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The Humble Gourmet on Cucumbertown

Hello friends!  I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas Eve.  I wanted to drop in and tell you about a fantastic recipe sharing site, Cucumbertown.

Cucumbertown

Cucumbertown is a tribe of chefs, food bloggers and foodies sharing inspiration, recipes and delicious meals.  The lovely Sanaa A’esha, one of the organizers of Cucumbertown, asked to interview me as a “friend of the tribe.”  Of course, I jumped at the chance to talk all things food and share my recipes.  You can check out the profile here.

While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to the Cucumbertown online magazine and check out some of the other cooks.  There are some fantastic recipes and ideas being bounced around that great site.  Thanks again Sanaa!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps

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The day has arrived!  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap has come to a close, and today is the day everyone who participated is sharing their delicious recipes.  

It was so much fun participating in this massive cookie exchange; definitely one to do next year as well.  How it works is this: after signing up, you are assigned 3 random bloggers to send cookies to.  A dozen cookies each, all an original recipe.  In return, 3 different bloggers send you a dozen cookies, so everyone ends up with one dozen of 3 different kinds of cookies.  Too fun, right?

Chocolate Gingersnaps 1

 

I was assigned to make cookies for Brooke from 2 Texas Gals, Crystal from Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and Khandra from Cakes by Khandra.  Let me tell you, trying to decide on one recipe was tough.  I needed to do something that would hold up well to shipping, but I still wanted to do something original and somewhat festive and holiday-like.  I finally decided on gingersnaps, with a little twist: dark chocolate gingersnaps.  I had made something similar years before, but more as a firm, wafer-like gingersnap.  These were soft and chewy, perfectly spiced and that nice rich hit of dark chocolate.  I made an extra dozen to have at the house, which were quickly devoured by both Shawn and myself.  Cookies don’t have a long life in our house.

Chocolate Gingersnaps 2

 

Speaking of which, I can’t forget about the cookies that showed up at my front door!  I don’t know if everyone that participates is this talented, or if I just got real lucky, but we had an absolute sugar feast with our shipments.  Megan from Nutrition Awareness sent maple gingersnaps, with the maple sourced from her family’s farm in Ohio.  Sweet and spicy and simple, perfect little gingersnaps.  Ace from The Toasted Sprinkle sent in “Faux-reos”: chocolate shortbread with white chocolate filling.  I nominate these to take the place of real Oreos, they were seriously that good.  And finally, Nicole from Cooking for Keeps sent us sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate with peppermint candy and pretzels.  I cannot tell you how insanely good these were.  Super soft, buttery cookies, with the sweetness of the white chocolate, the coolness of the peppermint and the salt of the pretzels.  I was deeply disappointed to only get 12; I could have eaten a truckload full of those babies.  So, so good!

Needless to say, in my humble opinion, the Cookie Swap was a great success!  If you are curious about how to participate next year, you can go here for more information.  Happy baking!  THG

Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp. ground allspice
  8. 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  10. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  11. 1/2 cup sugar
  12. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  13. 1/4 cup heavy molasses
  14. 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  15. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  16. 2 eggs, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until thick. Add molasses, fresh grated ginger and sea salt; mix well to combine. Add eggs one at a time to wet ingredients and beat well. Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix to combine. Work together with your hands into a large ball of dough.
  4. Scoop the dough using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in the oven on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Leave on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move cookies to cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning!  How was everyone’s weekend?  We did a little Christmas shopping and decorating; our house is so cozy this time of year with the tree and everything.  Now if only this cold snap would let up!  I know it’s not right to complain about 30 degree weather (especially when part of the country is in the negatives) but having lived in the Bay Area my whole life, this is particularly cold weather for us.  Everywhere you look, people are bundled up like their about to embark on a voyage to the South Pole (myself included).  So, let’s all wrap our hands around a mug of hot coffee/tea/chocolate/what have you and dive into some Monday links.

 

This article is a fascinating look at symbolism in literature; what was intended by the author and what we read into it.

How about a collection of real facts that sound made up?  Great trivia for your next cocktail party.

This is an interesting (and sure to be controversial) look at the ever-popular Paleo diet, and it’s validity within a historical and archaeological perspective.

And finally, in theme to the recipe I’ll be posting on Wednesday, the chemistry of cookie baking.

 

Wednesday I will be sharing my recipe and experience with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  It was such fun to do, and I ended up getting bundles of delicious cookies in return.  Come back on Wednesday to learn more!

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Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning my loves!  How is everyone today?  Anyone get Veteran’s Day off?  Shawn did, and I am positively green with envy that he gets to enjoy an extra day.  Oh well, onwards and upwards!

 

In random history news, some recent findings have been revealed in regards to King Tut’s mummy.  Did you know it spontaneously combusted at one point?  Crazy.

Looking to improve your vocabulary?  Try some of these Victorian slang terms, and delight in the confusion on your friends’ faces.

These realistically colorized versions of historic photographs are simply breathtaking.

Buzzfeed this past week delighted us with 21 of the best things to ever happen in a restaurant.  

It’s persimmon season!  Try out some of these delicious seasonal recipes.

As you get ready to start planning your Thanksgiving meals, check out these simple party hacks.  You will wow everyone with your hosting skills.

And finally, Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker has created a recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  Must try.

 

Also, stay tuned later in the week for a special Humble Gourmet announcement!  Have a great week!

Chocolate Bavarian Cream & An Anniversary

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 2

 

Today is my second anniversary as The Humble Gourmet.  Yay!

I have so enjoyed this journey with all of you, and I look forward to sharing more recipes and stories and life events in the future.  I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have.

Reflecting back on the two years, I have accomplishments that I’m proud of, and more that I would like to achieve in the upcoming year.  I’ve shared some personal stories and moved to a new location.  We’ve had Coffee & Doughnuts, the Best Granola Ever, and Christmas Dessert in February.  I haven’t been as productive on the blog as I wanted to this year due to my health issues, but now I’m feeling good and rarin’ to go.  I’m hoping in the next year to have more diverse recipes, I want to develop a new series of posts (in the works now, as a matter of fact), and possibly my first giveaway!  So much more to do, I hope you’ll all be here with me for it!

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 1

 

So, in honor of this second anniversary, I’ve made chocolate Bavarian cream.  Haven’t had Bavarian cream, you say?  Well, now’s the time to try it.  Almost like a cross between a mousse and a panna cotta, Bavarian cream is smooth and creamy, but uses gelatin to hold its form.  It’s typically done in a large batch and put into a decorative mold, which is then turned out on a platter and adorned with cream and berries, but I went simple with this one.  We are a household of two, so small ramekins are a better fit for us than a large molded version.  But my goodness, were these delicious.  They were gone almost as quickly as they were set.  A little pink sea salt to bring out the chocolate, a couple of fresh raspberries (the last of the season here…boo!), and a sprig of mint and my friends, we were in business.  I know working with gelatin can be intimidating, but this dessert is practically fool-proof.  Consider it your entry to the gelatinized, set dessert club.  You won’t be sorry.

What sort of things would you like to see on The Humble Gourmet in the upcoming year?  Any recipe suggestions?  Posts?  More stories?  Let me know in the comments!  THG

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 3

 

Chocolate Bavarian Cream
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
  3. 1/4 cup cold water
  4. 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 tsp. pink sea salt
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  9. 2 cups heavy cream
  10. Raspberries and fresh mint, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over medium heat until fully melted and smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle powdered gelatin over cold water and let bloom, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, sea salt and vanilla until smooth and thick. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles just begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat. Pour hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Return egg and milk mixture to saucepan and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 5-10 minutes). Do not let it boil. Add bloomed gelatin and whisk to incorporate (it may bubble up; be careful not to let the mixture overflow). Add chocolate and mix until combined. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer, whisk heavy cream until just before stiff peaks form (peaks should be firm, but fold over when lifted). Fold in half of the chocolate mixture until smooth, then fold in the remainder. Continue to gently fold until mixture is completely incorporated. Divide mixture among 6 small ramekins or one large gelatin mold, smoothing the top. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator to set, at least 3 hours.
  6. Once mixture has set, remove from refrigerator. To unmold: dip the mold or ramekin in hot water just up the sides for about 5 seconds. Run a butter knife around the edges. Turn a plate over the top and, holding onto the plate and mold, flip over. Carefully pull up the mold, wiggling gently if necessary to release the cream. Garnish with berries and mint and serve immediately.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning loveys!  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  We had a great Sunday afternoon; the lovely Camille from Planning Pretty threw a “Party for Autumn” at their home, and we had a fantastic time chatting and eating the delicious food that Camille and her husband prepared for everyone.  Emily (Sparkle Meets Pop), Melissa (Serving Seconds), Ana (Fluxi on Tour), and Meredith (Not Merely Living) were all in attendance as well, and it was great meeting up with all of these delightful and creative women.  Now, onto our Monday coffee break!

 

I have a Buzzfeed addiction.  So naturally, this post about things only 90s teenage girls would understand was calling my name.

Do you love Disneyland?  Then check out these little known facts about the happiest place on Earth.

Joy the Baker has been doing a fantastic series on the science of baking.  Here, she talks about large eggs and their purpose in baked goods.  Check out the rest of the series if you get a chance.

Sarah at The Sugar Hit has been doing a series of Japanese foods, starting with homemade gyoza.  I made these the next night; delish.

And finally, this year for the first time I am participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  A huge cookie exhange amongst like-minded bloggers, where all donations go to helping Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, an organization that commits to fund new treatments designed for fighting pediatric cancers.

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Today is the last day to sign up, so if you are interested, follow this link and get entered to participate in the fun.  Hope to see you there!

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Hello friends!  Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you, but I had an awfully hard time dragging myself out of bed this morning.  I could definitely use a couple days off pretty soon.  But, in the meantime, we can let our brains take a little vacation.

 

Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil has given us another amazing Kitchen Challenge: curing and making your own bacon.  I’ll wait while you wipe the drool off the keyboard.

Back East there is an abandoned Wizard of Oz amusement park that gets re-opened once a year around Halloween.  Tickets please?

These haunting photos of petrified animals on a lake in Tanzania are both beautiful and incredibly eerie.

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning loves!  I hope everyone’s weekend was spectacular.  We celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary (wow, time flies!) and went to the wedding of a very good friend.  It was great, seeing all of our old college friends again; just a really wonderful celebration.

 

The New York Times did an excellent piece on hidden disabilities and the issues these people face in the workplace.

Have you noticed everyone going bonkers for the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte?  Well, let yourself get excited about some of these not-so-common coffee drinks to break you out of your morning rut.

Speaking of fall, this potato-topped short rib pot pie is just the thing to welcome in the cooler months.

While we’re at it, this charred brussel sprouts carbonara will do the trick as well.

Finally, this story about an 103 year old man who dines out every night will warm your heart.

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning chickens!  Hope everyone’s weekend was spectacular.  Did anyone catch the Emmy’s?  Or, more importantly, the second to last episode of Breaking Bad?  I’m starting to get really emotional at the idea that it’s ending…I just don’t want to let go.  Boo hoo.

I spent the weekend holed up with a nasty cold, so the couch, a blanket, and the Internet were my main companions.  Here’s a few interesting tidbits I found for you:

 

The Kitchn featured some great from the pantry recipes for busy weeknight dinners.  These will come in handy.

In the art world, an unknown Van Gogh has just been discovered.

In other art-related news, photographer Jordan Matter has done a series of ballet dancers applying their craft to everyday tasks.  The resulting photos are breathtaking.

These teachers on Buzzfeed deserve a raise.

Adrianna at A Cozy Kitchen made a gorgeous peach and pistachio galette as a goodbye to the summer months.

And finally, feeling at a loss for inspiration on an idea?  Go here.

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet & An Announcement

Alright my little chickens. We’ve got a little blogging announcement and a little dessert, so let’s start with the announcement.

The Humble Gourmet has moved! I have been working the past couple of months on developing a self-hosted site, and it is now ready. I am now going to be cooking and blogging at www.thehumblegourmet.com, complete with a total website design overhaul. If you visit the current website you will be automatically redirected, but all the new content will be on www.thehumblegourmet.com. I’m really excited about this new direction for the blog, and hope you will join me in the move!

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet 4

Now, all housekeeping aside, let’s talk sherbet. I am a huge fan of sherbet; creamier than sorbet since it does have a dairy base, but much lighter and slushier than ice cream. Sherbet is the best when using fruit juices for flavoring; the lighter dairy content let’s the fruit flavor really shine.

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet 3

I had bought some lychees a couple of weeks ago with no idea how I wanted to use them. I thought about doing a panna cotta, or a mousse. Then I thought about combining it with kiwi and doing a granita. It was a lovely husband who suggested pairing the lychee with the watermelon. GENIUS. Once I had that in my mind, I knew what the best possible recipe would be: sherbet all the way.

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet 2
 

It’s a perfect combination of the two flavors; sweet and very fruity. Because both of the fruits are very sweet on their own, not a whole lot of extra sugar is required. It’s a really light flavor; a perfect summer flavor profile to close out the season. A little lime juice helps brighten everything up and really pull the watermelon and lychee out. Too, too good.

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet 1

Thank you everyone for all of your support over the past (almost 2!) years. I am so excited to keep bringing you fresh recipes and inane chatter, and hope you will join in on the conversation. THG

 

Watermelon Lychee Sherbet
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Ingredients
  1. 8-10 large lychees
  2. 1/2 small seedless watermelon
  3. zest and juice of 1 lime
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 1 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. 1 1/4 cup 2% milk
Instructions
  1. Peel lychees and set aside. Cut up watermelon into 1-inch pieces, rinds removed. Puree lychee and watermelon together in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Whisk lime zest, lime juice, sugar and sea salt into juice. While whisking, pour in heavy cream and milk. Whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours.
  2. After refrigerating, prepare according to ice cream maker's instructions. Freeze or serve immediately.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/