Apricot-Nutella Breakfast Cake

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Lately I have been trying to make breakfast more interesting. We seem to be always on the move lately and so I have been experimenting with portable breakfasts that taste good and use up what I already have on hand. I found a recipe for apricot-almond Dutch babies – a kind of muffin with a soft center. You use a lot of whipped egg whites and it has a wonderfully creamy batter. I decided to turn the muffins into a cake that I would fill with the rest of a jar of apricot preserves and the rest of the Nutella from World Nutella Day. We have given up Nutella for a while because they now have switched to palm kernel oil in their recipe – and we are definitely off of that! If you missed my rant on the subject, click here. But I did make an exception for World Nutella Day.

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So anyway, this little cake was born. The photos didn’t turn out too great, but it was very satisfying for breakfast and lasted about a week, which was perfect. Hope you enjoy it!
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Buffalo Stew…(you guessed it, in a Tagine…)

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Since the Beef Stew worked so well in the tagine, I decided to do another stew using one of my favorite red meats, buffalo. I had gotten a pound of buffalo stew meat from Whole Foods and decided to really stretch it by adding carrots, frozen peas, potatoes, onions and garlic. Most of you are already familiar with my tagine cooking methods, but for those of you just tuning in all you do is throw everything right in the tagine and cook for 2 hours at 350 F, stirring once and checking for liquid about halfway through.

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Again it came out perfect, the meat was super tender and the veggies were as well. Plus this method of cooking really brings out the natural sweetness in carrots, so I find myself trying to sneak them into all the tagine dishes I make! If you do not have a tagine, I still recommend making a stew with buffalo! It is wonderful and so good for you!
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Finest Foodies Friday – March 13, 2009

I just want to remind everyone that I am taking a little posting hiatus for the the next few weeks. I have a few regular posts coming up, but posting won’t be has frequent as usual. I am also handing over the FFF responsibilities to my friend Judy at No Fear Entertaining

I will be back doing FFF in April! In the meantime, Judy will take good care of you, and you can see FFF both on her blog and here.

There is also some really seriously bad things going on in the US government with regard to farmers. Please read this important article and do what you can to get your voices heard!
THIS IS SO NOT GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY!!!

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As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 3000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Localette
This is such a well done blog. The photos are great, the content is inspiring and it is a wonderful read. It is written by Jen, who is living the good life on the California Central Coast. She has combined her passion for photography, art, design, food and love of everything local into a career that gets her out of bed in the mornings (even on the weekends)! She cooks a lot of delicious and rustic food with lots of delicious flavor! So go check her out! She is also looking forward to a big change this summer :)

A Forkful of Spaghetti
Again with the beautiful photography and delicious food, this time all the way from the UK!
But the thing I really loved about this blog was the very first post, “How it all started…” http://aforkfulofspaghetti.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-it-all-started-my-gastrobiography.html I always love reading how it all began, and people’s inspirations to begin a food blog, and this was just one of the best!

For The Love of British Food

I must admit, I really love British cuisine. There is something just so simple and wholesome about it. Some of my favorite foods come from this island – things like custards and sticky toffee pudding, bangers and mash, Shepard’s pie and beer. There is just nothing like a nice pint of British beer. So when I come across blogs that really celebrate the cuisine of Britain, I am like a kid in a candy store. So if you love British food, then go over and say hi!

Fare To Remember
Here is another blog with delicious food and nice photos. There is a quality about food bloggers, that has something to do with living the good life. It seems that people who have a passion for food, ingredients and playing in the kitchen have a generally happy disposition and outlook on life. This blog is no exception. This is one of those blogs that you go to and feel immediately like you are at home.

Kubiertos
This is a blog written by and written for voracious eaters. The author of this blog turned her husband into a lover of food, and now it is something that they both share together. This is their blog to share the food they make, and the places the go to enjoy food together!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.
I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!!

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday!

April Foodie Blogroll Giveaway: D’Italia!!!

Our second April Foodie Blogroll Giveaway giveaway has us teamed up with D’Italia
D’Italia is an awesome online Italian Grocer! Need some gourmet salami? How about some truffles to shave over pasta, or real Italian espresso? You don’t need to look any further than D’Italia! If you need to send a nice gift to someone who loves gourmet or Italian foods, they also have beautiful and delicious gift baskets! This is a great company owned by Vince DiPiazza – yes you saw that correctly, we share the same last name, but still have not chatted to see if we are related or not! LOL!

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We received several samples from D’Italia so far, and all were OUTSTANDING. We first got a fantastic salami trio, and we were ecstatic that not only did it taste amazing, but there were no nitrates in them! Something that is near impossible to find these days, much to our chagrin. Roberto loves salami, and I am big fan, so this totally made our day. We enjoyed the salami with some fantastic Olive Grissini (also from D’Italia) – which are crunchy Italian breadsticks. Grissini is usually what you get instead of a bread basket at restaurants in Italy, and again, my Italian taste tester said these grissini were to perfection. They were light and crunchy with just a hint of olives. Great to serve with an antipasto and Limoncello spritzer like we did! :)

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The winners of the D’Italia giveaway will be receiving a basket filled with incredible goodies:
Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Sicilian Sea Salt w/Fresh Blood Orange Zest, Parmigiano Reggiano Spreadable Cheese, Sapori Italiani Mix (Capers, Olives, & Oregano), Sicilian Green Olives and Olive Oil. Now who wouldn’t want that??? Please remember to to make sure that you are an active member of The Foodie Blogroll, and that you have the widget displaying correctly. This giveaway is available to members in the Continental USA.

If you would like to learn more about our contests and giveaways, and how you can be eligible, please check out the Contests and Giveaways Page on FoodieBlogroll.com
If you are not yet a member of The Foodie Blogroll, you are certainly going to want to join us for your chance to win these awesome gifts!

Remember, we still have 2 more weeks of the Flirty Aprons and FromtheFarm.com giveaways through the end of March! Plus the Patric Chocolate giveaway in April as well! :)

April Foodie Blogroll Giveaway: Patric Chocolate!!!

We are just so lucky with The Foodie Blogroll these days to be working with some really fantastic food and kitchen essential companies month after month! When we started doing giveaways, I had no idea that we would be working with such great people and products. I am so pleased, once again to present to you two new quality companies we are doing giveaways with in April: Patric Chocolate and D’Italia . Today I am going to talk about Patric Chocolate.

If you would like to learn more about our contests and giveaways, and how you can be eligible, please check out the Contests and Giveaways Page on FoodieBlogroll.com.
If you are not yet a member of The Foodie Blogroll, you are certainly going to want to join us for your chance to win these awesome gifts!

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This is an awesome giveaway for chocolate lovers! Patric Chocolate is a micro, bean-to-bar, fine dark chocolate maker that uses single origin chocolate made from rare cacao and is based in the Midwestern United States. This means good chocolate people. Real good chocolate, that is good for you too – full of all those awesome antioxidants! Founder and producer, Alan McClure and his chocolate has been featured in everything from local newspapers, to Food and Wine Magazine, The New Yorker, the LA Times and Gourmet Magazine…and his blog Patric Chocolate is a member of The Foodie Blogroll!!! How super cool is that?

It makes up happy to see one of our community members making it big in the food industry!

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I of course was lucky enough to sample these bars. I must confess I am very picky about chocolate because I prefer the taste of vanilla. But I do really enjoy DARK chocolate. Tasting quality chocolate is similar to wine tasting, or scotch tasting, there is an art to it, and a streamline of flavors as the chocolate begins to melt in your mouth. Alan sent me 3 bars, one of each percentage – 67%, 70% and 75% Madagascar Sambirano Valley chocolate. These chocolates were fantastic, with lots of berry and citrus notes. To the point that Roberto even thought the 70% Madagascar Sambirano Valley bar had actual raspberry in it somehow. My favorite was the 75% as I really enjoy dark chocolate – and for me, the darker the better!

This is going to be a good ones, guys! So be sure that you are signed up for The Foodie Blogroll and your widgets are displaying! You don’t want to miss the chance to win this package of goodies.

The winner each week will receive one of each of the bars, like I did, and also a bonus pouch a decadent hot chocolate!

Due to shipping constraints, this giveaway is only for those Foodie Blogroll Members who reside in the USA.

Remember, we still have 2 more weeks of the Flirty Aprons and FromtheFarm.com giveaways through the end of April!!

Sea Salt/ Vinegar Potato Chip and Pistachio Crusted Haddock

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When we were at Whole Foods the last time we stocked up on meat and fish. It is pretty expensive, so I usually just get whatever is on sale or the cheapest. This is a way for me to ensure I am getting quality and “happy” meats and fishes, while at the same time, try new things since I am not always familiar with preparing what is on sale. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find good local sources, as of yet…hard to believe, I know…

When it comes to fish, I always look for “Wild” and “Fished in the USA”. So this time that meant we bought haddock and flounder. Not the most exciting visually or taste wise, (I prefer more fatty fishes like salmon and tuna, but Roberto is allergic), but I decided this would be a great exercise in expanding my horizon. I have never cooked with haddock before, so I decided to give it a whirl. I needed some inspiration, so I went on Twitter and asked around to all my buddies what to do with Halibut (since I misread what I actually had, halibut, haddock, same diff right?) and I got some great suggestions, like frying it, or making fish tacos. But this was a martial arts night and so I knew when I got home I would be exhausted and I am trying to watch weight right now, so frying was out of the question for right now (although in the future – definitely!). But my buddy Peter from Kalofagas suggested his recipe for Pistachio Crusted Halibut, using dijon mustard and panko.

