On Saturday morning, John and I left the Island a little past 6, and arrived at the track just as the sun was breaking through the marine layer. Although I love the glamour of the Turf Club, the thrill of the race, and the excitement of cashing in a winning ticket, it's a very unique and special experience to watch these incredibly beautiful and magnificent thoroughbreds in the early morning calm of this picturesque seaside track.
After taking over 700 photos, we returned home and made our own breakfast...Pumpkin Waffles, a recipe from Gourmet, and made famous locally by San Diego's Cafe 222.
Gourmet, November 2000
Measure all of the following ingredients into a medium bowl
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
In a large bowl, whisk 4 eggs until blended. Then, whisk in 1 cup milk, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup canned solid-packed pumpkin, and 6 tablespoons butter (melted) until smooth.
Whisk in dry ingredients just until smooth
Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly. I was a bit overzealous with the batter on this one!
And this one was a little shy on batter.
Transfer waffles to rack in a 250 degree F oven to keep warm and crisp. Serve waffles with butter and warm, pure maple syrup, sausage patties, and orange juice. I didn't use them this time, but a sprinkling of toasted pecans is also a nice topping for the waffles.
Our Sunday didn't go as well as our Saturday.
Unfortunately, Diver, our 2-year-old Newfoundland, became suddenly ill on Sunday morning. We spent most of day at an emergency veterinary hospital and, as a result, did not make it to Concert in the Park for our scheduled Challenge Coffee culinary battle.
The veterinarians have been unable to come up with an answer as to why our boy's rear leg and foot became severely swollen and infected. The first impression was a snake bite, but we don't have snakes in Coronado. The latest suspicion is a spider bite, maybe from one of the Recluses found in CA.
Thankfully, he is doing much better with high doses of antibiotics, pain killers, and daily vet re-checks. Poor boy, it's just heartbreaking when he looks up at you with his soft brown eyes and you can feel his pain.
After things settled down a little on Sunday evening, I went ahead and made my Espresso Crusted Filet Mignon and Gorgonzola Crostini. I found this recipe, by Marc Bruzzio, for Espresso Crusted Filet with Gorgonzola Sauce, and planned on adapting it for something more suitable for a picnic in the park. It turned out quite nice and would have been perfect. Sorry gang, I would have loved to share it with you.
Espresso Crusted Filet Mignon and Gorgonzola Crostini
2 8 oz. filet mignons
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup instant espresso
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt & pepper
1 French baguette, thinly sliced
Season filets on both sides with salt and pepper. Mix together espresso and cayenne pepper. Coat all sides of filet with mixture.
In a sauce pan, saute minced shallots in about 2 tablespoons olive oil, until translucent and fragrant. Add thyme and stir for about 30 seconds. Add wine and stir for 1 minute, and then add the crumbled Gorgonzola, heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir constantly until thick and reduced by half. Transfer to bowl and let cool, then refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the crostini, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the bread on both sides with the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until crusty and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn once about halfway through cooking.
For the filets, add 4 tablespoons olive oil to saute pan. Heat the oil, add the filets, and sear about 1 minute on each side. Place the filets on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Tent with foil, let rest 5 minutes, and slice.
To serve, spread the chilled Gorgonzola on the crostini and top with a slice of filet.
For dessert, I made David Lebovitz' Tiramisu Ice Cream, from The Perfect Scoop
This would not have traveled very well to the park as it's a very soft ice cream and should be eaten directly out of the freezer. The flavors are wonderful, especially the brandy! I cooked my Espresso Ripple a little too long, and it was slightly crunchy in the ice cream. I also added some leftover caramel when I layered in the ripple.
2 cups Mascarpone cheese
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlua
3 tablespoons brandy or dark rum
Espresso Ripple (recipe below)
Puree the Mascarpone, half-and-half, sugar, salt, liqueur, and brandy together in a blender or food processor until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove it from the machine, alternate layers of Mocha Ripple with the ice cream in the storage container.
For the Espresso Ripple:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup strongly brewed espresso
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, espresso, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges. Continue to whisk until it just comes to a low boil. Cook for 1minute, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator before using.
The Espresso Ripple should be thoroughly chilled. Just before you remove the ice cream from the machine, spoon some of the espresso ripple onto the bottom of the storage container. As you remove the ice cream from the machine, layer generous spoonfuls of the sauce between layers of ice cream. Avoid stirring the Ripple, as it will make the ice cream muddy looking.
Get well soon, Diver Dog. We love you.