Monday, May 31, 2010

Etsy Shop Now Open!

I love sharing my recipes with you all which is why I enjoy this blog so much. I love being a part of the blogging community and teaching others what I know about natural foods. I hope readers are able to try and experiment with my recipes, but if you're as busy as I am, that may not always be possible. I hope my love for cooking organic foods comes across well through my blog. I have been thinking about how I could further share my passion for food, and I came up with the idea to open up an Etsy shop and share some of the items from my blog with my readers directly. If you're unable to find the time to prepare some of my treats, then I can just send some over!

I'm starting with two cookies and my apple butter, but if things go well, then I'll be adding others to the mix. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nourished Kitchen: How To Cook Real Food

Have you visited the Nourished Kitchen? Signed up for Jenny's cooking class? I hope you've had a chance to sign up and visit, but if not I'll be happy to fill you in.

The Nourished Kitchen definitely has a passion for real food. The classic, simple recipes featured in beautiful photography are inspirational to any cook. Sustainable, local foods are featured with details on how to soak and sprout your own foods, much like when I discovered how to sprout lentils. Fermented and cultured foods all the way through to wholesome desserts are easily discovered and executable by any home chef. The best thing is Jenny's featuring an online cooking course starting June 1st!

As explained by Jenny, "Since the class is hosted online, you can download the materials and video tutorials anytime that works for you.  You can even attend in your pajamas!  Each lesson is posted once a week – every Tuesday, beginning June 1st – and you can open them up, start the video tutorials and download the printable materials when it works for you.  This class is designed to meet your needs.  Plus, if you miss a class or don’t have time to watch the video tutorial on the scheduled week, don’t worry you’ll have lifetime, full access to the class even after it ends!"

For as little as $10 a class you can have lifetime access to understanding and creating wholesome, nourishing, economical meals for you and your family. I love that Jenny also understands and puts into practice the fact real food does not have to cost a fortune and is even easy to grow at home no matter how much space is available.

Through the class, you'll gain access to all of the following:
  • 12 Comprehensive, Multi-media, Online Classes
  • Video Tutorials Teaching You How to Cook Real Food
  • Digital Workbook to Take Notes & Develop Your Own Recipes
  • Charts Outlining Seasonally Available Foods
  • Fact Sheets & Handy Tips Analyzing the Value of Real Food
  • Online Discussion Forum for Members Only
  • Menu Planning Tips & Sample Meal Plans
  • Sample Shopping Lists & Equipment Recommendations
  • Discounts & Coupons from Trusted Companies
I know time is limited, as classes start June 1st, but take the time over the holiday to sign up for Jenny's cooking class: How To Cook Real Food. You'll be happy to know you're learning how to put into use all the sustainable, local, wholesome food knowledge you've been learning through ::ahem:: food bloggers.

Have a safe holiday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Matsutake Crusted Sirloin with Brussel Sprouts and Zested Carrots

Another great benefit of being a member of the Foodie Blogroll are notifications to sample giveaways by companies looking for new recipes to be created with their amazing products. One such announcement was for dried morel mushrooms from Marx Foods. I was so excited to see an announcement for mushrooms as they're one of my most favorite foods.

The nice people at Marx Foods sent over a small box of dried mushrooms right away, and to my shock I received not a single sample of morel mushrooms, but seven samples! Thank you!

I have used Porcini and Shiitake mushrooms before on the blog, so I decided to try the Matsutake since I had not heard of this variety out of the mix.

Matsutakes are a savory mushroom, with a bold flavor when cooking. The mushrooms from Marx Foods are harvested in the Northwestern United States, although this mushroom is highly sought after in Asia where it also grows in areas that are difficult to harvest from, and can be sold under the name "Pine Mushroom".

My brain began flipping through numerous recipes I could use these wonderful mushrooms in, but a small thought kept creeping into the forefront...dried mushroom crusted steak. I had seen a post on A Life for Spice which mentioned this cooking technique that infused the meat with a strong, savory flavor once seared. As you may know, I do not eat beef...for a very long time. I'm not a vegetarian, but beef was something I never enjoyed and it didn't agree with my digestive system. As to why this beef recipe out of all the others I've seen throughout my life sparked my interest, I can only barely explain. I assume it has something to do with the dried mushroom crust, although many beef recipes often come with a mushroom sauce. The difference is negligible, but I wasn't interested enough to actually consider purchasing a steak and following through to eating it.

Then enters Rouxbe. The opportunity to have access to online cooking instructional videos which could show me how to properly prepare a piece of beef gave me the confidence boost to try steak.

I headed over to my co-op and perused the organic, grass-fed meat section. If I was going to eat beef, it was going to be a source I trust to provide natural beef without any chemicals or unnatural processing involved. I settled on a modest piece of sirloin that was under $3! I believed this would provide me with plenty of surface area for the dried mushroom rub and wasn't an overwhelming piece to either cook or consume.

I saw a beautiful bunch of brussel sprouts, which is one of my favorite vegetables, and settled on carrots for their bright color. I love using my zester to create a different look and texture when serving hearty vegetables, plus it makes for a lovely presentation compared to just chopping the same old circles.

The process of preparing and cooking the meat was surprisingly easy and swift. Turning the dried mushrooms into a powder only took the press of a button, and the sirloin did not need any trimming. The thin slice of meat also only needed to cook for a few minutes total.

The hardest part was actually taking a bite. I normally dive right into my plate, but I have to admit it took me a few minutes to realize what I was about to do. I thought back over all the steps I'd learned from Rouxbe - only cooked the meat once on each side, left the meat slightly pink in the middle, allowed the meat to rest before slicing - and decided it was time for the taste test. After a few deep breaths, I cut a small bite and slowly started chewing. 

The crust was a melody of flavors, very savory and deep, which was the first thing I tasted. I was very pleased with my spice rub! The meat began to come into the picture, but it was more rustic than I remember from childhood, which was pleasant. However, to be honest, I found the texture still off-putting and the flavor is not as enjoyable as other meats I usually eat. This might be due to the type of meat I used. I'd be willing to continue learning and try to discover a softer piece of meat and combine it with a slow cooking method to produce fork-tender results. The other meat-eaters in the house were happy with their meals, so I am confident in suggesting this recipe. I just need to find a type of beef to personally enjoy.

Matsutake Crusted Sirloin
1 tbsp dried matsutake powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp curry
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp celery seed
6oz sirloin tip steak
2oz butter

 Rouxbe Preparation Video:

Mix all the spices together and place on a plate. Coat the sirloin on both sides. In a small pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. 

Using tongs, move the sirloin into the pan and cook for 2min on both sides, using the one-flip method as in the Rouxbe video. The sirloin will be medium-well.

Brussel Sprouts with Pecans
1/4 cup chicken broth
8 large brussel sprouts
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3oz pecans, chopped

Prepare the brussel sprouts by peeling back the first few leaves and rinsing the sprouts. Cut off the firm bottom portion, cut the sprouts in half, and then into thin slices. 

In a small pot, warm the chicken broth over medium-high heat and add the sliced brussel sprouts, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10min, stirring occasionally. After plating, sprinkle the pecans as a garnish.

Zested Carrots
whole carrot

Peel the carrot with a vegetable peeler, and then zest as much of the carrot as possible. Using a small pot, fill halfway with water and place over medium heat. Once the water begins to steam, add the zested carrots and cook for 2min. Drain the water and add butter to taste.

~Original by Brie.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rouxbe Affiliate Partnership

I have the some amazing news - Rouxbe has partnered with a variety of food bloggers to create an affiliate program and generously offered me a partnership! I am so honored to be a part of the Rouxbe community!

What is Rouxbe?

Rouxbe, pronounced Roo-Bee, is the world's first online cooking school. As stated on their website, Rouxbe "is a fully integrated experience that mirrors an actual culinary curriculum, complete with instructional cooking video lessons, practice video recipes, culinary chef exercises, progress reporting, cooking quizzes, and personal chef support." Rouxbe videos range from amateur to expert to teach anyone how to better their kitchen techniques and even move beyond only cooking straight from a recipe. Rouxbe is not a substitute for other cooking instructions or recipe resources, but rather compliments the learning process by providing beautiful videos with straightforward verbal instructions.

