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Loving Lately 📕

OMGoodness!!! What am I loving lately? It’s a no-brainer… Crumb A Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh.

We all know that I am a cookbook fanatic. I can walk through any department store, past the shoe department, through the make-up and perfume, past woman’s clothing and accessories, and leave empty handed. I can visit any home goods store and ogle the decor, romanticize about placing the holiday decorations and get really tempted by the serving ware. Yet, I have reasoning enough to remind myself that I am out of storage space (ugh, that dreaded voice of reason). So, I can resist. But alas, when I see a discounted cookbook misplaced on any given random shelf… well obviously it’s a sign.

I’m not like a cutting edge, latest and greatest, New York Times best seller cookbook buyer. (Can you imagine the pressure?) Perspective: I’m just cooking for my family.

But I have so much to know!

For example, it was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child where I learned that you don’t just want the butter to melt to sautĂ©, you want it to separate and froth before adding the diced onions, celery and carrots (or what have you). I had known for years that the esteemed classic French cooking techniques were actually founded on the capability of “peasants” to extract the most flavor from any food to which they might be privy (i.e. onion soup and quiche- a.k.a egg pie). Those are a couple of my favorite foods, btw. But it wasn’t until after making a few recipes out of the book, Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence, that it actually dawned on me -“light bulb,” how really good these simple ingredients taste by following a few steps.

So, I’m a few pages into Crumb and there are like 3 paragraphs dedicated to “Brown Butter”… and I’ve made brown butter before (sometimes accidentally)… and she clues me in to the idea that heating the butter this far reduces its water content by 20% of its original weight, so you should reintroduce a splash of milk… and maybe I’ve read this before, but if so I obviously didn’t remember (clearly I wasn’t ready). Then Ruby, if I may call her that, goes on to explain with her following recipe of “Honey Madeleines” (those traditional shell shaped French cookies with a honey spin), that it is indeed the brown butter that compliments the honey… and to chill the pan to give the characteristic crispy edges… and I am like, “Eureka! I have needed this book all of my life!”

Don’t even get me started on the “Caraway Carrot Cake With Poppy Seeds” which I am chomping at the bit to make. Because by page 48 she has already earned my trust and I am confident that this must be an amazing flavor combination… I ❀ Crumb! Oh, I should mention fantastic photographs of food… which I also love.

This is me.

And here’s a little shout out to my husband who supports my quirky.

 

Promenade Artisan Foods

Trenton, Michigan is a great town along the Detroit River with historic charm and a thriving trendy vibe. It contains downriver Detroit’s best kept secret of Elizabeth Park (unless you’ve been to Jazz on the River or had your wedding pictures taken over the bridge). It also just happens to be the home of the cutest cafĂ© to ever open in southeast Michigan, Promenade Artisan Foods. If you are from the area you might have sampled their cookies, brownies, and pies etc., carried by many local markets, or maybe even placed a personal order yourself for a pie during the holidays. Of course, now if you are in the area you can visit the coffee shop/cafĂ©/dessert place in person!

 

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Promenade Artisan Foods is celebrating their Grand Opening to the public this week! The owners Jonathan and Chelsie Brymer are a husband and wife team that have a love of family and passion for serving their community. They put that same love and care into every baked good they make from scratch and cup of coffee they pour -over (that’s a coffee joke). And speaking of coffee you are certain to enjoy another Michigan favorite as they are serving Chazzano Coffee of Ferndale to ensure you get excellence.

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I have had the pleasure of sampling a few of their menu items and delicious creations. The strawberry tartine is a lovely light treat, an open-face style multigrain toast with a Mascarpone cheese, fresh strawberry slices and a drizzle of a balsamic reduction- really fantastic. Of course the kids loved the chocolate chip cookies, and a Nutella “pop tart” inspired pastry. But the biggest surprise was an Espresso Soaked Amaretti topped with pistachios, uh, genius! I think we should all have one every night after dinner.

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Also in all seriousness, don’t leave without a slice of tomato, feta, and bacon quiche. Because even if you’ve filled up on pastries and don’t have room for it when you are there, you are going to be so happy to warm it up for yourself for breakfast the next day. (And I know this to be true from experience.) For more information, store hours, and to see their seasonal offerings visit the Promenade Artisan Foods Facebook Page.

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Thank you Jonathan and Chelsie for sharing your culinary gifts and love of life with the metro Detroit area… And God bless you and your family with your new endeavor!

Love,

Sadie’s Nest

Loving Lately 📚

It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow

It’s been about a whole month (I think) since I’ve purchased a cookbook. And since Cravings by Chrissy Teigen has been on the list that whole time, I am bragging about my restraint. I knew that Gwyneth Paltrow (GP) had published a new cookbook. I just hadn’t walked by it in a store -until I was in Target yesterday and I broke my streak. Don’t worry, I’m totally good with it, and my excitement outweighs all other emotion.

I loved GP’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. I follow her recipes to make my own vegetable and chicken stock. And I’m a fan of her pasta sauce too. I appreciate that GP keeps healthy alternatives in her recipes. She includes some meat and seafood, but it’s listed right up there with vegetarian and even vegan options. It is to her credit that I bought my first jar of Vegeniase (a vegan mayonnaise) years ago. Because if food tastes good, it’s just an added bonus if it’s healthy for you too!

I’m not even a third of the way through, stuck on GP’s “Beet chips” to be exact. Oh my goodness they look so good next to her cilantro hummus! Her “Fried Egg Sandwich” looks amazing and I am heartbroken that I don’t have chickens of my own to lay eggs, because I know my store bought organic eggs are not going to have a yolk that orange. The “Migas,” a Mexican inspired scrambled eggs with queso fresco, salsa and even corn chips are singing to me. (Honestly, I think I here a Mariachi band… and who wouldn’t want to wake up to that kind of fun?) The “Bacon Avocado Toast” with almond butter? That’s a combination I wouldn’t have come up with, but now feel like it’s mandatory to taste! And don’t get me started on the uber-inspiring “noodle jars,” a pre-made jar with Thai flavor and noodles… just add boiling water when ready to eat. Brilliant!

I have to go, I have a book to read.

Puck V Legasse: Duel of Dinner

In the movie Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, there were two superheroes in their own right battling it out in a brawn vs. brawn sort of way. I thought it would be fun to do a comparison of a couple chefs who’s cuisine I recently sampled and see if there was an overall winner; a duel of dinner! To begin, let’s set the stage with two well known and successful chefs, namely Emeril Legasse and Wolfgang Puck, that for all intents and purposes have reached their own individual superhero status in the world of celebrity culinarians. They both are successful TV personalities, have written popular cookbooks, and have reached international acclaim as restauranteurs. They also each happen to have their own restaurant, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril’s Orlando, in Orlando, Florida outside of two famous amusement parks, Disney World and Universal Studios respectively.

When Disney Springs was still Downtown Disney, we visited Wolfgang Puck’s “The Cafe”. I ordered the Butternut Squash Ravioli and my husband ordered a wood fired pizza. (I can’t remember what we ordered the kids… only two of them then!) I do remember we really enjoyed our dinner. This time we had reservations for “The Dining Room,” his upstairs venue with a completely different menu. I have to say, I was really excited to visit Emeril Legasse’s and Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. To me that just screams vacation, mommy style.

(Side note: Fair or not, if two such well known chefs are going to put their name on the side of a building and imply that their very own recipes can be purchased and tasted inside, I have an expectation that I am going to be impressed. I don’t pretend to have some well-trained palate that can pick up subtleties others would often miss. I’m only saying that if I am going to pay tourist prices for a celebrity chef meal for a family of 6, I’d like it to taste good… Okay?)

Our first stop was at The Dining Room by Wolfgang Puck. It had been a long day on the road (we drove in from Atlanta, Georgia) and we were happy to finally be at our Disney World resort. After we were seated upstairs, we placed our orders. Since I’m on my health kick I ordered the Sweet Corn Chowder (with crab, paprika oil and basil), along with the Apple Salad (with golden raisins, almonds, blue cheese, parmesan, and a sherry vinaigrette). They were very accommodating when Owen ordered a Blackened Shrimp that wasn’t exactly on the menu; My oldest son was excited to find out they offered a children’s steak option; My next two children are pretty consistent with their desire of chicken tenders, and the baby was taken care of with a (non-dairy) pasta marinara.

My soup was fantastic, absolutely delicious. Owen thought the shrimp was probably the best shrimp dish he had ever eaten. Isaiah devoured his perfectly done and tender filet. Naomi and Elijah were happy with their chicken and Noah LOVED the pasta. Just because I could, I tasted a piece of the kid’s chicken. Sometimes I think the best way to know if something is special is to try what you make or order on a regular basis. It was crispy, moist, very flavorful and did not disappoint. But honestly, the baby’s pasta surprised me the most. It looked like a regular spaghetti with a light coating of red sauce, but the amount of concentrated garlic and tomato flavor that clung to those thin noodles was impressive! It was an overall great meal.
A few days later we visited Emeril’s Orlando for a late lunch/early dinner between switching parks at Universal Studios. It was kind of fun that they were offering a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of any entree. Yay! With the exception of myself, our orders were coincidentally similar to the ones at our other celebrity chef’s restaurant. This time I ordered White Bean & Cheese Enchiladas served over Steamed Mussels (pictured above). Owen ordered the New Orlean’s Barbecue Shrimp with a side of white rice. Isaiah ordered another steak; the middle kids ordered their chicken and fries, and again we ordered the baby a pasta marinara.

I don’t know how I missed the part about the enchiladas being served over mussels. I don’t eat mussels! What was I thinking? Regardless, it was presented beautifully and the enchiladas were delicious. Owen’s shrimp was good, but not nearly as impressionable as the shrimp he tasted the other day. Isaiah ate his steak, but it wasn’t a juicy or flavorful as his previous filet. Naomi and Elijah only took a couple bites of their chicken. The tenderloins were very meaty and the crust really didn’t stay on which made them difficult (particularly for a 3 year old) to handle. To make things worse, Noah took one bite of his pasta and spit it out. To be fair, the pasta was not on the menu, they made it to accommodate the special needs of the baby. But he couldn’t be coerced into another bite. Believing it couldn’t be that bad, I tried it myself… it was edible, but I didn’t want another bite either. At least there was dessert!

