Search Results for: hot ingredients

Safely Blend Hot Ingredients

Blender Safety

Use these tips on how to safely blend hot ingredients to prevent an accidental splash of hot liquid in the face and chest.

  • Barely fill the blender halfway up the container. The blending action creates volume and the hot liquid oozes out the sides.
  • Make sure there is an even amount of liquid and solids in the container to blend smoothly.
  • Remove the smaller cap from the top and cover it with a kitchen towel folded in quarters or a thick oven mitt and be sure to hold the cloth or mitt over the hole with your hand. The steam creates pressure and pops the top off the blender and the hot liquid smacks you in the face.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a smooth puree and no accidents!

Try our: Curried Butternut Squash Soup.

Watch the video on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients here.

Rosemary Pea Soup

pea soup shooters with herb croutons

pea soup shooters with herb croutonsSpring is around the corner and that means young sweet peas are beginning poke through the dirt ready to begin their climb up the vines and ripen into tiny green beads of deliciousness. This is the time to make a delicious chilled or warm Rosemary Pea Soup.

The velvety texture and the sweetness from the leeks and peas is nicely tempered by the earthy flavor and aroma of fresh rosemary. This soup is delicious chilled or heated, but please note that the amount of salt for each style varies.

chilled soup with croutons

Cold foods require a little more salt to amp up flavor and this is done while the soup is hot. It takes a little finesse to get it right – as soon as the salt is a little too prominent for a hot mixture, stop. Chill. If you aren’t sure what temperature you want to serve the soup, season it for the hot version.

To fix an already chilled soup that isn’t properly seasoned, take a ladle or two of soup and heat, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, and add the salt necessary for the cold version. Stir to dissolve and add back to the cold soup.

Use our herb crouton to make a garnish and use finely minced rosemary, serve with a chilled Rosé, and celebrate the arrival of spring – finally!

To Make the Soup

chilled soup with croutons

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

chilled soup with croutons

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

chilled soup with croutons

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender.

chilled soup with croutons

The texture should be smooth and velvety.

chilled soup with croutons

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each for a lovely appetizer or starter course.

chilled soup with croutons

See our video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Watch the Rosemary Pea Soup video here.
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Rosemary Pea Soup

chilled soup with croutons

A delicious, versatile Pea Soup that can be served chilled or hot. Top with crunchy rosemary croutons and celebrate the arrival of spring and spring produce!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup/Appetizer

Ingredients

Chilled Pea and Rosemary Soup

¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (whites and light greens), thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 2 leeks)
½ cup minced shallots (about 3 shallots)
½ cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
¼ cup rosemary leaves only
1 tablespoon coarse salt*
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups vegetable stock or water
6 cups fresh shelled peas or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen peas

Garnish                      

Rosemary Croutons

Instructions

For the Rosemary Pea Soup:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan

Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender. The texture should be smooth and velvety.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each.

Notes

*Reduce the salt by 1 teaspoon if serving warm or hot

Celery Root and Leek Soup

This quick and easy recipe for Celery Root and Leek Soup is velvety smooth and tasty.

Leeks are in the same family as garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions and look like a giant scallion. The root portion is white with the middle a light green then very dark green up to the top. This is a tightly layered vegetable, cut it in half widthwise and it looks like tree rings. These rings hide the sandy dirt in which leeks are grown and a thorough soak and rinse, or two, are necessary.

I didn’t use the dark green tops, which tend to turn a pale soup green. The cooked leek has a subtle flavor and aroma. The flavor of the leek pairs well with the earthy celery root and for a little contrast a chopped up Honeycrisp apple adds nice balance to the soup. Some heavy cream finishes the soup. Save a few celery leaves for a garnish.

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Melt the butter over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the butter foams, stir in the leeks, onion, celery, apple, garlic, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. Lower the heat if the vegetables are browning.

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Add in the celery root and water or stock and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to a gentle boil, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. The soup is done when the vegetables are easily crushed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon, about 30 minutes. The timing on this will vary depending on the size of the vegetables.

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Puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Please proceed carefully; the soup is hot. Don’t fill processor or blender to capacity; the soup will overflow from the motion of the blade. See our post on how to blend hot ingredients safely.

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Return soup to the pot.

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Stir in the cream and adjust seasonings. Soup freezes well.

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Celery Root and Leek Soup

The celery root and leeks are sweet and the apple provides a little tartness. Apples and celery go well together, think Waldorf salad. A final dollop of cream rounds out the soup nicely.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups cleaned and thinly sliced leeks, no dark green
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 pared and thinly sliced apple, such as Honeycrisp
  • 1 teaspoon mince clove of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups pared and cubed celery root
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the butter foams, stir in the leeks, onion, celery, apple, garlic, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat for ten minutes, stirring once.
  2. Add in the celery root and water or stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until vegetables are easily crushed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon, a least 30 minutes. The timing on this will vary depending on the size of the vegetables.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Please proceed carefully; the soup is hot. Don’t fill processor or blender to capacity; the soup will overflow from the motion of the blade.
  4. Return soup to the pot. Stir in the cream and adjust seasonings.
  5. Soup freezes well.

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

 

The streets and yards are lined with all the colors of fall: gold, rust, brown and a few recalcitrant green leaves. As our appetite changes with the season, we need something to fill the kitchen with the tempting aromas that make us salivate in anticipation of the next meal, and nothing does that better than a bowl of soup. This recipe for Curried Butternut Squash Soup has few ingredients: curry, butternut squash, Granny Smith apples, onions, vegetable stock, olive oil and Kosher salt. It’s perfect for all dietary needs — it’s vegan, dairy free and gluten free.

Look for a squash with the stem end still attached and one that is firm and weighty. The outer skin is tough and inedible, but provides a protective coat that allows the squash to be stored in cool, dry spots for weeks, and as a side benefit, it becomes sweeter with storage time. The pear-shaped squash is solid through the neck and the bulbous portion contains a pocket of seeds, which are edible after cleaning and roasting, similar to pumpkin seeds. The flesh color is a vibrant golden yellow, rich in carotene, vitamins A and C and the squash is high in fiber.

For this recipe, the squash can either be peeled, seeded, cubed (the smaller the cubes, the faster the cooking time) and added directly to the soup mixture for cooking; or roasted and the flesh scooped out at the end of the cooking. Either method works well, there is no difference in taste, texture or appearance.

See these helpful posts for How To: Peel a Butternut Squash and How To: Roast a Butternut Squash.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Line Up Your Ingredients

Butternut squash, Granny Smith apple, onion, olive oil, curry, salt and vegetable stock. I’m showing hot curry here for those whose palettes are not as delicate (okay, wimpy) as mine. If you decide to use the hot curry, halve the amount to one teaspoon.

Also, for those really paying attention, I made a double batch, which is why the onion is HUGE and there are two apples. That’s a five-pound squash! I have tested the recipe for a single batch and it works great. I wanted to get a big batch made and frozen for the holiday season. It really comes in handy. Last year I served a small mug of the soup to everyone as they arrived for X-mas eve dinner.

Line up your ingredients for the soup:

Sweat Your Vegetables

Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Lower the heat a little, toss in the onion, apple and salt and cover and sweat for five minutes, which releases water and softens the onion and apple.

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Release the Flavor of the Curry

Stir the curry powder into the hot vegetables and oil and stir for about 30 seconds, which releases the natural oils in the spice.

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Add the Stock and Simmer

Add the stock and squash (either raw or roasted) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook until the apple and squash are easily crushed when pushed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. This can take anywhere about 45 minutes depending on the size of the squash pieces.

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Puree the Soup

Puree the soup with a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender. See out video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

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Taste

It’s always a good idea to taste at this point and tweak to your liking. Enough salt? Too thick? Add some water. Too spicy, add a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

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 More Than You Need Now?

