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Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad in a bowl

When my husband came home from the store over Labor Day weekend, he said Terry, the produce manager at the Village Market, told him this was probably the last weekend for corn. I’m always shocked how quickly corn season passes. I hadn’t even made my Corn and Black Bean Salad yet!

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. I either steam it on the stovetop or grill it.

Prepare the Corn

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Corn and Black Bean Salad prepped ingredients

Finish the Salad

Pop those kernels into a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with avocado

Lots of flavors and textures in the Corn and Black Bean Salad and it goes with everything – burgers, kabobs, chicken, fish, beef, pork, or seafood, and it’s vegan/vegetarian!

Happy Labor Day!

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Corn and Black Bean Salad

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. Steam it, grill it, our use it au naturel. It’s colorful, tasty, and the only side dish you need for a meal.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
Scale

Ingredients

6 ears corn
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Kirby cucumber, diced, or about ¼ cup cucumber, remove seeds if bitter
¼ red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch cilantro chopped, reserving a couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado

Instructions

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Pop those kernels in a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

Notes

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Keywords: summer salad, salad, black bean salad, corn salad, black beans, corn, side dish, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, summer recipe

Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve this Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote as a quick and easy, yet elegant appetizer. It’s as eye appealing as it is delicious!

Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. This cheesy delicacy is made of a mozzarella shell and stuffed with a soft, milky curd that oozes from the center of the cheese. It’s best served at room temperature – the cheese on the outside and inside soften and flavor is maximized. Drizzle with a fine, thick balsamic vinegar, a great foil for the mild cheese.

halved burrata

Typically, mozzarella is served with sliced tomatoes as a caprese salad or other raw ingredients. However, it’s nice to change things up once in a while and this warm eggplant compote is a perfect accompaniment. Even better, the compote can be made the day before and gently reheated before serving.

Eggplant Compote

Cook the seasoned eggplant in hot oil over medium heat until the bottom side turns a golden brown. Turn and continue cooking a few minutes more until that side is golden brown. Stir and continue cooking until the eggplant is done; it offers no resistance when pierced with a fork, but retains its shape. Remove to a plate.

Sauteeing eggplant

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes; sweat until the aromatics are soft and translucent, about 2 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and cook over a low flame for 3 minutes. The tomatoes should yield a little, looking a little crinkly, but not mushy.

Return the eggplant to the pan, stir and reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both and top with the basil.

Platting Burrata with warm eggplant compote

Serve with warm crusty bread or try our Garlic Bread!

Watch the video here.

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Burrata with Warm Eggplant Compote

Burrata with warm eggplant compote and crusty bread

Serve burrata and eggplant compote as a starter to any meal – it as eye-appealing as it is scrumptious. Accompany with a warm, crusty bread.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups ½-inch cube eggplant (~1  pound)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
¼ cup minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup raisins
¼1/2  cup basil chiffonade
2  large or 4 small burrata, cut the large burrata in half

 Garnish                       

A drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar over the burrata and eggplant compote and top with sliced or whole basil leaves.

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Season the eggplant with salt and place into the hot oil in a single layer. Don’t stir again until the bottom side of the eggplant begins to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat if the eggplant is browning too quickly.

Turn and continue browning for another 2-3 minutes. Toss the eggplant in the skillet and cook until the eggplant is soft, but still retains its shape.

Remove eggplant to a plate.

Add the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes and sweat until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes, scraping up the eggplant tidbits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes and raisins, stir to combine and cook over at a gentle simmer for a few minutes or until the tomatoes begin to crinkle a little.

Stir in the eggplant to reheat.

Place one burrata on a salad plate with a scoop of the eggplant compote. Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar over both, top with the basil.

Notes

Make the day before and gently reheat.

Keywords: burrata, eggplant, compote

Biscotti Cookbook Update

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

I thought it was time to give a Biscotti Cookbook Update! We’ve been baking off the recipes in each chapter, as a final quality control check, and photographing them for the book. It’s been fun and I’ve had the pleasure of working with two fantastic high-school interns this summer, Caroline and Katie.

