Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Adding Some Class with Faith of An Edible Mosaic


My long time readers will remember this, but this is my first Adding Some Class with post for 2015 so let me explain.

Adding Some Class with is a series I started last year where I ask another food blogger I admire to guest post here. It was born because I have always felt blogrolls to be inadequate. Instead, why not ask my guest to demonstrate their strengths? I had originally planned to do this monthly but I have since decided that it should be more exclusive group. In fact, I featured only five other bloggers since it's inception: Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic, Alice of Hip Foodie Mom, Nancy of Gotta Get Baked, Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen and Jennifer of MealDiva. Please read them if you haven't already because they are all fantastic.

Today, I welcome Faith of An Edible Mosaic. I had seen her online in passing over the last few years but had an opportunity to get to know her better when I attended the Food and Wine Conference last month. She was one of the ladies I was fortunate enough to accompany at the lunch before the official conference activities at Shubee's. She not only attended, however. Faith moderated a food photography workshop entitled A Tale of Two Photographers with Julius of Droolius. Of course, I attended their session because I've always felt deficient in this area. I found their presentation helpful because they ignored technical items such as f-stop and aperture and gave some practical advice to improve food pictures by utilizing lighting, angles, props and shadows to the photographer's advantage. Part of the presentation was spent taking pictures of food in order to apply the concepts discussed during the seminar.

When you look at Faith's photographs, you could understandably mistake them for belonging in a magazine or catalog. Her rustic style conveys an authenticity that I've been unable to find anywhere else. She somehow maintains a balance of light and dark hues in many of her photographs. I also appreciate her blog's point of view because she has some Middle Eastern influences into many of her dishes from when she and her husband resided there for a number of years which makes it unique. I haven't even noted her dessert blog called Healthy Sweet Eats yet and she's also a published cookbook author. Please consider purchasing one or more of her books which can be found here. If that weren't enough, she also works freelance as a recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. Inquiries can be made by clicking here. I also haven't even mentioned yet that she's a talent in the kitchen as well. Dishes such as Roasted Vegetable Ravioli in Vegetable Broth, Shrimp Burgers with Scallion Mayo and Italian Sundried Tomato, Garlic, and Rosemary Chicken Hoagies with Melted Fontina Sauce doesn't even scratch the surface of her brilliance.

It is a privilege to host her today:

Hello! I’m Faith and I blog mainly at An Edible Mosaic where I share my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics. I also have another blog called Healthy Sweet Eats where I share all healthy dessert recipes (because hey, a girl needs a few options up her sleeve when it comes to dessert, right?).

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting DB at the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando last July. He was funny and kind, and we bonded over crab cakes the first time we met. (How can you not bond with someone when great food is involved, right?) I was honored when he invited me to guest post on his blog and I immediately started thinking about what to make. I knew it had to be good because DB is pretty fabulous in the kitchen.

So, let’s talk galettes for a quick minute. A galette is basically a flat pastry cake, but there are a vast amount of variations. To me (and in my kitchen), a galette usually means a free-form sort of pie, basically with the crust folded up a bit over sweet or savory filling. The end result is a very rustic-looking pastry.

Zucchini is a natural filling choice this time of year because most of us are always looking for new zucchini recipe ideas. Caramelized onion with garlic and thyme lends a bit of natural sweetness while still keeping this dish savory, za’atar adds a punch of earthy flavor, and goat cheese adds a pleasant little tang.

But the real magic of this galette is the flaky, buttery crust. Like a pie, that’s the main reason to make a galette, and also like a pie, this galette is a complete indulgence (despite the fact that it also boasts vegetables). Trust me, it’s worth the buttery splurge though.

DB, thank you so much for having me. I hope we get the chance to meet again in person soon because you are an absolute pleasure.



Za’atar and Caramelized Onion Zucchini Galette with Goat Cheese

Yields 6 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


Crust:
1 1/4 cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
2-4 tablespoons ice-cold water

Filling:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium-large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed or grated
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon za’atar
2 oz (60 g) goat cheese, crumbled
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for eggwash

Preheat the oven to 400F.

