Category: Gluten-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

 

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.

 

Raspberry Clafoutis (gluten-free version, too!)

raspberry clafoutis with whipped cream

Raspberry Clafoutis may be the simplest, most fool-proof dessert ever. Simply macerate the fruit in a little sugar, and perhaps a complementary liqueur, blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender, pour the batter over fruit and bake! That’s all there is to it, I promise!

We had a dinner party in February and I needed a gluten-free dessert. This raspberry clafoutis filled the bill perfectly. Basically it’s a custard-based dessert with a little flour mixed in. The party was a large group (12) so I made two, one gluten-free and one regular. The gluten-free version is a little more translucent due to the lack of wheat starch, otherwise it’s the same in every respect and those who had it couldn’t tell the difference!

Raspberry Clafoutis sliced

Another nice thing about this dessert is it can be made a day in advance. Be sure to take it out about an hour before serving to warm up a little for better flavor and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Setup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter.

Method

Place the raspberries, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let macerate for at least 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times.

Raspberry Clafoutis - macerating berries

Place the remaining sugar, half and half, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest in the base of a blender and blend until frothy.

Add the flour (wheat or gluten free) and blend until completely incorporated

GF NOTE: This is the only modification for a gluten-free version, use all-purpose gluten-free flour, no gums necessary

Spread the raspberries (juices too!) in one layer in the bottom of the pie dish. Pour the batter over the berries and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

raspberry clafoutis batter

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Raspberry Clafoutis baked

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Raspberry Clafoutis (gluten-free version too)

Raspberry Clafoutis is a quick and easy fruit-based custard dessert sure to please everyone. Gluten-free version included!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Baked Goods
Scale

Ingredients

3 half pints fresh raspberries OR 3 cups frozen raspberries (thaw before macerating)
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 large eggs
½ cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of one lemon
1/3 cup all-purpose wheat flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour*

Instructions

Setup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter.

Method

Place the raspberries, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let macerate for at least 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times.

Place the remaining sugar, half and half, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest in the base of a blender and blend until frothy.

Add the flour and blend until completely incorporated.

Spread the raspberries (juices too!) in one layer in the bottom of the pie dish. Pour the batter over the berries and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

*no gums necessary

Keywords: custard, dessert, gluten-free dessert, gluten-free, raspberry liqueur, Chambord, #spring #spring recipes, Easter, Easter recipe

 

Seared Sea Scallops

seared sea scallops

Scallops are not only easy to prepare, they make a very elegant presentation. Delicate and sweet, yet rich and satisfying. The key to success is to sear the scallops in a very hot pan, which creates a beautiful brown outer crust. These can be served solo, or with a butter sauce poured over. We often serve them on top of pasta with pesto sauce. The key to succulent scallops is not to overcook them because they turn into tough, chewy, unpalatable discs.

How to Purchase Scallops

Fresh, untreated scallops are slightly cream-colored and sometime with a pinkish hue and should smell fresh, never briny, sour, or like iodine. Bright white scallops have been chemically treated also known as “wet scallops,” which makes them too moist to get a golden-brown sear and gives them an unpleasant taste. There are also fake scallops sold, look for the muscle on the side of the scallop, if it’s missing, it’s probably an imitation. This mollusk is highly perishable and should be used within a day or two of purchase. Store in the package they come in and refrigerator immediately; the less you handle them until you’re ready to cook, the better.

Scallops are sorted by size. Sea scallops are large and thick, bay scallops are tiny and are more appropriate in a poach or quick sauté to prevent drying out. The sign “U-10” or “U-20” means that the scallops are “under 10 per pound” or “under 20 per pound,” etc. with bay scallops being the smallest.

Searing Sea Scallops

An hour or two before cooking, open the package, place in a colander, peel away the small muscle attached to the side and discard. Rinse again and let drain in the strainer for a few minutes.

seared sea scallops removing the muscle

Line a plate or platter large enough to hold the scallops without touching with paper towel.

seared sea scallops prepped

Place the scallops on the tray leaving a little space between each one, cover with more paper towel and gently, very gently, press the paper towel onto the scallops. Store in the refrigerator.

seared sea scallops prepped

Drying the scallops of excess moisture makes it easier to sear them quickly and get a nice brown crust on the top and bottom without overcooking them.

