Posts filed under 'In Season'
Hot weather in the Rockies calls for cool salad ideas. One of my favorite salads is a simple cucumber made with Fage yogurt. I have made this before with Bulgarian style yogurt but this thick Greek yogurt takes the prize. Seriously thick, there is no sense of depravation with the o% fat. For those of you who haven't tried this style of yogurt, the key differentiator with Greek style yogurt is that it is strained of its water. As a result it is creamier and has a higher protein content.
Thanks to Fage, the interest in this traditional style of yogurt has created a multi-million dollar category at the grocery store. Fage is by far the most prominent (and one of the best in my humble opinion) as it was first to market. But there are lots of brands out there now offering this style yogurt. Just make sure that the ingredient statment doesn't include gums or stabilizers, as these are not true Greek yogurts.
Cool, Creamy Cucumbers
1 large English cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
1/2 bunch chives, snipped, or 3 scallions, sliced thinly
1 cup Fage 0% yogurt
1 fresh lime, zest from 1/2 the lime, and then juiced (freshly squeezed orange juice works nicely too)
4 or 5 sprigs of cilantro (or fresh mint), chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt and pepper or Grains of Paradise
rice wine vinegar to taste, or the juice of 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup Olive oil
Water -to thin out as desired.
salt and pepper
Place the cucumbers into a large bowl. In a separate mixing bowl add the yogurt to your seasonings and stir. Now add the citrus juices and/or rice wine vinegar. Mix well and then slowly add the olive oil. Adjust seasonings and add water if you want it thinner – to your liking.
Pour mixture over the cucumbers. Toss to coat the cukes well. You can place in the refrigerator for a few hours but just before serving mix them again and garnish as you wish. These would be swell with quinoa patties which are posting in a few days.
August 7th, 2012
About two weeks ago, I arrived home to a large bunch of gorgeous, fuschia rhubarb delivered by a dear friend who knows of and shares in my love of rhubarb.
Three cheers for door to door rhubarb deliveries.
And as the cooking gods would have it, the lovely Alana over at Eating from the Ground Up had just baked this simple but excellent cake with rhubarb as the star ingredient. This is precisely the kind of rustic fruit cake that I adore. So Thank you Nigel Slater and Alana for this delightful, tender, sweet cake.
I was intrigued by the baking of the rhubarb before it became an ingredient in the cake. This step delivered attractive, tender, intact rhubarb pieces and bright pink cooking liquid that is spooned over the cake before eating – oh my. It is also delicious stirred into seltzer for a kid-friendly spring into summer spritzer.
With the use of a food processor, this cake came together quite easily. Do not let the polenta component confuse you, there is no polenta making involved, just coarse ground ground meal that adds a nice bite to the cake's texture.
My Mother's Day present to myself
Making the batter, I pulsed a few times too many but the recipe worked just fine.
Ready to bake!
Yum, yum, gimme some! Ready to eat.
Rhubarb Polenta Cake
Thank you to Eating From the Ground Up
Adapted from Nigel Slater, Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard
1 pound rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
10 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 to 4 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. turbinado or regular sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan or baking dish. Set aside.
2. Cut rhubarb into into 3-inch pieces. Put them into a baking dish, scatter them with the sugar and water, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft. Drain rhubarb in a colander over a bowl to collect the cooking liquid. Set aside the rhubarb and the strained liquid.
3. While the rhubarb is cooking, Add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixed. Add the orange zest and butter. Pulse again until the mixture is uniform with the butter approximately the size of small peas.
4. Whisk the egg with 2 Tbsp. of milk and add it to the processor bowl. Pulse a few times until you have a batter that is crumbly but comes together when pressed between your fingers. Add additional milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time until the right consistency is acheived.
5. Press 2/3 of the batter into the cake pan in an even layer. Make a layer of cooked rhubarb pieces. For the top layer, add clumps and crumbs of the remaining dough, leaving some places where the fruit can be seen. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake. Place cake onto the hot baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the top is slightly golden.
6. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan. I left mine right in the baking dish. Serve this cake with some of the reserved cooking liquid and something creamy like ice cream of yogurt.
May 24th, 2012
Normally I am the first person to say, "I am an omnivore, and I don't have any dilemmas"- which isn't exactly true. I participate in Meatless Mondays and really try to carry on the practice 4 times a week. I care greatly about the presence of genetically modified foods in our country. And every spring there comes a need to re-set my eating habits.
Last year Kimberly wrote about her 21 Day Vegan Cleanse. I have just completed a 14 day cleanse that was brought on by my allergies and a need to kick some bad habits that had formed over the past few months. In the process I began to really think about my relationship with food. I am not the only aging food professional who has been on this quest of late either.
Well known NY Times columnist, cookbook author, and blogger Mark Bittman wrote about being vegan before dinner when he learned that he needed to shed some weight for health reasons. Peter Kaminsky's soon to be released book Culinary Intelligence explores how to maximize flavor per calorie. In his own words "This book is all about pursuing the pleasures of the table on the path to good health." And this piece about sugar as a pro-oxidant on 60 Minutes was incredibly interesting to watch and equally compelling to greatly reduce my intake of simple sugars.
In any event, I certainly don't prescribe to the Kate Moss school of "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." However, there is something about spring that makes me want to rid my house and my body of built up toxins. In the process of greatly reducing the amount of calories I ate everyday, not drinkning alcohol, gluten, dairy, sugar or meat, and thinking carefully about what I ate for 14 days I came to an understanding about my eating habits. The end result was a few less pounds, greatly improved sleep and many new recipes and products that I am going to start incorportating into my life (see below).
Before going on my vegan cleanse I thought that not eating meat and cheese for that long would be really difficult. Interestingly enough the hardest things to give up were sweets and wine. Which made me realize that I really needed to make a simple change in my eating habits and replace those cravings with better choices.
Pantry staples for an enjoyable cleanse:
South River Miso – Dandelion is a natural diuretic so this was a flavor I used. Don't hestitate to try all their amazing types of miso.
Rejuvila – Use this is your smoothies. I made it with freshly squeezed orange juice and a banana.
On the days when I needed protein I added a scoop of this raw protein powder which is made from a plethora of raw organic sprouted grains and beans. No, it doesn't taste good but it did the job.
Nettle Tea by Traditional Medicinals
Deep Cleasnse Tea By Bija
It's easy enough to make nut milks but there are quite a few unsweetened milk alternatives on the market that are quite good. I especially like the new cashew, almond hazelnut flavor (which isn't on the website) from Hain Celestial. Some of them have only 50 calories and taste great in chai but are also good for smoothies.
Kale – Making kale chips was a critical as it gave me something crunchy and slightly salty, I also got in the habit of putting a raw piece of kale into freshly squeezed orange juice and blending it up. Spinach works well too.
If you need something creamy to eat, cashew hummus will satisfy.
When is the last time you re-evaluated your relationship with food? If you make the effort for spring cleaning your home, maybe it is time to consider a spring cleanse for your body?
May 4th, 2012
Happy New Year Flavoristas! Barr and I hope that you enjoyed delicous and fabulous holidays.
After an unseasonably warm winter so far, the cold temperatures have finally settled in, now we would like some snow please. (Seriously, my snowboarding and skiiing children need some snow!) Cold temperatures call for hot, hearty stews.
Lollie was gracious enough to jokingly pose for this kale coming out of your ears pose. Believe it or not, my neighbors still have garden kale available. I am competing with a flock of seven wild trukey who like to nibble on my neighbor's kale but I was able to get enough to make this satisifying stew.
And when you add kale to potatoes and sausage, finicky, non-kale eaters (aka Marco) don't notice.
