Category: Dairy-Free

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,

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

We’re big fans of food with an anise-like flavor, such as fennel and tarragon. This recipe for Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon has a subtle anise flavor that nicely complements the couscous and the peas. It’s a quick and easy side dish that goes particularly well with fish or chicken.

Israeli couscous is a pasta, made from durum wheat semolina, which is rolled into balls, similar to its tinier cousin couscous. However, Israeli couscous is toasted, which gives it an appealing nutty flavor and is prepared in boiling water. You can prepare it using the pasta method or using the risotto method as I do here: bring the couscous to a boil in a measured amount of seasoned water or stock, stir frequently until all the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy. Once the cooking is done, the dish is table ready.

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the couscous and scallions and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes; the lightly toasted aroma of the wheat should be apparent.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in pan with scallions

Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 12 minutes; the couscous is done when the water is completely absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon showing absorbed water

Add the peas, stir, and cook until the peas are heated through.

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

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Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

Use the risotto method to make this quick and easy Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon by cooking in a measured amount of liquid with the aromatics. A great side for chicken and fish.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
Scale

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (include green tops) about 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (ounces
2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the couscous and scallions and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes; the lightly toasted aroma of the wheat should be apparent.

Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 12 minutes; the couscous is done when the water is completely absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy.

Add the peas, stir, and cook until the peas are heated through.

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

Keywords: pasta side dish, couscous, Israeli couscous, cooking couscous using the risotto method, peas, tarragon, scallions

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash in a bowl

This One-Pot Hungarian Goulash was inspired by a dish my Mom made when I was a kid. She simply called it goulash and it was a mixture of ground beef, green bell peppers, elbow macaroni and tomatoes.

It wasn’t until many years later that I learned what real goulash was – a Hungarian meat stew made with paprika, a much more seasoned dish than what Mom made. To honor her, I’ve kept the basics of her version – ground meat, pasta and tomatoes. However, there are more options with peppers today that when I was a kid, sweeter versions in red, yellow, and orange. And, if I can find them, I always prefer the baby bell peppers for their tenderness as well as sweetness.

I also changed the macaroni to pipete pasta, which has larger openings and crevices that capture the sauce. To make this a true Hungarian stew, I’ve used Hungarian paprika for its heat, and smoked paprika for the depth of flavor it provides.

Hungarian Goulash in a bowl

This is also a good recipe to use the leanest ground meat possible. There are lots of ingredients and plenty of moisture in the recipe, but too much fat in the meat makes the dish is a little greasy.

Aside from the fact that this is delicious Hungarian goulash recipe, it’s a one-pot recipe! I put the pasta and water directly into the stew to cook. No extra pot, no draining, and best of all, the pasta soaks up tons of flavor from the sauce. I used ground beef in this version, but feel free to substitute any ground meat, veal is a great option, or poultry.

METHOD FOR MAKING HUNGARIAN GOULASH

Hungarian Goulash vegetables

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat.

Add the lean ground meat/poultry and use the tip of a wooden spoon to break into a small crumble. Simply push the spoon in and give a little twist to separate the meat, repeating this over and over until the meat is very loose.

Hungarian Goulash ground beef

Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until all the pink is gone.

Hungarian Goulash meat ready for vegetables

Lower the heat to medium and stir in the onion, peppers, celery, garlic, bouquet garni, and both paprika; cook for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Hungarian Goulash adding the vegetables

Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook on very low, just a gentle simmer, for 45 minutes; stirring occasionally.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package instruction. Stir frequently to make sure all the pasta is submerged and cooking evenly.

Hungarian Goulash cooking the pasta

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Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash in a bowl
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Stew
Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 medium onion minced
20 baby bell peppers, sliced or 2 regular bell peppers diced
2 celery stalks minced
6 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons bouquet garni herb mix
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire-roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 pound elbow or pipete pasta

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat.

Add the lean ground meat/poultry and use the tip of a wooden spoon to break into a small crumble. Simply push the spoon in and give a little twist to separate the meat, repeating this over and over until the meat is very loose. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until all the pink is gone.

Lower the heat to medium and stir in the onion, peppers, celery, garlic, bouquet garni, and both paprika; cook for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook on very low, just a gentle simmer, for 45 minutes; stirring occasionally.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package instruction. Stir frequently to make sure all the pasta is submerged and cooking evenly.

Keywords: stew, goulash, one-pot dinner, one-pot recipe

Hummus

Hummus with celery

Hummus is a great party food. It’s got a lovely, smooth texture and great flavor from the tahini, garlic, lemon, and smoked paprika. It’s perfect any time of the year and is usually liked by all!

Recently I’ve been seeing some recipes that recommend peeling the chickpeas to make a very smooth hummus. After much experimentation, I find this a needless and tedious task. Simply let the food processor run a little longer and you achieve that same silken texture without the bother of peeling each individual chickpea.

Hummus with veggies

Hummus is perfect for a crudité platter or serve with toasted pita chips or mini pita cut in half. It also makes a great sandwich stuffed into a pita with some chopped parsley.

METHOD

Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika in a food processor and purée until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Once you think it’s perfectly smooth, scrape the sides again and puree for another 5 seconds.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and dash of smoked paprika.

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Hummus

Hummus with celery
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drain, but don’t rinse
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large smashed clove garlic
generous ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Garnish
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of smoked paprika

Instructions

Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika in a food processor and purée until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Once you think it’s perfectly smooth, scrape the sides again and puree for another 5 seconds.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and dash of smoked paprika.

Notes

Recipe doubles well.

Keywords: dip, chickpeas, chickpea dip, snack, spread, Middle Eastern, appetizer

 

Cooking Bacon on the Stovetop

cooking bacon on the stovetop

The real secret to successfully cooking bacon on the stovetop is to start with a cold frypan, which prevents the bacon from sticking. Lay the strips of bacon in the bottom of the pan, a slight overlap is okay as the bacon shrinks, and place over high heat. Use a good frypan that distributes heat evenly, such as an iron or a Le Creuset frypan.

Cooking bacon on the stovetop is messier that cooking bacon in the microwave or in the oven. A frying spatter screen helps contain some of the mess, but the stove still requires requires a good wipe down.

cooking bacon on the stovetop

Once the bacon begins to sizzle and render some fat, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking. Lift the spatter guard and gently flip the bacon. Bacon spatters and to help prevent burning yourself, lift the end of the strip closet to you and turn toward the back of the pan. Hopefully any spattering occurs away from you!

cooking bacon on the stovetop

Return the spatter cover, and cook a minute or two more. The bacon cooks quickly at this point, so watch closely to remove the bacon at the floppy or crispy point.

Place the cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some of the excess fat.

cooking bacon on the stovetop

As an alternative to a frypan, use a griddle. The rectangular shape and bigger size accommodates more strips. There’s quite a bit of spattering and unfortunately no spatter screen for a griddle, so a bigger cleanup job.

Whether you use a skillet or griddle, have a plate ready for the cooked bacon and place in a warm oven or warming draw to hold. Finish cooking the remainder of the bacon and your eggs or pancakes or waffles.

stovetop bacon

Cleanup requires some elbow grease. I use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which makes the job a little easier.

Watch our How to Cook Bacon on the Stovetop Video Here.
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Cooking Bacon on the Stovetop

stovetop bacon

Cook up a batch or two of bacon and hold in a warm (200-degrees F) oven while you finish cooking.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Total Time: -25930480.216667 minute
  • Yield: 2 slices per person 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Brunch
Scale

Ingredients

46 slices bacon

Instructions

Lay the strips of bacon in the bottom of the pan, a slight overlap is okay as the bacon shrinks, and place over high heat.

Once the bacon begins to sizzle and render some fat, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking.

As an alternative to a frypan, use a griddle. The rectangular shape and bigger size accommodates more strips. There’s quite a bit of spattering and unfortunately no spatter screen for a griddle, so a bigger cleanup job.

Lift the spatter guard and gently flip the bacon. Bacon spatters and to help prevent burning yourself, lift the end of the strip closet to you and turn toward the back of the pan. Hopefully any spattering occurs away from you!

Notes

Use a good frypan that distributes heat evenly, such as an iron or a Le Creuset frypan.

Keywords: bacon, panfrying bacon, frying bacon, cooking bacon, cooking bacon on the stovetop

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

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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 1x
  • Category: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Roasting
Scale

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

Stir in the cannellini beans and heat through.

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

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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 1x
  • Category: Stew/Braise
  • Method: Slow Cook
Scale

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
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans

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.

Stir in the cannellini beans and heat through.

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

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 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
Scale

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,