Survey Prize Contest! Giving you what you want!

Want to win a unique food prize? Enter the CulturEatz Survey Prize Contest automatically by filling out a short and sweet survey!

I have been pestering telling you about all kinds of news and changes on CulturEatz lately with the ongoing rebrand. Well now it is YOUR TURN to tell me something with this survey prize contest!

I have set up a very short & sweet survey because I want to know what you think! Tell me what you like, dislike, what you want to see more of, and tell me your deepest darkest secrets. OK you can skip that last one 😉

cultureatz Survey Prize Contest

UPDATE: We have received the 100 filled surveys early, the contest is closed as of Jan 27th 2016 11:59pm

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Vodka Gimlet and French Toast for the Mad Men Series Finale & Giveaway

Tripping back to the 60s with French Toast à la rum and Vodka Gimlet, a retro breakfast spread – cocktail included, for the Mad Men Series Finale!

What does it mean if you’re a man and you wear a hat in Mad Men? What concert is obliquely responsible for Peggy’s haircut? How many secretaries has Don had over the course of the show? Bert Cooper has a giant painting from which renowned artist hanging in his office? And why does Betty hate her neighbour? If you know the answers to any of the questions, you are for sure a hard core Mad Men fan.

I am going to finish season 5 tonight on Netflix. I am a bit late jumping on the bandwagon but I am loving the show. So I was thrilled to be asked to join the Virtual Mad Men Finale Party and host a Giveaway where you could win your own copy of the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.

Mad Men finale french toast angle

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Pistachio Syrup and Cake

In Britney Spears’ famous words: Oops!… I Did It Again! I always forget to take note in my agenda the date of my blog’s anniversary and I get a flash a couple of days, if not a week, later. So here we are, a belated celebratory post. On June 14th Cheap Ethnic Eatz turned 7 years old! No elaborate complicated recipes for this celebration. Instead I present you with what I could call liquid gold. A very precious and rare liquid, here is a homemade recipe for a delectable Pistachio Syrup.

Plus we’ll make a marvelous yet very simple Pistachio Coconut Cake with the left over pistachio meal. And I will be giving away a small bottle of this pistachio syrup, check out the giveaway entry way down below!

Pistachio Syrup meal

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Fried Eggplant Garlic Parsley Dressing

Happy Sunday everyone! I am so very excited today to talk to you about a cookbook that is about to hit the shelves in November 2012. I was very lucky to get an advanced copy by the author, my dear friend and fellow food blogger Faith of the blog An Edible Mosaic. Faith’s cookbook is an absolutely wonderful collection of traditional Middle Eastern dishes. I was so honored to receive a copy of the book because I think the message Faith wants to convey is very close to my blog’s purpose: it is for food lovers, restaurant goers and home cooks who would like to explore a more exotic palate in their plate.

Giveaway: I have a copy of the An Edible Mosaic Cookbook to give away. Check out the end of the post to learn how to enter the draw.

I have been lucky to have made friends over the last 20 years with people from various parts of the Middle East so I have been exposed to classic Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Palestinian and so forth dishes. The cuisine has nothing to do with your local Shish Taouk sandwich shop. Faith did not grow up accustomed to these dishes either, not until she met her now husband Mike who is Middle Eastern. She learned to cook these fabulous dishes during the first 6 months of her marriage in her mother-in-law’s kitchen. Faith brought back this treasure of recipes to North America.

In this cookbook you will find such classics as hummus, kebabs and pistachio drenched sweets. But you will discover a whole plethora of delectable flavors which I hope you will try like tabbouleh, saffron rice, stuffed squash with yogurt sauce, beautiful lamb dishes and scented milk puddings. The recipe I prepared is an unusual choice for me: Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing. I have never been a fan unless it has been cooked and drenched in tomato sauce but made the effort to turn into a now acquired taste. Faith’s husband, Mike, also hates eggplants. His mother always hoped he would one day marry a girl who liked this vegetable. When Faith tasted and fell in love with this recipe she also got her mother-in-law’s blessing. So it just goes to show you never know what can come out of keeping an open mind and trying new foods!

