3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ red onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped—careful! Wash your hands when you are done cutting the jalapeno.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Cilantro sprigs to garnish
Avocado, cubed, to garnish
Put the corn into a blender.
In a soup pot heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic, stir. Immediately add the chopped onion and the jalapeno. Sauté until the vegetables are soft then place into the blender with the corn and puree.
Put the puree back into the pot and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
When the soup thickens, SLOWLY add the chicken broth stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
Garnish with avocado, sour cream or cilantro.
Taste-Tempting Side Dishes
The holidays can bring a number of luscious dinner parties. The dilemma is that most foods offered on these occasions are loaded with all the wrong things—saturated fat, low-quality calories and sodium. Consider creating these delicious sides designed to nourish your body and not your hips.
Bejeweled Avocado Salad–Stuffed Red Peppers (vegan, gluten-free)
½ cup red or white onion, chopped medium-fine
Toss onion, avocado, tomatoes and cilantro together in glass or stainless-steel bowl. Whisk garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice and seasonings together. Pour over avocado salad and gently mix.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve over handful of mixed salad greens or stuff into bell peppers. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Makes four generous servings.
Creamy Cauliflower Purée (vegan, gluten-free)
A terrific substitute for heavy, butter-laden potatoes, this light take on mashed spuds serves up fewer than half the calories but with all of the flavor. Make these your new holiday tradition and don’t tell—your guests may not even realize they aren’t eating potatoes.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1- to 2-inch florets (5–6 cups)
In large sauce pot or steamer, place cauliflower, garlic, broth or water and sea salt. Cover and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10–15 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Pureée in two batches in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. With motor running, add ¼ cup cooking liquid, half the olive oil, pepper and pinch of sea salt to each batch. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to serving dish, top with herbs and serve hot. Can be made ahead and kept warm or reheated on low. Serves six.
Note: If you don’t have access to food processor, substitute handheld blender. Kick up purée flavor with 1–2 teaspoons or two of Keen’s dry mustard powder, curry powder or a little Parmesan cheese.
Blue Moon Cocktail
I saw this on line and just had to share it for our Blue Moon this month!
1 cup crushed ice
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup blue curaçao
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored syrup (such as Torani)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice $
1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
In a blender, combine all ingredients and whirl until smooth. Pour into four martini glasses (4 oz.) and garnish the rim of each glass with a slice of orange.
Quesuco Cheese with Caramelized Onions
1 loaf of bread
Caramelized onions: Slice the peeled onions into thin rings and place in a pan with the sugar, vinegar, oil and salt. Simmer until any liquid has evaporated and the onions are beginning to caramelize.
My way to caramelize onions is easier and I think it taste better. In a heavy French oven on medium heat add the oil. 30 seconds later, add the onions, stir to coat the onions and bring to sizzling hot, stiring often. Reduce the temperature to low, place the lid on the pot and slowly cook for upward of 2 hours, stirring every now and again. This is great to do on a lazy dazy Sunday. The slow caramelization of the onions brings out its natural sweetness rendering the sugar obsolete. A little splash of vinegar at the end of cooking does give a nice element to the onions, but taste the onions first, you may not wish to do it. Salt, only once you are done cooking the onions.
Slice the bread into medium-sized slices, and cut the cheese into wedges. Place one wedge of cheese on each slice of bread then top with a spoonful of caramelized onion. Place the canapés in a hot oven 360 degrees F for 5 minutes (or less) to quickly melt the cheese.
Serve hot, direct from the oven.
Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Combine lemon zest, rosemary and salt, blend together until well combined.
Wash and dry potatoes, cut into 1/2" to 3/4” wide wedges. Toss potato wedges and shallots together with olive oil. Turn in a single layer into a large baking pan. Cook until crispy on the outside and soft in the center, about 20 minutes. Generously sprinkle crispy potatoes with lemon rosemary salt.
What to do with zest?
Use citrus zest over chicken, pork, fish, vegetables, pasta, desserts such as lemon cake or anything chocolate, or make limoncello. The zester is also good for fine grating hard cheeses and chocolate! Below is a recipe for candies lemon zest which seems to have limitless uses in my house.
Candied lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Using one of the side holes of your Ultimate Citrus Tool zester; zest all three lemons. In a heavy sauce pot bring the water to a boil then add the zest. Boil until the zest is tender (about 5 minutes.) Remove the zest, add the sugar, stir until dissolved and return the zest to the pot. Boil until the zest is translucent, remove the zest from the liquid and cool both.
Once the zest is cool and dry transfer to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator to up to one month. Use on top of frosted cakes and cupcakes, add to cookies, add to coffee and liqueur drinks. Save the lemon syrup and use for cocktails or drizzle some to liven up a dessert, add the juice of the lemons that were zested and you have Lemonade!
Poached Pears -a great treat for Valentine's Day
(This recipe I included in my latest article for Wyoming Lifestyle, I have altered it include Chocolate!)
3 cups Zinfandel wine
4 Bartlett pears
1 stick of cinnamon
4 whole cloves
Peel the pears, cut in half if you wish…I like them whole then cut in half when they are done cooking as then the whiteness of the flesh is accented by the deep purple layer of wine infused pear.
In a heavy sauce pot, bring to a simmer the wine, cinnamon and cloves. Add the pears. Gently simmer the pears, turning them often to ensure even cooking and even coloring. The pears will take on the dark burgundy color of the wine. Simmer until the pears are slightly softened, roughly 30 minutes. Remove the pears for the sauce. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and let it reduce in volume by almost half. Slice the pears in half and place one half on a plate. Drizzle the reduced sauce over the top and garnish with a substantial amount of grated dark chocolate. Yum!
New, New, New! The New Year shrieks newness. A new resolution, new goal, new energy! Even in the cooking industry “new” is being sheppard in at the start of this new year. What often we consider “new” is often “old-revisited.”
The Moroccan tagine is one such old-revisited concept. Tagine actually refers to the cooking vessel. Hundreds of years ago in Morocco the tagine was developed. Originally made of clay it is now made of many materials including stainless steel and cast iron. The tagine, filled with vegetables, fruits and meats, was nestled down into hot coals and slowly cooked for hours. The shape is the consistent point. It is formed from a shallow base with a conical lid. This specific shape allows for steam to rise to the top of the lid, then condense and roil back down the lid basting the cooking food with liquid. This action intensifies the flavor. The shape also directs how the food is prepared. Slow, low heat braises using vegetables, meat and dried fruit is the traditional way of preparing a tagine. Many tagines are considered spicy by Americans. However, the heat is easily lowered by reducing the heat giving spice. The sapiens is more of a slow burn in the back of the throat than a searing take-your-head of spiciness. Typical herbs and spices for tagines are cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin.
Another “new” concept for Americans is adding dried or preserved fruit to meat or vegetable dishes. The slow cooking of the tagine beautifully accents foods with the addition of preserved lemons or dried apricots or prunes. The question may arise another cooking vessel could be used instead of a tagine. The answer is a firm “no.” It is the vessel that gives the dish the name. It is the vessel that intensifies and blends the flavors. If another pot is used it would be called a braise and not a tagine. It is also so much more fun to use a tagine than another pot.
Tagline’s now come in several different colors and even ornately decorated ones used for serving vessels.
Don't know what to do with Christmas dinner leftovers? Here is some ideas to get you going!
Shred that beef for tamale fillings or burritos.
Chunk it for a Stir-Fry
Make a gently spicy soup with beef and ancho chilis
Use up beef and mashed potatoes by making pot pies
Roast up some beets and make a beef and spinach salad with roast beets and gorgonzola cheese
If ham was your Christmas dinner, then wonderful quiches and Ham and bean soup should really be in your future!
Roast Out Cancer One Breast at a Time!
-Purchase our HOT Breast Cancer Event t-shirt for $15.00 and we will donate 100% of the profits to Breast Cancer Research!
-If you are wearing Breast Cancer Pink apparel; join us in our espresso loft for 10% off your drink order! Through-out the month of October!
Get Hot Pink about the Fight!
A frequent question I am asked: Why is it important to brown meat?
Answer: Developing richness of flavor is the ultimate goal. Browning the meat is a very important step to this process. A nice dark brown is ideal for beef and game meat when making a braise or a stew. This takes about 10 minutes per side. Chicken and pork are best with a medium colored browning, which is about 5 to 7 minutes per side. That being said, when I plan on a pulled pork dish I will take that pork to the darkest brown I can. If you have ever wondered why “Aunt Sally’s” roast beef is so much better than yours, even though it is the same recipe, it just might be the quality of the browning of the meat.
What is needed to brown meat?
A good heavy pot is essential.
Fat. I tend to shave off extra fat from the edges of the meat if it has good marbling (the appearance of thin lines of white fat) through-out the meat. Pork tends to have plenty of marbling, whereas game generally does not. Get rid of all the fat and skin on bone in chicken. Be aware that bone-in chicken will be more moist than deboned chicken.
Olive Oil. Just oil enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Add more if needed, especially with game meat. Remember, olive oil is the good fat and actually dissolves the nasty fat that accumulates on our organs.
Here is a recipe to try out your browning techniques. I saw this recently on one of the blog sites I frequent…sorry whoever, I don’t recall where I pulled it. I did alter it significantly.
