Monday, January 18, 2021

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies Topped with Sea Salt

 By: The Food Hunter

A Good Bake, by Melissa Weller is my new favorite cookbook. I am loving everything I've tried so far. These bars were inspired by one of her Milk Chocolate Raspberry Blondies. I halved the original recipe, used chopped dark chocolate instead of milk and added slightly less sugar.  The results were out of this world. 

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies Topped with Sea Salt

(inspired by Melissa Weller)

1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, (such as Maldon), for sprinkling

Arrange the oven racks so one is in the center position. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare a 9- x 9-inch baking pan with butter.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.

Combine the brown sugar and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and lightened in color. Gradually add the butter, stirring with the whisk. Use the whisk to stir in the vanilla. 

Add the flour mixture and fold it in with a rubber spatula until almost no flour is visible. Add the chocolate and fold it in until the chocolate is evenly distributed and no flour is visible.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Making sure it is smooth to the corners of the pan. Drop the jam in teaspoon-size drops, distributing it over the surface of the batter. Draw a small paring knife back and forth through the batter, running it through the jam across the length of the pan and then back across the sides. Sprinkle the salt, if you are using it, over the top.

Place the blondies on the center rack of the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, until the batter has puffed up, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a cooling rack; let the blondies cool to room temperature in the pan.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Zucchini Cheddar Bites

 By: The Food Hunter

A delicious, easy-to-make snack or appetizer featuring one of my favorite vegetables: zucchini. These small bites can be eaten alone; but I prefer them served with a simple sour cream and basil dip.

Zucchini Cheddar Bites

(makes about 30 small bites)

1 pound of zucchini, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 cup bread crumb
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 egg
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.

Evenly salt the grated zucchini in a colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze out as much of the remaining liquid as possible from the zucchini.

Combine the zucchini and remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Scoop a tablespoon of the zucchini mixture on the baking sheet. Gently press down on the tops of the zucchini bites to slightly flatten them.

Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until browned on both sides.

Sour Cream & Basil Dip 

1/4 cup of sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
garlic minced
crushed red pepper

Mix together and serve

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Melting Potatoes

By: The Food Hunter

Need a fool proof potato recipe...something that will turn out perfectly every time? Melting Potatoes are are just what you are looking for. Potatoes are cut into thick slices and are cooked crispy and brown on the outside while the interior stays creamy and soft. They are so delicious you may find yourself wanting to eat them at every meal. 


Melting Potatoes

4 russet potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
Flaky sea salt, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Peel the potatoes and slice off the ends. Cut into 1-inch slices. Season both sides of the potatoes generously with kosher salt and pepper. 

Heat a cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-duty, ovenproof skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Sear the potatoes on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the potatoes and add the broth, rosemary and garlic. 

Cut the remaining tablespoons butter into cubes and scatter on top of the potatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Garnish with flaky sea salt and spoon the pan sauce all over the potatoes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

By: The Food Hunter

The holidays are right around the corner and whether you have gifts to buy for others or are looking for something special for yourself, this list is sure to help.

High-end wines/spirits, food and kitchen items have always been a staple of gift giving and this year is no different. I've curated this list with the food and beverage aficionado in mind; but these hand-picked items are sure to please anyone on your list.

 Ottolenghi Flavor Cookbook: 100+ plant based recipes in one beautiful book.


Holy Grail Steak Co: A relatively meat delivery service that is already the #1 luxury purveyor of beef in the business. Holy Grail Steak Co. is great for gifting for the holidays: not only do they have gift cards but their steak flights/care packages are sure to be loved by all! 



Ayesha Curry Cast Iron Dutch Oven Perfect for one-pot meals and stove-to-oven recipes. Imagine it on your holiday table.

Cellier des Dauphins 2019 Cotes Du Rhone Reserve Rosé  This French Rhône Valley Rosé offers indulgent notes on the palate of red berry fruit, redcurrants and fresh floral notes that linger on the finish. Enjoy this wine as an aperitif or with along side your favorite foods.


