Monthly Archives: July 2016

There’s a New Store in Town

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that there is a new store in town.  Safeway has recently opened and I was asked by the company to go check it out!  Safeway is excited to provide the local community an unmatched experience in their new stores including savings programs, grocery delivery and many other new offerings.  Collage 1 

We went in with our list, but we also had the app on my phone, which helped because I was able to see the items I had saved that were on sale.

Upon entering the store, there was a nice young lady at a table with store flyers and materials to sign up for their “Just for U” program.    You can download the Safeway app to your smart phone and start saving.   The offers are based on the app users’ purchase history and organized in a way that works for you, so you can save more on what you actually buy and use.   You don’t need to present a card or clip coupons, once you have the app on your IOS/Android device, the Just for U savings tool provides access to hundreds of offers.  Shoppers have the chance to find over $300 in weekly savings with digital coupons and personalized deals that are available through the just for U savings tool available through the Safeway app and Safeway.com.

We hit the produce section first (and we hit it HARD) because we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in this house.  I was quite pleased to see the amount of organics available!produce 

 

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Look at the size of that apple! (We bought two!)  

There were also fresh juices being made when we walked in. They looked fantastic. They were packaged nicely and there were many different options.#2

This morning, I had groceries delivered.  It was rather convenient, considering I was out of eggs and sugar. It’s also pretty easy to sign up and get it done. Click here to create a shopping cart for yourself.   New customers get FREE delivery on their first order and they may also qualify for free or discounted delivery fees on subsequent orders.   The delivery program offers one-hour delivery windows and a  “Shop By History” feature that saves all previously purchased items for easy repeat purchasing.  Their trucks are equipped with both refrigerated and frozen compartments, so frozen items stay frozen and refrigerated items are cool when delivered.  The only downside to this for me was having to allow someone else to choose my produce.  If you are picky about it, like I am, you might consider sticking to other items on your list and visiting the store in person to choose your fruits and vegetables.

tea

My favorite thing about the new Safeway store is the bulk tea section.  They have about a dozen different varieties of loose tea.  I was partial to the Citrus Sunburst tea…  When brewed, it is a beautifully deep shade of pink from the dried hibiscus.  I’m working on a new recipe using this tea, so stay tuned!IMG_0841
I would be remiss if I failed to show you the wine aisle… Hello, Gorgeous!

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There is also a beautiful flower section in the store.  I snapped a shot of this orchid as we were leaving.
 
Now We’re Cookin’ with Gas! 
Safeway has partnered up with Chevron to bring you even more savings!  Earn gas rewards every time you shop at your local Safeway store.  For every dollar spent,  you start earning rewards… you could save up to .20 a gallon on gas.  Enroll today at Safeway.com or download the Safeway app.  Using the rewards could not be easier!   I saved on gas yesterday, paying only $1.95/gal instead of $2.15/gal, thankyouverymuch…  You can either enter your card number, or as I did, phone number because I didn’t have that info with me.  The screen at the pump then asks if you would like to use your rewards & voila!  Easy Peasy.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Cherry Coconut Rum Slushie

Cherry Rum Slushie
It’s summer, people and I am all about the stone fruit right now… particularly cherries. We’ve gone through 5 pounds in a week and a half. I’ve put them in baked goods, drinks, yogurt, etc.  I must admit, this super simple libation might be my VERY favorite way to enjoy this ruby red fruit.

Summer drinks, particularly slushies,  shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  No one wants to spend an hour prepping ingredients for a drink that is meant to be sipped poolside in the summer sun.  This little libation has 3 ingredients:  blackberry soda, cherries and coconut rum.  I feel compelled to warn you about one teensy thing…  it goes down very easily and for a lightweight like me that means I’m on the train to “Tipsy Town” with only two drinks.   

This cherry rum slushie has quickly become my favorite summer sip for a few reasons.  First and foremost, it is delicious!  The fact that it is only 3 ingredients and it comes together in roughly five minutes flat is a close second.  The best reason – you can make a big batch and serve everyone at once.  

