Tuesday Tidbits: Famous Fiction Writers and their Cocktails

  Literary Drinks:

A Fun Look at 10 Famous Fiction Writers and their Cocktails

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

From theKitchn, here is a brief look at some great American writers and their signature drinks

  “the boozy concoctions they drank and wrote about”

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Literary Drinks: 10 Famous Fiction Writers and Their Cocktails

 

Readers, what’s your cocktail of choice?

 

For Recipes: Click on each author or go to the Kitchn Post 

Read More: For more on great writers and their cocktails, check out Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide, which NPR profiled in this 2006 Morning Edition broadcast.

 

 

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus & Recipes

It’s Oscar Time!

And Epicurious.com has done it again with cleverly created menus for Oscar Night celebrations featuring recipes inspired by food themes and food ‘moments’ in each of this year’s Best Picture nominees:

13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up PopcornSpicy clams and “piccata of the gods” for American Hustle

A pizza-night menu is drawn from Theodore and Samantha’s carnival date in Her  

Outer space-themed dishes such as potato ‘meteors’ and star-shaped Linzer cookies to celebrate the celestial setting of Gravity.

Fruitcake and tea for Philomena whose enthusiasm for and love of food is evident through out the movie.

An over-the-top menu that includes sushi, steak, lobster, and Champagne reflect the lifestyle in The Wolf of Wall Street. With so many extravagant dishes, You may want to scale back this extensive menu or risk ‘incuring the wrath of your CFO and father for spending $26,000 on dinner”.

To see all nine movie-themed menus, read more.

 Plan your Oscar night around your favorite movie or the menu you can’t resist. Or pick one or more recipes from each and create your own one-of-a-kind Oscars feast.

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

Make more Oscar Night magic at home with:

 

Easy Appetizers

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

12 Sweet and Savory Puff Pastry Recipes

Theater-Style Snacks                                                                                                    Popcorn with a Twist

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

Microwave Popcorn Tase Test

 

13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up Popcorn

13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up Popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adapted from Epicurious.com: Best Oscar Party Recipes

Image Credits: Epicurious.com

 

 

Burrata Cheese with Roasted Grapes. WOW!!!

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

This  “WOW!!!”  is from a friend of a friend of a friend who shares this:

“I had an amazing dinner with my friend, Peter Gardiner-Harding, at his son Craig’s restaurant, Campognolo, whilst in Toronto last weekend. Here is a video of chef Craig Harding making the finest appetizer I have eaten: Burrata Cheese with Roasted Grapes. WOW!!!”

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

 

The “WOW!!!” definitely caught my attention so I watched this video,  and … wow! I can hardly wait to try it.

But first:  Just what IS Burrata Cheese? It looks  soft, creamy — yummy!   I thought I might have a better chance of visiting Toronto, before I might find Burrata cheese.  So, I researched (love the internet!) and it is more available that I imagined. There are even guidelines for making my own if I really want to. (I like DIY but I’ll pass on this one just now!)

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese.  Burrata Cheese - WOW!At first, it appears as a little ball of mozzarella with a twist at the top.   Some sources describe it as an outer shell of  mozzarella with a buttery-rich filling.  Hence the name: Burrata (“buttered” in Italian). Actually, it is a pouch holding soft mozzarella curds and cream which has been described as “thick, spreadable strings of cream, with a slightly sour finish.”

Burrata Cheese - WOW!

Apparently, it was developed  to utilize the ‘scraps’ of mozzarella. Once the hot mozzarella curds are ready to be shaped into whatever form is desired, instead of the familiar stretchy mozzarella strings, a pouch is formed. The pouch is filled with the scraps or ‘rags’ of leftover mozzarella curds, topped with cream, then closed with a twist. Burrata Cheese - WOW!

Traditionally, the finished burrata is wrapped in the leaves of the asphodel plant  but now it can be found in a plastic bag or container.

Burrata is generally served fresh.

 

Serving suggestions are plentiful… I’m drooling!

Burrata Cheese - WOW!Burrata Cheese - WOW!

 

Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Fun

It’s Girl Scout cookie season!  

Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge

And the “Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge” is underway in Arizona

Arizona Girls Scouts have launched the “Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge”.   This contest – the first of its kind  – is being hosted by the Girl Scout Arizona Cactus Pine Council (GSACPC) with assistance from some talented local chefs. 

One of the girls of the Arizona Council suggested that her troop donate a portion of their cookie sales to Camp Sombrero a 14.5 acre urban camp situated at the base of South Mountain in Maricopa County.  To increase the cookie sales, the Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge was created.

Local chefs were invited to participate by using Girl Scout Cookies and their “culinary prowess to re-imagine” one of the Girl Scout cookies into a custom dessert menu item. Each chef has been assigned one of the six Girl Scout cookies types and challenged with the task of creating a tasty dessert to be served at their restaurant through the month of February.

Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge Watch one of the chefs preparing his cookie dessert, “Girl Scout Cookie Roll”  (recipe follows) in this news clip from abc15 Phoenix.

The chefs are seeking votes from patrons for the title of  “Champion” of this first-ever Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge. The restaurants are  also donating a portion of their in-house dessert sales to the troop for their Camp Sombero campaign.

BUY YOUR COOKIES! What clever Cookie Dessert will you create?

If you are in the Phoenix or Flagstaff area — or plan on visiting?  (Spring Training Games are happening now!) — here is a list of  Participating restaurants

5 th and Wine
Location: 7051 E. 5 th Avenue in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Samoas
Dessert: Samoa Bread Pudding

Beckett’s Table
Location: 3717 E. Indian School Road in Arcadia
Assigned Cookie: Tagalongs
Dessert: Tagalong Napoleon

Blue Wasabi
Location: 2080 E. William Field Road in Gilbert
Assigned Cookie: Trefoils
Dessert: Girl Scout Cookie Roll

Café Bink
Location: 36889 N. Tom Darlington Drive in Carefree
Assigned Cookie: Trefoils
Dessert: Trefoil Jamboree Ice Cream Push Pop

CHoP
Location: 2625 E. Queen Creek Road in Chandler
Assigned Cookie: Thin Mints
Dessert: Cookie: Kick-Off Ice Cream Sandwich

Hopdoddy
Location: 11055 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Tagalongs
Dessert: Tagalong Shake Rattle & Roll

Lumberyard Brewery
Location: 5 S. San Francisco Street in Flagstaff
Assigned Cookie: Samoas
Dessert: Samoa Turtle Cheesecake

Olive + Ivy
Location: 7135 E. Camelback Road in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Trefoils
Dessert: Blueberry Cheesecake with Girl Scout Cookie Crust Gelato

Salty Sow
Location: 4801 E. Cactus Road in Phoenix
Assigned Cookie: Samoas
Dessert: Samoa Cookie Coconut Cream Pie in a Jar

The Herb Box Southbridge
Location: 7134 E. Stetson Drive in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Thin Mints
Dessert: Choco Thin Mint Ice Cream Sandwich

The Herb Box DC Ranch
Location: 20707 North Pima Road in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Savannah Smiles
Dessert: Savannah Smiles Sunshine Icebox Pie

Tom’s Thumb
Location: 9393 E. Bell Road in Scottsdale
Assigned Cookie: Do-Si-Do
Dessert: Do-Si-Do Apple Pie

TQLA
Location: 1840 S. Val Vista Drive in Mesa
Assigned Cookie: Tagalong
Dessert: Tagalong Tiramisu

For more information on the challenge, please visit:  http://www.girlscoutsaz.org/cookie-fun

 

RECIPE

Blue Wasabi – Girl Scout Cookie Roll:

Ingredients:

