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Tagged With: Picnic

Lemon Thyme Rhubarb Cake

Tart, sweet and dramatically red, rhubarb never tasted so good as in this rustic Lemon Thyme Rhubarb cake.  The cake is moist and fluffy on the inside with a slight crisp on the outside edge. The sharpness of the rhubarb combined with the delicate pungency of the lemon thyme make this a most wonderful way to take advantage of an abundant rhubarb harvest.

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Lemon Thyme Rhubarb Cake

Ingredients

For the Compote
3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
For the Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened, plus extra for pan
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting pan
For the Topping
2 teaspoons lemon thyme
2 tablespoons white sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan or cast-iron pan
  3. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add rhubarb, sugar and water
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has softened
  5. Strain, reserve juice
  6. Set rhubarb aside to cool while you make the rest of the cake
  7. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition (batter should look light and fluffy)
  9. Gently mix in the baking powder, salt, lemon thyme and flour - be careful not to over mix
  10. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the batter
  11. Spoon the rhubarb compote over the top of the batter
  12. Using a butter knife, swirl the compote through the cake batter, being careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan
  13. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the reserved rhubarb compote juice over the top
  14. Sprinkle with the rest of the lemon thyme and sugar
  15. Bake 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean
  16. Serve warm or room temperature
  17. Enjoy with more of the rhubarb compote mixed with whipped cream or Greek yogurt, served on the side
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/lemon-thyme-rhubarb-cake/

Categories: Eastern Europe, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grilling Aside: Planning the Perfect Summer Cookout

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In the last few weeks we’ve shown you a host of delicious recipes and grilling tips for your summer cookout. We’ll continue to roll those out as summer grilling season progresses, but with the hottest grilling day of the year coming up(solstice, 4th of July, take your pick), we want to take a moment to address all those pesky little details that go into planning an awesome cookout.

#1 Location, location, location

Whether you choose to host a cookout in your own backyard, park, or camp site, you’ll need to consider the logistics. Choosing your backyard will make things easier for you, but the mess left behind is yours to deal with and yours alone. Make sure if you’re having your grilling party elsewhere that you have plenty of supplies for food and drink, and that you get the tough prep work out of the way early.

planked shrimp, grilled shrimp

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#2 Appetizers

Waiting for the first batch of goods from the grill can seem like an eternity. Help your guests get through the wait by grilling up some appetizers, like these shrimp:

Looks good, doesn’t it?

They’ll cook fast and give your guest something to talk about before the main event.

#3 Make your sides easy

Our Chaat Masala Fruit Salad will blow guests away, and can be prepared in advance. You can use it as an appetizer as well.

If you want to include corn as a side dish, you might already know about the technique for cooking corn without the benefit of a big pot. It’s called “Cooler Corn” and yes, it’s exactly what you think. Load your ears of corn into a clean cooler, and pour boiling water over it 30 minutes before you plan to serve. Close the lid and forget all about it. This corn will be cooked in roughly 30 minutes, but you can leave it in the cooler for up to 2 hours without it getting over cooked.

 

cooler corn

More like “Coolest Corn” Am I right?

 

Don’t forget to ask guests to chip in on the sides. You never know what they might bring, but that’s why it’s called a potluck. If they love good food as much as you do, you might be the potluckiest!

#4 Keep it simple, stupid

My Mantra. Overplanning, or planning complex events will rob you of the pleasure of grilling and spending time with friends and family. Your guests are there for good food and good company, and in the end if you can provide those two things, you’ll all have a great time. Stop worrying so much, it’s a cookout for crying out loud!

photo credit: wsilver via photopin cc

Categories: Grilling Season | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chaat Masala Fruit Salad

Want to raise a few eyebrows at your next picnic or barbeque? Try our Chaat Masala Fruit Salad for a wholly unexpected treat. This traditional Indian street food combines pungent, piquant and savory spices with black salt, citrus and fresh fruit for a refreshing summer treat. The flavor combinations are simply outstanding.  Try the party sized recipe below and mix it up with just about any seasonal fruits. We were wishing we had some watermelon….

Chaat Fruit salad

Chaat Fruit

 

Chaat Fruit

Ingredients

2 bananas
2 cucumbers
2 oranges
2 apples
1 pound strawberries
2 cups red grapes
1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon black salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped mint or cilantro

Instructions

  1. Chop fruit into bite sized pieces and combine in a large bowl. Reserve half of one of the oranges.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chaat masala, asafoetida, black salt and lemon juice. Zest the rind from the reserved half orange into the mixture and squeeze in the juice. Mix well and pour over the fruit mixture.
  3. Garnish with mint or cilantro.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chaat-fruit/

Categories: Recipes, Sides, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoky BBQ Pork

Pork shoulder is one of the most inexpensive cuts of meat, and you can find it almost anywhere. The lean meat is punctuated with ribbons of fat, which self-bastes the pork as it cooks slow and oh-so-low. While the meat is fabulously tender, it doesn’t boast much inherent flavor, which is where our Smoky BBQ Rub comes in. This spice blend, combined with beer, forms a marinade that infuses a wonderful smoked flavor deep in to the roast- you won’t believe it came from the oven. Banana leaves are a nod to traditional Mexican carnitas, effectively steaming the meat as it cooks slowly, holding in the moisture, while imparting some of their own nutty, grassy flavor. They can be purchased in many Latin and Asian markets- sometimes fresh, but often frozen, which works just as well.

