What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: Brownie Batter Dip

January 25, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Nielsen

Brownie batter dip is the delicious flavor of brownies in dippable form without eggs or flour.

Brownie batter dip is the delicious flavor of brownies in dippable form without eggs or flour.

Brownie Batter Dip is an appetizer, great party food and serious craving satisfier. Melted chocolate is mixed in to a basic cream cheese frosting (hello, there’s nothing quite like eating frosting), and heightened with the addition of cocoa powder. Served with potato chips and pretzels to keeps your creation salty and sweet, enjoyable by everyone. Chocolate in the most versatile form. So sit back and enjoy your Live Stream of the Winter Equestrian Festival, for the #Brinssert Revolution (details in the March edition of Sidelines), or as you enjoy the newly debuted Sidelines TV.

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Dipping salty snacks into brownie batter dip satiates serious cravings.

Dipping salty snacks into brownie batter dip satiates serious cravings.

Brownie Batter Dip

10 ounces of chocolate chips
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of milk

Melt your chocolate over a double boiler until creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Combine together the cream cheese and butter, mixing on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add in your melted chocolate and continue mixing. Next, add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Once incorporated fully, stir in the remainder of your ingredients. Mix on medium speed, adding more milk for a creamier, less dense mixture.

Serve with fruit, potato chips, animal crackers or pretzels.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen (Tarte Chic) is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Tips for Holiday Baking

December 12, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Don’t let holiday baking ruin all your fun and the special moments around the holidays. Instead, embrace one of the busiest times of the year for your oven and showcase holiday spreads and your gifts with awesome skills and minimal stress. Baking is an inexpensive and special way to show someone or your horse you care. Here’s just a few tips to utilize what little time you have and make the most of your holiday baking.

Sugar Cookies pressed with a vintage glass leave you with beautiful results and zero hassle of cutouts.

Sugar Cookies pressed with a vintage glass leave you with beautiful results and zero hassle of cutouts.

Baking Tip 1: If you don’t have time for cutouts, don’t make them! They’re super labor intensive. Instead, consider sugar cookies pressed with a vintage glass or just a regular drinking glass. You can add colored sugar and make them even more festive. And if you have kiddos in the house, they can still help with this. Checkout Grandma Glinda’s Sugar Cookies or White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnap Cookies.

Gingersnap cookies pressed with a glass warrant sparkly delicious results.

Gingersnap cookies pressed with a glass warrant sparkly delicious results.

Baking Tip 2: On the cookie front, consider another alternative to cutouts in bar cookies! Rather that forming them into individual shapes or even scooping them out, it works well to just put the batter into a baking pan or jelly roll pan and bake the whole thing! Extra baking time will be required of course, unless you use a no bake option like Peanut Butter Bars with Crispies. Cut them up using a sharp knife and wrap in pretty paper.

Peanut Butter Bars with Crispies or other goods formed in a single pan make for easy prep and even easier cleanup.

Peanut Butter Bars with Crispies or other goods formed in a single pan make for easy prep and even easier cleanup.

Baking Tip 3: Try not to use a recipe you haven’t had sufficient time to try.  There’s nothing like waiting till the last minute and the recipe falling to shambles. If you garnered your recipe online, look at reviews or talk to people who have made them before. Lots of times they can provide valuable insight so if you do decide to go new this year, you’ll have a better chance of success.

Baking Tip 4: Learn how to properly scoop flour so that you get consistent results every time. Scooping flour with your measuring scoop can actually result in tough baked goods as you’re taking away valuable moisture with the extra flour. The best way to measure out flour in a recipe is to first fluff, aka stir your flour in its canister. Then you sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup and finally level off the cup. This should result in a perfect amount every time to give you consistency when baking. This is all determined by weight so if you have a scale, try it out and see!

Baking Tip 5: Enlist help! Wrangle a family member into helping your prepare, or consider a cookie exchange. Play hostess to a group of individuals and provide the drinks. Each person brings a decided upon amount of one type of cookie. At the end of the party, depending on how many people show up, you can leave with a variety of cookies from each member. Or just spend a weekend with the girls and bake cookies together, laughing and enjoying what the holidays should be about!

Fathers and other family members make for great helpers when starting in on holiday baking.

Fathers and other family members make for great helpers when starting in on holiday baking.

Baking Tip 6: Personalize your baking so it stands apart. Consider using a stencil and sift powdered sugar, cinnamon or cocoa over top. You can also do this with frothy beverages to leave your stamp on a not-so-permanent delectable.

Cocoa sifted over a stencil leaves a beautifully impressive (but easy) imprint. This is Queen Elizabeth's!