Freezes well for several months.

 

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Curried Butternut Squash & Granny Smith Soup

For this recipe, the squash can either be peeled, seeded, cubed (the smaller the cubes, the faster the cooking time) and added directly to the soup mixture for cooking; or roasted and the flesh scooped out at the end of the cooking. Either method works well, there is no difference in taste, texture or appearance. Check out the website to see How To: Peel a Butternut Squash and How To: Roast a Butternut Squash.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: Six 2-cup portions

Ingredients

  • 1 two and one-half pounds butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoonssweet curry powder*
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • *reduce by half if using hot curry

Instructions

  1. Set up:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  3. Line a 10” x 15” baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  4. Method:
  5. Heat the oil in a large covered pot over medium-high heat and stir in the onion, apple and salt; cover, lower the heat and sweat for five minutes.
  6. Add the curry and stir for 30 seconds to release the flavor.
  7. Stir in the stock (and raw squash, if using this method) and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking until the squash easily crushes against the side of the pan, approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash cubes.
  8. Puree the soup (add the roasted squash at this point if using that method) in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  9. Soup freezes well.

Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

Method

 

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

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Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup

This Potato Leek Turnip and Bacon Soup came together in an ad hoc manner. I noticed potato leek soup in the soup bar at the store. When I got home there were turnips in the vegetable bin. The bacon was a no brainer.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

6 ounces bacon, medium dice
4 leeks, white part only, root trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large turnips, peeled and cubed
8 cups stock or water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish
chopped chives

Instructions

Put the bacon in a cold large Dutch oven or saucepan pot over medium heat, cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the onions. Cover and sweat for three minutes; scrape the bottom to remove any flavorful tidbits.

Toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes, turnips, stock or water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender; they should easily break apart when pushed against the side of the pan with a spoon. The timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and turnips.

Let the soup cool for about 20 minutes then purée in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. See our post on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Reheat and top with chopped chives.

 

Seafood en Papillote

Cooking en papillote is fun to make and intense flavors are easy to create because of the cooking method. I chose to use a mixture of cod, shrimp, and scallops for this Seafood en Papillote recipe.

En papillote simply means cooking “in parchment” in French. The Italians call it al cartoccio. Essentially, these are little packets of tender proteins with thinly sliced aromatics, herbs, spices and/or vegetables with a drizzle of acid, such as citrus or wine, a dollop of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and tightly wrapped. The cooking method is a combination of baking and steaming. The enclosed package keeps the steam in, cooks quickly, infuses flavor, and keeps food moist.

The most important thing is to create a tight seal, so the bag puffs up. Using parchment paper can be a little tricky and aluminum foil is virtually fool-proof. The parchment paper, however, makes a more glamorous presentation – slightly charred paper that pierces easily releasing the aromas under the nose of the diner.

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

en papillote

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

en papillote

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

en papillote

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side.

en papillote

Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

en papillote

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Watch the Seafood en Papillote video here.
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Seafood en Papillote

Cooking en papillote is fun to make and intense flavors are easy to create because of the cooking method. This Seafood en Papillote recipe uses halibut fillet, sea scallops, shrimp, and cherrystone clams.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Baking/Steaming

Ingredients

¼ cup white wine
¼ cup clam juice or fish stock
¼ cup minced shallots (2 small shallots)
1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper flakes
8  thin slices of fresh lemon
4  three- to four-ounce skinned white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod
8 cherrystone clams, thoroughly washed
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 sea scallops, cleaned
8 fresh thyme sprigs
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces

Instructions

Parchment paper or foil wrappers.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the wine, clam juice or fish stock, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes in a covered container.

Place 2 slices of lemon centered near the midsection of each wrapper.

Set one fish filet on each of the lemons, set 2 clams, 2 shrimp, and 2 scallops, and 2 cherry tomatoes around the fish. Top with 2 thyme sprigs.