Like many others, I learn best through a combination of instructional techniques. Although reading how to execute a kitchen skill is helpful, the professional videos supplied by Rouxbe do not compare to anything else I've discovered on advancing my abilities in the kitchen. Their team of experts range from professional culinary chefs to experienced photographers and videographers. Every day Rouxbe posts free sample lessons on a broad array of recipes and skills, plus provides access to community forums.

Take a few moments to view the Video Tour of Rouxbe:

Rouxbe Membership Fee

Membership to Rouxbe is as little as $15 a month; however, an annual and lifetime fee is also available to gain access to a plethora of culinary knowledge.

As a partner in Rouxbe's affiliate program, I am able to offer my readers a free, full-access, 14-day pass. All you have to do is go to the Rouxbe Online Cooking School and redeem the 14-day Gift Membership. After the trial, you can join for as little as $15 per month; however, there is no obligation.

While you take the time to enjoy all that Rouxbe offers, I'm preparing an epic post on what Rouxbe inspired me to try due to their expert instructional material...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Giveaway: Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey

Fabulous news, everyone! The coconut oil giveaway went so well, Tropical Traditions generously offered to share their famous Organic Raw Honey with another lucky reader! These giveaways keep getting better and better!

And congrats to Emma for winning the coconut oil! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Honey and I go way back. I've been fascinated by this wonder of nature since I was a little girl obsessed with ancient Egypt. It seems any time they discovered a new mummy, they also extract jars of honey thousands of years old - still edible! You see, honey has a large amounts of antioxidants, and its acidity, among other scientific properties, causes it to be a sterile food, never spoiling. The ancients used honey not only in food, but in medicine and even religious ceremonies.

Eating raw honey is like tasting the food of the gods. Nothing else tastes as sweet (literally and figuratively) as honey, and nothing compares to raw honey. The classification for raw honey is by not subjecting it to high heat or filtering. Raw honey is still used today to aid digestion and help keep free radicals to a minimum in the body.

Tropical Traditions explains their organic raw honey "comes from the frontier areas of Canada, and is only harvested during a 6-week period in the summer. [It] has not been subjected to the heat of processing, only warmed enough to flow (same temperatures the honey would see inside the hive). We select only premium honey that is pure, smooth, and creamy, with the consistency of soft margarine at harvest. It contains live yeast and enzymes, because it has not been processed."

Finding areas which can be certified organic are quite difficult, and you can visit their website to read more about how rare their honey really is.

Tropical Traditions has the best tasting raw honey I've ever had. I was so careful with my use of the raw honey, I couldn't even bring myself to drizzle it on a plate for a nice photograph, as I didn't want to waste any! The fine texture of the honey is very pleasing to the palate, and the honey flavor continues to build in your mouth as it slowly swirls around. It was so clean and pure.

I used it as a base on another sunflower seeded flatbread topped with prosciutto, ricotta cheese, and dates - it was delicious! I'm so excited to be able to share a huge jar with one of my readers!

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!

How to Enter:

To receive one (1) 17.6oz jar of Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey, head over to the Tropical Traditions website and sign up for their free newsletter which features sales discounts, free recipes, and much more! After signing up for the newsletter, leave a comment here letting me know to be officially entered in the giveaway. Anyone is welcome to enter, but I must be able to contact you via email. The organic raw honey can only be shipped to the United States or Canada (but for International readers, if you have a US or Canadian shipping address, you can still enter!). Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge if you decide to participate in this Tropical Traditions sponsored blog giveaway.


You can be entered more than once by completing the following steps below - but you still must leave a comment (one per action per person) to receive multiple entries.

1. Leave a comment about a Tropical Traditions' product or recipe you'd like to try.
2. Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter.
3. Become a fan of Tropical Traditions on Facebook.
4. Become a follower of Le Grand Fromage.
5. Follow Le Grand Fromage on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway: Win a FREE jar of @Troptraditions' Organic Raw Honey via @BLeGrandFromage:
6. Become a fan of Le Grand Fromage on Facebook.

If you already have completed any of these actions, still leave a comment letting me know to receive your extra entries!

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!

The giveaway will end on May 21, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Any comments received after this time will not be included in the giveaway. The winner will be selected using The winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise another winner will be selected.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.