 

Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing (BATINJAN MEKLEH)
Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes for the eggplant to drain
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 large or 2 small globe eggplants (about 2 lb/900 g)
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, minced
Oil, for shallow frying

  1. Fully or partially peel the eggplant if desired. (To partially peel it, peel one strip off down the length of the vegetable, then leave the next strip in place and peel the next strip off, and so on). Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 mm to 1.25 cm) thick slices (lengthwise or crosswise is fine if you’re using baby eggplant, but if you’re using a large eggplant slice it crosswise).
  2. Sprinkle the salt on both sides of each slice and transfer to a colander; put the colander in the sink and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cold running water, then gently wring out any excess water and pat dry.
  3. Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Coat the bottom of a large skillet over moderately high heat with oil. Fry the eggplant in batches (so the pan isn’t overcrowded) until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. (You can add more oil to the pan if necessary.) Transfer the cooked eggplant to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  5. Serve the eggplant warm or at room temperature, along with the dressing to drizzle on top.

Want to win a copy of this cookbook?

3 ways to enter the contest, each way counts as a separate entry so more chances to win!

– Leave a comment in the post!
Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave separate comment
Tweet: I just entered the Edible Mosaic #cookbook #giveaway with @cethniceatz at http://cultureatz.com/a-sneak-peek-at-the-edible-mosaic-cookbook-fried-eggplant-with-garlic-and-parsley-dressing/

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE. You have till November 4th, 2012, 23h59 EST to enter. GOOD LUCK!

Home Cured Pork Tenderloin

Hello everyone! Today is my 5th Blogiversary! Wow 5 years. And today is my 690th post. Double Wow!

This blog saw a different kind of birth compared to most other food blogs. In the beginning it was only restaurant reviews, bad ones when I look back. I started this blog as a companion to a dinner group I had created 6 month prior which was called, you guessed it, Cheap Ethnic Eatz. I organized 2 dinner outings a month to cheap ethnic restaurants. There was a limited amount of space and who ever signed up first got a spot. It was a wonderful experience which lasted three and half years. I closed the group even if it was still popular…I had taken it as far as I wanted to.

The blog transitioned along the way. I started making recipes, participating in challenges and did a few reviews. I began following and commenting other bloggers. I took a pretty dead blog and breathed life back into it. I have learned so much in the last 5 years it is astounding. My cooking skills have grown, my blog design improved many times and I am still learning to take food pictures. That is really one of the biggest challenges for me lol. Finally getting a DSLR camera helped a lot. Now I am trying to tame it. Maintaining a blog for so many years is a lot of work and time. But it is a passion and I love every minute of it.

I have met so many wonderful people through my posts and have discovered incredibly talented home chefs by following their blogs. I have made foodie friends reaching all 4 corners of the planet. I even met quite a few in person over delicious meals. Sometimes people ask me for advise on blogging, my main answer is “if you do a blog do it for yourself, not for others, and be sincere”. I try my best to stick to my advice. I am just grateful many of you like what I have to offer because my ultimate reward is connecting with you all. So a big thank you my readers.

And I have a fabulous giveaway hosted by myself which is open worldwide.

Just keep reading and the details for the giveaway will be at the bottom of the post.

Now the toughest question for this post was what to cook? I wanted to find something very extraordinary. I started to review my long list of ‘to do’ recipes and one jumped out at me. Cured Pork Tenderloin! I have never cured meat before so this sounded really cool and a bit scary actually. This recipe comes from a Montreal blogger I once had lunch with, her blog is called La Casserole Carrée. A really stunning blog visually so who cares if you can’t read French. I have to admit I was afraid when I took my first bite. Would it be cooked, who it taste funny…would I get sick? The result: wonderfully tender, salty and I could tell it was cured all the way through so perfectly safe. I feel like this experience opened a whole new culinary door. Follow me on a curing adventure, it is not a hard as it may seem.