Shredded Pork Shoulder
4 to 5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
1 spring fresh tarragon
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Trim the pork shoulder of any thick layers of fat. Combine the brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork with the spice mixture, getting into crevices and on the sides. Allow the pork to sit for about 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the pork on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot. Add the onions and saute on medium low heat for 2 minutes then drop the heat to low then continue to caramelize the onions for at least 10 more minutes. Add the garlic, carrots and tomatoes and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits. (why wooden? It just feels better than metal which grates on the pan or silicon that may miss some of the good stuff.)
Return the pork to the pot with the tarragon. Cover and put in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Add the beer after 1 hour. Cook until the meat is extremely tender and pulls away from the bone easily. Shred the pork in the pot. Discard the bone or set aside for another use.
Spicy Roasted Potatoes
The potatoes are roasted then smothered in a hot and sweet, garlicky sauce. Serve with toothpicks. Great for game day parties.
2 pounds small potatoes
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Sea salt
Peel and quarter the small potatoes. Toss with 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt. Place on a heavy baking sheet. Turn the oven broiler on to low. Broil the potatoes until done. About 20 minutes.
Mean while make the sauce.
Toss these ingredients into a food processor and chop till few small chunks remain:
2 T. sweet chili powder (such as Ancho Chile powder)
2 T. smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ T. rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/8 t. or less of cayenne pepper
4 Roma tomatoes
1 T. sugar
Heat the sauce in a heavy sauce pot till almost boiling. Reduce the temperature to low and allow to reduce in quantity until the potatoes are finished.
When the potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the oven and let them sit for 2 minutes. Then place the potatoes carefully into the pot with the sauce and gently fold to coat with the sauce. Place on a large platter; serve with toothpicks and plenty of napkins.
Risotto is a lusciously thick dish made from short, plump rice such as Arborio. This dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
2 links sweet Italian sausages cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups chicken broth
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped (jarred is perfectly fine)
¼ cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
In a French oven on medium-low heat, add the sausages, onion, carrots, celery and 1 T. olive oil. Sauté until the sausages are cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pot heat the broth to simmering. When the meat and vegetables are cooked add the rice and stir, coating the rice. Add one ladle full of broth and stir until the broth is absorbed by the rice.
A note about stirring risotto: An Italian chef taught me to stir risotto with 4 figure eights then once around the pot, returning to 4 figure eights and so on. Vigorous stirring in too much effort, rather gentle, slow stirring gives better results. Risotto should never dry out in between additions of broth. Risotto should be saucy at all times. Adding all the broth at one time results in boiled rice and not risotto.
Continue stirring and adding broth a ladle at a time. Pour yourself a glass of red wine as this time is great for conversations or contemplating life. If more broth is needed to get the rice to the desired softness taste the risotto as water may be preferred or a splash of white wine. Once the risotto is cooked through, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped red bell pepper and the grated cheese. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes as everyone gathers for the meal.
Risotto is generally made with whatever vegetables and meats are on hand. Some recipes use butter instead of the olive oil, a much fresher flavor results from using the olive oil and it gives a heart protecting benefit as well.
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into sticks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into sticks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
½ onion, cut into cubes
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
On a heavy baking sheet add the olive oil, add the vegetables and toss to coat with the olive oil.
Broil the vegetables on low, stirring every few minutes. Broil until done, roughly 15 minutes.
Season with your favorite fresh herb and sea salt.
--if you don't use all your roasted veggies, toss them into your food processor with a cup of sour cream to make one of the best dips I've had in a very long time.
3 chicken breasts
4 cups of chicken broth
½ can roasted green chilies (save the other half; keep reading)
1 can white northern bean
¼ cup chopped Onion
In a heavy bottom sauce pot or French oven over medium heat, sauté the onion in 1 T olive oil. Add the chicken breast and brown until done. Remove the chicken and set aside. In the still hot pot, carefully add the green chilies, chopped parsley and beans (this step releases more of the flavor of the chilies than adding them to the broth.) Stir in the chicken broth and heat. In the mean time chop the chicken into bit sized chunks. Add the chicken to the soup. Serve hot with cornbread or nachos.
Add the rest of the can of chilies to your cornbread batter or use them on top of the nachos.
My changes when it was too darned cold to run to the grocery store.
I didn’t have:
4 cups of chicken broth
1 can of northern beans
What I used instead:
I used garbanzo beans instead, could also have used rice. The white northern beans would have thickened the chili, but garbanzo beans need to cook much longer in order to thicken, so I added a mixture of cold water mixed with corn starch to achieve the desired thickness…but not too thick for white chili, please.
I had one cup of broth and a box of Rice-A-Roni chicken flavor. My children do not like this style of rice so I took the seasoning packet and used it for the chili. I generally like to use wine, but I was lacking too much liquid. If I had used 3 cups of wine for the broth, the chili would not taste good at all.
Cyndi’s Pumpkin Soup
In a heavy Dutch oven sauté until translucent:
One leek, cleaned and sliced thin
One granny smith apple cored and sliced thin, peel left on.
1 T. olive oil
The pulp of one baked pumpkin or one large can of pumpkin puree.
Chicken and/or vegetable stock, low sodium type (about 4 cups total for the pulp and 2 cups for the canned pumpkin) even apple cider is a good choice!
2 t. balsamic vinegar
Bring to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and puree with a Kitchen Aid immersion blender
Fresh ground pepper
½ t dried, powdered sage
1-2 t. salt (the pumpkin can handle the salt)
Taste and adjust the flavors as desired
Serve hot, garnish with gorgonzola cheese
2 T. Butter
½ onion diced to your preferred size
2 cups shitake mushrooms
1 T. fresh rosemary, thyme or basil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 cups liquid (any type of broth, or water as a last resort)
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup sherry (optional)
3 potatoes; cubed and roasted.
Sauté the onion in 2 T. butter. Once the onion is translucent add the mushrooms and herbs. Sauté while stirring occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes. The mushrooms should start to turn brown. Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic stir and immediately add 4 cups of liquid such as chicken or beef broth. Garlic is a strong flavor, but easily burnt; by adding the liquid quickly we release some of the flavor and halt the process before the garlic becomes bitter. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, reducing the liquid slightly. Add the heavy cream and sherry (optional) simmer for about 2 more minutes and serve in bowls over roasted potatoes.
Farmer's Market Fruit Salsa-made with items found at the Sept. 11, 2009 market.
Combine the fruit, onions, jalapeno, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lime juice and olive oil. Mix well. Set aside.
New Potatoes with Lemon Gremolata- Melissa Gray
Red or white new potatoes
Boil potatoes in a saucepan for 10-20 minutes (depending on size of potatoes). Drain and cool. Keep really small potatoes whole (1” or less), anything bigger slice in half or whatever is necessary for bite sized pieces.
2 cloves garlic-minced or crushed
zest from 1 lemon
¼ cup fresh parsley-finely chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Mix all ingredients in a good sized mixing bowl. If making a large quantity of potatoes (for more than 4 people), double the recipe.
Mix potatoes with gremolata. Preheat grill to medium. Thread on skewers or place in a preheated grill basket. Grill, turning minimally until toasty browned on all sides.
In celebration of the Farmer's Market
Grilled Vegetable Sandwich on Artisan Bread
Use your favorite vegetables such as: bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, eggplant etc. Slice the vegetables thick and use the expandable grill basket or dice them and use the grill wok. Add to the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Heat the grill to high and grill those veggies! Pick up some Artisan Bread, drizzle cut side of the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill cut side down for 1 to2 minutes. Brush with vinaigrette and top with the grilled veggies! For the vinaigrette: whisk together, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 T. Dijon mustard salt and pepper.
Enjoy! Brought to you by the tasteful minds at The Copper Kettle. www.mycopperkettle.com
In a food processor, puree the garbanzo beans and garlic until smooth. Add olive oil half at a time. If you have tahini on hand add it, if not add some more olive oil. Add the lemon juice and salt. If still to thick add a bit more olive oil.
Combine the spinach, nuts, juice and cheese in a food processor, lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil, until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse. This recipe is so good we tend to stand over the bowl with spoons at the ready!
Baguettes for Crostini
Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gray
1 ¼ cup water, broth or whey
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar or honey
3 cups flour
1 tsp. yeast
Place ingredients in stand mixer. Mix all ingredients into a soft but not sticky dough. Make sure you work the dough about 5 minutes in the stand mixer to develop the gluten in the flour, which creates the nice texture. Place in a bowl covered with a damp cloth and let sit 1 hour. When the dough has finished the rising cycle, shape into 2 long thin loaves. Place on a baking stone or on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to score about 4 slashes diagonally across each loaf. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for another 25-45 minutes (depending on how warm your rising spot is). Brush surface of loaves with olive oil. Bake at 400 until a deep golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Whole Grain: Replace up to 2 cups of the flour with other grains (oat flour, oats, wheat flour, wheat berries, rye or spelt flour.
Spices: Add toasted sesame seed, onion flakes, garlic, fresh or dried herbs, caraway seed, toasted chopped or ground nuts.
Flavors: Replace part of water with grated cheese, roasted chopped garlic, tomato paste, tomato juice or meat-free marinara sauce, egg or pesto. Replace all of the water with ale, potato water, whey or milk.