Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tonkatsu (#JapaneseHomeCooking)


Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

This week, bloggers along with myself are celebrating the release of Masaharu Morimoto’s new cookbook “Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking” with a #Japanese HomeCooking Blog Party, which is being sponsored by authors of The Book Club Cook Book.

Morimoto acknowledges that people are intimidated by Japanese cooking and provides tips and encouragement. Morimoto also provides some history of cuisine and his relationship with Japanese food. Japanese food incorporates different cultures into its cuisine and they love to do renditions of different types of food, which you can see reflected in his book.



I love that Morimoto shows his readers how to make the perfect white rice. Even though I’m nearly half Asian, I’m not that good at making rice. Until now. While I thought the secret was rinsing the rice until the water runs clear (which is part of it), I think the real secret is letting the rice dry out after rinsing and before cooking. I can now make a pot of rice that I can be proud of, which isn’t mushy or sticking to the bottom of the pan!

While Morimoto considers rice to be a staple in his cookbook, I also would like to add dashi or kelp dashi as a staple to his cookbook. Several of his recipes use dashi, which only takes about 15 minutes to make and I’m looking forward to learning how to make it so I can make my way throughout the book.

For this post, I was debating between two recipes, tonkatsu or the Japanese-style curry, because both recipes bring back fond memories! But I ultimately decided on tonkatsu because of the ease of the recipe and lack of time as I was preparing to leave for vacation.

I grew up eating Japanese-style curry, which my parents used to make and Morimoto’s recipe is nearly the exact recipe I grew up with. Because my dad is from Hawaii, he grew up eating this curry and so I grew up eating this curry. Hawaii, like Japan, is influenced by many different cultures in its cuisine. The only reason I decided against making this recipe is that it calls for curry-roux blocks, which contain wheat, and I did not have the time to make this recipe gluten-free before I left on vacation. I was able to find Japanese curry powder, which I plan on using to adapt this recipe in the future so that it’s gluten-free. 


Tonkatsu was my favorite meal while visiting Japan 10 years ago (along with Japanese ramen). My friend, Nicole, and her, now, husband, Lucas both lived there for two years and I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to visit them for a week and a half. They introduced me to tonkatsu my very first day and we ate it nearly every day I was there. The sauces were all slightly different, but my favorite restaurant was where we could choose the types of sauces and crush our own sesame seeds. You crush sesame seeds in this recipe, which reminds me of my visit to Japan. You can even provide your guests a mortar and pestle for them to crush their own seeds and add as many as they’d like! It’s a simple interactivity with your food that makes it a little fun.

Nicole and me in Nara, Japan (2006)

Nicole and Lucas preparing their tonkatsu sauce

Tonkatsu, one of our favorite meals in Japan

What I like about tonkatsu is that while the recipe itself isn’t really versatile, you can use the fried cutlet in other recipes. Morimoto uses leftover tonkatsu in his Katsu Don recipe, which is a pork cutlet and egg rice bowl. And while I was in Japan, one of the restaurants we went to poured Japanese-style curry on the cutlet with rice instead of serving it with tonkatsu sauce. For this recipe, I used gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and it was very successful!

Another recipe that is used throughout this cookbook is his teriyaki sauce. While Morimoto offers a traditional chicken teriyaki recipe, he also uses the sauce to make a chicken teriyaki spaghetti, steak bowls with spicy teriyaki sauce, chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce, and slow cooked pork belly with beer-teriyaki sauce.

My only wish for this cookbook is that the steam and stir fry sections were a little bit longer because they only contained three or four recipes. But that’s my only complaint, if that can even be considered a complaint.  


Please check out the rest of the #JapaneseHomeCooking Blog Party to see what other bloggers are contributing for this cookbook!

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey

Tonkatsu | Tortillas and Honey




Tonkatsu (Japenese Fried Pork Cutlet)
from "Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking" by Masaharu Morimoto, pgs. 215-217

For the cutlets:
Vegetable oil for deep-frying (about 10 cups-- I only used about 2 cups)
4 1/2-inch thick pork loin cutlets, preferably with fat cap attached
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
About 1 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free panko works)
About 1 c. all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour works)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 c. very thinly sliced white cabbage
lemon wedges, for serving

For the tonkatsu sauce:
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 c. seeded, cored, finely chopped canned whole tomatoes
3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. molasses (not blackstrap)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

For the cutlets:
Pour about 2 inches of vegetable oil into a medium pot and set it over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Use the tip of a sharp knife to score the cutlets, making about a dozen short, shallow cuts all over each side. This keeps the cutlets from curling when they fry. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.

