Showing posts with label #BloggerCLUE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #BloggerCLUE. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Honey Balsamic Carrots #BloggerCLUE

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in carrots, which is complemented by a beautiful balsamic honey glaze. 

This whole year is already going by in a flash, a sensation that is further emphasized by how early Easter is. The liturgical calendar starts with the four weeks before Christmas with Advent as the first season. But as Easter must follow Passover - when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper - and Passover is determined by the first full moon after the vernal equinox, Easter moves around according to the lunar calendar. So there are logical reasons but that doesn't help me get over that rushed feeling. One the plus side, since it’s almost Easter and it's also Blogger C.L.U.E. Society time again, our clue this month is to look for recipes in our assigned blogs for the upcoming celebration.

Sew You Think You Can Cook is written by Lauren, who is one smart cookie and one fabulous wife and mother. She’s put her aerospace engineering career on hold to stay home with two button-cute boys and support her husband as he has been studying for his Masters. I am really not sure how, but she also finds the time to cook delicious dishes and share them on her blog. When I plugged Easter into her search bar quite a few things came up. It was hard to decide between the soft carrot cake cookies, her Easter Bundt Cake and her Citrus Roast Chicken with four different citrus fruits! That chicken was closely rivaled by her Strawberry Pork Roast. I finally settled on Lauren’s Honey Balsamic Carrots because I needed a delicious, flavorful side dish to go with the fish I was making for dinner - for yet another group blogging event. I can assure you they were an excellent choice.

6-7 carrots (Mine weighed about 1 lb 2.5oz or 525g) 1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup or 60ml balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and line large baking pan with foil.

Peel your carrots, trim the ends and cut them into 1 in or 2 1/2cm pieces.

Pile up the cut carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle on the olive oil. Stir them around to coat.

Spread the carrots out so they aren't touching and sprinkle them with some salt and black pepper.

Roast carrots in your preheated oven for 40 minutes. Give them a stir halfway through.

When there are 10 minutes left on the timer, combine the honey and vinegar in a small pan.

Cook over a medium heat until the sauce is thick and getting really sticky. Keep stirring because you don’t want it to burn. A spoon dragged through the middle should leave a space that closes back up again slowly.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.

Pour the carrots in and then stir well to coat them with the glaze.


Check out the other Easter dishes from the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society this month.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Okie Peasant Potato Soup #BloggerCLUE

This creamy thick potato soup, seasoned with shallot, garlic and bacon, is sure to warm body and soul on a cold winter’s day. 

One of my favorite days of the month is here – it’s Blogger C.L.U.E. Society reveal day when I get to tell you the clue we were assigned this month – soups and stews - and which blog I’ve been poking around in – the wonderful Eliot’s Eats! I’ve been getting Debra’s recipe posts in my inbox for a very long time, although I am terrible about commenting, so she may not even know that. I just checked the “read” emails in my inbox and this is the weirdest thing but the very first one was from the day I signed up - a message to confirm my subscription – on February 10, 2013! Isn’t that a wild coincidence! It’s our anniversary! Three years of delicious recipes from Eliot's Eats in my inbox!

Proof! Not that you didn't believe me but only because I hardly believe it myself! February 10th! 

I have to tell you that I didn’t even get around to a search for stews because I was bookmarking so many soups to make that I knew the choice was going to be hard enough. Check out the Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup that may have won Debra’s husband’s heart or this spicy Furious Five-Spice Noodle Soup with an Asian flair.  I was also loving the way Debra has turned favorite non-soup dishes into soup like these pizza and enchiladas ones. I mean, sometimes you want pizza or enchiladas but sometimes a body just needs soup.  Can I get an amen?

Those of you in the cold areas of the world right now are going to laugh in my face when I tell you that Dubai is cold when we are only talking the late 40s°F (<10°C) at night but remember that we have no heating whatsoever. These tile floors, thick walls and reflective windows are designed to keep us cool during the extraordinary heat of summer but they make it really chilly indoors during the wintertime. Plus I don't seem to own the right clothes. What I needed was a thick, comforting soup so I finally settled on Debra’s mom’s Okie Peasant Potato Soup because it starts with bacon and ends with cheese, and what could be more perfect than that?