Sausage, Potato and Kale Stew
Did you know that kale is even more delicious after the first frost? The cooler temperatures of fall tenderize the kale leaves so it’s time to move from kale salad to kale stew. This hearty stew is a meal by itself but feel free to gild the lily with a loaf of crusty bread and nice bottle of red wine.
2 Tbsp. butter
12 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
1 lb. sweet or hot sausage, meat pushed out of the links or cut into thin slices
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, not drained
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups finely chopped kale
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Add the butter to a heavy pot over medium heat. When melted, add the mushrooms. Cook and stir until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Set aside.
Add sausage to the pot; cook and stir until sausage is almost cooked through. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, salt, celery seed, paprika and black pepper. Cook and stir until onion is fragrant and meat is completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, beans, potatoes and broth to the pot along with the cooked mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and stir in the kale. Cover and cook until potatoes, carrots and kale are tender, about 20 minutes.
If desired, garnish each bowl with a generous Tbsp. of Parmesan. If there are any leftovers, this stew freezes and reheats nicely.
Cook’s Note: While I love mushrooms, I understand that not everyone shares my affection. If you prefer, omit the mushrooms and simply begin the recipe with step 2.
January 3rd, 2012
'Tis the season for squash and soup! This is the kind of soup that I love to order at restaurants, smooth and delicious, highlightling the crops of the season.
The good news is that it is easy enough to make at home; save your restaurant bucks for the Christmas shopping budget
Roasting squash and sweet potatoes take little effort and it can be done ahead of time to save time on soup day. I prefer roasting to steaming or boiling because it concentrates and deepens the flavor of the vegetables.
Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This vegetarian soup pairs savory winter squash and sweet apples to create a creamy soup that is sure to please everyone at the table. This fall classic is perfect on its own or served alongside a grilled cheese sandwich.
1 medium butternut squash
1 sweet potato, about 1 lb.
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. paprika
pinch of cayenne
5 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 Tbsp. honey, agave or brown sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. cider vinegar or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
finely chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise with a strong knife and a strong arm. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Prick the sweet potato with a fork. Place the sweet potato and squash, skin side up, onto a baking sheet.
Roast for 1 hour or until very tender, depending on the size of the squash, it make take 15-20 minutes more. When cool enough to touch, scoop cooked squash out of the skin and transfer to a food processor.
Slice the sweet potato lengthwise and scoop the sweet potato away from the skin. Add it to the food processor with 1 cup of broth and puree until very smooth. This step can be done one day ahead and puree can be refrigerated until needed to prepare the soup.
While the squash roasts, you can prepare the soup base. Add the butter to large pot over medium heat. When melted, add the next 11 ingredients to the pot (onion through cayenne).
Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth to the vegetables and stir well. Cover and simmer until carrots and celery are tender, about 10 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Add 1 cup of broth to the processor and puree until smooth. Add it back to the pot along with the pureed squash and whisk until smooth. Alternatively, process the soup with a hand held blender.
Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth, honey, molasses and cider vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, stir in the cream, if using, and cook for 10 minutes uncovered. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of cilantro or parsley.
November 16th, 2011
Late August is a cooking gardener's favorite time of year; green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and cukes are resplendent and anxious to cross the kitchen threshold. Before kiddos, I was an avid home gardener and maybe someday, I will grow vegetables again but for now I am quite satisfied shopping at farmer's markets.
Got cukes? Make pickles! The secret behind these ultra-crisp dill chips is salting the cucumbers before making the pickles, I learned this technique in the book Quick Pickles. Pulling some of the moisture out of the cucumber allows them to absorb the brine better and indded they do become more crisp.
Pickles are so pretty when you first add the vinegar, unfortuately the bright green fades as the pickling process continues.
Pickling cukes rinsed and ready.
Salting the cukes.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quarts
New England cukes are perfect for pickling and it need not be an all day, complicated affair. I love refrigerator pickles because they are super crunchy and the flavors stay really bright. Once you start making homemade pickles, you may never go back to store-bought.