Put the panko, flour, and eggs into three separate wide bowls. Working with one cutlet at a time, add it to the flour and turn to coat it, shaking off any excess. Transfer it to the egg and turn to coat, letting any excess egg drip off. Finally, transfer it to the panko, turning to coat well and piling on some of the panko and pressing lightly with your hands. The goal is to get as much panko to adhere as you can. Transfer the breaded cutlets to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Discard any leftover flour, egg, and panko.

Soak the cabbage in icy water for 10 minutes and drain well.

Just before you fry, stir the oil well. Fry the cutlets two at a time, adjusting the heat it necessary to maintain the oil temperature and turning the pieces over occasionally, until the cutlets are golden brown and crispy, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and fry the remaining cutlets. Let the cutlets rest for a few minutes, then cut them into 3/4-inch slices and serve with cabbage, lemon, and sauce for dipping.

For the tonkatsu sauce:
Put the sesame seeds in a medium pan, set over medium heat, and toast, stirring and tossing frequently, until thy're a few shades darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and let them cool.

Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, stir, and set over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Season to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it come to room temperature. It keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.

When you're ready to serve, pound the seeds to a powder in a mortar or grind them in a spice grinder and serve in a bowl at the table, instructing your guests to mix the paste into the sauce to taste.

Tonaksu makes 4 servings, sauce makes 3/4 cup


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter (#SoupSwapParty)


Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey


I decided to share a second recipe from Kathy Gunst's new cookbook, Soup Swap, which we are celebrating with the authors of The Book Club Cook Book and a #SoupSwapParty. I made this Sillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter to go with her Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream and instantly fell in love with this recipe! 

Look at those photos... What is that? Butter? Frosting? No, that is custard. And cornbread. A custard cornbread! That is what sold me on making this dish. The custard layer is created by pouring milk on top after the cornbread had been baking for a bit. As it continues to bake, a custard layer is formed and it takes on some of the sweetness from the sugar. This extra touch is so unique, I immediately went out and bought all of the ingredients for it, even though I already finished my shopping to make the soup.

I actually don't have a cast iron skillet so I improvised and used a baking dish instead and it still came out lovely. I added in my notes how to make this without a cast iron skillet. I also suggest using the full 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 because I felt that the custard layer was a little better with the extra sweetness. I also substituted all-purpose gluten-free flour and it worked like a charm!

This recipe is one that I'll be making again and again and most likely will become my staple cornbread recipe. Make it! Now!!

Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey

Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter | Tortillas and Honey


Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter
Slightly adapted from Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst

3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. fresh chives, minced
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar (this recipe I feel works best with 1/2 c. because of the custard)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (all-purpose gluten free flour works great here)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. whole milk

Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat, melt the butter. As soon as the butter begins to brown, remove the skillet from the heat and add the chives. (I chose to do this in a small saucepan, then used a 7x11 baking pan to bake the cornbread. Please see my continued notes in parentheses for these adaptions.)

In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda until well blended. Add the buttermilk and eggs and whisk to combine. Whisk in 1 cup of the whole milk. Add 2 Tbs of the chive-brown butter, leaving the remainder in the skillet (or in the saucepan), and whisk until combined. (If you browned your butter in a saucepan, pour the remaining butter on the bottom of your 7x11 baking pan, swirling to make sure the entire bottom of the pan is greased.) Pour the batter into the skillet and bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, pour the remaining 1 cup of milk on top of the break and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown and firm. When you gently shake the skillet, the cornbread shouldn’t wobble but it doesn’t need to be bone dry when tested with a toothpick in the center. Remove and let cool slightly. Serve warm, with butter and honey if desired.


Makes 8 servings (depending on size of pan used)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream (#SoupSwapParty)

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey



I was delighted to be invited again by the authors of The Book Club Cook Book to participate in their #SoupSwapParty to celebrate the just-released cookbook by Kathy Gunst called Soup Swap! Kathy is a James Beard award winner and the resident chef for NPR's "Here and Now."

