Sexy little dish…

I recently started following a page on Facebook called Cheese Sex Death. It’s basically cheese porn. All manner of cheeses: soft, hard, smelly, earthy are introduced and pairings suggested. It’s pretty brilliant actually, and makes me want to become a certified fromagier and play with cheese all day. (Adding that to the bucket list.) In any event, on CSD, I came across an interesting recipe for a goat cheese dill pasta with acorn squash. These are all things that I enjoy, particularly in the fall, so I picked up a few items & planned to give the recipe a spin when I got home. 

“The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry.” – Robert Burns 

These were not particularly well-laid plans, as I was missing a few of the things I needed for the dish. I did, however, have some butter, wine, and black garlic & was able to whip up a different but equally sexy dish. 

Sexy Little Dish 

(Orecchiette with a Black Garlic Brown Butter White Wine sauce and Roasted Acorn Squash)


  • 16 oz orecchetiette pasta 
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-6 cloves Black Garlic
  • Dry white wine (I used the end of a Sauv Blanc from my fridge.)
  • 4 oz goat cheese (cut into small pieces & softened)
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled & diced 
  • EVOO
  • dill
  • Kosher salt


Roast the squash: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 
  2. Peel the acorn squash. Cut it in half & remove the seeds. Cut into evenly- sized cubes. 
  3. Drizzle with EVOO and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a little dill and Kosher salt. 
  4. Roast for about 30 mins until softened & browned. 

While you are making the sauce, cook the pasta according to package directions. I like  orecchetiette for this recipe; the tiny ear-shaped shells are a great vehicle for the creamy sauce. 

Make the sauce:

  1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. 
  2. When butter has melted, add the black garlic. Mash the garlic as it cooks & cook the butter and garlic slowly until it is browned & fragrant, 5-10 mins ​
  3. Pour in the wine (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and cook on medium high until reduced, 5-10 mins. ​
  4. Whisk in the goat cheese over medium-low heat. Keep whisking until all the goat cheese is worked in and smooth. ​
  5. Combine pasta & sauce & toss with the squash. 
  6. Enjoy a hearty, earthy sexy little dish! 🙂

Creamy Black Garlic Potato Soup #sevendaysofsoups


  • 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 6 pearl onions, peeled & halved
  • 4 cloves black garlic, crushed
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 qt vegetable or chicken stock
  • EVOO
  • up to 1C dry instant potatoes (optional)


  1. In a large pot heat a few tsp EVOO over medium-high heat.
  2. Sweat pearl onions until translucent.
  3. Toss in the black garlic & toss until onions are coated & mixture is fragrant.
  4. Add potatoes and toss to combine.
  5. Pour in stock. If it doesn’t cover the potatoes, add enough hot water to cover.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover & lower to medium heat.
  7. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, 10-15 mins.
  8. Lower heat & purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth.
  9. Whisk in the cream. *Hint: If at this point you feel that the soup isn’t reaching your desired thickness, you can sprinkle in the dry instant potatoes, a little at a time, whisking constantly until you reach the desired thickness.*
  10. Heat soup gently, over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve with crusty bread.

Need some black garlic? Order 40 day aged Black Garlic from my Etsy shop, Mise en Place Gourmet

Pumpkin Spice Kombucha

I know, I know… it’s pumpkin-spice-everything time! But there’s a reason everyone goes loco for all things pumpkin & spice at this time of year… BECAUSE IT’S DELICIOUS! And not to toot my own horn or anything, but this is the tastiest flavored kombucha I’ve made to date. Real talk. Usually, what I do when I’m flavoring kombucha is do all the brewing & fermenting, then after the booch is filtered I will add some frozen fruit & let it sit on my counter in the jar with the lid loosened for another 24 hours. Usually I will end up with some secondary fermentation & a little fizziness. Some of my favorite flavors are peach & basil, black cherry, and mixed berry (cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries).

This kombucha contains actual pumpkin, which is great for your eyesight, reducing “bad” cholesterol, and keeping your skin wrinkle-free! And it’s tasty too!


