Crunchy Colorful Thai Cabbage Salad & the 4th annual Food Film Marathon

Do you have a jar of coconut oil at home? If so, you are joining and ever growing crowd of fans of this most delicious and versatile oil. I bought my first jar a while back and I must admit at first I did not use it much. I just did not really know how to use it. But once I broke away from the ‘fear of the unknown’ I became addicted. If you are still hesitant as to howto incorporate this oil, or any coconut product, than I would suggest you check out The Complete Coconut Cookbook.

There are so many intriguing dishes and sweets to pick from in the cookbook but the Crunchy Colorful Thai Cabbage Salad recipe was the perfect dish to prepare for my 4th annual Food Film Marathon which took place this past weekend.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Aromatherapy: Sprains and Strains Massage Oil

Have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet which celebrates my 5th Blogiversary? Ends June 22 2012…hurry do it now!

This recipe is not to be consumed, but it will do wonders for your body. I have been dabbling in essential oil mixtures for a few years now, on and off.  I am not a big believer in the mood changing recipes but most of my ‘first aid’ mixes work. A few months back I made a recipe for muscle stiffness, tendons, sore joints and inflammation. If you already have essential oils at home it is way less expensive than buying some muscle pain creams full of chemical products.

This is week 13 following my wrist fracture/displacement and I am heading to my final orthopedic appointment today for final OKs. At this point my bones have set but I still have a lot of pain from damaged tendons and muscle tissue. And the exercises in physiotherapy to gain my mobility back can leave me quite sore too. I am pretty much off the pain killers except for the occasional difficult days. This massage oil has been essential in my pain management therapy. I often apply a drop or two and gently work it into my sore area every couple of hours. It’s instant magic and I often get enough relief as to avoid taking another pain killer.

You can also use it when you are stuffed up and have chest congestion by rubbing a few drops on your chest like our moms did when we were kids with Vicks. Or put a small dab right under your nostrils. Love multipurpose concoctions!

Ξ Sprains and Strains Massage Oil Ξ

Lavender – 4 drops
Peppermint – 4 drops
Tea Tree – 4 drops
Eucalyptus – 3 drops
1 tbsp sweet almond oil (or your favorite carrier oils like avocado, coconut, sunflower, etc)

Mix well in a small bottle. Shake before each use. It is best to use a dark glass bottle or make sure to keep the bottle out of the sun.

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.

Blue Dragon

I was so looking forward to attending the Blue Dragon product launch but I had to cancel as I was sick. I asked if I could still get samples to try out, which they were happy to do. But imagine my surprise when I opened my apartment door in the morning to go to work, 2 days later, and this package is just lying there on my door step.I got home at 10pm the night before and I was now heading out at 8 am…when was this delivered?

I could not resit opening this suitcase box before heading out. It was the samples…I have to say I was very impressed. And opening the box was such a delight: 10 different samples of stir fry and cooking sauces. The Blue Dragon line does not end there: they also offer dipping sauces, noodles, wrappers, sesame oil, hoison and oyster sauce, fish sauce, and 2 types of coconut milk.

Blue Dragon is named after the Chinese symbol of good fortune. The company was created over thirty years ago when the founder realized there was hardly anything available in the shops that would help people create authentic Asian dishes at home at that time. Today Blue Dragon has become a great way to help you create delicious dishes from China, Thailand, Japan (UK site) and Vietnam. To bad not all the products are available in Canada, I guess I’ll have to go to there and look up cheap car hire from the uk to go shopping in London.

In the package I found the following flavors: Thai Red Curry Paste, Thai Green Curry Paste, Chinese Curry Cooking Sauce, Tomato & Sweet Chilli Cooking Sauce, Chow Mein Cooking Sauce, Sweet & Sour Cooking Sauce, Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Sauce, Wasabi Plum Stir Fry Sauce, Chilli Coconut Stir Fry Sauce, and Szechuan Pepper Stir Fry Sauce.

Obviously I have not gotten around to trying them all, I actually cooked 2 two meals so far only. I live alone and every sample gave me about 3 meals. All the sauces/stir fries mention they should be used within 3 to 5 days so opening everything to stick my finger in it was not option. Why a short self life you ask? Reading the ingredient’s lists of the Blue Dragon products is a pleasure because there are no preservatives at all! Just beautiful flavor packed spices, herbs, and sauces.

I really did love the ease of preparation for a full meal. All you have to do is cook your protein and/or veggies, add the sauce and cook a bit longer and then serve on a bed of rice or noodles. It’s a great way to use up all those veggies lying around in your fridge.

The stir fries suggest 350 gr of meat, chicken or seafood and 1 cups of veggies. I added more like 2-3 cups of veggies and I used chicken. The first one I wanted to try was the Chilli Coconut Stir Fry Sauce. I fell in love with it: so yummy, loved the coconut taste  and nice spiciness to it. I served it on a bed of Udon noodles. This one I will buy again and again.

Take a look at the ingredient’s list: Water, Coconut Milk (Coconut, Water), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Lemongrass, Green Birdseye Chillies, Modified Maize Starch, Fish Sauce (Anchovy Extract, Salt, Sugar), Garlic Purée, Thai Basil, Ginger Purée, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Chilli Flakes, Galangal, Coriander, Lactic Acid, Lime Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid.

The cooking sauces ask for 3 meat, chicken, seafood portions. For this one I used a block of tofu and again 2-3 cups of veggies. I tried the Chinese Curry Cooking Sauce for this dish and I served the curry on a bed of Bamboo infused rice.

Ingredients listed are: Oil, Modified Maize Starch, Garlic Purée, Curry Powder (Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin, Salt, Garlic, Fenugreek, Chilli, Ginger, Fennel, Rice Flour), Onion Powder, Light Soy Sauce (contains Wheat and Soya), Chinese Five Spice, Spices, Salt, Citric Acid.

 

This one was a bit of disappointment unfortunately. The final taste was not packed with flavors and the only thing really coming though was the light spiciness. I also felt it needed salt…and I am not a salt kind a gal. Hopefully the other sauces pack a bit more punch, we shall see as I cook through them.

I feel like the theme in my kitchen will be Asian for a while. Normally I enjoy making my on sauce mixes and adding the amount of spices I like best but for someone with less experience or if you want a nice meal in a short amount of time I think Blue Dragon is definitely worth a try. Next I will try one of the Thai pastes for sure. The company seems to distribute out of the UK first, most of Europe and Canada. If you buy some let me know what you think.

The products were sent to me free of charge but my opinions are my own and are honest.