Thursday, July 31, 2014

Adding Some Class with Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Peach Slab Pie

I believe I met Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen two years ago when I joined Food Bloggers Network which is a facebook group founded by Jessica of Oh Cake so I was already familiar with her when I joined #SundaySupper Movement where we connected further. We met in person a couple of weekends ago at Food & Wine Conference where I was able to take a picture with her.

In all honesty, I'm a little envious because she and her husband live in New York City and has access to some of the best foods available, such as lamb brisket and ramps. She even has a breakfast recipe category which I find impressive because I'm not awake enough in the morning to produce blog-worthy breakfast dishes.

I also admire Susan because she successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to open a bakery to sell cookies. Susan told me that she should be able to start accepting orders by the end of August. To keep yourself updated on her progress with her bakery, please ensure you 'Like' her on facebook, add her on G+, in addition to following her on twitter, Instagram and pinterest.

And now, I present Susan:

Hi there Crazy Foodie Stunts readers! I’m Susan from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen and it’s an absolute pleasure to be here today as part of DB’s Adding Some Class series. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing DB virtually for quite some time now and finally had the chance to meet him and his beautiful family in person just a few weekends ago at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando, FL.

It was a wonderful weekend full of informative sessions on how to become a better blogger, SEO tech babble that went over most of our heads, food, wine and most importantly meeting your online friends in person for the first time. I don’t think words can describe what a pleasure it was to sit and talk with DB and all our #SundaySupper friends throughout the two and a half days we had together. My only complaint is that the time was just too short, especially when we are on opposite coasts and only have these once a year opportunities to see each other.

When DB invited me to post for him today he basically gave me free reign to do as I wished. Since peaches are about to come into their prime and I know for a fact that he can get some really tasty ones in his part of the country, some Peach Slab Pie was in order.

Plus we all know DB is your go-to guy for the savory food but baking is not his favorite area.

So this pie is the pie for crust lovers. It’s also the pie for people who do not like making pies because it’s rustic, it’s not round and if your dough tears while you’re putting it together you can just patch it right back up. I kept things simple too, just simply peaches, a little sugar and a little cornstarch to thicken things up. You can even leave the peach skins on if you really want to ease into – but I personally don’t care for the texture once they are baked.

For the crust -
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons cream cheese, cold
3-5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling -
5 ripe peaches
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
cinnamon sugar to top (optional)

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter mix in the butter until it resembles small pebbles. Add in the cream cheese and continue to mix with the pastry cutter until it’s broken up.

Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix the dough with a wooden spoon until it forms into a ball. You want to make sure the dough doesn’t become too wet. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and set up an ice bath. Score an X at the bottom of the peaches with a sharp knife. Drop in the boiling water for 30 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon into the ice bath. Let sit for 15-20 seconds and the skins should peel off without a problem.

Very carefully with a sharp knife, quarter the peaches and remove the pit. Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices, place in a medium bowl. Mix in the sugar, cornstarch and salt and set aside.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and have a rimmed quarter sheet pan read (9×13 inches).

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out 2/3 of the dough into a rectangle large enough to fit the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and let the edges hang out (if you rolled it just shy that’s fine).

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the peach filling leaving the juices behind and spread evenly across the dough leaving a 1/2 inch boarder.

Roll out the remaining dough to cover the peaches and fold the bottom crust over the top to seal. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. Brush the top with an egg wash and if using sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is crisp and golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes to an hour before slicing.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream. Store any remaining pie in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

I'd like to thank Susan for being my guest today. One of the reasons is because I absolutely love this dessert because it's baked dish but is forgiving enough for a the beginner baker such as myself. She passed along more pictures of the dish.

Before I leave you, I wanted to give you an update on the ribs dish I published two Sundays ago. Well, I competed using that sauce but only received two votes for best rib. For me, this year was different because Mrs. Stuntman, my daughter, my sister and one of her friends joined me so despite the loss, a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review of the 2014 Food & Wine Conference #FWCon

This has been a complicated post for me to write. The problem I have is the whole experience of the 2014 Food & Wine Conference is overwhelming and difficult to summarize, so the easiest method to do so is from the beginning.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coming from California, I knew it was not feasible to travel on the same days as conference events so my family and I traveled to Orlando. There are two thoughts I had regarding the area initially. Landing, I noticed the area was very green which is a contrast to the dry state of affairs where I live because the land is mostly brown due to a drought. My second impression hit me when I walked out of the airport terminal from baggage claim, which was the amount of humidity in the air. It was not really an issue but I did need to adjust to it. (I must admit that I am a bit spoiled by the weather where I live.) Mrs. Stuntman and my daughter came with me so they could take advantage of the fun things to do while I was attending the conference.

Rosen Shingle Creek is about a 15 minute trip from the airport. When we arrived there, Mrs. Stuntman was in awe. I think her expectations were off because the pictures on websites do not do the hotel justice. Once we settled in, I wanted to ensure I kept my promise I made in my contest entry so we had dinner at A Land Remembered Steakhouse. I'll reserve the entreé I ate for a future project but the other dishes we ate were:

My daughter was entertained by the alligator-shaped butter.

Appetizer: Ahi Tuna, Lemon Myrtle Crust, Napa Cabbage Slaw, Chili Pepper Citrus Vinaigrette

Mrs. Stuntman's Entreé: Cedar Plank & Broiled Salmon, Roasted Cipollini Onion & Chive Butter

Side Dish: Caramelized Vidalia Onions

We then returned to our hotel room about 10pm local time but I was asleep about an hour later which was insanely early considering it was about 8pm in California but I suspect that a tiring day travelling in addition to a full meal and a bed more comfortable than the one I have at home contributed to my lethargy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I got an early start Friday morning when I woke up just before 5am and could not go back to sleep. I think my internal clock hadn't fully adjusted yet but I also think the anticipation of the conference start contributed to my insomnia. After getting a cup of coffee, I watched Isabel on local TV with the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck promoting the Idaho Potato Commission and the Conference. By late morning, Mrs. Stuntman and my daughter had arisen from their slumber so we went down to grab a bite to eat.

View from Room 7229

Looking Down at the Pool

As the day progressed, I had the oddest experience recognizing strangers from their avatars on their websites. At 4pm, the first official Conference event started with a reception sponsored by Idaho Potato and by then I felt I was among old friends. We moved to an event sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards where they premiered a new wine: Riesling. From there, the conference went to a dinner hosted by the hotel that featured small plate versions of dishes from the restaurants there at the hotel.

One dish, in particular, was very special to me. It was recreation of my contest entry in the Rosen Shingle Creek Recipe Contest. I knew I had won the contest before leaving but was unsure how to act that evening because I was sworn to secrecy until it was announced, however I had attendees coming up to me Friday night congratulating me and noting that it was their favorite dish of the evening. A few people told me that they had three servings! The dish was replicated as Peppered Tenderloin of Beef Over Corn Polenta, Frisée Salad and Cabernet Reduction and I was able to take a picture of it which is below. For me, this is the most satisfying part of the winning the contest because people outside my family were able to try a dish published on my website.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday's business atmosphere during the day contrasted with Friday night's social environment. The day started off with a keynote address from former Next Food Network Star contestant Emily Ellyn and season 1 winner of MasterChef Whitney Miller. The sessions continued with topics such as utilizing social media to maximize exposure, creating your own brand, and SEO best practices. Two presentations resonated with me in particular. The first discussed creating a business from a food blog by Erika of Not Ketchup and Michele of Intense Academy Gourmet Sauces. The second was a presentation by food writer Monica Bhide during a writing workshop. Her energy and passion is inspiring. The morning break was sponsored by Duda Farms; lunch by Fields Auto Group; in addition to the afternoon break by Cabot Creamery Cooperative and Parkesdale Farm Market. I should also note that music during lunch and dinner was provided by Braden Palmer.

Speaking of dinner, it was served family-style. Jenny Hemmer of Gallo Family Vineyards answered previously submitted questions regarding wine pairings and the winners of the recipe contests were announced.

For the Davidson’s Safest Choice No-Bake Summer Recipe Contest, the winners are:

First Place-Huevos Rancheros by Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian
Second Place-Frozen Strawberry Lemonade Pie by Courtney of Neighborfood

The winners of the Idaho Potato Recipe Contest are:

First Place-Loaded Potato Breakfast Casserole by Amee of Amee's Savory Dish
Second Place-Chewy Chocolate Potato Biscotti by Rosie of Newbies in the Kitchen
Third Place-Cheesy Spinach Breakfast Potato Patties by Cindy of Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Honorable Mention-Loaded Potato Breakfast Gnocchi by Terri of Love and Confections

Amee's dish is particularly notable because she won a trip to Idaho later this fall and, like my dish, was featured at Saturday's lunch. I was able to try Amee's dish and understand why it was chosen first place (particularly with ingredients such as cream and bacon).

Besides myself, the Social Media winner of the Rosen Shingle Creek Recipe Contest is Seafood Stew by Cindy of Cindy's Recipes and Writings

The Dixie Crystals Brownie Dessert Contest winners are:

First Place-Bittersweet Balsamic Strawberry Swirl Brownies by Jenni of Jenni Field's Pastry Chef Online
Second Place-Raspberry Chambord Brownies by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Third Place-Caramel Macchiato Brownies by Betsy of Desserts Required

Both Jenni's and Liz's brownies were served at Saturday night's dinner for dessert.

Jenni's Brownies surround Liz's Brownies

The appetizer and entreé courses were:

Field Greens with Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Sliced Radish and Carrots, Raspberry Vinaigrette

Clockwise from the Right: 1) Grilled Tescan Vegetable Skewers, 2) Tomato Basil Linguine: Garlic, Campari Tomatoes, Brie Cheese, Goosenecks of Imported Grana Pandana Cheese 3) Braised Tenderloin of Chicken, Caramelized Onions, Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauce 4) Porcini Mushroom Risotto

After dinner, a group picture of all the #SundaySupper bloggers present was taken and I ensured I took a picture with Nancy of Gotta Get Baked, my Adding Some Class guest from this past April. If you haven't already, please check out her Bacon Pesto Parmesan Rolls.

Used with Permission from Karen of In the Kitchen with KP

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday's sessions were held at Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Even though the college is next door to the hotel, Fields Auto Group provided the transportation and I got to ride in a Bentley. First up, Chef Giuliano Hazan demonstrated a carbonara dish. From there, I attended workshops on various topics such as creating and maintaining a media kit, food photography and working with brands. Lunch was sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and Idaho Potato Commission.

One of the recipe contest prizes was a $100 gift certificate to one of the hotel restaurants so Mrs. Stuntman opted to dine at Cala Bella. The dishes we ordered were:

Appetizer 1: Mozzarella Stuffed Bella Meatballs, Tomato Ragu & Fontina Fondue

Appetizer 2: Carpaccio of Beef Tenderloin, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Capers, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Cracked Pepper

My Entreé: Osso Buco con Gremolada, Veal Shanks Braised with Olive Oil, Wine Plum Tomatoes, Vegetables, Lemon & Garlic, Risotto del Giorno

Mrs. Stuntman's Entreé: Cala Bella Lamb, Marinated Herb Roasted Chops with Pickled Shallots, Rosemary Minted Marsala Sauce

Deconstructed Tiramisu

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday evening we travelled back home, but before we left my family and I was able to spend time with one of my best blogging friends before the Conference, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke and was my Adding Some Class guest this past February. Check out the Crème Brûlée dessert she made for me. Before we left, Mrs. Stuntman snapped this picture of us.

Overall, I highly recommend attending next year, especially if you have yet to attend in either of the past two years. I was discussing the matter of food blogging conferences with some others who noted that it is smaller than some others but it allows for better networking opportunities. On a personal note, I'd like to thank Christina of Go Epicurista, Braden and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen and Peter of Feed Your Soul Too for their assistance when my disability became a hindrance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Competition Baby Back Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce for a Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

Competition Baby Back Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce for a Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

Hello from Orlando!