In short, here is my theory: Everyone knows that Superman is awesome, but anyone can beat him if they have kryptonite; which makes Batman the clear winner. In this scenario the kryptonite was flavor, and Wolfgang Puck won hands down. Maybe on any other given day it could have gone the other way. Perhaps if we had adventured out from our repetative orders, we would have been pleasantly surprised by a different outcome. And I’d like to add that we had great service at both places. However, as it stands, the next time we’re in Orlando, we’ll make sure to get reservations… with one of them. 😉

 

Three Sisters Bake’s Chocolate Brownies

This is a chocolate lovers brownie. It is rich and decadent all by itself. I admit that I did use high quality/high percentage chocolate. And I don’t always share recipes from my cookbooks. But when I come across something that I feel others might enjoy, then I feel it is my civil obligation to pass it on. If you like your chocolate, you’re going to love this.

As written in Three Sisters Bake:

8 oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
8 oz good-quality dark chocolate (they use 53% cocoa solids Belgian chocolate chips)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
11 oz/scant 1 1/2 cups caster (superfine) sugar
3 1/2 scant cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 oz cocoa powder
20 oz fresh cherries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 320°.

Grease and line the base and sides of a 13X9 baking dish with greaseproof (wax) paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer for about 5 minutes, until thick, glossy and pale. Pour the cooled chocolate and butter into the egg and sugar mixture and gently fold it in until well combined. Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture and fold it in.

Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared tim. Ease the mixture into the corners and level it out with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. If the brownie still has a wobble to it after 30 minutes, give it another 5 minutes in the oven. Once ready the brownie should look shiny and papery on top.

Cut into even-sized pieces and serve with fresh cherries.

WordPress Cooking Challenge and My Third Liebster Award!

A blogger friend of mine, Healthy in all Hues, recently started a brilliant challenge: to pick 5-7 recipes from various bloggers and make their dish! It’s a great way to showcase our fellow foodies and those who take the time to share their love from the kitchen. (And ensure I get to taste some of the great food I’ve been reading about!) I think it’s such a good idea that I may start making it a monthly feature on my blog! (At least one dish!)

The concept of this challenge is simple: Pick seven dishes (actually limiting it to seven was difficult); Notify them that you are making their dish and challenge them to participate; Share an original link back to their site; Then do a brief write up on their dish including taste, difficulty following instructions, and your experience at large. (Keeping in mind that this is a positive thing, encouraging and appreciating fellow bloggers!)

The dishes I am selecting are (in no particular order, because I am not that organized):

  1. Cottage Cheese Oatmeal Pancake from The Richmond Avenue
  2. Chicken Divan by Lynz Real Cooking
  3. Natascha’s Palace‘s Easy Honey Cake
  4. Quick and Easy Curry from What’s Bec Cooking
  5. Life Bellissima‘s Triple Chocolate Cookies
  6. Chocolate Mousse by Sweetima
  7. Simple Jammy Muffins from Paintbox Mum
  8. Quirky and Wonderful‘s Broccoli Potato Casserole

I had to pick eight because these are all things I’ve wanted to make lately. And I’ve already learned something about myself! (Besides I can’t follow instructions.) For as much as I want to challenge myself (and fully intend to), I gravitate toward meals and food that I think will be not overly difficult,  family friendly, and those which I will most likely have ingredients on hand. (Of course big time producers such as Food Network and Pioneer Woman have been capitalizing on this for a long time. It should come at no surprise that I fit the mold, but I still found it interesting- to myself.) I am giving myself 2 weeks to complete the challenge… I’m so excited to try your food!

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Secondly, I would like to thank Swatti of Light at the End of the Tunnel for my third Liebster nomination! I am so appreciative and grateful for your recognition. Your blog allows me to explore a different culture and customs with still a similar perspective, as a woman who appreciates my mother and my best friend (aka my husband). Thank you!

The “Swatiilicious Questionnaire:”

How reading can enhance?
Growing up I loved that reading could allow you to imagine the way a character or setting should look. I like the way stories allow you to transcend places and time. I have very little time for leisure reading now; most of my reading (aside from the Bible) is instructional
 And I prefer pictures! For example, I want to know what my food is supposed to look like.

The importance of writing?
On a basic level I believe writing is important for educational purposes. At this point in my life I use writing as an personal outlet, self expression and all that jazz.

Love has varied definitions. Why?
Without trying to get too deep: I think love has as many meanings as there are people in the world. It is different things to different people based on their own experiences- and still universally relatable; such as a commitment to your spouse, caring for children, helping your neighbor, etc.

How do see yourself as a blogger?
I wish I was really creative and I saw myself more as an artist sharing my unique perspective
 But in reality I just very literally share my day to day.

Any blogs you would like to recommend?
I find out about new blogs on a daily basis that I think the world should know about! I just heard about foodbabe.com, a blogger making a difference in the food industry that I think is amazing.