Rogue Creamery   Just in time for the holidays, Rogue Creamery has started a Cheese Club featuring The World's Best Cheese, Rogue River Blue. Subscribers to their new Cheese Club will receive four quarterly boxes of delicious Rogue Creamery cheeses each year filled with a seasonal variety of cheeses and accompaniments. The first box will ship on December 15, 2020 and includes a 1/8 wedge of the Rogue River Blue.

Hamel Family Wines 2017 Isthmus (SRP: $85), a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Sonoma that’s sure to bring holiday joy to this upcoming season.At first glance, you’ll likely be intrigued by the name. An "Isthmus" is a narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land. This wine is aptly named both for the location from which it originates, but it has something else in common with its namesake - the 2017 Isthmus is a crowd-pleaser, the ideal wine to link friends and family together during the holidays.



VineBox Winter Wine Tour: This beautiful box includes 9 hand-selected European wines (7 red, 2 white), along with tasting notes for you to enjoy as you cozy up next to the fireplace this winter season! Taste wines from the banks of the gorgeous Loire River and the pink soils of Fleurie in France amongst others. Makes a wonderful gift for the wine lover in your life.

Flahavan’s Irish Oats– This winter you are going to want to cozy up with a bowl of Flahavan's Oatmeal. Founded in 1785, they are Ireland’s #1 oatmeal brand and are super yummy. Flahavan’s has a distinctively creamier taste because they cook their oats with the outer shell on. Give them a try today.


Pure Leaf Cold Brew Tea: The delicious tea is brewed 3x creating the smoothiest taste.


Rodelle Kitchen: Gourmet baking ingredients that put "gourmet" results within reach for anyone looking to create mouthwatering baked goods.

Sagamore Spirit features an award-winning Maryland-style rye whiskey, and other gifts for home mixologists this holiday season.

Henri Bardouin Pastis   A French pastis marketed as "high-end" made by Distilleries et Domaines de Provence localised in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

Tartine: A Classic Revisited: Acclaimed pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and master baker Chad Robertson share their secrets, fabulous recipes, and expertise to create a truly priceless collection of culinary delights.

Hirsch recently launched, The Horizon ($39.99 SRP) to celebrate the spirit of the journey in both taste and artful design. This would be a fitting gift for the adventure-seeker in the family, and someone who just needs to get out and shake off this crazy year!

Lagaria Pinot Grigio Straw yellow in color, pleasant floral and fruity aromas of apple, apricot and pear. Medium-bodied, with refreshing fruit, distinct character and balance

Botanist Gin  Your home bar is not complete without a bottle or two of the Botanist Gin, the first and only Islay dry gin.

Pallini Limoncello: An Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi, and islands of Procida, Ischia, and Capri
Ramazzotti Amaro: The most distinctive flavors in this Italian amaro are Sicilian sweet oranges, bitter oranges from Curaçao, star anise and cardamom.
Meletti Sambuca: Careful blending and the use of pure anise flavors elevate Meletti’s Sambuca to a new dimension of elegance and smoothness. Rich and full-flavored, this is a perfect way to end a meal.
Strega Liqueur: An herbal Italian liqueur with a unique flavor and a distinctive bright yellow color. It's a digestif (or amaro) made from a secret recipe that includes about 70 botanicals, most notably saffron, mint, and juniper berries. 

Looking to take a liquid journey through Italy give these spirits a try.


Native Vanilla embodies the richness and goodness of pure vanilla to make your recipes pop with flavor. It’s ethically sourced extract grade rare Tahitian vanilla beans have a sweet floral aroma with fruity undertones.


Maple Leaf Farms It's easy to put a different twist on traditional holiday favorites with duck. Duck breast is a red meat option that's as lean as chicken breast, and duck fat adds delicious flavor and richness to any classic holiday dish.

Taub Family Estates: ‘Tis the season to pop open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate! Sparkling wine is the perfect addition to a family dinner, an intimate get-together with friends, or a relaxing night in by the fireplace. This carefully selected group from Palm Bay International represnts a variety of styles and price points from different regions across the globe.

