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Foodie Friday: Seattle Coffee Fest 2013

Since sometime between the 14th and 15th century people have been cultivating and processing the coffee bean. Power packed and delicious this unassuming seed is used in a multitude of fantastic ways in almost every major culture around the globe. From the coarsely ground French press coffee method to the finely ground and steam brewed espresso, if you are looking for a little extra energy you can count of the coffee bean to get you going.

Last weekend, a few thousand coffee lovers gathered to taste and sample the coffee and tea industry’s current up-and-coming products as well as a few tried and true products. Coffee Fest was held this past weekend at the Washington State Convention Center. The three-day, caffeine-filled event included vendors of all kinds showing their coffee-related products to a very receptive and, obviously, energetic crowd.
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Foodie Friday: Lemon Granita

8177806260_bd3ba3ac5a_zAs summer starts to plateau into a steady heatwave, life starts to slow down. But, for those of us who are handy in the kitchen, turning those long sultry afternoons into productive and refreshing culinary adventures can be the perfect way to pass the time.

Italian lemon ice or lemon granita is a simple and refreshing frozen treat that will definitely cool you off on even the most sweltering of summer days. You can replace a portion of the lemon juice with any other type of fruit juice for a creative twist on a classic and if you have an ice cream maker you can use this recipe to turn out a delicious sorbet.

Stay cool!
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Foodie Friday: Strawberry Shortcake

20130609_204256Satisfying a sweet tooth doesn’t always have to be complicated.  There are fantastic and simple flavors found in all sorts of fruits and berries.  Composing a compote and whipping some cream can suddenly create a masterful dessert that will quiet the toughest of critics.

This week I wanted to visit a childhood favorite and offer my rendition of what has to be one of the most popular desserts of all time.

For my vegans readers you can try substituting coconut milk for the dairy products. The vanilla extract can also be substituted for a fresh vanilla bean if that’s your preference. Just split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a small knife then scrape out the gooey vanilla bean paste from the inside and add it to your cream. When it comes to a vegan alternative to the whip cream there are a bunch of recipes that I was able to find easily online. All of the coconut whipped cream recipes require you to chill the coconut milk over night in the fridge. This will separate the water from the thicker richer cream element that you would then skim from the top of the can, carefully making sure not to include the water at the bottom of the can. It is a good idea to add sugar to taste when using coconut cream since it is naturally sweet already. I have included the measurements for my vegan version along in the recipe. The items that are measured differently are notated with “*V” for vegan. There is also a recipe included for a whipped vegan coconut cream that is a delicious and super easy vegan alternative to whipped cream.
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Foodie Friday: Mole Sauce

As the summer weather approaches, I start to cook large batches of things that are somewhat time consuming. Since many of us in the Pacific Northwest do not have air conditioning, summer is a time when we dread turning on our stove or oven. For me, this means at any given time you will find quarts full of various frozen sauces and stews that are all ready to use for a meal on the go. Since a lot of these recipes are so labor intensive it actually makes sense to double up the recipe and freeze the rest or give it away as gifts.

In the spirit of slow cooked eats I thought I would share my take on Mole, a delicious and versatile sauce that can be used in and on many dishes. Throw a few cups and some chicken broth in a crock pot, along with some cubed chicken or pork, and spend all day in your yard. When you come inside after a long day of yard work, dinner is minutes away with a quick salad, and some warm tortillas. This recipe can also easily be adapted for vegetarians by using vegetable stock instead of chicken and goes great with rice and vegetables. Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: German Style Feast

Every once in a blue moon I am lucky enough to find time to cook with a great friend of mine. We usually start out by digging through old cook books and reminiscing of the good old days while having a frosty adult beverage. After what seems like moments, but tends to actually be at least an hour, we look at each other and say “where are we going?” While often this “place” only exists deep inside the catacombs of our own culinary imaginations, usually it’s Germany.

This week I have compiled three of my favorite German dishes, all of which were prepared at the last meeting of the minds with my dear friend. When cooking large meals such as this German-style feast, try to make it easy on yourself by doing as much as you can ahead. I often boil my Spaetzle and cabbage before I start my pork. This allows me to relax with my friends and sip a nice German beer. Enjoy!

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Foodie Friday: Holiday Sweets

3123693806_4cb1ca16d9_zIn the realm of pastry, the most overlooked and under-appreciated types of confections are usually the most common. It’s easy to take something like ice cream for granted if you get yours at the supermarket.

However, the trend of over-indulgence on store-bought goodies is something that we foodies need to nip in the bud. Sure, it’s easier to grab a bag of Chips Ahoy at the supermarket and keep them around in the cupboard where they, eerily, don’t get stale. But where’s the fun in that?

It’s no secret that everyone eats more sweets this time of year but while, personally, I am unable to enjoy sweets, I sure do like to make them for my friends and family. There is something very satisfying about giving your loved ones a gift of homemade confections that you put so much effort into making.

This edition of Foodie Friday, I want to share a couple cookie recipes that I have been honing for some time now. Remember, recipes are just a guideline and there is one, very important, ingredient that you never write down… love. Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: Need A Break from Cooking? 7 Days of Food Events!

This week our resident Foodie is taking some time off to spend with his family so I’m filling in on Foodie Friday. Normally, Patrick shares one of his many delicious recipes with you but this week, after Thanksgiving,  I figured all you Foodies out there would want a break from cooking, and a break from Thanksgiving leftovers.

I scoured our site for some cool food-related events happening pretty much in every corner of the country over the next seven days that simply require you to show up and chow down. With Christmas fast approaching, you need the rest. Take the week off. Also, some of these events might just give you inspiration for your Christmas meal. Get out there and eat someone else’s cooking for a change. You deserve it.

TODAY! Friday, November 23

Alt Eats TourColumbus, Ohio  Travel the world while without leaving Columbus – this tour’s itinerary will introduce you to some of the best and most interesting ethnic food in the city. You’ll eat Vietnamese sandwiches, sample Somali food, experience West African food and hospitality, learn about Southern Indian delicacies and visit a Mexican Bakery.  Join Columbus Food Adventures in their comfortable 14 passenger van, and learn about the cuisines and cultures of some of Columbus’s finest immigrant kitchens. They can also accommodate vegetarians on this tour.

Saturday, November 24

Go West – New York, New York  To experience a culture one must experience their cuisine and since New York is the melting pot of the world, its vast array of cuisines is its shared culture. Food on Foot Tours takes visitors beyond the tourist attractions to the largest buffet in the world, New York. You’ll see the neighborhoods where New Yorkers live and eat. You’ll share their passion for all things New York and you’ll travel the way New Yorkers do, by subway and foot. This is a midtown neighborhood tour away from the tourist areas with multiple cuisine stops including at least one sweet stop. This week’s tour focuses on Manhattan’s far west side and its delicious cuisine.

RITUAL BREWING CO. LAUNCH CELEBRATIONRedlands, California  Come out and enjoy some brewery fresh beer, live music and tasty food from local purveyors. There will be two sessions: Session 1 is from 10am to 1pm and Session 2 is from 2pm to 5pm.

Taste of Philly Food TourPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania  Philly is famous for its cheesesteaks, hoagies and pretzels. Learn the story behind these and other local food favorites, and the vibrant and historic Reading Terminal Market where they’re sold during this 90-minute Market-based walking tour. Also see pretzels being twisted, hear the story behind the Breyers Ice Cream logo and find out where Milton Hershey got the idea for Hershey’s Kisses — in other words, fun history that has nothing to do with government!

APHRODISIAC WINE & DESSERT PAIRING TOURRaleigh, North Carolina  Life is short, EAT desert first! The Aphrodisiac Wine & Dessert Pairing Tour has been created & designed for guests seeking an exceptional tasting, educational and FUN experience. Your guides have discovered and sourced the absolute best that Raleigh has to offer regarding chocolates, deserts, wines and atmosphere.

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I Scream, You Scream!: The Ice Cream Post

Photo by Jessica Merz on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

As February winds to a close, it’s time to plan for the most wonderful time of the year: ice cream season. Unlike the winter months, where the only advantage to eating ice cream is that it is delicious (which is really the main draw, let’s be real), springtime seems perfectly suited to the frozen delicacy. Not too hot, so it doesn’t melt all over you, and not too cold, so it doesn’t make your teeth hurt. Ice cream is the best. To celebrate the glory that is ice cream, here is a list of events all across the USA to get your sweet tooth satisfied. BOO-YUM!

Friday, March 2 | Deadly Dessert | Philadelphia, PA

ICE CRIME! This dinner theater production in Philly needs you to solve a mystery surrounding Len & Terry’s Ice Cream. “But wait,” you say, “I want to eat ice cream, not just talk about it! YOU TRICKED ME.” No, I did not. This is DINNER THEATER, and Bistro Romano, as part of its full menu, has a fine selection of gelato and sorbetto to satisfy that craving. This is an all-immersive ice cream experience.
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Columbus Food Adventures’ Taco Truck Tour!

Who doesn’t love a taco truck? You can get a great meal for under $5, you get to eat outside and, often times, you’re going to find food that’s more authentic than what you find in most brick and mortar Mexican restaurants. Los Angeles has long been the mecca for excellent mobile Mexican food, but due to a growing interest in food trucks, food carts and street food, you can now find taco trucks in pretty much every urban center in North America.

Starting on July 1st in Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Food Adventures is offering a Taco Truck Tour that takes you to the best taco trucks on Columbus’ west side. Each stop will include a tasting and will focus on each individual truck’s culinary specialties and the diversity of regional cuisine that one can find at these trucks. We’re talking tacos, burritos, fresh tamales, tortas, mulitas and sopitas all washed down with horchata or an ice cold Mexican coke. Oh yeah.
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