That's right, you could be a winner just for reading and commenting on this post today.  CSN stores has authorized us to give away a gift certificate that can be used on any of their 200+ sites, to purchase such items as dinnerware, cooking supplies, and other home goods.  Check out a couple of the great items I found when visiting their sites:

Zwilling JA Henckles Twin Four Star 7" Hollow Edge Santoku  
$89.95 (with free shipping)

Uttermost Chafetz Canister and Tray Set in Distressed Chestnut
$173.80 (also free shipping)

Check out some of the other great products at!

The Details
The gift certificate will be for sixty dollars ($60) US, and will be redeemable from any of CSN Stores 200+ sites.  The winning reader will be contacted with information regarding redeeming their prize after the winner has been chosen.

How to Enter
Reply to this post, and include the following:
1) Your e-mail address (this will be used only to contact you if you win)
2) One thing your would like to see on our site, or something you would like to see more of on our site (optional).
*3) You must have a valid shipping address in either the U.S. or Canada to sign up.  CSN Stores only ships to these countries.  For those of you outside that area, perhaps we will be able to extend an international offer at a later date.  But for now, this drawing applies only to those in the U.S. or Canada.
4) Each user may only be entered once.  Any user attempting to sign up more than once, by using multiple names or otherwise, will be disqualified.  

That's it!  If you meet these requirements, you will be entered into a drawing, and the winner will be chosen at random.
The winner will be announced one week from the date of this post:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010.  So please have your comments posted by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time, GMT - 8 hours) on the 24th to be eligible.

*Please note that CSN Stores has indicated
that there may be shipping charges or international fees in the case of Canadian addresses.  If you win and your product(s) will be shipped to a Canadian address, please be aware of this.

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9:09 PM

Our Guest Post on - Chow and Chatter

Posted by Magic of Spice

The Ardent Epicure's
Guest Post on - Chow and Chatter 

Lead photo for the guest post (and a shamless plug of my art work, ha ha)

OK, so anyone that is even vaguely familiar with me knows that I get silly excited
whenever something special happens. And today as far as special events,
being invited by Rebecca Subbiah of Chow and Chatter  to do a Guest Post ...
Rebecca is one of our newer foodie friends, and we so love her site...
Can you see me gushing virtually? I can not begin to explain how honored we are :)
Now I am sure that most, if not all of you are already familiar with Chow and Chatter...
But for anyone who is not, please let me try to introduce Rebecca to you..
She is a Dietitian by credentials as well as the VP for Triad Guide .
And there so much more, including a Radio Show with Chow and Chatter.
As well as a Mom and Wife...(When I can barely handle posting, she does all of this)
How she has time for this, we may never know :)

The ingredient photo collage 

 If you are not already a fan,
you will be. Please stop by and say hello, and if you have time
 please check out our guest post. :) You will see the recipe for this dish,
 as well as a few unknown tidbits about the members of The Ardent Epicure :)

The finale in what sunshine there was...

So, here I have posted some of the additional photos...

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Flan with Homemade Caramel ~
A Trial with Three Tales

I had decided to try a Spanish Flan that differs from a flan popular in the Philippines. This flan differs primarily in the use of whole eggs versus egg yolks only. This recipe is adapted from a "Traditional Spanish Flan" recipe found on the internet. As this is a dessert that is popular in many areas over the globe, we will not be critiquing the recipe solely on it's own basis, as we do not know if the validity of the term "Traditional Spanish Flan" is accurate. The Ardent Epicure as a team will be critiquing this final dessert at the end of this post. (Really just for fun).
This recipe is for a traditional Spanish-style flan with caramel. Please note that the adaption portions are as follows. 1. The recipe called for adding water to the caramel process, this did not work, so was adjusted and reflected below. 2. The recipe did not call for a water bath during the baking process, and this was adjusted.

1 1/2 cups of sugar
8 eggs
1 can of condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt (fine sea salt was used here)

Set five mini ramekins near your stove  (you will want them close at hand).
To create the caramel is a very simple task.  Just place a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Next, pour one cup of the sugar into the pan.  Stir the sugar constantly (this is very important), making sure nothing sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan.
After a short time, the sugar will begin to melt, becoming clumpy.  After this, the clumps will begin to melt.  Continue stirring until all of the clumps have melted, and the sugar is entirely in liquid form.  At this point, the sugar should be light brown (caramel) in color, and entirely transparent.
Immediately pour the sugar equally into the ramekins, then use a spoon or other utensil to spread some up the sides.  The caramel will begin to harden extremely quickly, so you have to be fast.  Don't worry, though: it won't stay hard.

This simple caramel can be used for many desserts.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Blend the remaining ingredients (including the remaining half cup of sugar) in a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer.
Take a metal strainer, and strain the mixture into the ramekins equally, on top of the caramel, ensuring that you don't overfill them.
Set the ramekins into a deep baking pan or dish large enough to hold them all, filling the baking dish with enough water to reach 1/4th or more of the ramekins. Thencover the entire dish with foil.
Bake the flan for approximately one hour.  Test the flan by sticking something into the middle; the utensil should come out clean.  If so, the flan is done.
Place the flans into the refrigerator, and let them chill for several hours.
Place the ramekins upside-down onto serving plates (place the plate onto the top of the ramekin, then turn the whole thing over) and let them sit for a minute, then pull off the ramekin, leaving the flan on the plate, with the now-liquid caramel flowing over it.

Notes: With the adjustments to the caramel preparation this came out perfectly.
The water bath adjustment allowed for the flan to cook uniformly.

Now on to our tasters:

Truffle Shuffle: Did not care for the texture, and thought the flavor was a bit eggy.
Sugar and Spice: Not rich enough, and texture was not as smooth but overall flavor was nice.
Magic of Spice: Thought the texture was off, but tasted good. And that it was photogenic, so she did her thing.
Now we are in search of the perfect Traditional Spanish Flan. Any suggestions are welcome, just email us:)

Serve and enjoy!

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2:00 PM

Express-ive Meals - Spinach Pasta with Citrus

Posted by Magic of Spice

Summer Spinach Pasta 
with Citrus, Avocado Oil, Garden Tomatoes
and Shrimp 
Here is another fast and easy dish...but with a fresh summer addition :)
Instead of a more traditional pasta sauce, I just tossed with avocado oil,
and summer citrus juice of lemon and grapefruit...Fresh and easy!
I sort of feel like I am cheating as far as a post...
If it helps at all photo and photo editing takes awhile :)
I had a few lovely garden fresh tomatoes (organic of course),
and some wild blue shrimp...So I grilled them.

What you will need:
1 package of spinach pasta
10-12 shrimp, raw (peeled and de-veined)
Avocado oil, to taste
1 large grapefruit, juiced
1-2 lemons, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt and Fresh pepper, to taste
Grated hard cheese for garnish
For the shrimp
A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
A pinch or two of cinnamon
A bit of salt and pepper

Let's get cooking:
Cook pasta according, to directions
Drain pasta and place in large bowl
For shrimp
Place raw shrimp in a bowl, drizzle with avocado oil
Add cayenne, cinnamon, salt and pepper
Grill until pink/opaque

Put it together:
Take your bowl of pasta
Add tomatoes, grilled shrimp
and freshly grated cheese

Add some fresh bread and plum wine...
And serve!


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Swordfish and Carne Asada Tacos with Plum Salsa

This will be one of those non-recipe types of posts...
Just tell you what I used and what I did :) After all they are tacos,
 so it's the ingredients that makes any one unique from the other, right? 
I am going to start off with the cheese selection...
I picked up a couple great finds.
The first was a wonderful and unique cheese "Red Dragon"...Wow!
This cheese is a Welsh cheddar that includes mustard seed and ale, oh yes! 
The second was the equally delightful "Harlech", 
another Welsh cheddar...This one having a bit more than subtle notes of horseradish and parsley :)
They were both semi hard aged cheeses that were oh so delightful.
I purchased these at The Meat House, along with the Carne Asada (pre-marinaded).

Now on to the swordfish, let me just tell you that this is the most money I have ever spent on a single piece of fish before, in my life...In fact I mumbled to my self all day long "This better be the best tasting piece of fish that I have ever encountered"!
OK, maybe it was not just to myself :) But let me tell you...
Oh wow! Most definitely the best piece of fish, of any sort, that I have ever had!
Melt in your mouth tender, flaky and oh so flavorful!
In fact, even Truffle Shuffle indulged, and he generally reserves sea food to shell fish.
I purchased this lovely baby at Santa Monica Seafood, in case you are local to a location.

Just a couple more things here...Grilling credits go to Truffle Shuffle :)
And we served 4 with these, however I did not get seconds :(
Presentation is everything with some dishes, for this one - you can not get through
the people re-loading, to refill the display... Sorry that the final photos are not so good:(
Ran out of natural lighting, so some of the photos are not as good as hoped.

What you will need:

For the salsa
4-6 good sized fresh plums, diced
1/2 large bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped and seeded
1- 1/2 small serrano pepper, coarsely chopped and seeded
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
Juice of one small lemon
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

For the beans
I used pinto, black and red kidney
You can make from scratch or use organic canned
Add 1-2 anco chili peppers, dried
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons green chili taco sauce, prepared

For the rice
I used a raw blend
Wild, brown and white rice
With black eyed peas, yellow and green peas
I vanilla bean,whole
1-2 ancho chili peppers, dried
2-3 pinches of salt and pepper, or to taste
Cooked until tender, adding a bit more water to have a softer rice

For the swordfish and carne asada
If you have a marinated carne asada
Marinate in your in your favorite flavors at least an hour before grilling
For the swordfish I brushed with avocado oil,
and just some salt and pepper

Mix it up:
 I blended all ingredients except plums in a food processor.

