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New Food: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

July 6th, 2014 Comments off

New Food: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp - Served

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp – Served

Our neighbor has two apple trees groaning with fruit. On our walk the other day, we asked them if we might have some of the fruit, since it appeared they weren’t harvesting it themselves. Sure enough, we found out they really didn’t care for the fruit, so we were given free reign to gather what we wished. The first bowl of fruit my wife gathered was turned into a large batch of applesauce. This second batch, though, becomes dessert for dinner with friend last night.

New Food: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp - Apples on the tree

Apples on the tree

I went looking online for an Apple Crisp recipe to use for this batch of apples and, by happy synchronicity, came across a recipe that used 3 of my favorite ingredients — apple, walnuts and maple syrup. Win! I’ve included the recipe below.

The crisp came out very, very tasty. The juices were a bit thin. I wonder if mixing in a bit of the crisp mixture with the apples might help to soak up the juice and make the crisp a bit thicker. I would guess this has to do with the amount of apples and how juicy they are, too. That said, it didn’t effect the taste which was a perfect blend of apple, walnut and maple syrup.

It did take longer to cooking our over, going for 60 minutes instead of the 45 minutes listed in the recipe

New Food: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp - Assembled

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp – Assembled

New Food: Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp - After Baking

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp – After Baking


Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp from My Recipes

For the crisp topping:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

For the apple filling:

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
7 cups sliced peeled Rome apple (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions 

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, oats, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.

Combine apple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Categories: Cooking, Food, New Food, Recipe Tags:

Food: VitaFrute cocktails from @Veev

July 5th, 2014 Comments off

Vitafrute Cocktails

I received a free coupon for 2 bottles of VitaFrute from the manufacturer, Veev, a few weeks ago via Klout Perk. I like to try out new food and drink and it isn’t often that someone sends you free cocktails, so I headed out to find the product. That was a bit of a challenge. All the marketing called out one particular retailer who never seemed to have the product despite the advertising. I finally located Vita Frute at my local grocery store.

Premixed cocktails are always a mixed bag. They are mixed to fit a very generic flavor profile to please as many people as possible. That said, both the Margarita and Cosmopolitan versions I tasted, along with some friends, met with general approval.

I thought the Margarita tasted about as good as you expect in a pre-mixed cocktail. It was better than some margaritas I have had in big commercial chain restaurants, while maybe not as good as those hand-mixed by my knowledgable friend. I think it would definitely be something I might by again to jeep on hand for when friends drop in, or as an easy replacement for creating my own on those nights when I might want a cocktail, but don’t want to go through the work of creating it myself.

The Cosmopolitan cocktail was well-received, too, although an almost universal comment was that it needed a bit more tartness or sour in the mix. To test this out, I squeezed a slice of lime in my drink and then added the lime. A quick stir and taste and I think it was just about right. Cocktails should be a fine balance between sweet, sour — and bitter, in some cases — so a little tweaking might be in order to math your own taste preferences.

Overall, the cocktails were tasty and certainly drinkable. They do play to the lowest common denominator a bit, choosing flavor profiles and alcohol strength that appeal to those drinkers looking for a pleasant cocktail, not a challenging or subtle one.

VitaFrute from Veev

** These bottles were purchased with a coupon from Klout.com and the manufacturer. The opinions here are my own.

Categories: Drinks, Food Tags:

Noted: SYNEK’s countertop (beer) tap puts your kegerator out to pasture via Engadget

July 3rd, 2014 Comments off

SYNEK’s countertop (beer) tap puts your kegerator out to pasture via Engadget

SYNEK's countertop (beer) tap puts your kegerator out to pasture via Engadget

There’s no question that draft beer is the best beer, but the cost of getting fresh from the tap brews at home can be substantial. Purchasing a kegerator (along with all of its accessories), CO2 and the kegs of whatever varieties you prefer can add up quickly. But what if supplying a tap system was as easy as getting one of those reusable growlers filled? And what if the dispensing device took up minimal space on your kitchen counter? Well, that’s what SYNEK is hoping to do.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

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Categories: Drinks, Elsewhere, Food, Shared Items, Technology Tags:

Photo: Yum! via #instagram

July 2nd, 2014 Comments off

Yum!

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr


Categories: Food, Photos Tags:

Photos: LA Friday Coffee at Magnolia Park Ladies and Gents Night Out

July 1st, 2014 Comments off

LA Friday Coffee Logo

LA Friday Coffee had a great night of food , conversation and strolling during the June edition of Magnolia Park’s Ladies and Gents Night Out in Burbank. This monthly event involves tons of stores and restaurants, live music and over 25 food trucks all laid out along Magnolia Boulevard from Hollywood Way to California Street.

The LA Friday Coffee group met up at Romancing the Bean, a nice coffee house along the route. We drank coffee and brought back the food we had wandered off to find at the various food trucks. Wings seemed to be very popular among the group, along with shave ice and, off all things, Tater Tots!

Here are a collection of photos I took during the evening to give you a feeling for the event and possibly entice you to check it out for yourself. The July date is Friday, July 25, 2014. You can find out all about this event, and others sponsored by Magnolia Park on their Facebook page.

Slide Show

Magnolia Park Ladies and Gents Night Out June 2014 - 01

Magnolia Park Ladies and Gents Night Out June 2014 - 13 Magnolia Park Ladies and Gents Night Out June 2014 - 07

View a complete slide show on Flickr

Photo: Food Truck Tater Tots – Ah, the memories via #instagram

July 1st, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Food Truck Tater Tots - Ah, the memories via #instagram

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr

Categories: Food, Photos Tags:

Noted: Food: Red White and Blue Sangria via My Baking Addiction

June 29th, 2014 Comments off

Food: Red White and Blue Sangria via My Baking Addiction

Food: Red White and Blue Sangria via My Baking Addiction

I think that the 4th of July has to be the best party all summer. What could be better than celebrating your country by spending time with family and friends outdoors? This year, I’m hoping the weekend is filled with sun, eating, drinking, and tons of fireworks. I know you’re going to need something thirst-quenching to pair with your barbecue…

When you’re planning your 4th this year, think about adding this delicious sangria to the menu. It couldn’t be easier to make, just pour everything into a pitcher and throw in sliced fruit. The recipe can also easily be multiplied for any size party you may be having. It’s very refreshing, and it’s red white and blue!

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

Categories: Drinks, Elsewhere, Food, Recipe, Shared Items Tags:

New Food: Crockpot Pork Shoulder/Loin served over Polenta

June 23rd, 2014 Comments off

We have been making pork shoulder, or in this case, pork loin in the crock pot for a while, but it took me some time to tie together the flavorful meat with warm, creamy (and sometimes, cheesy) polenta. I had first seen this done with Oso Bucco, but it only makes sense to do it with any sort of roast or stewed meat The polenta is a great starchy side and soaks up the flavorful juices of the meat.

Pulled Pork served over Polenta

My recipe for this dish is going to be much more vague than usual, mainly because it is simply so so easy.

Crockpot Pork Shoulder or Pork Loin

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder or pork loin
  • 1 cup Hard cider, beer, stock or any flavorful liquid
  • Salt, Pepper and your favorite seasonings, to taste
Cook in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high (I prefer low, for a nice slow cook) until pork easily pulls apart with form.
Break pork into large chunks.
This is an almost foolproof method and lets you have dinner ready when you return from work or errands.

Polenta (Italian Cornmeal Mush) based on the Joy of Cooking

  • 1 cup regular cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbls Butter
  • 3oz Extra Sharp Chedder (or other favorite cheese)

Add salt to water. Bring water to  a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal. Bring back to boil, then lower to very low. Whisk quite frequently while it cooked until polenta creamy and no longer gritty to the tooth — around 40 mins. Once polenta is done, remove from hear and whisk in butter, cheese and black pepper.

Assembly

Spoon polenta into large bowl. Spoon over pork pieces and juices from crock pot. Add side vegetables directly to the bowl, if you wish. (I added green beans to mine, but forgot them when i took the picture.

We always have polenta left over, so we prepare a ceramic baking dish with cooking spray and spoon the remaining polenta into that. After an hour, the polenta will have set. We then cut it into squares to be stored in refrigerator of freezer for quick use with other pasta sauces or meats in place of pasta.

This dish is great at any time of the year, but especially as an easy, ready-to-eat dinner on those cold winter nights. Mix up the meats you use, spices, flavorful liquids you use until you find your favorites We have tried tomato-based sauces, balsamic vinegar sauces and more. It is pretty foolproof.

 

Categories: Food, New Food, Recipe Tags:

Noted: The Valley’s First Craft Brewery Opens Today (Sunday), Specializing In British Ales via LAist

June 22nd, 2014 Comments off

This new microbrewery is right here in my neighborhood. I decided to avoid the crush of opening day, but I will be a making a visit very soon to do some blogging-related tasting! (LAUGH) — Douglas


The Valley’s First Craft Brewery Opens Today, Specializing In British Ales

Macleod laist

Finally!

The MacLeod Ale Brewing Company opened its doors and tapped its casks for the first time today, allowing beer lovers in the Valley to not have to travel far to get the craft brews they desire.

The Van Nuys brewery specializes in British styles that are hard to find, even for craft brewers. This includes, pale ales, Scotch ales, and English-style bitters. The brewery is also serving the beers directly from the casks they are naturally carbonated in, meaning less carbonated brews served at “cellar temperature” between 50 and 57 degrees, according to the LA Times.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

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Photo: Apples from the neighbor’s garden via #instagram

June 21st, 2014 Comments off

Apples

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

See all my photos on Flickr

Categories: Food, Garden, Photos Tags:
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