This cookbook is filled entirely with soups and accompaniments. Kathy teaches you how to make different types of stocks from scratch (roasted chicken stock, recycled chicken stock from leftover bones, beef broth, and veggie stock), how to make different types of soups (hot and cold as well as a variety of different meats), and toppings and sides to go with her meals (like skillet cornbread)!

I've made four recipes so far from this cookbook and I must say that Kathy's recipes really make me feel like I'm an actual cook, from making my own stock to building layers of flavor profiles in the soup. I had never made stock from scratch so I used this opportunity to make Roasted Chicken Stock; it felt like such an accomplishment and made me feel like a rockstar. "Hey, I made that stock from scratch!" I also made her Chicken, Charred Tomato, and Chile Posole which used New Mexico flavors (New Mexico red chile, pinto beans, and Posole) so you know I had to make it! The two recipes that I am featuring on this blog are her Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream (see below) and Skillet Cornbread with Chives and Brown Butter.

I was drawn to the Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream because I had nearly all the ingredients, I grew up with my family's own version of corn chowder (which is very different from this version), and I loved the idea of using the corn milk and using the corn husks in the recipe. As I mentioned before, this recipe is a prime example of building layers of flavor which I found gratifying. The chowder is incredibly fresh and rich as well as beautiful. The veggies look like little jewels sprinkled throughout! 


Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst

Chef's Choice and Zeroll


I also want to thank Chef's Choice and Zeroll for their generous gifts to help me prep in participation of this event!  gifts to help you with your soup prep! Chef's Choice sent their ProntoPro™ Diamond Hone® Knife Sharpener, which sharpened all of my chef's knives and santoku knives. Believe it or not, this is my first knife sharpener and I was thrilled to receive it! Zeroll sent their 4-ounce Stainless Steel Ladle and their Nylon Slotted Serving Spoon which are awesome for serving all these fun soups!


Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream | Tortillas and Honey


Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Saffron Cream
Slightly adapted from Soup Swap by Kathy Gunst

6 large ears fresh corn or 5 cups frozen corn kernels
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch squares
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs all-purpose flour (or use ½ Tbs corn starch for gluten free)
4 c. vegetable stock
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
2 scallions, trimmed, white and green sections very finely sliced (forgot these)
1 Tbs. fresh chives, minced

If using fresh corn, shuck the ears, remove the silks, and trim off the end so that you can stand the cob flat. Using a sharp knife and standing each cob on its end inside a large bowl, remove the kernels from the cob by working the knife straight down against the cob. Using the blunt side of the knife, scrape down the cob after the kernels have been removed to release the corn “milk.” Mix the milk and corn kernels and set side. Do not throw out the cobs!

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add half of the yellow bell pepper and half of the red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. 

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring well to coat all the vegetables, for 2 minutes. (For gluten free, omit this step and combine 1 cup of veggie stock and whisk in the corn starch. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.)

 Turn the heat to high, gently whisk in the (remaining) vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the corncobs (not the corn kernels). Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the potato is almost tender.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the cream and saffron and steep for 5 minutes.

Add the saffron cream, corn kernels, and corn “milk” to the stockpot and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Using tongs, remove the cobs from the pot and, holding each one over the pot, use a knife to scrape off any bits of chowder or corn clinging to the cob.

Ladle the chowder into mugs or bowls; sprinkle with the scallions, chives, and remaining red and yellow bell peppers; and serve.

Makes about 6 full servings

Friday, July 29, 2016

Spanakopita Casserole #thebookclubcookbookCC


Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey


We are finally at a close to this year-long culinary journey for The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew! For this past year, a different blogger each month chose a book for other bloggers to create and post a recipe inspired by the selected book. For our final month, our event hostess, Camilla over at Culinary Adventures with Camilla chose Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières.

Since starting and graduating graduate school, I found myself with little energy and time to read which is pretty unfortunate because reading has always been one of my favorite things to do. So I was thrilled when I was invited to participate in this event. Even though reading the books were optional, I tried to read as many of the books that I could and am thankful to have been introduced to some great novels and bloggers!

This final month, I decided to try my hand at making spanakopita as suggested by The Book Club Cookbook. I adore spanakopita and have always wanted to try making it. Well. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Combine the lack of patience with an unsteady hand, I made a complete mess of the phyllo dough. I made five triangles before giving up completely and deciding to make spanakopita into a casserole. The five triangles that I made actually came out out of the oven delicious and buttery, but my impatience won this battle.