Ingredients - Makes about 6 servings.
6 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs or 680g red potatoes
1 large carrot
1 small shallot (Debra used dried shallots but I don't have any of those.)
3 cups or 710ml chicken broth
3 tablespoons bacon fat
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups or 710ml low fat (but not skim) milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated cheddar to serve

Cook your bacon until crispy and drain on some paper towels. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Chop the bacon with a sharp knife and set aside. I also set aside just a little for use as garnish when serving. I left it pretty chunky.

Cube your potatoes, leaving the peels on. Peel and dice your carrot.

Peel and mince your shallot and garlic clove.

Put one tablespoon of bacon fat in a large pot with the minced shallot and sauté until translucent. Add in the potatoes, carrots and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

In another saucepan, heat the rest of the bacon fat and lightly sauté your garlic. You don’t want it to brown and turn bitter, but just to soften. Add the flour and whisk until mixture bubbles to cook the flour.

Carefully whisk in milk to make a sauce.

Cook for a few more minutes until the white sauce thickens a little and then remove from the heat.

Use a firm whisk to add the sauce into the potato pot.  Some of the potatoes should break up a bit, thickening the soup even more but make sure to leave some chunks too.

Add in the crispy bacon bits. Cook for a few more minutes and then taste your soup. Add salt if it needs any and few generous grinds of fresh black pepper.

Ladle into warm bowls. Sprinkle on some cheddar cheese (and bacon if you saved some) to serve. And, yes, that's just a little more black pepper. I love that stuff.


The Blogger C.L.U.E. Society - February 2016 participants


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shaved Broccoli Stalk Feta Salad #BloggerCLUE

Finally, a fabulous use for the oft-wasted broccoli stalks, this salad with lime juice and feta is simple, fresh and delicious!

This month for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society, my assigned blog is Taking on Magazines, internet home of Christiane, one of the founders of our little group, where we get together once a month using the same clue - ingredient or theme - and search through our partner blog to find tastiness to recreate. With many people trying to start the new year off right, our clue for January is “healthy eating.” Christiane says herself that her recipes don’t have a focus on health but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t tempted by several of them, including her Bibb Lettuce with Citrus Herb Dressing, Vietnamese Caramel Pork and Garlicky Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Spinach, which she swears is healthy, honest! I can tell you they all look delicious!

In fact, I ended up making two dishes, her Superfast Crispy Chicken Thighs, which are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven, crisp fried in only 1 scant tablespoon of oil, and the fresh salad I’m sharing today. Man, those thighs were good! So good, in fact, that they were eaten before I could take a decent “finished” photo. And I cannot tell you how long it’s been since that happened!

Exhibit A

Thank goodness I had planned to make the broccoli stalk salad too. I was excited to use a part of the broccoli that I know many people discard and put it on center stage.

Even though Christiane says, “serve immediately,” I wasn’t taking any chances with not getting a photo of the salad. I made it in the afternoon and took the photos well ahead of dinner. I am pleased to say that the shaved broccoli was still crunchy, fresh and delicious a couple of hours later!

Leaves and stalks from 1 bunch broccoli (2-3 fat stalks)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Flakey sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup or 28g crumbled cotija or feta cheese
Optional: few slices of radish - my addition.

Cut the very hard outsides off of the broccoli stems. Nip off the leaves and save them. My broccoli didn’t have very many leaves, so just for a little more green, I also kept one tiny floret cut into small bits.

Use a sharp potato peeler to trim off any more stringy hard bits and discard them.

Continue shaving off thin slices of the stalks with the potato peeler until they are all gone.

And you are left with this:

Pile the strips in a bowl and add in the oil and lime juice. Sprinkle on the sea salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Give it all a good toss to coat.

Crumble on the feta and stir gently. Add a few slices of radish if desired.

Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.


