Sunday, January 29, 2012

5 Tastes in 5 Courses

Last night I hosted a Foodbuzz 24x24 dinner.  Each month Foodbuzz holds a contest for its Featured Publishers called 24x24 in which 24 special meals take place within the same 24 hours.  In order to enter the contest a Featured Publisher needs to create a proposal for a meal that will be made and enjoyed on a specific day of the month.  The winners are given $250 to make the proposal come to life.  I was lucky enough to be chosen for my proposal "5 Tastes in 5 Courses."  I was also selected a couple years ago for my dinner "A Little Feast on the Prairies."

5 Tastes in 5 Courses

My vision for this dinner was to create five courses, each celebrating one of the five basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umamiFour of our close friends joined us for this fun foodie evening.


We began with a selection of salty munchies including caviar, rice crackers with sea vegetables, sea weed, veggie straws, soft cheese and pretzels stuffed with peanut butter.


We enjoyed the appetizers with red wine.  
I was a paparazzo while my friends nibbled and sipped.



Kale salad with lemon tahini dressing and walnuts.  This course was enjoyed with beer.



Ciorba (Romanian sour soup) with sour dough bread and whipped butter.


Ultimate umami burger and french fries with truffle salt and homemade curry ketchup.

Ultimate Umami Burger

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tablespoons Taste No. 5 Umami Paste (optional - fish sauce or soy sauce would work too)
Season with fresh ground pepper and truffle salt.

Mix the above ingredients.  Form into patties and then BBQ.  Top with bacon, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, mushrooms and Parmesan crisps.


Homemade Curried Ketchup 

2 pounds tomatoes (unpeeled and quartered)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T fresh ginger, chopped
3 cardamom pods
2 star anise
4 cloves
1 tsp onion powder
2 T curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything in a pot.  Simmer for about an hour (or more) until broken down and reduced.  Strain, discarding peels and spices.  Refrigerate. 


The truffle salt is quite potent so we put it on the table so our guest could adjust the seasoning on the fries to their liking. We also put regular ketchup, mayo and mustard out.



There were three sweet desserts including red velvet coconut donuts:


I sent my guests home with little goodie bags - 5 Tastes to Try at Home.

Included: Pack of Smoothie Blend Jelly Bellies (Sweet), Dark Chocolate (Bitter), Dried Porcini Mushrooms (Umami), Sour Skittles (Sour), Pop Corners (Salty)
It turned out to be a great evening with yummy eats and great friends - Thanks Foodbuzz!  This dinner was the highlight of my weekend.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
What is your favourite of the 5 tastes?


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prepping for Foodbuzz 24x24 Dinner

We have a special dinner happening at our house this evening, so last night was all about prep work ... and as I am sure you are well aware, prep work is much more fun with wine!


This was a very smooth, reasonably priced (approx. $22) bottle of wine.  

I drank some, but I also shared ...


With my friends double chocolate cookies!  

I haven't tried one yet, but if they are as good as the chocolate cake I made with wine, then I will be hooked.


There were other things being made in my kitchen last night ...


Check out my post tomorrow to see my full recap of my Foodbuzz 24x24 dinner!

What are you up to tonight?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Things

1) I hate making salad.  Usually I suck it up and painstakingly wash lettuce.  Today picked up a pre-made salad from Costco and it made me very happy.

2) I took a break tonight from reading articles and brushing up on my statistics.  I needed a TV fix and American Idol was the drug of choice. It's nowhere near as good as The X Factor, but it'll do.

3) Speaking of X Factor there are some auditions I still watch over and over and over and overLove.

4) I don't usually like Nutella, but it is fantastic in oatmeal.  Make the oatmeal with coffee and toss on some coconut and you have Coconut Hazelnut Mocha Oats!

5) Now this is my kind of cupcake! 

6) Hmmm, not too sure about these ... Bahh, who am I kidding!? I will probably make these next week.

What are some of your Thursday things?
What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good Eats and Exciting News

My eats today have been deeeeeelish!  Breakfast was a toasted tomato sandwich, which is one of my all-time faves.  

I am loving the new organic, sprouted grain bread that Costco carries.  It is vegan, and free of GMOs and preservatives.  It also has six grams of protein per slice.  It is not as soft as some breads, but it is nutty and satisfying.

Lunch was a leftover brown rice and garbanzo bean dish (with coconut milk, ginger, spicy peanut butter, water chestnuts, pineapple and green pepper) adapted from this dish.

Believe it or not we fired up the BBQ this evening!  It has warmed up (still below zero though) and we took advantage of the sun.  We had burgers with salad.  I have recently discovered that salad is soooo much better with onions.  

Exciting news!   Each month Foodbuzz holds a contest for its featured publishers called 24x24.  In order to enter the contest a Featured Publisher needs to create a proposal for a unique meal that they will create, capture and post about. The winners are given $250 to help make the proposal happen.  I recently found out that my proposal was selected, and I will be participating in this on Saturday!   

Stay tuned to see what my proposal was and how the dinner goes!  I was chosen for this once before for my dinner idea - "A Little Feast on the Prairies" which you can check out here.

Do you put onions on salad?  
Would you fire up the BBQ in temperatures below 0?