Use a pastry brush dipped into a little olive oil to brush a non-stick skillet or griddle. Place over high heat.

seared sea scallops greasing pan

Fetch your scallops from the refrigerator and remove the top paper towel. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Once the skillet/griddle is hot, place the scallops seasoned side down and lightly sprinkle the tops with more salt and pepper.

Cook on high until the scallop has developed a nicely browned crust. Turn and cook another minute or two until that side has a nicely browned crust. The center of a cooked scallop should still be a little translucent and moist.

creamed kale and leeks with seared scallops

Serve these with our Creamed Kale and Leeks.

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Seared Sea Scallops

seared sea scallops

Sea scallops are low in calories, cook quickly, and go with a variety of sauces besides a butter sauce. Try pesto, tomato sauce, or salsa for variety.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Seafood
Scale

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds sea scallops
kosher salt
coarsely ground black pepper
olive oil

Instructions

An hour or two before cooking, open the package, place in a colander, peel away the small muscle attached to the side and discard. Rinse again and let drain in the strainer for a few minutes.

Line a plate or platter large enough to hold the scallops without touching with paper towel.

Place the scallops on the tray leaving a little space between each one, cover with more paper towel and gently, very gently, press the paper towel onto the scallops. Store in the refrigerator.

Drying the scallops of excess moisture makes it easier to sear them quickly and get a nice brown crust on the top and bottom without overcooking them.

Use a pastry brush dipped into a little olive oil to brush a non-stick skillet or griddle. Place over high heat.

Fetch your scallops from the refrigerator and remove the top paper towel. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Once the skillet/griddle is hot, place the scallops seasoned side down and lightly sprinkle the tops with more salt and pepper.

Cook on high until the scallop has developed a nicely browned crust. Turn and cook another minute or two until that side has a nicely browned crust. The center of a cooked scallop should still be a little translucent and moist.

Serve these with our Creamed Kale and Leeks.

Keywords: scallops, cooking scallops, selecting scallops, scallop sizes, bay scallops, sea scallops

1 ½ pounds sea scallops
kosher salt
coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

Creamed Kale and Leeks

creamed kale and leeks

We’re big fans of creamed spinach, a classic steak-house side dish. I thought I’d put a little twist on that recipe and substitute kale for spinach and load up on leeks, which are so sweet. Here’s my updated version: Creamed Kale and Leeks.

I frequently like to test my recipes out on friends and invited several to a recipe tasting dinner – the invitation was explicit that these recipes were “in progress.”

Creamed Kale and Leeks buffet table

They all accepted!

Creamed Kale and Leeks dinner party

In addition to this recipe for Creamed Kale and Leeks, I was experimenting with an Herb-Crusted Salmon, and trying to find the perfect way to prepare a prime-rib roast.

Creamed Kale and Leeks with herb-crusted salmon and prime rib roast

I also went back to my culinary school roots and created a classic Raspberry Clafoutis (both regular and gluten-free versions) for dessert. I’m happy to say it was all a success and these turned into finalized recipes, which are coming soon. But here’s a little preview!

I doubled this recipe for Creamed Kale and Leeks (we were 12 for dinner) and it was gone, I mean lick the bowl clean gone, at the end of dinner. It always makes me so happy when people like my food!

Creamed Kale and Leeks with herb-crusted salmon and prime rib roast

SETUP

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

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

Fill a very large bowl with water and a couple of handfuls of ice cubes.

METHOD

Destem, coarsely chop, and thoroughly wash the kale. See our blog on How to Clean and Parboil Kale for more details.

Place 1/3 of the kale in the boiling water, stir completely submerge the leaves. Add another third, stir, and then the final third. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Drain the kale and then 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.

Scoop up a handful of kale and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Repeat until all the kale in the strainer is gone.

creamed kale and leeks prepping the kale

Place the bacon in a cold large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is slightly crisp.

creamed kale and leeks with bacon

Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

creamed kale and leeks with bacon

See out post on How to Clean and Slice Leeks. 

