Downtown Sacramento: Walking Distance Restaurants at IFBC

capital of California

Disclosure:  I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in downtown Sacramento, CA  in July 2016 at a reduced rate for “citizen bloggers and social media experts” who would write three posts about their experience at the conference.  This is my third post in a series,  which highlights the the eateries I visitied during the weekend, within walking distance of the state capital building and the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  All opinions are mine. 

When I found out that the  2016 International Food Bloggers Conference would be held in Sacramento, CA,  I registered immediately.   Even though I had never spent any time in Sacramento,  I knew that the organizers were planning tours and sessions highlighting California’s agriculture and America’s Farm to Fork Capital.  And best of all, I’d have a chance to see old friends, make new ones, and explore some of the eateries in downtown Sacramento. Continue reading

Quick and Easy Lamb Sliders on Foccacia Squares

Lamb Sliders    This morning I stopped at Major Market where I bought the ground lamb last week for the Lamb Sliders seasoned with Hatch Chile,  and they had no ground lamb in their meat case.  I rarely do this, but I actually went to the meat cutter and asked for ground lamb!   He told me to wait about 20 mintues, and when I came back there were several packages of ground lamb plus a beautiful lamb sirloin roast!   (Of course I bought that roast too!  Turns out the ground lamb was made from another piece of that same leg of lamb.)

Next I headed over to Trader Joe’s for more of those cute little Mini Hamburger Buns  with the sesame seeds on top.  Alas, they were out of them!  Not to worry,  I glanced at a nearby display and found a large square of Tomato and Olive Foccacia Bread.  In my minds eye I could see that large square cut up into smaller squares, just the right size for Lamb Sliders! Continue reading

Lamb Sliders with Spinach: Seasoned with Hatch Chiles

Lamb Sliders

Tonight The Farmer and I sat out on the porch and enjoyed these juicy and lean Lamb Sliders, seasoned with Hatch Chile salsa and Spinach coated in a Tangerine Hatch Chile dressing.  It was a one of those evenings with a soft cool breeze, and these tasty sliders were the perfect supper for the two of us.

American Lamb Tour

I was inspired by a tour hosted by the American Lamb Board  in conjunction with  the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, CA. last week.  We drove out to Dixon, Ca. to meet Ryan Mahoney,  a sheep rancher and family man Continue reading

Make Your Own Maple Ice Cream! (Maple Creemee’s)

 

Maple Ice Cream

With only 4 ingredients you can make this wholesome and naturally sweet summertime treat!   All you need is eggs, milk, half-and-half, and maple syrup to make homemade Maple Ice Cream!   Thank you to Davidson’s Safest ChoiceTM Pasteurized Eggs for partnering with me to share a pure maple ice cream recipe to make at home! #SafeEggsIceCream

Vermont’s Favorite Treat

If you have ever traveled to Vermont,  or if you grew up in Vermont like I did,  you will know what I am talking about when I say “Let’s go get a Maple Creemee!”   Entire families have been known to jump in the car on a hot day in summer to stand in line for  soft-serve ice cream cones (called “Creemees” in Vermont). There is nothing more refreshing than a cold creamy ice cream cone flavored with  pure maple syrup,  made  from the sap of the Vermont sugar maple tree.

mpale trees

I think it’s a marvel that Native Americans figured out how to tap the maple trees just as the winter is ending and the warm sunshine causes the sap to run during the day, even while the nights are still very cold.  The sap is clear and watery with just a hint of sweetness, but when it is boiled for the correct amount of time,  it becomes thick,  amber-colored syrup; a natural sweetener with the most heavenly flavor.

Maple Creemee

It is no wonder that Maple Creemee’s are so popular!  During my last trip to Vermont in June I had several Maple Creemee’s in several different towns (all in the name of research)  so I could come back to California and figure out a way to make this special treat for my family, and share it will all of you too!

Recipe for Maple Ice Cream

You can serve maple ice cream while it’s soft and creamy,  or let it firm up like regular ice cream.   You can even add some walnuts or pecans to make every dad’s favorite Maple Nut Ice Cream!                                               CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE.

Safe Eggs and maple syrup

I always use Davidson’s Safest ChoiceTM Eggs when making homemade ice cream or anything that requires uncooked or partially cooked eggs.  Since they are pasteurized in the shells (using heat),  the possiblity of  contamination by salmonella bacteria is eliminated.  Click here to learn more about pasteurization.  Have you tried pasteurized eggs?  They are just like any egg you have ever eaten – no change in flavor or consistency – just safe!  ( They have a cute little “p” stamped on each one too.)  I hope you’ll try them!

