LAYERED BEAN DIP AND PESTO SUNDRIED TOMATO TERRINE

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These are two of the most popular appetizers I bring to “dish to pass” occasions.  The 7 layer bean dip is pretty routine but I add a few touches to make it special.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  I like to serve it with the Tortilla Lime chips.

 

The other appetizer is my creation:  a pesto, sundried tomato and goat cheese terrine.  It is very easy to make and everyone wants the recipe.  Exact qantities aren’t that important.  I always have a jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge and pesto in the freezer.  And since I often also have goat cheese on hand I can make this up easily.  It does need a day or so to set but could come together right away in a pinch.  

 

 

 

 

 

7 LAYER BEAN DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 -16-oz. can refried beans (spicy or regular)
  • 1 ½  cups sour cream
  • ½ -1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS salsa
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend  cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced or ½ can petite diced tomatoes (thoroughly drained of liquid)
  • tortilla chips

 

 

PREPARATION

1.     Spread beans in the bottom of a 13"x9"  (or similar sized oblong) clear glass dish, add  ½ cup of shredded cheese and cook in microwave just until  cheese is melted, then stir in the cheese and set aside.

2.    .Mix avocados, lime  juice, salsa, garlic, and salt to taste; layer over beans

3.     Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over avocado.

4.     Sprinkle with cheese; top with onions, olives and tomato.

5.    Serve with tortilla chips.

 

 

 

 

GOAT CHEESE PESTO AND SUNDRIED TOMATO TERRINE

 

Ingredients

·         ½ cup sundried tomatoes

·         4 oz. cream cheese

·         5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

·         2.5 ounces pesto (66 grams)

·         3 ounces goat cheese

Preparation

1.    Line a small loaf pan (6"x3") with plastic wrap

2.    Mix together sundried tomatoes and cream cheese in food processor until well incorporated.

3.    Fill lit into the bottom of the plastic lined terrine, making sure it is evenly distributed into the loaf plan and making sure it is pushed into the corners. Smooth the top and stick into the fridge for a few hours or into the freezer for 30 minutes or until firmed up enough to take another layer.

4.    Smooth the room temperature goat cheese over the tomato layer.  Soften the goat cheese in the microwave for a few seconds if it isn’t spreading easily.  Put the terrine back into the fridge or freezer to firm up.

5.     Mix together the pesto and 3 ounces of goat cheese  in the food processor until fully incorporated and spread evenly over the firm goat cheese layer.

6.    Fold the plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate over night until firm. 

7.    Unmold carefully onto a platter and serve with crackers.

Note:  you can make this replacing the goat cheese entirely with cream cheese or vice versa.

HARVEST TIME: PICKLES AND BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

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 The Garden is exploding with produce ready to be eaten.  It’s totally overwhelming trying to keep up with it.  We have been busy harvesting our blueberries, elderberries, cucumbers and tomatoes and just finished with a great crop of beans. 

 

It has been fun trying to figure out what to do with it all.  I’ve gotten out some of my old recipes and finding some new ones on line and this is what I’ve been making over the past week:

 

This was a great year for most berries including our elderberries. We made our usual elderberry jelly which is one of my favorites.  Added to plain Greek Yogurt and you have a combination fitting for breakfast or an elegant dinner dessert.

 

I found an amazing blueberry muffin recipe online from allrecipes which needed only a few minor adjustments.  I added lemon peel and vanilla and replaced milk with buttermilk .  I also made 9 muffins with this batch.

 

 

 


Blueberry Muffins, ADAPTED from Allrecipes

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

 


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk

Grated rind from one organic lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

1.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough butter milk to fill the cup and add the lemon and vanilla. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Divide filling between 9 muffin cups, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

I took the bread and butter pickle recipe from Recipe Girl and made a few adjustments.

 

They were good to eat a few hours later.

 

bread and butter pickles, adapted from Recipe Girl

Yield: About 4 cups of pickles

Prep Time: 20 min + marinating time

Cook Time: 5 min

Ingredients:

 (2-3 pounds) sliced (1/4-1/2 inch) unpeeled and washed cucumbers
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
2  teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

Directions:

1. Dissolve salt and cold water in large bowl and add sliced cucumbers. Let sit for an hour or two. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

2. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cucumber and onion mixture and bring back to boil. Pour into canning jars and let sit on the counter for a few hours.  Cover and refrigerate . Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

 

Bolstered by my success with the bread and butter pickles, I searched online for a dill pickle recipe and found one on Epicurious which I adapted only slightly.

 



Fast Favorite Garlic Dill Pickles, adapted

Epicurious  | © 2001 by Eleanor Topp and Margaret Howard

Makes 4 pint (500 mL) jars or 2 quart jars

Often called kosher-style dill pickles, these are quick to make. Use either small whole cucumbers or cut larger ones into quarters or slices. For an additional interesting flavor, tuck a small dried hot red pepper into each jar.

ingredients

·         8-10 small pickling cucumbers or sliced larger pickles (about 3pounds/1.5kg)

·         2 cups (500 mL) white vinegar

·         1 cups (500 mL) water

·         2 tablespoons (25 mL) pickling salt

·         4 heads fresh dill or 4 teaspoons dill seeds (20 mL)

·         4 small cloves garlic or slice several large garlic cloves and add to each jar

preparation

1. If using larger pickles slice into ¼-1/2 inch slices or for medium sized, cut into quarters lengthwise

2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

3.  Add cucumbers and bring back to boil

4.. Place 1 or two sprigs of fresh dill and  1 or more  cloves of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers.

 

I do not process the cucumbers so they need to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few weeks.  It will take a few days before they are at their peak of flavor.

 

REVISITING EGGPLANT RECIPES

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GREAT DISHES USING EGGPLANT:  

 

I've posted these recipes before but since we're back in eggplant season I'm posting again because these recipes are really worth trying.  And of course, ratatouille is the other great way to prepare eggplant.


 

 

 Eggplant with Plum Sauce

 

 

  1. Slice small (3 inches or less) eggplant in half lengthwise, spread with olive oil and salt and grill over barbecue until browned on both sides and barely cooked. Salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce: Mix together

          ¼ of plum jam,

           3-4 skinned plums if you have nice fresh, ripe plum

            2-3 Tbs. soy sauce

            I Tbs. grated fresh ginger

            !-2 Tbs. minced garlic

            1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce (optional)

      ¼ cup Iron Chef Sesame Garlic Sauce : NOTE: I have to defend using a ready  made sauce but I have to say it really kicks it up significantly. This sauce is all natural with no preservatives and not particularly high in sodium.

3. Boil these ingredients together for 5 minutes until the flavors meld and it is slightly  

     reduced.   

  1. Put the cooked eggplant in an oven or grill proof dish and cover with the sauce. I add more garlic since I love garlic. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes in hot covered grill (300°-400°). It should be boiling hard so that the sauce thickens.   But check to make sure it is not burning.  

 

 

                      The next recipe is an adaptation of a very popular appetizer served at my cousin’s wonderful restaurant in Tel Aviv called RUSTICO. The recipe is called Eggplant Carpaccio but it is not raw eggplant. Again, this is a recipe to play around with according to your preference. It is a very simple dish to prepare and an instant hit.

 

 

 

http://www.fingerlakesfeasting.com/wp-content/uploads/image/carpaccio.JPG

 

Eggplant Carpaccio

 

  1. 1-3 medium eggplant. Quantity does not matter.
  2.  Poke a couple holes in your eggplants and throw them on a very hot grill (400°-500° Cover the grill and walk away. After a few minutes check on the eggplant. If it is beginning to burn then turn. Continue with this process until the eggplant is slightly charred and well cooked. It should be mushy feeling when touched. Remove carefully and set aside.
  3. At this point you can cool them and thrown them in the fridge until you want to make this appetizer. Or, cool them and then peel off the skin right away. 
  4. Put the eggplant pulp in a food processor with a tsp. olive oil and salt to taste, and pulse a few times until an even consistence and quite smooth but not so much to be soupy. It still has to have a distinctive eggplant texture. 
  5. The quantities of the following garnishes are up to your taste preferences and how much eggplant you have prepared. Spread the eggplant very thinly over a large serving plate, or individual appetizer plates if you want to this as a first course. 
  6. Sprinkle the eggplant evenly with the following:

     

     

    • Toasted pine nuts
    • Finely chopped scallion or red onion
    • Finely chopped parsley
    • Sea salt
    • Zatar (Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seed which is available at Wegmans)
    • A drizzle of high grade olive oil

         7. Serve with pita or crackers.

 

 

 

Eggplant with Miso Sauce

 

2 medium Japanese eggplant: the long thin eggplant

½ cup Sake

2 Tbs. mirin

½ tsp sugar

3 Tbs. light soy Miso or any Miso will work.

1 Tsp. toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp sesame oil

 

  1. Slice the eggplant into ½ slices and fry in olive oil until brown and cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, Bring the Sake, mirin, and sugar to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the miso a spoon at a time, incorporating well. Miso should not be brought to a boil. The mixture should be  slightly thickish.
  4. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Taste and add more sugar or sesame oil according to your taste preference.
  5. The sauce can be made ahead and heated in the microwave (not boiled). Serve drizzled on the eggplant.

 

 

EGGPLANT PARMESAN MY WAY

 

This is my version of eggplant parmesan that I adapted from the traditional style where you cover the breaded, fried eggplant with tomato sauce. I always love to eat some of the freshly fried eggplant so crispy and delicious before baking it when it all softens up. So this is the unbaked, crispy version:

 

  1. Use any quantity of peeled, globe eggplant which is 4-5 inches in diameter and cut into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Dip the eggplant slices first into an egg that has been beaten.
  3. Then dip the eggplant slices into seasoned breadcrumbs. You can use dried bread and make your own breadcrumbs or use unseasoned ready-made breadcrumbs and season them yourselves. I use a combination of Italian seasoning, extra basil and a pinch of fenugreek (optional). I also add salt. I don’t use a lot of seasoning here. For one cup of breadcrumbs I would use 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and ½ tsp of basil.
  4. At this point you can store the breaded eggplant slices in the fridge to fry later or fry them right away but they must be eaten right after they are cooked. 
  5. Fry the slices in olive oil over medium high to high heat watching carefully and turning them over frequently so they don’t burn. Add more oil when needed. They should be golden brown and very soft in the inside. They take about 10 minutes to cook. Drain them on paper towels and put them in an hot oven to keep warm. If they get soggy then refry them.
  6. These wonderful treats can be served as an appetizer alone or with some tomato sauce on the side to dip them into. I made a great sauce out of my ABUNDANCE of CHERRY TOMATOES. I cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkled them with sea salt and baked them in a 400° oven (convection on if you have one) for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms were starting to blacken. I then let them cool and put them through a food mill and this made a wonderfully rich sweet tomato sauce. Garnish the top with shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

 

 

Turkish Lentil and Eggplant Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

 

This recipe is a little more time consuming, but quite unique and delicious. It uses an ingredient called Pomegranate Molasses which is a condiment used much like ketchup in some cultures. It can be found at Wegmans. I have adapted this recipe from Food and Wine magazine (July 2004) and used small French green lentils which hold their shape nicely. I also finish this in a crock-pot rather than on the stove. On these hot summer days I just leave the crock-pot cooking outside.

 

One 1 ½ pound long, narrow eggplant

½ cup lentils ( I use French green lentils: available at Wegmans)

Olive oil

I medium onion, finely chopped

4 minced garlic cloves

One  14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped

2 Tbs. chopped mint leaves

1 Tbs. tomato paste

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

¼ cup pomegranate molasses (available at Wegmans)

 

 

  1. In a saucepan cover the lentils with water and salt and boil over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes until barely cooked. Add more water if necessary to prevent burning.
  2. Cut eggplant into ¼ inch slices and fry in olive oil until lightly browned. IT does not have to be fully cooked. Salt and set aside.
  3. Fry onion until softened and beginning to brown, add garlic and fry together for another minute.
  4. Mix onions, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, mint and red pepper.
  5. In a crock pot layer the lentils, eggplant and onion-tomato mixture and salt to taste. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and the pomegranate molasses. Put the crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or until the lentils and eggplant are fully cooked.  Check a few times and add water if necessary.  Refrigerate if possible and eat the next day. Garnish with more chopped mint leaves.

 

 

 

U-PICK STRAWBERRIES READY

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It’s time for strawberry picking.  Listed below are some area strawberry growers.   Call ahead to get the latest news on picking.

U-PICK STRAWBERRIES FARMS

 
 
 
Grisamore Farms:  Ready for picking June 20th
Who: Mary Ann Grisamore
Where: Goose Street Road, Locke
Phone: 315-497-1347
Web site: www.grisamorefarms.com
 
Cobblestone Valley Farms:  Probably JUNE 20th
Where: 2023 Preble Road, Preble
Phone: 749-4032
Web site: www.cobblestonevalley.com
 
Church Street Produce:  OPEN now 8-12  Longer hours later
Who: Val and Jerry Carocci
Where: 4045 Church Street, Burdett
Phone: 546-2557
 
Silver Queen Farm:  OPEN NOW FOR PICKING
Who: Gordy & Liz Gallup
Where: 5286 Stillwell Road, Trumansburg
Phone: 387-6502
 
Iron Kettle Farm:  Not Good picking this year
Where: South of village, Route 96, Candor
Phone: 659-7707
 
 

Indian Creek Farm:  Light picking has begun
Who: Alan Leornard and Stephen Cummins
Where: 1408 Trumansburg Road (1/2 mile past hospital
Phone: 273-9544, 592-2801 and 227-6147

 

Carrot Apple Muffins from The Pleasures of Cooking Magazine

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We just cleared out a section of our attic and found old cooking magazines.  I have been making my way through Gourmet and  The Pleasures of Cooking magazines dating back to the 70s.  Some of the recipes are outdated,  and some are packed with so much cream, butter and sugar (usually together) that I pass right by them. But I’ve also found some great recipes and have slowly been trying them.

 

This,  for example,  is a recipe adapted from the May/June 1987 issue of The Pleasures of Cooking which was published by Cuisinart.  I used to love this magazine and now I remember why.  It has been out of print for many years but luckily I had the wherewithal to save them.  This recipe was originally called "Meal-In-A-Muffin" . It was shared by a reader named Catherine Ojalvo and had won a contest in her local town.  It is a perfect muffin:  healthy with the right combination of sweet, crunchy, spicy flavor and moist texture.  I adapted it just a little because I can’t seem to ever follow a recipe exactly. Among other minor changes  I added some maple syrup and changed the white sugar to brown sugar.  I also sweetened it just a little which is quite unusual for me since I’m usually cutting down on overly sweet recipes.

Catherine explained that she keeps them in the freezer and pops them in the toaster oven for breakfast.  They last several days so I haven’t had the chance to try this because we eat them up so quickly.