Ξ Cured Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan, Garlic and Basil Ξ

Ingredients:
1 small slim pork tenderloin
3 tbsp salt
1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried basil

Directions:
Prepare the pork by removing any fat or membrane left by the butcher. In a flat dish mix salt, Parmesan, garlic powder and basil. Roll the pork tenderloin in the mixture, pressing hard and ensuring the the meat is well encrusted. Lay out a thick cotton cloth (or other natural material), spread any mixture left on the cloth and wrap the meat carefully and fairly tight half way, fold in the ends and continue wrapping , secure both ends with a rubber band. Put the wrapped tenderloin in the fridge and leave it for at least 5 days (maybe a little more if the tenderloin is thick). Slice thinly and serve chilled. Delicious!

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

Win a beautiful reference guide that clarifies uncertainties when shopping, and lures readers into the foreign kitchens with its enticing photos. What are the names of all those delicious apples that are often sold unlabeled at fruit and vegetable markets? The produce that is piled high in all shapes and colors at the entrance to every supermarket? “Ingredients” provides help with all of these questions, identifying approximately 2000 ingredients by name and describing their composition and use. This book will help cooks, and anyone who likes to eat, find their way through the world’s jungle of ingredients. Full color stunning photography pages.

Here is what you have to do to enter the contest:

– Leave a comment in the post!

Extra entries…

– Tweet I just entered the Ingredients book GIVEAWAY with @cethniceatz at http://cultureatz.com/5th-blogiversary-giveaway-and-home-cured-pork-tenderloin/ Ends June 22nd, 2012
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Facebook and leave separate comment
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Twitter and leave separate comment
– Like or Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave separate comment

You have till June 22nd 2012, 23h59 EST to enter. GOOD LUCK!

Vinegar Tarts and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Clementine Emulsion and Nutella Powder

I hope you enjoyed my earlier post today where I reviewed the wonderful Clementine Olive Oil and O Zinfandel Vinegar from the Natural Box collection that I won. And as promised here is the my mysterious recipe I am submitting for the Olive Oil recipe contest. And speaking of fabulous contests, have you entered my contest  where you could win your very own gourmet Wine Vinegar?

So…drum roll please… I am submitting as my entry Vinegar Tarts and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Clementine Emulsion and Nutella Powder dessert.

Quite a mouthful, I know. And I bet the last thing you would have expected was a dessert too! As I was trying to come up with my entry my mind kept going back, or should I say struggle, between two ideas: desserts and molecular gastronomy. The dessert factor was my main focus! My regular readers know very well how I like to explore the exotic and unusual. So a dessert for my oil and vinegar was a must. The molecular gastronomy aspect was obvious, to me at least, with two such flavorful mediums. I could make liquid raviolis, gels, air, etc. After all I bought so many MG powders a while back and never use them. But I had issues coming up with a dish as such.

Finally the two ideas combined where the emulsion and Nutella powder play a supporting role to the tart and ice cream. The assembly is quite simple. Once the tarts complete I added a quarter of clementine standing up. On one side I spoon a little bit of the emulsion and sprinkled a dash of Nutella powder. Finally I shaped a small quenelle with the ice cream which I place standing up on the other side on the tart. Voilà!

Now for the taste test. The first word that comes to mind before tasting this unusual combo is skeptical. Even though I knew it would work I had a grain of doubt. I also served it for dessert to my brunch guests yesterday. They were very tentative on their first bite. Once a forkful entered our mouths all three of us had the same reaction: eyes jumping wide open and a very pleasant surprised look. The olive oil ice cream is just out of this world, just creamy and dreamy. I was taken aback by how pronounced the clementine flavor of the oil was. The vinegar tarts tasted like a bright shiny summer day: so zesty and punched up. Even if the vinegar is definitely present is is not to overpowering, but a perfect balance in the curd like filling.

This dessert will challenge your concepts of taste and just amaze you and your guests should you choose to serve it over the holidays.

This whole giveaway and contest is all made possible also by a wonderful site I have been a member of for a little while, eRecipeCards. The great thing about being a member (which is free by the way) is you can create your own virtual recipe box. When you find a recipe you like on the website all you have to do is click a button and it gets added to your eRecipeBox. Now since this recipe submission is a contest, part of the judging is based partly on popularity. So I am asking you to add this recipe to you eRecipeBox. Here is the Cheap Ethnic Eatz eRecipeBox with all the recipes I have submitted. After you register, which take 2 minutes, just click on that link, find my Vinegar Tarts and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Clementine Emulsion and Nutella Powder entry and put it in your eRecipeBox. This is how popularity will be measured.

