Friday, May 25, 2018

The Gift of Food and Time


Everyone is gifted in one way or another, right? Me? I can feed people! So, when the 8th grade teachers asked if I would head up the food portion of the graduation camping trip, I didn't hesitate. Then, in typical Camilla-style, I added crazy complicating details.

I knew I would have four different teams, each cooking one meal: Thursday dinner, Thursday dessert, Friday breakfast, and Friday lunch. I offered to come in, meet with the kids, meal plan, shop, and guide them through four different international menus. It's an international school, after all.

So, stay tuned for the recipes as we have Team Mexico serve up a taco and burrito bar with rice, beans, pico de gallo, plus horchata and agua de jamaica!



Team France made crêpes and meringues for around the campfire. Yes, meringues. Yes, I know we're camping.


Team USA - also known as the Melting Pot - served açaí bowls, chicken and waffles, yogurt, granola, eggs, and bacon.


And, finally, Team Vietnam made bánh mì, fresh spring rolls, and boba tea.


I am really going to miss seeing these kids all together. I have known some of them since they were in kindergarten...and some from even further back in pre-school!


 Happy graduation. Job well-done to all of them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Charred Grapefruit Gin & Tonic #BBQWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BBQWeek. 
I received product samples from sponsors to use in creating #BBQWeek recipes. However, all opinions are mine alone. 
This recipe is intended for readers 21 years and older. Please drink responsibly.

Welcome to the fourth day of our fantastic #BBQWeek. Though the event goes for one more day, today is my final post. I had a major kitchen fail with the dessert that I had planned for tomorrow and I didn't have time to re-do it...I am currently in the boonies with the 8th grade class, wrangling them to prepare, cook, and serve four different international menus. Sometimes I really do wonder about my sanity. But I hope that (1) they have a memorable graduation camping trip and (2) are inspired to make some of these dishes in the future.

In any case, #BBQWeek has been a fun and food-filled event coordinated by Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. Not only did they organize all of the food bloggers, but they lined up some fantastic sponsors who shipped us ingredients and items for use in creating recipes for the event. So nice! 

And our generous sponsors are also offering prizes to our readers. So, don't forget to check out the prizes and enter the giveaway from our sponsors: my intro to #BBQWeek post!

Day Four #BBQWeek Recipes...

Charred Grapefruit Gin & Tonic

Gin and tonics are one of my favorite summer sippers. Imagine sitting in the sweltering heat, overlooking a lake or shoreline. Now add a slice of salt-sprinkled grilled grapefruit and you have a winner. I like to use St. George Botanivore gin with its bergamot notes. And, because I am allergic to quinine, I use a locally made tonic syrup.


Ingredients makes 2 cocktails
  • 4 slices organic pink grapefruit
  • 3 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces tonic (I am allergic to quinine, so I use a quinine-free tonic syrup)
  • 2 ounces soda
  • salt (I used fleur de sel)
  • Also needed: ice, grill or grill pan, cocktail shaker, muddler, two rocks glasses



Procedure
Heat a gas grill or grill pan over medium heat. Place grapefruit on grill and cook, flipping once, until lightly charred, approximately 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat and set aside. Slice 1 in half for the garnish and sprinkle with salt.

In a cocktail shaker or large mason jar, muddle 2 to 3 slices of grilled grapefruit, extracting as much juice from the slices as you can. Fill the container with ice and pour in gin and tonic. Shake or stir to combine.


To an ice-filled glass, strain in the gin mixture. Top with soda and garnish with grilled grapefruit slice.

Cheers!

This recipe is intended for individuals ages 21 & up. Please drink responsibly. Thank you to #BBQWeek Sponsors Adam’s Extracts, Michigan Asparagus, and Not Ketchup for providing the prizes free of charge. These sponsors also provided bloggers with samples and product to use for creating #BBQWeek recipes. All opinions are my own.
The #BBQWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. There will be three winning entries that will be verified. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BBQWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize package. Participating Bloggers and their immediate family members cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with social channels mentioned in the #BBQWeek posts or entry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta #BBQWeek #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Adams Extract and Spice, a sponsor of #BBQWeek.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

We're here at Day Three of a fun and food-filled event coordinated by Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. Not only did they wrangle all of the food bloggers, but they lined up some fantastic sponsors who shipped us ingredients and items for use in creating recipes for the event. So nice! 

And our generous sponsors are also offering prizes to our readers. So, don't forget to check out the prizes and enter the giveaway from our sponsors: my intro to #BBQWeek post!

Here are the #BBQWeek Day Three Dishes...