Shake the wine sauce to combine and pour a quarter over each fish and top with a one piece of the butter.

Crimp each packet and cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serve in the package and let each dinner open. The aromatic steam is part of the experience.

Notes

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side. Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo wings are delicious, but sometimes I just don’t want to go to the trouble or deal with the mess. This Buffalo Chicken Dip is quick and easy to make and tastes just like the wings!

It contains only five ingredients. Sour cream, blue cheese, diced celery, chopped roasted chicken and a generous portion of Frank’s hot sauce for heat. I’m really pleased with the result – it’s very reminiscent of Buffalo wings, yet different.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

As you get ready for your Super Bowl party, whip up a batch, it doubles easily, for your football fans.

Check out these recipes for additional ideas Super Bowl ideas: Braised Sofrito Pork Spareribs with Rice and Beans and Triple Chocolate Brownies.

Watch the Buffalo Chicken Dip Video Here.
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Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo wings are delicious, but sometimes I just don’t want to go to trouble and mess. This Spicy Chicken Dip is quick and easy to make and tastes just like the wings! Don’t wait until Super Bowl Sunday to try it!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

6 ounces blue cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
½ cup finely diced celery (1 small stalk)
2 cups diced roasted chicken
¼ cup hot sauce, such as Franks

Garnish
Coarsely chopped celery tops

Instructions

Place the cheese and a couple of generous tablespoons of sour cream in a medium mixing bowl and stir to loosen the cheese.

Add the remaining sour cream, celery, roasted chicken and hot sauce and stir until combined.

Serve in a bowl, topped with the chopped celery leaves, along with raw vegetables, tortilla or pita chips. Best at room temperature.

Notes

Use a supermarket roasted chicken.

The Wedding Weekend – The Final MOB Blog

MOB Blog

 

It’s been a long time coming, but here is the final MOB Blog. First, let me say that the wedding weekend was spectacular. We couldn’t have asked for more when it came to fun with family and friends or better weather.

REHEARSAL DINNER

Friday night we kicked off with a “non” rehearsal (no practice, just fun, food and cocktails) at Craft Restaurant  kindly hosted by FOG and MOG, Roger and Jane Borchin.

We had about 40 guests, wedding party and early arrivals staying at friends at the Hilton Garden Inn .

Here’s a picture of the bridal party wearing one of their gifts – changing robes.MOB Blog

WEDDING PREP

Saturday morning Dennis and Joe put up the Chuppah and Claudia oversaw the draping of the Chuppah cloth.

The name Borchin was embroidered on one side and Lobenfeld on the other side of the canopy.

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Beautiful!

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The bridal party was up early as well. Hair appointments started at 8am and the girls were staggered throughout the morning finishing up at around noon.

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Then off to the Club, where we had a light lunch awaiting.

High Tea 

Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Horseradish Cream on Miniature Onion Roll
Smoked Turkey with Brie and Lingonberry on Seven Grain Bread
Chicken Salad with Apple and Endive on Seven Grain Bread
Thinly Sliced Cucumber on Buttered White Bread
Assorted Miniature Scones, French Pastries and Fruit Tarts
served with Strawberry Preserves and Devonshire Crème Fraiche
Assorted Fancy Cookies and Chocolate Mints
Coffee and International Tea Service 

Makeup applications accompanied by champagne and multiple photos followed.

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Meanwhile, the groom and party were at the hotel getting ready.

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Final touches.

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Flowers were delivered to the Club.

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The entire immediate family, groom and party arrived at the hotel by 3pm for photos; however, the ladies were running late and they had to entertain themselves. Cards and champagne helped pass the time.

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Claire and I helped Margot dress.
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Isn’t she lovely?

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Finally, the reveal to a proud and emotional Dad.

A private reveal of the bride and her dress to the groom! Very touching and sweet.

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Group photo sessions followed. Every permutation of the bride and groom, and everyone else either alone, with someone or in groups – long and tedious, but necessary. We are enjoying these pictures as great keepsakes of a very memorable day.

The Lobenfeld Clan

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The Borchin Clan

This photo shows you the fun side of my new son!

THE WEDDING CEREMONY

Thanks to Audrey, from Audrey Pierot Events, we started on time.

The wedding party.

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Wedding Program

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It was an eclectic ceremony, bringing in elements and traditions from both families.

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The wedding party proceeded down the steps of the clubhouse and across the lawn to the Chuppah.

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My adorable son-in-law, Andy! We’re so pleased and proud to have him as a member or our family.

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My good friend Bobby walked me down the aisle.

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Here comes the bride!

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The ceremony was short and sweet. The pastor, Scott, is a friend of my son-in-law, Andy, and it makes such a difference when there is a personal connection between the bride and groom and the officiant. There was humor and laughter ending with a lovely kiss and a very happily married couple!

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Watch the ceremony here:

Video by Bryan McKay.
THE PARTY

We then moved on to the celebration – greeting our guests during the cocktail hour

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The wedding party moved to the clubhouse for dancing and dinner.

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The traditional father-daughter dance.

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And the mother-son dance.

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Thoughtful and memorable speeches by the maid-of-honor, Claire.MOB Blog

Andy and Margot’s reaction.

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Best man, Jason.

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Andy and Margot enjoying the commentary!

And, of course, Vicky and Ashley added their two cents!

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Did they smush cake on each other’s face? You needn’t ask, it was a given.

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Of course, the evening would not be complete with the shy and retiring Eric singing – and sing he did!

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Eric and Andy also entertained us; these two were BFFs before the wedding!

Lots more dancing….

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Guests picked up a coffee mug and locally roasted coffee beans as a parting gift.

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We returned home around midnight and slept well, because Sunday  80 or so guests came for a pizza and ice cream pool party at 11am. Lots of coffee for the early arrivals, although I must say everyone looked pretty good considering a big night of partying.

POOL PARTY

Skinny Pines arrived with its wood-burning pizza oven truck and cranked out innumerable pizzas. So many varieties of pizza, thin crust, slightly charred from the oven using all local ingredients from the area’s farmers markets.

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Meanwhile, every kid headed for the pool the minute they arrived and didn’t get out unless they had to eat or, well you know, until they were dragged out by their parents. Grownups had fun, too .

My son-in-law, the genius he is, ordered and inexpensive guitar from Amazon and used it as a guest book. So clever!

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Later we had the Wilton College Creamery ice cream truck serving what you would call “Good Humor” type treats. Ice cream on a stick, King Kones, etc. My daughter, Claire, was thrilled to get a Hello Kitty Pop, something she loved as a kid. Over 100 treats were ordered – so everyone was pleased.

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This was a lovely, relaxing way to wind down the wedding weekend. By 4:30ish, everyone was gone, except our friends Dennis, Claudia and James. We ordered Chinese and continued chilling by the pool savoring the last of a spectacular wedding weekend.

Thanks for reading our story. It’s been lots of fun to write and to keep the memories fresh for us over the coming years.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is made with a roux: flour, butter and milk as a thickener. I often find that too much roux is used and the soup is pasty. So unappealing. Another problem these days is finding broccoli with full stalks. Stores are cutting them off and repurposing them for their deli or salad bar with broccoli slaws. This is a problem for me, because I only use stalks in my soup. I don’t care for the texture of the florets in the soup and I think they give the soup that bitter taste you get when you overcook broccoli.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Farmer’s markets are a great source for whole broccoli, but the season here is short. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful grocer nearby, The Village Market in Wilton CT that accommodates all requests and I can ask for a couple of whole heads. The florets are then steamed for dinner and I might even put a few tiny ones on the soup as a garnish.

Broccoli stalks can be a tad woody and it’s important to trim the ends and pare the outer layer to remove the tough skin.