I am publishing this dish while I am away at the Food and Wine Conference that I previewed back in May. Since I wrote about it, I have been assigned to promote the Idaho Potato Commission. This past Friday, Coryanne Etienne reported live from the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck interviewing bloggers who shared their favorite potato recipes. Search for the #IdahoPotatoCam hashtag for a recap if you missed it. I'll provide a more comprehensive review when I return.

Speaking of when I return from the conference, this upcoming Saturday is the annual competition, Rib Fest in the Park. Two years ago, I won the competition as a rookie. Last year, thinking if it ain't broke, don't fix it I competed again using the same recipe but lost. The feedback I received from the judges was the sauce was too sweet and they were looking for a little heat to balance out the flavor, so I went back to the drawing board. I kept it simple, pairing apples with pork is classic so there's nothing outrageous from a flavor profile standpoint. In fact, one of my favorite dishes I've already prepared uses it.

Since this is a #SundaySupper event hosted by Jennie of The Messy Baker and Melanie of Melanie Makes (thanks, ladies!), I should point out that there is a difference between barbecue dishes and grilled dishes. The two terms are sometimes inaccurately used interchangeably. As this Yahoo! Shine article explains, both methods use an open flame however barbecue is typically smoked, using low heat, cooking meats over several hours while grilling uses high heat and cooking meats only minutes. It is for this reason that I must confess. I cheat. I do not have an outdoor grill or a smoker but I have found a work around in the smoker bag.

The Challenge

Win the 2014 Rib Fest in the Park

The Source

I adapted the instructions of the smoker bag to a Curtis Stone barbecue sauce.


2 racks pork back ribs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 to 4 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (to taste)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Juice from 1 lemon


1. Smoke the ribs. Place an oven rack on the very bottom level and preheat the oven according to the smoker bag's instructions. Pat each rack of ribs dry on both sides with a paper towel, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place each rack into the smoker bag, meat side up, and fold to close. Place the smoker bag on a sheet pan, then place in the oven and cook according to the smoker bag's instructions. (The ones I purchase use 500⁰ Fahrenheit for the first 15 minutes, then the heat is lowered to 375⁰ Fahrenheit for an additional 60 minutes.)

2. Prepare the barbecue sauce. While the ribs smoke, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once melted, ad the onions and sweat, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the onions and cook until fragrant, an additional 3 minutes. Add the paprika, dry mustard, then the bourbon and apple cider vinegar and simmer for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens, 45 minutes to 1 hour. According to Chef Stone, this can be done up to 2 weeks ahead of cooking the ribs. If doing ahead of time, reheat before using.

3. Finish the ribs. Remove the ribs from the oven and let them stand for 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to 425⁰ Fahrenheit. Remove the ribs from the smoker bag and place back on the sheet pan. Baste the ribs with the sauce and place the ribs back in the oven until the sauce sticks to the ribs, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Rest the ribs for 5 minutes before cutting the ribs crosswise into individual portions and serve with any leftover sauce.

NOTE: The ribs can be prepared entirely on the grill using direct and indirect heat to regulate temperature control. On the day of the competition, I will most likely prepare steps 1 and 2 at home but complete step 3 on site.


I guess you could say this was a dry run for the competition this upcoming Saturday. In this instance, prepared the barbecue sauce a day ahead of smoking ribs. I also only smoked just the one rack (as the pictures above suggest) because it was just me, Mrs. Stuntman and my daughter eating so I halved the ingredients and only used one chile. The spice was overpowering when I went to taste it the next day so I added in the rest of the brown sugar to balance out the flavors. Unfortunately, I don't know if I won this competition because I am writing this before it occurs but I will update once the results are in. Also, please note that I will have limited ability to moderate comments since I am away. Realistically, I'll be able to get to everyone sometime on Tuesday.

Please check the other dishes brought to this Summer BBQ Party:

Sides and Accompaniments
Main Dishes
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Roast Pork Tenderlion with Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Roasted Potatoes for a Farmer's Market Dinner Party

Roast Pork Tenderlion with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Earlier this year, I joined a facebook group of food bloggers that all reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. About a month ago, Renee of Creative Mama, Messy House suggested a farmer's market dinner party. Participants shop for ingredients at their local farmer's market and each prepare one course, not unlike a progressive dinner. This was my original motivation for shopping at the Irvington Farmer's Market where I found the pluots to prepare the ice cream dessert I published about a week ago in addition to the tomatoes and mushrooms I used in the scallop dish I published previously.

I had a couple of issues planning this dish. The first issue I had was with the type of ingredients. One of the questions asked was any diet restrictions bloggers had and several noted a gluten-free diet and was placed in that group. In all honesty, I wasn't prepared to do a gluten free dish, as it's not a niche where I specialize but it turns out that it's not nearly as restrictive as I originally feared. In fact, I discovered many of the dishes I have prepared previously are gluten free and I hadn't realize this, so I must thank Renee for providing the inspiration to learn something new. Gluten free diets are required for those that suffer from celiac disease. Generally, foods-other than many grains such as wheat, rye, and barley-are allowable in their unprocessed form. This includes fresh meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and eggs. For more information on this diet, I'll refer you to this Mayo Clinic page which can explain the diet in more detail. The second issue I had was completely of my own making. In my excitement of coming home with my farmer's market finds, I prepared this entreé only to discover later that I was assigned the appetizer course, so I must thank Jane of The Heritage Cook for agreeing to switch courses with me.

The Challenge

Use ingredients purchased at a farmer's market in a gluten-free dish. In this case, I used parsley, mushrooms and potatoes.

The Source

I adapted the roasting method found on page 147 of Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko to a sauce found on I adapted the potato side from


1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, washed, scrubbed and halved (or quartered, if large)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pork tenderloins, approximately 1 pound each
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, chopped
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup dry Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


1. Roast the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, garlic, rosemary, olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the potatoes then transfer the contents of the bowl onto a foil-lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven until the potatoes have a crisp exterior with a soft interior and browned, approximately 35 minutes.

2. Roast the pork tenderloin. Season the tenderloins on all sides with salt and pepper, then place the tenderloins in an oven-safe skillet and into the oven with the potatoes but on a different rack until the tenderloins reach an internal temperature of 135° Fahrenheit, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set the pork aside on a plate to allow for carryover cooking.

3. Prepare the sauce and finish the dish. While waiting for the potatoes, melt the butter in the same skillet used to roast the pork on the stovetop over medium heat. Once melted, sweat shallots with a pinch of kosher salt, approximately 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have browned and the fluid secreted from the mushrooms have evaporated, approximately 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala, scraping any fond, and simmer until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half, approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the cream, parsley and any accumulated fluids from the resting pork then taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Cut the tenderloin into 1 inch pieces. To serve, spoon some sauce onto a warmed plate, then several pork slices on top of the sauce and surround with potatoes.


Both Mrs. Stuntman and I noted the intense flavor of the dish and she requested I prepare it again. Also, I believe all of the ingredients are gluten free. Am I correct?

Please check out the other courses in this Farmer's Market Dinner Party:

Caprese Skewers by The Heritage Cook

Warm Green Bean and Tomato Salad by Creative Mama, Messy House

Side Dish
Loaded Mashed Cauliflower by Nosh My Way

Roast Pork Tenderlion with Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Roasted Potatoes by Crazy Foodie Stunts

Vanilla Bean Infused Cheesecake with Peaches in Dark Rum Sauce by Fearless Dining

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomao Salsa, Spinach and Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomao Salsa, Spinach and Mushrooms

One of the issues I had on a prior visit to the Irvington Farmer's Market was that I went not really thinking of what dish could I prepare with (insert produce)? so I went with a different approach this time and brought my copy of The Flavor Bible. As I looked through the offerings, I noticed these cherry tomatoes, and along with some basil I purchased from a different vendor, noticed a flavor affinity of tomato, basil, scallops, and pasta.

Well, things did not go as planned because the basil was used in the chicken salad but I found this dish to use the tomatoes I purchased. One other item I used from the farmer's market was oyster mushrooms in this dish.

The Challenge

Attempt something different. I don't prepare many appetizers here and thought I could use some variety.

The Source

I adapted this dish from Martha Stewart's website. I have issues with it's preparation, however. First, I'd never put the scallop in butter. I use high heat and butter would burn while I waited for the pan to get to the proper temperature. Secondly, cooking a scallop for 3 to 4 minutes per side will result in an overcooked scallop. Third, I advise wilting spinach by just putting the rinsed leaves into a skillet similar to the method demonstrated in my spinach pasta dish because the oil will splatter once wet spinach leaves hit the pan, creating a dangerous situation.


20 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cups packed spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
4 large sea scallops


1. Prepare the salsa. Cut each tomato quarter in half, then place in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the red wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine and set aside.

2. Prepare the mushrooms. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Cook until softened, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Prepare the spinach. Put the wet spinach leaves in a large skillet over medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Prepare the scallops and finish the dish. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the remaining tablespoon olive oil a medium skillet over high heat. Once the oil smokes, sear the scallops in the pan on one side only, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest to allow for carryover cooking. To plate, spoon some spinach in the center of the plate, then top the spinach with one scallop, seared side up. Surround the scallop by garnishing the dish with the mushrooms and tomatoes.


While I was pleased with the flavors of this dish, I believe the photo above could have been better. I'm still learning and took this picture outside about 1pm on a sunny July day. It's difficult to distinguish the edge of the plate from the pink tablecloth I used due to the glare. Live and learn.

In other news, I haven't addressed one of my favorite TV shows that currently airs in a while, Next Food Network Star. I choose my favorite by answering the question who's cooking show would I watch? and for me, the answer is still Loreal so I'm finding it frustrating that the selection committee seems to be favoring Lenny. To me, it appears the Network has over compensated Paula Deen's absence with Ree, Trisha, and Damaris. What are your thoughts on the matter? Leave a comment below.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pluot Ice Cream for a Summer Chillin' #SundaySupper

Pluot Ice Cream for a Summer Chillin' #SundaySupper

Last Sunday while you were probably reading my London Broil dish, I was at the Irvington Farmer's Market in Fremont, California. I was there for an upcoming project but I couldn't help but notice some other items while I was there. It was a rare instance of allowing myself to be susceptible to impulse purchases. It was interesting because I had browsed the market a couple of weeks prior to my most recent visit and noticed a few ingredients that were there this time around that weren't there in the past. It's a great measure of what produce is in season and at its peak. One fruit on sale that day by many of the farmers present that had piqued my interest was the pluot. I inquired with one of the vendors selling them and she noted it's sweet flavor so, with this week's #SundaySupper theme in mind, Summer Chillin', (hosted by Alaiyo of Pescetarian Journal) I thought it might make a great ice cream.

The Challenge

Prepare a dish using an ingredient bought spontaneously

The Source

I adapted the pluot pureé from Earthbound Farm's website to the ice cream base from Fine Cooking magazine's website.


1 pound firm pluots (approximately 5), peeled, quartered and pitted
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
Juice from 1 lemon
5 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Prepare the pureé. Combine 2/3 cup sugar, pluot quarters, and lemon juice in a small skillet over low heat. Stir until the sugar melts and the pluots soften, approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat to allow the mixture to cool. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender or food processor and pureé until smooth. Transfer the pureé to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. Prepare the ice cream base: In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks until just broken up. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, milk and salt over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches a slight simmer, then reduce the heat. Whisk 1 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks slowly so the eggs don't scramble. Pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring continually until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and can hold it's shape when you draw a line on the back with your finger. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight along with the pureé.

3. Once cool, whisk the pureé into the base and churn according to your ice cream machine manufacturer's instructions. Once finished serve in chilled bowls.


This dish will be the first of several dishes I will publish over the course of the next few weeks using the produce I brought home that day from the farmer's market. I was a little concerned that it might be too sweet due to the amount of sugar added to both the pureé and the base but thankfully, that was not the case. There was also another minor challenge of successfully taking photographs of the dessert before it melted. It definitely was one of my faster photo shoots, however what helped was the glass bowl I used which I put in the freezer the night before.

Before you go, check out the other chilled dishes that are offered for this week's #SundaySupper:

Brisk Beverages
Chilled Starters
Snappy Salads and Sides
Refreshing Main Dishes
Cool Confections
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.