I’m very happy with the end result of four years of creating, testing, retesting, and re-retesting these biscotti. There’s been lots of tasting going on, too. I’ve taken many, many samples around to friends and family, even my hairdresser, and my husband has taken them to the office to share with colleagues. Many of whom have provided extremely helpful feedback and I’m very grateful. You’ll all be listed in the book – promise!

My dining room has become the biscotti holding area. All of my ingredients are either on the dining room table or a metal cart.

Holding Area for Biscotti Ingredients

I never realized there’s an extract for almost every flavor possible! This was an important find. Flavor dissipates during baking and since the biscotti are twice baked, a good dose of extract makes flavor pop.

A Bin full of Extracts

The finished biscotti are hidden in the dining room, though my husband managed to find them and eat a bunch before one of the photo shoots! Fortunately, there were enough left and I didn’t have to bake more. Need to put him in a room with a lock and key!

Finished Biscotti Ready for Photographing

I usually make six batches in one day, which takes a good four hours. Fortunately, I have double ovens. Each recipe is set up in advance to keep production moving.

Recipe Ingredient Line Up for Testing Biscotti Recipes

Here are some “action” photos from our Ancho Chili Chocolate biscotti.

Mixing

Mixing Biscotti Dough

Rolling

Rolling the Biscotti

Egg wash.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

First bake.

First Bake - Ancho Chili Chocolate

Slicing

Slicing Biscoti

Second bake.

Ancho Chili Chocolate - Second Bake

Cooling is an important step, especially for gluten-free biscotti. The starches need to set and the soft, melty ingredients, like chocolate, need to cool and reform. That melted chocolate right out of the oven is lava-like in texture and heat!

Cooling Biscotti

Once properly cooked, the biscotti loaf slices nicely into individual biscotto and retain its shape.

It takes three days to complete a chapter, another day to temper chocolate and dip some of the biscotti.

Dipping Biscotti in Chocolate

Pack it all up, label it, and get ready for another day to shoot the biscotti.

Red Velvet Biscotti

We photograph outside on our screened-in porch, which provides lots of natural light. Lately, however, we’ve been holding the inventory due to very hot and humid weather. You just can’t think when the temps and humidity are in the 90s, and those little beads of sweat running down your nose are not conducive to styling and photographing!

Here’s a shot from Chapter 7 – Nut-Free Biscotti.

Shot of Chapter 7 - Nut-Free Biscotti

The goal is to have all the quality control and photography done within the next 30 days or so and then put the text and recipes into book format. Off to the publisher prior to Thanksgiving, then editing and indexing the final manuscript after the New Year. Ideally the book will be available late winter, 2019.

Still have to think of a title for the book. The basics are: Honeypie’s Recipes: 75 Biscotti Recipes – Sweet, Savory and Gluten-Free. Any suggestions?

Seafood en Papillote

I used halibut, scallops, shrimp, and clams for this Seafood en Papillote and spooned a little sauce that’s got aromatics and acid to highlight the seafood.

Cooking en papillote creates intense flavor from steaming the ingredients in a tightly closed container. The parchment paper makes a dramatic presentation and when the diner rips it open that flavorful steam makes your mouth water.

Cooking en Papillote

En papillote simply means cooking “in parchment” in French. The Italians call it al cartoccio. Essentially, these are little packets of tender proteins with thinly sliced aromatics, herbs, spices and/or vegetables with a drizzle of acid, such as citrus or wine, a dollop of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and tightly wrapped. The cooking method is a combination of baking and steaming. The enclosed package keeps the steam in, cooks quickly, infuses flavor, and keeps food moist.

The most important thing is to create a tight seal, so the bag puffs up. Using parchment paper can be a little tricky and aluminum foil is virtually fool-proof. The parchment paper, however, makes a more glamorous presentation – slightly charred paper that pierces easily releasing the aromas under the nose of the diner.

