One of Nathalie Dupree's editors at Atlanta Magazine gave her this recipe years ago, after she revealed herself to be anti-fruitcake. She fell in love with it. "This one will be eaten, not re-gifted," she says.
Make Ahead: The cakes can be tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature for 3 days or frozen for up to 4 months.
You can click the link for the recipe.
When my husband and I visited Spain in 1987, one of the dishes I fell in love with was garlic soup...I had never heard of it and found it on the menu in both Northern Portugal, during a very short visit across the Minho River and also in the northern regions of Andorra on the border between Spain and France. Not sure why the coincidence of finding it near two different borders, but there you have it...
I've tried to reproduce it several times and also found some recipes in one of my Portuguese cookbooks. I played with the recipes and came up with a couple of versions...This is the simplest
Sopa de Ajo - Garlic Soup
This soup is very popular in the northern parts of Portugal and northeastern Spanish-Basque areas close to the Pyrenees and Andorra. It is a very strong tasting and rich soup due to the amount of garlic and butter. You may wish to sauté the garlic in less butter, or cut the amount of garlic used. I love it as is.
Serves 4-6 people
A whole large head of garlic, each clove peeled and mashed
1/2 a large yellow onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 lb butter
6 cups of chicken or beef broth (I prefer chicken for this)
Salt and freshly ground white peppercorns to taste (*)
1 piece of bread, toasted, per person- can be cubed
1 raw egg per person (* optional)
In a large saucepan, sauté the mashed garlic and sliced onion slowly in the butter. Don't let the garlic turn brown and bitter.
When onions are translucent transfer garlic, onions and butter to a food processor or blender or press/mash them through a fine mesh sieve.
Add a small amount of broth and process until onion and garlic mix is all smooth. Return to saucepan and add the rest of the broth and seasonings.
If you would like it creamier, substitute some of the broth for half and half or cream.
Place a piece of toast (or cubes) in each bowl and break an egg over it. Ladle the hot soup over the egg and toast.
(*) I use my homemade (unsalted) chicken broth, but if using commercial broths, taste before adding salt. If using the raw egg, be sure you know the source and that the eggs are safe - you can also use a poached egg if you wish.
My friend Renée is also my past editor at Ke Ola Magazine...and we're working on a project. She called me to see if we could meet this past Friday to talk about the project and discuss some ideas...since she had to drive from the Kona side of the island to the Honoka'a area anyway, we decided to meet there for lunch.
We decided on the Waipio Cookhouse, as it was a place I was already familiar with and she had never been.
The drive up to Honoka'a that morning was glorious...sunny, blue skies, just a few lazy clouds drifting on a nice breeze ...just the kind of day we all dream about when we think Hawai'i
I was glad to see Renée had brought Kathleen with her...a new friend I had met at our Annual Christmas party last month. The three of us had a lovely time, talking, laughing, enjoying our delicious food and before we knew it, a bit over 2 1/2 hours had passed and they had other places to go, things to do and enjoy during their short holoholo*
The views from the restaurant's location are breathtaking and the photos actually do not do it justice
At the Cookhouse you order and pay for your food at the window on the far right of the top photo and the food is brought to you, wherever you decide to sit...
The place is beautifully landscaped; while waiting for our food, Renée took pictures of some of the plants surrounding the kitchen building. These gorgeous anthuriums are located near the food pavilion - we had never seen this particular variety...they are beautiful in the photo but stunning in actuality!
Farmers / ranchers Larry Vidlak and Colleen Gold, owners of the restaurant received the first-of-its-kind Certificate from the State Department of Agriculture to operate a restaurant at their 16 acre Kanahonua Farm. The food served showcases their own meats (beef and lamb), eggs from their own chickens, produce from their own garden and fruit from their orchards as well as featuring other locally sourced meats, fish, vegetables and fruit; all fresh and beautifully presented on Fiestaware dishes!
Kathleen ordered the Fish of the Day Salad - above - the fish was moist and delicious!
Renée ordered the Cobb Salad - above
and I ordered the Lamb Burger with a side of their unique cole slaw... It doesn't look as big as the other two platters, but believe me, it's just the angle...the lamb patty was deliciously done, just as ordered...had no fillers and the taste was deliciously fresh and juicy.
In the past, I have ordered the lamb and also the eggplant sandwich - my photo below does not do that eggplant sandwich any justice...It is delicious!
I have heard their Poi Pancakes with caramel banana topping are to die for, but haven't tasted them yet...maybe next time!
To find the place, drive to Honoka'a and continue on the road to Waipio Valley - Hwy 240 - do not take the Kukuihaele road at the fork, but continue on 240 - you can't miss it on your right, just about a mile or so beyond the fork in the road.
*Hawaiian word meaning to go for a walk, ride, or sail; to go out for pleasure, stroll, promenade...also used as a short little vacation or pleasure trip
Photos: some are from my photo files, some taken by me with Renée's camera and some by Renée. I was smart enough to take my camera but dumb enough to leave my digital card in my computer...!
New Year's Day 2017 dawned wet and cold...we were meeting friends about mid-day for their traditional First Sunday of the Month Beach Day, and this Sunday just happened to also be the first day of the year... As usual, it was fun to get together with friends, good food, lots of fun conversations and loads of laughs...I can say we did welcome the year with lots of happy laughs!
Meantime, I was wondering what to prepare for our very first meal of the New Year...and considering what I had in the fridge, it didn't take a lot of imagination to decide...This is a little dish I first tried a long time ago, when I was living in Florida...Last time I made it was for a Christmas morning brunch at our Inn in Honomu quite a few years ago, with our friends Cathy & Georgia.
The recipe comes from a fun cookbook, "The Silver Palate Good Times" by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins (c) 1984. I have all three of their cookbooks and at one time, (back in the day), used to cook from them quite a bit... I had forgotten about them, through the years, but several of the recipes have become part of my own repertoire de cuisine ;-)
The recipe as it can be found on page 122 of the above mentioned cookbook and below, how I made it this time. Listed are the ingredient amounts for EACH portion, so you will need to make allowances for however many portions you will be preparing.
Sunny Baked Eggs, toasted baguette slices and Virgin Mango Mimosa
Preheat oven to 400 F
For each serving, toss the parsley, ham, and Brie together in a 3-inch-wide ramekin. Break the eggs over the ham and Brie mixture and drizzle the cream over the eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and pour hot water into the pan to come 1 inch up (to the rim of) the ramekin. Bake 15 - 20 minutes. depending on how set you like your eggs. Serve immediately.
I did not chop the parsley, just used the top leaf clusters. I cubed the ham and the Brie. I used just one egg for each of us. I did not have cream on hand, but had sour cream...I dabbed a bit of sour cream and mixed it in with the ham and Brie...it worked well. I did not bake them using the bain marie (water bath in the pan) method; I just placed the clay cazuelitas on the oven rack....that also worked well.
I like to serve them with slices of toasted baguette. I prefer my eggs slightly runny and cooked my casserole just 15 minutes.
Just us two, to celebrate and welcome the New Year...my taste buds were calling for seafood, so that was on our dinner menu.
Sea Scallops sautéed in blood orange infused olive oil
Slices of Meyer Lemons
'Ahi Sashimi drizzled w/smoky soy sauce
Pickled ginger & wasabi paste
In the clay cazuelas:
Shrimp Scampi with lots of bread to sop up the juices
One of the fun things about living in Hawai'i is the sharing of so many different customs and traditions throughout the year. The Japanese custom of placing Kadomatsu to guard the front entrance to a building or house for the New Year is one that many who live in these islands embrace; however, I broke tradition and used ours as part of our table arrangement last night. After dinner, I moved it and it now sits on the baker's rack by our front door. My kadomatsu bamboo pieces were a gift from a friend who is no longer with us and I can't bring myself to burn it, as it is traditionally done...I used the traditional pine boughs and bamboo branches, but I also added some allspice greenery from the yard, and three pin cushion Proteas, which remind me of fireworks.
One of my favorite shellfish is sea scallops...not easy to find in our town, but managed to find some at the last minute. Friends from Arizona have keep me supplied with a delicious olive oil blend that is manufactured almost in their back yard. Queen's Creek Olive Mill's Blood Orange infused olive oil is a perfect flavor for cooking sea scallops. There are other brands available, but this is the one I was introduced to by a long-time foodie friend and it's the one I have received as gifts for several years now!
I simply place the scallops in a small colander and sprinkle them with a little bit of salt just a few minutes before cooking. Not too far ahead of cooking so they don't lose all moisture. Heat the skillet and add a pat of butter and a couple of tablespoons of the oil; when hot, start adding the scallops, one by one, and sauté on each side until they show slight caramelization. Set them aside until all scallops are cooked...and serve.
The slices of lemon are half of a Meyer lemon...delicious when sprinkled on the scallops, if you wish... the other half was used in the Scampi.
Another New Year's custom borrowed from the Japanese is to serve 'Ahi tuna, and you can expect the price to rise as the year ends, but we found some at a local supermarket for a reasonable price...I sliced and served it as sashimi, drizzled and marinated for about 10 minutes in a combination of soy sauce with a few drops of 'liquid smoke' to give it a slight smoky flavor; pickled ginger and wasabi paste on the side.
The parsley is not just for garnish. I love the taste of parsley and the combination with the 'ahi is delicious...
a bright year ahead...
the gift of today...
a glass half full...
joy each day...
a heart filled with love...
a warm hearth...
a happy song...
I wish you...
Happy New Year!
Photo: Carlsmith Beach Park - 4 mile beach - Kalanianaole Ave in Keaukaha, Hilo - taken by me several years ago.
Before Christmas a year ago, a friend made some creamy limoncello and shared it as tastings with several friends...It was love at first sip!
My friend Janet and I decided we were going to make some for this Christmas and we started on the project quite early in November...Although it was supposed to be a joint project, poor Janet ended up with the drudge part of the work...she was the one who got the lemons (gorgeous Meyers), peeled them, and got the peelings to steep in the vodka.