I placed four phyllo sheets on the bottom and six phyllo sheets on the top of the casserole and it worked beautifully! Because of the amount of filling, the casserole came out much more like a quiche because of the eggs. If you don't have the patience or the hand for making spanakopita, this is your next best option!

Additionally, you can totally halve this recipe and make a 9x9 dish. I've also made this without the phyllo dough and topped with gluten-free panko and drizzled with melted butter (this way taste more like a quiche).

Also, please check out the wonderful bloggers below who are participating in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew and see what they have created this month. You can also follow this project on social media with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC. We'll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here's the team, in alphabetical order with links to their homepages.

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         
ZooeySuff   


Giveaway
For July, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month's host, is giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook!

TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-PenguinGiveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give two copies away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey

Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey

Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey

Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey

Spanakopita Casserole | Tortillas and Honey


Spankopita Casserole
slightly adapted from The Book Club Cookbook

2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
6-8 scallions
9 Tbs. butter
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbed
12 oz. small curd cottage cheese
8 eggs
8-oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper
8-10 sheets phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Thaw the spinach and drain in a colander. Taking a handful of spinach at a time, squeeze out all moisture. Roll spinach in a clean dish towel and wring dry. Place in a large bowl.

Chop the green and white parts of scallions separately. Melt 2 T of butter in a skillet and saute the scallion whites until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallion greens. Add to the spinach along with the feta and cottage cheese.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the eggs briefly. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until smooth. Add to spinach mixture.

Stir in 3 T melted butter. Add salt and pepper to taste (take care with the salt as feta cheeses vary in their saltiness).

Keep a bowl of 4 Tbs. melted butter handy. While making the spanakopita casserole, always keep the phyllo covered with plastic wrap or damp dishcloth to prevent drying.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom of a 9x13 dish and brush with melted butter. Repeat this step with three additional phyllo dough sheets, for a total of 4 sheets. The phyllo sheets may overlap the top of the dish, that's okay.

Pour the spinach mixture on top of the phyllo mixture. Then repeat the previous process of layering phyllo dough sheets and butter with 6 phyllo dough sheets. Roll the phyllo dough that's overhanging to make a "crust."

Bake 35-45 minutes, until puffy and golden. Serve warm.


Serves 8-12, depending on size.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Lavender Shortbread Cookies (#UnearthedParty)


Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey


I was invited to participate in the #UnearthedParty by the authors of The Book Club Cook Book where bloggers get to review and feature recipes inspired by Alexandra Risen's memoir called "Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden."

This memoir features two things, the uncovering of her family's history and the uncovering of a secret garden in her newly bought house in which she interweaves the two very well, I thought. Each chapter has a featured plant that goes along with the story and a recipe for the plant at the end of the chapter, like tisane, seaweed, and sour cherries. Because I live in New Mexico and combined with a limited knowledge of plants and gardening, I found myself so intrigued learning about new plants and uses for them. And although I live in the dessert, I'm very much a city girl who has been longing for her own vegetable garden and this memoir has made me want all the more to have a green thumb.


Unearthed (Alexandra Risen)


For this book, I decided to make a Lavender Shortbread Cookie recipe. This recipe is similar to my Lavender Spritz Cookies, but it doesn't have baking powder and egg and it has more butter to flour ratio. This recipe was given to me several years ago in a cooking class through my work, which actually was my first introduction to culinary use of lavender. Many of the recipes in Alexandra's book contained a main ingredient that wasn't easily accessible here in New Mexico, so I decided to make a recipe with lavender which we have in abundance here!

I absolutely love lavender and the gorgeous purple hues among all the varieties of lavender. Lavender offers beautiful pops of color in our dessert landscape! Incorporating lavender lends a gentle aroma and taste, which isn't overwhelming. I love the scent of fresh lavender and I actually have two bundles of lavender drying in my office at work which my former boss brought me.

If you do decide to pick your own lavender, please see some guidelines from the book before to make sure that you are being safe in what you select and eat.

Foraging Guidelines

1. Avoid areas where you know pesticides are used. Be careful of major roadsides, industrial areas, or areas where heavy chemical use may occur.

2. If you are prone to allergies, be careful. Have appropriate medical supplies with you.

3. You may want to test plants by rubbing on your skin before picking. If in doubt, don’t pick at all.

4. Learn to identify plants. Before handling any plants and using them in the recipes and crafts in this book, consult a reputable guide for safely identifying plants.

