Category: Gluten-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.

 

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

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

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,

Lemon Caper Chicken

lemon caper chicken

This recipe for Lemon Caper Chicken is a delightful lemony dish that will please everyone. It’s important to pound the chicken thin, which allows the chicken to cook quickly in a skillet. With a dusting of flour and a dip into beaten egg the coating browns nicely and absorbs the delicious lemon sauce.

The lemon sauce is ample enough to sauce about a half pound of  pasta or make our Israeli Couscous with Scallions and Peas as a side dish, which marries very well with the lemon sauce.

 

Gluten-free note: Use a gluten-free flour in lieu of all-purpose flour and follow the recipe as written.

Preparing the Chicken

This is a quick pan sear and the chicken needs to be think to cook through. For normal sized breasts, place them on a large baking sheet and leave enough space between each one for expansion when pounding thinner. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and use the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy-bottomed skillet to pound to about a ¼-inch thickness. Set aside the plastic wrap and use to recover the chicken after seasoning.

lemon caper chicken

if the chicken breasts are large and thick, pounding them to a 1/4-inch thickness is too much abuse. All that whacking smashes the meat and the structure is ruined. Thick pieces are best cut in half and then pounded, if necessary.

lemon caper chicken prep

Lay the chicken lengthwise on a cutting board.

lemon caper chicken slicing

Place the knife at halfway down the side and lay your palm flat on top of the chicken, a paper towel placed between your palm and the chicken prevents slipping, carefully slide the knife through the breast into two pieces.

lemon caper chicken butterflied

Separate and pound if necessary to 1/4-inch thickness.

Sprinkle both sides of each breast with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Seasoning the chicken in advance has similar effects to brining. It slightly denatures the protein and the salt is absorbed more deeply than salting and cooking immediately.

Cooking the Chicken

Crack the eggs into a container large enough to dip each chicken breast. Add a splash of water and beat until frothy.

Sprinkle the flour into a similar container.

lemon caper chicken

Dip each breast in the flour, turning to completely coat the chicken, and gently shake off the excess. Next dip into the egg, hold for a few seconds over the egg pan to allow the egg wash to drain. Set the chicken back onto the baking sheet. Don’t worry about reusing the pan, the chicken still has to be cooked; no cross-contamination worries.

lemon caper chicken

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts in the hot pan, or cook in batches if he pan is too small to prevent crowding and steaming the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Set the cooked chicken on a clean platter and, if cooking in batches, cook the last two breasts as instructed above.

lemon caper chicken

Add the stock, lemon juice and slices, and capers to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and dissolve any brown tidbits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.

Note: If you use a non-stick skillet, you may not have any tidbits.

lemon caper chicken

Place the chicken back into the pan, cook at a simmer for 2-3 minutes and return to the platter.

lemon caper chicken

Whisk in the butter, taste sauce and adjust seasoning, then pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

lemon caper chicken

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Cook some pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and add to the lemon sauce after removing the chicken. Stir to coat the pasta, slide onto the platter, place the chicken breasts over with a lemon slice on top of each. Or, Make our Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon as a delicious side.

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Lemon Caper Chicken

lemon caper chicken

This recipe for Lemon Caper Chicken is a delightful lemony dish that will please everyone. It’s important to pound the chicken thin, which allows the chicken to cook quickly in a skillet. With a dusting of flour and a dip into beaten egg the coating browns nicely and absorbs the delicious lemon sauce.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
Scale

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
kosher salt
coarsely ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup olive oil, or 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 thin lemon slices
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

Place the chicken breasts on a large baking sheet and leave enough space between each one for expansion when pounding thinner. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and use the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy-bottomed skillet to pound to about a ¼-inch thickness. Set aside the plastic wrap and use to recover the chicken after seasoning.

This is a quick-cooking method and if the chicken breasts are large, pounding them to a 1/4-inch thickness is too much abuse and the meat loses its structure. For thick pieces, it’s best to cut them in half lengthwise first and then pound.

