Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lavender Lemon Cake

What gift do you get for the most amazing sister in the world?  Someone who really needs to celebrate...a new baby girl, beautiful new home, an amazing smoker that produces the most mouth watering smoked salmon you will ever taste....CAKE of course!  My mind went directly to Red Velvet...the southern classic (Bloody Armadillo Cake anyone???).  I have loved this cake for years and even served it at my wedding.  Since then it has become a family mainstay.  Alas, I am feeling a bit of ennui for this old favorite...I mean seriously...I can't believe Yoplait made it an actual yogurt flavor.  Gross!  Like the sagas of the Kardashian clan, this cake is a little played out.  Fear not!  What better substitute for an old has-been than a tart new star...Lavender Lemon Cake.  I like lemon to take center stage in my lemon cake.  A lemon cake should be tart, slightly sweet, moist, and rich.  This cake is bright with lemon juice and lemon zest combined with soothing dried lavender.  I would say you could use less sugar (a little too sweet for me) and more lemon in the recipe (I updated the recipe accordingly).  Since my plan was to ship this cake I chose to make it in 4 mini spring form pans.  Personal and MUCH easier to ship!  Let's hope it made it in one piece.  Happy Birthday have really set the bar high for next year! I Love You!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Romesco Cauliflower

T and I went to Spain last May and I have been in love with the cuisine since, especially Andalusian Gazpacho.  Thickening sauces with bread and addinging an acidic punch with a splash of Sherry can do no wrong.  Low and behold one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, brought me back to Spain with recipes for delicious Romesco Potatoes and Spinach and Chickpeas.  Of course I made them both!  Instead of using Country White Bread as a thikening agent, I used my other obsession Sprouted Grain Bread...more on that later.  Instead of potatoes I opted for roasted Cauliflower and Broccoflower with salt, pepper, cold pressed olive oil, garlic and sprigs of thyme.  Sadly I think I scored a zero on local ingredients for this meal (the coffee and buckwheat fig scone was too good to rouse me from the couch and send me forth to the farmer's market).  Though not very local, it was delicious with Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes and my lovely sprouted wheat bread (truly a labor of love).  Regardless the combination is good we made dinner of it!  The next best thing to being in Seville, sipping wine in a little tapas bar on a warm summer evening....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Green Grazing Resurrected!!

Green Grazing is officially back!
Spring has officially arrived in Houston. Plants are peeking their little green heads out of the ground and so, finally, is this blog. So what could have happened in the year plus that I have been away?? The Bluestar CSA sadly is officially dead, along with an ample chunk of my change, but alas it is spring, new beginnings, and time to move on. We are lucky to FINALLY have a wonderful little farmer's market nearby in Clear Lake Shores. Tasty goat cheese, farm fresh eggs, Atkinson farm, Froberg's to name a few... Tons of cooking, baking, eating, but unfortunately none of it documented...(that should change!).
So more recipes, gardening, and dining to come.... Welcome back!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Candy: Maple Almond Brittle

Nothing says Christmas like an indulgent edible gift for family and friends. Pecan Pralines (for my Louisianna born relatives) and a layered white and dark chocolate Peppermint bark are becoming main-stays, but each year I like to reach out and try something new and interesting (to me). This years theme has become candy making. Tonight I tried my hand at Divinity (clouds of airy sugary bliss) which turned into a giant blob of goo on my cookie sheet. Reading some articles on this treat I found that apparently EVERY southern woman knows that you don't make devinity when it is humid. I live in Houston!!! When is it NOT humid?? (5 days until Christmas and I was finishing up my shopping in a t-shirt, skirt and flip-flops.) Being a Texas transplant I guess I have a lot to learn.
In my atempt to save the evenings .goal of making a sweet treat, and inspired by my recent trip to Montreal and new found love of maple syrup, I decided to make Maple Almond Brittle . (Humidity be damned!). I used Montreal Maple Syrup and lacking the proper amount of almonds, I used an almond and pecan mix.

Maple Syrup, Sugar, and Corn Syrup bubbling away...
Brittle Cooling
Recipe (from Gourmet Magazine):
Maple Almond Brittle
1 1/2 cups Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups sliced unblanched almonds, toasted lightly
In a heavy saucepan combine the maple syrup, the corn syrup, the salt, and the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring and washing down any sugar crystals clinging to the side with a brush dipped in cold water, and boil the mixture, undisturbed, until it registers 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the almonds quickly and pour the mixture onto an oiled marble slab or a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread the mixture as thin as possible with a metal spatula and let it cool. Break the almond brittle into serving pieces.