Champagne Boizel Brut Réserve NV (750ml/$49.99) – This Brut Reserve is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Champagne’s most coveted Grands and Premiers Crus blended with the best crus of Pinot Meunier.

Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Brut NV (750ml/$19.99) – Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Brut is  characterized by tastes of honey, acacia, candied lemon and fresh citrus. It makes an excellent aperitif and will also carry through a meal.

Paul Cheneau Lady of Spain Brut NV (750ml/$14.99) – A fine, delicate, and clean cava that offers lightly toasted pastry notes and ripe fruit. Savor the long finish alongside a savory winter tart.


Poggio Cappiano Olive Oil---Three distinct olive oils are produced on this family run farm in Cappiano, Italy. The main product is an extra virgin olive oil that easily makes any dish taste better. Buy bottles directly from the producer or sign-up to adopt an olive tree of your own.

Heaven's Door Whiskey is an award-winning collection of handcrafted American whiskeys developed in partnership with Bob Dylan.

Domaine du Château de Berne, has been cultivating grape vines for almost three centuries. Their rosé variety includes: Inspiration, Romance and Ultimate Provence. All 3 will make a wonderful gift along with this recipe book from Wolfgang Puck.

John Boos Walnut Fusion Board
A stylish solid American Black Walnut Boos Board with edge grain construction, feet and a bee wax cream finish. You won't find anything like it.


Basel Hayden Distilled in Kentucky, Enjoyed in Your Home. Try a bottle this holiday season.

Chateau Malescasse A classically elegant red that gives you everything you would expect from a Bordeaux.

Man Crates is the ultimate online gifting destination for every man and woman in your life, providing unique, high quality, and useful gifts that come with an equally as fun opening experience. Featured here is the sourdough making crate, a big science experiment in a box. Head over and check out all the other fun crates to gift.


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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Seared Duck Breast with Blood Orange and Star Anise

 By: The Food Hunter

This year why not put a different twist on your traditional holiday favorites. Duck breast is a red meat option that's as lean as chicken breast, yet so much more flavorful.  This year, starting on black Friday, you can purchase a Maple Leaf Farms Holiday Duck Package both online and at select stores. The package includes everything you need to make a scrumptious holiday meal for you and your loved ones.

The recipe below is inspired from Chef Ottolenghi and is sure to impress, while also easy and quick to prepare.

Seared Duck Breast with Blood Orange and Star Anise

2 duck breasts
1 tbsp fennel seeds
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp coarse sea salt
blood orange juice (from about 2 oranges), plus 2 whole blood oranges
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
18 star anise

Score the skin of each duck breast in 3 or 4 parallel incisions, without cutting into the meat. Repeat at a 90° angle to the other cuts to get square shaped incisions. Mix the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, cumin, black pepper and salt together, then rub them thoroughly all over the duck breasts with your hands. Place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave to marinate for a few hours.

Using a small, sharp knife, trim off 1cm from the top and bottom of each orange. Standing them up, neatly follow the natural curves of each one with the knife to cut off the skin and white pith. Cut each orange horizontally into roughly 6 slices. Remove the pips, place the slices in a small bowl and set aside.

To sear the duck, thoroughly heat a large, heavy frying pan (one for which you have a lid). Place the duck breasts in it, skin-side down, and cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes, then remove the duck from the pan and keep in a warm place.

Discard most of the fat from the frying pan and add the wine, vinegar, orange juice and star anise. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5–6 minutes, until reduced by about half. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Return the duck breasts to the pan and stir to coat them in the sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 7 minutes.

Take the orange slices, plus any extra juice in their bowl, and place carefully next to the duck breasts. Cover again and simmer for another 3 minutes. By this time the meat should be medium-rare.

Remove the duck breasts from the sauce, place on a cutting board and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes. While you wait, check the sauce. It may need to be simmered a little longer to thicken it slightly. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Slice each breast at an angle into pieces 1cm thick and place on serving plates. Pick the oranges from the sauce and arrange them on the plates with the duck. Pour some of the sauce on top and serve the rest on the side