Adams Extract and Spices
I love that this company started as a husband wanting to create a better product for his wife. That's love! Adams traces its beginnings back to 1888 in Michigan, when John A. Adams began making and selling Adamur, his Green Plant Sarsaparilla extract. In 1905, he and his family relocated to Texas. At that time, most vanilla was phamaceutical and labeled “Do not bake or freeze.” Adams, whose wife yearn for a flavoring that wouldn’t bake or freeze out, announced that he would produce a better vanilla product. Done!

Still located in Texas the company now manufactures and markets under several Adams Brand banners, including Adams Best®, Adams Extract®, Adams® Seasoning & Spice, Adams Reserve®, Flavor King™, Pantry Basics™, Sear-n-Crust®, ClearVan™, Carniceria®, Cocina del Rey®, Naturals™, and Urban Canner™ along with the Adams Frozen Skillet Desserts and Adams Premium Ice Cream lines.

For this event, they sent me samples of three of their blends - Burgers Fries & More, Sweet & Smokey Seafood Seasoning, and The Great Steak of Texas. I opted to showcase the Burgers Fries and More for this recipe.

Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta

Quickly grilling kale makes it crispy. Pairing it with creamy ricotta transforms it into my new favorite salad. You could make your favorite vinaigrette, but I just drizzled with some balsamic vinegar. Super easy.

Ingredients serves 4
  • 12 large or 16 small organic kale leaves
  • 1 T olive oil
  • seasoning, as needed (I used Burgers Fries & More from Adams Extract and Spices)
  • 1 C fresh ricotta
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • Also needed: brush, grill or grill pan

Procedure
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush kale leaves with oil; sprinkle with seasoning. Grill kale, flippping once, until crispy and charred at edges, approximately 2 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2" lengths. Place the leaves in individual serving bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 C ricotta. Sprinkle with more seasoning and salt and pepper, if needed. Drizzle with balsamic and serve immediately.

Remember...you can enter to win a prize packet from Adams Extract and Spice. Just visit my intro to #BBQWeek post!


Find Adams Extract and Spice
on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Instagram: here

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BBQWeek Sponsors Adam’s Extracts, Michigan Asparagus, and Not Ketchup for providing the prizes free of charge. These sponsors also provided bloggers with samples and product to use for creating #BBQWeek recipes. All opinions are my own.The #BBQWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. There will be three winning entries that will be verified. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BBQWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize package. Participating bloggers and their immediate family members cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with social channels mentioned in the #BBQWeek posts or entry.

The Language of Flowers... and Doughnuts #FoodieReads


No books logged for my Foodie Reads Challenge and it's already the third week of the month. What?!? it must be the end of the school year. It's not that I haven't been reading; I read every night. I just haven't finished any books this month. 

Well, last night while the boys were working on a project with Jake, I picked up a book that I've had on my nightstand for months and settled under a blanket on a bean bag. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.* And I read it from start to finish before heading to bed.


It turns out that it was written by someone I know...sort of. Well, I know her husband as he's the superintendent of our school district and we sit in meetings every month as the high school moves through its certification as an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. But I never put that together until I was staring at the cover and thought, "That's a fairly unusual last name. I wonder if they are related." They are!

On the Page
The story opens with Victoria who has just turned 18 and aging out of the foster care system. We learn that she had been abandoned as a baby and for the past eighteen years has been bounced from foster home to foster home and, finally, group home after group home. She was abused, by some caregivers, but mostly just unloved and that perpetual state of emotional uncertainty hardened her into person who wants only a locked door and no one to disappoint.

When she leaves the group home, she ends up living in a park in the middle of San Francisco until she lands a job working with a florist. I worked as florist my last two years of college in Berkeley, so I devoured the descriptions of the middle-of-the-night flower markets, the stress of dealing with wedding arrangements, and joy that flowers can bring. I could completely relate to Victoria as a florist...as an angry, lonely young woman not so much.

I am not going to ruin the story for you, suffice it to say: for someone who keeps everyone at arms' length, she ends up with a whole tribe of people who care for her, including a flower vendor at the market who is connected to her past.

Diffenbaugh jumps back and forth in time between 9-year-old Victoria and the one foster mom who actually understood her and planned to adopt her to adult Victoria who actively shoves people out of her life. It's a captivating story and I am definitely going to track down more of her books.

I loved the characters. I loved the story. And I, especially, loved the messages of the flowers. When I was a florist, I not only created bouquets whose flowers added interesting textures and colors, but I did know the meanings behind them. I didn't always tell the customers the meanings, but I enjoyed adding in secret messages to my arrangements.

 The Language of Flowers
I took these photos on a recent trip with two of my best friends to Filoli, a beautiful garden in Woodside, California.


Tulips are a declaration of love.

Pansies say 'think of me.'

Wisteria is a welcome.

Ranunculus declares, 'you are radiant with charms.'

On the Plate
For a book about flowers, there is a surprising amount of food. Victoria is punished by foster families who withhold food. And food is also the way that people include her in their family - by inviting her to their tables and feeding her.

I decided to whip up a batch of doughnuts because they played a part in her first encounter with the mysterious flower vendor outside of the market. He had left her a message at his stand. "On the underside of ribbon, in a scratchy hand I recognized from flower prices on the chalkboard, were the words Monday, 5 p.m., 16th and Mission. Donuts for Dinner. The black ink had spread onto the silk so that the words were almost unreadable, but the time and place were clear" (pg. 71).

Okay, so I didn't serve them for dinner, but they were breakfast! Oh, and about the spelling - I've always spelled them 'doughnuts' but Diffenbaugh spelled them 'donuts.' I'm not sure what is correct. How do you spell them??

Sugar & Spice Doughnuts

Ingredients makes approximately 15 doughnuts
Doughnuts
  • 1/4 C butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 C olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 C flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1 C whole milk
  • canola oil for spraying the pan
  • Also needed: mini donut pan*
For Serving
  • 5 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar


Procedure
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray mini doughnut pan with canola oil spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour in the milk. Whisk till incorporated. Gently fold in the spices, flour, and baking soda until fully incorporated. Spoon the batter into the hollows until the batter almost reaches the top of the pan.

Bake for 7 minutes - or until the doughnuts are golden brown and raised. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the pan over to invert the doughnuts onto a cooling rack. Repeat until all the batter is used.

While doughnuts are cooling, make the topping. Melt the butter in a small skillet and keep warm. On a plate, blend together the sugar and spices. Dunk each cooled doughnut in butter, then place - butter-side down - in the spice-sugar mixture to coat. Place on rack or tray for the butter to set. 


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

   
Here's what everyone else read in May2018: here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tangerine Hatch Chile Grilled Corn and Asparagus Salad #BBQWeek #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Not Ketchup and Michigan Asparagus, sponsors of #BBQWeek.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

We're here at Day Two of a fun and food-filled event coordinated by Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. Not only did they wrangle all of the food bloggers, but they lined up some fantastic sponsors who shipped us ingredients and items for use in creating recipes for the event. So nice! 

And our generous sponsors are also offering prizes to our readers. So, don't forget to check out the prizes and enter the giveaway from our sponsors: my intro to #BBQWeek post!

Here are the #BBQWeek Day Two Dishes...

Not Ketchup & Michigan Asparagus

In yesterday's recipe - Double Blueberry Bison Burgers - I already told you how much I enjoy Not Ketchup's products. Today I'm using another one of her no added sugar sauces - Tangerine Hatch Chile.

When I received a cooler full of fresh asparagus from Michigan Asparagus, I immediately pickled half of them. That recipe is coming soon. But I knew that I wanted to include some grilled asparagus in a salad offering this week.


Fresh asparagus is definitely a harbinger of Spring and Michigan is one of the largest domestic asparagus growers in the United States. Michigan Asparagus is available mid-May through June and is the only hand-snapped harvested asparagus which means more usable asparagus and less waste.

Tangerine Hatch Chile 
Grilled Corn and Asparagus Salad

Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 T ketchup (I used Not Ketchup's No Sugar Added Tangerine Hatch Chile Sauce*)
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise (my homemade recipe)
  • 1 C grated cheese (I used a combination of Monterey jack, asiago, parmesan, and provolone)
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • Also needed: grill or grill pan


Procedure 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse ears and place corn cobs, still in their husks, on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.


When they are cool enough to handle, peel back the husks and remove the silk.


Wrap the husks near the base of the cob and tie in a knot. I use them as a handy way to grip the corn ears. Grill quickly to get nice char lines on the corn.


Grill the asparagus until they get char marks, too. We prefer ours still firm. But cook to your preferred doneness.


Cut the kernels from the cob and place them in a large mixing bowl. Slice the grilled asparagus into 1-1/2" lengths and place those in the same bowl. Mix in the remaining ingredients and toss until well-combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to serve.


Remember...you can enter to win a prize packet from Not Ketcup and from Michigan Asparagus. Just visit my intro to #BBQWeek post!


Find Not Ketchup
on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here

You may find Michigan Asparagus...
on the web
on Twitter

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BBQWeek Sponsors Adam’s Extracts, Michigan Asparagus, and Not Ketchup for providing the prizes free of charge. These sponsors also provided bloggers with samples and product to use for creating #BBQWeek recipes. All opinions are my own.The #BBQWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. There will be three winning entries that will be verified. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BBQWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize package. Participating bloggers and their immediate family members cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with social channels mentioned in the #BBQWeek posts or entry.

