Category: Dairy-Free

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted acorn squash makes a delicious side dish. For this recipe I served this with a pan-roasted pork tenderloin, seasoned solely with salt and pepper, seared in a skillet and finished in the oven to 145 degrees F. A slightly pink interior. Try our Rosemary Honey-Mustard sauce over the pork, it’s perfect for this dish.

I chose to leave the skin on for a different presentation. I’ve been told the skin is edible, but I find it to be tough, especially when roasted, it gets a little firmer. But, the skin on add a beautiful presentation to any dish and the sweet pulp is easily scrapped off with a fork.

This recipe is easily adaptable to any number of people. And, the squash can be cut in half or in quarters in lieu of slices. Add a few more minutes of cooking time. The squash is done when fork tender. One-half acorn squash is usually a perfect serving, unless you have many other sides, then figure ¼ squash per person.

chopped thyme

This recipe is a great example of using both dried and fresh herbs. The dried thyme is best when roasting – the flavor permeates the squash but doesn’t burn and there are no fussy twigs to get rid of. The fresh thyme is the perfect garnish; it brings a pure, fresh taste of the thyme to the dish, as well as a lovely contrasting color.

Roasting the Squash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Scrub the outside of the squash with a vegetable brush and dry.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

The acorn squash is ready to be seasoned and roasted in this form, or cut in half again for quarters, or cut each quarter into 2 or 3 more slices. The squash is very adaptable to cooking in any format.

Sliced Roasted Acorn Squash

If cooking the squash in half or quarters, trim a small piece off a center rib so the squash sits flat when place skin side down.

Combine the salt, dried thyme and pepper in a small bowl.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Brush the inside and outside of the squash with the oil. Sprinkle the squash with the spice mix.

Place the half or quartered acorn squash skin side down or strew the slices of squash across the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Garnish with the fresh thyme and use the sprigs to garnish the serving platter.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Print

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

This recipe is easily adaptable to any number of people. One-half acorn squash is usually a perfect serving for one, unless you have many other sides, then figure ¼ squash per person.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 - 8 servings
  • Category: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Roasting

Ingredients

2 acorn squash
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Garnish
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
Thyme sprigs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Scrub the outside of the squash with a vegetable brush and dry.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

The acorn squash is ready to be seasoned and roasted in this form, or cut in half again for quarters, or cut each quarter into 2 or 3 more slices. The squash is very adaptable to cooking in any format.

If cooking the squash in half or quarters, trim a small piece off a center rib so the squash sits flat when place skin side down.

Combine the salt, dried thyme and pepper in a small bowl.

Brush the inside and outside of the squash with the oil. Sprinkle the squash with the spice mix.

Place the half or quartered acorn squash skin side down or strew the slices of squash across the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork.

Garnish with the fresh thyme and use the sprigs to garnish the serving platter.

Keywords: squash, acorn squash, roasted squash, roasted acorn squash

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Looking for a quick and easy dinner? This Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew is a one-dish recipe and cooks quickly on the stovetop, about 1 ½ hours, or in a slow cooker, about 3 ½ hours. Simply prep the pancetta and aromatics, sauté, add the seasonings, canned tomatoes, stock, and chicken (no browning necessary), cover and cook. Add the kale and beans 10 minutes before finishing up and dinner is ready!

Slow Cookers

A quick note on slow cookers. Not all slow cookers are not the same. I personally think it is a waste of money not to own a programmable version. The ones with high/low settings are usually inaccurate and the low setting cooks at too high a temperature for a succulent braise or stew. The perfect temperature for slow cooking is 180 degrees F. Anything higher than that cooks at temperatures that denature and coagulate proteins quickly and there is a greater loss of natural juices and flavors.

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

I also like the slow cookers that have a removable, oven-proof insert. This allows you to sauté, brown, etc. in one pan and then transition into the slow cooker with no added dishes to wash. Some slow cookers have many programs available and offer a sauté function and the entire recipe can be made start to finish in the vessel.

If you can’t find or are not a fan of kale, substitute other greens, such as chard, mustard greens for a little zing, or spinach, which only needs to be stirred into the hot stew last minute to wilt.

Putting the Stew Together

Pancetta is a great foundation for this delicious stew. It is, of course, optional for those of you who don’t eat red meat. Add another ¼ teaspoon salt to compensate for the salt the pancetta adds to the dish.

sautéing pancetta

Place the pancetta in a cold large Dutch oven, skillet, or slow cooker that has a removable insert over medium heat and cook until crispy, about 3-4 minutes.

sautéing aromatics for Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, peppers, Italian seasoning mix, salt, and pepper flakes. Cover and sweat to release the water and soften the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring once. Lower the heat a bit if the vegetables are browning.

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Stir in the tomatoes, reconstituted demi-glace.

Add the chicken, stir to separate the cubes and cover with the sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hours stovetop (no more that 180 degrees F – a very gentle simmer) or 3 1/2 hours on low in a slow cooker. The chicken is done when fork tender.

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

This may not look like enough liquid, but don’t add more. The vegetables and chicken exude lots of flavorful juices and adding more liquid now only dilutes the flavor.

Here’s the difference in the amount of liquid, above before cooking and below after cooking.

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Recipe freezes well, cool completely, place in an airtight container and freeze.

 

Print

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew

This Chicken, Kale and White Bean Stew is a one-dish recipe that cooks quickly on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. Lots of flavor and vegetables, too!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Stew/Braise
  • Method: Slow Cook

Ingredients

4 ounces diced pancetta
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12 baby bell peppers, tops removed, sliced lengthwise, or one bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup vegetable demi-glace, such as More Than Gourmet
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken (white meat, dark meat, or both), cut into 2-inch cubes

Instructions

Pancetta is a great foundation for this delicious stew. It is, of course, optional for those of you who don’t eat red meat. Add another ¼ teaspoon salt to compensate for the salt the pancetta adds to the dish.

Place the pancetta in a cold large Dutch oven, skillet, or slow cooker that has a removable insert over medium heat and cook until crispy, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, peppers, Italian seasoning mix, salt, and pepper flakes. Cover and sweat to release the water and soften the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring once. Lower the heat a bit if the vegetables are browning.

Stir in the tomatoes, reconstituted demi-glace.

Add the chicken, stir to separate the cubes and cover with the sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hours stovetop (no more that 180 degrees F – a very gentle simmer) or 3 1/2 hours on low in a slow cooker. The chicken is done when fork tender.

Notes

Recipe freezes well, cool completely, place in an airtight container and freeze.

Keywords: slow cook, crockpot, stew, braise, chicken stew, kale, white beans, one-pot dinner

 

Fresh Herbs versus Dried Herbs

Stew Leonards herb selection

Here’s a little primer on using fresh herbs versus dried herbs.

I prefer fresh herbs for many dishes, especially recipes that call for delicate herbs, such as basil, dill weed, chervil, chives, cilantro, mint, parsley and tarragon, which fade quickly during long cooking times. The best time to use delicate herbs is at the end of cooking or as a garnish. Stir in during the last 5 to 10 minutes, but no longer or the flavor diminishes significantly. Chopping helps releases more flavor components, a rough chop or fine mince, either is fine. These freshly chopped herbs awaken the taste buds and have a pleasing aroma.

Always use fresh herbs in cold preparations, such as salsa and guacamole. Dried herbs won’t reconstitute properly without heat and moisture, and the flavor is muted.

basil

Dried herbs are concentrated in flavor and are best for long, slow cooking times, such as our Mediterranean Lamb Shanks. These hearty herbs include bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme. The moisture and heat of the liquid in a slow-cooked, roasted, or baked recipe rehydrates dried herbs and the flavor infuses the liquid, meat and vegetables nicely. A garnish of the matching fresh herb or one of the fresh herbs in a mélange, coarsely chopped or minced, further brightens and enhances any dish.

Mediterranean Lamb Shanks

Rule of Thumb: Dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor, so use 1/3 less than fresh herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

dried herbs in spice drawer

Shelf Life and Storage

Fresh Herbs

Unfortunately, fresh herbs are highly perishable. Once separated from the root, they begin to wilt and dry out. The method I use for storing most of my fresh herbs is to gently rinse them in cold water, shake the excess water off (or use a lettuce spinner), strew atop a couple of sheets of paper towel, loosely roll it up and store in a sealed plastic baggie. Most herbs will last 3-4 days.

tarragon

Don’t buy fresh herbs without plans to use them immediately; they’re expensive, especially in the winter, when brought in from outside sources. Notice the size of fresh herb bundles as the growing season progresses – they can be huge – especially basil, which is the ideal time to scoop them up and make several batches of pesto for the freezer!

pesto

Dried Herbs

Dried herbs have a longer shelf life, though not indefinite. Store in dry, dark places, such as a spice drawer or cupboard. Countertop spice racks are not ideal because of the exposure to light. If you are uncertain about the freshness of a dried herb, or spice for that matter, open the jar and give a sniff. If the aroma is weak, the herbs are past their prime and need to be replaced. My go to source is Penzey’s, https://www.penzeys.com which has a store a few miles from my home. They are also have a mail-order business. For those herbs (and spices) that I use infrequently or in minute amounts, I buy the 2 ounce jar.

Use Both Fresh and Dried Herbs

Maximize flavor by using a combination of both fresh and dried herbs. Start with dried herbs in slow-cooked recipes like soups, stews, and sauces, while sweating the aromatics. The dried herb infuses the dish with a subtle flavor. Just before serving, stir in a good handful of freshly chopped herb(s) for a bright, fresh flavor.

mint

 

Photos of herbs were taken at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk CT.

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.

Print

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,

Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

I know many are intimidated by the thought making Poached Eggs, but it really is quite simple. The key is to poach the egg until the white is set and the egg yolk is runny, which means temperature control and timing. If you prefer a firm yolk, a little more time at the controlled temperature is all that is required.

Farm fresh eggs are the best for poaching. The egg whites are nice and tight so there’s less spread in the pan. For an older egg, a dash of white vinegar in the cooking water helps coagulate the egg white. There are also egg poaching machines and lots of little cups, etc that claim to make pretty poached eggs. I don’t see the point myself and they would only take up more space in my already full kitchen.

Poached Eggs

How to Poach Eggs

To make them the old-fashioned way, fill a low rimmed saucepan or a straight-sided skillet with cold water, high enough to cover the tops of the eggs. Add almost a capful of white vinegar and bring to a full boil.

Place a couple of folded paper towels by the side of the stove to briefly drain the cooked eggs on before plating.

Crack up to 4 eggs in a small bowl, slide the eggs into the hot water and immediately lower the heat to the gentlest of simmers. Cook for 2 minutes 30 seconds for a runny yolk or 3 minutes for a firm yolk. The key to success here is the gentle simmer, a rapid boil is harsh, and the eggs are easily ruined by the turbulent water.

Poached Eggs

Use a mesh skimmer spoon and gently scoop up all the eggs together. Rest the bottom of the skimmer spoon on the paper towels to drain for a couple of seconds and then slide onto your plate.

Sprinkle a wee bit of kosher salt and ground pepper over the eggs and dig in. Hollandaise sauce recipe coming next week.

Watch our video here. Note: Since making the video, I prefer to crack my eggs in a bowl and slide them into the water vs. cracking them individually into the pan. They keep better shape and cooking time is even for all.

Print

Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

Farm fresh eggs are the best for poaching. The egg whites are nice and tight so there’s less spread in the pan. For an older egg, a dash of white vinegar in the cooking water helps coagulate the egg white.

The key is to poach the egg until the white is set and the egg yolk is runny, which means temperature control and timing. If you prefer a firm yolk, a little more time at the controlled temperature is all that is required.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Category: Eggs

Ingredients

1 to 4 large eggs
white vinegar

Instructions

Fill a low rimmed saucepan or a straight-sided skillet with cold water, high enough to cover the tops of the eggs. Add almost a capful of white vinegar and bring to a full boil.

Place a couple of folded paper towels by the side of the stove to briefly drain the cooked eggs on before plating.

Crack up to 4 eggs in a small bowl, slide the eggs into the hot water and immediately lower the heat to the gentlest of simmers. Cook for 2 minutes 30 seconds for a runny yolk or 3 minutes for a firm yolk. The key to success here is the gentle simmer, a rapid boil is harsh, and the eggs are easily ruined by the turbulent water.

Use a mesh skimmer spoon and gently scoop up all the eggs together. Rest the bottom of the skimmer spoon on the paper towels to drain for a couple of seconds and then slide onto your plate.

Sprinkle a wee bit of kosher salt and ground pepper over the eggs and dig in.

Keywords: poached eggs, eggs, poaching

1 to 4 large eggs
white vinegar

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.

Print

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 Honey-Mustard Sauce

Rosemary Honey-Mustard Sauce - in gravy bowl

Before we get into the ABCs of this delicious Rosemary Honey-Mustard Sauce, I want to tell you about a product I use in place of homemade or canned stock, or, heaven forbid, bouillon.

More Than Gourmet

More Than Gourmet display photo

First, I want to assure you that this is not a product-sponsored post – I don’t do them. More Than Gourmet doesn’t advertise or pay anyone to promote their products; they rely on word-of-mouth. My goal is to make you aware of a superior product and I want you to know about it because it’s a key ingredient in my soup, stew, and sauce recipes.

More Than Gourmet french demi-glace

Canned or store-bought stock is thin in flavor and I don’t like the fact that salt has been added, which limits using them in reductions. Back in the day, I used to make homemade stock. It was a 24-hour chore. Starting and skimming the stock, simmering overnight, straining, cooling, and finally putting in jars for freezing. It was worth it in terms of flavor, but very time consuming. It also seemed like I used it up quickly and was back at the chore again and again and again.

More Than Gourmet Sauce packet

I have an entire pantry door devoted to a wide variety of More Than Gourmet concentrated stock and demi-glace packets. These are a life-saver, especially when I make something spur of the moment, I know I’ll always have what I need on hand.

More Than Gourmet - my kitchen cabinet

I bring this to your attention, because it’s all I use in my recipes and I believe that my recipes benefit from the depth of flavor provided by these stocks and demi-glaces, which store-bought products can’t match.

Back to the Rosemary Honey-Mustard Sauce

Here is a quick and easy sauce that goes well with chicken and pork. It only takes about 20 minutes to make and it freezes well.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slide the shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper into the hot pan, stir and sweat for 2 minutes. If the shallot begins to brown, lower the heat a smidge.

sweating the shallot and garlic in oil

Whisk in the orange zest and honey mustard. Stir in the stock or demi-glace, I used the roasted chicken demi-glace, which is more concentrated in flavor and creates a rich and tasty sauce.

adding the orange zest and honey mustard to shallots

Toss in the rosemary sprig and simmer for 5 minutes.

Discard the rosemary and pour the sauce over chicken or pork or serve in a ladled bowl on the side.

finished sauce Rosemary Honey-Mustard Sauce

Sauce freezes well.

Print

Rosemary Honey-Mustard Sauce

Make this quick and easy sauce to use over chicken or pork.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: generous cup
  • Category: Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
zest of one orange
2 teaspoons spicy honey mustard
1 cup chicken stock or demi-glace
1 sprig rosemary

Instructions

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slide the shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper into the hot pan, stir and sweat for 2 minutes. If the shallot begins to brown, lower the heat a smidge.

Stir in the orange zest, honey mustard to combine. Then whisk in the stock or demi-glace. The demi-glace is more concentrated in flavor and creates a very rich sauce.

Toss in the rosemary sprig and simmer for 5 minutes.

Discard the rosemary and pour the sauce over your chicken or pork or serve in a ladled bowl on the side.

Notes

Sauce freezes well.

Keywords: sauce, rosemary, honey mustard, gravy

 

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!

Print

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

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

lemonde

We’ve had some hot, sweltering days this summer – high temps accompanied with high humidity. A tall, ice-cold glass of Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade is always a welcome treat, especially on days like these.

This recipe is based on my memory of how Mom made lemonade when I was a kid. I remember her using both freshly-squeezed lemon and orange juice. While I like my lemonade tart with just a hint of sweetness, the small addition of orange juice calms the absolute tartness of the lemons just enough to make this summer refresher delicious and thirst quenching.

lemonde

Use simple syrup to make the lemonade – no worries about sugar residue on the bottom of the glass. Make up batches and keep in the refrigerator to have on hand to sweeten all your summer drinks – iced tea, iced coffee, and lemonade.

Watch the video here.

Print

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

Quick and easy to make, old-fashioned homemade lemonade is a refreshing pick-me-up on those tropical summer days.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon
  • Category: Beverages

Ingredients

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup simple syrup
Cold water and ice

Garnish

Lemon and/or orange slices, seeded

 

 

 

Instructions

Combine the juices and simple syrup.

Add ice and cold water, stir to blend.

Serve over ice in a tall glass.

Keywords: iced beverage, lemonade, iced drinks

Simple Syrup

simple syrup

Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water melted over high heat. Make a batch and keep on hand to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee or any specialty cocktail. It’s also a key component to making a sorbet or granita.

Simple syrups have a decent shelf life. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container for a several weeks. If mold forms on an older syrup, just like jams and jellies; discard immediately.

simple syrup

A rich simple syrup is double the amount of sugar to water (a ratio of 2:1). The increased amount of sugar increases the preservation and this syrup lasts up to six months refrigerated in a sealed container.

Use a small syrup container, similar to what you see in a diner, and keep it on a small plate to prevent any drips from forming on your table or refrigerator. Here’s a nice selection from Amazon.

Print

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is quick and easy to make and has multiple uses, like iced drinks, cocktails, sorbets and granitas.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Rich Simple Syrup

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Instructions

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, set aside to cool. Pour into a covered container and refrigerate.

Syrup lasts several weeks and rich simple syrup up to 6 months.

Notes

Discard if any mold appears on the surface of the simple syrup.

Keywords: simple syrup

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in a mason jar

Quick pickles are popular lately, especially if you watch the food show competitions. It’s a quick and easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and/or spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

The pickles can be used within 20 minutes or so of a quick brine – use an ice bath to chill before serving. Store remaining pickles in jars with the brine and seasonings. The pickles continue to soak up flavors and the vegetables soften a little over time.

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in mason jars

I created this quick pickle recipe to go with the Za’atar Chicken and Quinoa Salad, the pungency of the pickles complements the dish nicely as does the crunchy texture.

Watch the Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickle video here.

Print

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Quick pickles are an easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups
  • Category: Pickles

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups cold water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup coarsely chopped cloves garlic, about 6 cloves
3 serrano chilies, halved or dried chilies
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger, about a 1-inch piece

Instructions

Combine water, vinegar, sugar garlic, chilies, salt, coriander and cumin seeds, ginger and salt in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower and onions, return to a boil, then turn the heat off and let steep for 10 minutes.

Ladle the vegetables and brine into jars, make sure the brine come to 1/2-inch below the top of the jar.

Strain the remaining liquid and divide the garlic, chilies, seeds and ginger evenly between the jars.

Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Notes

To use immediately, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, place a smaller bowl in the center and fill with the quick pickles. Stir frequently to chill evenly.

Keywords: 38370

Grilled Vegetables

Do you get carried away by the beautiful produce at the farmers’ market? It happens to me all time. From one stand to the next there are more and more tantalizing vegetables. Fear not, you can toss them all on the grill and make a medley of Grilled Vegetables!

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful side for any meal or a meal in and of themselves. The leftovers make great wrap sandwiches the next day or dice them for a salad.

grilled vegetables on grill, zucchini, red onions, eggplant and corn

Cooking times vary depending on the whether the vegetable is cooked whole or sliced. I like my eggplant cooked well. I don’t find the taste of undercooked eggplant or its spongy texture appealing. However, a well-cooked, silken eggplant is perfection.

Corn takes a couple minutes per side, so 6 – 8 minutes. Cook over high heat for charred corn, which also makes a wonderful chowder. To cook gently, place it on the indirect heat side and cook for the same amount of time.

Scallions cook quickly and char easily – keep an eye on them, but it’s well worth grilling them for the sweetness they exude right off the grill.

To cook zucchini and summer squash I remove them while they have a little firmness. They contain lots of water and can turn to mush easily. A little texture in the bite is nice.

To grill, simply drizzle with olive oil and good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Additional dressings or herbs can be added after cooking.

Grill up some thick, bone-in pork chops to go along with your grilled vegetables!

Let yourself be tempted – bring those veggies home and grill them up!

Watch our video on How to Grill Vegetables here.