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

en papillote

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

en papillote

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

en papillote

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side.

en papillote

Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

en papillote

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Watch the Seafood en Papillote video here.
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Seafood en Papillote

Cooking en papillote is fun to make and intense flavors are easy to create because of the cooking method. This Seafood en Papillote recipe uses halibut fillet, sea scallops, shrimp, and cherrystone clams.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Baking/Steaming
Scale

Ingredients

¼ cup white wine
¼ cup clam juice or fish stock
¼ cup minced shallots (2 small shallots)
1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper flakes
8  thin slices of fresh lemon
4  three- to four-ounce skinned white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod
8 cherrystone clams, thoroughly washed
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 sea scallops, cleaned
8 fresh thyme sprigs
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces

Instructions

Parchment paper or foil wrappers.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the wine, clam juice or fish stock, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes in a covered container.

Place 2 slices of lemon centered near the midsection of each wrapper.

Set one fish filet on each of the lemons, set 2 clams, 2 shrimp, and 2 scallops, and 2 cherry tomatoes around the fish. Top with 2 thyme sprigs.

Shake the wine sauce to combine and pour a quarter over each fish and top with a one piece of the butter.

Crimp each packet and cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serve in the package and let each dinner open. The aromatic steam is part of the experience.

Notes

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side. Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo wings are delicious, but sometimes I just don’t want to go to the trouble or deal with the mess. This Buffalo Chicken Dip is quick and easy to make and tastes just like the wings!

It contains only five ingredients: sour cream, blue cheese, diced celery, chopped roasted chicken and a generous portion of Frank’s hot sauce for heat. I’m really pleased with the result – it’s very reminiscent of Buffalo wings, yet different.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

As you get ready for your Super Bowl party, whip up a batch, for your football fans.

Check out these recipes for additional ideas Super Bowl ideas: Braised Sofrito Pork Spareribs with Rice and Beans and Triple Chocolate Brownies.

Watch the Buffalo Chicken Dip Video Here.
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Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This Spicy Chicken Dip is quick and easy to make and tastes just like the wings! Don’t wait until Super Bowl Sunday to try it!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

6 ounces blue cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
½ cup finely diced celery (1 small stalk)
2 cups diced roasted chicken
¼ cup hot sauce, such as Franks

Garnish
Coarsely chopped celery tops

Instructions

Place the cheese and a couple of generous tablespoons of sour cream in a medium mixing bowl and stir to loosen the cheese.

Add the remaining sour cream, celery, roasted chicken and hot sauce and stir until combined.

Serve in a bowl, topped with the chopped celery leaves, along with raw vegetables, tortilla or pita chips. Best at room temperature.

Notes

Use a supermarket rotisserie chicken for even greater ease of use.

Recipe doubles well.

Keywords: dip, appetizer, buffalo wing, spicy dip, party dip

The Wedding Weekend – The Final MOB Blog

MOB Blog

It’s been a long time coming, but here is the final MOB Blog. First, let me say that the wedding weekend was spectacular. We couldn’t have asked for more when it came to fun with family and friends or better weather.

REHEARSAL DINNER

Friday night we kicked off with a “non” rehearsal (no practice, just fun, food and cocktails) at Craft Restaurant  kindly hosted by FOG and MOG, Roger and Jane Borchin.

We had about 40 guests, wedding party and early arrivals staying at friends at the Hilton Garden Inn .

Here’s a picture of the bridal party wearing one of their gifts – changing robes.MOB Blog

WEDDING PREP

Saturday morning Dennis and Joe put up the Chuppah and Claudia oversaw the draping of the Chuppah cloth.

The name Borchin was embroidered on one side and Lobenfeld on the other side of the canopy.

MOB Blog

Beautiful!

MOB Blog

The bridal party was up early as well. Hair appointments started at 8am and the girls were staggered throughout the morning finishing up at around noon.

MOB Blog

Then off to the Club, where we had a light lunch awaiting.

High Tea 

Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Horseradish Cream on Miniature Onion Roll
Smoked Turkey with Brie and Lingonberry on Seven Grain Bread
Chicken Salad with Apple and Endive on Seven Grain Bread
Thinly Sliced Cucumber on Buttered White Bread
Assorted Miniature Scones, French Pastries and Fruit Tarts
served with Strawberry Preserves and Devonshire Crème Fraiche
Assorted Fancy Cookies and Chocolate Mints
Coffee and International Tea Service 

Makeup applications accompanied by champagne and multiple photos followed.

MOB Blog

Meanwhile, the groom and party were at the hotel getting ready.

MOB Blog

Final touches.

MOB Blog

Mother-of-the-Bride Blog

Flowers were delivered to the Club.

MOB Blog

The entire immediate family, groom and party arrived at the hotel by 3pm for photos; however, the ladies were running late and they had to entertain themselves. Cards and champagne helped pass the time.

MOB Blog

Claire and I helped Margot dress.
MOB Blog

Isn’t she lovely?

MOB Blog

Finally, the reveal to a proud and emotional Dad.

A private reveal of the bride and her dress to the groom! Very touching and sweet.

MOB Blog

Group photo sessions followed. Every permutation of the bride and groom, and everyone else either alone, with someone or in groups – long and tedious, but necessary. We are enjoying these pictures as great keepsakes of a very memorable day.

The Lobenfeld Clan

MOB Blog

The Borchin Clan

This photo shows you the fun side of my new son!

THE WEDDING CEREMONY

Thanks to Audrey, from Audrey Pierot Events, we started on time.

The wedding party.

MOB Blog

Wedding Program

MOB Blog

 

MOB Blog

It was an eclectic ceremony, bringing in elements and traditions from both families.

MOB Blog

MOB Blog

The wedding party proceeded down the steps of the clubhouse and across the lawn to the Chuppah.

MOB Blog

Mother-of-the-Bride Blog

My adorable son-in-law, Andy! We’re so pleased and proud to have him as a member or our family.

MOB Blog

My good friend Bobby walked me down the aisle.

MOB Blog

Here comes the bride!

MOB Blog

The ceremony was short and sweet. The pastor, Scott, is a friend of my son-in-law, Andy, and it makes such a difference when there is a personal connection between the bride and groom and the officiant. There was humor and laughter ending with a lovely kiss and a very happily married couple!

MOB Blog

Watch the ceremony here:

Video by Bryan McKay.
THE PARTY

We then moved on to the celebration – greeting our guests during the cocktail hour

MOB Blog

 

MOB Blog

The wedding party moved to the clubhouse for dancing and dinner.

MOB Blog

The traditional father-daughter dance.

MOB Blog

And the mother-son dance.

MOB Blog

Thoughtful and memorable speeches by the maid-of-honor, Claire.MOB Blog

Andy and Margot’s reaction.

MOB Blog

Best man, Jason.

MOB Blog

 

Andy and Margot enjoying the commentary!

And, of course, Vicky and Ashley added their two cents!

MOB Blog

Did they smush cake on each other’s face? You needn’t ask, it was a given.

MOB Blog

Of course, the evening would not be complete with the shy and retiring Eric singing – and sing he did!

MOB Blog

Eric and Andy also entertained us; these two were BFFs before the wedding!

Lots more dancing….

MOB Blog

Guests picked up a coffee mug and locally roasted coffee beans as a parting gift.

MOB Blog

We returned home around midnight and slept well, because Sunday  80 or so guests came for a pizza and ice cream pool party at 11am. Lots of coffee for the early arrivals, although I must say everyone looked pretty good considering a big night of partying.

POOL PARTY

Skinny Pines arrived with its wood-burning pizza oven truck and cranked out innumerable pizzas. So many varieties of pizza, thin crust, slightly charred from the oven using all local ingredients from the area’s farmers markets.

MOB Blog

Meanwhile, every kid headed for the pool the minute they arrived and didn’t get out unless they had to eat or, well you know, until they were dragged out by their parents. Grownups had fun, too .

My son-in-law, the genius he is, ordered and inexpensive guitar from Amazon and used it as a guest book. So clever!

MOB Blog

Later we had the Wilton College Creamery ice cream truck serving what you would call “Good Humor” type treats. Ice cream on a stick, King Kones, etc. My daughter, Claire, was thrilled to get a Hello Kitty Pop, something she loved as a kid. Over 100 treats were ordered – so everyone was pleased.

MOB Blog

This was a lovely, relaxing way to wind down the wedding weekend. By 4:30ish, everyone was gone, except our friends Dennis, Claudia and James. We ordered Chinese and continued chilling by the pool savoring the last of a spectacular wedding weekend.

Thanks for reading our story. It’s been lots of fun to write and to keep the memories fresh for us over the coming years.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is made with a roux: flour, butter and milk as a thickener. I often find that too much roux is used and the soup is pasty. So unappealing. Another problem these days is finding broccoli with full stalks. Stores are cutting them off and repurposing them for their deli or salad bar with broccoli slaws. This is a problem for me, because I only use stalks in my soup. I don’t care for the texture of the florets in the soup.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli stalks can be a tad woody and it’s important to trim the ends and pare the outer layer to remove the tough skin.

The recipe calls for a minimal amount of salt. Saltiness of cheese and stock varies and it’s best to have all the ingredients incorporated first and then adjust the salt at the end.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup has a silky texture and delicate flavor. It freezes well, so make up a batch or two for future use. I like to use two-cup Mason jars; the perfect serving for one.

NOTE: I have since made the soup again and with the difficulty these days of finding whole broccoli I used the florets as well. Purée until completely smooth.

Watch the Broccoli Cheddar Soup Video Here.

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup is super delicious, has a silky texture that hits the spot on any day. Use extra-sharp cheddar for best flavor!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
Scale

Ingredients

8 cups broccoli, chopped – be sure to trim and pare the woody ends of the stalks
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large stalks celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon coarse salt
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
several dashes of hot sauce, such as Franks or Tabasco

Garnish

Small broccoli florets, steamed, optional

Instructions

Place broccoli, onion, celery, garlic, salt and stock/water in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 40 minutes or until the broccoli is very soft, timing varies depending on the size of the pieces.

Purée the soups in batches in a blender or food processor or in the saucepan with an immersion blender until smooth. Do this in batches and fill the container halfway with a mix of solids and liquid.

Pour the puéed soup into another pourable container and wipe out the saucepan.

Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour in the warm soup, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook another 2-3 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.

Add the cheese and stir until completely melted.

Shake in the hot sauce to taste; this gives the soup a boost, it doesn’t necessarily need to be spicy hot, but the sauce gives the soup piquancy.

Soup freezes well.

Keywords: thickened soup, soup, broccoli soup, cheddar soup, vegetarian soup,

 

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

I was recently confronted with an abundance of multi-colored bell peppers. Peppers are a funny ingredient. Unlike zucchini, another prolific crop, which is easily turned into quick breads and muffins, fritters and casseroles, peppers are rarely the star of the dish.

Think sausage with peppers and onions, fajitas come with sautéed peppers and there are so many recipes that call for peppers to be chopped or diced and added to other aromatics such as onions, garlic, celery and/or carrots as the foundation of a recipe. The only time they stand on their own is as a shell for stuffing. And this is where it gets interesting.

Stuffed Peppers

There are so many different ingredients to choose from. Ground meat of any type is suitable and also optional. There are a multitude of grains and beans to choose from. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and moisten with a sauce and top off with some crumbled or shredded cheese and you have a delicious entrée.

Watch the Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers Video Here.

 

Along with the peppers, I also had a few eggplants and decided to go with a Greek-style stuffed pepper. Start by sautéing some ground lamb and diced onion with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic, oregano and just a bit of cinnamon. To keep it moist, I added a thawed pint of tomato sauce I’d made earlier in the season. Cube the eggplant and toss in couple of cups along with more of those bell peppers cut into small pieces. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. To finish in a traditional Greek style stir in chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled Feta cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

While the sauce simmers, slice off the tops and remove the core, seeds and membrane and season the insides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

I intended to freeze the stuffed peppers in batches for future use and needed to
partially cook the yellow bell peppers that would house the filling. The pre-cooking step deactivates the ripening enzymes to ensure that the peppers retain their color, shape and flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Place the prepared bell peppers upright in a baking dish. and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Stuff each shell with the filling.

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Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Use the abundance of vegetables at the farmers’ market to make these delicious and eye-appealing Greek-style stuffed peppers with lamb or to keep it vegan, use a grain such as orzo or quinoa in lieu of the lamb. Keep it colorful and use a variety of colors!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 85 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 bell peppers, tops removed, seeds, ribs and stems removed, save tops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Filling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 ½ cups minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fired roasted tomatoes or a pint of tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish
  3. Lined baking sheet to catch any spills
  4. Season the inside of each bell pepper with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Place upright in a baking dish.
  5. Note: If you are making in advance and planning to freeze, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or just until slightly softened.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb and onions, using the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the meat into a crumbly mix. Cook until the meat is no longer red.
  7. Stir in the oregano, garlic and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes or tomato sauce and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in the olives and feta off heat and stuff each pepper with the filling.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and place on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, one hour for frozen peppers.

 

Cobb Salad

Composed Salad

Cobb salad is delicious for an afternoon luncheon or for a warm weather dinner.

Watch the Cobb Salad Video Here.

Check out our How To Sauté Chicken Breasts  and the “Finger Test” videos.

A Cobb salad is a composed salad. The ingredients are presented in rows, rather than tossed, for an eye-appealing presentation. Pour dressing over everything and serve!

Composed Salad

The presentation creates a lovely balance of color, texture and flavors.

Composed Salad

The salad originated at the Brown Derby in LA, supposedly put together late in the evening at the end of service using what was left in the kitchen.

Composed Salad

This is a quick and easy meal to make ahead; dress at the last minute for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner.

 

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Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a composed salad, which simply means the ingredients are not tossed together but laid out in a colorful and eye appealing way. Quick and easy recipe for lunch or dinner

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: One-Dish Meal/Salad
Scale

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped chives

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad

6 cups chopped lettuce (Romaine, Bibb, watercress)

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 slices cooked and coarsely chopped bacon

1 pound cooked whole boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise

2 Hass avocado, peeled and sliced crosswise

4 ounces blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

Vinaigrette

Combine the oil, vinegar, chives, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar. Close tightly and shake well.

Salad

Strew the lettuce across the bottom of a large platter.

Arrange each ingredient in a row.

Pour dressing over everything and serve.

 

Basic Pie Crust

How to make pie dough

Whenever I make a pie crust, I think of Grandma Mary, my mother’s mother. Pies have always been a big thing in our family and I remember when Grandma taught me how to make my first one. I was 16 and my parents had gone on vacation, a very rare occurrence, I can assure you, and she was staying with me and my brother.

I asked her to teach me and we set up on the table in the breakfast nook, put all the ingredients together, gently brought the pie dough together and rolled it out. This is the only cooking experience I ever had with her, which is a real shame considering the repertoire of recipes she had in her head! I didn’t realize until it was too late the importance of learning about food and recipes from family members, including my Mother-in-Law Ruth who passed away very early on in our marriage. Her sisters and daughter didn’t know her secrets either.

Cherish your memories of cooking with family and remember to write down traditional recipes and family favorites, even if you need to measure ingredients as you go along because they don’t!

Ratios

For a basic, savory pie dough use a 3:2:1 ratio of flour to butter to water, plus a little salt (1/2 teaspoon per 1 ½ cups flour). For a sweet pie dough add 1 tablespoon sugar per 1 ½ cups flour.