 

Carrot Apple Muffins
Makes about 12 muffins

Adapted from recipe published in The Pleasures of Cooking Volume IX  No 6 May/June 1987

 

 1 medium carrot (about 3 ounces) peeled

1 large apple (about 6 ounces) peeled, quartered and cored

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 TBS maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (about 1  1/2  ounces)

1/3 cup yellow raisins

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts chopped in big pieces

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3 TBS wheat germ (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt or to taste

  1.  Preheat oven to 375°
  2.   Shred the carrot and apple with the medium shredding disc of a food processor and set aside in large bowl.
  3.   To that bowl add:  raisins, coconut.
  4.  Change the processor to a metal blade and process the nuts quickly if they need to be chopped into big pieces.  Do not over chop. Add them to the bowl with carrots, apples, raisins and coconut.
  5. Process the oil, eggs, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until blended.
  6.   In a bowl, mix together the flours, wheat germ,  oats, baking powder, baking soda , spices and salt
  7.  Add them to the food processor and mix in with a spoon and then pulse quickly until just blended.
  8.   Add the contents of the bowl containing all the rest of the ingredients and mix by hand.  Do not over mix
  9.   Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups that are placed in a muffin tin.
  10.   Bake in preheated oven or 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

CUCUMBERS WITH DILL AND FETA

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CUCUMBERS WITH DILL AND FETA

Stay simple with cucumbers and don’t salt them until the last minute.  This Greek preparation combines small cubes of cucumber and the same size cubes of good quality Feta cheese and chopped dill.  Right before serving add the salt and toss with a really good olive oil.


BLUEBERRY MUFFINS AND PICKLES

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The Garden is exploding with produce ready to be eaten.  It’s totally overwhelming trying to keep up with it.  We have been busy harvesting our blueberries, elderberries, cucumbers and tomatoes and just finished with a great crop of beans. 

 

 

 

It has been fun trying to figure out what to do with it all.  I’ve retrieved some of my old recipes and found some new ones online.  This is what I've been up to the past week:

 

This was a great year for most berries including our elderberries. We made our usual elderberry jelly which is one of my favorites.  Added to plain Greek Yogurt and you have a combination fitting for breakfast or an elegant dinner dessert.

 

I found an amazing blueberry muffin recipe online from allrecipes which needed only a few minor adjustments.  I added lemon peel and vanilla and replaced milk with buttermilk .  I also made 9 muffins with this batch.

 

This recipe also works great for cake.  I make it in a 9 inch square cake pan.

 

 


Blueberry Muffins, ADAPTED from Allrecipes.com

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

 


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk

Grated rind from one organic lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

1.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough butter milk to fill the cup and add the lemon and vanilla. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Divide filling between 9 muffin cups, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

 

 

PICKLES

 

I started with the bread and butter pickle recipe from Recipe Girl and made a few adjustments. I made it less sweet so adjust the sugar as you like.  These are pickles that aren't processed so you need to refrigerate them.  My experience is if you process them by boiling for 10 minutes the pickles get mushy.  This way they stay nice and crisp.

 They were good to eat a few hours later.

 

Bread and Butter pickles, adapted from Recipe Girl

Yield: 2 quarts

Ingredients:

 2-3 pounds sliced (1/4-1/2 inch) unpeeled and washed cucumbers
2  Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
2  teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

Directions:

1. Dissolve  1 TBS salt and cold water in large bowl and add sliced cucumbers. Let sit for an hour or two. Move cucumbers into a colander and check for saltiness. If too salty, and rinse under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

2. Combine sugar, remaining 1 TBS salt and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cucumber and onion mixture and bring back to boil. Pour into canning jars and let sit on the counter for a few hours.  Cover and refrigerate . Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

 

Bolstered by my success with the bread and butter pickles, I searched online for a dill pickle recipe and found one on Epicurious which I adapted only slightly.

 


Fast Favorite Garlic Dill Pickles, adapted from Epicurious 

Makes  3 quart jars

Often called kosher-style dill pickles, these are quick to make. Use either small whole cucumbers or cut larger ones into quarters or slices. For an additional interesting flavor, tuck a small dried hot red pepper into each jar or some red pepper flakes but not too much.  I like them pretty vinegary so I cut down on the water.

ingredients

·       

  8-10 small pickling cucumbers or sliced larger pickles (about 3pounds/1.5kg)

·      4  cups (1 liter) white vinegar

·         3 cups (750 mL) water

·         2 tablespoons (25 mL) pickling or kosher salt

·        3 heads fresh dill  

·        6 small cloves garlic or slice several large garlic cloves and add to each jar

preparation

1. If using larger pickles slice into ¼-1/2 inch slices or for medium sized, cut into quarters lengthwise and place in large bowl

2. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of the salt and massage it in to the cucumbers. Wait for 1-3 hours and then drain the water.  Taste a slice and if it's not too salty don't rinse them.  Otherwise, rinse them with water.

 

3. When they have been brined,  combine vinegar, water, and remaining 1 TBS. salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

4.  Add cucumbers and bring back to boil

5.. Place 1 or two sprigs of fresh dill and  1 or more  cloves of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers.

 

I do not process the cucumbers or they get mushy, so they need to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few weeks.  It will take a few days before they mellow out and are at their peak of flavor.

 

 

GREEN GAZPACHO AND THAI CORN CRAWFISH CHOWDER

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 TWO GREAT SOUPS USING SUMMER BOUNTIES

 

Corn and Cucumbers.  Both ready for harvest and both are the main ingredients for these two great soups.  The hot chowder is great as the main meal with only a salad and crusty bread to complete the feast.  And the cold green gazpacho is a an usual combination of ingredients that is much more than the sum of it’s parts.  No one has yet guessed the two mystery ingredients to this refreshing soup.

  

 

Green Gazpacho

 

For this soup you will need a really strong blender such as a vita-mix.  The quantities are just approximate.  This is a “taste and adjust” recipe since there are many factors at play.  You will need to let it rest in the fridge for a day and then taste and further adjust the vinegar, salt and olive oil.

 

2 cups (about a pound) cucumbers (which only need peeling if the peels are thick and  only needs seeding if the seeds are big)

1 cup,(about ½ pound)  seedless grapes green or red

1 cup raw almonds

1 shallot

1 medium garlic clove or more to taste

1 TBS chopped dill

1 cup water

1 TBS sherry vinegar (or other wine vinegar)

¼  buttery olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Blend together in vita-mix or other very strong blender until totally smooth.  Taste and adjust for seasoning and then refrigerate overnight and taste and adjust seasoning before serving.  Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a little chopped dill in each bowl.

 

 

 

 

Thai Corn and Crawfish Chowder

 

4 ears corn shucked

1 TBS butter

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped into small cubes

4 cups chicken broth, seafood broth or lobster broth

1 can coconut milk (14 ounce)

1 TBS Thai red curry paste

1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat (comes frozen) or shrimp, crab or lobster

Salt to taste

 

1.       Fry the corn kernels over high heat in a frying pan with no oil and after 3 minutes add butter and when melted continue to cook for another 2 minutes of high heat before setting the corn aside.

2.      Fry the onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize and then set aside

3.      Defrost the crawfish and fry over high heat with some butter and olive oil in two batches for 5-6 minutes each and set aside.  IF using other seafood skip this step if the seafood is already cooked.

4.      Place the shucked corn cobs in the broth and boil together for 20 minutes to infuse the broth with the corn flavor.  Then remove the cobs and discard.

5.      Mix the red curry with 1 TBS of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.  Then add to broth along with the rest of the coconut milk and bring to simmer.  Add the onion, corn and crawfish and bring to simmer again.  Simmer for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning.

This chowder can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for the next day.  If using lobster or shrimp do not add the seafood until right before serving and then add it to the simmering broth and simmer until warmed through.  It is important not to overcook the seafood.

 

 

 

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB TAPIOCA PUDDING

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                                                                                      strawberry rhubarb tapioca pudding

 

                          

 

 This is a quick and easy way to enjoy strawberries and rhubarb without having the fuss of making a pie. 

