Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Unrecipe of the Week: Edamame Hummus

May 28, 2014

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In the wake of the great hummus recall of 2014, it’s time the ask the question on everyone’s mind:
Why not make our own?
No good reason, since it’s actually pretty simple to do. Trader Joe’s edamame hummus may be a cult favorite, but just because it’s off the shelves, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the homemade version.

It all starts with the same simple ingredients, enhanced to suit your tastes.

Edamame Hummus:

In a medium pot, boil one bag of shelled, frozen edamame and a few cloves of peeled garlic in salted water, until thawed and tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain, and transfer to a food processor. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, about a tablespoon of fragrant olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth, adding small amounts of water until it reaches the desired consistency.

To take it up a notch, add a 1/4 cup of tahini, and a handful of cilantro. Puree until smooth, and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to blend and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Summer Salad Rolls

May 19, 2014

These vegetable rolls are riff on the traditional Vietnamese Summer roll. A study in simplicity, these rice paper rolls are filled with fresh julienned vegetables. The secret lies in the sauce: we dipped ours in a carrot, sesame oil and soy based dressing that brought the flavors to life. The best part? We’re torn between how healthy and low calorie they are, and the fact that nothing needed to be cooked.  Twice the reason to try this unrecipe!

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For the rolls:

Julienne a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots, diakon, red bell pepper, radishes and beets. Mix it up to suit your tastes. I used a mandolin, but depending on how many you are making, you can just cut them by hand. Be sure to peel the carrots, diakon and beets first!

To assemble:

Dip a large rice paper wrapper* in warm water to soften. There is no need to soak them, just get them hydrated enough to be pliable.

Place the rice paper on a work surface. Lay a small piece of lettuce and a fresh mint leaf or two at the bottom of disc. Layer on the julienned vegetables. Begin rolling the rice paper, tucking it tightly, but gently as you go. Roll it twice, fold the sides in, and continue rolling to the top. It should look like a fat, transparent egg roll.

Lay the finished roll on plastic wrap. The rolls will stick together, so be sure to keep them from touching. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the sauce:

Peel about 3-4 medium carrots, and cut them into chunks. Place them in the food processor, along with a small shallot, peeled and quartered, a good sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger, about 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, about a 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Puree until everything is finely diced and combined. With the machine running, add about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil ( We used grape seed oil, which has a neutral flavor. Do not use olive oil, as the flavor is too strong!) Add about 1/4 cup of water, and continue mixing until it forms a a chunky dressing. Check flavors, and add more vinegar, or soy sauce as needed. If the dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

We served the rolls cut in half lengthwise, on a pool of drizzled dressing, and then put the rest on a platter with a bowl of sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect dish to toss in my lunch bag tomorrow!

*rice paper wrappers are sold packaged in the international foods section of grocery stores, or at Asian markets.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cleaning a Coffee Grinder

May 13, 2014

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Coffee grinders are great for grinding coffee beans, but they are also useful for grinding herbs and spices. The only problem is, who wants turmeric scented coffee? Or coffee scented oregano? Get the picture?
Help is on the way! In between uses, toss in some uncooked rice and grind it up until the grinder is odor free. For particularly pungent smells, change the rice and grind again.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Muffin Tins

May 6, 2014

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Muffin tins can be useful for more than just baking cupcakes. Use them to make single servings of everything from meatloaf to egg frittatas. Simply fill the wells in the pan with whatever you need to bake and turn out individual portions. Use mini muffin tins for hors d’oeuvres to produce small bites.

This concept also works well for freezing. Pour sauces, soups, or even cooked oatmeal into the muffin tins, allow them to freeze until  solid, and pop them out and store them in a freezer safe zip lock bag until needed.

What could be easier?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Peeling Ginger

April 29, 2014

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We love fresh ginger! It adds a jolt of flavor to sauces and stir fries, and has amazing health benefits. The surface of the ginger root is rough and bumpy, making the task of peeling it seem daunting. Have no fear, it’s way easier than it looks! Use the side of a spoon to gently push the skin away, exposing the flesh, and you are good to go. Dice it, slice it or grate it into the dish of your choice. Now how easy was that?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Miso Butter

April 28, 2014

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Just as there are finishing salts, there are also finishing butters. These items are meant to provide a flavor blast at the end of the preparation, after the food is nearly cooked. This delicious miso butter, is not for sautéing. Try brushing it on seafood, vegetables or even chicken at the end of the cooking process, and watch how it ramps up the simplest of dishes.

I used this on shrimp and scallops, but I also sautéed them with some shallots, garlic and ginger in a little neutral oil before adding the miso butter. Since this is an unrecipe, feel free to toss some of these into the mix to suit your taste.

