Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Seasonal Holiday Tart!

November 29, 2016

If you are looking for something new this holiday season, here is a recipe for an amazing tart (courtesy of Sqirl’s pastry chef, Meadow Ramsey).

Hazelnut-Rosemary Caramel Tort

Ingredients
Pastry
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1-1/2 sticks of cold butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
Ice water

Filling
1-1/2 sticks of butter
1 Tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1-1/2 cup of hazelnuts
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup of brown rice syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt (for garnish)
Whipped creme fraiche (for garnish/serving)

1.  Make the pastry.  In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, and fine sea salt.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Ad the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of ice water and pulse until the pastry just comes together; add another tablespoon of ice water if it seems dry.  Turn the pastry out on to a work surface and pat into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled (about an hour).

2.  On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round.  Ease the round into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing it into the corners and up the side.  Trim off any overhang.  Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes before removing the pie weights and parchment; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes longer, until it is lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely.

4.  Make the filling.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat.  Remove from the heat and add the rosemary (allow to steep for 20 minutes).  Strain the butter into a small bowl and let cool.

5.  Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven  until fragrant and golden (the skins should just be starting to split, about 12 minutes or so) .  Let them cool slightly then transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins; let them cool completely.  Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and spread them in your cooled tart shell.

6.  In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and yolks with the brown sugar, brown rice syrup, honey and fine sea salt.  Gradually whisk in the rosemary butter then whisk in the cream, flour, and vanilla.  Pour the filling into the tart shell and sprinkle the flaky sea salt on the top.  Place the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the tart for 50 minutes at 375 degrees (until the filling is set at the edge, but slightly jiggly in the center).  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature (or just slightly chilled) with a dollop of whipped creme fraiche (or plain whipped cream).

Source: the November issue of Food & Wine magazine, p. 98.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving officially became a holiday 153 years ago (President Abraham Lincoln proclamation, October 3, 1863, declaring the last Thursday of November as the holiday).  I know you are curious and just dying to know some of the facts that follow, so sit back and relax, here is a list of some truly trivial Thanksgiving facts . . . Thanksgiving by the numbers:

  • 4 places as well as 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in their name
    • Turkey Creek village (Louisiana)
    • Turkey city (Texas)
    • Turkey Creek (Arizona)
    • Turkey town (North Carolina)
  • 7 places or townships with “Cranberry” in their name
  • 33 counties, places, and townships with “Plymouth” in their name.
  • 65,975 = the number of grocery stores in the U.S. (2014)
  • 3,109 = the number of bakeries in the U.S. (2014)
  • 2,798 = the number of fruits and vegetables markets in the U.S. (2014)
  • 243 million = the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. (2016)
    • 44 million (Minnesota)
    • 33 million (North Carolina)
    • 26 million (Arkansas)
    • 20 million (Indiana)
    • 19.7 million (Missouri)
    • 17 million (Virginia)
  • $19.3 million = value of live turkeys imported to the U.S. — mostly from Canada (2015)
  • 850 million pounds = cranberries produced in the U.S.  — 521 million in Wisconsin (2016)
  • 3.1 billion pounds = sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. (2015)

Source: U.S. Census, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff19.html

Do You Know Your Herbs?

November 17, 2016

Herbs are essential to creating culinary masterpieces.  There are certain ones that no kitchen should be without.  Here is a handy infographic that shows you the herbs and how best to utilize them in your cooking.   Bon appetit!

Herb Guide To Cooking

 

Herb Guide To Cooking [Infographic] by the team at NeoMam

Eat More Chicken!

November 1, 2016

Here’s a recipe that will make it easy to abide by the Chick-Fil-A slogan to “eat more chicken.”

Chicken with a Mustard/Bacon Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup of Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
8 strips of bacon, uncooked and chopped
1 cup of chopped onion
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
1-1/2 cups of chicken broth

Directions
1. Combine the mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Spread mixture evenly over both sides of the breasts and set aside.

2.  In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon on medium-high heat until it starts to brown.  Remove the bacon to a plate.  Add your chopped onion to the bacon grease and cook until softened.  Remove from the pan.

3.  Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to the hot skillet and cook the mustard-smeared chicken on medium heat for about 1-1/2 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken (it won’t be done, but will continue to cook in a later phase of the recipe).

4.  Add the chicken broth to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add back the bacon and the onions and mix well.  Add the chicken breasts back to the skillet and reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for about 15-20 minutes (turning the chicken once), or until the chicken breasts are fully cooked.

Serve with wild rice and your choice of vegetable (I use my carrots au gratin recipe and freshly steamed broccoli).

Not Your Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup!

October 18, 2016

Chicken Parmesan Soup

Ingredients
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
14-1/2 ounces of crushed tomatoes
½ pound of raw chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
3 cups of chicken broth
½ cup of white onion, chopped
1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons of fresh oregano, chopped
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
4 ounces of uncooked gemelli or penne pasta
Fresh basil or parsley, skinless (for the garnish)

Directions
1. In the slow cooker, stir together the garlic, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, onion, cheese, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Cook on high for 3-1/2 hours or on low for 7 hours.

2. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and coarsely shred them; return them to the slow cooker; stir in the pasta. Cook on high for 30 minutes longer or until the pasta is cooked al dente.

3. Serve garnished with more Parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.

Cheesecake of the Month – October 2016!

October 15, 2016

Here’s a new recipe that I will be trying out this week that was forwarded to me by a friend (thank you Justin).  I’m sure it will be just as delicious as it looks! (And, super easy to make!)  I may have to make these for next week’s event . . .

Snickers® Cheesecake

This visual “how to” video has been circulating on facebook . . . https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/videos/1810535682532406/

Or, if you prefer the printed word (an actual recipe) over a video representation, check out an actual recipe at: http://www.handletheheat.com/snickers-cheesecake/

99 Great Ways to Save (Part 6)!

October 14, 2016

In the July /August issue of the AARP Bulletin, several experts offer tips and tricks that will help you save money in a variety of categories: travel, technology, home, finance, style, food, fun, getting there, health, and entertainment.  Part 6 will be the food category (tips courtesy of Joe Randall [founder of Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School], Chef Brendan Walsh [dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America], and David Pogue [founder of Yahoo Tech and author of Pogue’s Basics]).

53. Be your own butcher (boneless costs more).
54. Avoid the impulse to overbuy.
55. Buy spices in small quantities.
56. Extend the life of fresh herbs (wrap in moist paper towel, seal in plastic bag).
57. Cook under pressure.
58. Use all your food (plan meals to use leftovers).
59. Freeze flavor (garlic, ginger, and lemons can be frozen for later).
60. Revive old bread (if stale, wet crust, then bake 300 for 6-12 minutes).
61. Revive wilted greens (soak in lukewarm H2O for 30 minutes, rinse with cold H2O).

Source: AARP Bulletin, July/August 2016, p. 26.

Soup-er Recipe!

October 4, 2016

I’m a huge fan of tomato soup (especially tomato basil) and ran across this recipe that sounds positively delicious.  And with the approach of cooler fall temperatures, a hearty soup recipe is always good to have on hand.

Tomato Basil Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
48 ounces of chicken broth
24 ounces of marinara sauce
¾ cup of fresh basil, chopped (3/4 ounce package basil)
16 ounces of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

Directions
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the shallots (or onions), season with the salt and the pepper and sauté until tender (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds.  Add the chicken broth, the marinara sauce, and the fresh basil and increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Carefully add the tortellini to the boiling soup and cover.  Reduce the heat to medium  and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).  Serve with crostini or cheese toast.

Note: you may need to add more chicken broth when reheating – tortellini will absorb some of the broth as the soup cooks.

Best Cities for Running!

September 27, 2016

In the October issue of Runner’s World, they analyzed more than 250 cities (populations greater than 160K) with the highest number of households per capita who reportedly participated in some form of running over the last twelve months.  Data was gathered from a variety of sources to create five categories of special importance to runners (presence of sanctioned clubs, races, and running stores; the number of trails, open spaces, running tracks, etc.; ideal running weather; access to healthy food options; and safety [crime and traffic] for pedestrians).   Here’s the list of the top-50.

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. New York, NY
  9. Omaha, NE
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Madison, WI
  13. Colorado Springs, CO
  14. San Jose, CA
  15. Los Angeles, CA
  16. Rochester, NY
  17. Pittsburgh, PA
  18. Tucson, AZ
  19. Raleigh, NC
  20. Boise, ID
  21. Oakland, CA
  22. Philadelphia, PA
  23. Sacramento, CA
  24. St. Louis, MO
  25. Buffalo, NY
  26. Virginia Beach, VA
  27. St. Paul, MN
  28. Richmond, VA
  29. Santa Rosa, CA
  30. Charlotte, NC
  31. Las Vegas, NV
  32. Tampa, FL
  33. Lincoln, NE
  34. Albuquerque, NM
  35. Cleveland, OH
  36. Cincinnati, OH
  37. Milwaukee, WI
  38. Atlanta, GA
  39. Des Moines, IA
  40. Irvine, CA
  41. Salt Lake City, UT
  42. Baltimore, MD
  43. Spokane, WA
  44. Honolulu, HI
  45. Indianapolis, IN
  46. Phoenix, AZ
  47. San Antonio, TX
  48. Miami, FL
  49. Oklahoma City, OK
  50. Houston, TX

Source: runnersworld.com/bestcities

Chocolate, Brownie, and Mousse!

September 20, 2016

What’s not to like?  This sounds like a truly decadent dessert that I will just have to give a whirl one of these days.   I don’t remember where I ran across this recipe (so my apologies for not  providing proper attribution).

Triple Chocolate Brownie-Mousse

BROWNIES
Cooking spray
¾ cup of butter
1 (4-oz) bittersweet dark chocolate baking bar, chopped
1-1/2 cups OF sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup of all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt

MILK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1/2 a package (12-oz) of milk chocolate morsels (1 cup)
¼ cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup of heavy cream

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1 cup of white chocolate morsels
1-1/4 cup of heavy cream, divided

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
8 large paper clips
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Garnish: shaved chocolate

DIRECTIONS
1. To prepare the brownies: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and the sides of a 13×9-inch pan with aluminum foil (allowing 2-3 inches to extend over the sides); lightly grease the foil with cooking spray. Microwave the butter and the bittersweet chocolate in a large bowl on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or just until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.  Whisk in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time whisking just until blended after each addition.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended.  Pour mixture into your prepared pan.

2. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).  Lift the brownies from the pan using the foil handles.  Cut 8 circles using a 3” round cutter.

3. To prepare the milk chocolate mousse: microwave the milk chocolate morsels and the peanut butter in a small glass bowl on medium power for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.  Cool 5 minutes.

4. Beat 1 cup of heavy cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; fold the whipped cream into the milk chocolate mixture. Chill while you make the white chocolate mousse.

5. To prepare the white chocolate mousse: microwave the white chocolate morsels and ¼ a cup of cream in a small glass bowl on medium power for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.  Cool 5 minutes.

6. Beat the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Chill while you prepare the foil molds for step 7.

7. To assemble the stacks: wash and dry your paper clips.  Cut heavy-duty aluminum foil into 8 strips (6 x 10-inch each) .  Fold each piece in half to form a 3 x 10-inch strip.  Wrap each strip around a 3-inch diameter can (this helps create a smooth curve).  Wrap 1 curved strip around each brownie and secure with a large paper clip.  Immediately spoon the milk chocolate mousse into a ziplock bag (do not seal).  Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole (about ½ inch).  Pipe the mousse onto brownies, dividing the mixture evenly.  Use a small spoon to gently level them.  Repeat the procedure with the white chocolate mousse.  Chill for at least 2 hours before removing the foil and serving.