Category: Quick and Easy

Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

I’ve been thinking about Cream of Tomato Soup a lot lately. I haven’t had it in years and the last time was most likely Campbell’s. The occasion for making it came up with a party I was having for my daughter Margot.

cream of tomato soup

She recently became a designer for Keep Collective, a jewelry company. We invited family and friends local to me (she lives in Philadelphia) for a Saturday afternoon, including a light lunch. We had about a dozen acceptances. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a lovely ladies’ lunch.

Hors d’oeuvres

Scallion and Parsley Humus
Crudité
Pita Chips

cream of tomato soup

Lunch

Cream of Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheddar Cheese on Rye
Turkey Club Sandwiches

cream of tomato soup

Dessert

Triple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Almond Coconut Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
Passion Fruit Chocolate Biscotti

cream of tomato soup

The soup and sandwiches were a big hit. It was a chilly day and everyone was oohing and awing about comfort food. I kept the soup in the crockpot on low to easily fill and refill mugs. No utensils – all finger foods!

We had a great afternoon and everyone stayed a long time. I think they departed around 7pm – always a sign of a good party when guests stay longer than expected!

Print

Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

Cream of Tomato soup was one of my favorite soups growing up. This recipe packs lots of natural tomato sweetness and goes perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large celery stalk, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5) ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bouquet garni (3 parsley sprigs, 20 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 6 pepper corns securely wrapped in cheesecloth)
1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Melt the butter in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, stir in the onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions are browning.

Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, reduce to ¼ cup.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, stock or water and bouquet garni.

Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove and discard bouquet garni,

Cool off heat for 15 minutes.

Pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor, filling the container halfway or less. Cover, remove the top insert to allow for steam to escape, but cover that hole with a folded over towel.

Place into a clean container and continue pureeing until all the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.

Reheat and serve.

Freezes well.

Notes

See our video on how to safely puree hot foods.

Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Easter means an abundance of hard-boiled eggs. What do you do with them when the holiday is over? How about deviled eggs. Here’s a delicious recipe for Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Deviled Eggs, sure to please everyone.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs aren’t just for parties, they make a great breakfast, especially these, similar to an omelette or a typical bacon and egg dish. Prepare the eggs in advance and pack a few for your coffee break at the office or in the kids’ lunches.

Another use for deviled eggs is to chop up the egg whites and fold into the deviled egg mix for a delicious egg salad. Add another tablespoon or two of mayonnaise or yogurt to loosen up.

Deviled Eggs

Don’t have a lot of time? Purchase pre-cooked and shelled hard-boiled eggs and this recipe comes together in minutes.

Watch the Cheddar Bacon Deviled Egg video here.
Print

Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Deviled Eggs

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Eggs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot minced
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
6 hard-cooked eggs, shelled and sliced in half lengthwise, yolks and whites separated
3 strips cooked bacon, divided
¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
Generous dashes of hot sauce, such as Frank’s or Tabasco

Garnish
Bacon bits

Instructions

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Stir in shallots and salt; sweat for 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft.

Place the yolks, 2 bacon strips, Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and hot sauce in the base of a food processor. Purée, scraping sides as needed. Add the cooked shallots and purée again.

Fill the cavity of each egg white with the egg yolk purée by using a spoon or a piping bag.

Garnish each egg with the bacon bits.

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Best served at room temperature.

Notes

The bacon is used in two different steps; two strips are used in the recipe and one for a garnish.

Cooking Sunny-Side Up Eggs

sunny-side up eggs

I love a sunny-side up egg. The problem is that not many people cook them right. I want a sunshine yellow runny egg yolk, but I don’t want uncooked egg white on the top. Here’s my secret to cooking sunny-side up eggs!

My secret is to use an ice cube! It keeps the yolk high and prominent, perfectly runny and the egg whites cooked through.

Put a generous dollop of butter in a skillet over medium heat to melt. Once the butter foams, crack your egg(s) into the hot skillet and lower the heat a tad.

sunny-side up eggs

Pop an ice cube into the skillet.

sunny-side up eggs

Cover with a convex cover – like the one below.

sunny-side up eggs

The cover is going to jiggle and the butter sputter a little from the steam of the melting ice cube.

Remove the cover and you have a beautiful sunny-side-up egg!

sunny-side up eggs

Watch the How to Cook a Sunny-Side Up Egg video here.
Print

Cooking Sunny-Side Up Eggs

Use our fool-proof method to cook the perfect sunny-side up egg – an ice cube!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving
  • Category: Eggs
  • Method: Frying

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, drop 2 eggs into the skillet and add 1 ice cube.

Use a convex lid to cover the pan and cook for 60 – 90 seconds.

Slide the eggs onto a warm plate.

 

Colcannon

colcannon

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we’re making Colcannon, an Irish potato side dish made with mashed potatoes and cabbage. It’s buttery and tasty!

Ironically, the corned beef and cabbage so ubiquitous in the States is not the traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Lamb is enjoyed on this day in Ireland and we have the perfect recipe for you that is delicious with this colcannon recipe: Garlic Rosemary Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb.

Erin go bragh!

colcannon

Place the potatoes, salt and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches in a large covered saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape and to prevent the potatoes from boiling over. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes – timing varies depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain.

colcannon

While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add the cabbage, scallions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage expels water and softens, about 3 minutes.

colcannon

Mash the potatoes with the warm milk until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and scallions to combine.

Garnish with a couple of twists of the peppermill and the reserved scallion greens.

colcannon

Print

Colcannon

colcannon
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage, ¼ of a head
7 scallions thinly sliced, greens included, reserve 1 scallion with green tops for garnish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Ground pepper (10 cranks?)
½ cup warm milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

Garnish
Strew with the sliced scallions, a pat of butter and a couple of twists of the peppermill

Place the potatoes, salt and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches in a large covered saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape and to prevent the potatoes from boiling over. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about x minutes – timing varies depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain.

While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add the cabbage, scallions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage expels water and softens, about 3 minutes

Mash the potatoes with the warm milk until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and scallions to combine.

Garnish with a couple of twists of the peppermill and the reserved scallion greens.

Notes

Warm the milk and butter together before adding to the potatoes to keep them hot.

Spelt Flatbread

Spelt Flatbread

Years ago, easily 20 years ago, my husband and I toured the Geneva Lake area vineyards. In those days, the wineries weren’t as sophisticated as they are today and restaurants were minimal. One day we opted to have lunch at a local brewery. They specialized in pizza using fermented grains from making beer for the pizza dough. I was totally blown away by the spelt pizza. It was nutty, satisfying and obviously memorable. This inspired my recipe for Spelt Flatbread, which uses a combination of white whole wheat flour and spelt. I like these flours because of their unrefined properties and nutty flavors.

Roasted Spiced Carrot Puree

White whole wheat flour is a soft wheat that has all the properties of regular whole wheat flour — flavor, fiber and nutrients, but maintains a less dense texture similar to white all-purpose flour. The all-purpose flour is easily replaced with white whole wheat flour without any change in flavor or texture.

Spelt is known as an ancient grain, a staple used from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It is a winter wheat and therefore contains gluten, is high in fiber and contains zinc and iron. Most upscale grocers carry it and amazon.com is a great resource.

If you can’t find or don’t want to use spelt flour, substitute regular whole wheat flour, which also provides great taste and texture.

flatbread

This flatbread recipe is thin and soft; cut like a pizza or roll out in a rectangle and cut into squares. It’s also great to use as a wrap.

Try our Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée and Cilantro Oil on the flatbread with crumbled feta cheese and coarsely chopped pistachios as shown above.

 

 

Watch the Spelt Bread Video Here.
Print

Spelt Flatbread

flatbread

Try this quick and easy spelt flatbread recipe. It’s made with both spelt and white whole wheat flour, rich in fiber and flavor. Good for wraps too.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: Flatbread

Ingredients

2 cups white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup spelt
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup milk
½ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Instructions

Place the wheat and spelt flours and salt in a mixing bowl, blend to combine.

Add the milk, yogurt and coconut oil; set the speed to low to prevent the flour from spraying all over and mix the ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the ingredients are combined, raise the speed to medium for 15 seconds. The dough should not stick to the bowl and release easily.

Divide the dough into eights (about 3 ounces each) and form into balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little flour. Place one dough ball in the center of the dusting flour and sprinkle a little flour over the top to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Roll into a 10-inch round, very thin.

Preheat a 10-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is not, lay one flatbread on the pan (no oil needed) and cook until large bubbles form. Flip and cook for another 30-40 seconds. The bubbles on both sides should be dark brown.

Set aside and repeat with the remaining flatbreads. The flatbreads can be stacked without sticking.

Notes

Most upscale grocers sell spelt; Amazon.com is a great resource.

If you can’t find or don’t want to use spelt flour, substitute regular whole wheat flour, which also provides great taste and texture.

 

 

 

Cilantro Oil

infused oil

I created this Cilantro Oil to use on a Spelt Flatbread with Roasted Spiced Carrot Purée. To make an infused oil, select the type of oil you prefer, such as a mild vegetable oil, extra-virgin olive oil, nut oils, etc. Combine the oil with herbs, spices, garlic, or a any combination. This is a delicious accent for soups, stews, flatbreads, pizza, or a dipping oil for crusty breads. Use an infused oil for a creative twist on a salad dressing or vinaigrette. Drizzle over meat, chicken or fish. Lots of options!

infused oil

This cilantro oil is quick and easy to make. Place the oil, chopped cilantro, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée. Strain for a delicate drizzle of infused oil or leave the pulp in for a stronger flavor.

infused oil

Food Safety Note

Any infused oil that contains raw ingredients has a limited shelf life – 4-5 days tops, and must be refrigerated. The herbs, spices and garlic contain bacteria, commonly anaerobic bacteria, that thrive in oxygen-free environments like an infused oil. Plus a little masking tape on the jar with the date.