Smoky BBQ

 

Smoky BBQ Pork

Ingredients

3 pounds pork shoulder
1 tablespoon Smoky BBQ Rub
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup light beer
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 white onion, chopped
4 large banana leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold the pork, whisk together Smoky BBQ, garlic, beer and Mexican oregano.
  3. Place the pork in the bowl with the spice marinade and massage into the pork.
  4. Add diced onion and mix well.
  5. Marinate for three to six hours.
  6. Holding both ends of a banana leaf, slowly drag leaf over a burner on moderately high heat until the leaf slightly changes color and become shiny.
  7. Turn leaf over and toast other side in the same fashion.
  8. Repeat process with remaining leaves.
  9. Line roasting pan with 3 of the toasted banana leaves, shiny side down. Let excess hang over sides allowing enough excess to cover pork.
  10. Transfer pork mixture to banana-lined pan and fold overhang f leaves over pork to enclose completely. Use 4th leaf if needed.
  11. Roast for 4-5 hours, or until pork is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
  12. Allow pork to cool slightly, and shred into just larger than bite-sized pieces with two forks, and spread out on a cookie sheet.
  13. Turn your broiler on high, and adjust the oven rack to the upper 1/3 of the oven.
  14. Broil the shreds of pork for just a few minutes, until the fat sizzles and the edges of the shreds become golden and crisp.
  15. Serve as filling for tacos, alongside beans and rice or with classic American BBQ fare
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/smoky-bbq-pork/

Categories: BBQ, Caribbean, Latin America, Main Meals, North America, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cinnamon Toast Spice Blondies

Sometimes we just want a little something sweet, but not too heavy. This updated version of a classic blondie fits the bill. Our Cinnamon Toast Spice, featuring Indonesian and Vietnamese cassia-cinnamons with True cinnamon, dark brown sugar and just a hint of nutmeg, perfectly complements the sweet potato base. These disappeared in moments at our last recipe test, and may need a “re-test” in my personal kitchen tonight. They’ve got sweet potatoes in them; so they’re totally healthy, right?

cinnamon toast spice blondies

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Cinnamon Toast Sweet Potato Blondies

Ingredients

3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Cinnamon Toast Spice, for top

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray the bottom on the parchment-covered pan with a bit of nonstick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together melted butter, mashed sweet potato, sugar, brown sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Then add the baking powder, salt, 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon Toast Spice and flour to the mixture. Stir until combined, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Gently spread batter to all corners with a rubber spatula.
  5. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of Cinnamon Toast Spice evenly over the batter
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until they are just set in the middle. (You can also test with a toothpick in the center - if it comes out clean, then it's done.)
  7. Cool completely before cutting into bars. These will keep in a covered container for a week.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/cinnamon-sweet-potato-blondies/

Categories: Recipes, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ancho Chili Beef Empanadas

Who doesn’t love food that you can hold in your hand?  The beauty of empanadas is that the rich, buttery dough can be filled with almost anything - sweet or savory. Our Ancho Chili Powder is mild-medium in heat and adds magnificent depth to the beef and vegetable filling we chose. Ancho chiles have a wonderful, darkly sweet flavor, so we added a little Alderwood Smoked Salt for just a touch of smoky contrast. They can be served either hot or at room temperature; we like ours with salsa,  sour cream and a Hibiscus Margarita.  They freeze well, so make a bunch and plan to enjoy them another day, or surprise yourself at how quickly your guests devour the extras.

Ancho Chili Beef Empanadas

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Ancho Chili Beef Empanadas

Yield: 24 empanadas

Ingredients

For the Dough
4 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
For the Filling
1/4 cup olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons Alderwood Smoked Salt
3 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder, ground
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1/2 cup sliced black olives
For the Egg Wash
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water

Instructions

    To Make The Dough
  1. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add salt and chilled, cubed butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, mix together until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, chilled water and vinegar and add to flour mixture.Combine until well incorporated.
  3. Empty onto a lightly floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Cut dough in half and form each half into a rectangle. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. To Make the Filling
  5. In a heavy skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add onions, red bell peppers and garlic and saute until softened. Add Alderwood Smoked Salt, Ancho Chili Powder and Mexican Oregano, and saute for about 1 minute.
  7. Add ground beef, breaking up any lumps and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add olives and mix well. Taste for seasoning, adjust as needed. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
  8. To Assemble the Empanadas
  9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator. Cut each rectangle into 12 pieces. Form into discs and cover with a towel.
  11. On a lightly floured surface, take one of the pieces and roll it out into a circle (about 1/8 inch thick). Holding the circle in the palm of your hand, place 2 heaping teaspoons of the chilled filling in the center.
  12. Fold the two edges of the circle together over the filling. Press the edges to seal. Using a fork dipped in flour, crimp the edges so the filling won't escape.
  13. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling. Lightly brush the empanadas with egg wash.
  14. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. They are done if they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  15. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes.
  16. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/ancho-chili-powder-beef-empanadas/

Categories: Caribbean, Latin America, Main Meals, Recipes, Snacky Bits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments