Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vote in Foodie Fights until June 3; 6 pm EST

The fight is on! Now is your chance to make your voice heard in this weeks Foodie Fight. It is Battle Melon/Red Pepper Flake and I am a participant with my Honey Cantaloupe Sorbet with Dark Chocolate Pepper Ganache. There is some fierce competition with the other chefs in the battle. Just go to Foodie Fights and pick your favorite! Hopefully my loyal Cre8tive readers will pick mine (hint hint) but do go and read all of the entries and then make an honest decision about who should really win. Hoping it is me, but those are some tough dishes to beat! Go check them out! Or, if you have already decided, then you can vote here!

Good Luck to all the participants in this battle! You can vote until June 3, 2009 by 6 pm EST.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Honey Cantaloupe Sorbet with Dark Chocolate Pepper Ganache

I was so excited last week when I opened my email from Nick at Foodie Fights and was chosen for Battle #4 Cantaloupe/Red Pepper Flake battle. At first I was stumped at the choice of ingredients and took me a couple days to figure out what to make that was not only creative, eye pleasing, and good tasting with these two ingredients. I finally figured out that I would make dessert. Honey Cantaloupe Sorbet with Dark Chocolate Pepper Ganache. Try saying that 3 times fast! This is my first time doing something like this and being judged. I hope it is ok since I am up against some pretty darn good chefs. So check out the posts at Foodie Fights on June 2nd to see how I stack up. Ok here is the recipe... and some great photos!

Honey Cantaloupe Sorbet
(an adaptation of an Orange Sorbet, I found in one of my recipe boxes from my grandmother's things)

1 cantaloupe, cubed (I used a rather big one that you get at Costco)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp honey

Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan to form simple syrup. Boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

In a blender, puree the cantaloupe, lemon juice, and honey. Add cooled simple syrup. Pour into a freezer container and freeze.

Dark Chocolate Pepper Ganache

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 dark chocolate bar (I bought a 72% cacao bar from World Market)
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Heat the cream until very hot, add chocolate. Let sit for a couple minutes, beat. Add pepper flakes. Let sit until room temperature.

Then all you have to do it put them together. Scoop some sorbet into a dish, spoon on some ganache, sprinkle with pepper flakes, garnish with a mint sprig. That is all. It was easier than it looks. You could serve this at a dinner party, BBQ, or whereever you think this dish would fit in. It was fun to participate in the Foodie Fights and I hope they pick mine because I think it would be fun to judge a contest like this.

Enjoy a couple of pictures of the finished product!

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Decadent Chocolate Cake

This is the cake I made for my and my mother-in-law's birthdays for the big BBQ we had this weekend. It was so good I just have to share where I got the recipe and what I did to make it so yummy! It was received well by everyone.

Also, this is my last day of NaBloPoMo and I did it!! I did 31 blog posts in 31 days for the whole month of May, I did it!! I will do it again, just not the rest of the summer because we have many many plans this summer for fun things outside. But I can say that I did it! Ok, back to the cake.

The cake recipe I used was one I found from a fellow food blogger at Food and Passion and it was wonderful! So moist and chocolaty, it was just what the doctor ordered for a great chocolate fix. I made it even more decadent because I put in Philly Cheesecake filling in between the layers. The cheesecake just gave it that something that put it over the edge of rich and yummy! Other than that I followed her directions to the letter to make this cake and the chocolate ganache that frosted the outside of this cake.

Check it out! It was fantastic! Try it yourself, very easy recipe. Here is the link to that recipe one more time: Food and Passion Dark and Moist One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and now here are some more pictures to convince you to go visit Food and Passion and make this cake!

Here is the cake before frosting with the chocolate ganache. I took the 2 thick layers the recipe made and cut them in half to make a 4 layer cake to have more cheesecake filling. It was so good!

This is the cake after frosting with the chocolate ganache.

And here is the slice, before I gobbled it up! It was so yummy and rich, one slice was enough... for now! Having some more later!

Now, if that isn't enough to convince you to go make this cake... I don't know what else to do. It is that good, and so easy to make. The instructions for this cake were so simple, that makes it even better! Go make some! You will be glad you did!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Trip to the Beach and Cioppino

Today I was not working so me and the family decided to go to Westport WA right on the Pacific Ocean. Our goal was to play at the beach and just enjoy the day; however, Mother Nature had other plans. It was so cold and windy and we did not bring coats or wear long pants. It was about 85 degrees when we left home and about 60 when we got to the beach with high winds. Needless to say we did not stay long, which brought me to my second and third goals.

Second on my list of things to do was to go to my favorite candy shop and buy saltwater taffy. This is the only place I buy it because it is the real deal and it is so yummy and fresh. They have so many flavors it makes a person's head double take at all the cool flavors. They also have a great fudge counter, but saltwater taffy takes the center stage with me when I go here. It is called Gifts Ahoy Sea Shanty and anyone who visits Westport must go here to get taffy, fudge, and really cool gifts. It is right across the street from all the piers and floats right there in the heart of this wonderful fishing town of Westport WA.
Check out all the taffy flavors. And, I didn't even get all of them in the pictures, there was also taffy above and below the middle racks of which is pictured here. They have so many flavors, it is a taffy lover's dream.

Then my third goal of this visit was to go to the floating seafood shop called Seafood Connection right on the water at Float 8 on the Westport fishing piers. This is one of the best places in Westport to buy seafood. It is fresh off the boats and when it is sold out, there is nothing frozen or anything. Once it is gone, it is gone; you wait until tomorrow if you want seafood from here. It is so fresh. The cool thing is that it floats, you can actually feel the waves beneath your feet as you shop and they wrap up your seafood and ice it right there. You can buy live crabs, live prawns, halibut, and many other types of seafood. This is where I bought my seafood for my Cioppino that we had for dinner. Nothing like a fresh seafood meal with some yummy sourdough to round out a great day.

Another unexpected treat we got was a sea lion popped up out of the water while we were walking down the pier to go back to the car, he was so close and I had put my camera away. I was pretty disappointed that he did not rear his head again as he was maybe 4 feet away from us and that picture would have been great! But we saw him again from afar and so this is the picture I got.

Yes the little dot in the water is the sea lion. They know when the fishing boats come in and hang out while they throw out any fish parts they do not need, or bait they did not use, so they can get a feast when the charter boats come in.

Here is the wonderful seafood I purchased. We got a dungeness crab, mussels, clams, and part of a halibut fillet.

Ok if you have made it this far in this great day story, then here is the recipe for the Cioppino. It is an adaptation of a recipe I found online at Mama Chios Shellfish Cioppino and I changed it up a little bit to make it a little less spicy and to use what I had on hand and what seafood was in season. Just click the link to get the original recipe and here is the changes included.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup merlot wine (we used Fat Bastard Merlot, it was also so good to drink; it is also a great priced bottle at $10 a bottle that tastes like we paid more, it was really good)
2 cups chopped roma tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 cups water

1 dungeness crab, shelled
3/4 lb halibut fillet, cut into bite sized chunks
1 lb clams
1 lb mussels

Heat oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, parsley, and garlic. Cook until onion is transparent. Add wine and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Stir frequently while cooking 15-20 minutes. Add water, cover, simmer for 30 minutes. Add all seafood except halibut to sauce. Add more water if necessary to make sure all shellfish is covered. Cook for 5 minutes; add halibut, and cook additional 10 minutes. When clams have opened, cioppino is ready to serve.

- if any clams or mussels have not opened, discard them.
- We ate this with some sourdough bread to soak up broth.

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