The recipe calls for a minimal amount of salt. Saltiness of cheese and stock varies and it’s best to have all the ingredients incorporated first and then adjust the salt at the end.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup has a silky texture and delicate flavor. It freezes well, so make up a batch or two for future use. I like to use two-cup Mason jars; the perfect serving for one.

Watch the Broccoli Cheddar Soup Video Here.

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup is super delicious, has a silky texture that hits the spot on any day. Use and extra-sharp cheddar!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 cups broccoli stalks, pared and chopped (8 stalks, florets removed)
  • 2 cups sliced onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • several dashes of hot sauce, such as Franks or Tabasco
  • Garnish
  • Small broccoli florets, steamed, optional

Instructions

  1. Place broccoli, onion, celery, garlic, salt and stock/water in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is soft.
  3. Puree the soups in batches in a blender or food processor or in the saucepan with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Pour the pureed soup into another pourable container and wipe out the saucepan.
  5. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until smooth.
  6. Slowly pour in the warm soup, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a gentle boil and cook another 2-3 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
  7. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted.
  8. Shake in the hot sauce to taste; this gives the soup a boost, it doesn’t necessarily need to be spicy hot, but the sauce gives the soup piquancy.
  9. Soup freezes well.

 

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

I was recently confronted with an abundance of multi-colored bell peppers. Peppers are a funny ingredient. Unlike zucchini, another prolific crop, which is easily turned into quick breads and muffins, fritters and casseroles, peppers are rarely the star of the dish.

Think sausage with peppers and onions, fajitas come with sautéed peppers and there are so many recipes that call for peppers to be chopped or diced and added to other aromatics such as onions, garlic, celery and/or carrots as the foundation of a recipe. The only time they stand on their own is as a shell for stuffing. And this is where it gets interesting.

Stuffed Peppers

There are so many different ingredients to choose from. Ground meat of any type is suitable and also optional. There are a multitude of grains and beans to choose from. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and moisten with a sauce and top off with some crumbled or shredded cheese and you have a delicious entrée.

Watch the Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers Video Here.

 

Along with the peppers, I also had a few eggplants and decided to go with a Greek-style stuffed pepper. Start by sautéing some ground lamb and diced onion with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic, oregano and just a bit of cinnamon. To keep it moist, I added a thawed pint of tomato sauce I’d made earlier in the season. Cube the eggplant and toss in couple of cups along with more of those bell peppers cut into small pieces. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. To finish in a traditional Greek style stir in chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled Feta cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

While the sauce simmers, slice off the tops and remove the core, seeds and membrane and season the insides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

I intended to freeze the stuffed peppers in batches for future use and needed to
partially cook the yellow bell peppers that would house the filling. The pre-cooking step deactivates the ripening enzymes to ensure that the peppers retain their color, shape and flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Place the prepared bell peppers upright in a baking dish. and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Stuff each shell with the filling.

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Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Use the abundance of vegetables at the farmers’ market to make these delicious and eye-appealing Greek-style stuffed peppers with lamb or to keep it vegan, use a grain such as orzo or quinoa in lieu of the lamb. Keep it colorful and use a variety of colors!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 85 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

  • 8 bell peppers, tops removed, seeds, ribs and stems removed, save tops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Filling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 ½ cups minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fired roasted tomatoes or a pint of tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish
  3. Lined baking sheet to catch any spills
  4. Season the inside of each bell pepper with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Place upright in a baking dish.
  5. Note: If you are making in advance and planning to freeze, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or just until slightly softened.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb and onions, using the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the meat into a crumbly mix. Cook until the meat is no longer red.
  7. Stir in the oregano, garlic and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes or tomato sauce and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in the olives and feta off heat and stuff each pepper with the filling.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and place on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, one hour for frozen peppers.

 

Cobb Salad

Composed Salad

Cobb salad is delicious for an afternoon luncheon or for a warm weather dinner.

Watch the Cobb Salad Video Here.

Check out our How To Sauté Chicken Breasts  and the “Finger Test” videos.