2 Fruit Roll Ups (full size)

3 Rice Krispie treat squares

8 Samoas cookies

6 Trefoils cookies

Whip cream can

Caramel sauce

Chocolate sauce

Strawberry puree sauce

Preparation: Lay fruit roll ups down overlapping the shorter sides by 1/2 inch. Unwrap Rice Krispie treats and place in microwave for 20 seconds. Push Rice Krispie treats down onto the Fruit Roll Up and spread them onto the Fruit Roll Up into one even layer so no Fruit Roll Up is showing. Turn upside down so the Rice Krispie treat is on the cutting board and the Fruit Roll Up is facing up. Break four Samoas in half and lay them down, overlapping just a little bit in one line lengthwise across the Fruit Roll Up. Break three Trefoils into pieces and lay them on top of the Samoas. Roll the rollup to look like a sushi roll. Break four Samoas in half and lay them across the top of the roll. Use a sushi rolling mat to crimp the roll into shape and push the Samoas down into the top. Cut into 9 pieces. Place the roll lengthwise on a plate with each piece offset slightly from the one ahead of it. Place a dollop of whip cream on each piece and generously drizzle caramel, chocolate and strawberry puree on top of the roll. Crunch up remaining Trefoils and sprinkle cookie crumbles on top of the roll.

 

 

 

Image: Girl Scouts Az.

Video: abc15 Phoenix

National PIE Day Today

 Perfect!  A National Pie Day in the middle of January National Pie Day

We’ve eaten our way through the fresh pies of summer, the apple pies of autumn, the satisfying pies of Thanksgiving, and all the holiday treats of Christmas. And on the horizon is the decadence of Valentine’s Day.  A National Pie Day in the middle of January is perfect!

It’s curious how a word, or a phrase, or even just a photograph can stimulate the appetite or create a craving: “The golden crust on the apple pie”  (previous Great Food Fun Places post and a Nora Jone’s song lyric) or Epicruious.com’s post “8 Gorgeous Reasons” to eat pie  with this image of a piled-high meringue pie – starts the mouth watering…and the creative cooking juices flowing. Ready to bake?

Pie is good! How else to brighten the cold dreary days of winter?  

 

National Pie Day  Remember – not all pies are dessert pies.  Think hot bubbling and rich savory Pot Pies . . . like this English Beef Pot Pie (The Yummy Life) or this Skillet Butternut Squash Pot Pie (Epicurious.com) National Pie Day

 

And what about Pizza? It’s a Pie!

 

In fact, you could do an entire PIE meal in honor of National Pie Day:

Appetizers: Mini quiche pies or fresh chopped veggie-topped flatbread pizzas

Entrée: Pizza – thin crust, deep dish – any yummy pizza

Dessert: Well…just take your pick!  Being January, I usually think of cherry (President’s day and all).

A special (dessert) pie from my childhood has been on my mind lately, reminding me that I haven’t been made it in a long time. This pie is on the rich, elegant side  and oh, so good! – a dark dense chocolate layer with a rich vanilla custard topped with fluffy whipped cream and chocolate shavings . . . I’m thinking Valentine’s Day. . . might as well take pie-eating into February!

After-Thanksgiving Pie Thoughts (& Recipe!)

Thanksgiving is officially over, at least at my house. The left-overs have been eaten and I just finished the last few bites of my favorite Thanksgiving pie – Minced Fruit!

After-Thanksgiving Pie Thoughts: Minced FruitLingering over those last bites, and savoring each delicious crumb, I decided this is my favorite pie – second only to fresh Apricot Pie  (Childhood Memories Recalled and Annual Apricot Pie). I discovered this delicious version of  ‘mince’ pie – years ago in a Sunset magazine and it quickly became a ‘traditional’ favorite Thanksgiving pie at our house.

Fresh apples, oranges, lemons, and cranberries, mixed with raisins, and the usual ‘mincemeat’ flavorings, this ‘Minced Fruit Pie’ offers a fresh, bright citrus-y zing with a warm, mellow brandy undertone, all wrapped in an easy  ‘n0-fail’  (almost) whole wheat crust  which adds a delicate nutty flavor to it.Post-Thanksgiving Pie thoughts: Minced Fruit Pie

It is just TOO yummy to keep to myself,  so I’m sharing the recipe with you (it is also good for Christmas!) We like it accompanied with a sharp cheddar cheese – especially for breakfast!  But cool, creamy vanilla ice cream compliments it well, too, and sets it up for a more festive and elegant dessert.

Recipes:

MINCED FRUIT PIE

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup raisins (dark or golden)
  2. 3 medium-sized tart green apples, cored and seeded
  3. 1/2 small unpeeled orange, seeds removed
  4. 1/4 small unpeeled lemon, seeds removed
  5. 1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar) packed
  6. 1 cup fresh whole cranberries
  7. 2 tablespoons brandy (or 1/2 teaspoon brandy flavoring)
  8. 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
  11. Pastry for a double -crust 9 inch pie (easy ‘no-fail’ recipe follows)

Directions:

Put raisins, apples, orange, lemon, and cranberries in a food chopper and pulse until small chunks. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sugar, tapioca, brandy salt and spices.

Roll out half of the pastry, fit it into a 9 inch pie pan and trim pastry even with the pan rim.  Fill pie pan with fruit mixture

Roll out remaining pastry;  fit over filling. Trim so the top pastry extends 1 inch over edge, then tuck it under the edge of the bottom pastry. Crimp edge decoratively to seal edge around pie. Cut vents in top pastry.

Bake in a 425º oven for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until pastry is well browned and filling is bubbling through the vents. Cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature .

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PIE CRUST (Easy ‘no-fail’ Whole Wheat)

Ingredients:

  1.  1/2 pound each Butter (2 sticks)
  2. 1/2 pound Cream Cheese (8 oz)
  3. 1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat flour. (or use half white & half whole wheat or a combination with whole wheat pastry flour – depending on how ‘wheat-y’ you want -increase to two cups flour total)
  4. 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Soften and blend butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add flour and salt.
  3. Mix gently to incorporate all ingredients. Do Not Over Mix. (using a food processor: mix just until flour and butter/cream cheese forms a ball)
  4. If too soft, chill 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll top and bottom crusts. With pastry left-overs, cut out small decorations (leaves, apples, etc) and place on top of pie. Brush top of crust (& decorations) with thin coating of cream.
  5. Bake two-crust pies with raw filling at 425º for 8 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 350º and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until pastry is well browned and filling is bubbling through the vents. Cool on rack. Bake pre-cooked or canned filling 20 minutes.
  7. Bake a Single crust at 425º for 10 minutes

Pumpkins aren’t just for jack-o-lanterns – Tuesday Tidbits

Pumpkins aren’t just for jack-o-lanterns. They are a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.

Here are 14 easy ways to start enjoying pumpkin now:

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.44.56 PMRoasted — Cut it into slices, lay in a roasting pan, brush some extra virgin olive oil over it and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve warm on its own or on top of a green salad.

Stuffed– Cut small pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds (save them!), brush with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Serve stuffed with quinoa or rice and cooked mixed vegetables. See: Pumpkin Risotto with Spinach

Soup — Bake pumpkin in the same way as indicated under “stuffed” then scoop out the cooked flesh, add two cups to a blender with some vegetable or chicken stock (to desired thinness), a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of unrefined sea salt, a pinch of black pepper, and a teaspoon of honey or other sweetener.  Serve hot.

Pie — Add ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or cloves along with your favorite sweetener, pour into a pie crust and bake for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   See: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Pureed — Place cooked pumpkin (as indicated in “stuffed”) in a blender with a little water, unrefined sea salt, black pepper, a teaspoon of honey or other sweetener, and serve in place of mashed potatoes for a healthier side dish.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.55.02 PMRoasted Pumpkin Seeds — Remove the fleshy parts from the pumpkin seeds you saved. Toss in a little extra virgin olive and unrefined sea salt. Bake at 300 for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Ground Pumpkin Seeds — Add ground pumpkin seeds to smoothies or on top your hot or cold cereal.

Raw Pumpkin Seed Snacks — Snack on pumpkin seeds (the green seeds, not the whole seed removed from the pumpkin) on their own or with a pinch of unrefined sea salt.

Bread — Add a cup of grated raw pumpkin to your favorite bread recipe to add moisture, flavor, and nutrients.

Cake — Add a cup of grated raw pumpkin and ground cinnamon and nutmeg to your favorite cake as an easy way to spice up a plain cake recipe.

Pasta Filling — Add pureed pumpkin along with your favorite seasonings such as sage and sea salt as a filling for lasagna or ravioli.

Chai Tea or Pumpkin Lattes — Add a tablespoon of cooked and pureed pumpkin to your chai tea or latte for a delicious autumn twist on your favorite beverage. (Click here for a Pumpkin Latte recipe)Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.57.14 PM

 

Adapted from  Care 2 Healthy Living

Photo Credits:

Stuffed Pumpkin image: care2 healthy living

Roasted pumpkin seeds image: miriam_kato via flickr

Pumpkin latte image: ousam via Flickr

 

Back to the Best: Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Bring on those dark stormy days – rain or snow – Or just bring on another bright sunny day ….any way you look at it, it’s a great day for cookies  (baking or just eating) – especially chocolate chip cookies.  Comfort food – rain or shine!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mania

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this way.    Here from Epicurious.com are 12 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes – 1 a month for a year! (or less, depending on your desire and eagerness!)

Which is the BEST?

Does there need to be a Best – how about a FAVORITE?

This is Chocolate Chip Cookie Mania – Let’s enjoy the variety!

 

Cookies Get Thumbs Up – Recipe is a Keeper!

THUMBS UP!  Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe shared from Epicurious is definitely a KEEPER!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tested

In fairness, I should have photographed my cookies in a similar display (black cooling rack over a white dish towel) but this was all I could manage quickly before the ‘monster’ taste tested!

The batter was rich and thick, with an almost caramel flavor. I used a sucanat sugar giving the batter a darker color and stronger flavor than a lighter golden-colored brown sugar might. Oh yes…and I used chocolate chunks (broken up chocolate bar) instead of chocolate chips.

Instructions are to  flatten the scoop of batter with the palm of your hand, slightly dampened. My batter was too sticky for that, so instead, I flattened it with the back of a wooden spoon dipped in water. The result (top of photo) was a large, thin, flat cookie (perhaps I needed more flour or perhaps it was just a higher humidity day).

The second batch were  not flattened (bottom of top photo), just dropped onto the cookie sheet (no extra flour added and yes – I used parchment paper). This resulted in a slightly smaller but thicker cookie. Both batches were baked a tad longer to get a nice brown crusty edge, which I prefer.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Test

Flattened or Non-Flattened? Both have a delightful ‘chewy’ texture AND a delicious flavor. The unflattened cookies have an almost ‘professional’ appearance!

Cookie Monster’ husband prefers the thicker style but is devouring both – that  is a THUMBS UP!

What were your results? Is this recipe a keeper?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cookies are at the are one of America’s 50 Favorite Foods and definitely at the top of the list for my ‘Cookie Monster’ husband . One of his ‘comfort’ foods, he can hardly turn one down if he spies one in a display case. He is particular, however, and prefers home made chocolate chip cookies. So we have several recipes with variations.

Chocolate Chip Cookies - photo by Lara HataThis chocolate chip cookie recipe, having received “over 300 user reviews, a perfect 4-fork rating, and over 4,000 saves” is “a keeper” according to Epicurious.  We are going to put it to the test.

Do you have a favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?  Do your own comparison and let us know!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 28 large (4 1/2-inch) cookies

ingredients

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  4. 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  5. 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  6. 1 cup granulated sugar
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (16 ounces)

preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork in a small bowl and add 1 3/4 tablespoons of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, then stir in chips.

Scoop 1/4 cup batter for each cookie, arranging mounds 3 inches apart, on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand. Form remaining cookies on additional sheets of parchment.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue making cookies in same manner using cooled baking sheets.