5. Respect endangered species in your area. It is illegal to pick

6. Pick only what you need, and protect the roots of plants.

7. If you are washing leaves, add a teaspoonful of white vinegar or lemon juice to a large bowl and let them soak a few minutes before rinsing. Pat dry with paper towels.

8. Some plant parts are edible, some are not. Sometimes the season affects what part of a plant is edible.

9. Some plants are poisonous. There are also some look-alike plants. It is important to be aware of these.

For more information about the author, publisher, and the Book Club Cookbook, please visit below!

Publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt):

Twitter • Facebook • Tumblr • Pinterest • Instagram


Author's (Alexandra Risen):  


Book Club Cookbook: 

Twitter • Facebook • Pinterest 


I also want to thank Rolling Rock Farm for sending me a variety of garlic salts to add to my salt collection! Apparently I collect BBQ sauce, honey, and salts and there ain't anything wrong with that! I've been using these as a secret little ingredient to add to my meals!



I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, including the salt basket as a thank you for my honest review, with no further compensation . All opinions here are my own.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey

Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey

Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey

Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey

Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Tortillas and Honey



Lavender Shortbread Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 Tbs. dried lavender flowers
1/8 tsp. salt

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract.

Add flour, lavender flowers, and salt. (If dough is sticky, add additional 1/4 cup of flour-- dough should be soft and not sticky.).

Chill 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet).

Bake 10-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.

Place cookies on cooling rack.


Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size. 


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Florentines #thebookclubcookbookcc


Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

We are close to winding down to the year-long journey for The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew! Next month is our last month, and this month for June Sara over at Things I Make (for Dinner) chose an especially decadent book this month, Chocolat by Joann Harris! Each month, a new blogger hosts and chooses a book for us to make recipes inspired by the book. Please see her invitation post for more information.

Before reading this book, I had only seen the movie. I loved the movie so I was very excited to read this book! I love the magical ambiance of the book and, because we traveled through France this spring, I had fun imaging the buildings and the scenery of this book. After I finished the book, I decided to re-watch the movie and while the book was more in-depth with the characters and how outcasts were treated, I did like some of the changes that the movie had (the mayor being the villain and not the priest, that Vianne stayed in town, and that there was an ending message about acceptance). I also discovered that there are three books in this series, so I'm looking forward to reading the other two books.

In honor of this book, I decided to make florentines inspired by Guillaume who was a regular at La Praline. Guillaume often brought his aging dog, Charly, to the shop and his favorite treats were florentines. I originally thought of making truffles, but decided to try something different and loved the elegance of the florentines.

After searching for different types of florentine recipes, I settled on making David Lebovitz's version which is fitting because Mr. Lebovitz lives in Paris. What I love about this recipe is that it doesn't have a lot of ingredients and it doesn't take long to make, but it looks absolutely elegant and beautiful-- what I think of when I think of our time in France. I stayed true to the recipe, but omitted the orange zest because I forgot to buy an orange at the store.

I actually ended up quadrupling the recipe because we took some to Joe's cousin's house for dinner, my parents' for Sunday dinner, and some to Joe's work and coworker to helped us get free parking for a local event. Everyone seemed to really enjoy this recipe and I received many compliments. This is also gluten-free, so Joe got to enjoy these treats as well-- he even pilfered off some that I was saving to take pictures (like I wouldn't notice!).

Also, please check out the wonderful bloggers below who are participating in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew and see what they have created this month. You can also follow this project on social media with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC. We'll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here's the team, in alphabetical order with links to their homepages.

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         
ZooeySuff   


Here we are at the final #thebookclubcookbookCC event. Final. Can you believe it??

It's hard to fathom that our year-long journey to explore - and cook from - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp* is drawing to a close. Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. We are so grateful for their generosity over the past year.

Giveaway
For July, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month's host, is giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook!

TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-PenguinGiveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give two copies away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey

Florentines | Tortillas and Honey



Florentines
Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/3 cup (50g) powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup (130g) blanched sliced almonds
a good pinch of flaky sea salt
grated zest of half an orange*, preferably unsprayed (I left this out of my version)

Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush very lightly with neutral vegetable oil. (I used a silpat which worked perfect.)

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients.

Keep a small bowl of cold water and a fork near where you’re working.

Dip your hand in the cold water before lifting each portion of almonds, and place heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of the batter evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet. (I just used a large spoon.)

Once you’ve covered the baking sheet, dip the fork in cold water to flatten the cookies as much as possible. Try to avoid having many gaps between the almonds. (I placed the almonds in the center of a round cookie cutter to create a nice round shape for this step. The fork method here works very well.)

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Exact time will vary based on how large your cookies are. The authors recommend lifting the bottom of one with a metal spatula to check and see if they’re cooked through. If they’re not brown across the top and bottom, they won’t be agreeably crispy. (Mine had trouble crisping up and browning in the time provided, so I baked them for 15 minutes at 300F, then another five minutes at 325F until the almonds roasted to a golden brown.)

Let cookies cool, then lift with a thin metal spatula and place them on a cooling rack until crisp. Continue baking all the cookies on the same baking sheet. (I found no need to re-oil it between uses.)

Store Florentines in an airtight container until ready to serve.

To Coat the Cookies with Chocolate

To coat one side with chocolate, melt a few ounces of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in a clean, dry bowl, stirring until smooth. Use a brush or metal spatula to coat the underside of each cookie with a thin layer of chocolate. (A pastry brush was perfect for this! I also placed them on parchment paper, chocolate side down, which gave it a smooth bottom that made it look even more elegant.)  Let cool in a cool place or the refrigerator until firm. Once firm, store Florentines in an airtight container at room temperature.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chicken and Rice #thebookclubcookbookcc


Chicken and Rice | Tortillas and Honey

Welcome to a new month of The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew! For the month of May (yes, I'm late-- what else is new!), Wendy over at A Day in the Life on the Farm hosted Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Each month, a new blogger hosts and chooses a book for us to make recipes inspired by the book. Please see her invitation post for more information.

I can't tell you too much about the book that we read this month because even though I got a head start in reading, I was only able to read about 50 pages. I've had this book on my bookshelf for over 10 years and I still have yet to complete it which I really want to do.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is from Columbia, so I decided to make a Latin dish. I don't know how authentic chicken and rice is to Columbia, but I chose to make this dish anyway (partly because this recipe I've been wanting to make for awhile). This chicken and rice recipe has saffron and olives, so it might also be more Spanish than Latin American influenced, not too sure. This recipe is from Martha Stewart's One Pot cookbook, which is a cookbook that I've been cooking a lot from recently!

 I couldn't find Valencia rice, as recommended, so I substituted arborio rice. I noticed that the rice came out much more creamy than I expected, somewhat like a risotto, which I actually really loved. I'm also not a fan of olives, so I wasn't sure if I'd like them in this recipe or if the flavor of the olives would be too overpowering for me; the olive flavor was very subtle and I actually did eat some of the olives. If you love olives, go for it but next time I may reduce the amount of olives just a little bit.

This recipe cooks most of the time in the oven, which is nice because I can put everything away and clean up the kitchen while it's cooking. One of the things I dislike is having to do a bunch of dishes after I eat. Plus I don't like to wait to eat when my food is finished cooking, so I don't usually wash dishes before I eat if the meal is ready. Yes, bad habits, I know!

Also, please check out the wonderful bloggers below who are participating in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew and see what they have created this month. You can also follow this project on social media with the hashtag #thebookclubcookbookCC. We'll be posting all of our creations to our Pinterest board. Here's the team, in alphabetical order with links to their homepages.

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         
ZooeySuff   


Giveaway
Because May is over, I'm giving you June's giveaway information! For June, Sarah at Things I Make (for Dinner), this month's host, is giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from June 1st till June 30th at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.


Chicken and Rice | Tortillas and Honey

Chicken and Rice | Tortillas and Honey

Chicken and Rice | Tortillas and Honey

Chicken and Rice | Tortillas and Honey


Chicken and Rice
from Martha Stewart's One Pot

1/2 c. dry white wine
Pinch of saffron threads
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 6-oz each)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 large tomato, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c. short-grain rice (Valencia or arborio)
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 c. pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained (this is important)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, combine wine and saffron.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or braiser, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, skin-side down; cook until browned, 6-7 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more; transfer to a plate.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 minutes. Add tomato and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, 5-8 minutes.

Stir in rice, broth and olives. Nestle chicken into rice, skin-side up. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings

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