Homemade Condiments Cookbook Giveaway, Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells, and Caramel Mock Apple Bites

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month I made 2 secret recipes: Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells and Caramel Mock Apple Bites.

And here is a third secret: I have a fabulous giveaway for you all today. I receive a complimentary copy of the Homemade Condiments cookbook and I was given an extra copy for a giveaway. That is right, one lucky reader will receive their very own copy of this essential book for your cookbook collection. Info at the bottom of the post.

caramel 4

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Media Outings: Je t’aime en Chococlat & Wafu on Dragon’s Den

One fun perk about running a food blog is getting the occasional media event invite. After a while they sort of all blend together. Well this time I got 2 really original invitations I could not pass up: one by Je t’aime en Chocolat, the 3rd annual chocolate fair the weekend before St-Valentines Day, and Wafu, a Montreal company that specializes in Japanese dressings and mayonnaise, which recently appeared on Dragon’s Den.

The Je t’aime en Chococlat event is brimming with artisan chocolates from all over the Province of Quebec. I was spoiled with so many sample and the 5 friends that came with me enjoyed the wonderful treats each kiosk gave away. Ganache and flavored caramels seemed to be quite in fashion. Some of the artisans present were:

chocolate loot 3

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The Liver Experiment Week 6: Spiced Chicken Liver Tacos with Mole Sauce

Welcome to the 6th installment of The Liver Experiment where I will try to acquire a taste for liver. Over a 10 week period I will cook, consume and post my experience once a week about trying to appreciate my food nemesis. I hope my experiment will inspire you to try the same with your own personal food nemesis. And even if you are determined to hate liver for life I hope you will follow along throughout the whole series.

I seem to have assumed a second challenge too. When you search online for ‘liver recipes’, overall the results are not pretty. So it has been a challenge to find varied and visually appetizing recipes. So far I have made French, Indian, Austrian and Middle-Eastern prettier recipes. This week is no exception with a Mexican dish: Spiced Chicken Liver Tacos with Mole Sauce. Doesn’t a pretty taco look more appealing then a blob of plain cooked liver strips in a plate?

 taco with mole sauce

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Pickled Ginger for a Cucumber Carrot Ginger Salad

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled ginger how many pickled gingers did Peter Piper pick?

This is the one English tongue twister that rolls of my tongue with ease. Well with peppers which I switched up for ginger. For this month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge we were challenged to pickle something and then use our pickle in a recipe. Can you guess where I got this idea? Yes when I last ate sushi! I pickled my own ginger and then used it for my version of a Japanese salad: a Cucumber Carrot Ginger Salad.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi and the Shogun sauce

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For some reason my title makes me think of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (rolls off the tongue the same way). But this post is not related and and I will be jumping from one topic to another. You are warned, just go with the flow hi hi.

I am so happy to share my second post and participation with a new monthly group I have discovered called Food ‘n Flix. Once a month a ‘host’ picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe. This month’s pick is hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla. She picked a documentary style movie called Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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Huevos Rancheros with a Roasted Tomato Salsa

—-Sorry I have been MIA. Was planning on catching up on comments this weekend following a crazy week…and then Saturday I had a minor flooding issues and had to evacutate my place as 7 industrial fans dry up my place. So I’ll be back to commenting asap! —-

Way before this blog, way before I realised where my passion for ethnic food would take me, I bought a Mexican cookbook like 20 years ago, ironically from an Australian publication house!?!? I was really excited about cooking up some Latin flavors but I got discouraged rather fast once I really flipped through the pages. All the recipes had the craziest and longest list of ingredients. There were so many elaborate steps. I think I never actually made a single recipe in the end.

So I shyed away from making Mexican food for so long. Now I know better. There are very simple recipes that are absolutely bursting with flavor. Take for example the humble Huevos Rancheros with Roasted Tomato Salsa dish.

huevos rancheros 020

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Taste of Treme: Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad

It’s been a while. How are you all? Sorry for my disappearance but I was sick with a very bad cold for over a week and I am still coughing now. I just finished a bronchitis a couple of weeks ago too. So I have not been commenting or anything lately but I am trying to get back to visiting everyone. To good health with the soon coming new year!