10 pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch thick chips
5 Tbsp. kosher salt or sea salt, divided
2 fresh dill fronds or 1 tsp. dried dill, divided
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic, divided
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, divided
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
1 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1. Add the cucumber chips to a large non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel) and toss them with 3 Tbsp. of the salt. Cover and set aside for 2 hours, the salt will pull a fair amount of water out of the cucumbers. Rinse the cumbers several times and pat dry.
2. Divide the fresh dill, garlic and crushed red pepper between two 1-quart jars. Pack the cucumber chips into the jars.
3. Add the vinegar, water, mustard seed, dill seed, celery seed and remaining 2 Tbsp. salt to a non-reactive pot over medium-high heat. Once the brine boils, ladle it into the jars over the cucumber chips.
4. Let pickles cool to room temperature. Cover jars and refrigerate for 6-24 hours for full flavor. Refrigerator dills can be stored for about 1 month, if they last that long.
August 22nd, 2011
No, I have not lost mind mind (or the salad recipes), I just thought I would offer a glimpse inside my kitchen.
I have spent the week working on test shots of the recipes that might be the best for the cover of Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking (to be published this November by Sterling). It is so exciting to me that the book will be arriving as we round the corner into the holiday season. The recipe above is for Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Stew.
Let's move onto today's post…
Last winter, I worked on an article for Hannaford's fresh magazine. The idea came from a back to school layered sesame noodle salad that I developed for flavorista last fall. As much as I love to cook, I love to cook efficiently even more. These make and take salads are ideal because they are a snap to prepare, look beautiful and are completely satisfying
Roasted Vegetable, chickpea and baby spinach salad with honey lemon vinaigrette. The team at Easter Seals taste tested this salad for me and were quite thrilled when the March/April Issue finally came out. The marcona almonds in this salad add the most delicious crunch and substance to the salad
Thai shrimp salad with rice noodles, napa cabbage and a sweet and sour sesame dressing. Delish! When flavorista Julie and I get together, this is our fave.
Turkey, green apple and beet salad with toasted walnuts, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. This salad was inspired by my Mom whole loves all of the listed ingredients. Rumor has it that she did not even share any with my dad. As an aside, my arty mom has an etsy store and a blog. If you have a free moment you should check out her photography and jewelry.
Crispy romaine with summer tomatoes, creamy potatoes, savory roast beef all pulled together with blue cheese vinaigrette. Classic with a capital C, this salad is the summer version of meat and potatoes.
So break out that beautiful bowl and layer in some of your favorite ingredients. Hours later, your meal will be ready to eat without turning on the stove, a perfect plan for the last few weeks of August. Enjoy!
August 11th, 2011
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
Happy 4th of July Weekend flavoristas! The recipes links below are from the May/June issue of Hannaford's fresh magazine, I worked on the recipes last winter and yes I am one of the grill crazy people who grills year-round despite frigid, New England winters.
These burgers have been thoroughly tested on my family and neighbors. They are made from well-seasoned lean meats, quick to prepare and super yummy; so when you tire of plain ol' burgers, give one of these a try:
Breakfast Burger: Ground beef seasoned with cooked bacon and cheddar served on an English muffins with tomatoes and a fried egg. This gives breakfast for dinner a whole new meaning.
Burgers Cordon Bleu: Ground chicken seasoned with ham and Dijon mustard topped with Swiss Cheese. Roasted red peppers give it an extra layer of flavor.
Inside-Out Cheeseburgers: American cheese is sandwiched between two seasoned beef patties and topped with French's Fried Onions and spicy homemade ketchup. Yeah Baby!
Sun-dried Tomato Turkey Burgers with Fennel Slaw: An Italian-inspired summer burger with thick, chewy ciabatta rolls, savory turkey seasoned with bruschetta topping, pesto and a simple fresh fennel slaw. Delizioso!
July 2nd, 2011