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.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl

This recipe for Pepper Jack Squash Soup was on my mind for several days. I decided to make it on a Monday, which is typically a very busy, chore-filled day. It’s cleaning day, linen and towel laundry day, replenish the pantry and refrigerator day, and pay the bills day. Not always a good day to test a new recipe, but I was obsessed.

I decided to skip the sweat the vegetable step and just pile all the vegetables, salt, and stock into the pot and cook. Everything is pureed in the end, so the vegetables get a rough chop, though smaller pieces cook faster than large, so I sliced thinly and cut the squash into small cubes, which kept the cooking time to 45 minutes.

I also used my food processor to puree the soup and then switched to the shredder blade and shredded the cheese and stirred it into the soup. I saved having to clean another tool by having the food processor do double duty.

I was not disappointed. A butternut squash soup has a velvety texture that is only enhanced by adding the pepper jack cheese and the spices in the cheese give the soup some oomph!

Top the soup off with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.

METHOD

Place the squash, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and stock in a large saucepan.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup with stock

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 45 minutes or until the
until the squash is tender.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup ready for the blender

To test, push a couple of squash pieces against the side of the pan; once it easily squishes it’s done.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup soft vegetables

Let the soup cool for about 15 minutes before puréeing.

Scoop the vegetables and liquid in equal portions into the food processor, filling no more than halfway. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender. Be sure the soup is completely smooth.

See our blog/video on how to safely purée hot ingredients.

Return to the stovetop, add the cheese and cook over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and the soup is streak free.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup with cheese

Soup freezes well.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl

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Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 cups vegetable stock, such as More Than Gourmet
8 ounces shredded jalapeño Monterrey Jack cheese

Garnish
Cilantro leaves

Instructions

Place the squash, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and stock in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 45 minutes or until the
until the squash is tender. To test, push a couple of squash pieces against the side of the pan; once it easily squishes it’s done.

Let the soup cool for about 15 minutes before puréeing.

Scoop the vegetables and liquid in equal portions into the food processor, filling no more than halfway. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender. Be sure the soup is completely smooth.

See our blog/video on how to safely purée hot ingredients.

Return to the stovetop, add the cheese and cook over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and the soup is streak free.

Soup freezes well.

Keywords: soup, butternut squash, pepper jack cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, cream soup

 

 

Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise in a bowl

Leeks are plentiful at the farmers’ markets these days and I can’t resist them. I haven’t made or had Vichyssoise in years and just seeing those leeks, I couldn’t get the soup off my mind.

Leeks are a member of the allium family – onions, garlic, scallions. It’s long and thin (1 – 2 inches in diameter) and has dark green leaves on top and a light green to white bulb at the bottom. The amount of light green and white depends on how deeply the leek is planted in the soil to avoid direct sunlight.

vichyssoise - leek photo

Leeks grow deeply entrenched in a sandy soil and those outer layers trap the sand and require a thorough cleaning. Chopped leeks are relatively easy to clean. Just trim and discard the dark green tops and the root on the bottom. Cut in half lengthwise, slice into thin pieces, and plop into a big bowl of cold water. Swish the cut leeks around, pick up handfuls and gently rub together between your palms to separate the layers and loosen the dirt. Let sit for several seconds to allow the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop into colander, rinse the bowl, and repeat. Drain.

Cooking time for root vegetables like potatoes vary according to the size of the chunks. After peeling, I usually cut them in half lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle and in about 15 minutes the potatoes are tender. To test, gently press a cube against the side of the pan; it should easily break apart.

Bouquet garni is a combination of parsley (stems only are fine), thyme, and bay leaf, which are wrapped in cheesecloth or stuffed into a sachet bag for easy removal at the end of cooking. This method imparts the earthy flavors of the herbs and keeps the soup pristine.

bouquet garni

White peppercorns are commonly used for this dish – the thinking is no one wants to see little specks of black pepper in the beautiful white soup. I, however, am not a fan of white peppercorns – I find them very bitter. I use cayenne, which gives a subtle underlying heat that, in my opinion, neither white nor black peppercorns impart.

There are few ingredients in this soup and it comes together easily. As with so many recipes, the flavor is best after it sits overnight, giving a uniformly delicious mouthful with every spoonful. My husband and I finished this soup in two days. We were scraping the bottom of the bowl. It is very flavorful, and the texture is silky smooth.

Hot vs Cold

Vichyssoise is typically served chilled. Chilling mutes the taste and aroma of food, so it’s important to be aggressive when seasoning food you plan to serve cold. The recipe below gives the amount of salt and cayenne for both a cold soup and a hot soup.

Vichyssoise

Melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the cleaned leeks, garlic, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. This releases excess moisture and intensifies the flavor of the aromatics. Lower the heat a bit if the leeks are starting to brown.

leeks to saute

Add the potatoes, stock, and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. The time varies depending on the size of the potato pieces. I cut my potato in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices.

Vichyssoise in saucepan

Remove and discard the bouquet garni and let the soup cool for 20 minutes.

To purée, fill a blender or food processor with both solids and liquid to the halfway point and process until completely smooth. See our post/video on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

Stir in the half-and-half or cream. If you prefer not to use dairy, use a cup of stock.

Vichyssoise in a bowl

Serve chilled or hot with a generous garnish of chopped chives.

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Vichyssoise

Delicious hot or cold, this soup has a silky texture and earthy flavor. The chopped chives are not only a beautiful visual element, but the flavor complements the soup nicely.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups leeks, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ pounds whole leeks with generous white portions)
1 clove garlic minced
kosher salt:
Cold: 2 ½ teaspoons
Hot: 1 ½ teaspoons
¼ teaspoon cayenne
4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock, such as More Than Gourmet
1 bouquet garni
1 cup cream, half and half, or stock

Garnish
chopped fresh chives

Instructions

Melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the cleaned leeks, garlic, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. This releases excess moisture and intensifies the flavor of the aromatics. Lower the heat a bit if the leeks are starting to brown.

Add the potatoes, stock, and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. The time varies depending on the size of the potato pieces. I cut my potato in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni and let the soup cool for 20 minutes.

To purée, fill a blender or food processor with both solids and liquid to the halfway point and process until completely smooth. See our video on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

Stir in the half-and-half or cream. If you prefer not to use dairy, use a cup of stock.

Serve chilled or hot with a generous garnish of chopped chives.

Notes

Vichyssoise is typically served chilled. Chilling mutes the taste and aroma of food, so it’s important to be aggressive when seasoning food you plan to serve cold. The recipe below gives the amount of salt and cayenne for both a cold soup and a hot soup.

Keywords: cold soup, hot soup, potato leek soup, potatoes, leeks, soup, gluten free, dairy free

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.

DSCN3574

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.

IMG_2083

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.

IMG_2086

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.

IMG_2094

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.

IMG_0564

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.

IMG_0565

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.

IMG_0569

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.

 

IMG_0613

 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.

 

Zarzamora Ardiente Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente means “fiery blackberry.” This cocktail contains blackberries and jalapeño, a little fresh lime juice, agave, and 2 ounces mezcal. It’s sweet/tart with some heat and a delightful smokiness from the mezcal.

I’ve never been a fan of mixed drinks, they tend to be very sweet. But it seems that in this new age of creativity on the part of bartenders, natural flavors and juices and less sugar are in style and the result is delicious and interesting cocktails.

I’ve had two mezcal cocktails that I’ve really loved. A local Mexican restaurant in Wilton CT, Cactus Rose has a Smoky Cosmo, made with Espadin mexcal (sic), orange liquor, blood orange puree, and fresh lime juice that is delightful. My very first mezcal cocktail was in LA at Broken Spanish, made of EL ZOCALO mezcal, passion fruit, Campari, yellow chartreuse habanero tincture, and Sal De Gusano (which is agave worm salt – see blow for more information). I was blown away and definitely hooked on this very special distilled beverage made from the agave plant.

What is Mezcal?

Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave, a succulent that thrives in hot, arid environments and requires very little water to survive. Tequila is made from only one type of agave, blue or weber, and must be grown in the state of Jalisco or in small parts of four other states. Mezcal (tradition spelling is mescal) is made from 28 or more varieties of agave from all over Mexico. Mezcal has a smokiness that, in my opinion is its real appeal, missing in tequila.

There are two types of mezcal: one made from 100% agave and a second made from a minimum 80% agave and a maximum of 20% other sugars.

Mezcal has three different aging categories: abacado, joven, or blanco  is clear, un-aged, and bottled immediately; it may have flavoring or coloring added. Resposado or madurado is aged in wood barrels for 2-11 months, and añejo is aged in wood barrels for a minimum of 12 months.

Zarzamora Ardiente the pour

The smoke flavor is the result of the processing. Once the plant is harvested, the leaves are removed with a machete revealing the heart of the agave, called the piña, which is taken to a palenque, a rustic distillery. The agave is then processed further, layered over the hot oven and covered with the outer leaves of the plant and roasted for several days. The caramelized agave is then crushed or pulverized, fermented, distilled and sometimes aged.

If you want to learn more about this excellent liquor, I suggest Finding Mezcal: A journey into the liquid soul of Mexico with 4o cocktails, by Ron Cooper. My daughter and her boyfriend gave me a copy for Christmas and it’s a fun read!

The Myth of the Worm

I remember hearing that tequila had a worm in the bottle when I was younger (YUK)! This is apparently a marketing gimmick. What is in the bottle is either the larvae of a caterpillar of a night butterfly or the agave snout weevil that naturally infest agave plants and the worm salt (Sal De Gusano) mentioned in the above cocktail from Broken Spanish.

The Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente ingredients

I’m trying a new mezcal today, Sombra mezcal artesanal made from 100% Maguey Espadin using the joven aging method. The resulting cocktail has a deep purple color and depending on how much you muddle the jalapeño, it can have quite a kick. I like it over ice garnished with a thin slice of jalapeno.

Zarzamora Ardiente juice and jalapeno

Cheers!

METHOD FOR MAKING ZARZAMORA ARDIENTE Cocktail

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled jalapeno

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled blackberry

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

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Zarzamora Ardiente

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

5 blackberries
3 thin slices jalapeño, divided
2 ounces mezcal
1 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave
4 ice cubes

Instructions

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.

Basic Pancake Recipe with a Few Variations

Basic Pancake Recipe

A Basic Pancake Recipe is a simple mix of flour, baking powder and/or baking soda, salt, and milk or buttermilk. Whisk the ingredients together, then let the batter rest. The individual starch granules absorb liquid and swell, which prevents a raw starchy taste in the pancake.

Use different flours or a combination of flours, such as white whole wheat, which you can substitute 100% for all-purpose flour, or half oatmeal flour and half all-purpose flour. Substitute 25% with buckwheat flour for a deeper, nuttier flavor, but avoid using too much as this is a very dense flour.

Add fruit, such as berries or thinly sliced bananas, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips for variety. Creamed corn makes great corn cakes for a slightly savory taste – they’re good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Basic Pancake Recipe with Blueberries

Pancake batter only takes a few minutes to make and while the batter is resting, preheat your griddle or pan. A hot griddle or pan is essential to getting that lovely brown exterior with crispy edges and to activate the leavening agent for airy flapjacks (couldn’t resist using the dated term, just saying it makes you giggle.)

After you pour the batter, bubbles should appear on the sides and the pancake will rise. Flip when golden brown and cook for another couple of minutes. Don’t be discouraged by a slightly pale first flapjack, the pan was probably not hot enough and the rest will be perfect.

Basic Pancake Recipe

Keep Those Pancakes Warm

A stove-top griddle or electric pancake griddle, only holds so many pancakes at once and must be made in batches. To keep your pancakes warm, preheat the oven (180 – 200 degrees F) or a warming drawer, line a half-sheet baking pan with a cooling rack, which allows for air circulation, spread the pancakes over the rack, and place in the warm oven or drawer. Warm the serving platter, plates, syrup, or other toppings too.

Basic Pancake Recipe with Fruit

Watch our basic pancake recipe video here.

Watch our fruit pancake recipe video here.

Watch our banana pancake recipe video here.

Watch our creamed corn pancake video here.

Recipes

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Basic Pancakes with Variations for Fruit and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large pancakes
  • Category: Breakfast/Brunch

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat the griddle.

Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs in another bowl and whisk in the milk, butter and vanilla.

Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to blend

Generously brush the griddle with oil or melted butter just before pouring the batter.

  • Size:
    1/2-cup measure for large pancakes
    ¼ cup measure for small pancakes
    2 tablespoons for half dollar pancakes.

After you pour the batter, bubbles appear on the sides and the pancake rises. Flip when golden brown and cook for another minute or two. Don’t be discouraged by a slightly pale first flapjack, the pan was probably not hot enough and the rest will be perfect.

To keep your pancakes warm, preheat the oven (180 – 200 degrees F) or a warming drawer, line a half-sheet baking pan with a cooling rack, which allows for air circulation, spread the pancakes over the rack, and place in the warm oven or drawer. Warm the serving platter, plates, syrup, or other toppings too.

Notes

Fruit and Chocolate Chip Pancakes:

2 cups fruit, such as berries, sliced banana or chocolate chips*

Gently fold into the pancake batter and scoop out. The weight of these fillings makes them fall to the bottom, so be sure to scoop down or take handfuls of the variation ingredients and plop on top of the batter right after pouring on the griddle. Adding the ingredients to the bitter on the grill allows you to mix it up a little, raspberries for one and bananas for another, or a combo of ingredients!

*nutritional content is for basic pancake recipe.

Keywords: pancakes, flapjacks, fruit pancakes, banana pancakes, berry pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, breakfast, brunch, basic pancakes

 

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Creamed Corn Pancakes

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 ears of corn, kernels removed and corn milk scraped out (about 1 1/2 cups) or, 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat the griddle.

Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Place corn kernels, cream, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in a food processor and or blender and pulse to chop. Don’t puree, the corn should have a coarse texture.

Pour the corn mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to blend

Generously brush the griddle with oil or melted butter just before pouring the batter.

  • Size:
    1/2-cup measure for large pancakes
    ¼ cup measure for small pancakes
    2 tablespoons for half dollar pancakes.

After you pour the batter, bubbles appear on the sides and the pancake rises. Flip when golden brown and cook for another minute or two. Don’t be discouraged by a slightly pale first flapjack, the pan was probably not hot enough and the rest will be perfect.

Notes

To keep your pancakes warm, preheat the oven (180 – 200 degrees F) or a warming drawer, line a half-sheet baking pan with a cooling rack, which allows for air circulation, spread the pancakes over the rack, and place in the warm oven or drawer. Warm the serving platter, plates, syrup, or other toppings too.

Keywords: pancakes, creamed corn pancakes, creamed corn, breakfast, brunch

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad in a bowl

When my husband came home from the store over Labor Day weekend, he said Terry, the produce manager at the Village Market, told him this was probably the last weekend for corn. I’m always shocked how quickly corn season passes. I hadn’t even made my Corn and Black Bean Salad yet!

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. I either steam it on the stovetop or grill it.

Prepare the Corn

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Corn and Black Bean Salad prepped ingredients

Finish the Salad

Pop those kernels into a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with avocado

Lots of flavors and textures in the Corn and Black Bean Salad and it goes with everything – burgers, kabobs, chicken, fish, beef, pork, or seafood, and it’s vegan/vegetarian!

Happy Labor Day!

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Corn and Black Bean Salad

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. Steam it, grill it, our use it au naturel. It’s colorful, tasty, and the only side dish you need for a meal.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

6 ears corn
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Kirby cucumber, diced, or about ¼ cup cucumber, remove seeds if bitter
¼ red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch cilantro chopped, reserving a couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado

Instructions

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Pop those kernels in a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

Notes

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Keywords: summer salad, salad, black bean salad, corn salad, black beans, corn, side dish, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, summer recipe

Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve this Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote as a quick and easy, yet elegant appetizer. It’s as eye appealing as it is delicious!

Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. This cheesy delicacy is made of a mozzarella shell and stuffed with a soft, milky curd that oozes from the center of the cheese. It’s best served at room temperature – the cheese on the outside and inside soften and flavor is maximized. Drizzle with a fine, thick balsamic vinegar, a great foil for the mild cheese.

halved burrata

Typically, mozzarella is served with sliced tomatoes as a caprese salad or other raw ingredients. However, it’s nice to change things up once in a while and this warm eggplant compote is a perfect accompaniment. Even better, the compote can be made the day before and gently reheated before serving.

Eggplant Compote

Cook the seasoned eggplant in hot oil over medium heat until the bottom side turns a golden brown. Turn and continue cooking a few minutes more until that side is golden brown. Stir and continue cooking until the eggplant is done; it offers no resistance when pierced with a fork, but retains its shape. Remove to a plate.

Sauteeing eggplant

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes; sweat until the aromatics are soft and translucent, about 2 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and cook over a low flame for 3 minutes. The tomatoes should yield a little, looking a little crinkly, but not mushy.

Return the eggplant to the pan, stir and reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both and top with the basil.

Platting Burrata with warm eggplant compote

Serve with warm crusty bread or try our Garlic Bread!

Watch the video here.

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Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve burrata and eggplant compote as a starter to any meal – it as eye-appealing as it is scrumptious. Accompany with a warm, crusty bread.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups ½-inch cube eggplant (~1  pound)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
¼ cup minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup raisins
¼ -1/2  cup basil chiffonade
2  large or 4 small burrata, cut the large burrata in half

 Garnish                       

A drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar over the burrata and eggplant compote and top with sliced or whole basil leaves.

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Season the eggplant with salt and place into the hot oil in a single layer. Don’t stir again until the bottom side of the eggplant begins to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat if the eggplant is browning too quickly.

Turn and continue browning for another 2-3 minutes. Toss the eggplant in the skillet and cook until the eggplant is soft, but still retains its shape.

Remove eggplant to a plate.

Add the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes and sweat until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins, stir to combine and cook over at a gentle simmer for a few minutes or until the tomatoes begin to crinkle a little.

Stir in the eggplant to reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both, top with the basil.

Notes

Make the day before and gently reheat.

Keywords: burrata, eggplant, compote

Biscotti Cookbook Update

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

I thought it was time to give a Biscotti Cookbook Update! We’ve been baking off the recipes in each chapter, as a final quality control check, and photographing them for the book. It’s been fun and I’ve had the pleasure of working with two fantastic high-school interns this summer, Caroline and Katie.

I’m very happy with the end result of four years of creating, testing, retesting, and re-retesting these biscotti. There’s been lots of tasting going on, too. I’ve taken many, many samples around to friends and family, even my hairdresser, and my husband has taken them to the office to share with colleagues. Many of whom have provided extremely helpful feedback and I’m very grateful. You’ll all be listed in the book – promise!

My dining room has become the biscotti holding area. All of my ingredients are either on the dining room table or a metal cart.

Holding Area for Biscotti Ingredients

I never realized there’s an extract for almost every flavor possible! This was an important find. Flavor dissipates during baking and since the biscotti are twice baked, a good dose of extract makes flavor pop.

A Bin full of Extracts

The finished biscotti are hidden in the dining room, though my husband managed to find them and eat a bunch before one of the photo shoots! Fortunately, there were enough left and I didn’t have to bake more. Need to put him in a room with a lock and key!

Finished Biscotti Ready for Photographing

I usually make six batches in one day, which takes a good four hours. Fortunately, I have double ovens. Each recipe is set up in advance to keep production moving.

Recipe Ingredient Line Up for Testing Biscotti Recipes

Here are some “action” photos from our Ancho Chili Chocolate biscotti.

Mixing

Mixing Biscotti Dough

Rolling

Rolling the Biscotti

Egg wash.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

First bake.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

Slicing

Slicing Biscoti

Second bake.

Ancho Chili Chocolate - Second Bake

Cooling is an important step, especially for gluten-free biscotti. The starches need to set and the soft, melty ingredients, like chocolate, need to cool and reform. That melted chocolate right out of the oven is lava-like in texture and heat!

Cooling Biscotti

Once properly cooked, the biscotti loaf slices nicely into individual biscotto and retain its shape.

It takes three days to complete a chapter, another day to temper chocolate and dip some of the biscotti.

Dipping Biscotti in Chocolate

Pack it all up, label it, and get ready for another day to shoot the biscotti.

Red Velvet Biscotti

We photograph outside on our screened-in porch, which provides lots of natural light. Lately, however, we’ve been holding the inventory due to very hot and humid weather. You just can’t think when the temps and humidity are in the 90s, and those little beads of sweat running down your nose are not conducive to styling and photographing!

Here’s a shot from Chapter 7 – Nut-Free Biscotti.

Shot of Chapter 7 - Nut-Free Biscotti

The goal is to have all the quality control and photography done within the next 30 days or so and then put the text and recipes into book format. Off to the publisher prior to Thanksgiving, then editing and indexing the final manuscript after the New Year. Ideally the book will be available late winter, 2019.

Still have to think of a title for the book. The basics are: Honeypie’s Recipes: 75 Biscotti Recipes – Sweet, Savory and Gluten-Free. Any suggestions?