The process of making limoncello is actually very easy. Essentially, a grain alcohol is infused with lemon zest. These two ingredients make up the citrus part (try to use organic lemons – less pesticides). Make sure you remove the pith (the white part) of the lemon, lest your limoncello be bitter.
The third ingredient, sugar, is required to make the simple syrup which is in turn added to the citrus part. When you make the simple syrup with milk, you have a limoncello cream.
We hunted for a recipe on line and settled on this one, found in a blog titled 'she loves biscotti' - following is the original recipe, then below is our own interpretation.
As time passed, more vodka and more lemons were added and a larger container had to be found...!
Crema di Limoncello di Vittoria
Limoncello, is an Italian liquor, which is usually served after dinner. This classic digestif is best served ice cold in shot glasses. It is made with three basic ingredients; lemons, alcohol and sugar. For the recipe Crema di Limoncello di Vittoria, we require a fourth ingredient…milk.
60 lemons, peeled
16 cups (128 fluid ounces) vodka
32 cups (2 gallons) milk
24 cups (10 pounds) granulated sugar
16 Tablespoons (8 fluid ounces) vanilla
We mixed ours in two batches of:
8 cups (64 fluid ounces) vodka
16 cups (1 gallon) milk
12 cups (5 pounds) granulated sugar
8 Tablespoons (4 fluid ounces) vanilla
Both batches yielded, approximately 35 splits. A split holds 375 ml or "half" a wine bottle = 12.7 ounces each or two and a half glasses.
Seems as if I have been cooking for a crowd...even though it's just the two of us...although I've prepped and cooked for three days and accomplished three holiday meals, it didn't seem too crazy, since the dishes were all fairly simple, except for a new one I tried for the first time...
not hard...just a few different steps.
For our Christmas Day dinner, which I served sometime early evening, I had decided on a ham, homemade mashed potatoes and a Brussels sprout dish my niece Maria in Ohio shared...my great-niece (her daughter) Ashley, had found it a couple of years ago, and it has become a favorite of theirs at Thanksgiving.
I used sprigs of thyme, rosemary and bay / laurel leaves, fresh from the garden...instead of olive oil, I used avocado oil and since I couldn't find Fontina cheese, I grated some Manchego cheese I had on hand...the peeled, whole roasted chestnuts I ordered on-line, but since have found our local KTA carries a brand on their shelves. Next time I make this dish, I will try to find Fontina and will buy the chestnuts from a local supplier. Not sure how much difference the use of the Manchego made, but we liked it!
Couldn't resist taking a snap of the Brussels sprouts after their first cooking - in the boiling, salted water. Looked pretty in my little red colander...so Christmasy!
Looks messy, but it tasted very good...my son had two helpings...I consider that a winner!
Baked ham, homemade mashed potatoes (we like the skin mashed in too!) and the Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Manchego.
I didn't make a dessert since we still have a couple of boxes of the Spanish turron, we have a tin of cookies (gift from a friend) and a gift box of Ohio Buckeyes (peanut butter and chocolate bonbons)
We have so much food in the fridge...from Christmas Eve and last night leftovers! Maybe it means a few days of no kitchen duty...Maybe...but now I have a nice ham bone to make a big pot of bean soup between now and the New Year!
I hope everyone of you had a wonderful Christmas, celebrated with family, friends and lots of good food...Merry Christmas to All...and to all, a very Happy New Year!
In keeping with our 'back to our roots' food for this Christmas, I prepared a breakfast 'casserole' that was a play on a typical Cuban food combination...guava and cream cheese pastelitos!
Cream cheese and guava go together like love and marriage...or a horse and carriage...or like Oreos and milk...take your pick of matches! Just know that they just do!
Guava y queso pastelitos are puff pastry, sometimes triangular 'envelopes', sometimes round, or rectangular, and always delicious...that have been filled with guava and cream cheese...instead of making something like these, puff pastry triangles filled with cream cheese and guava...
I used (don't tell anybody...) a can of crescent rolls, cream cheese to which I beat in some vanilla yogurt, to fluff it up, and some pieces of guava paste and baked it in a small individual casserole.
Guava paste can be bought in Hispanic or Latino groceries and comes usually in bar, squares or round shapes. The one I use is one my sister sent me from Miami and it's the square Conchita brand
Place one layer (equivalent of two rolls) of the roll dough in the bottom, add a few spoon fulls of the cream cheese and plain or vanilla yogurt mix, a few thin slices of the guava paste and if you still have any more of the cream cheese mixture, spread it on top...then cover with another layer of the dough, brush with melted butter and for good measure, sprinkle some granulated sugar on top. Bake at 350 F until top is golden and the sides look bubbly.
This version of a 'pastelito de guayaba y queso' was a hit...Anthony ate all of his...I could only eat half, for now, and saved the other half for later...too good to 'waist' (pun intended)
I couldn't help adding this cute little stocking, included in our Christmas box, from our cousin Nancy!
Wishing everyone a wonderful day!