Tuesday, August 30, 2016

You say en-dive, I say än-ˈdēv

***DISCLAIMER- in exchange for reduced registration, I agreed to write 3 posts about my experiences at the International Food Bloggers Conference. This is my first post.***

The growing endive 

In the cold darkness in trays stacked on trays grows the endive. Did you know that there is only one endive farmer in the United States? I really had no idea. Only one farm that grows endive. And yes is really pronounced än-ˈdēv.

Rich Collins, the original endive farmer in the US 

The root waiting to be decapitated and put into growing beds, this is the start of the second growing season  

Our hosts for the morning

I had a eye opening experience about the endive while visiting the California Endive Farms. I was on an excursion with about 30 other food bloggers. As we rode through the Sacramento farm delta, Rich Collins gave us the low down on the the history of the endive and his history of how he started with endive farming. 
I confess I knew very little about the endive. Did you know that the endive is the second growth of the chicory plant or that is grown in darkness, like a mushroom? Well they are! While chicory grows wild or is harvested for coffee, it's the root that is harvested put into cold storage and then planted and in the cool, moist dark storage the endive grows and thrives, until harvest time. 
The chickory root in cold, very cold storage

Rich Collins is the original endive farmer and the only one in the US. This farm supplies the US with 50% of the endive and only on the west coast. The east coast gets their endive from the Belgium. Rich's passion for the endive and for farming shined while he explained the processes of his farm. We toured the cold room where the roots are stored. Which felt good. 32 degrees vs. 100 degrees outside. We toured the growing room, cool, dark and damp just the way the endive likes the growing conditions. Crate upon crate in the darkness was the endive. Each was formed to resemble a torch flame, growing in their own little world. Crates stacked upon each other, high to roof. It look surreal and reminded me of a B rated sci-fi movie, The Day of the Trifids.

Stacks and stacks of endive in the cool, misty dark room

Row and rows of growing endive

 The California Endive Farms grows the white, the red and now the newest variety the Coroline and yes it's pronounced Cora-Leen.

The endive is in the front row and the Coroline is in the back row

Rich has retired from the endive farming business but it looks like the traditions will continue on in California. 
To end the day we were served a wonderful lunch under a 150 year old Sycamore tree.

Lunch under the Sycamore tree consisted of grilled endive salad.

Grilled Endive Salad (PLEASE note that this my interpretation of the salad we were served at lunch. Rich was kind enough to give me the ingredients but the amounts. So this is what I used).


6 grilled endives
1/2  sliced  red onion caramelized
1/2 cup of dates, chopped
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
Shavings of Parmesan cheese

Dressing, mix to taste:

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons Honey
salt and pepper to taste


Grill the endive and cut off the root at the bottom and slice. Caramelize the sliced onion. Chop the dates. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the Balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey. Combine with all the other ingredients. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and the parmesan shavings.
This can be served cold or at room temperature. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dream Kitchen and new FARGRIK

TA DA my long awaited dream kitchen

I love when things happen when you are not around, don’t you? It seems like magic. One day there is cardboard protecting the floors and plum lines chalked on the walls and poof you come home from work or a trip and the cardboard is gone, countertops are installed and things are magically getting done.
The new kitchen being installed and the old kitchen

The Sektion cabinets

My new baking area

That is how this kitchen renovation project has been going. Eight weeks of loud banging, dust, hammering, painting and tiling. I have been at work for 99% of the renovation and my mom and the hubster, and the dog have suffered through the worst of it.

I left town for the last of it. I came home to my dream kitchen.

Cooktop, oven and backsplash 

There is so much more storage, no more storing pots on the stove or under workstations. My cookies sheets are lined up. No more pulling 4 cookie sheets out when I only need one! My rarely used appliances will now be stored properly. Even my spices are nice and neat. Not alphabetized, because that's just crazy, well wait a minute that’s a good idea.

The workhorse of the kithen

My baking supplies are still in one cabinet but it is time for some serious restocking. Can you say hello, King Arthur Flour shopping extravaganza? Cocoas and chocolate and the flavorings!  

Looking into the kitchen from the baking workroom 

New floor, cabinets, windows and the old original door and reclaimed wood shelves
I will probably get rid of more items as I begin the task of unpacking and trying to figure out the best areas to store what. I will finally get to use my mid-century glassware and I discovered you can't have a new kitchen without new flatware and dishes.

Successful shopping trip with new Fargriks, snuddas and sinnerlig or two!

My first shopping trip to IKEA and my list was long and full of VARIERAS, SNUDDAS, ANVANDBARs, BESKURENS, FILURS, and lots of FARGRIK. You can’t have a new kitchen without new FARGRIKS. Translation =dishes! I definitely need a lot more VARIERAS and one more FILUR for the dog food.    

Dog approved!
 After I bake something I'm going to destroy that cabinet. Cue music ...    
Done. Buh bye.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Julia's birthday and a classic dish

This post was written before my big kitchen remodel. I like to go to see her kitchen when I need some inspiration.
So, today would have been Julia Child's 104th birthday. In need of something, my recent trip to her kitchen at the National American History Museum (it's right next door to my office), was a chance to get some inspiration. Standing in the doorway peering into the kitchen I was inspired not only to cook but I decided to hang my pans like she did.

Julia's kitchen, my source of inspiration.

One small DIY project later my pans were hung up on  peg board just like she did (well the hubster really did the work).
DIY pan hanging project
I wanted to make something iconic and not too complicated to honor her life. Should I make 
a cake or a dessert? Not sure to what to make and I was getting some what obsessed about it. Then it hit me,   Boeuf Bourguignon, the dish that started it all. I started at noon and four hot hours later it was finally ready. It seemed more liquid like a stew and not as thick as maybe it should be. And not as simple but it only took one taste from the hubster and he was hooked. 
A recipe, mushroom, bacon and the finished dish

 Holy Crap, damn that's good, were a few of our comments. Wishing for cooler weather and I'm going to make this again. 

Boeuf Bourginion