Monday, February 19, 2018

Rib-Eye Steaks and Single Malt Scotch #FoodNFlix

For the February edition of Food'N'FlixEvelyne at CulturEatz hosts as we watch Guess Who's Coming to Dinner*. Here's her invitation.

On the Screen
I had never heard of the movie before this month, so it was definitely a treat to discover it. But I mentioned it to my sister-in-law who said, "Great movie!" And, when I came home from work yesterday, my mom was there with D. They were watching it. She commented, "I saw this when I was 17...I definitely got more out of it today."

Released in 1967, the film stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn and addresses interracial marriage as Joanna Drayton surprises her parents (Tracy and Hepburn) by bringing home her new fiancé, John Prentice (Poitier). Add to the surprise that, not only is he African-American, he is considerably older than she, he is a widow, and they only met ten days before. But, sometimes, when you meet 'the one', you just know, right?

One of my favorites lines is when Christina (Hepburn) chides her husband Matt (Tracy): "She's 23 years old, and the way she is just exactly the way we brought her up to be. We answered her questions. She listened to our answers. We told her it was wrong to believe that white people were somehow essentially superior to black people or the brown or the red or the yellow ones, for that matter. People who thought that way were wrong to think that way. Sometimes hateful, usually stupid, but always wrong. That's what we said and when we said it, we did not add, 'but don't ever fall in love with a colored man.'"

Needless to say, there was lots of interesting conversations between her parents, between her father and their family friend Monsignor Ryan, between the mothers, between the fathers. And, then, all of them all together. I won't tell you what really should just watch it! But, I will say, that I thoroughly enjoyed the film though there wasn't a whole lot of food in it.

On the Plate
Given the title of the movie, I would have actually expected more food. There was some, but not a lot. We see them eating sandwiches on the terrace. Tillie, the domestic help, says she is going to serve celery soup though Joanna says, "Turtle Soup!" The Draytons pull into an ice cream shop and have fresh Oregon boysenberry ice cream. Christina Drayton sure drinks a lot of black coffee. I'm with her on that!

I've actually had fresh Oregon boysenberry ice cream! It's delicious. We always stop at a spot on our 10-day summer camping trip and it's a favorite. But it's not berry season and it's definitely too cold for ice cream these days.

So what inspired me into the kitchen were the steaks that were delivered for the dinner...and the drinks. When then parents are convened in the living room for cocktails, the mothers drink sherry; the priest drinks bourbon; and the dads drink scotch. I had hoped to see the dinner spread as they all walk into the dining room at the end of the movie. But just as the camera could have panned in, following them in as they take their seats, the credits ran. So, I still have no idea what Tillie served. I'm going with steaks...and scotch!

Ingredients serves 4 (sharing 1 rib-eye for 2 people)
  • 2 rib-eye steaks, about an inch thick
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • Also needed: a griddle or grill pan
Let steaks rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking - and up to an hour. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and ground cumin.

Melt 1 T butter in 1 T olive oil on a griddle or grill pan. Heat the point that it is almost smoking. Sprinkle another layer of salt and pepper over the meat, pressing them into the meat.

Place your steak - newly sprinkled side down - in the pan. Depending on thickness, you will want to cook the steak for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle the top side with salt and pepper before flipping. You should have a nice crust formed with an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F for medium. Remove from pan and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. I sliced the steak and served it with caramelized onions, crisped mushrooms, and broccoli.

Scotch Whisky
The land of Scotch whisky is not as complicated as you might think. Let's start with this, though, it’s spelled 'whisky' without the 'e,' unlike American whiskies such as bourbon and rye. Then, whether you’re pouring a single malt whisky or a blended Scotch whisky, expect it to taste smoky.

Some technical things...scotch can be made with other grains, but it must contain malted barley. Single malt is pot-distilled and, unlike bourbon, scotch has to age in oak casks for at least 3 years. The tasting profiles of scotch run the gamut from floral to spicy and salty to sweet.