Our participating society members this month, with their Healthy Eating picks:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

San Permis Sparkling Cocktail #BloggerCLUE

Nothing says celebration like a glass of bubbly, unless it is a glass of bubbly with some added Cointreau and a lovely honey, infused with lavender like in this San Permis Sparkling Cocktail.

This month my Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is searching our assigned blogs for recipes of a celebratory nature. I must confess that while I loved poking around Confessions of a Culinary Diva for all sorts of party food, like her Fennel Pomegranate Crostini – such pretty colors for the season - and her Irish Seafood Cocktail with crab and Cognac or the fabulous Cèpe and Parsley Tart because I am a sucker for anything made with puff pastry - I had already pretty much made up my mind to make the sparkling San Permis cocktail from the moment I found it, conveniently located on a page full of cocktails.

In fact, I started weeks ago and made my own lavender-infused honey! That’s how set I was. It's actually super simple: Just mix the honey with culinary grade lavender in a clean jar and let it all hang out for a couple of weeks on a sunny windowsill. Then strain. I added back just half a teaspoon of the lavender for show.

Christy is an award-winning banker by day, talented blogger by night – her blog focus is delicious food and traveling and I just don’t know how she does it all! If you haven’t met Christy yet, please head over to Confessions of a Culinary Diva and get to know her.

Ingredients for 1 cocktail
Cava or sparkling wine of your choice, well-chilled
1 oz or 30ml Cointreau
Lavender-infused Honey

Use a spoon dipped in the lavender-infused honey to drip just a little of it around the inside rim of a Champagne flute.

Pour in the Cointreau.

Top off with chilled Cava or a sparkling wine of your choice.


The lavender-infused honey adds a very subtle floral note as you take each sip.

The December Blogger C.L.U.E. Society participants:

Pin this San Permis Sparkling Cocktail!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aunt Orlean’s Pie Dough #BloggerCLUE

The flakiest crust I’ve ever come across, this supple dough is made with one whole egg and a touch of vinegar. It bakes up melt-in-your-mouth tender, yet the dough is easy to handle when chilled.

This month my Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is hunting for pie recipes and other holiday deliciousness in our assigned blogs. As I mentioned in my Black Forest Fruit Pie post, I was supposed to be poking around Making Miracles, which I did with some delight. But it also occurred to me that perhaps Rebekah wasn’t going to be up to baking with the care of her son on her mind, so I decided to choose a recipe to make from A Spoonful of Thyme, the blog that she was assigned, just in case.

Since pie was our clue, I started with a search and turned up quite a few possibilities, some savory like Kathy’s Cottage Pie  and her Steak and Guinness Pie or sweet like her Spiced Apple Pie, her deconstructed Bluebarb Pie and the divine Apple Galette with Salted Caramel. How to choose just one?

The whole plan changed with that apple galette though when I followed the link to Kathy's pie dough of choice and found the recipe for Aunt Orlean’s Pie Crust. I’ve been reading about traditional southern piecrust recipes with vinegar – many bakers swear by it – but I’ve never tried one. Since the pie I was going to make for my Making Miracles post said to use the piecrust recipe of my own choosing, I could use Aunt Orlean’s recipe and kill two birds with one stone. Three birds if you count checking a vinegar crust off of my want-to-try list! Win-Win-Win!

Slightly adapted from Aunt Orlean’s Pie Dough from A Spoonful of Thyme.

3 1/2 cups or 440g flour
1 cup or 300g shortening
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vinegar
2-3 tablespoons ice water

Measure your flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the shortening and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, work the shortening into the flour.

Beat the egg lightly and add it to the flour/shortening and mix it in with a fork.

Add cold water a tablespoon at a time and mix it in with a fork, until the dough comes together. I ended up adding only two tablespoons of water.

Quickly knead the dough just a couple of turns and then separate it into two pieces. If you are making a two-crust pie, one piece should be slightly larger than the other. If you are making two one-crust pies, divide the dough evenly into halves. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate until you are ready to roll it out.