Add the butter and oil to the skillet and once it foams, stir in the leeks and salt, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are very soft. Lower the heat if the leeks are browning.

creamed kale and leeks - sautéing the leeks

Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce until almost evaporated.

Stir in the cream, mustard, and pepper. Once blended, add the kale, breaking up the bunches to fill the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, a little longer if the kale had too much moisture and the sauce in runny.

Serve as a scrumptious side, such as seared scallops.

creamed kale and leeks with seared scallops

Another idea is to poach some eggs LINK and serve on top of the creamed kale and leeks.

INGREDIENTS

2 bunches kale
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 ounces bacon, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Santa Margherita Pinto Grigio, don’t use an oakey Chardonnay, it overpowers the dish
2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Note: use slab bacon if you can find it.

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Creamed Kale and Leeks

creamed kale and leeks with seared scallops

Creamed Kale and Leeks is an updated version of creamed spinach. Great with any entree, such as seared scallops, or use for breakfast topped with poached eggs.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish/Vegetable
Scale

Ingredients

2 bunches kale
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 ounces bacon, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Santa Margherita Pinto Grigio, don’t use an oakey Chardonnay, it overpowers the dish
2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

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

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

Fill a very large bowl with water and a couple of handfuls of ice cubes.

METHOD

Destem, coarsely chop, and thoroughly wash the kale. See our blog on How to Clean and Parboil Kale  for more details.

Place 1/3 of the kale in the boiling water, stir completely submerge the leaves. Add another third, stir, and then the final third. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Drain the kale and then 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.

Scoop up a handful of kale and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Repeat until all the kale in the strainer is gone.

Place the bacon in a cold large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is slightly crisp. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

See out post on How to Clean and Slice Leeks. 

Add the butter and oil to the skillet and once it foams, stir in the leeks and salt, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are very soft. Lower the heat if the leeks are browning.

Add the wine, bring to a boil and reduce until almost evaporated.

Stir in the cream, mustard, and pepper. Once blended, add the kale, breaking up the bunches to fill the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, a little longer if the kale had too much moisture and the sauce in runny.

Serve as a scrumptious side. Another idea is to poach some eggs and serve on top of the creamed kale and leeks.

Notes

Use slab bacon if you can find it.

Keywords: Kale, leeks, creamy side dish, side dish, vegetarian, gluten-free

White Russian

White Russian

Back in the day, when Disco was hot, miniskirts and midis were popular at the same time, I could stay up all night, drinking and dancing and could easily get up and go work the next day – that was the 70s my friends! One of my girlfriends, Engelina, had a favorite cocktail, a White Russian. One was her usual limit but, on those occasions when she had two, we knew we were in for an exciting evening!

A White Russian combines coffee liqueurs, such as Tia Maria or Kaùha, vodka, and heavy cream. I like to use an espresso liqueur, such as Illy Espresso liqueur, for more depth of flavor.

White Russian bar set up

No special mixing equipment needed. This drink is made in the glass. Simply fill an on-the-rocks glass with 5 or 6 ice cubes. Pour the vodka and liqueur over the ice.

White Russian w/vodka

Hold a soupspoon upside down over the ice and drizzle the heavy cream over the back. This creates a striated look and leaves a layered look to the drink and a pretty presentation.

White Russian

Pop in a swizzle stick or small straw and serve. Let the drinker swirl to mix.

Use the amount of cream as you would for your coffee, dark, medium, or light. Not sure? Start dark, stir, taste, and add more until you reach a balance that pleases your palette.

White Russian

Cheers!

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White Russian

This cocktail is a boozy-like coffee milkshake. Sip slowly, it’s potent!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Cocktails
Scale

Ingredients

2 ounces vodka
1 ounces espresso liqueur, such as Illy Espresso, or a coffee liqueur, such as Kalùha
Heavy cream

Instructions

Place 5-6 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass and add the vodka and liqueur.

Top off by drizzling heavy cream over the back of a soup spoon, to taste. Use the cream as you would with your coffee, light, medium, or dark. Not sure? Start with a healthy splash, taste and add more if desired.

Keywords: coffee liqueur, espresso liqueur, coffee cocktail, vodka cocktail, espresso liqueur, vodka, coffee liqueur, heavy cream, gluten-free

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