Here’s a coupon to use for your Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs!  Click Here!

reducing maple syrup

Vermonters know that you should use Grade B maple syrup for the most flavor,  but if you have the lighter Grade A syrup, you can boil it in a small saucepan for a few minutes to reduce the liquid and bring out the flavor.  Set aside the syrup until the custard is ready.

separate egg yolks

Separate the yolks to use in the ice cream.   (Use the whites to make a delicious egg-white omelet, or whip up  some meringues.)

heating milk While the milk and half-and-half are heating,  whisk the egg yolks until they are lighter in color.  When the milk/cream is just beginning to simmer, remove from the heat and  pour 3/4 cup of the milk into the eggs, whisking together quickly.  Immediately pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining  milk in the saucepan,  turn the heat on low,  and stir until the custard thickens.

thickening custard

You need to stir constantly so that the custard will cook evenly.   Don’t ignore this step, because the bottom of the pan will cook quickly and you’ll have lumps in your custard if you don’t keep stirring.   Just relax and slowly stir until the custard thickens.

How will you know that the custard is thick enough?   When it coats the back of the spoon and you can draw a line through the custard on the spoon that doesn’t go away.   See?

line on spoon

Now you can pour the maple syrup into the custard and stir until thoroughly mixed in.

strain the custard

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer to ensure that the ice cream will be super smooth. (You never know if there might be some tiny little lumps … let’s not take any chances.)

ice bath cooling

Now you can put the bowl into a bigger pot filled halfway with ice and water.  This will cool down the custard quickly so it can go into the refrigerator.   The custard needs to be really cold before you put it into the ice cream freezer machine.  Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Meanwhile,  make sure the freezer bowl for your machine is chilling in the freezer too!

That’s it!  Just follow the instructions that came with your ice cream freezer and soon you’ll be enjoying those oh-so-cold-and-refreshing Maple Creemees.

After the machine finishes working, I like to put the freezer bowl into the freezer compartment of the refrigerator to firm up a little bit.  Someday maybe I’ll buy one of those fancy soft-serve ice cream makers so I can make swirly  Maple Creemee cones just like they do in Vermont!

For now,  I’ll just add some toasted pecans or walnuts and serve my homemade Maple Ice Cream in a dish!

maple pecan ice cream

This post is sponsored by Davidson’s Safest ChoiceTM Eggs,  but all opinions are mine.  I love these eggs because there are no worries about Salmonella-related food borne illness.  Raw cookie dough or any food with undercooked eggs (like Eggs Benedict or even the ricotta filling for lasagna) can be served safely when pasteurized eggs are used in the recipe.  Go ahead and lick the spoon! #SafeEggsIceCream

Maple Ice Cream Collage

 

Holiday Favorites

 

Chocolate Pecan Cake

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!   I want to send my sincere wishes for happy blessings to come your way in 2016!  Today I’m sharing some of my holiday favorites,  because I wasn’t able to do much posting throughout November and December.   Just before Thanksgiving we managed to catch a terrible cold virus.   We missed out on all the festivities and stayed in bed for most of a week.  My Thanksgiving holiday favorites this year?  Bowls of hot Cream of Wheat cereal!  To cheer myself up, I used mini cookie cutters to make shapes with the butter. It’s fun to watch it melt,  stir it in, and eat it up while it’s hot.

cream of wheat cereal

First of the Holiday Favorites: Benefit Concert for  Meals On Wheels

One of my  holiday favorites just after Thanksgiving  is the benefit concert
that the Coastal Communities Concert Band performs every year.   I play flute and piano in the band, and I’m also the announcer.  This year was our 21st annual concert to benefit Meals On Wheels.

Meals On Wheels Benefit Concert

Throughout the year, the wonderful volunteers of Meals On Wheels deliver nutritious meals to seniors in our community, taking the time to spend a few minutes in conversation, and keeping a friendly eye open in case that person might need extra attention. Over 3,100 local seniors are served throughout the year and may receive meals for every day, including holidays, enabling many to continue to live independently and stay in their own homes.There are even meals for pets dogs and cats!

Here is something you may not know Continue reading

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