Category: Condiments

Apple-Pear Sauce

apple and pear varieties

Here’s a little twist on traditional applesauce, Apple-Pear Sauce.

Fall is upon us and apples and pears are in season and in abundance. To create a complex flavor and varying textures I like to use three varieties of pears and apples. I used Bartlett and Starkrimson, which are sweet and juicy pears with a softer pulp, and Bosc, which is less sweet and firm in texture. The apples, which I sourced from The Whittier Fruit Farm during my recent trip to Rochester, included SweeTango, crisp with good acidity, Jonagold with a sweet honey flavor, and a Macoun, with a firmer texture. To highlight the vanilla undertone of the pears, I add a vanilla bean and a little lemon zest for acidity.

The recipe comes together easily and with few ingredients. Simply peel and core 6 pears and 6 apples and cut into about 1-inch cubes, the smaller the size the shorter the cooking time.

To core apples, use a melon baller. The stems of the pear extend down to the core. Quarter the pear and use a paring knife to slice top to bottom to remove inner stem and core.

coring pears

To get to the seeds of the vanilla, make a slit at the end of the bean, but don’t cut through to the bottom. Slide the knife between the pod and run the knife down the bean to split it in half lengthwise.

splitting a vanilla bean

Scrape out the seeds with the edge of a paring knife.

scraped vanilla bean

Add 1/4 cup cold water, the vanilla bean seeds and the lemon zest. Cover and cook over a very low flame. Low and slow is the way to go – high heat only scorches the fruit and that flavor permeates the entire sauce.

chopped pears and apple in saucepan

Stir every 3 minutes or so to move the fruit on top to the bottom. Once the fruit starts to break down, raise the heat a bit, just a little bit, and leave the cover askew. These are juicy fruits and it’s good to let a little of the liquid evaporate. A loose apple-pear sauce isn’t as tasty or pleasing to the palette.

The sauce is usually done in 30 to 40 minutes, again this depends on the size of the fruit. An unripe, extra-firm fruit can also take a little longer to cook. To test, push a few fruit cubes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. The sauce is ready when easily smashed.

Mash with a potato masher. I like my apple-pear sauce to have a little texture and leave some small chunky pieces. Don’t use a blender, food processor or immersion blender, however, the harsh processing destroys cell structure and the sauce becomes a soup.

Cool, place in jars, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

apple-pear sauce in jars

Serve warm or at room temperature.

apple-pear sauce in a bowl

Recipe doubles easily and freezes well.

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Apple-Pear Sauce

apple-pear sauce in a bowl

Here’s a little twist on traditional applesauce, Apple-Pear Sauce. Use a variety of pears and apples for complex flavor and texture.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups; 10-12 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

6 assorted pears
6 assorted apples
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
zest of one lemon

Instructions

The recipe comes together easily and with few ingredients. Simply peel and core 6 pears and 6 apples and cut into about 1-inch cubes, the smaller the size the shorter the cooking time.

To core apples, use a melon baller. The stems of the pear extend down to the core. Quarter the pear and use a paring knife to slice top to bottom to remove inner stem and core.

To get to the seeds of the vanilla, split it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the sharp edge of a paring knife.

Add 1/4 cup cold water, the vanilla bean seeds and the lemon zest. Cover and cook over a very low flame. Low and slow is the way to go – high heat only scorches the fruit and that flavor permeates the entire sauce.

Stir every 3 minutes or so to move the fruit on top to the bottom. Once the fruit starts to break down, raise the heat a bit, just a little bit, and leave the cover askew. These are juicy fruits and it’s good to let a little of the liquid evaporate. A loose apple-pear sauce isn’t as tasty or pleasing to the palette.

The sauce is usually done in 30 to 40 minutes, again this depends on the size of the fruit. An unripe, extra-firm fruit can also take a little longer to cook. To test, push a few fruit cubes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. The sauce is ready when easily smashed.

Mash with a potato masher. I like my apple-pear sauce to have a little texture and leave some small chunky pieces. Don’t use a blender, food processor or immersion blender, however, the harsh processing destroys cell structure and the sauce becomes a soup.

Cool, place in jars, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Recipe doubles easily and freezes well.

Keywords: apple sauce, pear sauce, condiment, Thanksgiving dinner,

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.

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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.

 

Saffron Pickled Shallots

Condiment

One of my new favorite restaurants is Gato. I’m a big Bobby Flay fan and have been for years. It was a real disappointment when he closed Bolo several years ago, I loved the menu and the food. Gato makes up for that loss in a big way. One of my favorite small plates is Mussel and Clam Salad with Saffron Pickled Shallots. The entire dish is sublime, but those saffron pickled shallots really blew me away. I knew I had to try and replicate the recipe!

It’s a Quick Pickle!

This is a quick pickle recipe and super simple to make. Boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt and saffron for 5 minutes.

Condiment

Dump in the sliced shallots and cook and another 5 minutes. Then let them steep in the pan off heat for 15 minutes.

Condiment

I thought these saffron pickled shallots would be a real treat on chicken liver pate and sandwiches, especially tuna. Strew a few shallots in salads and include a little of the pickle brine in the dressing.

Use a mandolin or vegetable slicer to make slices of uniform thickness. These keep for a couple months in the refrigerator. Store in a mason jar or reuse an old pickle jar.

Condiment

Recipe
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Saffron Pickled Shallots

Condiment

Use a mandolin or vegetable slicer to make slices of uniform thickness. These keep for a couple months in the refrigerator. Store in a mason jar or reuse an old pickle jar.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Condiment

Ingredients

  • 1 cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and saffron in a medium-size saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the sugar and salt are dissolved and the brine is a golden, stir in the shallots and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Place in a storage container and once completely, cover and store in the refrigerator.

 

Beef Tacos with Lime Sour Cream

In our area, it’s hard to get a good taco. No offense to fast food establishments or many of our local restaurants but the flavor profile is very generic. Interestingly, when I perused taco recipes, I was surprised to see so many using generic chili powder, maybe that’s why they all taste the same. These Beef Tacos with Lime Sour Cream use my unique seasoning blend for maximum flavor.

I used a combination of my go-to spices: ancho chili powder for its warm smoky characteristics, cumin, coriander and Mexican oregano because you can’t make tacos without these traditional ingredients and for a little heat, chipotle powder.

There are many garnishes to choose from. I like to put shredded cheese over the top of the tacos and let it melt and then drizzle a sauce, like the lime sour cream recipe included here. I might top one with salsa crudoone with guacamole, and another with chopped scallions and pickled jalalpenos. If you can’t decide or want to mix it up, put little dollops of a few toppings on your plate to have something different with each bite!

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Method

Heat the oil in a four-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over high. Place the beef and salt in the hot oil and with the tip of a wooden spoon break it up into crumbles. Cook until the beef is no longer red.

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Stir in the onions and garlic, cover and sweat for five minutes. Add the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle chili powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds.

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Stir in the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the beef mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop the taco mixture onto each tortilla. Fold and put on a plate or platter.

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Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and melt in the microwave for 15 seconds or in the oven. Drizzle with the lime sour cream sauce and garnish to your liking.

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Whisk together and pour into a squeeze bottle.

 

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Beef Tacos

I used a combination of my go-to spices: ancho chili powder for its warm smoky characteristics, cumin, coriander and Mexican oregano because you can’t make tacos without these traditional ingredients and for a little heat from chipotle powder.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Beef

Ingredients

  • Lime Sour Cream
    1/4 cup sour cream
  • zest of one lime
    pinch of Kosher salt
  • Beef Tacos
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves,
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 12 six-inch round soft tortillas, wheat or corn
  • Garnishes: shredded cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or Cheddar, lime sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, pica di gallo, chopped pickled jalapenos, sliced black olives, avocado slices sprinkled with lemon juice and salt, shredded iceberg lettuce sprinkled with salt, guacamole or anything else you like.

Instructions

  1. Lime Sour Cream
  2. Whisk the sour cream, lime zest and salt together.
  3. Put in a squeeze.
  4. Beef Tacos
  5. Heat the oil in a four-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over high. Place the beef and salt in the hot oil and with the tip of a wooden spoon break it up into crumbles. Cook until the beef is no longer red.
  6. Stir in the onions and garlic, cover and sweat for five minutes. Add the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and chipotle chili powder, stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the beef mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop taco mixture onto each tortilla. Fold and put on a plate or platter.
  9. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and melt in the microwave on high for 15 seconds or in the oven for two minutes.
  10. Drizzle with lime sour cream sauce and garnish to your liking.

 

 

Cranberry Sauce

It isn’t thanksgiving without a cranberry dish, and the vibrant cranberry red is a welcome addition to the earthy colors of the Thanksgiving turkey and traditional sides. Cranberries are tart, so tart as to be inedible without some sweetener. This Cranberry Sauce recipe, however, goes lighter on the sugar to highlight the cranberry and complement the other naturally sweet sides, such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and cornbread. For an interesting little twist, I’ve added a couple of Clementines.

Method

Rinse and pick through the cranberries for any bad ones.

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Bring the cranberries, water and sugar to a boil in a medium-size covered pot.

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Lower the heat to a gentle boil, leave the cover ajar, the cranberries pop and spatter.

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Cook until cranberries are thick, about 12 minutes.

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In the meantime, peel the Clementines, and remove all the pith and strings.

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Cut the cleaned Clementines in half and stir in.

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Serve at room temperature.

 

Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 portions
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (1 package) fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Clementines, peeled and cut in half
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pick through the cranberries for any bad ones.
  2. Bring the cranberries, water and sugar to a boil in a medium-size covered pot.
  3. Lower the heat to a gentle boil, leave the cover ajar, the cranberries pop and spatter.
  4. Cook until cranberries are thick, about 12 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Clementine segment halves. Serve at room temperature.

 

Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

I love cold poached salmon and it’s the perfect vehicle for a variety of delicious sauces. I couldn’t decide between a cucumber dill, my favorite, a mustard or something with a bite like watercress. Since watercress isn’t in season, I substituted arugula and added some cucumber and a touch of lemon zest. That’s how I ended up with Poached Salmon with Three Sauces!

The irregular shape of salmon presents a challenge to even cooking. I removed the thin edge along the length of the salmon and poached it as a separate piece for four minutes and cut the rest of the salmon into six equal portions, which I poached for seven minutes.

A rich poaching liquid adds depth of flavor to the salmon. Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup. Add the aromatics and cold water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for half an hour. Strain and thoroughly chill the poaching liquid.

Both the fish and the poaching liquid must be the same temperature at the start of cooking to cook the fish evenly. Use a gentle simmer  to prevent the vigorous bubbles of boiling liquid from breaking apart the salmon, it’s very fragile.

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Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

A delicious assortment of sauces to complement poached salmon.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Poaching

Ingredients

Poaching Liquid
2 cups dry white wine
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 whole garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
12 whole black peppercorns
2 1/2 quarts cold water

Poached Salmon
3 pounds center-cut salmon, skin removed, dark meat trimmed and cut into 6 even portions*

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Watercress Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 cup tightly packed arugula or watercress
1/2 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Cucumber Dill Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Poaching Liquid

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Poached Salmon

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Watercress Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Cucumber Dill Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

 

Notes

*Slice the thin edge that runs the length of the salmon. Poach for 3-4 minutes.

 

Red Onion Jam

Red Onion Jam is delicious on grilled meat. We’re making a grilled flank steak today with roasted cauliflower.

See our post and video on how to caramelize onions.

Method

Place a small container of cold water beside the stove.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the onions, sugar and salt and continue cooking and stirring.

Once the water is released from the onions, the natural sugar begins to brown on the bottom of the pan.

Use a little cold water to dissolve the fond or it will burn. This adds color and flavor to the onions.

Continue cooking, stirring and deglazing until the onions are soft and golden, about 30 minutes more.

Stir in the vinegar off heat. The acidity activates the red pigment in the jam and the color pops.

Store covered in the refrigerator. Serve warm.

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Red Onion Jam

Red Onion Jam is a delicious condiment to serve over meat or poultry. It’s also delicious spread on crunchy country bread.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Condiment

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound red onions, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Instructions

Place a small container of cold water beside the stove.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the onions, sugar and salt and continue cooking and stirring.

Once the water is released from the onions, the natural sugar begins to brown on the bottom of the pan. Use a little cold water to dissolve the fond or it will burn. This adds color and flavor to the onions.

Continue cooking, stirring and deglazing until the onions are soft and golden, about 30 minutes more.

Stir in the vinegar off heat. The acidity activates the red pigment in the jam and the color pops.

Store covered in the refrigerator. Serve warm.