Flavored Crusts

Add more sugar for a sweeter crust, add herbs or shredded cheese for a savory crust.

Smear the Butter

You don’t need special equipment to make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the four and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with these appliances.

Smearing the butter coats the flour with fat and is one step in preventing an over-developed gluten. The most important factor is to use as little agitation as possible: minimal mixing, no kneading.How to make pie dough

Want a flakier crust? Leave the butter pieces in slightly larger pieces.

Flaky Crust

Butter contains about 15-20% water and milk solids, the rest is fat. Because of the water content, a butter crust is crispier than a crust made with lard or shortening, both of which are 100% fat.

The water in the butter turns to steam, puffs up the layers and creates that much desired flaky, crispy crust.

Add the Water

Water is always given in an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and gently toss the flour and water together.

Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.

How to make pie dough

For a single-crust recipe, scoop the loose mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, large enough to contain the disc.

For a double-crust recipe, divide the loose mixture in dough in half and place each portion onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to contain the disc.

Gently form a mound and wrap the dough. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

 

How to make pie dough

Watch the video here.

 

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Basic Pie Dough

How to make pie dough

This recipe gives the ingredients for a double-crust pie. Divide the recipe in half for a single, or make the whole recipe and freeze the second disc.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 9- or 10-inch crusts 1x
  • Category: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and kept cold
  • 3/4 cup cold water, approximate

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the butter, which has been cut into small pieces and work the flour and butter together by smearing together with your thumb and index finger until the butter is the size of peas.
  2. Alternatively, use a pastry blender, electric mixer or food processor, but be very cautious of over developing the dough when you add water with the appliances.
  3. Water is always given as an approximation; it depends on how much moisture is in the flour. Use only cold water to keep the butter from getting too soft. Add about half the water at first and just toss the flour and water together. Pick up a small handful of the dough and press together. If it falls apart, add more water, toss and check. Keep this up until the dough holds together with no crumbling.
  4. Divide the dough in half, it’s loose and crumbly because you haven’t forced it together yet, and scoop each half onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently form a mound and wrap the dough.
  5. Push the mound down with the palm of your hand and form a disc. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight to hydrate the flour.

Notes

Freezes well. Freeze as a disc or roll out and freeze as a rolled up sheet. See video here.

 

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Bacon

I frequently dine alone on weeknights as my husband’s work schedule is a little crazy. He was in Washington for a few days last week and again this week. Oftentimes, I don’t think much about what I’m going to eat. I clearly won’t starve, the pantry, refrigerator and freezer hold ample supplies that allow for a quick meal for one, such as Linguine with White Clam Sauce.

Linguine with white clam Sauce is one of my favorite pasta dishes and not one Eric cares for. When he’s out of town, it’s a golden opportunity to treat myself! By the time I think of making this, it’s too late to do the whole fresh clam thing, so I keep little 6.5 ounce cans of clams on hand. At 6pm when I begin to wonder what’s for dinner, I can cook up a single serving in the amount of time it takes to boil a few ounces of pasta. It’s quick, easy and very satisfying.

One night it occurred to me that clams and bacon go together in such a delicious way, why not chop up a little bacon, crisp it up and use it with he clams. Now I have two versions of this Linguine with white clam sauce!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Bacon

Putting it all Together

Gather and prep your ingredients while a large pot of salted water comes to a boil.

Put the pasta in the boiling water, stir and don’t forget to set your time for about 2 minutes less than recommended. The pasta finishes cooking in the skillet with the sauce.

Start the Bacon in a Cold Skillet

Place the bacon in a cold medium skillet over medium heat. Starting with a cold pan keeps the bacon from sticking and burning. Cook and stir until crispy. Remove and place the bacon bits in a small bowl. Skip this step if you don’t want bacon, but it’s really, really good!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Bacon

Add enough olive oil to the hot skillet with the bacon fat to make about 2 tablespoons of fat. Add the shallot, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. If you don’t want the heat from the pepper flakes, use freshly ground pepper instead. Cook and stir until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Turn down the heat if the garlic is browning too quickly.

