Monday, November 8, 2010

We've Moved!

Please join us at our new website:  http://spiceraconteurs.wordpress.com/


If you subscribe in a reader, the address should update automatically. If not, you can subscribe using this link: Subscribe in a reader

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moroccan Chicken with Kumquats and Prunes

Original recipe from Bon Appétit  | November 1992

Morrocan Chicken

I read about this dish on the Serious Eats blog much earlier in the year. Like, when kumquats were actually in the grocery stores? That's when. Kumquats should start showing up again sometime in November so when they do, you can be prepared with this luscious, warming, fragrant stew. 

If you've never seen or eaten a kumquat before (like me before making this), they look kind of like much smaller, smoother-skinned oblong oranges. And they taste kind of like a lemon on the inside, but you are meant to eat the skin and that's actually a little bit sweet. I tried one, thought it was terrible at first, and then I wanted another one. There's something about the mix of slightly bitter, slightly sour, and slightly sweet that is very appealing. 

In this recipe, the kumquats add a very nice citrus flavor with a little bit of sour to the stew, the prunes add a lovely sweetness and the squash helps thicken the broth. Together all the flavors combine to create something that is perfect for a cold fall or winter night.

Moroccan Chicken with Butternut Squash, Kumquats and Prunes

What you need: 
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 1-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces kumquats, quartered, seeded
  • 4 ounces pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked whole wheat couscous

What to do: 
  1. In a large skillet (with relatively high sides-- you'll want at least 4 inches and a lid) or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and brown for about 7 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but a thin film of fat from the skillet. 
  4. Add the onions and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Add squash and stir for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Add cinnamon, cumin and saffron and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  7. Add chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add chicken with any drippings on plate, kumquats, pitted prunes and honey.
  8. Cover skillet and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. 
  9. Uncover and boil until liquid thickens to sauce consistency if necessary. 
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Mound couscous on plates. Spoon chicken and sauce over. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekly Recipe Roundup: Dessert, Breakfast, Appetizers (in that order)

Halloween is just around the corner and Food52 (aka. A+M Blog) just posted an extended tutorial on how to make salted pumpkin caramels with pepitas! I love caramel so much, I used to sneak into the bag of Bracht's caramels my parents kept on the top shelf of the cabinet in the kitchen and steal one or two to eat while watching cartoons when I was little. I still love them that much, but I don't have to sneak them anymore. But with sea-salt and pepitas? YES PLEASE. I haven't had much luck with making candy at high altitude thus far, but this is certainly a recipe I want to try.

Via Food52

Continuing the salted caramel kick, but this time with ICE CREAM, Brooklyn Supper whipped up some salted caramel ice cream (from a recipe by David Lebowitz) that looks fantastic. I think the only thing I might do when I make this recipe is cover it in dark chocolate... 

For something completely and possibly obnoxiously different than these salty-sweet delights, Dinner Tonight has a new take on the old breakfast sandwich: Chorizo breakfast sandwich with sage pesto. Sage pesto? I've never thought of that, but it sounds lovely. Plus, my mom has a garden full of it. 

And finally, Matt Bites has posted a recipe for tostones con mojo. Have you ever made tostones? They're  made with plantains which look a lot like bananas, but are much starchier. So, you have to cook them. One way is to slice them into rounds, fry them, smash them and fry them again: tostones. Matt serves his with mojo, a cilantro and garlic dip. It sounds delicious. And simple. I can imagine serving these the next time people come over to watch football for a new twist on chips and guacamole. (Nah, I don't think I can live without guacamole.)

Addendum: Serious Eats also has an article about scotch pairings with chocolate. Talk about a Halloween delight!

Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa Pancakes


So, we eat a lot of quinoa 'round these parts. It has higher quality protein, fewer carbohydrates, more nutrients, and the real winner: it cooks faster than brown rice. So, we eat it quite a bit as a side-dish. But what we've found, is that it is particularly good in pancakes. These pancakes end up having more protein and tend to make me feel better than other pancakes after eating them. Plus, the quinoa adds a bit of texture to the pancakes for a bit of added interest.

This recipe is one we developed in the Spice Raconteurs Kitchen!

Quinoa Pancakes

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (we used skim, but higher fat versions probably just taste better)
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter
  • More butter and maple syrup for the pan and to finish

Quinoa PancakesWhat to do:  
  1. Mix together the quinoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the eggs, milk, syrup or sugar and oil or butter in a medium bowl. 
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. 
  4. Set griddle to 350 degrees, or a skillet at medium high heat. (When it's heated, water should sizzle when ou flick a bit in the pan.) 
  5. Dollop some butter on the griddle and add about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook on each side until nicely browned but not burned (I cook them on one side until the batter starts to bubble and the air holes start to show. Then flip and cook another minute or two.)
  6. Cook until all the cakes are finished. (You can keep them warm in an oven set to 200 degrees if you don't have a big griddle.) 
  7. Enjoy!




Serving suggestions: Dollop with real butter and a touch of real maple syrup. Add sliced fruit (like strawberries and nectarines above) with a touch of mint. ~OR~ slice a banana and use it to top a bit of plain yogurt. Sweeten with maple syrup and eat along with the pancakes. 



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut

Adapted from Bon Appétit  | October 2007



Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut


This is a really great topping for any white fish, but of course it is particularly nice with a lovely halibut. It is crunchy, nutty, herby and delicious. And it is a nice change from simple (but of course, lovely) grilled treatment with lemon juice. We ate this with an herby green salad and garden tomatoes. If you wanted to get fancy, I think it would be really good nestled on a turnip puree, or served with roasted fingerling potatoes.

Here's what you need: 
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup panko 
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
  • 6 8-oz. halibut fillets (about 1 inch think; or any white fish... even talapia works)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Lemon wedges
What to do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F & spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray
  2. Mix walnuts, panko, and all herbs in small bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  3. Brush each fish fillet with 1 tablespoon melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  4. Place fish on prepared baking sheet. 
  5. Sprinkle panko-herb mixture atop fish, dividing equally and pressing to adhere. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. 
  6. If crisper topping desired, preheat broiler and broil fish about 1 minute, watching carefully to prevent burning. 
  7. Transfer fish to plates; garnish with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spice Raconteur's 25 (more) Things to Taste

Denver, CO


Denver Magazine Just came out with their opinion on 100 Things to Taste in and around Denver. We've assembled our own list of things that could have been included. 
  1. Stranahan's Whiskey Brickle Ice Cream - Sweet Action Ice Cream
  2. Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream - Red Trolley Ice Cream
  3. Hen of the Woods Poutine (Porcini mushrooms and cheddar cheese curds) - Euclid Hall
  4. Blackberry-Sage Smash - Steubens
  5. Pizza Siciliana- Parisi's
  6. Pho and/or Vietnamese Eggrolls - New Saigon
  7. Housemade Bloody Mary - Shazz Cafe and Bar
  8. Reuben - Masterpiece Delicatessen
  9. Cheeseburger - Bang!
  10. Chocolate and fleur de sel caramel tart - Olivea
  11. Burbon-style whiskey - Stranahan's Distilery / Rackhouse Pub (also try their wasabi mayo!)
  12. Colette (Summer seasonal brew)Great Divide Brewery
  13. Dylan's Masa Fried Oyster Shooters - Delite 
  14. Chicken & Waffles - The Corner Office
  15. Bhakti Chai  - Various independent coffee shops and grocery stores
  16. Anything brewed for Stout Month - Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun/ Vine Street Pubs
  17. Chicago Dog - Top Dog in Coors Field
  18. Chicken Pesto Burrito - Illegal Pete's
  19. Burger - My Brother's Bar
  20. Greyhound - Cruise Room
  21. Smothered Chile Relleno - Brewery Bar II
  22. Beef Tacos - Los Carboncitos
  23. Shredded Buffalo Indian Taco - Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery
  24. Silver Coin Margarita - Lola
  25. Jerk wings- Eight Rivers

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appétit  | April 1997


New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


Well, the regular followers of this blog (all 5 of you) probably know that we went to New Orleans for our Honeymoon. Or have we forgotten to mention that? It appears that we have. Well, after we got married this May, we headed to the Big Easy for a short but sweet trip. It was just after the oil-spill spill started,  right after a big holiday and it was really pretty chill. Have you ever heard  New Orleans described that way? Me neither, but it was. 


It was my first time there and I'm already excited for our next trip. We ate and ate and ate. We ate the best Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Po'Boys, oysters and creole shrimp I've ever had. Although we did visit the famous Arnaud's, we were more impressed by how much everything cost rather than how good everything was. I mean, everything was very nicely prepared, but doesn't all food taste good when it's drenched in butter? Yes. It does. 


Our most memorable meal was actually brunch at a new restaurant called the Green Goddess.  It was there that we drank "Solidarity Sunshine" which featured Polish SobieskiVodka, Sparkling Meyer Lemon Juice and muddled basil. It was seriously amazing and where a good quarter of our garden's basil ended up this summer. For the food portion of the meal, I ate the "Acadian Country Breakfast" with two small patties of crispy Boudin sausage nestled inside two buttery sweet potato biscuits. Served with pepper jelly and Steen's cane syrup and grits on the side. It was devine-- salty, sweet, hot, crispy, and grits! All for $9. That was certainly the theme of our trip, in which less expensive food impressed us the most. 


But, I've gotten off track haven't I? In a moment of lustfulness for the tastes of New Orleans, we made some shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce the other day. I adapted the recipe from a Bon Appétit (April 1997) recipe which was in take on the ones served at Mr. B's Bistro in New Orleans. I took out about half of the butter and we still had a very tasty meal so don't feel timid about it. We also ended up with shrimp with the peels already removed. I actually preferred this as it made it easier and less messy to eat, but it certainly wasn't as authentic. Make the decisions for you and your family based on your own preferences. 


What you Need: 

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch (or more!) cayenne pepper
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 28 uncooked large shrimp (shells on, or off depending on your preference)
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • hot french bread (or rice) 
  • Green onions, sliced for garnish (optional)
Cajun Spices


What to do: 
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. 
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (I used our big cast iron skillet.)
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic. 
  4. Saute until garlic is tender-- about 2 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and saute until opaque in center-- about 3 minutes. 
  6. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. 
  7. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and pour sauce over shrimp. 
  8. Serve with hot French bread for dipping, or over the top of brown rice. (We used Forbidden rice because it happens to be pretty. 
  9. Garnish with green onions if you so choose. 
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp