Attack of the Killer Squashed Tomatoes Baguette

This Attack of the Killer Squashed Tomatoes Baguette is a fun take on the classic Caprese Italian combo of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, herbs, flavored with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Welcome to a very special edition for Food ‘n Flix because this month we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of this wonderful movie/food group. And we were allowed to revisit any movie from the past 5 years for September. I chose a movie that was played prior to my arrival, one that I knew was ultra silly but sounded like fun. The flic?

Attack-of-the-Killer-Squashed-Tomatoes-Baguette

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Banana Kiwi Smoothie with Rose Schizandra Kombucha

It seems like there is an influx of invitations to restaurant openings and product launches right now. It happens a lot with the arrival of spring. Most events I cannot be bothered with that much but there are exceptions. If something really grabs my attention and peaks my curiosity I will be there. And that is how I was introduced to a new product from Rise Kombucha by receiving an invitation for the launch of their two new flavors: Mint Chlorophyll and Rose Schizandra.

The curiosity word here is Kombucha. What the heck is it? The company calls it sparkling living tea. A more complete explanation would be that Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented with a yeast, called Mother culture, thus creating effervescence.

kombucha 02

This is hardly a new product, there are claims that the history of this beverage goes back 2000 years in China or Japan. So it covers my ethnic food attraction plus it is a local, raw, organic, vegan and a fair trade product. The Rise Kombucha company is located in my city of Montreal. Actually they are located 3 blocks away from where I work. So before the official launch party I asked for a visit of their brewery. I could not take too many pics to reasons of corporate secrecy but you will still get a unique glance here.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Austrian Potato Salad

Some of my friends organized a Vodka and Perogie party. I wanted my contribution to reflect the theme but also include a twist on my heritage. Hence I chose to make an Austrian Potato Salad.

This potato salad has a little trick up its sleeve. There is no mayonnaise and very little oil. The sauce is made with a bit of potato water and a small amount of mashed potatoes, plus all the other ingredients. Less calories and just as creamy. I like the tangy touch of the mustard and vinegar contrasting with the sweet red onions and sliced gherkins. This is as refreshing as a potato salad can get.

Austrian potato salad 027

Here is a tip I bet you did not know: apparently adding a bit of vinegar to the boiling liquid will keep the potatoes from falling apart into mush once cooked. For white potatoes it will also help to keep them white when mashing.

Austrian potato salad 006

I found this recipe on Jersey Bite blog but she claims its origins from the Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.

 

Austrian Potato Salad
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (do not use any other kind)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard (I used with seeds too)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 gherkins, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and quarter potatoes lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  2. Bring potatoes, broth, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and 1 Tbs. vinegar to boil in 12 inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes offer no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high (so cooking liquid will reduce), and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes in colander set over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. set drained potatoes aside. Pour off and discard all but 1/2 cup cooking liquid (if 1/2 cup liquid does not remain, add water to make 1/2 cup.) Whisk remaining tablespoon vinegar, mustard, and oil into cooking liquid.
  4. Add 1/2 cup cooked potatoes to bowl with cooking liquid mixture and mash with potato masher or fork until thick sauce forms (mixture will be slightly chunky.) Add remaining potatoes, onion, gherkins, and chives, folding gently with rubber spatula to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cuisine: Austrian | Recipe Type: Vegetables & Side Dishes
7.6.2
224
http://cultureatz.com/austrian-potato-salad/

 

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.

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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.

Strawberry Jam Balsamic Ice Cream

It’s so hot and I had a craving for a fruity ice cream. I just had a tiny bit left of my Rosemary Walnut one, the last I made, and I knew there was not enough to satiate my need for a cool treat. But I had no large quantity of fruits at home and no way was I going out into the furnace exterior.

But I had a new jar of strawberry jam! I am feeling a lazy way out of this one…and it was worth it even if not the real deal! I love the added touch of balsamic vinegar as it really enhances the favor of the fruit and cut the sugary jam taste.

Very simple yet very rewarding!

Ξ Strawberry Jam Balsamic Ice Cream Ξ

1 cup light cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup strawberry jam (or any jam you have)
1 tbsp  Balsamic vinegar

– Add the jam and milk into bowl and whisk until jam has broken up. Mix in the cream and balsamic vinegar.

– Use ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions.

OR

– Spoon chilled custard into shallow metal pan, freeze until almost firm, about 3 hours. Break into chunks; puree in food processor.

– Pack into airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hour.

So good you'll like the paddle clean!

Truffled Tomato Tarte Tatin

A great online gourmet store got in touch with me recently and offered me a product to review. How cannot I not say yes to such an offer. And the best part too about this online gourmet food shop is that they are right in my own backyard of the world. O Gourmet is based right here in Montreal, Quebec.

They really offer up a nice variety of hard to find local and high quality import products. The menu even offers up a Wild, Organic and Shop by Region section which is great for someone looking for a specific ethnic ingredient. O Gourmet graciously offered me a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar with Black Truffles to try out, imported by  a German company called A. Viani Importe. Most of A. Viani Importe products come from small local European producers, such as this Italian vinegar.

I did a little straight forward taste test and found this vinegar to be quite sweet and full bodied. I could not say I specifically notice a truffle taste but you can tell there is a hardy woody extra flavor in there.  It is great with  caramelized fruits, on roasted potatoes or spring vegetables and salads. And it took me quite a bit of time to come up with a fitting recipe to try it out on. Finally I made a savory tarte tatin with tomatoes and Thai eggplants (another one of those Asian grocery finds). The result was just exquisite. This is truly a recipe worthy of a fine epicurean meal.

Truffled Tomato Tarte Tatin

2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 small eggplant or a bunch of Thai eggplants
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 tbsp butter
2tbsp Balsamic Vinegar with Black Truffles
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1 sheet sheet of puff pastry

optional: goat cheese, 1/4 tsp truffle oil

Directions:

  1. In an oven proof large skillet caramelize the onions with 2 tbsp of melted butter and a pinch of salt over a medium-high.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of water to lift any bits from the bottom of the pan for about 30 seconds, transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same skillet melt the remaining over a medium-low heat until it turns golden.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and leave for a few seconds on burner until the harsh vinegar smell disappears.
  5. Remove from heat. Place prettily the sliced tomatoes and eggplants, salt and pepper, then top with the onions.
  6. Roll out the puff pastry a little bit larger then the size of the skillet. Cover with the puff pastry, tuck the edges under and cut several long vents in the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
  7. Bake for around 30 minutes in a  preheated oven at 425 F until golden.
  8. Let stand a few minute and then run a knife around the edges of the pastry before you flip the tart onto a serving platter. Serve immediately.

I sprinkled a few roasted pumpkin seeds I had and I also fluffed up some room temperature goat cheese with a for and a little bit of truffle oil. The goat cheese and truffle oil alone is absolutely incredible, with the tart is was just phenomenal worthy of any 5 star restaurant.

Thai Eggplants, the latest exotic find!