Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes with Maple Glaze

By: The Food Hunter

Valley resident, Julie Moreno has broadened her passion for baking over the past few years. After two years of operating a successful bakery business from home, Moreno knew it was time to move from her own kitchen to a larger premises.

In December 2013, she upgraded to a larger space in the heart of Arcadia, with an open concept and modern-contemporary feel; what is today known as Jewel’s Bakery and Café. It immediately became a success.

Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch—the bakery/café has quickly become a dining destination for both gluten-free and non-gluten-free eaters. Patrons can order from the menu of gluten-free breads, baked goods and sweet treats, as well as light cafe fare. All of which are made from scratch with her signature flour blends, that can be purchased in the restaurant.

How does Moreno come up with all her yummy treats? 

“I just look for recipes that look delicious and change them up a little by incorporating my own twist and some of my favorite spices. Many of my customers are dairy free also so I try to look for recipes that don’t use dairy.”

Jewel’s Pumpkin Doughnut Holes with Maple Glaze 
(Gluten & Dairy free)
1 cup Gluten Free Flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
Maple Glaze (Recipe Follows)

Using a dutch oven or cast iron pan, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Whisk together flour and pumpkin mixture until smooth.

Using a 1 1/4 inch spring loaded ice cream scoop, drop pumpkin batter by scoopfuls into hot oil. Fry, turning at least once, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until a dark brown. They do darken a bit to ensure middle is done, but pull before that are too brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Dip each hole in the glaze to coat and let dry on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.

They will last 3 days in a sealed container (if they aren’t eaten first).

Maple Glaze
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pasta with Spinach & Prosciutto In A Cream Sauce

By: The Food Hunter

Sometimes simple is best, specially when it comes to pasta, all you need is a few key ingredients and you have an amazing meal that didn't require much effort.

The recipe below combines spinach, prosciutto and cream to make a heavenly sauce that evenly coats the pasta strands. It's a versatile dish that is light enough to be served as a first course, yet can easily be served as an entree.

Pasta with Spinach & Prosciutto In A Cream Sauce
(printable recipe)
1 lb dried dried pasta
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c heavy cream or half and half
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced & cut into ribbons
Olive oil
1/4 c dry white wine

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute prosciutto until beginning to crisp, then add garlic and shallot. Saute until fragrant. Add spinach and saute all ingredients together until dry. Add wine to deglaze pan, simmer until almost all moisture has evaporated. Add cream, salt and pepper and chili flake and bring to a low simmer.

Drain pasta, reserving a 1/4 cup of cooking water. Add pasta and water to saucepan with spinach-prosciutto-cream mixture and toss. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until mixture begins to thicken.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Arizona Biltmore Wine Maker's Dinner Series

By: The Food Hunter

The Arizona Biltmore’s "Wine Maker’s" dinner series is back for it's 25th season and will be showcasing ten California wineries. Guests will experience an innovative 4-6 course menu crafted by Biltmore Executive Chef Gordon Maybury and Chef de Cuisine Colin Rupp which will be expertly paired with an appropriate wine from the evenings featured winery.

Winemakers or a representative will be present at the dinners to talk about the wine and answer questions. The evenings start with a short outdoor reception where you can mingle & enjoy some wine, before going inside for a more formal meal.

The first event of the season featured Heitz Wine Cellars, a family owned producer of premium Napa Valley wines. Heitz has played a significant role in the history of Napa Valley winemaking since 1961, specializing in single-vineyard Cabernets, including the Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which was introduced in 1966.

Our meal, began with a crispy skin steel head trout delicately placed atop pickled carrots, caramelized fennel and corn pomegranate salad. This was paired with the Heitz Cellar Chardonnay, a very non-traditional Chardonnay with a nice balance of fruit acidity and leanness, making it perfect for seafood.

Next up was a Pan Seared Squab served with a leek-chanterelle ragout and the most amazing toasted, yet creamy, polenta cake. A glass of the Heitz Cellar Cabernet, Napa Valley 2009, which is a blend of fruit from Rutherford, Oakville, St. Helena, and the Howell Mountain appellation that is aged 4 years, accompanied this course.

Our third course featured Roasted Wagyu strip-loin, cooked sous vid and served with a white bean puree and seasonal vegetables. My favorite wine of the evening, the Heitz Cellar Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Rutherford Appellation organically certified property named Trailside, paired excellently with the beef.

The last course featured a Humbolt Fog cheese, a goat cheese that had a texture more like brie, paired with port onion preserves and candied pepper pecans. It was perfectly complimented by the Heitz Cellar Ink Grade Port.

The evening was elegantly wrapped up with drinks and cigars on the outdoor terrace.

Upcoming vineyards in this series include:

October 2, 2014: Justin, Paso Robles, California
November 6, 2014: Stag's Leap, Napa Valley
December 4, 2014: Domaine Carneros Winery by Taittinger, Napa Valley
January 8, 2015: ZD Winery, Napa Valley
February 4, 2015: Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley
February 5, 2015 Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley
March 5, 2015: Truchard Vineyards, Napa Valley
April 2, 2015: Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Tips For Navigating Your Way Through The Grocery Store

By: The Food Hunter

You can work out as hard as you want at the gym, but if you don't buy the right foods at the grocery store your fitness gains will most certainly come up short. Shopping for food can be a daunting task as you try to navigate your way through aisles of products that claim to be healthy and usually aren't.

Here are my top 5 tips that will help you make more nutritious choices when food shopping.

1. Make a list and don't deviate from it. This will also help you with meal planning.

2. Use a cart.  Fill the large area of your cart with nutrient dense products like fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.  Reserve the small top section for a treat or two.

3. Always shop the produce section first and stock up on as much as you can. Be sure to include vegetables of every color to get a bigger variety of nutrients.

4. Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you will usually find your healthiest foods, such as meat, eggs, grains and dairy.

5. Avoid the inner aisles as much as possible.  If you have to buy from these prepared food aisles be sure to read the labels and look for those with the fewest ingredients.

Do you have tips you'd like to add to this list?  Leave them in the comments section below.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Eating Whole Foods: Penne With Fresh Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts

By: The Food Hunter

There's no excuse for not eating healthy and homemade when there's recipes like this one around. Penne with Fresh Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts is big on flavor and short on time, taking less than 30 minutes to put together. Your weeknight dinner options will never be the same!

***Scroll down to enter the Whole Foods Giveaway*** 

Penne With Fresh Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts
(printable recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir the penne into the boiling water. Cover the pot and return to boiling, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender but firm. This usually takes about 12 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, crushed red pepper and garlic over medium heat. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant. Add artichoke hearts. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat until pasta is ready.

When ready drain pasta and add to skillet with vegetables. Return skillet to low heat and basil; toss to coat. Season with salt and a splash of olive oil.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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