Grab a bottle of coconut rum, some fresh cherries, call your friends and celebrate summer!
Cheers!

Cherry Rum Slushie

Fire up that blender!
Cherry Rum Slushie
Yields 2
A super simple summer drink with only 3 ingredients!
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8.4 oz blackberry soda, frozen in ice cube trays
  2. 1/2 cup coconut rum
  3. 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
Instructions
  1. Combine all 3 ingredients in blender until smooth.
  2. (about 30 seconds)
Notes
  1. I used Izze blackberry soda. They did not sponsor this post, I wasn't compensated in any way... We just like it.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Link- I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

blueberry cake PP
Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month?  Let’s make a cake and celebrate!
Last week, I was flipping through an old book and 2 things fell out onto my lap: this recipe and an old black & white photo from a birthday party.

That’s the story of my life.  I’m usually a fairly organized person,  but little scraps of paper plague my existence.  I find them everywhere.  I mean, literally everywhere.  I scribble down notes or ideas and shove them into a bag or toss them onto the dining room table or kitchen counter.   I’m staring at a handful of them as I type this…crumb cake
I’ve given this recipe a permanent home now, which makes me quite pleased because this cake happens to be one of my very favorite things in all the world.   In my humble opinion, crumb cakes are absolutely one of the recipes that should be in everyone’s back pocket.  A good crumb cake is a crowd pleaser. Have you ever met someone that didn’t like crumb cake?  Me either.  
It almost guarantees you’ll get another invite if you bring it to someone’s house.  Ask my friends, I’ve taken it a few times  😉Blueberry Cake
This cake has a Very Generous crumb topping, which is mandatory in my book.  The cake itself is surprisingly light, but sturdy enough to support a hefty amount of fresh blueberries.   Get them while they are in season, because those plump little blueberries are best in the summer months!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Serves 9
A fruit-packed cake topped with a buttery, crunchy crumb
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the Cake
  1. 1 1/2 cups AP flour + 1 tsp for blueberries
  2. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp vanilla (preferably vanilla bean paste)
  6. 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4TB), softened
  7. 2/3 cup sugar
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/3 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  10. 2 cups blueberries, washed and patted dry
For the Crumb Topping
  1. 1 cup AP flour
  2. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Make the Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl- mix flour, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until you have large crumbs. Do not make them too small! Otherwise, the topping will not be crunchy, yummy chunks of buttery goodness on top of your cake... It will melt into the cake.
  2. Chill until you are ready to sprinkle on the cake.
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9x9 baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat until just combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, beat until combined. Repeat once more, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with the teaspoon of flour and gently fold into the batter.
  6. Batter is thick, so being gentle is important! Spoon batter into the baking dish and use an offset spatula if necessary to level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the entire cake and bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before slicing!
Notes
  1. This is a versatile cake, the blueberries can be swapped out for other berries (like blackberries!) or even stone fruits like cherries or peaches.
  2. It also freezes beautifully for those days when you need just a little something.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
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Curry Coconut Corvina with Idaho® Potatoes

Corvina and Idaho Potatoes with Coconut Curry

This is my first in a series of sponsored posts by Idaho® Potato!   I’m thrilled to be working with them, they are the BEST!  All opinions are my own. 

Curry seems to be one of those flavors that people feel very strongly about.  They either love it or they hate it,  there’s not much middle ground.  I’m in the “love it” camp.  Just the smell of curry makes my heart flutter.   A long, long time ago in a city far, far away when I was in culinary school, we would wander the streets of NYC and more often than not we ended up in an area of Manhattan that had lots of spice shops and Indian restaurants.   I think that’s where my love of curry was born.

I suggest making this with a meaty fish like corvina or halibut.   A delicate fish like sole would get lost in the aggressive flavor of the curry.  That being said,  the potatoes are really the star of the show.   They absolutely make the dish.  The crunchy outside and fluffy inside of the potatoes make it a perfect vessel to soak up that luscious sauce. The bright tang of the tomato combined with the heady, warm spiciness of the curry against the creamy flesh of the potato makes for a perfect bite. 
It’s so good that I’ve considered making it vegan by omitting the fish, doubling the potatoes and adding in more peas, onions, chickpeas, etc.

A word on trial and error:  
Cooking well takes practice.  The more you cook, the better you get.  You will begin to develop a feel for flavors that pair well (sometimes without even needing to taste it, you’ll just “know”) and even after you’ve been doing it professionally for 14 years, it’s not always perfect.  See Below…  

Recipe Testing:
This was the first version. Do you see how yellow the sauce is?  The curry was just a “pinch” too much. It overpowered the coconut flavor.  I backed off just a half teaspoon the next time around and it was perfect.   
Take risks, learn from mistakes…  That’s the only way to develop your palate and learn.  That statement also applies to so much more in life.  It’s a pretty good mantra. 

First round

 
Chef’s Tip: How to get those potatoes SUPER crispy

  • Soak the potatoes in cold water.   This helps to remove some of the starch, which helps them to crisp on the outside and remain tender and fluffy inside.  The water will become cloudy.  I usually let them soak for 15 minutes and change the water once, then let them sit for another five minutes or so. 
  • Drain and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Why does this matter?  The excess starch can sometimes prevent the potatoes from cooking through before they begin to brown too much,  leaving you with dark potatoes that aren’t cooked properly.  Every restaurant I have ever worked in, potatoes always get a soak before frying so it stands to reason that if we are “oven-frying”, the same rules apply. 

Corvina and Potatoes with Coconut Curry

 
Chef’s Tip: Always put the “good side” face down first in the pan.  
How do you know?  Here’s a photo to help!
 Chef Tip

Assemble like a Pro:
Corvina Potato Collage

 

 

Let’s Cook!

Corvina and Idaho®Potatoes with Coconut Curry
Serves 4
A delicious, healthy meal with a simple coconut curry sauce that will make this easy dinner feel like a special occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lb. piece of corvina, cut into 4 equal pieces
  2. 2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  3. 1 - 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  4. 1 - 13.5oz can coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup frozen peas
  6. 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder (yellow curry powder)
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  9. kosher salt
  10. black pepper
  11. white pepper
  12. canola oil for frying and baking
  13. nonstick cooking spray
Special Equipment
  1. parchment paper
  2. sheet pan
Make the crispy potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)
  2. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray. This will help to ensure we don't have to pry the potatoes off, leaving our crunchy outside stuck to the paper.
  3. Soak potatoes (as described above), pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Toss to evenly coat potatoes and lay them on the parchment-lined sheet pan, put in the oven on the middle rack.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip potatoes over. Rotate the pan and slide back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and cooked through. Sprinkle with a fat pinch of kosher salt while they are still warm.
  5. *Your oven may run hot or cold, so times may vary! Keep an eye on the potatoes after you've flipped them.
While the potatoes are baking, cook the fish
  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle in 2 TB canola oil.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the corvina with kosher salt and white pepper, place fish in the pan, good side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully flip the fish over and cook for another 5 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
  3. Remove the fish and set aside. DO NOT CLEAN OUT THE PAN.
  4. Add in garlic and let it saute for a minute, then add in coconut milk, curry powder and tomatoes. Let the sauce cook down for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, then add fish back into the pan along with the peas. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes, until fish is warmed through.
  5. Place potatoes on the plate and ladle sauce over them. Place fish on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Notes
  1. Corvina varies in thickness, try to choose a piece that is fairly even from one end to the other. This will make it easier to portion into equal sized pieces and it will guarantee that the cooking rate for all the pieces will be the same.
  2. If you have one piece that is very thin and one piece that is very thick, the thin piece will be cooked through well before the thicker piece. In that case, put the thicker piece of fish in the pan first and let it get a head start on the thinner piece(s).
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Links,  I get a few pennies if you click on the above photos.  I only promote what I actually use and love!

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