Monday, September 22, 2014

Applegate Half time Giveaway

I don't know if you have noticed or not, but Savoury Table has been kind of quiet lately. I usually try to post about every five days or so, but for the past few weeks I've been aging my posts a little bit longer. There's really no earth shattering reason. There's no crisis in my life or news of glamorous adventures, we are just trying to do what lots of people are doing right now, we are trying to sell our house.

For anyone who has sold or is selling their house, you know what a pain it can be especially if you have lived in it for more than 5 years. We have accumulated so much junk over the last 11 years that it has surprised even me. There is not one thing in this house that hasn't passed a serious "want or need" head chopping. I still have a lot of junk but it is the cream of the crop junk that remains. Round 2 head chopping will take place when we start to box things up. Round 3 when we arrive at our next place and start to unpack. After that we should be good for another 10 years.

Since our house is on the market I haven't been cooking at all. I kills me to say this, but due to the smell and airborne grease, we are temporarily a bacon free home. I have been taking great pains to make sure that my house smells like clean cotton with maybe a little apple cider Yankee Candle aroma around the kitchen to cover up any lingering odors. Oh the cruelty of it all! A family can exist on cold sandwiches and salads for just so long. I hope it sells quickly because I feel a mutiny brewing.

Luckily for me, Applegate came along to stock my fridge with a sampling of their new Half Time lunch kits to feed to my "boys". They have teamed up with Annie's and Stoneyfield to make a lunch you can feel good about giving to your kids . . . no matter how old they are. I love Applegate products because they are free from any artificial ingredients, preservatives, antibiotics or hormones.

Applegate supplied me with 3 kits which each contain ham, chicken or bologna, crackers, cheese, yogurt and some gummies or cookies for dessert. Along with these lunch kits, my package included a coupon, activity book, a create your own lunch bag and markers for coloring said bag. They have also offered an identical package for me to give away to one of my readers.

If you'd like to win this Applegate gift, just leave me a comment and you are entered. Since I have enabled Google+ commenting and not everyone has it, you can leave a message on Savoury Table's Facebook page and that will count too. This drawing is open to US residents only. I will give this prize away at noon mountain time on Friday, September 26th. Good luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Local Flavor: Non GMO Salt Restaurant and a Couple of Seasonal Cocktails

Chef Bradford Heap, chef/owner of Salt and Colterra restaurants, and Dave Asbury, farmer/owner of Full Circle Farms

A couple of days ago blogger friend Abbe, author of This Is How I Cook, and I drove over to Boulder for a cocktail reception at Salt restaurant. Abbe had been there several times for dinner, but I was really excited because this was my first time visiting this popular Colorado restaurant.

Opened in 2009 in the former location of Tom's Tavern in downtown Boulder, Salt is the second restaurant opened by chef/owner Bradford Heap. In 2006 Heap opened Colterra, which is located just a few miles down the road in Old Town Niwot. Although these restaurants are at different locations, they share one very important thing in common, Heap's passion for serving food with integrity.

Colterra boasts its own on-site vegetable gardens which enable them to use only the freshest, seasonal ingredients resulting in menus that continually evolve and change. Colterra's menu is further influenced by Chef Heap's classical culinary training in Italy and France. The dining rooms are handsome and comfortable, or you can choose to dine on the stone patio which lies under a canopy of hundred year old cottonwoods.

Like Colterra, Salt's menu is also influenced by Heap's European training, but the atmosphere here is that of a warm American Bistro. From the open kitchen with a wood-burning rotisserie and oven, to the brick clad walls of the basement bar complete with a Fleetwood Mac LP spinning on the old school hi-fi in the corner, this restaurant is as warm and comfortable as a good friend's house, but with an air of a sophisticated urban eatery.

The reason for the gathering on this particular Wednesday night was a celebration for Chef Heap's commitment to keep both of his restaurants' kitchens 100% GMO free through his partnership with the local Full Circle Farms and Oxford Gardens who both grow "clean" produce. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are plants in which the DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally, usually to enhance yields and increase disease and insect resistance.

Both restaurants have always been committed to using locally produced and humanely raised products, but now with their non GMO policy, diners are assured a completely clean dining experience. From the use of organic corn in their recipes, to using only cane sugar in their drinks and desserts, this is a way of cooking and dining that they are truly passionate about.

On this particular evening we were treated to several delicious appetizers including a homemade andouille sausage served with yellow and brown whole grain mustard (my favorite), Soul Patch melon tartar (OMG), a gorgeous seasonal bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella, achiote marinated pulled pork on blue corn tortillas (fabulous!), brie with organic raspberries and a moist and delicious carrot cake. They were all truly outstanding.

To compliment the appetizers, we were offered two of the restaurants seasonal drinks. The Dancin' Padron, which was a very herbal, peppery gin based cocktail garnished with a sprig of rosemary, and the Fuzzy Fashion cocktail which is a combination of Colorado bourbon, Palisade peaches, and a touch of sugar and bitters. Both were perfect for this beautiful Colorado evening on the patio.

If you live near or plan to visit the Boulder area and would like to visit one or both of these restaurants, you can find Salt at 1047 Pearl Street in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Colterra is located just a few miles down the road at 210 Franklin, Niwot, Colorado. For more information about these two restaurants, please click on the links above.

Fuzzy Fashion

2.5 ounces bourbon
Once sugar cube
One slice of a ripe peach
2 dashes of Saba (a reduced grape juice syrup)
4 dashes of Angostura bitters

Muddle peach and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients. Shake. Serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a fresh peach slice. Enjoy.

Dancin' Padron

1 slice padron pepper
1 large slice green bell pepper
1 - 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orange rosemary simple syrup
4 dashes of celery bitters
1 rosemary sprig for garnish

Muddle peppers. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice. Shake. Double strain and serve "up".

Monday, September 8, 2014

Something From Nothing #28: Fresh Ricotta Cheese

Summer is starting to wind down, and depending on where you live you might have only a few more opportunities to wow your friends and family with your backyard culinary prowess. If you are like me and feel that you have pretty much pulled all of your rabbits out of your hat, then this recipe for fresh ricotta is just what you need.

Light, creamy, buttery, and oh so simple to make, this is the epitome of something from nothing. The only hitch here, and a minor one at that, is that you have to have two simple and inexpensive pieces of "special" equipment. You will need a couple of pieces of cheesecloth, which can easily be found at most supermarkets, fabric stores or hobby shops and a screen type strainer, which is also widely available at any discount, department or cooking store. The one shown here is very big, but one of those 4 cup strainers with a handle and two little upside down hooks on the opposite side will work nicely.

Once you make this simple base recipe, you can serve it plain with crackers or apple chips, top it with pesto, honey or jam, mix in herbs and spices for sweet and savory versions, or drain it longer (cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one to two hours) for a drier cheese that you can cook with. You won't believe how versatile and delicious this is to make. I truly hope you will give it a try. Fresh ricotta is the best.

Fresh Ricotta

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place milk, cream and salt in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

While milk is sitting, line a screen type strainer with 2 layers of cheese cloth and set it over a bowl so it can drain and catch the whey.

Pour the milk mixture slowly into the prepared strainer. Allow to drain undisturbed for 20 to 30 minutes (longer for a drier cheese), emptying the whey from the drainage bowl if necessary. If you just can't bear to throw your whey down the drain, click here for some interesting suggestions.

Gently roll or scoop the cheese out into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Cheese will keep for 3 - 5 days.

Makes about 1 cup of fresh ricotta.

Served with bread crisps or crackers and topped with honey (shown above) or cherry preserves (shown here), you just can't beat this for an easy and delicious appetizer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A New Favorite: Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cake

A few months ago my neighbor asked me if I would like to help her with a cake she wanted to make for a bridal shower. Since discovering my new passion for cake decorating (i.e. trying to decorate cakes), I have noticed that there aren't nearly enough excuses to bake cakes, so I of course said yes.

In preparation for the big event, I surfed the web and found five contenders for just the right chocolate/peanut butter cake to honor the bride and groom. After sleeping on it, my neighbor chose a Snickers cake featured on Bake Noir .

This cake turned out to be a luxurious, dark chocolate cake layered with ribbons of peanut butter mousse and a center of silky salted caramel and peanut filling encased in a rich chocolate ganache frosting. Wow, was this ever a decadent cake. Absolutely perfect for an engagement celebration.

So, the next day I just couldn't get this cake out of my head and I decided to play around with the ingredients a bit to make it more of what my idea of a Snickers bar tastes like. Mine came out really well, and I should know since I made it two more times to make sure, but I still encourage you to make them both and see what you think.

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Cake

Bake Noir's beautiful cake starts with a homemade cake that I am sure is just wonderful, but since there are several components to the cake, and we are challenged here at high altitude, we went with our favorite cake mix. If you prefer to go the homemade route, please feel free to do so and use your favorite recipe.

1 box white cake mix prepared to package directions (I used Pillsbury which called for 3 whole eggs, cooking oil and water)
3/4 cup malted milk powder

Prepare cake batter according to cake mix package directions, with the addition of the malted milk powder. Pour batter into 2 - 8" cake pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, lined with parchment paper, and sprayed again. Bake according to instructions. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes before removing the parchment and turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer preferably overnight. This step isn't essential, but I believe, as do many others, that it makes for a moister cake.

Peanut Butter Icing and Filling

4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
8 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until they are completely combined. Add whipping cream and vanilla and mix on low until just combined. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Peanut Caramel Filling

6 ounces granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup hot whipping cream
2 ounces unsalted dry roasted peanuts
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 pinch kosher salt

Place sugar and water in a medium size sauce pan; stir well to combine. Cook over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Once it gets to this point, reduce the heat to medium to keep it at a slow boil (do not stir). Cook until it turns a golden brown.

Reduce the heat to low and add the hot whipping cream (be careful as it will foam up), stirring constantly. Add the peanuts, butter and salt. Stir until the butter melts. Transfer mixture to a cool bowl. Cover and refrigerate until it is completely cooled and thick; set aside until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup hot whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Pour hot cream over the top and stir. Add butter and place into the microwave. Heat at 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until all chocolate chips are melted and ganache is smooth. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Cake Assembly

Remove cake layers from freezer and unwrap. With a serrated knife, carefully cut layers in half. Spread about 2/3 to 1 cup of peanut butter icing and filling on top of one of the cut layers (don't go too crazy here because you will need what is left to ice the cake). Replace the other half of the layer on top of the icing.

Now spread the top of the first layer with the caramel peanut filling.

Top the caramel filling with the remaining cake layer, repeating the icing step above.

Ice cake with the remaining icing. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until it is firm.

Remove cooled cake and pour cooled ganache over the top. Refrigerate until ganache is set before serving.

Store uneaten cake in the refrigerator, covered.

This is a nice, big, rich cake that easily serves 12 - 16