Culinary Dictionary: Letter X

As can be anticipated, letter Y didn’t come with many words. While letter U had many words of Japanese origin, letter X has many of Chinese origin. I chose to only share xia, the word for shrimp.

Xérès: French for sherry wine. Xérès as well as sherry come from the Spanish word Jerez, a region in Spain where sherry is produced.

Xia:
Chinese for shrimp.

XXX, XXXX, 10X: A code on the packaging of confectioner’s sugar that indicates how many times it was ground.


Letters A, B, C, D, E , F, G, H , I , J, K, L , M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W.

Fig and Brie Panini

When the brie melts to a thick cream and becomes highly fragrant and the figs are reduced to a gooey jam-like consistency, there is pleasure in every bite. An unlikely but happy marriage of flavors occurs in this panini.

Fig and Brie Panini Recipe

1 serving

2 slices multi-grain bread
A handful baby arugula
2 ounces brie, cubed
2 fresh figs, peeled and quartered
A drizzle of honey (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the panini press.

Place the arugula on a slice of bread. Top with the brie and figs. Drizzle with some honey. Top with the other slice of bread. Brush the outside of the sandwich bread with olive oil. Grill in the Panini press for 2 to 3 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese melted.

The First Figs of the Season

Gorgeous California Black Mission figs with mint tea. My first this summer. So beautiful I had to eternalize them with a picture. I have a couple left over that are going into a recipe.

Come back tomorrow ;)

Almond Blackberry Torte

Blackberry season is upon us and I love seeing these black beauties in every corner market. I love the slightly tart taste of blackberries and adore them especially combined with other berries. The sight is simply gorgeous. Seriously, few fruit arrangements look as pretty as a medley of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. A perfect topping for any dessert. A splash of color. A ration of health.

Almond tortes/crustless tarts are a more nutritious alternative to cake, easy to make and very versatile. They are unleavened and bake quickly. They are an almond heaven for almond lovers.

Gluten-Free Almond Blackberry Tart Recipe

8 servings

1 cup blackberries

1 ½ cups almond meal
1 tablespoon coconut flour or 2 tablespoons millet flour (or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour)
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8-inch springform tart pan or individual tartlet pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal with coconut or millet flour and salt. Stir in the butter then stir in the honey or agave syrup, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and scatter the blackberries on top, pressing them lightly in the batter. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I have been a bit of a health nut lately, waging war against unhealthy ingredients wherever I find them especially sugar. I’ve been making my desserts exclusively with honey, agave or maple syrup. I have yet to try stevia and date syrup. For the last couple of years, I have been drinking my coffee and tea unsweetened. I love them that way. It’s really a question of habit. Once you get used to that you’d start totally detesting sweetened drinks. I like desserts though. Very much so. Baking sugar-free really satisfies both my sweet tooth and my conscience. It is not a fad. It is a way of life for me. It is here to stay.

I love making ice cream with fresh fruit. I adore this one especially because it bursts with raspberry aroma. There is something about raspberries that is totally unique, completely distinguishable, floral and captivating.

Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe

4 servings

2 cups unsweetened full fat coconut milk
¼ cup honey
6 ounces raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the coconut milk and honey in a saucepan and heat over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow the honey to dissolve. Remove from heat.

Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor and strain through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds.

Add the raspberry puree and lemon juice to the coconut milk-honey mixture. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer the ice cream to a lidded container and freeze until set, about 3 hours.

Culinary Dictionary: Letter W

Welcome to letter W. Only three more and I am dreading the end. I’ve been enjoying this so much.

Wahoo: Delicate white fish with a slightly sweet flavor.

Waldorf Slalad: Said to have been created at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1893, it consists of chopped walnuts, celery, apples and grapes in a mayonnaise dressing.

Wekiwa: Variety of oranges that are a grapefruit-tangelo cross. They’re also known as lavender gem.

Well and Tree Platter: A ususally oval plate with hollow tree branches and a well designed to collect the juices from cutting meats. Click here for picture.

Welsh Rabbit/Rarebit: A British cheese and beer dip very similar to a cheese fondue and usually served for high tea.

Letters A, B, C, D, E , F, G, H , I , J, K, L , M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

Ice Cream Cone Cakes

This is the first recipe in the series Cooking with Kids in which I will share recipes that are fun to make with children. Summer is perfect for spending quality time with children in the kitchen baking, learning, playing, creating.

I knew my daughter would love making these cakes. I knew she would enjoy tinting the batter, pouring it into ice cream cones and tying ribbon around it when it was done. We had a blast.

Color is appealing to children. Use and abuse it to make everything, from cupcakes to mashed potatoes, very appealing.


Use frosting and sprinkles on these cakes to make cupcakes that look much like ice cream. They would be perfect for a child’s birthday party.

Ice Cream Cone Cakes

Makes 6 to 8 cakes

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup agave syrup or 2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 drops food coloring
6 to 8 ice cream cones

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and beat again until homogenous.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl, then add them to the liquid mixture and beat well to obtain a smooth batter. Mix in the food coloring.

Place the ice cream cones in a muffin tin and fill them with batter, stopping about 1/8-inch from the top. Bake them until set and lightly browned, 20 minutes.

Crab Bisque and Lighthouses

I have saved the best for last. With everything New England has to offer, I have strayed a bit, focusing on the many aspects of its beauty but leaving out what this blog is all about, what I am all about, what we are all about around this block: Food.

While there, I have dined on baked sole and lobster roll among other things. I must admit I haven’t had as much seafood as I would have liked to. Seafood has not been spared from the inflation that has touched everything this year and its prices were pretty high even in a place like New England where you’d expect it to be plentiful and affordable. But maybe that should be anticipated in touristy areas. Maybe I just went to the wrong places.


Back in Orlando, I regretted not having lobster bisque. A few days after I was back I was still craving seafood. I went to the market and spotted some beautiful lobster tails. I remembered the last time I cooked lobster and all the work involved in shelling and cleaning it and shied away. I settled for crab, which in my grocery store comes steamed and shelled. That sounded like a good alternative. I went for it. I’m glad I did.


We went on a lighthouse tour in Newport. I missed the historic commentary because I preferred to stay on deck, listen to the waves, let the wind whip my hair and get a suntan while taking pictures. Newport lighthouses were impressive. Not as tall as others I’ve seen but still impressive.

Crab Bisque Recipe

2 generous servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup lump or/and claw crabmeat, steamed (of course, you may use lobster)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup clam juice or chicken broth
2 cups water
1 small yellow onion, halved
1 celery stalk, cut into three
1 sprig fresh thyme

4 tablespoons corn starch (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the crabmeat and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Incorporate the clam juice, water, onion, celery and thyme. Cover with a lid and cook until the soup is fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the onion, celery and thyme.

Blend the cornstarch or all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of water in a blender or food processor until a liquid paste is obtained. Gradually mix it into the soup, stirring constantly to prevent grains from forming and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the cream and remove from heat.

Serve warm.

Cliff Walk: Water, Wind, Sun

The theme of this post as well as our whole vacation in Newport revolved around water, wind and sun. Our two-hour walk along the Cliff Walk was orchestrated by a symphony of crashing waves, cooling breeze and hot midday sun interrupted only by the occasional view of a hilltop mansion or the heady scent of the roses of Cliff Walk in full bloom.

Roses of Cliff Walk

 

Rosecliff Flower Show

We were lucky this year to be in Newport just in time for the Rosecliff Flower Show. This meant two significant things to me: I would be able to see the amazing floral arrangements throughout the mansion, and most importantly I would be allowed to take pictures inside the mansion which is prohibited the rest of the year. And pictures I did take.