Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sailing high seas in search of food and ruins

The Erechtheum

So it's now October. Most people are "stocking" up on Halloween candy (we all know that you are eating it as well). I on the other hand am taking a much needed vacation/adventure on the Mediterranean sea on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.
I will traipsing through ancient ruins, eating gyros, moussaka, dinking Mythos beer and on the hunt for Cretan Pie or Bougasta as it called. And of course the pasta in Rome!

A local lunch spot for gyros and Mythos beer

I understand the best place to find it in Chania is  Bougatsa Chanion at 37 Apokoronou St, and Bougatsa Iordanis at 24 Apokoronou St.

I will try to recreate some of the food we discovered on our travels when I get my land legs back and have time to unpack and reminisce about our trip. 

Empty plate, Rome

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Browned Butter Pound cake with apple cider cararmel

DISCLAIMER:  In exchange for a discounted registration rate to attend IFBC 2015 I have agreed to write three blog posts of any topic from the conference, sponsors or anything about the host city of Seattle.

New fall harvest loaf pan from Sur la Table

I am kinda on a brown butter kick lately. It started with ice cream I made for the state fair and this past weekend that was supposed to be rainy a perfect day to make a pound cake. It turns out it was a little overcast and warm so  I made Browned Butter Pound Cake anyway! The windows were open so I hope the aroma of cake filled the neighborhood.  And if that wasn't enough I made apple cider caramel to make it even richer.
Brown butter batter ready for the pan

Brown butter pound cake

Well it turned out better than I had hoped! There is something extraordinary about that brown butter. Its  nutty and rich in flavor so much so that you don't need to add vanilla.
The pumpkin harvest pan was a gift from Sur la Table and part of a bag full of swag I received while attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle a week ago.
My obsession  with browned butter continues... maybe icing for cupcakes or a cake? Cookies perhaps? 

Brown butter pound cake with apple caramel sauce ready for eating.

Note: I omitted the vanilla
The recipe is adapted from Brown Butter Pound Cake from Epicurious:

YIELD: Makes 1 (8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch) loaf
TOTAL TIME: 3 1/2 hr (includes cooling)


  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 


Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter and lightly flour an 8 1/2-by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until milk solids on bottom are a dark chocolate brown. Transfer to a shallow bowl and chill in freezer until just congealed, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat together brown butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.           
At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated.

Transfer batter to pan, smoothing top, then rap pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

 Cool in pan 30 minutes, then invert cake onto a rack and cool completely, right side up, 1 hour.

This caramel is adapted from Ina Garten's Caramel Sauce. I added 2 tablespoons on boiled apple cider and omitted the vanilla.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

 Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture.
 Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot!

 Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes.

 Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Excurstion to the test Kitchen of Sur la Table

DISCLAIMER: I agreed to write three blogs about International Food Bloggers Conference, the food, Seattle or any part of the conference in exchange for a discount on my registration. 

 I am certainly not a perfect person. It took me a few days to unpack from the IFBC conference, but I got home late and had to get up the next day for work, then the Pope came to town and interrupted my commute… on and on. But it’s the weekend and time to unpack my suitcase full of loot, oh I mean swag from the sponsors of the conference.  
I learned from my first food blogging conference you need extra room in your suitcase for the products you will bring home. This year was like hitting the mother lode. I signed up for the Sur la Table/Kitchenaid excursion and it did not disappoint.

We gathered in the lobby of the hotel. As we waited for the busses to take us to our respective locations the conversation got louder and the lobby was filling up with eager participants. It was fun to see familiar faces as we waited for out bus. Well that didn’t work out. Our bus never came so four at a time, like embarking into the ark, we loading in to waiting taxis to take us to Sur la Table HQ and the test kitchen. Squeezed in the taxi we chit chatted about food, blogs, family and other topics until we arrived at the appointed destination.
At last, the mothership of all that is food related, the test kitchen of Sur la Table. I felt like I had come home to roost. We were treated to a cooking demonstration, a light lunch, an explanation of the products that will be coming out for the holidays, and then a demo of the newest product from Kitchenaid.  Ooos and ahhhh from the crowd greeted          

And so the demos and food came to an end as it was time to head back to the opening registration of the conference and even more swag. But we certainly did not leave empty handed! That’s is an understatement. We each left with a large heavy bag filled to the brim with wonderful new mixes, gadgets and kitchen toys to try out. Up first is browned butter pound cake.

Thanks to our sponsors for the excursion and conference.  Sur la Table, Kitchenaid, Analon,  Krusteaz, American Lamb Council, Stonyfield, and so many others.