I am way overdue for a Vacation Eatz post, where I like to show you pictures from my photo albums (yes the printed kind) of past trips I have taken. And of course we’ll explore a dish local to that destination.

About 12 years ago I had one of the most wonderful trips of my life. Picture three ladies and rental mini van on a long road trip from Montreal to New Orleans and back. Now the trip was very focused on the journey, not just the destination. We had planned daily stops in Cleveland, Nashville, Memphis, the Smoky Mountains and New York City. But most of the trip was spent in the amazing city of New Orleans.

This road trip was definitely planned around food, even on our meager budget. Thankfully when in NOLA you will eat very well even if it is not fancy. We tried all the usual suspects: Gumbos, Jambalayas, Crocodile meat, Po Boys, Shrimp Etouffe and many other dishes. But a very special sandwich is one of my fondest epicurean moments: the Muffeletta.

Ah! the Muffeletta sandwich. I would never have thought a trip would have been so defined by a simple meal as a sandwich. We decided to give it a try after reading about the Muffeletta in our guidebook but we were not expecting much from the experience. When we saw the size…made from an entire round bread about 10 inches across…we were convinced we would be stuck with leftovers. The Muffeletta was served into 4 sliced portions. We had our quarter each and at the end we had a long discussion as to how we would divide the remaining piece equally in 3 and the next day we got another one for the road for our bayou and plantation expedition.

The muffeletta consists of a focaccia like bread sandwiching layers of marinated olive salad, capicola, mortadella, salami, pepperoni, ham, Swiss cheese and provolone. Often it is slightly heated to soften the cheese. The sandwich was created by the local Italian immigrants as a quick lunch while working in the market. The real signature element is the Olive Salad.  I was so taken by surprise by the intense flavors of this olive salad that it has embedded itself deeply in my memory. I actually found a photo with my friend Marie of the actual Muffeletta we ate.

As I was flipping through the pages of a copy the Taste of Treme cookbook, I came across an Olive Salad recipe and the memories came rushing back in. This fabulous cookbook is filled really fun stories, history notes, pictures and of course recipes from NOLA. The cookbook focuses on the gritty and racially mixed neighborhood of Treme, now famous from the television series of the same name which takes place in three months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents of New Orleans try to rebuild their lives and their homes. In Treme you will find the heart and soul of true Soul Food.

I am really a fan of NOLA Soul Food so I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this cookbook for review from Ulysses Press. All the classic NOLA dishes are here and many unexpected more. You will learn how to prepare Crawfish, Roux, Andouille sausage stews, exotic drinks like the Hurricane, and fabulous sweets like the Beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Above is a picture of Marie and I enjoying these beignets. Again when we each ordered a plate at first we thought the portion was to big and we would not finish or plates. Wrong! We devoured our dessert greedily. And we went back every day for more. Next to us a lovely building from the French Quarter.

I am sure this is not the last recipe you will read here about from this cookbook but choosing to make the Myesha’s Muffuletta Olive Salad for this post was a no brainer for me. Everyone one should have a jar of this salad at home at all times in their fridge. The only thing I changed was the quantity of olive oil. This recipe (and all version of) use a massive amount of olive oil in my opinion, I cut it by a third and it was perfect for me.

 

Yields 3

Myesha's Muffuletta Olive Salad

The olive salad for the New Orleans classic sandwich, the Muffuletta

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 cup Kalamata or black olives
  • 1 Cup fine cut gardiniera
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 4-oz jar pimientos peppers
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (recipe calls for 1 cup)
  • Salt & black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the green olives and the Kalamata or black olives. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Cover with the olive oil.
  2. Transfer the salad to a large jar with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 days, so the flavors have a chance to fully mingle, or up to 3 months.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Sauces & Condiments
7.6.4
216
http://cultureatz.com/taste-of-treme-myeshas-muffuletta-olive-salad/

 

I served my Olive Salad in a lighter fashion: a half slice of a French Bagette and a lovely French cheese called Saint-Nectaire (hints of hazelnut and mushrooms) which I popped in the oven for a few minutes. And stay tuned for an upcoming post soon for a really fantastic cocktail recipe made with Absinthe. I love that stuff.