Posts filed under 'Gadgets Galore'
I look forward to the New England sugar snap pea harvest eleven months a year. These green dandies are perfect for dip and for crispy salads, especially with mint and lemon. This dinner is a riff on classic chicken and rice, made with sugar snap peas and leeks instead of peas and onions.
The dish is brightened at the end with a splash of fresh lemon and some fresh chives. I love to make this meal and then bring the whole pot outside for an easy, al fresco dinner. It is easy to prepare and easy to clean up, two things that fit summer cooking perfectly.
Springtime Chicken & Rice
A superb one pot dinner made of tender chicken, rice and sugar snap peas. The dish is seasoned with fresh herbs that are found in abundance this time of year. Using a Le Creuset Dutch Oven makes it easy to go from stove to table.
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 small thighs)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 leek, halved lengthwise and washed well, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives, divided
2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint (optional)
Add flour, lemon pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt to a gallon-size storage bag. Shake to combine. Add chicken. Seal and shake well to coat chicken with flour. Transfer thighs to a plate shaking off any excess flour into the bag. Discard remaining flour.
Add olive oil to a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (at least 5.5-qt.) over medium-high heat. When hot add chicken and brown nicely on both sides, about 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. You may have to do this step in batches, try not to overcrowd the pan.
Reduce heat to medium and add butter, garlic, leek, rice and remaining salt. Cook and stir until leek softens, about 2 minutes.
Add wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and stir well. Bring to a simmer. Place chicken on top of rice and add any cooking juices to the pot. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and rice is almost tender.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Stir snap peas, lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. of chives into the rice. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until the snap peas are crisp tender.
To serve, divide rice and chicken between 4 plates. Garnish each plate with remaining chives and mint, if using.
These recipe is being used in a program sponsored by the Le Creuset Outlet in Kittery, Maine that promotes local farms and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It was an honor to be asked to participate in this program and it seemed like I natural fit since I love my Le Creuset cookware and because I love farmer's markets.
July 13th, 2011
Greens, peas and strawberries, Oh My! 'Tis the season for farm bounty and beauty in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. For the next two days, I will feature two of my favorite summer recipes. Today, I offer up Classic Strawberry Jam and tomorrow's post will be for Summery Chicken and Rice, a fab one pot dinner perfect for outside dining.
These recipes are also being used in a program sponsored by the Le Creuset Outlet in Kittery, Maine that promotes local farms and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I was honored to be asked to participate in this program; it seemed like I natural fit since I love my Le Creuset cookware and because I love farmer's markets.
Marco and Lollie with beautiful Maine strawberries ready to be turned into jam. I did not even plan the red shirts, cute eh?
Classic Strawberry Jam
Makes about 8 cups of jam (or 8 (8-oz.) jam jars)
Nothing marks the beginning of summer better than a big pot of ruby red jam that fills the kitchen with strawberry perfume. My recipe is based on the one provided in pink, Sure-Jell Pectin box. I prefer the pectin made for reduced sugar preparations because you can use less sugar and more fruit, delivering a more intense strawberry flavor.
1 (1.75 oz.) box Sure-Jell Pectin for Reduced Sugar recipes (pink box)
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl, divided
7 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
generous pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp. butter or canola oil (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together pectin and 1/4 cup of the pre-measured sugar. Set aside remaining sugar.
Add pectin/sugar mixture and strawberries to a 5.5-qt. Le Creuset Dutch Oven (or another large, heavy-bottomed pot). Stir well. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, this means that the mixture will keep boiling even when you stir.
Add lemon juice, salt and butter, if using. The butter (or oil) is helpful in keeping foam down. Stir reserved sugar into strawberries. Stirring constantly, bring mixture back to a full rolling boil. Cook and stir for 1 more minute. Turn off heat.
Skim and discard any foam. Ladle jam into clean jars. Wipe rims and cover. Allow jam to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Jam will keep for 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator.
Alternative Method for True Canning:
Follow rice to step 5. Ladle jam into sterilized jars, wipe rims, seal with 2-piece lids. Screw tightly.
Lower jars into a canner, bring water to a gentle boil. Process jars for 10 minutes.
