Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging#211 Round-up

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This is my third time hosting Weekend Herb Blogging which is in its fourth year and going strong with so many participants who submit tantalizing recipes, great food photos and in the process teach WHB's readers about the variety of plants and herbs; how they grow, their use in culinary or medicinal means and sometimes, a history lesson. Many food bloggers know how WHB came to be, but for those who are new to this event, read all about it here.

Over this, our Thanksgiving week in the United States, I have received some fabulous dishes and photos from all over the world. Thanks to everyone! Without further ado-

First off, Graziana from erbeincucina(Cooking with Herbs) in Italy celebrates cooking Thanksgiving dinner with a special tea brewed from some of the same herbs and fruits that make up the holiday dishes.Apple Tea with Thanksgiving Herbs is a lovely brew of sliced apples,green tea leaves, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Home grown spring onions and sprouting broccoli in an easy tofu Thai curry sauce served over cauliflower "rice" comes from Mangocheeks in Scotland who blogs at allotment2kitchen. We learn that the grated cauliflower cooks quickly and an excellent low carbohydrate, healthy substitute for rice.

From Goa in India, renowned for its lovely beaches and seafood, Sugar Plum Fairy at vanillastrawberryspringfields cooks up a colorful Squids in Lemon Butter Sauce.The squids are marinated briefly, then cooked in butter and oil resulting in a velvety sauce. Red peppers add a nice touch at the end.

I wish I had seen Winnie's Sweet Potato Indian Pudding before I planned my desserts for Thanksgiving. This dense, spicy and flavorful dessert is based on the American colonist's version of the British "hasty pudding". But the colonists used cornmeal, once known as Indian meal-thus the name, Indian Pudding. Winnie blogs from healthygreenkitchen and, just recently hosted WHB#210 .

Another lovely fall dish, a Pan-fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage comes from Saveur who contributes to the thetastespace. Sage and pumpkin, cooked for the first time by Saveur, marry well in this Italian specialty.

Marillyn, who blogs from paradisal Costa Rica at justmakingnoise brings us Eggplant Artichoke Heart Galettes, a delicious pan-fried vegetable cake seasoned with garlic, chili, rosemary and goat cheese. Marillyn will be the lovely host for WHB#212.

Inspired by his pomegranate and pistachio couscous salad, Kevin from closetcooking brings us this tantalizing Mediterranean salad- Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad. This vivid main dish salad has traditional tabbouleh ingredients, but becomes unique when dressed with a pomegranate vinaigrette and the pomegranate's scarlet (seeds)arils.

Cinzia, from cindystar enjoys baking her Pumpkin Buttons , not only for her afternoon cup of tea, but gives them as gifts at Christmas time. Rolled in powdered sugar after baking, these cookies remind me of the Mexican wedding cookies, but with the lovely delicate flavor and color of pumpkin.

Yeoh Cheng Huann at eatliverecipes prepares for us a highy nutritious Lotus Root with Black Fungus Stir Fry, an appetizer recipe he got from his Mum's vegetarian cookbook. Huann gives us some excellent tips on how to clean and store the lotus root before using it in a dish.

Haalo, of cookalmostanything and the excellent manager of WHB revamps the French classic, Aioli, with garlic which has been cold smoked using a mix of fruit and nut woods. Her Smoked Garlic Aioli must smell as lovely as it looks. You can find smoked garlic in the USA here.

Kalyn of kalyn'skitchen, creator of the Weekend Herb Blogging event, prepares two versions of her Turkey and Pinto Bean White Chili. One recipe utilizes the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and the other uses ground turkey. Cilantro, both dried and fresh, as well as other Mexican herbs are showcased in this warming turkey chili.

Red, green and yellow bell peppers add color and a healthy dose of Vitamin C to Marisa's Tri-Colore Pepper and Lentil Salad.Blogging from thecreativepot in South Africa, Marisa suggests this salad will make your meatless meals definitely POP! I love the feta cheese crumbles on top of the salad.

Given a cookie by a friend who asked her to figure out how they were made, Brii of briibloginenglishrenamed the cookie, iris'sembraces, for her mother-in-law.Brii uses very fine olive oil from Brenzone territory, the largest in the Verona province along Lake Garda, near Valsorda,her home.

Lastly, my contribution to this event is a Pomegranate Sangria sweetened with a homemade pomegranate syrup instead of the traditional sugar syrup which adds an intense pomegranate flavor.

Again, thanks to everyone for submitting posts to this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging. Marillyn from justmakingnoise is host for WHB#212.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #211-Pomegranate Sangria with Homemade Pomegranate Syrup

Print Friendly and PDF I am happy to be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #211 managed byHaalo of Cook Almost Anything and created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This pomegranate sangria is my contribution to the event.
Just recently, a case of 100% pomegranate from the kind folks at PomWonderful arrived on my doorstep. I have had a great time drinking it, making pomegranate molasses, pumpkin french toast with pomegranate maple syrup(here), a pomegranate syrup that I used to make this sangria, plus a meat marinade made with pomegranate molasses, honey and red wine.
A refreshing punch for any occasion, Sangria consists of a red wine, typically a Rioja and an assortment of seasonal fruits mixed together and served over ice. Popular in Europe for hundreds of years, Sangria made its American debut in 1964 at the World's Fair in New York. Since then, it has evolved and sometimes includes brandy, rum, gin and other spirits. Sangria Blanco is made with white wine with compatible fruits such as the kiwi, peaches, or mangos. When making Sangria, use a quality red or white wine, one you would be happy to drink by itself. For best results, let the mixture of wine and other ingredients sit in the refrigerator several hours and preferably overnight for the flavors to meld. Add the fruit just before serving.

Using the pomegranate syrup in this sangria adds more depth and a tantalizing pomegranate flavor than when using the traditional simple syrup. Cointreau is the preferred liqueur, but the less expensive Triple Sec can be a substitute. Red grapes, pomegranate seeds, orange, lemon and lime slices are added just before serving.

Pomegranate Sangria

2-3 oranges, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup Cointreau, or Triple Sec
1/4-1/3 cup pomegranate syrup (recipe follows)
1-750 ml bottle zinfandel or your favorite red wine
For garnish, lemon, lime and orange slices; red grapes, pomegranate seeds to top

In a large pitcher, mix together citrus juices, Cointreau and the pomegranate syrup. Stir in the wine. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Before serving, add citrus slices and grapes to the pitcher. Pour sangria in tall glasses over ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds and additional grapes.

Pomegranate Syrup

4 cups 100% Pomegranate juice from POM
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon. Stir until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally, until mixture is the consistency of syrup, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a covered jar and refrigerate up to 1 month.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging Host-#211

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Hi Everyone,
This week from November 23-29th, I will be the host for Weekend Herb Blogging #211. The rules are here and the history behind this popular blog event can be found here. Email me by-November 29

3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
11pm Sunday - Rome Time
9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time

Looking forward to seeing your posts!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette

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The Spanish word, Queso fundido-[KAY-soh fuhn-DEE-doh], literally translates as melted cheese, traditionally, Chihuahua cheese. But this all time favorite appetizer at Bobby flay's Mesa Grill restaurant in New York features two very different types of cheese; a satiny, smooth Mozzarella for the queso fundido mixture, and a tangy goat cheese sliced into rounds for the topping. A tantalizing roasted poblano vinaigrette flavored with honey and red wine vinegar is then drizzled over the queso fundido before baking. Served with lots of blue corn tortillas, this is one appetizer that will keep your guests asking for more. For a more robust dish, add crumbled, cooked chorizo to the basic cheese mixture before adding the toppings. Recipe from "Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook" by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson. Serves 4.

How to Make Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Blue Corn tortillas, for dipping

Preheat the broiler.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened, stirring to keep from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Remove from heat and stir in the grated Monterey Jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Scrape the mixture into two 4-inch shallow cast iron pans or one 8-inch cast iron pan.Place the rounds of goat cheese over the top. Place the pan under the broiler and broil until the goat cheese is golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with the Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve with chips for dipping.

Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette


2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (instructions follow)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste.Combine the poblanos, 2 tablespoons cold water, the vinegar, garlic, honey, canola oil, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Can be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated.

To Roast the Poblanos
To roast the poblanos-wash and dry the peppers. Using a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil, coat the peppers well. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a preheated 375 degree F. oven and roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, place in a paper bag for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the steam to loosen the skins. Cut the peppers in half, peel, seed and cut into strips.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

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Britney of thenittybritty chose this great holiday bundt cake which epitomizes the colors, flavors and aromas of autumn. This bundt style cake has the requisite pumpkin, cranberries,apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger-all the ingredients of the season rolled into one dessert. This cake would be perfect for a coffee morning or as an additional dessert for Thanksgiving dinner. Check out Britney's blog for the recipe or, better still, buy Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My Home to Yours".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fresh Corn Soup with Roasted Corn Guacamole

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Fresh or frozen corn works well in this very intensely flavored corn soup topped with a roasted corn guacamole tinged with heat from diced jalapenos. Diced red onion, garlic, cilantro and the zest and juice from limes complete this easy soup perfect for any season. Original recipe here.

Roasted Corn Guacamole
  • Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped

  • Kernels from 5 ears fresh corn, or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Cilantro sprigs, to garnish

Roast the Corn for the Guacamole
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. It may seem that you have left the corn in the oven for too long, but you want the corn to caramelize and get a little crunchy. Remove the corn from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the Corn for the Soup
Put the kernels (fresh or frozen and defrosted) in a blender.

Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth. (You may need to pulse or stir the corn mixture in order to achieve a smooth consistency, but do not add any more liquid.)

Simmer the Soup
Pour the corn puree into the soup pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the soup begins to thicken. Slowly whisk or stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Finish the Roasted Corn Guacamole
In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and jalapeño. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and Garnish
Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each bowl. Garnish with a small sprig of cilantro placed in the center of each.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eggs Scrambled with Roasted Red Peppers

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This rustic Italian dish, a mixture of creamy scrambled eggs with sauteed roasted red peppers and garlic is perfect for breakfast, a light lunch or an easy Sunday night supper. Roast your own peppers or use a good brand of fire roasted red peppers. For sandwiches, broil or grill slices of crusty Italian or Rosemary Raisin Bread. Serves 2-3, but the recipe is easily doubled. Adapted from "Italy in Small Bites" by Carol Field.


  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, or 2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley, optional
  • 4-6 slices country-style Italian bread, or rosemary raisin bread
  1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Saute the peppers and garlic over medium-low heat until soft, but not mushy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and salt.
  2. Add the eggs to the pan and scramble them until they are creamy and set.
  3. For the sandwiches, grill or broil the bread. Arrange the scrambled egg mixture between the slices allowing the flavors to imbue the crusty bread.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sugar-Topped Pomegranate Molasses Spice Cookies

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I'm having house guests this coming weekend, so the cookies chosen by Pamela of Cookies with the Boys would be perfect for the picnic I'm planning. Since they freeze well, I could make them ahead of time.

I was multi-tasking this past Sunday; making cookies and pomegranate molasses from the juice the lovely folks at POMWonderful sent me just recently. I thought Pomegranate molasses too exotic to make at home, plus it isn't available in the high-end grocery stores that I sometimes frequent. After searching online for recipes and realizing how easy the molasses was to make at home, I was elated. Here in the United States, PomWonderful is the largest grower and processor of pomegranates, specifically the Wonderful variety. Pomegranate juice has so many health advantages that it should be considered a veritable fountain of youth. Did you know that grenadine syrup is also made from pomegranate juice? I didn't! I see some cocktails in my crystal ball!
Back to the cookies-The pomegranate molasses had cooled and looked just like the jarred molasses, except the color was a deeper red. The finished cookies had a great spice flavor which wasn't overpowered by the inclusion of the pomegranate molasses and I could discern a subtle piquant taste from the fruit. Very pleasing.

Since November is a busy month leading up to the holidays, the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group has some leeway in posting this month's picks. So check out the blogroll, it's not all cookies!
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.