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So I decided to do a version of that. I didn’t have all the ingredients in his recipe on hand, so I went through the fridge and pantry to see what I could sub in. We really enjoy Salt and Vinegar flavored natural Kettle Chips, and in the back of the pantry I found an almost empty bag. So I decided I could use that in lieu of breadcrumbs – plus vinegar goes great with fish. I spread dijon mustard and Greek yogurt on the fish and then smooshed my potato chip and pistachio mixture on top. Then I put it in the fridge until we got home. I also sliced up some carrots rounds and fresh fennel bulb strips that we had left over from the farmers market, drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper and roasted them at 350 for about 20 minutes.

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When we got home. I put the fish on top of the fennel and carrots, and baked everything at 350 for another 20 minutes. It turned out really delicious. All the flavors really complimented each other and it really brought to like otherwise boring haddock!
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March Royal Foodie Joust Winners and New Joust Ingredients!

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The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on
The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer as Jousters try to outdo each other every month! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces :D

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common. This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s winner. The winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust apron!

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

In case you have not joined us since the new year, we have made some changes to the way the Joust is run. We got a lot of feedback over the past few months on how the Royal Foodie Joust is run. The biggest problem was that people were having trouble picking just ONE favorite and wished for various categories to vote on.

So we decided to have a vote for 3 different categories: Best Overall, Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation of the ingredients. The winner for best overall will win a Royal Foodie Joust Apron, and chose the next month’s ingredients. The winners for the Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation will receive a Royal Foodie Joust Mug! :)

We have also changed the posting time to be 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the Month. However, for this month only the post by date will be April 3, 2009 by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time. So please join us!!!!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here!

Now onto the winner of this month’s event. The ingredients for this month were:

Satsuma (or any other orange citrus) – zest, fruit or juice
Shallots
Edible Flowers

This month’s choice of ingredients were chosen by the previous month’s overall winner, Angela, from Spinach Tiger who was inspired by the coming of Spring with her choice.

These ingredients spurred a lot of conversations and really got everyone into creative mode. I must admit although I was worried about participation, this turned out to be one of the best Jousts ever! So many clever ideas and uses. It really was amazing!

The winner of the Best Overall Entry category is Natasha from 5 Star Foodie with her Grilled Scallops with Flower Foam Watercress Salad and Orange Shallot Vinaigrette!

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Doesn’t that look amazing??? Love all the colors – those grill marks on the scallops look beautiful!

The winner for Best Photo is Ben from What’s Cooking? with his Pumpkin Blossom and Blood Orange Chicken Dish!

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Those blood oranges really POP in that photo! No wonder it won with such a lead!

The winner for Most Unique Interpretation of the ingredients is Toontz from Okara Mountain with her Shallot Sugar Crisps with Tangerine Zinger Ice Milk !

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I would certainly like to try a dish of that – because I just can’t wrap my head around Shallot Ginger Crisps!

Thanks to all the participants! :)

This month’s ingredients are:
Asparagus (white or green)
Lemongrass
Almonds

Please be sure to post your entries here!

Finest Foodies Friday – March 6, 2009

Can you believe it is March already? WOW, time really flies! Being that it is March, I want to mention that I will be doing FFF next week, but for a few weeks after that, I will be handing over the responsibilities to Judy at No Fear Entertaining .
But I will be back doing FFF in April! In the meantime, Judy will take good care of you, and you can see FFF both on her blog and here. But I will see you all next week :)

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As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 3000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Duo Dishes
This blog is written by the fabulous couple, Chrystal and Amir. Residing in LA, they are lead by their internal “yum factor” that leads them to cook delicious food based on how things taste, rather than worrying to much about precise measurements – something I can totally agree with! There is a lot of experimenting going on in their kitchen that turns out some awesome dishes – so go check it out!

Jenn Cuisine
Nope, this is not my new blog, but it very much could be, as there are a lot of similarities between this blog and my own, and it isn’t just the name. This Jenn is also very much in to eating food that comes from animals or plants, and not from a box full of chemicals. She adheres to Michael Pollan’s way of eating. She is also a grad student, making her blog full of budget friendly meals. This is a great blog to learn how to eat really well, with not much money!

Weird Vegetables

When I saw the name of this blog I was instantly intrigued. I do love my veggies and I am always looking for ones I haven’t tried, or new ways to try my old standards. This is a great place to start. There is tons of variety here, not just with the vegetables themselves, but also the cooking styles and flavors!

Bitter Sweet
This is a blog full of beautiful mouth watering photos of food. You will find everything here from muffins to snacks, smoothies, pies and cakes and let me tell you everything looks just delicious.
This is also a great resource if you are into crafts like knitting, sewing or crocheting.

Thai Dessert
I love Thai cuisine, but it is not something I often make at home. But this blog is a real treat, because it is all about Thai desserts which are so different than the stuff I make at home – there are all kinds of delicious flavors and ways of making desserts here, that it opens up a whole new world! Go check it out!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.
I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!!

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday!