Category: Dairy-Free

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce in a bowl

We spend as much time outdoors as we can in the summer and that includes eating meals outside. We have a screened-in porch, which makes that possible even when it rains or when the mosquitos are swarming everywhere. That means cooking outside and keeping the indoor cooking to a minimum. Grilling steaks and topping it with this quick and easy Chimichurri Sauce fits the bill!

Chimichurri sauce is a South American recipe. It’s a green sauce made up of parsley, garlic, oregano, white vinegar and olive oil. I’ve taken some liberties here and use red wine vinegar in lieu of white vinegar and added scallions and a pinch of red pepper flakes. It’s a slightly spicy sauce!. Make it  a couple of hours in advance to let the flavors mesh and store in the refrigerator. The sauce can be made a day or two in advance, but do serve it at room temperature. Just leave it out for 30 minutes before dinner.

Chimichurri Sauce in a food processor

Make our Potato Packets as a side; potatoes, onions, olive oil, and seasonings wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill. A totally pot- and pan-free meal!

Watch our video on Grilled Ribeye Steaks (boneless).

Chimichurri Sauce with steak

Method

Place the parsley, scallions, oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper flakes in a food processor.

Pulse until coarsely chopped, but don’t overdo it and turn it into a purée!

Chimichurri Sauce chopped

The sauce can be made a day or two in advance, but do serve it at room temperature.

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Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce with steak

Use this sauce on grilled steak, chicken, fish, or vegetables. Perfect recipe for easy outdoor living!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
Scale

Ingredients

1 cup packed parsley
4 scallions, green tops included
2 tablespoons packed oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cloves garlic (about 2)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

1 cup packed parsley
4 scallions, green tops included
2 tablespoons packed oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cloves garlic (about 2)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place the parsley, scallions, oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper flakes in a food processor.

Pulse until coarsely chopped, but don’t overdo it and turn it into a purée!

The sauce can be made a day or two in advance, but do serve it at room temperature.

Keywords: sauce, spicy sauce, sauce for grilled meat, sauce for grilled chicken, sauce for grilled fish, sauce for grilled vegetables

 

Asparagus and Leek Soup with Tarragon

asparagus and leek soup with tarragon in a bowl

Asparagus season is upon us and this Asparagus and Leek Soup with Tarragon is a two-for one recipe. It’s delicious either hot or cold!

After a long, cold spring, the farmers’ markets are now open and I’m scooping up these slender, green asparagus stalks weekly. Asparagus is an easy vegetable to work with, but be careful not to overcook it. Those crispy, green spears quickly turn an unappealing gray-green and become stringy. Time the cooking carefully, 30 seconds for the very skinny spears up to 2-3 minutes for the thicker spears, and you’ll end up with a bright green vegetable that’s slightly firm to the bite and garden fresh.

Check out our posts on How to Prepare Asparagus and How to Prepare Leeks if you are unfamiliar with working with these vegetables.

asparagus and leek soup with tarragon / chopped leeks

The recipe uses butter, primarily because I like the flavor of butter with both leeks and asparagus, but you can easily substitute vegetable oil to make this a vegan recipe.

Method

Melt the butter or heat the oil  in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Stir in the leeks, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring twice. This process expels liquid and softens the vegetables. If the vegetables begin to brown, lower the heat a little.

asparagus and leek soup with tarragon

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the asparagus spears and cook 5 minutes more.

asparagus and leek soup with tarragon

Take the pot off heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Purée Options

There are three options for pureeing the soup, but to get the smoothest purée, use a blender. Also check out our post on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

1. Blender – purée in batches until very smooth.
2. Food Processor – use the blade attachment and purée in batches until very smooth.
3. Immersion blender – puree in the pan until very smooth, this method takes the most time; however, you won’t have as many tools to clean after.

Stir in the tarragon and reheat. Garnish with more tarragon and a dollop of creme fraiche!

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Asparagus and Leek Soup with Tarragon

asparagus and leek soup with tarragon in a bowl

Make this delicious spring soup and serve either hot or cold!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
Scale

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed (any thickness)
2 leeks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup minced onion
1 minced clove garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish

Instructions

Melt the butter or heat the oil  in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Stir in the leeks, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring twice. This process expels liquid and softens the vegetables. If the vegetables begin to brown, lower the heat a little.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the asparagus spears and cook 5 minutes more.

Take the pot off heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Purée Options

There are three options for pureeing the soup, but to get the smoothest purée, use a blender. Also check out our post on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

1. Blender – purée in batches until very smooth.
2. Food Processor – use the blade attachment and purée in batches until very smooth.
3. Immersion blender – puree in the pan until very smooth, this method takes the most time; however, you won’t have as many tools to clean after.

Stir in the tarragon and reheat. Garnish with more tarragon and a dollop of creme fraiche!

Notes

Soup freezes well.

Keywords: soup, apsaragus soup, leek soup, asparagus, leeks, tarragon, pureed soup, hot soup, cold soup

Lemon Vinaigrette

lemon vinaigrette in a bottle

A simple Lemon Vinaigrette goes well with a variety of lettuces, from delicate butter leaf to pungent greens like arugula or watercress. Toss in a few halved cherry tomatoes that have been dusted with kosher salt and a twist or two of a pepper mill and you have a delicious salad. Add some protein, such as chunks of lobster meat, or sliced chicken and you have a light lunch or dinner.

I enjoy chilled asparagus dressed with a tablespoon or two of lemon vinaigrette. Try this with a our Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon, (LINK/ PHOTO) simply place the asparagus in the center of the plate and drape the salmon across.

This recipe calls for both the zest and juice of a lemon. Be sure to remove the zest, first and then juice the lemon! Pour 3 tablespoons good olive oil in a jar, all of the zest and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a jar and shake. Alternatively, whisk the ingredients in a bowl.

lemon vinaigrette with asparagus

The mustard creates an emulsion, which keeps the oil and lemon juice together and softens the tang of the lemon juice just enough that our lips won’t pucker up!

Never overdress. This recipe makes a generous ¼ cup and is enough for 4-6 cups of lettuce and fillings. Lettuce greens or vegetables, such as Chilled Asparagus, only need a light coating and the vinaigrette should never pool in the bottom of the bowl. And, a good dose of freshly ground pepper is always welcome.

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Lemon Vinaigrette

lemon vinaigrette in a bottle

A simple lemon vinaigrette that’s great on delicate lettuce or pungent greens like arugula or watercress. Also good over chilled vegetables, like asparagus!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1/3 cup 1x
  • Category: Salad Dressings & Viniagrettes
Scale

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Combine the oil, lemon zest and juice, mustard, and salt in a jar and shake.

Keywords: salad sauce, dressings, lemon and olive oil vinaigrette

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Asparagus dressed with lemon vinaigrette

Asparagus comes a variety of sizes, from pencil thin to very thick. The pencil-thin spears require very little trimming, while thick, chunky spears with woody bottoms need some attention.

How to Trim Thin Asparagus

Take one thin spear and hold the very bottom end in one hand and the center in the other. Bend slowly until the spear snaps at the natural breaking point. 

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Lay the trimmed spear next to the others with the tops aligned. Slice the remaining bottoms following the cutline of the trimmed asparagus.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

How to Trim Thick Asparagus

Use a vegetable peeler to trim from the halfway point to the bottom. Trimming reveals more of tender inner portion that is covered by newer tough peel. If you skip this step, the natural breaking point will be higher and you waste good asparagus. Follow the directions above.

Thoroughly rinse the spears and set aside.

How to Parboil Asparagus

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Drain and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Dress the chilled asparagus with our Lemon Vinaigrette and serve over our delicious Herb-Crusted Roasted Salmon.

 

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How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Asparagus dress with lemon vinaigrette

Easy step-by-step instructions for trimming and parboiling asparagus. Use chilled asparagus in salads or serve alone with a simple vinaigrette.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish/Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

Drain the asparagus and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Keywords: blanching, parboiling, precooking, shocking

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How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Easy step-by-step instructions for trimming and parboiling asparagus. Use chilled asparagus in salads.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: How To
  • Method: Parboiling
Scale

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

Drain the asparagus and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Keywords: asparagus, chilled asparagus, parboiled asparagus,ice water bath, shocking vegetables, how to trim asparagus

Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic sounds pretty simple. Select a gin, fill a glass with ice, add tonic water and a wedge of lime. Not all gins are produced in a similar fashion, however, and high-end distillers use a wide variety of ingredients in different quantities and use different infusion methods, which result in a broad range of flavors. Below are descriptions of three different gins that make an excellent Gin and Tonic, a great summer refresher, and a superior tonic water.

gin and tonic garnishes

Tonic Water

I chose Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, which  is made from naturally sourced ingredients, with no artificial flavors or added sweeteners. Quinine is the primary ingredient and is responsible for the bitterness found in tonic water. Fever-Tree sources quinine from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and “fever tree” is the local name of the Chichona Ledgeriana trees, which produce some of the highest quality quinine in the world.

Fever-Tree makes over a dozen tonic water varieties and mixers each meant to accompany the varying flavor essences of different gins. Flavors include clementine, elderflower, cola, and Sicilian lemonade. Take a look at Fever-Tree’s pairing wheel for great suggestions in matching their tonic water and mixers with different gin flavors.

gin and tonic - Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water

For this cocktail, I chose the Light Indian Tonic Water, which has 46% fewer calories than the regular tonic water.

Gin

My daughter Margot suggested I start with Bombay Sapphire for this post, but she had other recommendations as well, which I discuss below. Bombay Sapphire uses hand-selected botanicals from around the world: juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, grains of paradise, cubeb berries, cassia bark, almonds, licorice, orris (iris root). The alcohol is evaporated three times in a Carter-Head still and then the alcohol vapors are infused into these botanicals, which results in a lighter and more floral gin.

gin and tonic- Bombay Sapphire

Since this gin is made with only lemon, I like to use lemon juice and a twisted lemon peel. To jazz it up further, add a few coriander seeds or juniper berries.

gin and tonic setup

Another favorite of Margot’s is St. George Botanivore Gin. We did a tasting of this gin at Stew Leonards (Link: https://www.stewswines.com) a few years ago and were impressed with the complexity of the flavor.

St. George Botanivore Gin is made with 19 different botanicals: angelical root, bay laurel, bergamot peel, black peppercorn, caraway, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, citra hops, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel, lime peel, orris root, Seville orange peel, and star anise. It seems counter-intuitive that all these flavors would mesh well, but they do. The citrus component lends itself well to lemon, lime, and/or orange juice and wedges in the gin and tonic. As a salute to the herbal components, add a sprig of dill or cilantro and toss in a few juniper berries for a sophisticated looking drink!

gin and tonic - St. George Botanivore Gin

 

My daughter also enjoys Hendrick’s, which has a cucumber infusion she really appreciates. Hendrick’s uses a dual still method to make the gin, a traditional copper pot still and a Carter-Head-style still, which uses a copper basket to hold the botanicals and then vapor infuses them to extract flavor. The last step is to combine the two alcohols together and add the essence of cucumber and rose petal for a distinctive flavor.

gin and tonic - hendrick's gin

Hendrick’s recommends using cucumber instead of citrus in a gin and tonic or soda water and elderflower for a unique cocktail, and Fever tree has an elderflower mixer, as well.

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Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic is a great summer cocktail for those lazy, hot weekend afternoons lounging by the pool or sitting on the porch.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Alcoholic Beverage
Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces gin, such as Bombay Sapphire
4 ounces tonic water, such as Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water
1/4 ounce lemon juice

Garnish
lemon peel twist, coriander seeds and/or juniper berries

Instructions

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.

Pour the gin, tonic water, and lemon juice over the ice and stir.

Garnish with the

Keywords: alcoholic spirits, cocktail, gin cocktail, tonic water, mixed drinks, gin and tonic

 

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon over asparagus with lemon vinaigrette

Salmon is always a crowd pleaser with family and friends. Prepare this recipe for Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon in advance and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes for a quick and easy dinner. Serve with our Israeli Couscous as the perfect side!

The herb crust is made with thyme, chives and parsley that impart a lovely herbaceous flavor to the breadcrumbs with a little lemon zest for brightness. I use Panko breadcrumbs, which have more texture than regular breadcrumbs and crisp up nicely providing a crunchy contrast to the soft-textured fish.

Order a center-cut portion of the salmon.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

Ask the fishmonger remove the skin for you.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

The center portion is the thickest part with only a little taper either at the side or one end. Keep the fish whole, it’s easier to spread the crumb topping on a whole piece of fish instead of individual portions and it makes a beautiful presentation on a platter. The fish slices easily with a cake server.

Make this Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon for your next dinner party – everyone will thank you, I promise!

Setup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, line a medium-size baking pan with foil, and brush with a little oil to prevent sticking.

Method

Place the salmon on the baking sheet and sprinkle the top with the salt and pepper. Fold any thin ends or sides underneath. If the thin end doesn’t fold easily, cut a small piece off. 

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

Slide that piece of salmon under the remaining thin end. The salmon cooks evenly and the end doesn’t dry out.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

 

Combine the breadcrumbs, thyme, chives, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil until thoroughly blended.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon chopped herbs

Scoop the crumb mixture across top of the salmon, patting gently to set.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

NOTE: The fish can be held in the refrigerator at this point for one day. Take out 30 minutes before roasting to bring to room temperature.

Pop the salmon in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until the salmon registers 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Use the foil to lift the salmon onto a platter and then rip the foil in the middle and pull from the ends to side the foil from under the salmon.

Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

 

Serve this delicious Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon over parboiled asparagus, chilled, and dressed with our Lemon Vinaigrette.

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Herb-Crusted Roast Salmon

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 46 serings 1x
  • Category: Seafood/Salmon
Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds center-cut salmon, skin removed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons chopped thyme
3 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Garnish
fresh chopped herbs

Instructions

Setup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, line a medium-size baking pan with foil, and brush with a little oil to prevent sticking.

Method

Place the salmon on the baking sheet and sprinkle the top with the salt and pepper; fold any thin ends or sides underneath. If the thin end doesn’t fold easily, cut a small piece of and tuck underneath.

Combine the breadcrumbs, thyme, chives, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil until thoroughly blended.

Scoop the crumb mixture across top of the salmon, patting gently to set.

NOTE: The salmon can be held in the refrigerator at this point for one day. Take out 30 minutes before roasting to bring to room temperature.

Pop the salmon in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until the salmon registers 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Use the foil to lift the salmon onto a platter and then rip the foil in the middle and pull from the ends to side the foil from under the salmon.

Keywords: #salmon #herbcrustedsalmon #roastedsalmon #fish #roasting #quickandeasy roastedsalmon

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

I had a request from a follower to create a Polish Red Cabbage dish. We PMed back and forth to determine whether she wanted a hot or cold dish, a savory, sweet, or sweet and sour slant, and finally whether or not to include some smoked pork. She decided on hot, savory, and definitely some smoked pork.

Classic polish seasonings include, caraway, bay leaf, juniper berries, dill, and fried onions, all of which are perfect for a hot and savory preparation. An apple complements cabbage nicely adding a sweet/tart flavor – I used a Honeycrisp. For the smoked pork, I chose diced bacon and highly recommend using a hardwood-smoked bacon like hickory or apple. Slab bacon is also a great alternative.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Use a knife or mandolin to cut the cabbage into about 3/16-inch slices; not too thin or they get too soft and mushy while cooking. And finally, a heavy-bottomed pan like a 7-quart Dutch oven for slow, even cooking.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

We’re delighted with the end result and hope Barbara is too!

METHOD

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Use a spice bag or cheesecloth to hold the juniper berries and bay leaves. This makes for easy removal at the end of cooking.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Place the bacon in a heavy-bottomed pan, like a 7-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, and the bacon is crispy.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Stir in the onions, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring 3 times. Uncover and continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be lightly fried, but not burned. Turn the heat down if the onions are cooking too fast.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Pour a couple tablespoons of water over the fried onions and stir to loosen the fond on the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the onions, stir to combine.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly to incorporate the flour.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Add the cabbage, apple, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 90 minutes or until the cabbage is tender, but still holding it’s shape.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Remove the spice bag or cheesecloth and stir the dill. Garnish with a few sprigs.

Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Serve with more smoked pork or sausages, such as Kielbasa.

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Polish-Style Red Cabbage

Here’s a Polish-Style Red Cabbage side dish made with fried onions, apple and bacon with typical Polish flavors of caraway, juniper berries, and dill. Serve with more smoked pork or sausages, such as Kielbasa.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
Scale

Ingredients

3 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
4 ounces good bacon, diced; slab bacon if you can find it
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup good chicken stock
1 medium red cabbage, cored and thinly shredded, about 8 cups
1 apple, such as Honeycrisp or Macoun, peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

GARNISH

Few sprigs of fresh dill

Instructions

Use a spice bag or cheesecloth to hold the juniper berries and bay leaves. This makes for easy removal at the end of cooking.

Place the bacon in a heavy-bottomed pan, like a 7-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, and the bacon is crispy.

Stir in the onions, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring 3 times. Uncover and continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be lightly fried, but not burned. Turn the heat down if the onions are cooking too fast.

Pour a couple tablespoons of water over the fried onions and stir to loosen the fond on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the onions, stir to combine.

Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly to incorporate the flour.

Add the cabbage, apple, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 90 minutes or until the cabbage is tender, but still holding it’s shape.

Remove the spice bag or cheesecloth and stir the dill. Garnish with a few sprigs.

 

Keywords: red cabbage, cabbage, polish cabbage, bacon, caraway seeds, juniper berries, bay leaf, apple

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Polish-Style Red Cabbage

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
Scale

Ingredients

3 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
4 ounces good bacon, diced; slab bacon if you can find it
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup good chicken stock
1 medium red cabbage, cored and thinly shredded, about 8 cups
1 apple, such as Honeycrisp or Macoun, peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

GARNISH
Few sprigs of fresh dill

Instructions

METHOD

Use a spice bag or cheesecloth to hold the juniper berries and bay leaves. This makes for easy removal at the end of cooking.

Place the bacon in a heavy-bottomed pan, like a 7-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, and the bacon is crispy.

Stir in the onions, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring 3 times. Uncover and continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be lightly fried, but not burned. Turn the heat down if the onions are cooking too fast.

Pour a couple tablespoons of water over the fried onions and stir to loosen the fond on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the onions, stir to combine.

Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly to incorporate the flour.

Add the cabbage, apple, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 90 minutes or until the cabbage is tender, but still holding it’s shape.

Remove the spice bag or cheesecloth and stir the dill. Garnish with a few sprigs.

Serve with more smoked pork or sausages, such as Kielbasa.

Keywords: red cabbage, cabbage, polish cabbage, bacon, caraway seeds, juniper berries, bay leaf, apple

The Filthy Martini

Filthy Martini

I’m a big fan of a dirty martini, which is made with vodka and olive brine/juice, and sometimes vermouth depending on the bartender and/or the drinker’s taste. Then I discovered the Filthy Martini!

This Filthy Martini is inspired by a drink I had on vacation last fall at E.B. Strong’s Prime Steakhouse in Vermont  It was delicious and the addition of the gherkin juice was such an interesting little twist.

Filthy Martini menu

Once I got home, I wanted to recreate this drink. I did a little research and found there’s a Filthy Food Company  that makes premium drink garnishes, including the blue cheese stuffed olives. I always have gherkins on hand, love them in tuna salad, on charcuterie platters, or just a quick salty/sour snack.

While I enjoy Tito’s vodka, my preference is Kettle One. I like the mouthfeel of the vodka, it rolls across the tongue unlike any other vodka I’ve ever had. I tried the brine from the Filthy Blue Cheese Olives, but found I prefer my old standby, Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice.

Filthy Martini ingredients

In my opinion, what really makes this drink special is that ¼ ounce of gherkin juice. It teases the palette. If you didn’t know it was there you’d be trying to suss it out. I have to admit I didn’t pay that much attention to the ingredients until I tasted the Filthy Martini at Strong’s. It took a few sips before I identified the gherkin juice, even though the gherkin was on the toothpick with the olive (DOH).

Filthy Martini

Garnish with a speared olive and a small gherkin to complete the drink. The blue-cheese stuffed olive is an excellent choice. But, don’t hesitate to try a pimiento-stuffed olive, spicy marinated olive, or olives marinated with bits of lemon and garlic. Each contributes a different nuance to the drink and are equally enjoyable. Many of these are available at grocery/specialty store olive bars.

Filthy Martini

Once you get the right ingredients together, shake them well for 15 seconds. A great martini is an icy cold martini!

Cheers!

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The Filthy Martini

Filthy Martini
Scale

Ingredients

Equipment

Cocktail Shaker
Fancy toothpick
Martini glass

4 ice cubes
2 ounces vodka, such a Kettle One or Tito’s
3/4 ounce olive juice
1/4 ounce gherkin juice, such as Maille or
1 olive*
1 gherkin

Instructions

Place the ice, vodka, olive juice, and gherkin juice in a cocktail shaker, cover, and shake for 10 seconds.

Remove cover, place strainer over opening and pour into a chilled martini glass.

Skewer the olive and gherkin and place in the glass.

Notes

*The blue-cheese stuffed olive was an excellent choice. But don’t hesitate to try a pimiento-stuffed olive, spicy marinated olives, or olives marinated with bits of lemon and. They all make a great garnish and add a distinctive touch to a Dirty Martini.

 

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Kale is a nutrient dense food high in antioxidants, sometimes referred to as a superfood because of these qualities. It’s a deeply colored leafy green with a firm texture that’s used raw in salads, protein shakes and smoothies. However, if you want to maximize the vitamins and minerals in kale, it’s best to eat it cooked. It’s a known fact that eating any food cooked provides access to more nutrients than raw food. But, before using for either a raw or cooked recipe, let’s discuss how to clean and parboil kale.

In this post, we’ll show you how to clean kale and to parboil it to use in recipes like our Creamed Kale and Leeks (coming next week). Toss kale into soups and stews during the final 15 minutes of cooking to add color, texture, and nutrients. Try our Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew, a delicious one-dish meal.

Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew

Kale is usually sold in bundles of leaves that weigh approximately 8 ounces. Once the tough stems are removed, you have around 5-6 ounces of useable greens, which need a thorough rinse to rid them of any grit. It’s much easier to do clean when the stems are removed first.

A pound of kale (stems and all) yield about 2 cups parboiled and squeezed dry kale.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Trim Kale

There are two ways to remove the stems, either by using your hands to pull the green away from the leaf or to cut it away with a knife.

To use your hands, grab the kale with the leafy party toward your palm right where the stem begins. Pull the stem back, but don’t break it. Pull towards the top of the kale and remove the tough upper rib as well.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

To use a knife, lay the leaf on a cutting board and fold it in half so the rib is revealed. Take a sharp knife and start almost at the top of the leaf and draw the knife along the inside edge until the leaf is free.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

If the recipe calls for chopped kale, cut it up before washing.

For salads, cut the leaves in half lengthwise and pile one on top of the other. Roll the leaves lengthwise and cut thinly across top to bottom and then wash.

How to Wash the Kale

Plunge the trimmed leaves into a large bowl filled with cold water. Swish around and scoop the kale into a colander. Drain the bowl, refill, and repeat. Repeat the process until there’s no grit on the bottom of the bowl.

How to Store Kale

Spread the kale out on a large towel (such as a flour sack towel) or a length of paper towel and roll. Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Parboil Kale

Fill a large saucepan (7-quart) with cold water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and bring to a boil.

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

Make an ice bath by filling a very large bowl with water and a couple of handfuls of ice cubes to plunge the kale into to stop the cooking.

Place 1/3 of the trimmed and cleaned kale in the boiling water, stir to get the kale completely into the water. Add another third, stir, and then the final third. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Drain the kale and immediately plunge it into the cold-water bath. Stir a couple of times to make sure all the leaves are free. Remove any ice cubes and drain the kale again.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Remove the excess moisture from the kale by squeezing in handfuls.

NOTE: If you are using the leaves whole, such as in a stuffed leaf recipe, don’t squeeze dry.

The kale is now ready to be used in a recipe or frozen.

See Other Kale Recipes:

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup
Curried Lentil and Kale Stew
Winter Greens

How to Clean and Slice Leeks

Leeks are a member of the onion, or allium, family, which includes chives, shallots, garlic, and scallions. They have a strong, unpleasant taste eaten raw, but develop a silky texture and sweet flavor when cooked, the perfect foundation for soups, stews, and side dishes.

Grown in sandy soil, the white portion of a leek is deeply embedded to prevent it from turning green (photosynthesis). As a result, leeks always have dirt hidden between the layers and need a thorough rinsing.

The tough, dark green leafy tops are not used in recipes, however, it’s worth cutting through that top lengthwise to see if there are any usable portions hidden in the middle. As the leek grows, the portion of the leek that’s closer to the surface begins to turn a faint green. Use this portion, some of the inner green top leaves, and the white for most recipes.

Occasionally, however, only the pure white portion is used in a recipe where the green color is undesirable, such as Vichyssoise.

As a rough estimate, for every 3 inches of a leek that’s about 2 inches in diameter you will get 1 cup of thinly sliced leeks.

How to Trim and Clean Leeks

Remove the green tops and slice in half lengthwise to see if there are tender, usable green leaves. Toss the dark, tough greens.

Some recipes, such as poached leeks, cook the leeks in two long halves. To prepare the leek, cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Proceed with the recipe.

Other recipes ask for sliced leeks. Remove the greens as instructed above and cut off the entire root end. Slice the remaining leek in half lengthwise and again lengthwise.

Thinly slice the leeks and place in a cold-water bath.

Swish the leeks around and rub them against each other with your hands to loosen any grit.

Use your hands or a hand strainer to remove the leeks into a strainer or clean bowl.

Drain the water, rinse the bowl, and refill with cold water.

Repeat the above steps until there is no grit left in the bottom of the bowl.

How to Julienne Leeks

Cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Remove one layer and fold in half lengthwise if small or in quarters if long. Thinly slice the leek.

This shape is perfect for frizzled leeks, which are dipped in a little flour, deep fried, and used as a garnish.

Other leek recipes:

Potato, Leek, Turnip and Bacon Soup
Rosemary Pea Soup
Leek and Zucchini Casserole
Celery Root and Leek Soup

Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Beef Stew plated

Guinness is a dark, dry Irish stout. It has a slightly bitter taste from toasted malt, which nicely compliments a fatty cut of beef like a chuck roast. Guinness Beef Stew is cooked low and slow to tenderize the meat and develop a rich and satisfying gravy. The stew has Yukon gold potatoes and carrots. Add some peas at the last minute, they just need to heat through, and you have a delicious and satisfying one-dish meal!

Guinness Beef Stew chuck roast

I prefer to buy the chuck roast and trim and cut to size myself. I find pre-packaged beef stew pieces to be too small. There’s a bit of fat that’s pretty easy to remove, just follow the natural lines of the meat and cut the trimmed roast into 2-inch cubes.

Guinness Beef Stew cubed beef

I also like bigger pieces of carrot and potato in the stew. They don’t overcook and get mushy and the carrots sliced lengthwise on an angle make a nice presentation.

No need to brown the meat. I have found that this process of browning the meat first can be messy and time consuming and I don’t find that it makes any difference to the end dish. I use my go to More Than Gourmet demi-glace as the base for the sauce, with a dab of tomato paste for added flavor. Penzey’s bouquet garni herb mix gives much more flavor than a traditional bouquet garni (bay leaf, a few thyme sprigs, parsley stems and black pepper corns) and is much more convenient.

My slow cooker has a removable insert, which allows me to prepare everything on the stovetop and then place it back in the cooker on low for 6 – 7 hours. The recipe can also be made on the stovetop and I’ve included those directions as well.

If at all possible, make this recipe the day before. Chilling overnight and removing the fat makes for a less greasy dish and the flavors of the stew are always best the next day.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 7-quart Dutch oven or a removeable slow-cooker insert.

Stir in the onion and celery, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring twice. Lower the heat a little if the onion is browning.

Guinness Beef Stew sautéed vegetables

Uncover and add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, then mix in the tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly for another 30 seconds.

Sprinkle the flour, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper over the vegetables and stir to combine until no lumps remain.

Guinness Beef Stew

Slowly add the beer stirring constantly to incorporate the flour into the liquid, then add the stock or demi-glace.

Guinness Beef Stew with stock

Add the beef, potatoes and carrots; stir to mix well to cover everything.

Guinness Beef Stew in slow cooker

Tuck the vegetables under the meat. They take a little longer to cook at this size and it’s best if they are buried in the liquid. Don’t be alarmed at the small amount of liquid. The meat and vegetables quickly release their own juices into the pot. Adding too much liquid in the beginning only dilutes the gravy flavor.

Stovetop Method:
Bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a very gentle simmer, barely a bubble, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef and vegetables are tender. The optimum braising temperature is 180 degrees F.

Slow Cooker Method
Bring to a boil. Cover and place the insert in the slow cooker or transfer the stew from the prep pot to the slow cooker. Set on low and cook for 6 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Guinness Beef Stew slow cooker dial

Cool and refrigerate the stew. Next day, remove the fat that hardened on top and reheat. Add the peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Guinness Beef Stew plated

Stew freezes well.

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Guinness Beef Stew

Enjoy this Guinness Beef Stew made with chuck roast, potatoes, carrots, and peas in a rich, thick beefy gravy. It’s a one-dish meal!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Stewing
Scale

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 outer stalks celery, diced
46 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon bouquet garni herb blend
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 bottle (12 ounces) Guinness beer
1 cup classic reduced beef stock or French demi-glace or 1 cup good quality beef or veal stock
4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes, OR 3 pounds beef stew meat
6 Yukon gold potatoes cut into 8 chunks
6 large carrots cut lengthwise on and angle (34 pieces per carrot)
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

Instructions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 7-quart Dutch oven or a removeable slow-cooker insert.

Stir in the onion and celery, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring twice. Lower the heat a little if the onion is browning.

Uncover and add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, then mix in the tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly for another 30 seconds.

Sprinkle the flour, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper over the vegetables and stir to combine until no lumps remain.

Slowly add the beer stirring constantly to incorporate the flour into the liquid, then add the stock or demi-glace.

Add the beef, potatoes and carrots; stir to mix well to cover everything. Tuck the vegetables under the meat. They take a little longer to cook at this size and it’s best if they are buried in the liquid. Don’t be alarmed at the small amount of liquid. The meat and vegetables quickly release their own juices into the pot. Adding too much liquid in the beginning only dilutes the gravy flavor.

Stovetop Method:
Bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a very gentle simmer, barely a bubble, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef and vegetables are tender. The optimum braising temperature is 180 degrees F.

Slow Cooker Method
Bring to a boil. Cover and place the insert in the slow cooker or transfer the stew from the prep pot to the slow cooker. Set on low and cook for 6 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Cool and refrigerate the stew. Next day, remove the fat that hardened on top and reheat. Add the peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Notes

Stew freezes well.

Keywords: beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, chuck roast, stew, braise, beer and beef stew, slow cooking

Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

This Sesame Vinaigrette has an intoxicating aroma! I’ve made sure that the sesame flavor is prominent by using toasted sesame oil, toasted black and white sesame seeds, and a little tahini (sesame paste). The addition of lime for tang and garlic for additional savoriness makes this a great dressing for  peppery lettuces and anise flavors.

Try this vinaigrette with our Celery, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad for a light and refreshing side dish or vegan meal.

sesame vinaigrette with arugula, endive and grapefruit

Substitute Belgian endive (above) in lieu of the fennel. This was an accidental discovery and a delicious one! My husband bought an endive instead of fennel. He gets ingredients confused sometimes, but likes to do the grocery shopping (and clean up after dinner – isn’t he a love?) and sometimes we have to make adjustments. 😋

sesame vinaigrette on arugula and endive with grapefruit

Sesame Vinaigrette

Pop the sesame seeds in a small skillet over high and toast for 1-2 minutes. Toss or stir frequently to prevent burning; remove to a mixing bowl or jar immediately to stop the toasting.

Add the sesame oil, lime juice, peanut oil, tahini, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper and whisk or shake until combined.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Shake well before using.

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Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

This vinaigrette marries well with peppery lettuces and anise flavors, try it with our Celery, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: one-half cup vinaigrette 1x
  • Category: Salad Dressings & Vinaigrettes
Scale

Ingredients

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 small clove of garlic grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Pop the sesame seeds in a small skillet over high and toast for 1-2 minutes. Toss or stir frequently to prevent burning; remove to a mixing bowl or jar immediately to stop the toasting.

Add the sesame oil, lime juice, peanut oil, tahini, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper and whisk or shake until combined.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Shake well before using.

Keywords: Asian-style dressing; sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, tahini, salad dressing,