Friday, September 19, 2014

Trail of Crumbs: Whispery Eggs with Crabmeat and Herbs

Any chef worth his salt should have a good egg recipe, right?  I mean, it is a kitchen staple.  Chances are, at some point in your life, you're going to need to make eggs.   The weird thing about eggs, is even though they are a staple, there are so many different recipes.  Some people add milk, some add cream cheese.  Some stir in the pan, others smoosh around. 

Kim Sunee's egg recipe comes from her grandfather, who infused his New Orleans spirit in many of the recipes she presents.  As far as the eggs go, this means the inclusion of crabmeat, which she claims he added to just about anything.

To make these eggs "whispery" Sunee recommends whisking them.  The creme fraiche ensures they're still creamy and slightly decadent.  As if the crabmeat didn't do that already.

Whispery Eggs with Crabmeat and Herbs (From Trail of Crumbs)
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp creme fraiche
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped
1 to 2 Tbsp chopped herbs
1 cup fresh lump crabmeat
lemon zest or hot sauce

  1.  Whisk eggs vigorously in a large bowl 1 to 2 minutes, using a handheld whisk.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and creme fraiche and whisk one minute more.  Set aside.
  3. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook onion and herbs about 2 minutes.
  4. Give eggs one last whisk and pour into skillet.  Reduce heat to medium low and gently stir eggs about 2 minutes.
  5. Add crabmeat and cook another minute.  Serve warm with fresh lemon zest, more herbs, or a dash of hot sauce.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trail of Crumbs: Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena

Before TFIL was forced to give up alcohol due to his type 2 diabetes he was a big drinker  (probably part of the reason for his diabetes).  He loved aperitifs as much as he loved his with-dinner drinks.  One of his favorites was Lillet Blanc, a blend of white wines and orange liqueur.  The only time I've ever drank Lillet Blanc was when I was at the inlaws, so that's where my mind immediately went when I saw this recipe featured the sweet beverage.

Sunee begins the book with this recipe, which represents "where [she] is now" and harkens back to the first time she met her lover's daughter, the first time she tasted the sweetness of a wild peach.  I've had fresh peaches before, but not of the same variety she describes - blood peaches.  Wild peaches aren't exactly easy to find in these parts, most being cultivated on farms.  But I used what I had.

I love fruit for dessert.  For me, there is nothing more needed.  No cake, no ice cream.  Especially in summer, the sticky sweetness of fruit serves as a nice, light way to end the evening.  So I felt this was a delightful summer treat.  The peaches are tender, but not in the mushy way canned peaches would be.  And the sweetness of the fruit serves to balance the crisp Lillet in the sauce.

Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena (From Trail of Crumbs)
6 medium sized ripe wild peaches
1 bottle Lillet Blanc
1/3 cup sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp honey
1 piece of orange rind
squeeze of fresh orange juice (from 1 quarter)
4-5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs
  1. Cut an x in blossom end of each peach. Plunge in boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Remove and peel peaches.
  2. Place peeled peaches in a large, wide, heavy bottomed pot.  Pour Lillet Blanc over.
  3. Add sugar, honey, orange rind, and juice.  
  4. Gently crush lemon verbena leaves with hands to release fragrance and add springs to pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and poach, occasionally turning peaches gently for even cooking, to to 30 minutes depending on ripeness, or until peaches are tender when pierced gently with tip of knife.
  5. Carefully remove peaches and place in a large serving bowl.  Turn heat to high and cook poaching liquid 6 to 8 minutes or until thick and syrupy.  Pour over peaches.
  6. Let cool and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cook the Book: Trail of Crumbs Quick Fix Kimchi

It's been so long since I've done one of these!  It's about time.  Trail of Crumbs is the story of Kim Sunee, who was left as a child at a market in Korea.  The book traces her story from Korea to New Orleans, after she is adopted by an American family, to Europe where she escapes to learn about life and love.

Sunee's life is shaped and molded by food, from the red beans and rice her grandfather makes to the honeyed figs fed to her by her lover.  The story is one of discovery, which is reflected in the cuisines of the countries that become Sunee's home.  It's a fascinating mix of cultures and cuisines.  And of course there are recipes.

