Local Talent – Chefs, Writers and Producers

Yesterday was a food-filled day and today my head is bursting with new recipes to create and stories to tell.  I can’t decide where to let my fingers fly – the kitchen or the keyboard.

Kitchen first, to bake a loaf of no-knead bread which I started yesterday when Sharon was visiting. I wanted to show her what the dough should look like when first mixed because while I can write “the dough should look like wet biscuit dough and if you are familiar with breadmaking, it looks way too wet, almost panicky-too-wet,” it is so much easier simply to show.

We then had a brownie snack before lunch, lunch, and a brownie for dessert.  The Espresso Brownies.  The brownies could be consumed without guilt because we had a big shrimp salad inbetween.  No, I don’t have the recipe for it.  I just made it up with leftover that were in the fridge.  But I can tell you how I made it.

Romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and drained.  Maine shrimp, pan fried with lots of garlic.  Kale chopped and sauteed with lots of garlic.  Rice noodles soaked in water and then cut into shorter lengths (about 2 inches).  Quarter and slice tomato and peeled cucumber. Combine everything in a large salad bowl.

To make the dressing, whisk an egg yolk with dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, tamari and minced garlic.  Drizzle in 1/4 extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 canola oil until mixture thickens.  Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Toss with salad and serve with grilled homemade bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Then it was on to a foodie dinner at the Hartstone Inn, hosted by the acclaimed Michael and Mary Jo Salmon.  Everyone brought either an appetizer or a dessert and then sat to share drink, food and stories.  Heaven.  Old friends and new.

My contributions were Carrot Cake with Pinapple and Black Pepper and Chocolate Tart with Toasted Coconut and Sea Salt.  The sea salt and toasted coconut were a perfect crunchy, sweet, and salty combination on top of this bittersweet tart.

To new friends:  MargaretNancy, Sean and Heather and old:  Kerry and Lani.

Cheer to you all for your fantastic food and such fun!

Photo credit Sharon Kitchens

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Cook the Book – Espresso Brownies

For everyone with a craft or a skill, there come moments when you view past work and creations with your more learned self and struggle to find acceptance of that work.  Those moments come for me when I look at recipes I wrote five years ago.  I’m five years more experienced, five years more trained, five years more smart and yet, ugh.

And when I first began to write recipes, I wrote them in a way that was easy for ME to discern.  Hmmm.  Now I write recipes that hopefully are easier for the layman to use.  This brownie recipe is one of those, originally published in At Home, At Sea.  When I tested them a few days ago I found that the basic recipe is still terrific, it just needed tightening up.  Whew!

Espresso Brownies
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
3 3/4 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Grease a 9×13 baking pan.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler until the chocolate is almost melted.  Remove from heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture has cooled to room temperature.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, coffee and sugar.  Add the chocolate/butter mixture and stir.  Stir in the flour and mix until blended.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake 1 hour.  Cool in the pan and cut into squares.  If you can’t wait, they will take cutting warm.  The top may crack some.

Makes 12-24 brownies depending on how big you cut them.

Grateful for knowing more!

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