For this dinner, I poured a Glenmorangie 10-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Note this: there are plenty of whisky snobs out there. I am not one of them. The bottom line is that if you like it, then it is great whisky. I prefer smooth whiskies and this is an excellent and affordable bottle. On the nose, I sense a soft sweetness. On the tongue, it's heftier than I would have thought with subtle spices and a touch of honey. I like that this is clean and well-balanced.

Next month, Ali from Fix Me a Little Lunch will be hosting the group as we watch Runaway Bride. Stay tuned for that invitation.

*This blog currently has a partnership with 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 and search for the item of your choice.

Potatoes Braised with Wine #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

Today we are continuing the Kitchen Matrix Project, after Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix cookbook. You can read about it: here. I'm very excited about the dishes and the bloggers who are joining me. This month, Wendy at A Day in the Life in the Farm picked the recipes. I can't wait to follow along with her choices.

This week, She picked 'Braised Potatoes + 3 Ways' for the group which means we could make simple braised potatoes, braised potatoes with wine, and braised potatoes curried in milk...along with any variations or adaptations that we needed or wanted. I opted to make a variation of his potatoes braised with wine this week, but can't wait to try the others.

The Other Braised Taters

Potatoes Braised in Wine
slightly adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe

I skipped the pancetta and swapped out the parsley for thyme and dill. This was a delicious, easy dish to make. And I can definitely see this process being on I use regularly with whatever herbs I have on hand.

  • 2 pounds potatoes (I used Yukon gold)
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 C stock
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh thyme for garnish
  • fresh dill for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Stir on the potatoes and toss to coat. Add in the onions and cook for a few minutes until the onions are softened. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes begin to crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh thyme and fresh dill

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Pretty Simple Dinner Party and Meat was Not Missed #FoodieReads #PrettySimpleCooking #PrettySimpleDinnerParty

The Pretty Simple Dinner Party was a virtual dinner party to celebrate good food and good people. In a time where we need unity and community, we wanted to celebrate coming together around the table! The scoop: here.

It's all based around the brand new cookbook A Couple Cooks - Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja and Alex Overhiser.* You noticed the 'vegetarian' in that title, right? Bear that in mind and keep reading.

To be a host, I just needed to cook dinner in my home for at least one other person on that night, using one recipe from the cookbook! I ended up making half a dozen recipes and having five people over for my four. It was a full table and we all had full bellies after. I was happy to be one of the 350 dinner parties; there were parties in every state plus twenty-five other countries. Wow! I had some of our best friends over an unforgettable feast.

And one of the best things I can say: none of my omnivores missed the meat. Really. No one even realized it was a vegetarian menu until I mentioned it at the end of the evening. I will be sharing a few recipes from the cookbook soon, but here's a sneak peak of what I served...I also served dishes that I didn't photograph. All of them were easy to make and delicious. This cookbook definitely earned its place on my easy-to-reach cookbook shelf.

Lemon & Pepper Green Beans

Artisan Pizza with Butternut Squash and Garlic

Artisan Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Layered Mediterranean Hummus Platter with Artichoke Hummus

Artichoke Lentil Stew with Salsa Verde

Raw Brownie Truffles with Pistachio Dust

*This blog currently has a partnership with 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 and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in February 2018: here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Steamed Lobster Tails en Papillote #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' February event. We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. This is, easily, my favorite recipe sharing event of the month. I always come away with a list of recipes that I just have to try!

This month, Sue of Palatable Pastime is hosting. She asked us to make any kind of seafood or fish baked in parchment or foil (en papillote).

en pa·pi·llote
äN ˌpapēˈyōt/
adjective & adverb
  1. (of food) cooked and served in a paper wrapper
The Line-Up of Wrap-Ups

Steamed Lobster Tails en Papillote

While I have cooked a lot of seafood en papillote - Halibut with Onion Jam, Tapenade-Topped Sablefish, and even Campfire Steelhead while camping - I realized that I'd never tried lobster en papillote. And I just happened to have four lobster tails ready for Valentines' dinner. So...we gave it a try. To further the celebration, I made the parchment pieces into hearts. I know, I'm corny that way.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 4 (5-ounce) lobster tails 
  • 1/2 C (equals 8 T) white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4 C (equals 4 T) olive oil
  • 1 t flake salt
  • bunch of organic asparagus
  • Also needed parchment paper


Preheat oven to 425° F.

Cut four lengths of parchment paper to about 20 inches. Fold in half and cut out (half) a'll be a full heart when you unfold it! Place the parchment hearts on a cutting board.

Using kitchen shears, cut each lobster tail down the back, stopping at the last segment before the tail piece. Bend back the tail until you hear a loud crack. Slip a knife between the meat and the bottom membrane, freeing tail meat from the shell. Pull the meat up and over the shell, closing the shell shut beneath it. The tail meat, then, piggybacks on top of the shell. Place the lobster in the center of the heart - on the crease.

Sprinkle with salt and place trimmed asparagus alongside the tail. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and 2 T white wine.

Starting at the top of the heart, fold edges of parchment, sealing edges with narrow folds. Twist the end tip to secure tightly. Repeat with all four, then place packets on a baking sheet.

Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes.

Let diners open their own hearts. Enjoy! Though this was a special Valentines' dinner, I encourage people to celebrate love everyday...not just on February 14th.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons, Roasted Peppers, and Olives + Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Donkey & Goat Winery.* All opinions are my own.

This was a recipe I tested to go with Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins. While, in the end, I opted to post my Petrale Sole, Fennel, and Potato Gratin for their Spring wine release, it was simply because this recipe can be seen as complicated and requiring a special pot - a tagine. You can accomplish the same thing with a Dutch oven or any pot with a tight-fitting lid. But I agreed with Jared that this crossed the line from inspiring to intimidating. That is definitely not where I wanted to go for the project.

But I did want to share it regardless because it was a fabulous dish with the wine!

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons, 
Roasted Peppers, and Olives

Ingredients serves 8
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • ¼ t saffron threads, pulverized
  • ½  t ground ginger
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ t turmeric
  • whole chicken, cut in 8 to 10 pieces, or 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 C olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 C roasted peppers, thickly sliced
  • 4 to 5 preserved lemon wedges, pulp removed and rind sliced thinly
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • 2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Blend garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, and turmeric together. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours. 

Heat half of the oil in heavy skillet, or base of the tagine. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Heat the remaining oil in the tagine. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned.

Tuck the cinnamon stick into the onions and place the browned chicken on top of that.

Scatter with olives, roasted peppers, and preserved lemon strips. Pour stock over chicken. Bring to a boil, then cover. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle with parsley and divide into individual servings. Serve hot. I served this with barely blanched green beans and saffron rice. Read my thoughts about this wine in the gratin post. It's amazing!

You may find Donkey & Goat...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of recipe development. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.*

Cured Egg Yolks

While I have a subscription to a few cooking magazines, I rarely read them. But, every once in a while, I'll thumb through one while I'm eating lunch at work. 

And one day, a few years ago, I saw salt-cured egg yolks. They caught my eye because I thought they might be a good substitute for bottarga, cured fish roe. I finally got around to making them. I did a small batch because I wasn't sure how it would work...or if we would like them. The verdict: this works well and it's an intriguing addition to dishes.

  • 1/3 pound kosher salt
  • 1/3 pound organic granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs

Blend the salt and sugar together in a large bowl and transfer half of the mixture to a square dish and shake gently to settle into an even layer.

Using whole, in-shell eggs, make 4 evenly spaced indentations in the bed by pressing bottom of egg gently into mixture.

Crack eggs, separate yolks from whites, and gently place yolks to indentations in bed. Carefully pour remaining salt mixture evenly over yolks. Wrap dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until yolks are firm and dry, approximately 6 to 7 days.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Remove yolks from salt-sugar mixture. Brushing off excess grains and place on a baking sheet. Bake until exteriors of yolks are dry to touch, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool and keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Serving Ideas
Grate or thinly slice yolks and sprinkle on your favorite dishes. Swap it for parmesan on pasta and risotto. Use it as a seasoning on roasted vegetables and avocado toast. Get creative! Can't wait to share what I've been using this on. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Petrale Sole, Fennel, and Potato Gratin + Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Donkey & Goat Winery.* All opinions are my own.

It's wild for me to think that I've never met Jared and Tracey Brandt of Donkey & Goat Winery in real life. I've long been a fan of their wines; I make a point to swing by their tasting room in Berkeley any time we're in the Bay Area; and they agreed to sponsor a Locavore Cooking Class + Feast that I donate each year to a local high school fundraiser. They are awesome and supportive though we've only connected virtually.

So, when Jared emailed to say that my name had come up in conversation and would I be willing to create a pairing suggestion to time with their Spring wine release, I agreed before I even knew with what wine I would be working.

When I realized it was their new Grenache Blanc Skins, I shrieked in glee. Really. Maybe it was more of a squeal, but it was definitely accompanied by a little jump. I love all the Donkey & Goat skin ferments; they are so esoteric and have great texture. And, on top of that, I adore that beautiful orange hue. You just know you're sipping 'adventure' with a wine that color, right?

I tested several various dishes with the wine, including a Chicken Tagine with Roasted Peppers and Olives; Paella; and different cheeses. I'll be sharing thoughts on those soon. But, when I gave Jared the option of the pairings, he asked me to lean towards something that would be inspirational and not too intimidating.

Then my husband - who never cooks and hardly comments on my food until it's something he really dislikes and it's been served more than five times - made a suggestion. "I see this pairing really well with potatoes and cream...but for a main dish." I mentioned the sole I had from the fish market and ran fennel by him as an additional flavor. In my estimation, fennel pollen is the equivalent of culinary fairy dust. It makes everything sparkle. 

Success! I love that this dish looks and tastes elegant, but it requires just a handful of ingredients and only two pans. Potatoes and cream are always comforting, but the addition of fish, sweet onions, and earthy fennel make this a dish fancy enough for company. Toss together a green salad, open a bottle of Donkey & Goat Winery’s Grenache Blanc Skins, and dinner is served!

A few notes: I used a 9” enameled cast iron pot. But you can use a ceramic dish or even individual ramekins for a more personal size serving. A mandolin slicer is helpful for the potatoes. And feel free to substitute whatever white fish you have available. Just be sure the fillets are thinly sliced.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 T butter, divided + more for buttering the baking dish
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound petrale sole fillets
  • Freshly ground salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • 2 t fennel pollen
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a baking dish. Slice the potatoes into thin, even slices. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a skillet with 1 T butter, cook the onions and fennel until they soften, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside.

This part is all about making even and appealing layers to the gratin. I did one-third of the potatoes, one-half of the onions and fennel; one-third of the potatoes; all of the fish with 1 t fennel pollen; one-half of the onions and fennel; one-third of the potatoes with 1 t fennel pollen on the top. Season lightly with salt and pepper at each potato layer.

Gently press down on the layers to create an even top. Pour the cream over the potatoes. Bake for 40 minutes.

Cut 1 T butter into smaller cubes. Remove from the oven and dot the top with butter cubes. Return to the oven and bake until the top layer of potatoes is tender and beginning to brown, approximately 20 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins Tasting Notes
All of their wines are so unique. But this one is alluring in the breadth of aromas and flavors. Think of the sweet floral tinge of poached quince mixed with spiciness of cloves and cinnamon. Then imagine the zesty citrus of a Makrut lime tempered with fresh honeycomb. It sounds like it's all over the place, but it's beautifully balanced with solid tannins. Drinking this wine is an absolute pleasure!

You may find Donkey & Goat...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of recipe development. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.*

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