Kathy says that it also freezes well, securely stored in a Ziploc bag. When you are ready to use it, allow the dough to thaw for about 15 minutes before rolling.

When you are ready to bake, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface or use one of these handy zippery things from the King Arthur website.

This dough can be used for any pie, sweet or savory.

So, how is the crust? If you read my Black Forest Fruit Pie post, you know that it’s the flakiest one I’ve ever made! Easy to handle when chilled, melt in your mouth tender once baked. One teaspoon of vinegar doesn’t seem like much but as the pie started baking there was the slightest aroma of vinegar when I cracked open the oven door to double check the temperature. You don’t taste it at all in the final crust though. All in all, a resounding success!

The finished pie! 

Thanks, Kathy, and my hat is off to your Aunt Orlean! I’ll be using her recipe again and again, that I can guarantee you.

Check out all the other special recipes the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is sharing this month!

Black Forest Fruit Pie #BloggerCLUE

With a lovely mix of dark fruit and a flakey crumbly crust, this delicious pie is both tart and sweet and, as the British say, goes down a treat. My husband says to tell you to serve this with thick pouring cream. Consider yourself told.

Let me start by saying that the best piecrusts are flakey. If we can all agree on that, then I will feel better about the right mess this pie became as I tried to serve it up. I mean, really. Look at it on the pie.

Not too bad, right? Then look again at that cut piece. Deep sigh. But that just goes to show you that it’s extra flakey, which means absolutely perfect. It's a special recipe from from A Spoonful of Thyme, written by the very talented Kathy, another of member of the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society. If you'd like to try it yourself, here's the recipe link.

This month our Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is hunting through our partner blogs for pie recipes or other deliciousness appropriate for Thanksgiving ahead of the upcoming holidays. My assignment was Making Miracles, written by mother extraordinaire, Rebekah. Mere weeks ago, her 16-year-old son suffered a stroke and Rebekah has been keeping it all together in a way that inspires awe. I am delighted to report that he is recovering well and asking for his mama’s mac and cheese, so that is a very good sign!

Rebekah’s blog is full of great pie recipes, like her Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie, which sounds perfect for fall. Given our still warm weather, I was tempted by her key lime pie and chocolate peanut butter refrigerator pie, but the decision was easy when I came to the one she calls Super Easy and Delicious Mixed Berry Pie. It starts with frozen fruit! And it is piled into the crust still frozen! Seriously, what could be easier?

Note: If you are feeding a crowd, Rebekah also has a Mixed Berry Slab Pie that you should check out. The same great pie in a size to feed the multitudes!


1 double piecrust dough (recipe of your choice - I used this one.)
1 1/2 lbs or 680g frozen mixed berries (about 5+ cups) (I used Black Forest Fruits which are a mix of blackberries, dark cherries, currants and grapes.)
1/2 cup or 100g sugar + 1 teaspoon (separated)
1/4 cup or 35g cornstarch
Large pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Put your frozen fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour on the 1/2 cup or 100g sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Stir well and leave to sit for at least 15 minutes while you roll out your piecrust.

I use one of these handy zippery thing to roll out my pie crust. I bought it one thousand years ago from the King Arthur website but, lucky for you, they still have them.

Fit the bottom crust into the pie plate and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Trim the edges so they are even. Scissors work great for this.

Give the fruit another good stir to loosen the pieces up. Mine became frozen together despite being separate when they went into the bowl. Tip the fruit into the bottom crust and spread it around evenly.

Cover with the top crust dough and crimp the edges to seal. I also cut out little hearts with a cookie cutter and then used little cut out dough hearts from the dough scraps to decorate the top. But you do you.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar on top.

Cover the edges with foil to keep them from burning and bake in your preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Tip: A pan or piece of foil under the pie plate will also save on oven clean up in case some sticky juice boils over. Didn’t happen to me this time but it’s a worthwhile precaution whenever you are baking something juicy.

Remove the foil from the crust and bake for another 50 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to cut it.


Check out all the pies and other wonderfulness from my Blogger C.L.U.E. Society members: