Category: Vegan

Daiquiri

Daquiri with lime peel

Summer is the season for delicious, refreshing rum cocktails that evoke days by the poolside soaking up the sun, reading a good book, or schmoozing with friends. The Daquiri is a simple mixed drink, yet over the years it has taken on many forms, particularly a frozen, slush-like cocktail, made from a variety of fruits or packaged blends.

Daquiri ingredients

I remember my parents and some or our neighbors would have a frozen daquiri on a hot summer evening. My mom would get out the blender, toss in some ice, a can of frozen limeade, and rum and they sipped the drinks on the front stoop or while they played croquet in the yard.

The original Daquiri, however, is fresh and sweet-tart, made only with rum, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. The drink is shaken and served neat in a glass with a twist of lime peel. That peel is optional, and I personally don’t think the drink needs it.

Daquiri cutting a lime peel

Try the original version for a less sweet, refreshing summer cocktail!

Make up a batch of daiquiris and serve with our Curried Devil Eggs!

Interesting Rum Facts

Rum is distilled from a fermented sugar cane product such as molasses.

Rum is aged, usually one or two years, in old bourbon oak barrels; any longer and the clean taste is altered.

Light rum is filtered through coal to remove any color from the barrels.

Rums are often blended, mixing various years or adding light, medium, and/or dark rums for complex flavors and colors.

Rum is used in cooking, such as rum balls, rum cake, and is great to use to macerate fruit. Let’s not forget Bananas Foster or rum raisin ice cream. Also try a little rum in your rice pudding!

Daquiri double

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Daiquiri

Daquiri in a glass

A classic daiquiri is made of rum, freshly squeezed lime juice and simple syrup. It’s a refreshing, sweet-tart drink.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 three-ounce cocktail 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
Scale

Ingredients

1 ½ ounces rum
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup

Garnish (optional)
twist of lime peel*

Instructions

Pour the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with 4 or five ice cubes.

Shake, strain into a martini glass.

Add a twist of lime peel, if desired.

Notes

*It’s easier to peel the lime before juicing. Only take the very thin outer peel and not the pith.

Keywords: cocktail, mixed drink, rum cocktail

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

 

The Filthy Martini

Filthy Martini

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

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

Filthy Martini menu

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

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

Filthy Martini ingredients

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

Filthy Martini

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

Filthy Martini

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

Cheers!

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The Filthy Martini

Filthy Martini
Scale

Ingredients

Equipment

Cocktail Shaker
Fancy toothpick
Martini glass

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

Instructions

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

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

Skewer the olive and gherkin and place in the glass.

Notes

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

 

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

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

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

Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew

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

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

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Trim Kale

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

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

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

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

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

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

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

How to Wash the Kale

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

How to Store Kale

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

How to Parboil Kale

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

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

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

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

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

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

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

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

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

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

See Other Kale Recipes:

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

How to Clean and Slice Leeks

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

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

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

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

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

How to Trim and Clean Leeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Julienne Leeks

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

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

Other leek recipes:

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

Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

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

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

sesame vinaigrette with arugula, endive and grapefruit

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

sesame vinaigrette on arugula and endive with grapefruit

Sesame Vinaigrette

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

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

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

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Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

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

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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

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

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

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

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

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

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

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

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in pan with scallions

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

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon showing absorbed water

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

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

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Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

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

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

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

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

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

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

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

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

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

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
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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

 

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

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

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

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

chopped thyme

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

Roasting the Squash

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

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

Roasted Acorn Squash

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

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

Sliced Roasted Acorn Squash

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

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

Roasted Acorn Squash

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

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

Roasted Acorn Squash

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

Roasted Acorn Squash

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Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

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

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

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

Garnish
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
Thyme sprigs

Instructions

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

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

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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