Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

Switch To Switchel

August 15, 2016

There are lots of drinks out there, purported to boost energy, create the ultimate balance of bacteria in the gut, help you lose weight and gain clarity. From Red Bull to green tea and the ever trendy kombucha, there is no shortage of  hyped out drinks to choose from. Apple cider vinegar and green juices share the stage with a host of other natural choices with “magical powers” to make your skin glow and your belly calm.

via Alex Lau for Bon Appetite

via Alex Lau for Bon Appetite

Well, just when you thought you had reached your healthy beverage nirvana, a new one steals the spotlight. Say hello to Switchel, the latest beverage to enter the healthy drink scene. Around since the late 1700’s, switchel is the perfect way to hydrate on a very hot day. Made with stomach soothing ginger, it allowed thirsy farmers to consume enough liquid to quell their thirst, without making them sick. It is also thought to reduce inflammation and balance the body’s natural ph levels, due to the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
Switchel is similar to lemonade in some ways, and very reminiscent of the iconic Master Cleanse cocktail. It is easy to make your own, and although it is touted as a healthy electrolyte booster ( ala Gatorade), it’s also a great base for an adult beverage when mixed with rum, whisky or a dry white wine.

Give this recipe a try, and perhaps you too, will want to switch to switchel!

Mapel -Ginger Switchel: via Bon Appetite

 INGREDIENTS:

SERVINGS: 4

  • 1 5″-piece fresh ginger (about 6 ounces)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 4 cups water or club soda
  • Mint sprigs (for serving)

PREPARATION:

  • Pass ginger through a juicer (you should have about ⅓ cup). Combine ginger juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and lime juice in a large pitcher and stir until maple syrup is dissolved. Chill until cold.
  • To serve, dilute with water and pour switchel into ice-filled glasses; garnish with mint.
  • Do Ahead: Base can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Switchel can be mixed with seltzer or sparkling water instead of regular water for a bit of a “fizzy kick.”

If you don’t have a juicer, you can grate the ginger instead.

Some people use raw honey instead of the more classic maple syrup for variation. The most important thing is to use pure maple syrup or honey, and not a processed version.( aka Aunt Jemimah’s pancake syrup)

Enjoy!

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Unrecipe Of The Week: Shrimp + Watermelon

July 25, 2016

Watermelon Shrimp

Last weekend, we went to a Mediteranean restaurant in the Village, and shared a few small plates and a bottle of rosé. The standout dish of the evening was grilled shrimp and watermelon. The combination was refreshing on a hot summer’s night, and completely delicious. The shrimp were grilled with fresh lemon and herbs, and drizzled with a little feta cheese. Each one was served atop a perfectly cut cube of watermelon, making the dish as visually exciting as it was flavorful.

We couldn’t wait to try to whip up our own version at home. We thought this was good enough to be put on a pedestal, so we perched our shrimp atop a column of watermelon. If you want to speed up the process and serve it as a main course, go ahead and cube the watermelon in a bowl, drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar, and crumble some feta on it. Serve the shrimp on the side.

Watermelon Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp + Watermelon:
For the shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse and pat dry.

Mix together the juice of one lemon, a large “glug” of olive oil,  a clove or two of  finely minced garlic, some dried oregano and fresh thyme leaves. Add the shrimp, and let them marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The shrimp will start to “cook” a bit from the acid in the lemon. Don’t over marinate, or they will become mushy.

Remove the shrimp and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Grill (we used a grill pan on the stove top) for a couple of minutes on each side until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Do not overcook!

Assembling the dish: Drizzle a bit of aged balsamic vinegar* onto a serving plate. Line up the watermelon cubes on the plate and perch a shrimp on top of each one. Squeeze a little more lemon on them if desired. Crumble a bit of feta cheese over the top, and enjoy!

* aged balsamic vinegar is usually sold in a smaller bottle than the regular type, and has been aged for a much longer period of time. The result is a sweeter vinegar, and an almost syrup-like consistency.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: One Pan Chicken Dinner

June 13, 2016

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Dinner doesn’t get more basic than roasted chicken with potatoes and a green vegetable. Today’s unrecipe lets you make the entire meal all in one pan. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! The chicken is roasted to perfection, yielding crisp skin and tender, juicy meat. The potatoes take on extra flavor from the chicken drippings, with a crusty outside and a fluffy interior. The asparagus gets tossed in during the last 15 minutes of cooking time, to keep it al dente. Add some lemon and a little garlic and dijon mustard and you have the making of a mouth watering feast.

Your dinner partners will thank you for the delicous meal. You’ll thank us for only having to wash one pan. It’s a winner of a chicken dinner for all involved!

Pan Roasted Chicken With Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus:

Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan, and toss with olive oil and a little salt. If they are larger potatoes, cut them into chunks. We used tiny little fingerlings, and left them whole.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, garlic, dijon mustard and a little olive oil. Massage the mixture onto both sides of the chicken and place it on top of the potatoes. Tuck a few lemon slices in amongst the chicken pieces, and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the potatoes start to brown and the chicken skin is nice and crispy. Toss in the , trimmed and cut into 3″ pieces, and continue to cook until the asparagus starts to soften, but is still crisp, and the chicken and potatoes are fully cooked, about 15 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

In the spirit of a true Unrecipe, you can use any type of potato, and most any green vegetable. Try Idaho, red russet or even sweet potatoes, cut up. Toss in green beans, broccoli or zucchini spears instead of asparagus. Add a some olives, or artichoke hearts. Why not stretch your creativity a bit. It’s only on pan.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Celery Caesar

May 16, 2016

Sometimes, the slightest twist on a classic makes the old seem new again. Such was the case with the Celery Caesar Salad that I stumbled upon this weekend. Truth be told, it was a little bland, but the combination of diced celery, matchsticks of endive and Parmesan cheese were a hit. Mine had diced chicken breast in it, and to add insult to injury, they forgot the croutons. But even with its faults, the salty Parmesan and the crisp and crunchy celery held their own. A squirt of fresh lemon juice and a few shakes of pepper re-invigorated it and helped make the flavors sing. I think a julienned apple would be a nice touch; a welcome addition of tangy and slightly sweet.

Hooked on the concept and knowing it could be easily be improved, we bring you our take on the Celery Caesar.

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Celery Caesar Salad

For the salad:
Clean, scrape and dice a few stalks of celery. Julienne an endive, an equal amount of Parmesan cheese and a tart apple, so that all the matchsticks are similar in size. Add diced chicken breast if desired.

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For the dressing: 

Whisk together about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, and the juice of about 1/2 a small lemon. Add a couple of shakes of Worchestershire sauce and a little salt. Taste, and adjust the lemon /olive oil ratio as needed. It should be tangy and the lemon flavor should stand out.

Toss the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with a liberal amount of fresh black pepper. Add croutons and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Chicken

February 19, 2016

There is very little that evokes good old home cooking more than a whole roasted chicken. They take a little longer to make than many recipes that utilize chicken parts, but most of that time is spent in the oven. There are lots of ways to roast a chicken, and this method seems to yield that desired “juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside” ratio that we love. This is perfect Sunday dinner with the promise of leftovers to ease you into the week.

Start with a good quality chicken that is fresh, not frozen, and free of hormones and pesticides. Opt for organic, if possible.

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and remove the “innards” that are often stored in the cavity. Pat the chicken dry, and place it in a roasting pan, sprayed with cooking spray for easy clean up later.

Gently lift the skin and slide a few cloves of garlic between the skin and breast meat. Rub the bird all over with a little olive oil and a mixture of salt, pepper and paprika. Cut the ends off of a lemon and slip it into the cavity along with some garlic cloves. Sprinkle the chicken with fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, and toss some into the cavity. You can vary the seasonings, omit the lemon or change up the herbs to your liking

Place the chicken into the hot oven, breast side up. We like to add some baby potatoes to the pan to roast along with the chicken. You can also add chunks of carrots or onions if you like.  Cook for about 20 minutes, and then adjust the temperature down to 375, and roast another 50-60 minutes or so, until done. The rule of thumb is that the bird should roast about 20 minutes per pound once the temperature is reduced, but depending on size and fat content (a free range chicken will roast more quickly than a conventionally farmed one,) it could vary.
The chicken is done when the juices run clear, the thighs and wings move easily when jiggled, and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

Let the chicken rest for 10- 15 minutes before cutting it to allow the juices to settle. Remove the lemon from the cavity and squirt the juice on the chicken before serving and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Keeping Avocados Green

July 7, 2015

 

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The world seems to be having a love fest with avocados. Everywhere you look there are recipes, menu items and articles about their health benefits. If the outrage towards the New York Times article last week suggesting the use of peas in guacamole is any indication, we Americans take our avocados very seriously. Even President Obama got into the act, taking to his Twitter account to let them know that peas were not an acceptable addition to his guac!

The only problem we can find with the creamy green fleshed fruit, is keeping it that way. Avocados go brown quite quickly when exposed to air. There are lots of ideas about what keeps the guac green, and how to store leftover avocado, once it has been cut. Some work better than others. While we have written about some of these from time to time, here is a comprehensive guide to keeping avocados from going brown.

Lemon juice: The acid in lemon juice has been known to keep avocados from turning color. Squirt a liberal amount over the exposed flesh, and hope for the best!

Onions:Others advise placing the avocado in an airtight container with cut onion. Keep the flesh of the avocado away from the onion to avoid it picking up the flavor. Once the container is sealed, the vapors emitted from the onion should keep the avocado from changing color.

Leaving in the pit is another way to go. This protects most of the avocado, but the area surrounding the pit does start to go brown.

Placing plastic wrap directly on the avocado or guacamole is another alternative. Supposedly, it protects it from the air in a way that just covering it doesn’t.

Food 52 recommends brushing the exposed area with olive oil as another way to keep it from oxidizing.

Some people swear by removing the pit and placing the flesh side flat on a plate before covering it.

Many place the avocado into an ice water bath. Place the cut side into the cold water, cover and refrigerate.

One person claims that pickle juice is the answer. While this may just work, your avocado will taste like a pickle. We’ll pass on this one.

Lastly, the very best way to keep an avocado from oxidizing, is to eat it!

Photo: : Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Raw Artichoke Salad

May 11, 2015

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One of my favorite dishes to eat in Italy in the summertime is a raw artichoke salad. It is delicous in it’s simplicity; small ribbons of sliced artichoke drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pile of paper thin shreds of parmesean cheese on top.
Something has always held me back from making it. Artichokes can be a bit prickly to deal with, pun intended.  Today, I set out to conquer my fear of preparing fresh artichokes so that we could finally enjoy this seasonal specialty at home. What did I have to lose, except perhaps a few artichokes?

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Artichoke 101:

Artichokes have tough outer leaves, which get progressively more tender as you get closer to the center. Once there, you will find the prickly purple core, called the choke. Some of the leaves also have sharp points on them, which need to be trimmed. All in all, not such a daunting task, except that the artichoke starts to turn a not-so-pleasant shade of brown, the minute it is cut and exposed to air. Yet, with a few tricks and some fast knife work, artichoke salad was enjoyed by all!

Raw Artichoke Salad With Lemon and Parmesean

Rinse artichokes thouroughly, getting in between the leaves to rid them of any dirty residue.

Prepare a large bowl of water, with the juice 1 or 2 lemons in it. Save the already squeezed lemon halves and toss them into the bowl.

Peel any of the tough leaves off of the artichoke and discard them. For this salad, you will want to get to the more tender leaves, which are yellow. Using a kitchen scissors, trim the tips of the remaining leaves to eliminate the sharp points. There is a tremenous amount of waste in preparing fresh artichokes, so brace yourself to throw out what appears to be more than you are keeping.

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Slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise,and immediately rub it with one of the discarded lemon halves. Using a spoon or melon baller, remove the purple “choke” and discard it. Trim off the stem, and toss the remaining artichoke heart into the bowl of lemon water to prevent it from discoloring. Continue with the rest of the artichokes, always putting them back into  the lemon water as quickly as possible.

Squeeze another lemon or two into a bowl big enough to hold the artichokes.

Take one piece of the cleaned artichoke hearts at a time, quickly slice it into thin strips, and toss it in the lemon juice. Once all the artichokes are sliced and coated with lemon juice, add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on a platter, and using a peeler, shave fresh parmesan cheese over the entire salad and enjoy!

NOTES: for 2 people, I used 4 very small artichokes and 2 tiny lemons. With larger artichokes, you may be able to get by with 2 or 3. The lemon quantity should be enough to coat the artichoke slices, without them swimming in lemon juice.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Greek Shrimp

April 16, 2015

We love shrimp at our house. It is low in calories, cooks up quickly, and adapts well to a variety of preparations. This unrecipe was adapted from Ina Garten, one of my all time favorite chefs, known for her fresh, simple and very tasty cuisine.

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Greek Shrimp With Fennel and Feta Cheese:

Core and dice the bulb end of fennel and saute in olive oil until it is starting to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced and stir another minute. Pour some dry white wine ( 1/2 cup or so) into the pan and cook until the liquid reduces by about half. Add a can or box of diced tomatoes in their liquid, a dollop of tomato paste, and spoonful of dried oregano. Continue to cook at medium/low heat for another 10-15 minutes to create a rich, chunky sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange a pound of peeled and deviened shrimp on top of the sauce, and sprinkle it with crumbled feta cheese. Mix together a cup of breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and the zest of one lemon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the mixture over the shrimp and feta. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque, and the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown, but not burnt.

Squeeze a little lemon over the dish and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Lemon Basil Pasta

January 26, 2015

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This lemony pasta is perfect on its own, or as a side dish for fish or chicken. We served it last night with sauteed shrimp, and a tomato, arugula and burratta salad. It’s easy enough to whip up at a moment’s notice, and the sauce can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed.

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Lemon Basil Pasta:

Whisk together the juice of 3 lemons and about 2/3 cup of olive oil.

Cook pasta reserving a little of the cooking liquid. We prefer a short pasta like rigatoni or calamaretti but any shape will do.

Toss pasta with the lemon dressing, about 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and a couple of handfuls of chopped basil leaves. If the mixture seems dry, add a little of the pasta water to moisten.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Fruit Ice

June 24, 2014

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Summer is here and the days are starting to heat up. It’s more important than ever to drink lots of water to keep cool, and stay hydrated. This trick adds a little fun and flavor to your water pitcher, by freezing pieces of fruit right into the ice cubes.

In a large ice cube tray, place slices of lemon, lime,orange or other fruit into the wells of the tray. Add water and freeze until solid.

The end result are beautiful fruit filled ice cubes that add a hint of taste to your water as they melt.

Delicious and nutritious! Yum!

photo: Glasshouse Images

http://www.glasshouseimages.com

 


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