1 quart strawberries cut in half or quarters

1 lb. Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/4 cup small pearl tapioca

1 cup apple juice or other juice

3/4 -1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1.  Mix the tapioca and 1/2 cup juice in fridge and leave overnight

2. Add 1/2 cup juice, put the tapioca and juice in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally so the tapioca doesn’t stick to bottom of pan. Add more juice or water if the mixture gets too thick.

3. After 15 minutes of gentle boiling add the rhubarb and sugar.  Cook together uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and is no longer distinct pieces:  about 15 minutes.

4.  Add strawberries, stir them in and bring to boil.  Then turn off the heat.  This keeps the strawberries bright red and in distinct pieces.  Serve warm or cool to a thicker consistency.  This is wonderful served with vanilla ice-cream.

GINGERED BOEUF BOURGUIGNON

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 GINGERED BOEUF BOURGUIGNON 

 

 

 

 

Years ago I entered a recipe contest through Fine Cooking Magazine where we were instructed to use certain ingredients to create our own recipe.  This is what I came up with and though I didn’t win, I did get a phone call from the judges asking for more clarification so that was pretty close to winning, right? 

 

My concept was to blend the best ingredients of French beef stew with the great Chinese stew ingredients:  wine, garlic, bacon, oyster sauce,  and of course ginger. The other flavor booster I work into this recipe is to layer the ingredients so that you have garlic and ginger cooking slowly and flavoring the broth.  But I also add these ingredients the last minute to enhance the ginger and garlic flavors.This is a recipe I go back to time and again.  My grown up son asked for the recipe and said it came out great.  Feel free to modify as you wish.  For instance, he used regular mushrooms rather than shiitake. If you don’t have the rosemary, don’t worry.  You can add a little thyme, a bay leaf some herbs de province or leave out the spices.

 

 

 

 

GINGERED BOEUF BOURGUIGNON Serves 5-6

 

 

3 slices bacon

Olive oil as needed

2 lbs stew beef, cut in 2×2 inch pieces (a marbled, fatty cut works best for stew such as chuck.  And if you use organic meat it may take less time since organic meat tends to be less fatty)

Salt and pepper

1 ½ cups shallots, coarsely chopped (about ½ lb)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. fresh ginger, finely minced

¼ cup flour

2 cups dry red wine (such as Shiraz or Merlot)

1 can chicken broth (10.5 oz)

¼ cup oyster sauce

2 Tbs. sugar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and cut in slices.

2 (more) cloves garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs. (or more) fresh ginger, finely minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

3-4 green onions finely minced

 

1.  Heat a medium size heavy pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy.  Remove and set aside to drain on paper towel.  Chop into small pieces.

 

2. Season meat with salt and pepper.  Increase heat to high, add oil to bacon fat to coat bottom of pot and when oil shimmers add meat in three batches, browning each batch and setting aside. Add more oil if necessary to coat bottom of pan after each batch.

 

3. Turn the heat to medium and add shallots, browning while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for two more minutes or until aromatic.  Add flour and mix together while cooking for another 2 minutes.

 

4.  Add wine while stirring quickly to mix in the flour.  Add broth, oyster sauce, sugar, rosemary, and reserved bacon and beef. Stir well and heat to simmer.

5. Cook for 30 minutes and remove rosemary.  Continue to cook stew over low heat for 30- 60 minutes more hours stirring every 30 minutes and adding more water or stock if necessary.  Depending on the cut of meat and size of the chunks this may take more or less time.  Take a piece out and see if it is tender.

 

6.  While the stew is cooking, fry the mushrooms in two batches over medium heat in frying pan coated with oil for 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms to the stew for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

 

7. For best flavor refrigerate the stew overnight and reheat the next day, adjusting seasoning as desired. 

 

8.  15 minutes before serving add the two cloves of mashed garlic and 1 Tbs. of ginger to the simmering stew.

 

9. Just before serving, stir in the sesame oil and sprinkle with spring onions.

 

Serve over mashed potatoes, with peas on the side.

 

 

Preparation time is 30-45 minutes and cooking time is 2 hours.