I begin with her kimchi recipe - a staple of the Korean cuisine.  Confession: I have no experience with kimchi.  Thatdad always had some in the fridge when I was growing up, but the spicy pungent accompaniment held no interest for me.  In truth, I was a little concerned about how this would turn out and if I would like it.  I was oh so pleasantly surprised.  It seems silly to say this is the best kimchi I've ever had, so I'll say it's the best kimchi I've ever smelled.  The sesame oil gives it a warm, nutty aroma instead of the burn-your-nasal-hair scent I was expecting.  And it was good.  OH so good.  Thatboy, who has more kimchi experience than I do thought it was the best he'd ever had.  The only problem was that it didn't make enough.  We were honestly fighting over last bites.  We ate that entire jar in a single sitting.

Quick Fix Kimchi
1 head of napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt
1 piece fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp sriracha
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small head escarole
  1. Remove outer leaves of cabbage, quarter lengthwise, core bottoms, and cut across into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Place in a colander in sink and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Rinse and dry cabbage thoroughly, preferably using a salad spinner.
  4. Whisk together ginger and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Add cabbage, escarole, and toss to combine.
  6. Pack kimchi in a glass jar or bowl.  Cover and refrigerate 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sick Sweets: Individual Ice Cream Cups

Last week Thatbaby started complaining that his throat was owie.  Wednesday night he started acting lethargic, lying on my lap during dinner.  This is a kid who never stops, so I knew something was up.  I kept him home from school on Thursday, and was going to send him in Friday but he still seemed a little off.  Thatboy brought him in to the doctor - strep throat.

OH strep throat! I am all too familiar with strep throat, it was my nemesis growing up.  I had it so often I could recognize it before I could even turn the test at the doctor's office.  And I had to have my tonsils out when I was 6.  I feel bad I seemed to have passed this proclivity on to him.

The only thing I can do is bring Thatbaby my favorite strep throat treat - ice cream.  It feels so good on an owie throat. 

One of my favorite kids and ice cream tricks is to freeze ice cream in silicone cupcake liners.  They make the perfect serving size and even have a little handle to hold on to.  I think normal people would eat them with a spoon, but Thatbaby likes to treat them like ice cream cones and lick them.

Ice Cream Cups
1 1/2 cups macaroons, crumbled
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sherry
 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Combine 1 cup of the macaroons and the half and half in a bowl and let soak for 1 hour.
  2. Stir in the sugar and sherry.  Place in a metal bowl and freeze until icey.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until stiff.
  4. Fold the macaroon mixture into the heavy cream.  Spoon into silicone cupcake liners.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining macaroon crumbs over top and freeze.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mommy Mondays: What's In Your Cup?

Thatbaby has 2 main sources of hydration - milk, and water. 

He drinks quite a bit of both.  There was a time I spoke with his pediatrician because he was drinking so much water.  The doctor wasn't too concerned and mentioned they go through phases and he was right.  Thatbaby backed off from water drinking to a less concerning amount. Currently he wants milk all the time.  And again we're going with it for now, although we have cut back on the milk before bed.  It's only water after teeth brushing.  We're also still doing full fat milk, because we haven't heard otherwise from his doctor. 

One of the reasons Thatbaby does milk and water, is because that's what we have in the house.  We're a juice-free household.  I rarely drink juice - it's too sweet for me.  When I met Thatboy he drank a lot of juice.  Cranberry juice, which isn't really juice, it's more like an excuse to drink a lot of sugar.  After years of being with me, and being concerned for his health, he started watering down his cranberry juice.  And when Thatbaby moved on to milk, and we needed room for an extra gallon in the fridge, we stopped buying gallons of cranberry juice.

This is not to say Thatbaby is juice-free, he just doesn't get it at home.  Its very much a special occasion type thing.  He gets it Friday night for Shabbat, birthday parties, and of course when we go wine tasting.

He also gets juice on planes.  And he already associates juice with planes.  The other day he pretended we were on a plane, and the first thing he did was ask me what kind of juice I wanted.

Instead of juice, Thatbaby gets a lot of smoothies.  These are a big breakfast item in our house.  And Thatbaby is almost at the stage where he can make them himself.  I keep meaning to make a "Cooking with Thatbaby" video, especially when he proudly announces "I'm a smoothie maker" in the morning as he puts his fruits and spinach in the blender.  I pour in the milk, and he helps to put the lid on before pressing the "on" button. 

In terms of hot drinks, Thatbaby is a big fan of tea.  When we first introduced it, we just gave him warm water. Now I steep herbal teas, then cool them down with cold water, so he can enjoy them.

Last Thanksgiving we also introduced Thatbaby to hot chocolate.  No big surprise, he instantly took to it.  We've decided to tell him that it's a special winter drink for right now.  Just another thing to look forward to about the holiday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Runday: Grape Day 5k

As you may recall, last weekend we went to Grape Day.  I mentioned that we started the day with the Grape Day 5k.  Or I did.  The boys came along, cheered me on, and waited for me to finish.

This was a really small, local race.  Which was a nice change of pace since I've been running a lot of big races lately.  I really like little races.  They give such a feel of community and camaraderie.  If the Disney races are not for runners, then these local races are the opposite.  They're nothing flashing, no bells and whistles, just a great run for running's sake.  They didn't even announce there was going to be a medal until a few days before the race, so most of us who signed up weren't doing it for any race bling.  All the stations were run by high school volunteers from the local schools.  It was so small, that the volunteers were more than happy to share one of their thundersticks with Thatbaby.  Who promptly turned it into an air guitar.

I hung out with the boys for a little bit, until the race was just about to start - another perk of small races.  There was a brief delay as we waited for those using the porta-potties to finish and join us, and then we were off.

The first mile took us down the main street of Escondido and then back the way we came.  It was nice and flat - the only flat mile of the race!  And because of that, I was pretty face.  Nike+ chirped in my ear that I had run a sub 9-minute mile.  My hip was bothering me a bit during that first mile.   Mile 2 was all hills!  All uphill.  I actually am not entirely sure how that works, since at one point we turned to head back, so you would think it would be downhill.  It wasn't.  Right at mile 1.5 I passed some kid who heaved out "not another hill" as I passed him.  I reassured him that we were halfway done, so there should be a lot more downhills. But I felt his pain, I had a side stitch that second mile and had slowed down to a 9:40 minute mile.

Mile 3 has a little more uphill, and some downhill.  Then we were back on the mainstreet, heading back toward the finish.  I picked up speed, pushing myself during that last portion, all the aches and pain gone.  I ran as hard as I could until I crossed the finish.

As part of the "race perks" we each got a free beer.  This is one of my favorite things about living in San Diego, all our races end with beer and not crappy beer - good, craft beer.  For this race, it was draft Stone Pale Ale.

I sat and sipped my beer, waiting for my time to be uploaded (because I forgot to turn off my Nike+ when I crossed the finish).  Then I saw it.  One of my new year's resolutions was to run a sub-30 5k, which I did unofficially earlier this year.  But here, in black and white, was an official recognition of resolution - 28:59!  Not only a sub-30 minute 5k, but almost a full minute faster than my unofficial PR!  A fabulous new PR.  Too bad it wouldn't last for long!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Birthday and Beaches: Vanilla Ice Cream

Because Saturday wasn't busy enough with a race, parade, festival, and swim lessons, we thought we should stick something else in there too. Sunday was Thatbrother's birthday, so Saturday we headed up to Laguna Beach to have dinner with him, UDubb, and Baby B.  It was their first dinner out with the baby, and I feel for them!  I remember those days of trying to balance a new baby and regular life.

It's been a while since we've been to Laguna Beach.  We pointed out to Thatbaby the place we got married, and after dinner we went for a family walk on the beach.  The boys watched the waves and kicked sand before Thatbaby found a playground to run amok through.

Hanging out on the beach after dinner was such a summer feeling.  In general, we don't have those warm summer nights I remember from my childhood.  Mostly because it never gets that hot here, and so when it cools down at night, it really cools down.  But these past few weeks have been different.  It's been east coast hot here - this weekend it was 100 degrees where I lived, and humid!  That sticky heat where you wish you were wearing more clothes, just so you can take them off.  The ice cream portion of summer. 

The great thing about ice cream in the summer, is that it doesn't have to be fancy.  Something sweet and simple is very appreciated on a hot evening.  Or hot afternoon.  Heck, who are we kidding- you know you're throwing a scoop in your ice coffee in the morning too.  Some people go gaga for chocolate ice cream.  But for me?  An unadulterated vanilla is the way to go. 

Vanilla Ice Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 cups hot milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 pint heavy cream
  1. Mix the sugar, salt, and egg yolks together in a heavy-bottomed pan.  
  2. Slowly stir in the hot milk.
  3. Cook, continuing to stir until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and sitr.
  4. Strain, then add the cream.
  5. Add the vanilla extract.  Chill.  Process in your ice cream maker.