A Cobb salad is a composed salad. The ingredients are presented in rows, rather than tossed, for an eye-appealing presentation. Pour dressing over everything and serve!

Composed Salad

The presentation creates a lovely balance of color, texture and flavors.

Composed Salad

The salad originated at the Brown Derby in LA, supposedly put together late in the evening at the end of service using what was left in the kitchen.

Composed Salad

This is a quick and easy meal to make ahead; dress at the last minute for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner.

 

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Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a composed salad, which simply means the ingredients are not tossed together but laid out in a colorful and eye appealing way. Quick and easy recipe for lunch or dinner

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: One-Dish Meal/Salad

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped chives

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad

6 cups chopped lettuce (Romaine, Bibb, watercress)

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 slices cooked and coarsely chopped bacon

1 pound cooked whole boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise

2 Hass avocado, peeled and sliced crosswise

4 ounces blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

Vinaigrette

Combine the oil, vinegar, chives, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar. Close tightly and shake well.

Salad

Strew the lettuce across the bottom of a large platter.

Arrange each ingredient in a row.

Pour dressing over everything and serve.

 

Basic Pie Crust

How to make pie dough

Whenever I make a pie crust, I think of Grandma Mary, my mother’s mother. Pies have always been a big thing in our family and I remember when Grandma taught me how to make my first one. I was 16 and my parents had gone on vacation, a very rare occurrence, I can assure you, and she was staying with me and my brother.

I asked her to teach me and we set up on the table in the breakfast nook, put all the ingredients together, gently brought the pie dough together and rolled it out. This is the only cooking experience I ever had with her, which is a real shame considering the repertoire of recipes she had in her head! I didn’t realize until it was too late the importance of learning about food and recipes from family members, including my Mother-in-Law Ruth who passed away very early on in our marriage. Her sisters and daughter didn’t know her secrets either.

Cherish your memories of cooking with family and remember to write down traditional recipes and family favorites, even if you need to measure ingredients as you go along because they don’t!

Ratios

For a basic, savory pie dough use a 3:2:1 ratio of flour to butter to water, plus a little salt (1/2 teaspoon per 1 ½ cups flour). For a sweet pie dough add 1 tablespoon sugar per 1 ½ cups flour.

Flavored Crusts

Add more sugar for a sweeter crust, add herbs or shredded cheese for a savory crust.

Smear the Butter

You don’t need special equipment to make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the four and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with these appliances.

Smearing the butter coats the flour with fat and is one step in preventing an over-developed gluten. The most important factor is to use as little agitation as possible: minimal mixing, no kneading.How to make pie dough

Want a flakier crust? Leave the butter pieces in slightly larger pieces.

Flaky Crust

Butter contains about 15-20% water and milk solids, the rest is fat. Because of the water content, a butter crust is crispier than a crust made with lard or shortening, both of which are 100% fat.

The water in the butter turns to steam, puffs up the layers and creates that much desired flaky, crispy crust.

Add the Water

Water is always given in an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and gently toss the flour and water together.

Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.

How to make pie dough

For a single-crust recipe, scoop the loose mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, large enough to contain the disc.

For a double-crust recipe, divide the loose mixture in dough in half and place each portion onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to contain the disc.

Gently form a mound and wrap the dough. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

 

How to make pie dough

Watch the video here.

 

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Basic Pie Dough

How to make pie dough

This recipe gives the ingredients for a double-crust pie. Divide the recipe in half for a single, or make the whole recipe and freeze the second disc.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 9- or 10-inch crusts
  • Category: Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and kept cold
  • 3/4 cup cold water, approximate

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the flour and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas.
  2. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with the appliances.
  3. Water is always given as an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and just toss the flour and water together. Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.
  4. Divide the dough in half, it’s loose and crumbly because you haven’t forced it together yet, and scoop each half onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently form a mound and wrap the dough.
  5. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

Notes

Freezes well. Freeze as a disc or roll out and freeze as a rolled up sheet. See video here.