I totally agree Charlie!

Pumpkin Spice Kombucha

makes 2 qts


  • 4 tbsp pureed pumpkin (use canned or make your own)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmug
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 qts kombucha


  1. In a small bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices.
  2. Pour kombucha into a large pitcher.
  3. Add pumpkin mixture to kombucha & stir well to combine.

    I used this type of whisk.

    I used this type of whisk.

  4. Pour mixture into two 1-quart jars. Screw lids on loosely. Let jars sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
  5. Before drinking you will need to shake your kombucha, as the pumpkin mixture will sink to the bottom.
  6. An alternative method is to place half the pumpkin mixture directly into two 1-quart jars of kombucha, put on the lids tightly & shake well. Then, loosen the lids and allow kombucha to sit at room temp for at least 8 hours before drinking.

A Dark, Mysterious Dish…

My Black Garlic is finally finished with 40 days of fermenting this weekend! When it was starting to get close I started to brainstorm dishes I could make with these precious, dark, earthy bundles of deliciousness.

Black Garlic butter, Black Garlic infused sea salt, Black Garlic mayo…

You get the idea…

Black Garlic Chicken with Black Rice & Black Beans

Even though Black Garlic & Black Rice are technically Asian in origin, this recipe is actually Latin in inspiration, specifically Cuban. Call it my own weird fusion cuisine.

For the chicken:


  • 8-10 pieces of chicken (I used legs & thighs)
  • 1 head of black garlic, peeled and pureed to a paste
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  1. Combine garlic, OJ, salt, pepper, & spices. Whisk together to make a marinade.
  2. Spread chicken pieces in a single layer in a 13″X9″ baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap & let marinate overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 450F.
  4. Roast the chicken in the lower part of the oven 45 mins-1 hr, spooning the sauce over the chicken during the last 10 mins of cook-time.

Fun Facts about Black Rice:

  • Black rice is black because of the outer coating of black bran on the grain.
  • Black rice is a “superfood” & has more antioxidants than blueberries.
  • Black Rice looks purple when it’s cooked.
  • Black Rice is also known as “tribute rice”, “longevity rice”, and my personal favorite, “forbidden rice” (Remember Lambada, the forbidden dance?) because it was reserved for the Emperors of ancient China.

I’m cooking my inaugural pot of Black Rice according to the package instructions:

  1. Place 1 C of rice in a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 3/4 C water, bring to a boil & stir.
  3. Reduce heat (to low) and simmer 35-45 mins.
  4. Remove from heat & allow to stand covered for 5 mins.
  5. Fluff with a fork & serve.

Slow-Cooked Black Beans Cuban-Style:

Dried beans take a little more prep than canned ones, but they are always much cheaper. Like double the amount for the same price. The soaking & rinsing are instructions you can use any time you are cooking dried beans. There is a quick method with boiling, but I have never had good results with it…


  • 1 pound bag dried black beans
  • 1/4 C sofrito
  • 1 hamhock
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 C chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Pour the dried beans into a large bowl and cover with water. Put the bowl in the fridge 8 hours or overnight to soak.
  2. Before using your soaked beans, rinse them thoroughly, and pick out anything that looks funky (pebbles etc).
  3. Put your soaked beans into a large pot and add sofrito, hammock, spices,and bay leaves. Pour the chicken stock over the beans.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer the beans 2 hours, or until tender.
  5. When the beans are cooked, season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Serve this dark, delicious dish with some freshly-sliced avocado (for a pop of color).

Black Garlic Bonanza! #itsalive

My journey making Black Garlic is complete! It took 39 days to get to earthy, fermenty perfection.

Here’s a recap in case you forgot…

Black Garlic: To Boldly Go… (NERD ALERT)

Black Garlic Update!

Black Garlic: Week One

Here is a photo of my babies at the 20 day mark...

Here is a photo of my babies at the 20 day mark…

The good news, is the garlic odor did not take over my house as I predicted it would… It would get stinky for a few minutes when I opened the crockpot & unwrapped it. My hands would definitely get pretty stinky when I rotated the cloves so the bottom ones would be on top & vice versa.

Here are the cloves in the mini crockpot on Day 39.

Here are the cloves in the mini crockpot on Day 39…

At this point I started to peel the cloves.

Here's a pile of the little wrinkly babies... Aren't they CUTE?

Here’s a pile of the little wrinkly babies… Aren’t they CUTE?

Now, you can keep the cloves intact, throw them in a container in your fridge and use them in the place of regular garlic. I decided to make a Black Garlic paste for various future applications…

Black Garlic Paste

This Black Garlic paste has a salty pungent taste, not unlike fish sauce. Seasoning with salt whenever you cook with garlic is a good idea. I find that the salt “sets off” the flavors in the garlic. That is especially true here.


  • 2 heads of Black Garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp warm water


  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.
  2. Process or blend until smooth.
  3. Use sparingly. A little bit goes a long way.

This Black Garlic dip was a big hit at a recent shindig I attended…

Addictive Black Garlic Dip


  • 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp finely minced chives
  • 2 cloves Black Garlic, minced or 2 teaspoons (not a tsp, the kind of teaspoon you eat with) Black Garlic Paste (see above)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix using the paddle attachment until combined.
  3. Serve chilled with crackers or chips.

For more fermenty food ideas, check out my Pinterest board, “IT’S ALIVE!!!”

“It’s ALIVE!!” Black Garlic Update: Week One

Here’s a little video-update on my soon-to-be Black Garlic:

Possibly you can’t tell from the video, but there is a VERY STRONG aroma coming out of that mini-crockpot. I imagine it will get stronger as the weeks go on. I ended up changing my mind about using beer as the liquid & instead used some leftover white wine (GASP!) I had hanging around the house. It doesn’t smell winey, and I’m unsure if the wine will end up effecting the flavor.

In case you missed it, and want to join the fun, here’s the recipe

For more fermenty fun, check out my It’s ALIVE!! Pinterest board

“It’s ALIVE!” Part 5: Black Garlic- “To boldy go…”

Black Garlic. It sounds so goth. But it’s supposedly Asian (Korea specifically) in origin and is the next stop on my fermented foods journey. But it’s going to be a long road. According to all the research I’ve done (Thank you Pinterest!) it can take anywhere from 14 to 40 days! And it will possibly stink up my house and need to be moved to the garage or outdoors. But it’s supposed to be healthy and have a rich, layered, smoky umami flavor. How will I know when it’s ready? I have no idea. But here we go!

Mysterious Black Garlic

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • whole heads of garlic (I’m starting with 8 heads)
  • some beer (or wine, or broth, or water even)
  • a rice cooker, food dehydrator, or crockpot that can maintain a steady low temperature
  • some plastic wrap &/or aluminum foil


  1. Do not peel the heads of garlic! In order for the magic to happen, they will need to be intact.
  2. Put the garlic heads in your heating apparatus (I bought myself a teeny, tiny crockpot for this project.)
  3. Drizzle with your liquid of choice. You want to lock in the moisture so your heads don’t dry out and burn. Beer seems the best choice here, for moisture and imparting flavor. I’m using about 1/4 C for my 8 heads of garlic, just enough to moisten the bottom of the vessel.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or foil or both. I’m putting the cover of the crockpot on there too. I think this is to a) keep the moisture contained and b) to contain the funky smell that’s liable to emanate while the garlic is fermenting.
  5. Keep at a constant temperature of 130F-150F for at least 2 weeks, leaving it in longer will result in a a deeper, smokier flavor.

So it’s working! I will update in 2 weeks, unless something crazy happens before that. In the meantime check out some of the things you can make with Black Garlic on my “IT’S ALIVE!!!” Pinterest board…


So there is a slight funk of garlic currently lingering in the house. It's not BAD, the kids don't even notice it, but if it gets worse I may have to move this operation to the garage.

So there is a slight funk of garlic currently lingering in the house. It’s not BAD, the kids don’t even notice it, but if it gets worse I may have to move this operation to the garage.