For the crust, whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl and then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until it looks like coarse meal. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, working the dough together with your fingertips just until it comes together, and only adding enough water so the dough comes together when you squeeze it. Gather the dough together into a ball and then flatted it into a disk; wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can turn the heat down or add a splash of water at any point if the onion starts to caramelize too quickly. Stir in the garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper and cook 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once chilled, remove the dough from the fridge. Lay a piece of parchment paper out on your work surface, place the dough on the prepared parchment paper, and top with another piece of parchment (or if you have it, freezer paper works even better because it’s thicker). (Done this way, there is no need for flour to roll the dough out.) Working from the center out, roll the dough out to a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

Spread the caramelized onion mixture onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border along the outside. Arrange the zucchini on top of the onion, and brush the zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle on the za’atar, and then the goat cheese. Fold the edge of the pastry up over the filling to create a border and brush with eggwash.

Slide the galette onto a large baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

There's a couple of things I really appreciate about this dish. First, I have yet to prepare a galette for the website, so I must thank Faith for explaining the concept. I was also intrigued by za'atar because I've never used it but she's inspired me to experiment with it.

Lastly, I highly recommend you follow Faith on all her social media channels: facebook, G+, instagram, pinterest and twitter in addition to her facebook and twitter pages for Healthy Sweet Eats.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Smoked Salmon Ravioli with Cream Sauce for a Back to School #SundaySupper

Smoked Salmon Ravioli with Cream Sauce for a Back to School #SundaySupper




As I stated in my preview I published last Thursday, this week's #SundaySupper theme is Back to School where we are sharing ideas for your lunchbox, after school snacks, school day breakfasts and dinners. For it, I've decided to approach the theme with a dish that works well on busy school nights and when I need to get supper on the table in an expeditious manner, I often turn to pasta dishes.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

For this dish, I went back to the same company where I purchased squid ink tagliolini for a dish I published last month. This purchase was different however, because my prior dish was a spontaneous decision. This wasn't. Their selection of filled pasta included flavors such as mushroom, cheese and pumpkin but what caught my eye was this smoked salmon ravioli. The Flavor Bible noted ingredients such as cream, dill garlic, butter and lemon pair well with smoked salmon and found a sauce that utilized these ingredients.

Dish Details

I adapted the sauce from a recipe I found on recipe.com

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound smoked salmon ravioli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Dill sprigs (for garnish)

Method

1. Boil the pasta. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop the ravioli into the water and boil according to the directions on the package. Drain then set aside and keep warm.

2. Prepare the cream sauce. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the green onions and garlic to sweat, approximately 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the cream, then add the lemon zest and dill. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the sauce thickens, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. To plate, place ravioli into warmed bowls, then drizzle the ravioli with the cream sauce. Garnish with fresh dill and serve.


Final Thoughts

From a technique standpoint, I normally advocate to undercook the pasta and finish it off in the sauce, but I chose to fully cook here and top the pasta with the sauce for presentation purposes. If you can't find smoked salmon ravioli, most any seafood filling can be an acceptable substitute, or you can add the salmon into the sauce and substituting the ravioli for longer pasta such as lingiune, sticking more closely to the original recipe.

I wasn't happy with how I garnished the dish because the dill looks like something you'd pull out of the drain of your shower while cleaning the bathroom. The flavor profile was definitely present was because both my Mrs. Stuntman and my daughter enjoyed the dish. I'd like to thank Caroline of Caroline's Cooking for co-hosting this week's event with me and please be sure to check out the other dishes offered to make "Back to School" easier this week.

Getting Started On School Days
Ideas for the Lunchbox
After School Snacks and Beverages
School Night Suppers
Sweets to End the Day
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Preview of a Back to School #SundaySupper

Candid Taken at the Local Supermarket

It seems like every year retailers start their seasonal sales earlier and earlier. Personally, I've had a pretty busy July and haven't paid much attention to it this summer but I remember thinking, "Wait! My daughter just started her summer break" after seeing 'Back to School' sales immediately following Independence Day last year. I shouldn't be surprised. I joke that you could walk into Macys every year at this time and greet Santa. It's an exaggeration but not by much.

Since many of us will be converting our daily and weekly schedules to accommodate the upcoming school year soon the team at #SundaySupper Movement has decided to use Back to School for this upcoming Sunday's theme where we're sharing packed lunches, after school snacks, quick and easy meals for school nights plus desserts. I am delighted to be hosting this event with Caroline of Caroline's Cooking.

Look for these dishes on the morning of this Sunday, August 16th:

Getting Started On School Days
Ideas for the Lunchbox
After School Snacks and Beverages
School Night Suppers
Sweets to End the Day
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Presenting: Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata




For those of you unfamiliar with my earlier work, I started a series called Presenting: where I attempt to improve my photography and/or plating.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

On Sunday of Food and Wine Conference, I spent a huge portion of that day attending workshops to improve presentation of my food. One of the sessions I attended was Every Picture Tells A Story by Denise Vivaldo of Denise Vivaldo Group. If you're unfamiliar with her, she's absolutely fantastic. It was fun to hear her reminisce about being on the sets of big name TV shows of the 1980s and 1990s working behind the scenes as a culinary producer. The seminar wasn't entirely a trip down memory lane. She gave some great advice too.

Dish Details

One of the tips I picked up during her workshop was to purchase a mobile photography studio so once I got home from Orlando, I went on Amazon and I did. I'm not presenting anything new because I've already published Chef Fabio Viviani's version of this dish. I'm using the dish solely as a prop to practice my photography. I pretty much stuck to Giada's recipe found on foodnetwork.com, so I respectfully request to go there for it in its entirety.

Final Thoughts

The picture needed very little editing. I used my smartphone on auto settings. The only thing I really did was add my logo and cropped the picture of some negative space. I welcome constructive criticism so please comment with it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Apple and Chorizo Crostini with Shallots and Basil #‎IsabelsBirthdayBash‬

For Isabel,




My friend Isabel Laessig, founder and CEO of #SundaySupper Movement and Food and Wine Conference in addition to her own blog, Family Foodie, celebrates her birthday today so a few of us at #SundaySupper got together to mark the occasion by channeling the mission of the Sunday Supper Movement: to bring us back around the family table. Isabel certainly has been an inspiration to me, not only for her commitment to the entities she's founded but for her own dishes such as Lobster Ravioli with Shrimp Garlic Caper Sauce and Chicken Fajita Bowls.

Apple and Chorizo Crostini with Shallots and Basil #‎IsabelsBirthdayBash




Inspiration Behind the Dish

If you know Isabel at all, you know that she has a soft spot in her heart for chorizo, so I used that as a starting point for my dish. The Flavor Bible noted that apples pair well with the ingredient so I added some as well. I wanted a dish that would be quick to prepare so the host would not need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I also wanted something that would allow party guests to carry it around with a cocktail napkin; a finger-food style hors d'oeuvre or appetizer.

Dish Details

This dish is a Crazy Foodie Stunts original

Ingredients

1 baguette, cut into slices about 1/2-inch wide
1 tablespoon plus more for brushing olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 9-ounce package pork chorizo
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup apple juice
Basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (for garnish)

Method

1. Toast the baguette. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush each side of the baguette slices with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes to toast. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.


2. Prepare the chorizo and apples. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots to sweat, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chorizo to brown and break up the chorizo with a spoon, approximately 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with apple juice, and simmer until the pan is mostly dry. To plate, spoon the chorizo onto each baguette slice, then garnish with basil.

Final Thoughts

If I got the opportunity to do this again, I'd shorten the title to just Apple and Chorizo Crostini or Apple and Chorizo Crostini with Caramelized Shallots because I used the basil as a garnish.

The picture of the plated dish above was taken outside one of the buildings in my apartment complex. When I was almost finished setting up, a couple of neighbors happened to walk by and sampled the dish. They were very complementary and inquired about my website. The dish was also liked by Mrs. Stuntman.

Join me in celebrating Isabel's Birthday with all the delicious food and drinks her #SundaySupper family prepared!

Birthday Drinks:
Birthday Appetizers:
Birthday Main Courses:
Birthday Desserts:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Things I Learned at the 2015 Food and Wine Conference #FWCon

Used with Permission by Amy of Kimchi Mom


Alrighty folks, it's been 2 weeks since the start of the 2015 Food and Wine Conference and to be honest with you, it's been a difficult post to write because I can't seem to organize my thoughts. I have started this post numerous times which is one of the reasons why it took so long to publish. So I thought I'd structure this post differently by utilizing bullet points in the disorganized mess that it is.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is huge!

When I attended the conference last year, I flew on a direct flight from SFO. This time around, I had a layover at DFW and, having never flown into/out of there in the past, I didn't realize the shear size of the place. To top it all off, going there I had a 40 minute layover which means that when my plane was pulling into the gate, my connecting flight at a gate in the next terminal was already boarding. Thankfully, I made it but I must apologize to the staff on American Airlines Flight 2407 on July 16 because I may or may not have bitten off their head when I was delayed deplaning. To give you an idea, when I was coming home, my layover was a couple of hours and I had time to look around and saw a sign outside a McDonalds in the terminal that gave the locations of the four other McDonalds restaurants there at the airport. I wish I took a picture of it but by then, I was tired and just wanted to get home.

Thank you Dixie Crystals for teaching me something new.

Let me say, first off that I appreciate all of the Food and Wine Conference sponsors, but I must single out Dixie Crystals. The first event after registration on Friday evening was a sugar scrub hosted by them. Before I proceed, I must explain that women who write food blogs far outnumber men who write food blogs. It is for this reason why I understand what Dixie Crystals was doing with this event, however I'm a guy. I spent the first half of the event a little clueless because it was unclear to me what a sugar scrub is and what to do with it. I even had to pull Cindy of Cindy's Recipes and Writings aside to explain it all. Thankfully, she explained that I was doing this for Mrs. Stuntman and she would appreciate the scrubs.

The learning is real.

Maybe I was overwhelmed last year with just the experience of attending but I found the sessions to be more informative this year. As opposed to one or two presentations sticking with me like last year, it seemed like I took something away from each. Last year, I dismissed the cooking demonstrations but I was able to take something away from them this year as I've already illustrated.

Let's discuss the food.

Before the official conference activities began, I got talked into going to lunch with a lovely group of ladies at Shubee's Coastal Grill & Bar. There was an open invitation on facebook but I was initially reluctant to reply due to a potential schedule conflict but I'm sure glad I went. During the lunch, the owner's made a presentation and we got to tour the commercial kitchen. I was told that they were known for their crab cakes and they lived up to their reputation!

The food at the conference also did not disappoint. Throughout the weekend, I was continually impressed by food presented. Of particular note was the poutine bar for Saturday's lunch sponsored by Idaho Potato Commission and Wisconsin Cheese in addition to Saturday evening's family style dinner sponsored by Certified Angus Beef and the Hess Collection Wines.

Final Thoughts

One of the other differences between this year and last for me personally is that I was carrying around a lot less equipment this year. In 2014, I had my flip phone, my daughter's old iPhone that couldn't make or receive calls (but could connect to WiFi so I could tweet) and my point-and-shoot camera. This year, I was able to consolidate everything to a single smartphone however I found myself taking less pictures than I did last year. The picture I did take can be found on my instragram page by doing a search for the #FWCon hashtag.

One other aspect I have yet to address is the supportive and positive family atmosphere there at the conference which separates itself from other food blogger conferences. I came home with another huge stack of business cards--all of them I consider friends.

Lastly, I recommend checking out these other reviews of the 2015 Food and Wine Conference for other perspectives. In addition, they were able to document the festivities with far more beautiful photography than I am capable at this time. They are, in no particular order:


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