May 10, 2016

Humphrey's Resturant






Humphrey's Restaurant has such a beautiful view. This picture really doesn't do it justice. I love resturants near the water and especially love seeing boats while I eat.


Last week I had the pleasure to attend Humphrey's Restaurant VIP Social Media Cooking Class. It was a wonderful opportunity to come out and meet Humphrey's new executive chef, Nicolas Bour and taste some of his reinvented menu with a little cooking fun in between.

The evening opened with a cocktail and appetizer hour, which was so delicious. To start off, the cocktails were delicious. I apologize in advance about no pictures of the cocktails, because they were so good we just couldn't wait for pictures! I'm sure you understand though, right???! At the very least I will tell you about the deliciousness that we had by name so when you go for drinks or dinner, or both, you know what to order.

Drinks

For starters,  I am a big gin drinker. I love the flavor so anytime I find a gin cocktail, I'm always down to try it out. AND they had one! Score! The cocktail is called, Rose Colored Glasses. It's made with Hendrick's gin, grapefruit liqueur, lemon and rosemary syrup. It was basically my dream cocktail. The second cocktail I was able to try was the Southern Bellini. It was everything that you would expect from a Bellini. It was delicious but had a twist. The Southern Bellini had Tito's Vodka with peach, lemon, prosecco and Lillet Blanc.

It's not often that I actually remember cocktails when I go out, so I have to say, these were exceptional and a must try for sure.


Food

The menu is exactly what I expect from a restaurant that sits on the water. Fresh seafood, steak and beef options, simple ingredients, everything packed with flavor. The appetizers were scrumptious. I am not positive if the appetizers were actually smaller tastes of main dishes or appetizers themselves, but after taking a quick look at the menu, it looks that some may have been. Scroll down and let your mouth water.

This was a scallop sitting on top of a spicy type mousse. Cooked perfectly and packed with tons of flavor.

This seared ahi was also perfection. I'm not the biggest raw fish kind of girl and this was done well. I loved the chip that doubled as the perfect sized hand held plate.

This hummus got an A+ in my eyes. Simple and elegant with the carrot crudite sticking out. It was somewhat spicy which I love in a hummus.




The Cooking Class

Part of the reason why I was so excited for this event was in part because there was a cooking class involved. Given the timing of the event, I knew it wasn't going to be something incredibly involved but I knew whatever it was, it would be great. I was thrilled when I learned we were making ceviche. I've never made ceviche so I was happy to learn how to properly make it. Of course I knew all the ingredients that goes into making ceviche but I had never actually made it. Chef Bour used ginger beer which I thought gave it a nice taste and something unique about the ceviche.

 I even got a little lesson from Chef Bour on cutting fish for ceviche.

















We couldn't wait to dig in and try it! It was really good!

If I were you,  I would make it a point to make your way over to Shelter Island and go have drinks, dinner or even brunch at Humphrey's Restaurant. The ambiance was wonderful and Chef Bour's food and staff are even better.

May 6, 2016

Del Real Mexican Shredded Chicken Salad Tacos





Do you ever just wish you could whip dinner together in a snap? I know I do. There are nights I pray I still have leftovers in the fridge because the last thing I want to do is cook. There is no joy if you don't want to do it! Thankfully, I was recently sent some Del Real food products to come up with a few different recipes and I came up with this fast dinner recipe that's also gluten free AND kid friendly. It's perfect for a quick weeknight meal with kids or just for adults.

I especially really love that the Del Real Shredded Chicken Taco Kit came with everything to make this recipe aside from the mayo and little bit of stevia I used. I didn't even have to add anything additional to the chicken, it was flavorful enough. 

Ingredients:
·      I package of Del Real Chicken Taco Kit
·      I cup of Mayonnaise
·      ¼ cup of Stevia

Directions:
1.    Warm chicken in microwave as directed on package.
2.    Shred chicken and let cool
3.    In mixing bowl, add I cup of mayonnaise, 1 package of salsa from the kit,  ¼ cup of stevia and chicken. Mix together.*The Stevia is added to calm the spice from the salsa in case it is too spicy for young children.
4.    Warm Tortillas in microwave or on the stove top.

5.    Assemble and enjoy!

 Total cook time: 10 minutes






Special thanks to Del Real foods for sending their product to make this recipe for their 2016 blogger recipe contest. Stay tuned for a chance to vote for me soon!










May 5, 2016

Del Real Pork Chile Verde Grilled Cheese with Poblano Chiles




Whenever I crave a childhood meal, something comforting comes to mind. Recently I've been craving grilled cheese. I mean, why wouldn't I? They are warm, slightly crispy, cheesy and delicious. So when I was informed about the Del Real Foods Blogger Recipe contest, I knew I would want to create a recipe that was not only tasty, but that was also easy and perfect for entertaining. 

I decided on using the Chile Verde packet of delicious pork as my inspiration and base for my recipe. I knew I wanted to do a grilled cheese. The idea of a grilled cheese filled with shredded pork in chile verde sauce and poblano chiles with warm creamy mozzarella cheese sounded like something I wanted to eat asap. Hopefully you all agree and I'm on to something here.

As I was making the grilled cheese, I decided to add some of the poblano chiles into my Vitamix with some of the mayo for a dipping sauce if desired. Best part, the recipe is so simple and easy to make dinner will be done in less than 30 min from start to finish.

Ingredients:

1 package of Del Real Chile Verde
GF Bread, as many slices as desired. Recipe makes 5 large sandwiches
Mozzarella cheese slices
Roasted poblano chiles
Mayo
Butter

Directions:

Blend in mixer 1/2 cup of mayo with roasted poblano's and mix, keep in fridge when not using.
Warm Del Real Chile Verde Pork package in microwave for 5 minutes, set aside
Butter one side of each bread slice, approx 10 slices for 5 sandwiches.
Flip over and add layer of green chilli mayo, add a serving of Chile Verde, two slices of mozzarella cheese
Add whole roasted poblano to sandwich
Finish by adding top slice of bread
Place sandwich onto a warm pan or skillet
Repeat process for each sandwich
Each sandwich takes about 4-5 minutes each to get a gooey grilled cheese. About two minutes on each side.
Use leftover poblano mayo as a dipping sauce as desired






Special thanks to Del Real Foods for sending me the product to make this recipe for their 2016 Blogger Recipe Contest. To vote for this recipe follow this link now: http://www.delrealfoods.com/blogger-recipe-challenge/chile-verde-pork-grilled-cheese-with-poblano-chiles


Gluten Free Churro Cake


This year I am so excited for Cinco De Mayo. I've had a couple recipe ideas that I've been saving for the occasion. One of those recipes is for this delicious gluten free churro cake. As a gluten free eater, churros are usually off the menu. Sure I could have tried to make homemade churros, but did I mention churro cake!? Trust me, you're going to want to try this one.

The cake was really easy to make and I was surprised just how close to the churro flavor it captured. I actually think I love this cake more than regular churros because it's spongy, moist and a slice of cake generally lasts longer than a churro. Who doesn't love cake??

In addition to the cake, I made a couple small loaves and they were devoured quickly by my husband and his friends, so there is no evidence of these loafs. But trust me, they were just as good as the cake.





Ingredients:

3 cups of all purpose gf baking flour,  I like the Bob's Red Mill brand
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
2 Tbs Salt
2 Tbs Vanilla
3 Eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 cup of butter


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease pans with oil, use 8x8 or 9x9 inch round pans for a two layered cake

Combine all dry ingredients and mix together with a fork or whisk

Mix wet ingredients together with either a whisk or use a mixer until blended

Add in dry ingredients and mix together until well blended

Put mixture in pans and bake for 30-40 minutes

Let cool and then add frosting

For this cake I just used a store bought gf cream cheese frosting then spread brown sugar around the top of the cake






Apr 23, 2016

Duck Foot Beer Pairing Dinner at Churchill's Pub

Thursday night I attended the first ever gluten free beer pairing dinner at Churchill's Pub with Duck Foot Brewing Company. I was beyond excited when I was asked to go. An entire meal that is actually gluten free AND paired with real beers that I could drink. It didn’t take anything more to get me on board, I was ready to go.


First, If you’ve never been to a beer pairing dinner at Churchill’s in San Marcos, you should do it. Executive Chef Albert Warfield, has a knack for putting these pairing dinners together. His technique is interesting because he works backwards when pairing these meals. He bases the meal after the beer first, not the other way around. C is also a huge fan of his beer pairing dinners as well.


You will need to cut out a couple hours of your evening and secure a safe ride home. With an average of five courses and a welcome pairing, you will leave full, happy and educated on new beers and ways to enjoy them.







The Welcome


Beer: Strawberry And Lime Zest Berliner Weisse


Plate: Banana Bread Crostini with Strawberry Bruschetta And Candied Lime Zest


The welcome tasting was tart and slightly sweet. I loved the take on bruschetta. The beer was light but sour. It was easy to drink and very enjoyable. I could certainly enjoy a couple on a warm evening. It really paired well with the strawberry bruschetta.






First Course


Beer: Honey Ale w/ Kumquat & Mint


Plate: Ginger Duck Breast Medallion With Sweet Potato Blini, Granny Smith Apples. Honey and Micro Lavender Mint


I love duck so I was excited to start off with this dish. Each bite was reminiscent of the tastes you would get from a thanksgiving meal, only fresher and more crisp. The beer was a delicious summer ale with American honey, citrus and mint with a sweet finish.






Second Course


Beer: Belgian Tripel


Plate: Fried Quail Leg with quail Egg with poached golden raisins and red amaranth.


If you’ve never had fried quail legs I suggest that you put them on your food bucket list of things to try because they were delightful. Speaking of, does anyone else have a foodie bucket list or is that just me??


Crispy and crunchy with the occasional pop of sweetness from the poached golden raisins were a great surprise with each bite.





Third Course


Beer: Dry Hopped Double IPA w/ Chili Peppers


Plate: Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cake, Blistered Peppers, Roasted Corn with Avocado Mousse, Pickled Cucumber and Old Bay Pearls


This course was exciting. It was unlike anything I have ever tried. I enjoyed the heat from the chilli peppers as the beer hit the back of my throat with each finish, but I wasn’t a fan of the initial taste the beer gave off. It was neither bad nor good. Probably just my underdeveloped beer taste buds, if there is such a thing.


This course had me at Blue Crab. Sometimes I’m easy to please, but truth be told, I have had a bad crab cake or two in my time as a devoted foodie, and this one was delicious. It was meaty, I can’t recall breadcrumbs, which is great, the more crab meat the better. I loved the blistered pepper with it and the corn and avocado mousse with old bay pearls was fantastic. This course was basically made up of some of my favorite flavor profiles, so yeah, I ate it in about 2.5 seconds.






Fourth Course


Beer: Ukrainian Imperial Stout ( Nitro)


Plate: Cocoa Dusted Lamb Rack w/ Purple Cauliflower Puree, Vanilla Salt, Shallot Confit, Porcini Mushroom Demi and Shaved Dark Chocolate with Micro Herbs


This course was very satisfying. I loved the shallot confit with the purple cauliflower puree. It all worked really well together. The shaved dark chocolate with the micro herbs was as great touch and really finished off the taste of every bite.


The beer with this pairing was hard for me to finish. Obviously being new to beer drinking, I just couldn’t handle the full bodied taste, but I can see beers such as this being an acquired taste. Something that was very interesting to me however, was that this beer was carbonated with nitrogen. How cool is that?? Apparently, it create more of a fuller bodied taste.



Fifth Course


Beer: Chocolate Hazelnut Porter w/ Espresso and Peanut Butter


Plate: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing, Hazelnut Dust w. Coffee Ice Cream and Vanilla Whipped Cream


Of all the courses I was a little bummed out to see a flourless chocolate cake as the dessert option because that is usually everyone’s standard GF dessert at most all restaurants, but I get it. However, I was actually surprised with how delicious it was. There was nothing standard about this dessert.  Instead of just being served alone with a dusting of powdered sugar he served it with the most mouth watering peanut butter icing that I’ve ever tried. Bits of hazelnuts crunched along with every bite and soft and airy vanilla whipped cream smoothed it all out with hints coffee ice cream.


It was basically a chocolaty party in my mouth and a wonderful way to end the dinner. The beer was perfectly paired with this dish because it basically contained all of the same flavors. It was robust and full bodied thanks to the coffee and chocolate flavors. By this point I couldn’t finish the beer. I can see myself just sipping through a beer like this last one as a dessert by itself.


Do you have a restaurant around your city that you think I should check out? Let me know and I just might have to stop by and try it out! Make sure to follow me on snapchat to see all the behind the scenes moments! snapchat: Life and Splendor





© Life + Splendor Maira Gall.