Cool jars overnight at room temperature. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated.
July 12th, 2011
If you are looking for a last minute gift for that flavorista on your list, here are a few suggestions that keep on giving and might even score you some deliciousness.
Harold McGee’s newest book which is endlessly helpful in answering cooking questions:
This beautiful, pumpkin-hued, oven-proof terrine from Terrain.
For the foodie who has everything, a tube of Umami.
Or a jar of homemade dry cherry compote a la Chef John Platt (for recipe click here).
And Santa, if you happen to be reading this, there is a certain flavorista in Portland, Maine who is really hoping to find this Fagor 3-in-1 Cooker under her tree. A rice cooker, pressure cooker and slow cooker, all in one appliance. Brilliant, if you ask us!
December 20th, 2010
I love my steam canner. I find it so much easier to use then submerging Mason jars into large pots of boiling water.
While searching the web for information on steam canning, I was surprised to find that there are some groups that suggest it isn’t adequate for preserving high acid foods. I find this hard to believe as I’ve been canning preserves with it for many years now and have had no issues.
This weekend I harvested our rhubarb and made a lovely strawberry rhubarb preserve. I also purchased 15 lbs of apricots and made enough apricot preserves for 2 years!
On the strawberry rhubarb I used the technique of sugaring the rhubarb and allowing it to macerate for a few hours before cooking them down. I did the same for the strawberries and then added them to the rhubarb after about 1/2 an hour of cooking the rhubarb.
I don’t use a lot of sugar when I make preserves. In fact for the 15 Lbs of apricots I used about 5 cups of sugar. For the 4 quarts of strawberries I used a cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of sugar on the 4 lbs of rhubarb.
Canning is a lot of work but if I consider how much a single jar of preserves costs at the farmer’s market ($7.00 for Plum!) for 1 rainy afternoon of prepping and canning, my yield was significant.
Granted I’ve been doing this for a few years so I’ve got the method down: Prepping the fruit one day ahead and then reheating it to can the next day (make sure you reheat it to boiling) and then placing all the canning jars in the dishwasher and running them on the sanitize cycle and keeping them hot just before filling, and keeping a pot of boiling water on the stove for all the lids.
If you’ve never canned before, try and find someone who has to get the method down. After all canning historically was a community event. With homesteading on the rise, some local cooking schools are offering classes on canning techniques.
In Boulder the Culinary School of the Rockies is offering a class on August 14, with a wonderful chef and urban homesteading guru Teresa Brown. Get your homesteading on and reap the rewards all winter long!
August 18th, 2010
After reading about how much Elana loves her julienne slicer, I decided that I should give one a try. I have a mandolin slicer that I use for uniform, thin sliced potatoes but I don’t love the mandolin and I am generally fearful that one of the kiddos is going to cut themselves with it.
Enter the Huhn Rikon julienne slicer that I ordered myself for Mother’s Day. Love it! I have used it to make a few cucumber salads like this one and for carrots (check back later this week for French-Inspired Grated Carrot Salad). I imagine it could also be used to make some cool potatoes that could be fried up rosti-style.
I love the idea of vegetables mimicking noodles, not for trickery but for added health and calorie counting. Zucchini can fill in for thin noodles in hot dishes, while julienned cucumbers substitute nicely in cold salads. When fall arrives, I will give Elana’s Chicken "Noodle" Soup a try.
June 6th, 2010
How to Roast a Lamb is written by chef and restauranteur Michael Psilakis of New York. I saw him in the fall on the Martha Stewart Show and decided that this was a book worth purchasing. As I mentioned before, I really don’t care for the title, but the contents deliver excellent meals. I took a few liberties with his recipe.
I am now fully committed to cooking beans in clay pots. It takes a bit more work, but the results are superb every time.
With the strange warm weather I am being seduced into thinking that we are through with winter. Spring just might be around the corner so here is a lovely menu for all those inclined to defy the groundhog. I loved the white gigantes beans as they are impressive, toothsome and tasty.