Grill it:
Grill at a high heat until carne asada is juicy and tender,
and swordfish is cooked through but delicately flaked
Note: Be careful not to over cook the swordfish, should be just done.

Serve it:


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Fettucine with Whole Baby Clams
 and Butter Garlic Sauce

This is a quick and simple pasta that uses frozen in-shell clams, and has a delicious and simple butter garlic sauce. They are pre-cooked and with all natural ingredients, so we love them :)
Purchase a box of frozen clams (they are available at Trader Joe's if you are lucky enough to live in an area with one).  These are pre-cooked clams that have a sauce included. But we upped the sauce a few notches.
For the butter sauce, simply melt a stick or two (or four) of butter over low heat in a pan, and add minced garlic and herbs and spices that you like (I used some red pepper flakes, some salt and pepper, and a couple of herb mixes).  To make the meal quick, you can use bottled minced of crushed garlic; don't be afraid to use a lot! OK, so  a lot of butter and garlic is a good thing around here :)

Once your pasta is cooked properly, divide it between plates (I used whole wheat fettucine for this dish), and place the clams, in the shell, on top of the pasta on each plate.

Cover the clams and the pasta in your butter sauce, and top with freshly-ground pepper and sea salt to taste.


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4:47 PM

What's for Dinner? Crepes with Orange Hollandaise

Posted by Magic of Spice

What's for Dinner? Crepes with Crab, Brie 
and Grilled Asparagus with Orange Hollandaise 
Crepes as you probably already know, are a very thin French pancake.
They are generally filled with either sweet or savory ingredients.
Or served with just warmed butter and sugar as a treat.
I've chosen to fill these crepes with a savory blend of
crab, brie cheese,  grilled asparagus and fresh basil...The topped with
a orange hollandaise. And since I was going to be grilling the asparagus,
why not throw some beautiful summer fruits on there while I'm at it :) 

Grilled Summer Fruit
For my summer fruit choice I had on had some very large organic oranges.
I also picked up some green figs and nectarines that morning,
and they were perfectly ripe so I knew I would need to use them soon.

What you will need:
For the filling and grilling
1 small wheel of brie cheese
2 cups crab meat, cooked
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 large bunch fresh asparagus
Fresh summer fruits of your choice
Almond of walnut oil
Pinot Grigio, or other light white wine
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the crepes 
1 1/2 cups wheat or unbleached flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup flaxseed, milled
1 1/2 cups milk, or more for thiner batter
4 tablespoons agave, or sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/8th teaspoon salt, or to taste

For the hollandaise
1 1/3 cups butter, melted
3 tablespoons fresh juice of an orange
1 tablespoon pinot grigio, or other light white wine
2 egg yolks
Pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper

Let's get cooking:
For the grill

Place asparagus and choice of fresh fruits
in a large pan or baking dish.
Lightly cover with almond or walnut oil,
white wine, salt and pepper
Place on a lightly greased grill pan
and place on a hot grill at medium to high heat.
Grill until just tender and a bit charred

For the sauce
Place a large pot of water on to boil Note: fill pot to just enough water
that your mixing bowl can fir on top without touching the water directly.
In a mixing bowl add eggs and whisk until incorporated.
Add remaining ingredients, except melted butter, until incorporated.
Place bowl over the pot of low boiling water and
continue to whisk until mixture becomes thickened.
Slowly add meted butter, while continuing to whisk until desired consistency.

For the crepes
In a large mixing bowl place all ingredients except milk.
With a hand mixer, blend until incorporated.
Slowly add milk while mixing , until desired consistency is met.
Note: your batter should be thin but not watery.
Set batter aside for 10 minutes or so, or refrigerate

In a large skillet on medium heat, melt a bit of butter,
enough to lightly coat pan. Once pan is hot,
add about 3 tablespoons of your batter.
Distribute the batter across the bottom of your pan using
the back of a spatula, or by tilting the pan back and forth.
Making sure your batter is distributed equal.
Cook crepe until lightly golden on the underside, about a minute or so.
Then flip crepe and continue to cook until golden.

Put it together:
Lay crepe on a dish, layer with crab, brie, basil and grilled asparagus.
Gently fold up one side over your filling, and then the other side.
Place on dinner plate or serving platter seam side down.
Drizzle with hollandaise and serve with grilled fruits.


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