Miso Butter:

Take 1 stick of unsalted sweet butter and a couple of generous tablespoons of miso paste, and mix it together in the food processor. Add a bit of  soy sauce, and a splash of sake if you have it on hand, and blend until smooth. If you like, toss in a clove of garlic, and a little peeled ginger and blend until minced. Brush the miso butter on fish, seafood, vegetables or chicken during the last minutes of broiling, sautéing, or roasting and enjoy!

This keeps well when placed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a week.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How To Peel A Carrot

April 22, 2014

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Most of us have peeled our share of carrots in this lifetime, but clearly, we haven’t been doing it very efficiently.

Did you ever notice that peelers have 2 blades? They are there for a reason. This tip first seen at Eat The Love, changes the way you will look at a carrot forever!

Hold the carrot at a 45 degree angle on a flat surface or cutting board. Slide the peeler up and down while rotating the carrot. Only attempt to peel about 1/2 way up the length of the carrot with each swipe. Flip the carrot, and repeat the process on the other end. You will be amazed at how quickly that skin comes off!
Confused? Check out their video tutorial and see for yourself courtesy of The Daily Meal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Eggs and Asparagus

April 21, 2014

What symbolizes springtime more than stalks of green asparagus, eggs and a lemony sauce? We served this last night as a first course, but it could be a great main dish for a light dinner, accompanied by soup and some crusty bread (hello meatless Mondays!) or as an entree for Sunday brunch.

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Roasted Asparagus With a Poached Egg and Lemon Mustard Sauce:

recipe adapted from Foxes Loves Lemons

Clean asparagus and trim the tough stems. Coat lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked but still crisp. Timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus, so be prepared to cook thick stalks longer, and very thin ones for less time.

In a sauce pan, heat about 3/4 cup heavy cream,  and simmer until it reduces to about 1/2 cup, and has a thick, saucy consistency; about 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a little lemon zest, a generous tablespoon of butter, 1/8 teaspoon dried mustard, and a little finely chopped fresh tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large pot or high sided sauté pan, and then reduce the temperature so that it is gently bubbling. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (plain white vinegar will also do) to the water, and gently slide in the eggs. We recommend cracking them 1 by 1 into a small dish and pouring them into the water to avoid breakage. Cook 3-5 minutes. Three minutes will yield a very soft, runny yolk, and at 5 minutes it will be nearly hard boiled.  Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs from the water, and place on a paper towel to drain.

To serve, place several asparagus spears on a plate. Add the egg, and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and garnish with a few tarragon leaves and some lemon zest. Enjoy!

photo: indigojonesnyc instagram

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Centering Egg Yolks

April 15, 2014

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With both Easter and Passover occurring this week, many people have hard boiled eggs on their minds.

When making deviled eggs, it’s nice to have the yolks perfectly centered in the whites, to allow them to be stuffed evenly, and to look more presentable on the plate. Here is a little trick that will make that possible.

The night before you plan to boil the eggs, lay the carton on it’s side in the refrigerator. Use a rubber band to keep the eggs from rolling out of the carton. Leave them for 12 – 24 hours. Cook as usual, and viola! Perfectly centered yolks.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Marbled Matzoh Brittle

April 14, 2014

Here is a simple, yet delicious version  of the matzoh brittle we have posted previously. It has all the properties of the perfect confection. It’s a little bit salty, a little bit crunchy and a little bit sweet. And did I mention it has chocolate? What’s not to love?

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Adapted from Salt and Serenity.

Marbled Matzoh Brittle:

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and cover it with parchment paper. If you skip this step, you will be scrubbing for a long, long time. Trust us on this!

Line the pan with sheets of matzoh. If you have room, break pieces to fit the extra space.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 sticks of butter, and 1 cup of brown sugar. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it comes to a boil and blends together. If it looks separated, keep stirring. Stir for couple of  minutes or so until it forms caramel. Pour the caramel over the matzoh, and smooth it with a spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until the caramel is golden in color, and bubbling. Don’t let it burn!

In the meantime, melt 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips. Place the melted white chocolate into a pastry bag. (see our tip for doing this here.)

Remove the matzoh from the oven. Sprinkle it with semi-sweet chocolate chips and allow them to soften. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the matzoh.

Cut the end off of the piping bag, and pipe the white chocolate in a zig zag pattern across the matzoh in both directions. Don’t be too worried about precision. Use a skewer, or the tip of a paring knife to smear the white chocolate, forming a marble effect.

Sprinkle the matzoh lightly with sea salt.

Pop the pan into the refrigerator, and chill until the chocolate is firm.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the chilled matzoh into squares, and enjoy! (Don’t forget to share!)

photo: Salt and Serenity

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