Print

Cilantro Oil

Flavored oils are a great way to enhance a dish. Drizzle over chicken, fish, vegetables or on top of soup. Use sparingly, this cilantro oil packs lots of flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Puree

Ingredients

¾ cup olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions

Place the oil, cilantro and salt in the base of a food processor or blender and puree thoroughly.

Refrigerate up to 4 days.

Use at room temperature.

Notes

Strain for a refined drizzle. Keep the pulp for a stronger flavor.

 

Lemon Dill Baked Salmon

sustainable fish

My mother and my girlfriend Lynn love salmon. They were talking about recipes at a recent dinner party and they both make a similar version of this Lemon Dill Baked Salmon. Not only is it quick, easy and delicious, but it’s makes a stunning presentation with few ingredients and very little work.

I have become very particular about seafood, questioning the quality and the health of farm-raised seafood, especially in locations where there are no protocols for ensuring that appropriate standards are set and used.

Whole Foods’ seafood department relies on “traceability from farm or fishery to store.” The goal is not only to know the source, but to verify that these sources are responsibly managed, whether it’s a fish farm or fishery. I rely on them for much of my seafood and the seafood is pristine and delicious.

I purchased a beautiful salmon fillet, about 1 1/4 pounds, including the skin, which I removed  (the fish monger will always remove the skin for you, just ask). This produced two thick fillets about 5 ounces each and a smaller, thinner piece, not quite 4 ounces, that I chopped up and made into a salmon burger.

High heat is the best way to cook fish. It’s quick and not much moisture is lost in the process. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay the fillets on a lined baking tray, brush with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper.

sustainable fishPlace fresh dill fronds across the top.

sustainable fish

Cover each with 2 thin slices of lemon.

sustainable fish

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven for medium rare (warm, slightly translucent center) or 20 minutes for a more well done fillet.

sustainable fish

Don’t waste the lemons, give a little squeeze from each slice to brighten the salmon.

Print

Lemon Dill Baked Salmon

sustainable fish

A quick and easy preparation that is both eye and palate pleasing!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

4 five-ounce center-cut skinless salmon fillets
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 dill fronds per fillet
1 lemon cut into 8 thin slices

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay the fillets on a lined baking tray, brush with oil and season each with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Top with dill fronds and 2 lemon slices each.

Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes for medium-rare or 20 minutes for medium-well.

Squeeze the lemons over the fish.

Notes

Be sure to get center-cut fillets, these are the thickest. Tuck the skinny end under (after seasoning) for even cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

I googled for recipes of scrambled eggs with dairy and without. It was interesting to see how each method has die-hard fans. Does it make a difference if you use dairy nor not?

The water content of the egg white evaporates during cooking. Adding milk, especially whole or 2-percent milk, has added fat and water to keep the eggs moist.

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Lack of dairy produces a scrambled egg that is a little drier and less fluffy, but with more of an eggy taste.

The difference is negligible, though. You decide what’s right for you.

See our post for an in-depth explanation on how to cook protein, which explains why we recommend cooking low and slow.

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Beat the eggs well and season with salt and pepper before cooking for optimum flavor. A non-stick skillet requires less fat than a regular skilled. I prefer butter for the sweet taste it imparts, but you can easily substitute coconut oil or vegetable oil.

Watch the Scrambled Eggs without Dairy video here.

Adding a little milk or cream to your scrambled eggs makes lighter fluffier eggs. A tablespoon or two for 2 or 3 eggs is sufficient, substitute soy, almond or coconut milk, if desired. Final flavor varies.

Watch the Scrambled Eggs with Dairy video here.

Print

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Scrambled eggs are delicious for any meal. For lunch place in a pita or wrap with some bacon and sliced tomatoes.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 1 portion
  • Category: Eggs

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 1/2  tablespoons milk or cream
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons butter or oil

Instructions

Beat the eggs, dairy, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until frothy.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a skillet.

Once the butter is frothy, pour in the scrambled eggs and gently and continuously stir to create curds.

The eggs are done when all liquid disappears and the eggs are yellow and fluffy.

Notes

Substitute soy, almond or coconut milks for cow’s milk.

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

I like to use natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy. It doesn’t have the added sugar and oil, retaining more of its natural flavor. Natural peanut butter comes separated, the oil on top and the solids on the bottom. It’s not an easy task to mix it together in the jar, so I scrape it into a food processor and in seconds, it’s completely blended.

This peanut butter cookie recipe is quick and easy to make. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Print

Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 two-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup salted natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper. Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

 

 

 

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.
Print

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.

Guacamole

Avocado Dip

Guacamole is a Mexican condiment first made by the Aztecs. The name guacamole translates from the Aztec Nahautl vocabulary: āhuacamolli,which means avocado sauce or avocado concoction.

There are as many versions of guac, as it is affectionately called here, as there are cooks. The two key ingredients in my mind are salt for flavor and acidity, preferably lime juice, not only for flavor, but the acid prevents oxidation. Once the avocado is cut and exposed to oxygen, it turns brown. This isn’t harmful, just unattractive.

Please note that placing on top of the guac does not prevent oxidation. To preserve the dip, press plastic wrap firmly on the top.

Avocado Dip

Garlic, diced tomatoes, minced red onion and minced jalapeños are commonly used and enhance flavor and texture. I’ve also seen recipes that use mayo and sour cream, but in my opinion that only detracts from the delicious flavor, texture and color of the avocado.

Handle any chili pepper, such as jalapeño, carefully. The essential oils inside stay on your skin for a while and easily transfer to eyes or other sensitive areas. Use food handler gloves if possible. The heat comes from the membrane inside the pepper. It’s not the seeds.

Avocado Dip

Use guacamole for more than a dip. It’s great as a spread for sandwiches or place a dollop on grilled chicken. It also goes well with shellfish, such a shrimp and lobster. Tuna tartar is often paired with a little quac. There are many possibilities for this delicious “concoction!”

NOTES: Placing the pit on top of the guacamole will not prevent oxidation; only the spot covered by the pit is protected. Plastic wrap placed directly on the guacamole keeps the oxygen away and the lime juice not only acts as a flavor component, but the acidity also delays browning.

Handle any chili pepper carefully. The essential oils inside stay on your skin for a while and easily transfer to eyes or other sensitive areas. Use food handler gloves if possible.Avocado Dip

My version uses red bell pepper instead of tomatoes. Tomatoes are seasonal and most of the year unappealing. The red bell pepper provides color and crunch. Feel free to swap it out for tomatoes.

Watch the Guacamole Video Here.
Print

Guacamole

There are as many versions of guacamole as there are cooks. The two key ingredients In my mind are salt for flavor and acidity. I love to include onions, garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeño, which all enhance taste and texture.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

2 Haas avocados
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup minced red bell pepper
¼ cup packed chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño (1 small)
2 teaspoons minced clove garlic (2 small cloves)
½ teaspoon coarse salt

GARNISH

Chopped cilantro leaves and/or a little minced red bell pepper

Instructions

Slice the avocados in half length-wise and remove pits.

Scoop the flesh into a small bowl and mash gently with the back of a table fork. Make the texture smooth or chunky, as you desire.

Pour a couple of teaspoons of lime juice over the avocado and mix well – this will prevent oxidation (browning of the avocado flesh).

Stir in the pepper, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and salt.

Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors blend, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, maybe more lime juice for acidity and/or a little salt.

To store: cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Notes

Placing the pit on top of the guacamole will not prevent oxidation; only the spot covered by the pit is protected. Plastic wrap placed directly on the guacamole keeps the oxygen away and the lime juice not only acts as a flavor component, but the acidity also delays browning.

Handle any chili pepper carefully. The essential oils inside stay on your skin for a while and easily transfer to eyes or other sensitive areas. Use food handler gloves if possible.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/3 cup

Roasted Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Fresh artichokes are delicious but time consuming to prepare. This recipe for roasted artichoke hearts with lemon parmesan vinaigrette works well with frozen artichokes, a quick and easy alternative and thawing is not necessary. Avoid canned or jarred artichokes; they are too soft and don’t hold up well in a cooked recipe.

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Use as an hors d’oeuvre or first course.

WATCH THE ROASTED ARTICHOKE VIDEO HERE:

 

Print

Roasted Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Fresh artichokes are delicious, but time consuming to prepare. Frozen artichokes are a quick and easy alternative and thawing is not necessary. Avoid canned or jarred artichokes, which are too soft for additional cooking.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Roasting

Ingredients

Artichokes

8 baby artichokes or 1 16-ounce bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or 1 can (x ounces) canned artichokes, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
lemon-parmesan vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 minced cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

GARNISH                        

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

For the Artichokes:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To use frozen artichokes, lay  on a towel or paper towel and cover with another; press gently to remove excess moisture.

Place the artichokes on a baking sheet and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, toss halfway through the cooking time. The artichokes are done when the edges are slightly brown and crispy.

Pour the vinaigrette over the artichokes and toss to combine.

Serve on a warm platter or individual plates and garnish with chopped parsley.

For the Vinaigrette: Place the oil, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar and shake to combine.

Notes

Frozen artichokes may several minutes longer than frozen.