Lay the chicken lengthwise on a cutting board and place the knife at halfway down the side. Place your palm on top of the chicken and carefully pull the knife through the breast, as if you were going to butterfly it, but actually cut it through into two pieces. Separate and pound if necessary to 1/4-inch thickness.

Sprinkle both sides of each breast with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Seasoning the chicken in advance has similar effects to brining. It slightly denatures the protein and the salt is absorbed more deeply than salting and cooking immediately.

Crack the eggs into a container large enough to dip each chicken breast. Add a splash of water and beat until frothy.

Sprinkle the flour into a similar container.

Dip each breast in the flour, turning to completely coat the chicken, and gently shake off the excess. Next dip into the egg, hold for a few seconds over the egg pan to allow the egg wash to drain. Set the chicken back onto the baking sheet. Don’t worry about reusing the pan, the chicken still has to be cooked; no cross-contamination worries.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts in the hot pan, or cook in batches if he pan is too small to prevent crowding and steaming the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Set the cooked chicken on a clean platter and, if cooking in batches, cook the last two breasts as instructed above.

Add the stock, lemon juice and slices, and capers to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and dissolve any brown tidbits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.

Note: If you use a non-stick skillet, you may not have any tidbits.

Place the chicken back into the pan, cook at a simmer for 2-3 minutes and return to the platter.

Whisk in the butter, taste sauce and adjust seasoning, then pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Notes

The lemon sauce is delicious with pasta or make our Israeli Couscous with Scallions and Peas as a side dish, which marries very well with the lemon sauce.

Gluten-free note: Use a gluten-free flour in lieu of all-purpose flour and follow the recipe as written.

Keywords: sautéed chicken, chicken entree, lemon sauce, lemon caper sauce, lemon chicken, dinner, chicken dinner dairy-free

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

 

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl

This recipe for Pepper Jack Squash Soup was on my mind for several days. I decided to make it on a Monday, which is typically a very busy, chore-filled day. It’s cleaning day, linen and towel laundry day, replenish the pantry and refrigerator day, and pay the bills day. Not always a good day to test a new recipe, but I was obsessed.

I decided to skip the sweat the vegetable step and just pile all the vegetables, salt, and stock into the pot and cook. Everything is pureed in the end, so the vegetables get a rough chop, though smaller pieces cook faster than large, so I sliced thinly and cut the squash into small cubes, which kept the cooking time to 45 minutes.

I also used my food processor to puree the soup and then switched to the shredder blade and shredded the cheese and stirred it into the soup. I saved having to clean another tool by having the food processor do double duty.

I was not disappointed. A butternut squash soup has a velvety texture that is only enhanced by adding the pepper jack cheese and the spices in the cheese give the soup some oomph!

Top the soup off with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.

METHOD

Place the squash, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and stock in a large saucepan.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup with stock

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 45 minutes or until the
until the squash is tender.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup ready for the blender

To test, push a couple of squash pieces against the side of the pan; once it easily squishes it’s done.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup soft vegetables

Let the soup cool for about 15 minutes before puréeing.

Scoop the vegetables and liquid in equal portions into the food processor, filling no more than halfway. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender. Be sure the soup is completely smooth.

See our blog/video on how to safely purée hot ingredients.

Return to the stovetop, add the cheese and cook over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and the soup is streak free.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup with cheese

Soup freezes well.

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl

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Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup

Pepper Jack Butternut Squash Soup in a bowl
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
Scale

Ingredients

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 cups vegetable stock, such as More Than Gourmet
8 ounces shredded jalapeño Monterrey Jack cheese

Garnish
Cilantro leaves

Instructions

Place the squash, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, and stock in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 45 minutes or until the
until the squash is tender. To test, push a couple of squash pieces against the side of the pan; once it easily squishes it’s done.

Let the soup cool for about 15 minutes before puréeing.

Scoop the vegetables and liquid in equal portions into the food processor, filling no more than halfway. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender. Be sure the soup is completely smooth.

See our blog/video on how to safely purée hot ingredients.

Return to the stovetop, add the cheese and cook over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and the soup is streak free.

Soup freezes well.

Keywords: soup, butternut squash, pepper jack cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, cream soup

 

 

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: -26234748.633333 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