Add the clam juice only and bring to a boil, let simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Bacon

Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water, and add the pasta and the  bacon bits to the sauce with the clams; toss to combine. Cook until the pasta is al dente, a little firm, not hard, to the bite. The pasta soaks up the sauce, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid if needed.

Garnish with the grated Parmesan cheese.

 

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Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and Bacon

Keep pasta and canned clams on hand for a quick and easy single serving of Linguine with White Clam Sauce. For a little variety add bacon!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Pasta
Scale

Ingredients

  • 34 ounces dry linguine, cooked according to the package instructions, reserve ½ cup cooking liquid
  • 12 slices smoky bacon, diced
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil, depends on how much bacon fat is left in the pan
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can (6.5 ounces) clams with juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Garnish
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Gather and prep your ingredients while a large pot of salted water comes to a boil.
  2. Put the pasta in the boiling water, stir and don’t forget to set your time for about 2 minutes less than recommended. The pasta finishes cooking in the skillet with the sauce.
  3. Place the bacon in a cold medium skillet over medium heat. Starting with a cold pan keeps the bacon from sticking and burning. Cook and stir until crispy. Remove and place the bacon bits in a small bowl.
  4. Add enough olive oil to the hot skillet to make 2 tablespoons with the bacon fat.
  5.  Add the shallot, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. If you don’t want the heat from the pepper flakes, use freshly ground pepper instead.
  6. Cook and stir until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Turn down the heat if the garlic is browning too quickly.
  7. Add the clam juice only and bring to a boil, let simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice.
  8. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water, and add it along with the bacon bits and clams to the sauce; toss to combine. Add a little reserved cooking liquid if the sauce is dry.
  9. Garnish with the parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake brings back a great memory. A few years ago my niece Rebecca, along with her family and my brother were visiting from Germany. As I was gathering my ingredients for the cake, Rebecca asked if she could help. It was our first baking experience together.

That visit was a few years ago and Emma, my great-niece, was only 18 months old. She’ll celebrate her 6th birthday next month and has a younger sister, Marla, who’ll celebrate her 4th birthday in January.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Unfortunately, we don’t see them very often and with two small children, they don’t come to the US – we go there. We try to visit once a year just to keep up with the girls. That year between visits is a long time at this young age and the changes in the girls are mind blowing.

Enjoy this sweet-tart cake warm with a cup of tea or coffee!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

The cake can be made in advance, frozen, thawed overnight and gently warmed in the oven or microwave. It’s a great recipe to keep on hand for unexpected company, or for breakfast on a holiday morning when you already have a long list of cooking tasks.

Watch the Rhubarb Coffee Cake video here.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This Rhubarb Coffee Cake is moist, aromatic and delicious. Serve warm or room temperature. Make a batch of strawberry ice cream (see my book Endless Summer) to serve on the side. If using the powdered sugar, sprinkle over the cake just before serving; it dissolves quickly.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Baked Good
Scale

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger
pinch of nutmeg

Cake Batter

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, preferably room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Instructions

Setup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and rease a 9-inch angel food or spring-form pan with butter.

Place the butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth, scrapping the sides and beater as needed.

Add the sugar and salt and beat until fluffy, scrapping the sides and beater as needed.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium high until incorporated, scrape the sides and beater a couple of times until everything is combined. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled it will smooth out.

Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, mixing on low until the dry ingredients are moist.

Scrape the sides and beater and mix in the sour cream until thoroughly blended and the batter is smooth, scraping sides and beater as needed. Toss in the rhubarb and mix until well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes. Loosen sides before removing the cake to a cooling rack.

Notes

Cake freezes well. Cool completely and wrap tightly.

Keywords: coffee cake, quick bread, rhubarb, breakfast, snack, baked goods, baking, vegetarian, nut-free, bundt cake