Tuesday, September 16, 2008

triple buzz: florida food bloggers + todd english's bluezoo + foodbuzz

before twilight set the amuse-bouche: clam + bacon ragout

Last weekend we had a fantastic evening meeting up with Florida food bloggers at Todd English's bluezoo in Orlando.

It was an incredible night hosted by Foodbuzz of San Francisco for featured publishers.....and I have to say quite decadent.

Again, my heartfelt thanks goes out to Jenn at The Leftover Queen,
Judy at No Fear Entertaining, Ryan at Foodbuzz and bluezoo for orchestrating a memorable evening of community, enlightment and good cheer.

A personalized six course tasting menu was prepared especially for all of us. As shown above, we began with the saucy n' savory clam + bacon amuse-bouche that elevated the evening into bliss along with the ease + flow of great company......

first course: shrimp cocktail steamrollers in modern form

My sweetie took a picture of me in action. Basically this first course had to be sucked out of it's tube. The picture of me doing this came out a bit too weird so......

Instead, you may view The Leftover Queen in action.....gawww she's so pretty too! ;-)

second course: beet salad avec candied walnuts et goat cheese fondue

You know me, I could have had another plate of this!

Delightful; it was like walking into a candy store with each bite.

third course: spice route char with curried beluga lentils + zhataar carrot et yogurt spill

My hubs just loved this dish.

The preparation of the char absolutely was exquisite.

Perfectly seasoned and *charred* on top; yet the interior was delicate but flagrant and quite sheer of being cooked through so biting into the center was almost near sashimi tenderness with hints of soft heat.


sous vide amish chicken with parmesan polenta hidden in between......

I have always preferred Amish Chicken especially from my experiences of cooking with it when we lived in northeast Ohio. The skin on the sous vide preparation was perfect, yet parts of the chicken were slightly dry. The parmesan polenta combined with the picholine olive tomato sauce became its redeeming component.

and quite lovely the picholine olive deconstructed tomato sauce

The faint olive spell in the tomato sauce furrowed the taste memory of olive trees in northern California.......on a very sunny day.

warm chocolate cake with liquid ganache center awaits a maracaibo chocolate cream pudding and peanut ice cream atop

By this time debauchery had set in.

Hubs told me by the time he got to finishing 1/3 of the wine in his glass they filled it back up again.......

it was quite comforting to take food shots with a table full of other food porn fantatics......

It was soooooo nice to take food porn photos with other food bloggers.

I felt less of a freak. This was a fantastic evening spent!

You've gotta check out everyone's blogs as I am sure they have/will be posting on the triple buzz of a night we had.

These are also some fabulous + insightful food blogs you must read if you haven't already:

Lys @ Cooking in Stilettos
Christey + Peter @ Foto Cuisine
Rachel @ My Little Marshmallow
Judy @ No Fear Entertaining
Chris @ Pickles and Cake
Susan @ Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Moi/Ingar @ Taste Memory
Jenn @ The Leftover Queen
Erin and Chris @ The Olive Notes
Bryan @ The Tattooed Gourmet

Chef de Cuisine at Bluezoo: Aaron Christian describes his approach to sous vide amish chicken and more.......

Thank you Chef Aaron for an exquisite dining experience! Not enough can be said about our dining experience at bluezoo.

It was *dining* at its purest form and replete of exceptional service, style and ambiance. The service was attentive, knowledgeable yet flowed with that Florida ease......

goodie bags galore to finish the evening

Between Jenn/The Leftover Queen and I, we brought goodie bags to top off the evening.

that *end of the evening group shot*......lest I say more?!

To Florida food bloggers: This was a gracious way to meet and we gotta do this again!

To food bloggers and readers: Continue blogging + partaking. This is such a great community.

Don't forget to check out Foodbuzz. There's an incredible network of foodies out there!

To my raw food readers: As you know, I am 80/20. That was probably a 70/30 raw by day/decadent by evening!

Laughing + smiling here.

Thank you for stopping by.

bluezoo's Chef Aaron Christian describes preparation of sous vide amish chicken in the midst of well-fed, well-amused + quite pleased food bloggers

Friday, September 12, 2008

crazy beautiful: delicious definitious without the dairy

remnants of chocolate pots de crème re-inspired in a vintage sherry glass I picked up some years back.....

I have been holding onto what remains of summer with dear life.

I love the yellow glow of the sun......especially when I photograph food and exquisite lively things. They respond so well to the vibrancy of the sun visually.

Who doesn't love the swirl and curl of a creamy chocolaty dessert?

This past summer has been an inspiring time between the sun, sand, storm + ocean blue to re-define the tumultuous desserts I love to linger over by rummaging through the pages of my taste memories of years gone by......

chocolate pots de crème......re-defined with mocha mousse frosting and......

We know how everyone feels about chocolate, don't we?

I wanted something crazy beautiful to elevate my palate into a bliss like state without all the remnants of dairy, creme, eggs and white sugar that make me feel a bit tuckered out, bloated and edgy.

This version is dairy free, egg free, soy free, sugar free and even gluten free.

Hmmmmmm.......so what gives?

I don't want to fool you, but this is pretty full~proof stuff and very much tastes like the real thing.

Ever since I've had children, my taste + smell senses have blustered full force as I find my palette extremely sensitive.

It was weird when it happened.

Actually the more kids I had, the more sensitive my sense of smell became thus effecting my taste buds.

My last pregnancy I recall I was sitting in the middle of the pews during Sunday Mass. Some guy sitting behind me was reeking of steamed buttered corn, cigarettes and beer that he probably drank a half hour prior.

It was the twisted sour scent the beer that silently beckoned toward me which eventually put me over sensory overload.

Love thy neighbor.

Well, I just couldn't stomach that one at the moment so I ended up standing in the back of the church for the entire service......and as I recall until I eventually delivered.

a lovely version in cup and saucer from our wedding registry

I have so many of these cups and saucers. What was I thinking back then as a young bride~to~be to allow myself to register for such an endless sea of china?

Today we use mugs from World Market with vintage inspired prints for our hot drinks: tea, coffee, hot cocoa or gently warmed homemade tomato soup topped with crushed pistachios rolled in trinkets of garam masala........

near grandmaster fudge~ness

Though I have already made several versions of this recipe, it is still in development. I don't cook with measurements as it restrains the evolvement process.

Yet during final phases, I am able to lock down exact measurements for proper use.

I will say that the chocolate pudding~custard portion is similar to the one found in RAW FOOD REAL WORLD ......btw, an amazing book!

One of the main ingredients is the soft flesh of the young coconut. If you have ever been wondering how to open one of those you can see how I did it here.

I have re~dubbed this pots de crème with other ingredients to add weight and silk to the texture without the dairy and other frills some of us may have issues with.

The whipped cream portion was made to re~create the taste and texture of the fresh dollops of creamed frosting on the Japanese/ French inspired cakes I grew up with as well as the Danish desserts I used to frequent when I was a young working stiff in L.A. For this I used grated cacao as one of the elements.

The orange twist atop is well.....not from an orange.

It's sulphur~free dried mangoes trimmed with a very sharp pair of scissors.

What's really weird about this recipe is it reminds me of this song.

Is chocolate so intent?

Monday, September 1, 2008

translucence of memory: the art raw memory

marinated cucumbers inspired by the Korean side dishes also called *banchan*

As I have been going forward with my new found love in raw food preparation, I am also rekindling my taste memories of growing up with fantastic flavors from my mother's Korean inspired recipes.

Many of the Korean vegetable dishes, as well as the namesake that identifies Korean food we know as kimchee can also be considered raw foods.

That is of course, depending on the types of ingredients and style of preparation.

I grew up in California and the majority of my mother's style of cooking was a lighter and fresher version of traditional Korean recipes. She did have some dishes that were more on the hefty side too. It was a fusion of gosh it must have been Korean and Southern cooking. I am scarily remembering her ham hock and red beans recipe that used to freak me out with the bright red gelatinous piggy blugger. Her vegetable *banchan* dishes and kimchees, are more reminiscent of fresh crunchy salads.

We'll get to kimchee later, that's a hot topic for me because my mother is the queen of kimchee preparation. I have yet to perfect the art of kimchee. But for you meat, potatoes and kimchee fantatics, you can go here for a lighter version of the savory kimchee chigae I posted about back when.....

Just thinking out loud, there is the separate + second *kimchee* refrigerator that can be found in the garages of Korean households.....as well as mine. Though for the most part, ours is now stocked with over sized bags of carrots for juicing, romaine lettuce, celery, miso paste and Samuel Adam's Oktoberfest brew.

radish kimchee ~ this is a similar version from my mother's side of the family. There are no chili pepper flakes in this version. The beauty of this is the mild taste that comes from the radish itself melded with sea salt and black pepper. Another trick is to pre-salt the radish slices as you would in kimchee preparation. Thereafter when the slices soften the juices are squeezed out by hand. After the spices are blended in, allow time to chill before serving. This way the radish is able to regain its crunchy composure.

Also, for those of you not familar with raw foods. It doesn't mean I eat RAW MEATS....ewwwww....I have had people ask me that!

It's raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and then some.

This can all be done in great taste and savory appeal.

Not to sound like a repeating gong, but I am just excited to share this with you....

I have been on this raw diet exposé since January of this year. I had to slowly work my way from a very complicated mix of foods to where I have comfortably retained myself today at 80% raw foods and 20% cooked foods. The latter being smart choices in cooked foods with occasional lively obsessions like tacos. I have a weakness for Mexican flavors!

Yet by allowing more ease into this new way of eating at 80/20 lessens the stress of my balancing act of a life. My current lifestyle which is about being mother of three, wife, working woman, the other breadwinner, activist (this should be another blog and what seems like another lifetime of events I am passionate about), fashionista while retaining my health and sanity sort of thing in the midst of hurricanes + tropical storm threats and pre-teenism......

You get the picture.

The excitement never seems to end around here.

Otherwise, I would be someone else perhaps as incense wove through our house, while I sat on a hammock spinning my Asian girl dreadlocks, making herbal remedies, let the kids run wild without bathing, eat root vegetables for dinner and let frogs into the house.....can't do that we have white kitchen tiles and cream colored carpet that kinda looks dark beige now. Well, I do all of the above except dreadlocks, we don't have a hammock, frogs and on occasion allow the kids to bathe. Perhaps we'll ease into the rest as well?!!

With that said, since January of this year I LOST 18 POUNDS!!!

I have literally dropped 3 sizes downward and shopping for clothes can be a b*tch now.

18 lbs. is a lot for me as I am small framed and stand at 5 foot 5 inches.

the scent and imagery of freshly sliced cucumbers brings me back to my mother's kitchen

It's been a delight to *cook* this way.

I have enjoyed the benefits of eating natural, organic when able, raw and especially more vegetables.

But what is truly refreshing is something I need to share with you......

scallions....green onions....call it what you want. They bring zest to each bite, don't they?

The clarity.

I am all about mincing. I love developing my knife skills with green onions. So when I share recipes with mincing involved with friends that hate chopping, they tell me that because of me they've hauled their food processor out. At least they said it was well worth it.

There is so much more clarity in mind.

beauty in simplicity

I look forward to bringing you more highlights about savory foods both cooked and *uncooked*.

I will share with you my take on fresh, natural and savory foods with a slight tumultuous ethnic twist.

YES, this is a passion of mine!

What's your passion?