If you are a foodie you need to be a member. Here is a great eRecipeCards tour page explaining the site in greater detail but basically the soul purpose is to share, add and bookmark recipes.

Now on to the recipes!

Ξ Olive Oil Ice Cream Ξ
from Serious Eats, taken from David Lebovitz

  • 1 1/3 cups (330 ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) fruity olive oil

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Whisk the olive oil into the custard vigorously until it’s well blended, then stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ξ Vinegar Tarts Ξ
from Now thats Cookin’, taken from Emeril Lagasse

  • 24 pie pastry individual tart shells
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten until frothy
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Limoncello, or other lemon-flavored liqueur, or lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 24 tart shells (you could do 1 9-inch pie pan) on a baking tray for about 10-12 min until golden. Let them cool.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the flour and sugar, tossing with a fork to blend. Add the flour-sugar mixture to boiling water and cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add the eggs, whisking vigorously. Return to medium-low heat and cook, whisking, until velvety smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and lemon extract and whisk just to blend.

Pour into the cooled pastry shell and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

 

Ξ Clementine Emulsion Ξ
from the Passionfruit Emulsion at Pastry Kitchen

  • 4 clementines, peeled and quartered
  • 1¾ ounces sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lecithin

Puree clementines with a emulsion blender. In a small pot, bring ingredients to 120°F. Emulsify with a  hand blender. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. Emulsify with a hand blender again prior to use.

Ξ Nutella Powder Ξ
from Hungry in Hogtown

  • 120 g Nutella
  • 80 g tapioca maltodextrin

Combine ingredients in a food processor.  Process until the mixture has the texture of soil.

Pass mixture through a tamis or fine-meshed sieve to lighten its texture. Sprinkle liberally.

Note: I third the recipe. As long as you keep the ratio sixty percent fatty ingredient to forty percent maltodextrin, the process is simple. I just used a coffee grinder instead since it was such a small quantity.

__________________________

Don’t forget right now to go register (if you are not already a member)  and ADD my Vinegar Tarts and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Clementine Emulsion and Nutella Powder entry from the Cheap Ethnic Eatz eRecipeBox, I would be ever so thankful!

Review: O Clementine Olive Oil and O Zinfandel Vinegar plus a Contest

I know, I know I have been bad. I have been quiet, I have not been posting as much or catching up with commenting. I blame November. It’s such a blah month and my energies plummet. But also one of the reasons I have been more quiet is due to much research and experimenting. I have been working on a few very original recipes which would be a perfect fit to round off that fabulous menu for the holidays. Come back later today on the blog as I will be publishing one of these creations.

These recipes feature two products I was lucky enough to win recently on eRecipeCards: the O Clementine Olive Oil and O Zinfandel Vinegar from the Natural Box collection. Winning this prize also meant entering a contest. So I hope you come back and vote for me by putting this mysterious recipe (which will be posted later today) in you eRecipeBox. I’ll tell you all about that a bit later. Contest alert: YOU can be the winner of an absolutely divine vinegar too, details are at the bottom of the post!

This prize was awarded by my new favorite oil and vinegar company. If you follow my blog regularly you are well aware that I do the occasional product review and they are often interesting finds but not necessarily something that would knock my socks off. This time I was completely taken aback with my prize from O Olive Oil. I would even say pleasantly flabbergasted!  I know it sounds like a huge and ridiculous claim but it is 100% sincere. I LOVE my new oil and vinegar. So what makes O Olive Oil so special and unique to dazzle my exotic taste buds? The answer is surprisingly simple: keep things organic, keep things basic, take the time it needs and make it with love.