The first night I served the fasolada with a very simple roasted boneless leg of lamb with a pomegrante dried cherry reduction. We had leftover white beans and I served it as a soup with a fresh gremolata (recipe below) and feta cheese on top. It was outstanding in both presentations. This soup has just the right notes of herbs, onions and creamy beans.
Fasolada – White Bean Soup adapted from How to Roast a Lamb
1 lb dried cannellini beans or white gigantes, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
1 large parsnip, peeled, woody interior stem removed, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large fennel bulb, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 bay leaves
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Warm the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add all the vegetables, except for the leek, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and allow to evaporate.
Add the beans, leeks, bay leaves, thyme and stir to incorporate. Now transfer the contents into the clay pot. Pour in the water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and bring to a boil on the stove. Cover and transfer to a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for about 2 hours, checking the beans after about 1 1/2 hours.
When beans are tender, remove from the oven. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice. and chopped garlic. Take out about 2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or in a food processor until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot. Cover and allow to cool, or place back into the oven with the heat off until you are ready to serve.
Gremolata -This is traditionally used on top of Osso Buco. I’ve started to use it on so many things from grilled fish to beans soups.
1/2 cup freshly chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest
Place all the minced/chopped ingredients together and toss together well. Serve a heaping Tbsp. on top of each bowl of soup.
March 19th, 2010
One of our regular readers picked up a Wrap-n-Mat this past fall for her daughter’s lunchbox. She is very happy with the wrap’s performance.
Here’s what she had to say "It has worked out great! I really like it, and will buy two more so each child has their own. I mostly use it for peanut butter sandwiches, bagels and cooled quesadillas (haven’t tried anything too messy). I just wipe clean with soap and water. It has lasted all school year with no rips and it has returned home each time. Wrap-n-Go is definitely worth the money. "
Check out Wrap-n-Mat’s website for its signature product and other re-usable food wrappings. Considering Wrap-n-Mat is good for the earth and good for the wallet, we give it a Flavorista thumbs up.
Many thanks to Flavorista Jen from Indiana for this product testing and reporting back. Jen’s daughter would also like to add "Once you unwrap the sandwich it’s like you have your own placemat."
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, for some Irish recipes for tonight’s dinner, click here.
March 17th, 2010
Santa was kind enough to leave this dandy, little gadget in my stocking. I have to admit that I was just a wee bit skeptical about the necessity of an avocado slicer. As you may or may not recall I am very protective of my kitchen space.
I happen to love avocados and have eaten hundreds of them over my lifetime. Sometimes, I find them a bit messy to prep, especially if they are on the over ripe side.
The avocado slicer works just as you would suspect (see photo below) and it yields perfect, little avocado slices to be used immediately or further chopped. In researching this post, I found some avocado slicers also have pit removers but I have always zipped the pit out with my French knife, a trick I learned in my intro to culinary arts class.
Beautiful slices of avocado ready to be placed onto a salad or into a sandwich.
Chow’s quick video on how to pit an avocado using a French knife:
January 11th, 2010
When in doubt, go for a book, gadgets or something homemade!
Momfuku by David Chang is probably one of the best cookbooks of the year. If you are ever in New York, his restaurants are a must.
Citrus reamers or a citrus press like you see in Mexico.
Kimberly’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Almonds.
These beautiful folding wooden salad tongs are also perfect.
Give the gift of a flavor trip this holiday season with Frooties! This is a great activity for the whole family. Watch everyone eat lemons, limes and grapefruits with gusto!
A jar of Barr’s homemade Chocolate Hazelnut spread.
December 17th, 2009
Is it just us or did the holidays arrive very quickly this year? Here’s a few more ideas for that special flavorista on your list:
For those flavoristas who would like to make their own salad dressings, this gadget makes it easy. Measurements for 3 dressings are right on the bottle. The Emulstir by Chef N.
My friends at Savory Spice have these wonderful stocking stuffer spice blends. These are not on their website so you will have to call the store directly. They also have gift cards.
These marble butter bells keep your butter at the perfect temperature and texture for spreading. I like these marble ones as they stay cooler and are very durable.
The butter boats are great because you don’t have to cram the butter into the holder, the stick just drops right in.
No drip honey is a sweet stocking stuffer too!
December 16th, 2009