Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

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

Unrecipe of the Week: White Bean Soup

January 2, 2014

Mojettes from Marais Poitevin

It’s a new year, and so far, it’s a cold one. Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits in New York City,  and snow is on it’s way. I am craving warmth and comfort, and this soup should fit the bill.

It’s low in fat and calories, and high in protein and nutrients, thanks to the white beans, tomatoes and baby kale.

White Bean Soup

Rinse 1 can (or box: kudos Whole Foods for your new BPA free packaging!) of cannelinni beans and put them in a pot with about 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, a few springs of fresh thyme, rosemary and a few sage leaves. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, and simmer for about 30 minutes or so. Add one 26 oz. can or box of chopped tomatoes with their juice, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove the herbs and garlic cloves,  and add several handfuls of shredded baby kale. Cook another 15 minutes until the kale is softened. If at any point, the soup gets too thick, add more stock or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thick, smooth soup, you can puree it at this point.

When ready to serve, drizzle each bowl with olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Tabbouleh

July 5, 2013

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As the weather gets warmer, I find my appetite changes. I long for lighter, cooler foods, utilizing the fresh tastes of the season.This simple side dish fills the bill, yet it is hearty enough to build a meal around.

Tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad made of grains, herbs and tomatoes is a great make ahead dish, as it is best to allow the flavors to mingle a bit before serving. While it is traditionally made from bulgur or cracked wheat, quinoa, cous cous or even brown rice could be used in its place. It’s a perfect “unrecipe”that can be tailored to taste and dietary preferences.

Tabbouleh

Prepare 1 cup of the grains as directed, being careful not to overcook them. Bulgur can be cooked on the stovetop for about 20 minutes, or soaked in very hot water until softened. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, chop a bunch of parsley and ½ a bunch of fresh mint leaves. Add a diced tomato or 2, and a large diced cucumber. A bit of finely chopped onion or scallions can also be added. Stir in the cooked grains. Toss with lemon juice, and olive oil. Season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to merge. Taste and add lemon juice or more salt and pepper if necessary. Enjoy!

Note: Traditional tabbouleh is very heavy on the herbs, and uses the bulgur modify the balance to herbs and grains to suit your taste.

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photo: Glasshouse Images

Dukkah

May 31, 2013

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Every so often, a “new” item hits the culinary scene and suddenly foodies everywhere are talking about it. This recent discovery has been used in Egyptian cooking for centuries. Dukkah, derived from the word “dakka” means “to crush,” and it is essentially a blend of crushed nuts and spices often sprinkled over flatbread dipped in  olive oil. Since the variation of ingredients is so vast, it is only right that it’s uses are equally as broad.

The mainstream store bought version from Trader Joe’s contains almonds, sesame, fennel, coriander and anise seeds and kosher salt. It adds wonderful flavor when sprinkled over salmon filets, and surely it would be an enhancement to roasted vegetables, chicken or lamb.

While it’s easy and economical to let Trader Joe’s make it, making your own would allow for some variation in ingredients. Here is a simple base (un)recipe to get you started. Let your imagination run wild as you add flavors to enhance the simplest of dishes.

Dukkah:

1/2 cup toasted nuts, crushed. (put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin for easy crushing)

Try almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or even pistachios as a starter.

1/4 cup  sesame seeds 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon cumin,anise,or coriander seeds (or any mixture of seeds that suit your taste)

1/2 teaspoon or more kosher salt or sea salt

Consider adding dried herbs to the blend: mint, tarragon, thyme or basil

Toast the seeds lightly in a dry skillet, tossing to avoid over browning. Cool, and grind lightly in a spice grinder so they are crushed, but not turned to powder. Add to the nuts and mix. If you don’t have a grinder, give them a once over with the rolling pin before adding to the nuts. Transfer to a glass jar and enjoy!

photo: Indigo Jones

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Perfect Salad Dressing

April 16, 2013

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Homemade salad dressing is so easy to make, and so much better than the store bought variety. A simple vinaigrette can be made with oil, and anything acidic, such as vinegar, or citrus juice.
As a baseline, dressing should be 3 parts oil, to one part acid. Depending on the ingredients, and what the dressing is being used on, that might need to be tweaked a bit. Personally, I tend to  err on the side of extra acid, preferring a little more tang to the dressing.

To make the perfect salad dressing, start out with a good quality oil. Olive oil is the most common base for a vinaigrette, but other clean, flavorful oils such as walnut can also be used.  Vinegar, or citrus juice can provide the acid.

There are lots of types of vinegars on the market. Balsamic vinegars can range from tart, to syrupy and sweet, depending on how long it has been aged. There is even a white balsamic, that has a milder taste. Red wine vinegar is a bit more tart, and half wine vinegar and 1/2 balsamic can be a nice blend. There are also flavored vinegars which add an extra element.  Lemon juice is a nice alternative to vinegar, as is lime or even grapefruit juice.

Whisking, or shaking the mixture will cause it to emulsify, thickening it slightly.
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Once you have the basic recipe, it is fun to experiment with fresh herbs or other condiments.

One of my favorite tricks is to make the dressing in a dijon mustard jar that is almost empty. Just pour the oil and vinegar or lemon juice into the jar, and shake it vigorously. The mustard left on the sides of the jar will mix in and add another level of flavor to the mix.

Once you start making your own dressings, you will never want to go back to bottled versions, which are laden with preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.

Enjoy!

Photos:Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Crab and White Bean Salad

April 1, 2013

This beautiful salad inspired by Mario Batali, is filled with springtime flavors, and hearty ingredients. The white beans and crab make it filling enough to serve as a light main course, as well as a starter.

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For the salad:

Drain and rinse 1 can of cannellini beans and place in a bowl. Add some finely diced red onion, and about a teaspoon or so of diced fresh rosemary and marjoram. Add the zest and juice of a lemon, season liberally with salt and pepper and chill until ready to use.

Before serving, mix in 1 pound of lump crabmeat, and drizzle with mint oil. Add a quick grind of fresh pepper and enjoy!

For the mint oil:
Blanch about ½ cup of fresh mint leaves in boiling water for 15-30 seconds. Drain and squeeze dry.

In a blender or food processor, puree the mint with ½ – ¾ cup of olive oil. This can also be done a couple of hours in advance and set aside until ready to serve.

photo: indigo jones

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Unrecipe of the Week: Winter Comfort

February 15, 2013

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The weather in New York has been cold and miserable. Last night’s blizzard left us thankfully unscathed, but we are in the mood for hunkering down at home. What is more soothing on a lazy winter night than the all-American classic, tomato soup and grilled cheese?
This simple soup has few ingredients and lots of taste. The grilled cheese croutons offer an unexpected twist. It is quick enough for a weeknight meal tomorrow’s lunch, with a little Parmesan cheese, instead of the croutons.

For the Tomato Soup:

Saute a diced onion and a few diced cloves of garlic in olive oil until soft and transparent. Add about 52 oz. (2 tetra packs or large cans ) chopped tomatoes and about 36 oz.vegetable or chicken stock. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and herbs. I added a bay leaf, and some cayenne pepper for a little heat. Oregano and basil are also nice touches. It’s an unrecipe…use whatever flavors you like to season the soup. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Puree the soup at return it to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a little cream to the soup if desired. Enjoy with grilled cheese croutons.

Grilled Cheese Croutons:

Butter the bread of your choice. Fill sandwiches with cheese. Gruyere adds a sophisticated jolt of flavor, but good old cheddar is fine too. A used a shredded 4 cheese blend that I had on hand. Grill the sandwiches on both sides until they are golden brown, and the cheese is melted inside. Cut into 6 or 8 squares and serve in the soup.

Enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week

November 26, 2012

My produce bin was filled with an eclectic array of root vegetables. I had turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and radishes. I also had some fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving. As a much needed break from the sweetness and heaviness of holiday side dishes,this one was a winner. So easy, and so clean, I ended up eating this as my meal!

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Use any combination of root vegetables including: potatoes,sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, onions, garlic, shallots etc.

I used fresh thyme, but any herbs would work as well.

Cut root vegetables into chunks. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Stir once after about 25 minutes or so.

The vegetables will get a brown, slightly caramelized tinge to them.

Enjoy!!!

CSA Tuesday + Unrecipe Round-Up

November 21, 2012

Our weekly CSA provided lots of Thanksgiving ingredients. We got sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes, onions, a giant pumpkin and cilantro.

I have already started preparing our Thanksgiving meal!

Our weekly list from fresh from the farm:

Pumpkin pie,anyone?

The baskets of produce ready to be distributed:

Here are a  few of our previously published favorite Thanksgiving “unrecipes:” Search the site for even more ideas!

Pumpkin Pie:

http://indigo-jones.com/2011/11/23/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-5/

Roasted Garlic and Herb Paste for the Turkey:

http://indigo-jones.com/2010/11/22/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-2/

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes: no marshmallows for me!!

http://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/24/unrecipe-of-the-weekthanksgiving-edition/

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy!

Hot Cranberry Jones:

http://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/05/unrecipe-of-the-week-14/

 

Herbal Essence

July 18, 2012

Did you know that you could freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil?

The oil not only reduces the browning and freezer burn that can affect delicate herbs, but it also creates a delicious herb infusion that can be used anytime.

According to The Kitchn, it is best to use stronger herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano.

The herbs can be chopped, or left in larger sprigs.

Pack the wells of an ice cube tray about 2/3 full of herbs.

Pour extra virgin olive oil over the herbs.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Remove the herb infused cubes from the tray and store in containers or plastic bags.

Use the cubes as you would olive oil, for sautéing garlic and onions, and enjoy the taste of fresh herbs as they spread throughout your dish.

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