Albóndigas de Frailes (Friars' Meatball Soup) #KitchenMatrixCookingProject


Today is our fourth May post for our Kitchen Matrix Project, named after Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix cookbook. You can read about the year-long project: here. This month, I chose the recipes and went with a Latin theme. So, we have worked with masa; we made salsa; we braised carnitas. And so on...you get the idea.

This week I chose Mexican soups, but wasn't really inspired by any of the recipes listed. Darn it. But I will try his tortilla soup and pork soup soon. Just wasn't feeling it this week. Sorry.

The #KitchenMatrixCookingProject Mexican Soups



Albóndigas de Frailes 
(Friars' Meatball Soup)

Albóndigas soup is a traditional Mexican soup featuring spicy meatballs offset by the fresh flavors of vegetables and herbs. This wasn't one of Bittman's recipes under 'Mexican Soups', but it's one of my family's favorites, so I'm sharing it anyway! And, yes, this has my California twist included with my butternut squash and kale!

Ingredients
Soup

  • 2 C chopped celery
  • 2 C chopped onion
  • 2 C chopped carrots
  • 1 C cubed butternut squash 
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped herbs (I used parsley, oregano, and mint)
  • 4 C thinly sliced greens (I used kale)
  • 8 C chicken stock

Meatballs

  • 1/2 C onions, diced
  • 1/2 C fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1 pound ground meat (I used a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 egg



Procedure
In a large souppot, melt butter in olive oil. Add in the celery, onions, carrots, and herbs. Cook until the onions are softened and beginning to turn translucent. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, make the meatballs. Melt butter in olive oil and cook the onions and fennel until softened and beginning to caramelize, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, work together the meat, ground almonds, egg, herbs, and spices. Form teaspoon-sized meatballs and drop them into the boiling broth. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so, till the meatballs are cooked through.

Ladle into individual serving bowls. Serve hot.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Double Blueberry Bison Burgers #BBQWeek #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #BBQWeek.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

Today kicks off a fun-filled event coordinated by Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. Not only did they wrangle all of the food bloggers, but they lined up some fantastic sponsors who shipped us ingredients and items for use in creating recipes for the event. So nice! When I saw that Not Ketchup was one of the sponsor, I might have shrieked in glee. Maybe.

And our generous sponsors are also offering prizes to our readers. So, don't forget to check out the prizes and enter the giveaway from our sponsors: my intro to #BBQWeek post!

Back to Erika...she blogs at In Erika's Kitchen, but more importantly for this post, she created and founded Not Ketchup. She recently introduced a line of products that's sweetened only with real fruit. The sauces are gluten-free, vegan, low sugar, low carb, Paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, diabetic-friendly, and contain absolutely no added sugar. Now that is a blessing in a world of products that have added sugar hidden everywhere.


And I am thrilled to share that I have met Erika in real life; she is so inspiring. So, I am always happy to support her, work with her products, and share them with my readers. To kick off #BBQWeek, I opted to make Double Blueberry Bison Burgers.

But first, here are the other bloggers' offerings to kick-off the week!

Double Blueberry Bison Burgers

So, the double blueberries are Not Ketchup's Blueberry White Pepper Sauce* - in the meat, on the bun, and with the fries! - and my Quick Pickled Blueberries that add such a delightful pop of flavor and brightness.
Ingredients serves 4

Burgers
  • 1 pound ground bison (you can substitute for whatever ground meat you prefer)
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 T ketchup (I used Not Ketchup's No Sugar Added Blueberry White Pepper Sauce*)
  • 1 t fresh thyme leaves

For Serving
  • buns (I used Francese rolls), toasted
  • organic pea shoots
  • fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
  • quick pickled blueberries
  • ketchup (I used Not Ketchup's No Sugar Added Blueberry White Pepper Sauce*)

On the Side

Procedure
Burgers
Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix until well-combined. Form the meat into 4 equal size patties, or 8 smaller patties. Place on a parchment-lined plate and set aside until ready to cook. Cook, as desired, on a grill or on the stove with grill pan or griddle.


To Serve
Toast the buns in the oven. Add a smear of ketchup to the bottom bun and place a patty on top.


Layer burger with sliced mozzarella, fresh pea shoots, pickled onions and blueberries.


Enjoy immediately!


Remember...you can enter to win a prize packet from Not Ketcup. Just visit my intro to #BBQWeek post!


Find Not Ketchup
on the web: here
on Twitter: here
on Facebook: here
on Pinterest: here
on Instagram: here
on Google+: here

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BBQWeek Sponsors Adam’s Extracts, Michigan Asparagus, and Not Ketchup for providing the prizes free of charge. These sponsors also provided bloggers with samples and product to use for creating #BBQWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BBQWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. There will be three winning entries that will be verified. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BBQWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize package. Participating bloggers and their immediate family members cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with social channels mentioned in the #BBQWeek posts or entry.

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