Cocoa sifted over a stencil leaves a beautifully impressive (but easy) imprint. This is Queen Elizabeth’s!

Baking Tip 7: Consider quick breads….after all they’re quick! You can make carrot versions for your favorite horse friend, banana bread or even fruit cake for anyone on your list. They’re usually one bowl wonders and if you make them in pretty disposable containers, you’re one step closer to getting the job done.

Paper Pans from King Arthur Flour making baking and taking so much easier!

Paper Pans from King Arthur Flour make baking and taking so much easier!

Banana Bread or Gingerbread make great gifts for families.

Banana Bread or Gingerbread make great gifts for families.

Baking Tip 8: Learn how to make cupcakes and more in mason jars! They’re another great way to present gifts and you can personalize the outside with ribbons, tags and anything your heart desires! Not to mention no cleanup after baking!

Cupcakes in a jar can be dressed up or down depending on your preferences and gifting tastes.

Cupcakes in a jar can be dressed up or down depending on your preferences and gifting tastes.

Baking Tip 9: Don’t fret if you don’t want to make goods from scratch! Store bought or pre-made gifts can be personalized so that the recipient would never know that you didn’t do the heavy lifting. Try adding special toppers that are unique, such as Harbor Sweets Sweet Sloops Ice Cream Topper, or fancy sprinkles. You could even buy extra of your toppings and gift them some of their own to have fun with!

Using store-bought is just fine! Jazz it up with special toppers or sprinkles to make it uniquely delicious!

Using store-bought is just fine! Jazz it up with special toppers or sprinkles to make it uniquely delicious!

Baking Tip 10: Have fun! Find a style that works best for you and embrace it. If your skills aren’t with homemade from scratch items, buy pre made and personalize. You could also wrap it and present it in a fun way. Just don’t get carried away in the stress, this should be enjoyable after all!

Have fun with frosting! Just add a bit of color and no muss, no fuss beautiful baked goods!

Have fun with frosting! Just add a bit of color and no muss, no fuss beautiful baked goods!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to email me anytime tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Featherbed Rolls

December 05, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

A batch of fresh rolls ready for the table.

A batch of fresh rolls ready for the table.

As you can imagine these rolls are light, fluffy and are perfect for any holiday meal. Without kneading or any special tools to make them, they’re a hostess’ (or hosts’) ideal accompaniment to their evening meal. I like them just because equestrians may not have time to master bread as they’re working tirelessly on improving their marks instead. And just like the name suggests, these are a dream to make.

Featherbed rolls straight out of the oven.

Featherbed rolls straight out of the oven.

These rolls do require rise times and the ever complicated ingredient, yeast, but the flavor produces really delicious rolls. I do explain yeast a bit more in depth in another blog post which will allow you to conquer your fears of yeast, or just understand it better.  Feel free to add in some fresh herbs, cheese and make them your own! And if you have questions, you know where to find me.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Featherbed Rolls

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of butter
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
5 cups of flour
Sea salt

In a large saucepan, scald milk and remove from the heat. Discard the film that has formed on the top of the milk. Add the butter and stir, let cool until mixture is lukewarm.

In 1/4 cup of warm water, add your yeast and sugar, stirring gently. Allow the yeast to proof (if foam doesn’t appear, start this step over).

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Mix together the cooled milk mixture and proofed yeast until fully incorporated.

Oil another large bowl and place batter into it. Cover with saran wrap and allow to rise until doubled.

Butter two muffin pans. Scoop risen dough into muffin pans, about 1/3 full. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cover with dishtowel and place in a warm area. Let rise until dough has doubled.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Dark Horse Chocolates

November 27, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Full Cry chocolate by Dark Horse Chocolates- Almond Butter Crunch in Milk Chocolate.

Full Cry chocolate by Dark Horse Chocolates- Almond Butter Crunch in Milk Chocolate.

We love horses, and many of us love chocolates. You probably didn’t think you could combine the two, but yes….it certainly is true. Dark Horse Chocolates was launched in 1992 by Phyllis LeBlanc. During graduate school she envisioned a line of gifts for equestrians that she could give out to the people at the barn. Her business plan was so intriguing that Harbor Sweets (where she was working at the time), was able to launch the line and pay for all development costs within four weeks. Dark Horse Chocolates has now since expanded, offering great gifts for equestrians year round. Little did Phyllis know that her part time job as a candy dipper would lead her down the path of becoming CEO of Harbor Sweets which is now celebrating forty successful years.

NOTE: If you missed Phyllis’ first interview, visit this link to learn about her background with horses and how Harbor Sweets came about.

This magnificent assortment is complete with both milk and dark chocolates from Dark Horse Chocolates English and Hunt collections. It is easy to pick your favorite from this presentation of unfoiled chocolates!

This magnificent assortment is complete with both milk and dark chocolates from Dark Horse Chocolates English and Hunt collections. It is easy to pick your favorite from this presentation of unfoiled chocolates!

KW: Hi Phyllis and thanks so much for joining us again. Where exactly did the name Dark Horse Chocolates come from?

PB: At the time I had a big (17.3h) black Hanoverian named Able.  He was the inspiration for the name, and we liked the concept of “the dark horse” coming out of nowhere and being a winner!

KW: Gotta love the underdog! Tell us about the line of chocolates and how each individual “horse” relates to a different flavor. How did you decide on these combinations?

PB: We took the most popular flavors of chocolates that we had and combined them with the disciplines that we thought would appeal to the most people. We have a Grand Prix Jumper which is a butter caramel in dark chocolate. Then we have the Dressage Classic which is an almond butter crunch in dark chocolate. The Peppermint Ponies are dark chocolate and peppermint crunch and Sea Biscuits are a running thoroughbred who is peanut butter on a mini biscuit covered in milk chocolate. Then we have our hunt series which includes Full Cry (almond butter crunch and milk chocolate), Fox Trot (butter caramel in milk chocolate) and Tallyho (solid milk chocolate).

KW: You always make me hungry for chocolate! What is your favorite?

PB: Whichever one I’m eating at the moment!

This handsome fabric box, handmade by a local artisan, features a Conte Crayon drawing by Jocelyn Sandor Urban. Filled with a 16 piece assortment of milk and dark chocolates, this gift will thrill all your favorite equestrians!

This handsome fabric box, handmade by a local artisan, features a Conte Crayon drawing by Jocelyn Sandor Urban. Filled with a 16 piece assortment of milk and dark chocolates, this gift will thrill all your favorite equestrians!

KW: That sounds like an answer I’d give! But tell us about the photo shoots for your catalog, are they of your horse?

PB: It would be fun to do the photo shoots on location at a farm or my stable but usually we shoot the photos of the chocolates in a studio.  Keep in mind we are photographing the chocolates in the middle of the summer, when it is hot in New England!  The photos of Chiron and me are either from a show or at the stable.

KW: Any special gift ideas for other horse enthusiasts?

PB: Our Dark Horse Chocolates Christmas Calendar makes a wonderful gift.  It has a Dark Horse Chocolate behind each of the twenty five doors leading up to Christmas, with a pony waiting for you on Christmas Day. We also have our Red Sparkle Take Out Box which is filled with our Dressage Classic and Fox Trot chocolates. No gift wrapping required! And then for those special recipients on your list, we have a a Equestrian Fabric Box showcasing four yearlings. It’s filled with an assortment of milk and dark chocolates. What makes it so unique is that the box is a keepsake and can be kept for years to come, even after the chocolates are long gone.

Open one of the 25 doors on each of the 24 days before Christmas. Behind each door is a gold foiled Dark Horse Chocolates treasure. On the 25th day, Christmas morning, you will find the pony you have always wished for.

Open one of the 25 doors on each of the 24 days before Christmas. Behind each door is a gold foiled Dark Horse Chocolates treasure. On the 25th day, Christmas morning, you will find the pony you have always wished for.

KW: So the million dollar question is, where do you sell Dark Horse Chocolates?

PB: Dark Horse Chocolates can be purchased at your local tack shop, or through our catalog or website at Harbor Sweets.

KW: And if that’s not enough, where can people learn more about Dark Horse Chocolates?

Come visit our chocolate factory for a tour at Harbor Sweets, 85 Leavitt Street, Salem, MA 01970.  You may request a catalog or join our email list on our website also.

 

As always it was a pleasure speaking with Phyllis and becoming increasingly hungry for chocolate! A great gift item for those on your list, it’s a way to support small businesses who also happen to have equestrians onboard . Enjoy your shopping and have a safe and happy holiday season!

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Food and Kitchen Gifts for the Equestrian

November 21, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

What do you buy your trainer, barn owner or fellow horse owner? Most times it’s not an easy and straightforward question. That’s why I’ve compiled a few kitchen/food related items that are sure to be unique for your gift giving this holiday season.

French antique knife holder running horse from PARISOUIPARIS.

This Antique Horse Knife Holder Set is perfect for individuals who enjoy dinner parties and like the equestrian flare. These one of a kind set of silver running horses is from the 1920’s and will be a unique element for the recipient. Sold on Etsy, the set of six retails for $79.00.

Harbor Sweets/Dark Horse Chocolates unique and beautiful display of their chocolates in the Heritage Tin.

Harbor Sweets/Dark Horse Chocolates unique and beautiful display of their chocolates in the Homestead Winter Tin.

Dark Horse Chocolates Homestead Tin is filled with an assortment of handmade chocolates courtesy of Harbor Sweets. Each tin contains forty pieces of various chocolates depicting horses including milk and chocolate varieties. When the chocolates are all gone, the recipient has the perfect tin to store and showcase treats for years to come. Retails at $45.00 and is perfect for a barn owner, barn staff, tack room or for any horse owner.

Wild Stallion Horse Magnet, Set of Eight, sold by OriginalAnimalMagnet.

Wild Stallion Horse Magnets are a fun way to dress up the fridge. Who knows, they might even help keep the little ones entertained while you’re trying to serve up a holiday meal. A perfect stocking stuffer for the collegiate equestrian, or a gift for the newly relocated equestrian. Retails for $22.00 and sold on Etsy. Available in other colors.

Dala Horse Screen Printed Horse Glassware by Vital

Dala Horse Screen Printed Pint Glasses are an eclectic four pack that will bring something special to your holiday equestrian gift giving. Sold in green, blue, red and yellow, this four pack is handmade and good for those equestrians who like to drink and be merry! Retails for $42.00.

Vintage Horse Prints Wafer Paper available from Fancy Flours

Vintage Horse Prints Wafer Paper is a baker’s secret to making breathtaking cookies that pay homage to thoroughbred racing. Available from Fancy Flours, this set of twenty two comes in unique prints that are sure to leave recipients and those indulging talking about them for years to come. Retails for $15.00.

Kicking Horse Coffee, 454 Horse Power Blend sold on Amazon.

And last but not least, for those individuals who have a coffee addiction, Kicking Horse Coffee brings you their 454 Horse Power Blend. An organic and fair trade coffee, this blend from Indonesia bring earthy tones with a deep dark flavor to the palate. Available in whole beans. Retails for $25.55 and is sold on Amazon.

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and if you need help, you know where to find me.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Foodie Interview with Diane Barber

November 14, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Kitchens can be designed by Diane Barber Designs to include spacious rooms for guests, extra space for treats and supplements as well as flooring to cater to the lifestyle of dirt, dogs and craziness.

Kitchens can be designed by Diane Barber Designs to include spacious rooms for guests, extra space for treats and supplements as well as flooring to cater to the lifestyle of dirt, dogs and craziness.

Horse professionals are leading dual lives. It’s not quite the awesome super heroes we know in movies and television, but more like everyday heroes coming to the rescue in ways that bless the lives of those affected. Take Diane Barber. She’s one of the kindest individuals I’ve had the opportunity to meet and it’s the culmination of her passions and experiences that make her such a fascinating and uplifting person to have on your side (or in this case, to learn more about).

Diane is a fellow writer. Her articles have graced the pages of Dressage TodayModern Arabian HorseSouth Bay magazine and various other publications. She pours her heart out each and every time, leaving a piece of herself behind. Her unbridled passions for horses is shown not only in her writing, but seeps out into other areas of her life including Diane Barber Designs. It’s just one of her many creative outlets where the equestrian montage sneaks out into the world, this time though interior designs and many a kitchens in return.

Her tale of horse ownership is certainly not for the faint hearted. It was her sheer determination to not accept the cards she was dealt with that propelled her life into a brand new direction of faith and healing. Thankfully I met her because of this journey and since then have found a kinship in equines, but now through food.

Kat (left) and Diane at the World Equestrian Games in 2010.

Kat (left) and Diane at the World Equestrian Games in 2010.

KW: Hi Diane, thanks so much for joining us! Please give our readers a bit of background on your relationship with horses.

DB: My parents raised me with Western riding and American Quarter Horses in Pennsylvania. My father and I rode through the Pennsylvania forests for hours with our Labrador Retrievers tagging along. I have long since moved to California and enjoy both dressage and Western riding in local arenas and on neighborhood trails. My horse Bold Brahim (“Jesse”) is a grandsire of Spain’s 1976 Gold Medal Horse of the Year – Sidi Brahim.  Years ago, my fascination with his lineage landed me in Spain with Sidi Brahim’s breeder (Don Diego Mendez) giving me a personal tour of his hacienda, stables and the trophy building that housed all of Sid’s winnings. It is through this exploratory first trip that I also trained at Epona Riding Academy in Seville and was introduced to the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, of which I am an alumna.

KW: That sounds like a trip of a lifetime! Tell us about your favorite memory from the trip, if you can pick just one.

DB: One of my favorites was riding at the Royal School of Equestrian Arts in Spain and hearing Spanish Olympian Rafael Soto shout out to me in the palace arena, “Feel the horse, Diane!” as I experienced high school dressage on an Andalusian stallion for the first time in my life.

KW: Wow, thats definitely something you’ll never forget! But the trip was bittersweet. What happened?

DB: It was also while at the Royal School that I received a phone call from the stables in California telling me Jesse was lame and I would probably have to get another horse. Diagnostics upon my return revealed a severe deep flexor tendon injury. The short version of the story is that my horse and I traveled a two year healing journey with stem cell therapy, micromanaged physical therapy, Reiki therapy, Draper Therapies’ Celliant (crystal infused) leg wraps, daily prayers while holding his leg and healing crystals braided into his mane. I pulled out all the stops and opened myself to the world of metaphysics and homeopathic remedies alongside conventional medicine and faith.  After two intensive years under the guidance of leg specialist Dr. Sylvia Ouellette (formerly Dr. Greenman), Jesse was 100% sound and still is today. I can remember vividly when a long awaited smile and hug from Dr. Oullette  meant that we won Jesse’s fight for soundness for good.

My published writing began when the editor of Dressage Today learned about Jesse’s injury and asked me to write about it. Our experience became a feature magazine story titled “Defying the Odds”, which was  published in 2008.  That story opened doors for me with other editors – a good example of there always being a silver lining when life serves up some lemons!

Diane and Jesse. Photo courtesy of Stephan Cooper.

Diane and Jesse. Photo courtesy of Stephan Cooper.

KW: An amazing testimony to faith and determination! Tell us, in addition to your writing you also are able to incorporate your love for horses into another medium besides writing.

DB: Several years ago when I was designing and redesigning homes for people I met at our stables, I realized that “horse speak” in design is critical for working with horse owners. An excellent designer who does not live and breathe the horse world cannot possibly achieve the same “on the mark” design and lifestyle results as a designer who does.  When I realized this during one of my projects, I then shifted more attention to working specifically for horse lovers alongside working for non-horse people. Of course, my favorite projects are the equestrian projects!

KW: Well I can’t imagine why! Actually, I can because we are a rare breed. Yet since this is a food column, can you share with us about the center of the home, the kitchen, and what designs you implement to make them more equestrian friendly?

DB: Probably the most common considerations for my kitchen designs for equestrians are durable floors and finishes, large sinks and refrigerators with great storage capacities.  Equestrians tend to prefer to not have to kick off their boots to go into the kitchen so commercial grade floor materials are often specified. And, we all tend to have an abundance of carrots, apples, supplements and meds that take up kitchen real estate that non-horse folks don’t have to consider.   Open floor plans and ergonomics are also high on the list. Equestrians tend to have very active and social lifestyles with dogs at foot, families and busy on-the-run schedules.  Since most people tend to end up in the kitchen at any gathering, the more that can comfortably fit the better!

A more modern kitchen design by Diane Barber Designs.

A more modern kitchen design by Diane Barber Designs.

A finished kitchen by Diane Barber Designs incorporates durable flooring and countertops.

A finished kitchen by Diane Barber Designs incorporates durable flooring and countertops.

KW: Sounds perfect to me and exactly why you’d be the person to pick for designing an equestrians’ ideal living space. But tell us about what other connections to the food industry you have, because you have quite the list!

DB: My sister and her husband are in the restaurant business in Los Angeles.  Primarily upscale sports bar restaurants in the South Bay, including Kings Cove restaurant at the Los Angeles Kings training facility in El Segundo. Also, a very dear friend, Kara Mikelson (Creative Culinary Group), is an accomplished food stylist and personal chef in my community.

KW: Sounds like I need to plan a visit to come see you! For my benefit, and the readers who live or travel to the Los Angeles area, share with us some hot spots we shouldn’t miss out on.

DB: The Palos Verdes Peninsula where I live is home to an avid equestrian community (our biggest show is the Portuguese Bend Horse Show every fall) and our South Bay has some great restaurants. Of course I have to mention my family’s restaurant Sharks Cove in nearby Manhattan Beach! Closer to the local barns and stables is the gorgeous Terranea Resort (built on former coastal horse trails) with several great restaurants, including Nelson’s which is on the bluffs where the old Sea Hunt television series was filmed with Lloyd Bridges (now I am dating myself!).  And, Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles is another favorite for an excellent meal with a great Pacific Ocean view.

KW: Any last words to live by before we sign out? 

DB: Lead with your heart!

 

Super hero to Jesse, writer and designer by day, Diane certainly is making the most of her passions in her life. To learn more about her, visit Diane Barber Designs, and stay tuned as we investigate more equestrian foodies in next month’s column.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

November 07, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Spaghetti squash with a fresh tomato sauce is an ideal healthy meal or side dish that tastes super delicious too!

Spaghetti squash with a fresh tomato sauce is an ideal healthy meal or side dish that tastes super delicious too!

A recipe that packs a flavorful punch and is low in calories and carbs is pretty hard to come by. But finding a recipe that also meets a meat and potatoes man’s seal of approval is almost impossible. Never fear however, because I’m sharing with you my man’s most requested dish that is good for you AND gluten free, vegan and sugar free.

Pasta is one of the most versatile foods. It can be adapted in so many ways which is exactly why spaghetti squash fits the bill for being an ideal meal option for those looking to make a healthy change. It’s great because once you get the basis of spaghetti squash down, it can be one of the best substitutes in your pantry, and it stores for awhile without needing refrigeration.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

The recipe really couldn’t be easier in that it uses fresh ingredients, or easy to locate items even during the winter for year round enjoyment. The squash is baked and cooled, and then a fresh sauce is made. I find that the sauce can be doctored up in a number of ways. I typically add a small amount of sugar to help balance out the tomatoes acidity and give them a more rounded flavor. This of course is not necessary, and you will need to taste test along the way as you make your sauce to be sure it fits what your own taste buds enjoy.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

For those with dietary restrictions however, please heed the following advice to alter this basic recipe and still make it taste super:

  • Low glycemic– omit the sugar called for in the recipe
  • Vegan– substitute the sugar and use something like agave syrup, omit the parmesan or use Parma
  • Paleo– substitute the olive oil for coconut oil
  • Lactose free– omit the parmesan
  • No Iodine– substitute the type of salt used and omit the parmesan
  • Gluten lovers– try the spaghetti squash, or if you must, omit it and use pasta
  • Gluten free– This recipe is perfect for you!
  • Vegetarian– This recipe is perfect too!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, fresh
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 can of whole tomatoes (18 ounces), preferably San Marzano or 1 lb of tomatoes, skins removed
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1/4 cup fresh Basil, sliced
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice your spaghetti squash from end to end horizontally using a sharp knife. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, rinse under cold water. Pat dry.  Place your two halves of spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet. Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil onto each half and coat the top using a pastry brush or clean paper towel. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until fork punctures easily through the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once the spaghetti squash is cool, use a fork and pull down the length of the squash to remove strands. Remove until just the skins are left. Repeat with other half, placing the strands into a bowl for serving.

In a saucepan over medium heat, place the remaining olive oil. Sauté your onions and garlic for about 3-5 minutes or translucent. Over the saucepan, run your fingers down the rosemary sprig removing the leaves into your pan. Sauté one minute longer. Next, add your red pepper flakes and tomatoes along with their juices. Using a wooden spoon, break up your tomatoes into large hunks and bring to a simmer (if using fresh tomatoes simmer for about ten additional minutes). Add in your sugar and vinegar. Stir and taste the sauce, adding more sugar and vinegar as needed to balance out the flavors. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, heat till boiling.

Ladle your finished sauce on top of the spaghetti squash strands. Sprinkle with your parmesan and basil. Serve immediately.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Tips in the Kitchen

October 31, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Freezing excess herbs in oil can ensure you're not wasting hard earned dollars and that your freezer is stocked with inspiration all year long!

Freezing excess herbs in oil can ensure you’re not wasting hard earned dollars and that your freezer is stocked with inspiration all year long!

Most equestrians will do anything to save precious minutes on the clock, especially when daylight is so valuable. Ordering out becomes the “norm” and we forget what a fresh meal tastes like. In order to give you back a few moments, I’ve decided to compile my favorite shortcuts in the kitchen to help you prepare meals, or enhancements on staples to put cash back in your pocket and quick meals on the table.

Veggies: For vegetables that go into sushi rolls or matchsticks for  your salad, use a mandolin to help streamline the process. Start by slicing your vegetables. Then using a sharp knife, cut slices into matchsticks. Store in cool water until ready to use to keep vegetables crisp.

Lemons: If you’re in a “pinch”, use a pair of tongs to juice your citrus. Simply place the lemon between the two handles (further up from the pincers) and squeeze over a fine mesh sieve to catch the seeds. You can also use the tips of your tongs to really get in there and get all that citrusy goodness out (for those pulp lovers out there). Lemon juice works great for homemade salad dressings, but also for a burst of brightness in many dishes. If you have extra, freeze it ice cube trays and then store in a ziplock bag- fresh citrus will never be far from hand!

Slicing cucumbers on a mandolin first and then cutting into matchsticks make this usually daunting task so much easier!

Slicing cucumbers on a mandolin first and then cutting into matchsticks make this usually daunting task so much easier!

Ice Cube Trays: Citrus juices work amazingly well in ice cube trays, but have you thought about freezing those leftover herbs in oil so those extra quantities you can’t use all at once don’t go to waste? Leftover coffee in those trays also helps get you closer to that frozen capuchin, just don’t mix herbs and coffee. By utilizing this trick, little in your house goes to waste and you have extra inspiration and ingredients all year long.

Fruit: Freeze extra fruit and use in lieu of ice cubes to add some extra flavor to your drinks without watering them down. Use strawberries in champagne, grapes in wine, frozen citrus in water. This also helps impress last minute guests when you haven’t had time to plan.

Frozen cubes of coffee can make milkshakes and frozen coffee drinks way more flavorful and easy!

Frozen cubes of coffee can make milkshakes and frozen coffee drinks way more flavorful and easy!

Meat: Cutting meat into similar sizes, or even scaling it down to cook faster can be a hassle. For a less mess version and ease of cutting, throw your meat into the freezer (not literally), and allow to chill for about a half hour or longer (in the time it takes you to shower). It’ll make cutting so much simpler!

Garlic: It’s a staple used in so many dishes, but peeling it is a huge pain in the butt!  To peel garlic with ease, zap it in the microwave for a few seconds (up to twenty). The small amount of steam will release the papery husk and leave your garlic ready to use. If you have frustrations you need to get out, you could forego the microwave and place the cloves into a bowl placing a similar sized one on top. Then shake vigorously and the husks will be removed.

Butter: Softening butter when you forgot to leave it out on the counter can usually create some distress as it’s hard to achieve that in a microwave. Instead, grab a cold stick and use your cheese shredder. By the time you’re done shredding your desired amount, the butter is usually room temperature. You can also use this trick with a frozen stick of butter to help incorporate it more easily into pie crusts and biscuits.

Shredding frozen butter with a cheese grater can give you biscuits SO much quicker!

Shredding frozen butter with a cheese grater can give you biscuits SO much quicker!

Salt: While it may not necessarily save you time, it will save you the headache of some of the most common cooking mishaps that leave your dish feeling drab instead of fab! If you’re boiling or blanching green vegetables, add a pinch of salt to your water and ice bath. It’ll stop the chlorophyll from leaching out, aka keep them bright green. Tired of rubbery scrambled eggs? A 1/8 teaspoon of salt per two eggs can actually dissolve the protein in your eggs leaving you with beautifully tender eggs. Also, adding a pinch of salt to your coffee grinds before brewing will remove the bitter edge.

For more tips like this, stay tuned or visit my Facebook page.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Meatloaf Cupcakes

October 24, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Don't let dinner become so mundane that this is how you feel. Instead mix it up with some meatloaf cupcakes!

Don’t let dinner become so mundane that this is how you feel. Instead mix it up with some meatloaf cupcakes!

Meatloaf is one of the ultimate comfort foods, especially this time of year. There are countless ways to make it, and each way has it’s own benefits. What I have been enamored with as of late are meatloaf cupcakes. Serving meatloaf up in a new way can help kids gain more of the good stuff, or work with the time pressed equestrian when getting food ready quickly isn’t always an option.

Meatloaf cupcakes that are oddly reminiscent of real sugary cupcakes.

Meatloaf cupcakes that are oddly reminiscent of the “real” sugary cupcakes.

Cupcakes are all the craze of course, maybe even dying down a bit in light of the illustrious cronut. Yet taking something that has no relation to cupcakes like meatloaf can actually bring out creativity even on a night when one is drained due to the cold weather and dwindling daylight. Simply put, a meatloaf cupcake is a spin on the traditional meatloaf, just baked in a cupcake pan. Not only do they cook quicker than traditional meatloaf, but you can top them with a variety of good stuff. I personally like whipped mashed potatoes piped on as frosting and then using some sort of tomato glaze on top. For someone who lives on the go or by themselves, these individual servings of meatloaf work really well straight out of the freezer. It’s a way to utilize your time and ingredients in prepping for the future lack of food on lesson nights.

While I still haven’t found my ideal meatloaf (it’s like trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie), here are some recipes I’ve had great luck with. Keep in mind the base of the meatloaf has some sort of meat component (turkey, pork and/or beef), bread or in some cases quinoa or panko, a binder (egg) and then vegetables and seasonings. You can definitely tailor any of these recipes to make it more to your liking.

A blend of ground beef, quinona, vegetables and seasoning to round out one version of my meatloaf recipe.

A blend of ground beef, quinona, vegetables and seasoning to round out one version of my meatloaf recipe.

Meatloaf mixture placed into cupcake tins to provide faster cooking and individual servings.

Meatloaf mixture placed into cupcake tins to provide faster cooking and individual servings.

Once the meat component is settled on, the next phase is deciding which type of “cupcakes” you want. You can opt for frosted or glazed. The frosted meat cakes can be whipped cauliflower or potatoes (sweet or regular). And to do this I just made my favorite recipe, put them into a piping bag, and essentially frosted the cakes. You could always get crazy and put different tips on your bag to create fun patterns.

Creamy mashed potatoes blended up and ready to go in their piping bag.

Creamy mashed potatoes blended up and ready to go in their piping bag.

Fully cooked meatloaf cakes and cooled mashed potatoes, ready to assemble.

Fully cooked meatloaf cakes and cooled mashed potatoes, ready to assemble.

Piped mashed potatoes top cooke meatloaf cakes to create meatloaf cupcakes.

Piped mashed potatoes top cooked meatloaf cakes to create meatloaf cupcakes.

If you like the meat and potatoes component, then it’s a perfect marriage. If you’re not into the starches, then you could just glaze them. Most people use straight tomato ketchup, but I personally like balsamic ketchup or even tomato jam. You can place this right on top of your meat cakes towards the end of the cooking so the sugars caramelize and leave you with depth of flavor. Of course if you opted for potatoes, you could put the glaze over it and cook the potatoes a second time.

Meatloaf cupcakes straight out of the broiler for their second sound of baking to brown the potatoes and caramelize the glaze.

Meatloaf cupcakes straight out of the broiler for their second sound of baking to brown the potatoes and caramelize the glaze.

The possibilities are of course endless! Just don’t get depressed about summer’s end and find a way to enjoy even the most mundane of comfort foods. It’s a way to let your creativity loose during the week with the benefits of stocking your freezer with easy meals.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Arugula Beet Salad

October 17, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Arugula Beet Salad is a lovely and easy way to appreciate beets, but also to enjoy good food without a ton of preparation.

Arugula Beet Salad is a lovely and easy way to appreciate beets, but also to enjoy good food without a ton of preparation.

This salad comes together with the nutty creaminess of the pistachio, sweetness from baked beets, peppery arugula and some tangy pecorino cheese. You get textures and many flavor notes to balance the salad out. Simple but elegant enough for entertaining, or just to help liven up your mundane weeknight meals.

For those of you who are thinking “ewww beets,” bear with me and try this recipe. You can always pick them off later. Beets can be cooked similarly to that of a potato or carrot. You can roast them, boil them, fry them, etc. However for a non-beet enthusiast, I choose baking.  I start by cutting off the greens, washing them and then baking them in an oven. When they’re done, you simply let them cool and peel with your hands. You can also boil them, but if you do that and you have a variety of beet with stripes, the colors will bleed and you’ll loose those beautiful striations (and much of the taste too).  I wholeheartedly believe though that after trying this you may think twice about these root vegetables you’ve chosen to hate since you were a child. Not to mention, baking beets seems to concentrate their flavor and sweetness so you’re getting farther away from the canned varieties.

Source as much as you can locally for this recipe, which should be easy this time of year. Bake the beets when you’re in the shower the night prior, and just dig in! There’s not much to do other than to enjoy some much needed down time and good food.

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Arugula Beet Salad

3 medium sized whole beets, any variety
1/2 cup of pistachios
4 cups (10 oz) of baby arugula
1/2 cup of shaved pecorino
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar (good quality)
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, remove greens from the beets leaving about a 1/4 inch of the stems. Scrub thoroughly. Place a piece of foil directly on oven racks and place beets on top. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until they give slightly when you press on them. Cool completely.

Once the beets are cool, rub your thumb gently on the skin, it should come off easily. Remove all skin and trim as needed. Slice beets into around 1/8 inch thick slices. Set aside.

In a skillet (without oil), heat the pistachios on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Flip every few minutes to bring out the flavor of the nut without burning them. Allow to cool completely.

Either divvy up your arugula into four plates, or set leaves into one large serving bowl. Place the beets onto of the arugula, next add the pistachios and finally the pecorino. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk till incorporated to form your vinaigrette. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

When ready to serve allow guests to dress their salads with your homemade vinaigrette. Enjoy!

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.