Let’s looks first at the Citrus Oils. This collection of oils are beautifully crafted by using the crush method. Fresh hand harvested California Mission olives are crushed directly with whole organic citrus within 48 hours of the harvests. It takes about 1½ lbs. of fresh, whole citrus to make each bottle of oil. As the extracts of both the olives and the fruit mingle in such a unique way the tastes bond, making for an intense marriage of flavors. This bit of info makes you realize quickly the poorer quality of many companies who mass produce by infusing or flavoring the already produced olive oil, sadly a common practice in the industry. There final product pales in comparison.

I received the O Clementine Olive Oil. I was already cooking up a storm in the kitchen before I really sat down to have a proper taste testing. I have a confessions to make: after pouring the amount required by my recipe of the Clementine oil I actually took a mini swig from the bottle. The beautiful coating of olive oil in my mouth was delicate and light in flavor but I did not taste a lot of the clementine at that moment. But once I sat down to take the pictures and properly savor it with a slice of white French bread, I had a completely different reaction to the taste. The clementine miraculously came to life and was now bursting with notes of zesty citrus all nicely layered in with a sweetness of the oil. The sumptuous yellow color coated the bread wonderfully. I was also really impressed by the results in my coming recipes.

The O Clementine Olive Oil is limited production. Keeping mind this is NOT an oil to fry foods is. A gentle warming in a pan will heighten the flavors, more will burn it.  I could see myself using this oil in a light salad mixed with a crisp and light vinegar. A light brushing over cooked seafood or chicken would be lovely too.

The second part of my prize from O Olive Oil was the Wine Vinegar collection. Again the company blasts the competition by nor rushing a good thing. The old world Orleans method is employed here by filling ventilated oak barrels with premium wine which naturally ages the wine turning it into vinegar over months or years.  The fact that the wines comes from near-by Napa Valley does not hurt either. Natural flavors are added slowly over time as the wine turns to vinegar.  The competition usually just mechanically ages using artificial flavors and ingredients.

I was thrilled to find the O Zinfandel Vinegar in my prize package. Before I even opened the bottle I was captivate by the magnificent ruby orange color. I dipped my bread in the aromatic liquid and took a bite. My taste buds where delighted with the wonderful sharp, smoky and tangy cherry notes the harsh vinegary taste. And as the taste lingers in your mouth you start wishing there really was a bottle of Zinfandel nearby.

Before I wrap things up I would like to send out a nice Thank You to eRecipeCards for hosting the give away and contest. If you are not familiar with this site you should. eRecipeCards is the home for food lovers, all of them. It is not a community based site like Facebook per say as you do not ‘make’ friends. The soul purpose is to share, add and bookmark recipes. Food bloggers love it as they can link and share their posts, and non writing foodies can discover fabulous recipes which they can keep in their eRecipeBox with one click. It is a new site that is growing rapidly. There are already thousands and thousands of recipes. It is free so why not join now and you will accumulate a collection of great new recipes to try. Go visit eRecipeCards.com

A drop of vinager in the oil - so colorful and pretty

O Olive Oil is more than just the two types of products mentioned above. They also offer products like the Citrus Oils and Wine Vinegars. Extra Virgin, Roasted Garlic, California Balsamic, Rice Vinegars, Citrus Tapenade, and more. You can find them in gourmet, natural food and specialty stores in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe, and Latin America sell these products. Or you can simply order online. O Olive Oil is offering a 20% discount sale through the end of the year on ANY order. Just use the exclusive promo code e-recipecards when you check out. Plus if your order total is more than 60$ you will get free shipping.

CONTEST TIME! Win a bottle of O pomegranate champagne vinegar which is describe on the site as sweet, round, and subtle. A hint of raspberries and faraway Mediterranean lands. Ripe and scarlet. California pomegranate steeped in barrel-aged champagne. Splash on spinach, feta and pecan salad. Punch up late summer stews and soups. Brush on roasted rosemary lemon chicken. Yes, yes and yes please! O Olive Oil is not hosting this contest. I will personally send a bottle of this fine vinegar out of my own pocket because I really think their products are that good!

To enter all you have to do is go O Olive Oil on Facebook (I will be checking) and then come back leaving me a comment saying you did so. Open to everyone around the world! Deadline Dec 6th 2011 noon EST.