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Archive for August, 2012

TIP OF THE DAY: How To Keep Garlic Fresh

To keep garlic fresh, store it in dark, dry,
cool place. Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian | SXC.

 

Garlic powder is a pale substitute for fresh garlic. Some people use it because of the convenience: A jar of garlic powder is always on hand, whereas one can be out of fresh garlic—or worse, discover that the cloves have become dry, hard and unusable.

HOW TO STORE GARLIC

Garlic needs a cool, dry place, away from the light. Those ceramic garlic keepers with vent holes actually work. The vent holes enable proper air flow to keep the garlic cool and dry; glazed ceramic will not absorb moisture or odors; and the bulbs are protected from light.

For a quick fix, pop the garlic into a small brown paper bag or a cloth bag or pouch (we use a drawstring bag that originally held a gift item). If you don’t have a paper bag, create a makeshift pouch with a cloth napkin and an elastic band.

Keep fresh garlic out of the fridge. Garlic gets bitter when refrigerated.

What if the garlic sprouts? The shoots are delicious. Cut them off and use them in a salad, in scrambled eggs or as a garnish.

 

WHAT IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH GARLIC?

Freeze It. Peel and slice the cloves in half and freeze them in a freezer-weight storage bag or other container. When you need garlic, just drop the frozen clove(s) into the pot or pan; the liquid ingredients will “defrost” it.

Dry It. Dry sliced garlic in a dehydrator and keep it in an airtight container in the pantry. The liquid in a recipe will reconstitute it. You also can grind your dried garlic into garlic powder that will taste much better than store-bought, which contains anti-caking agents and possibly other additives.

Chop or Purée It. Peel the cloves and chop or purée them. Acidify the peeled cloves in vinegar in the refrigerator for a day; then pour the vinegar off and use it for a salad dressing. Place the garlic in an airtight jar and cover with a small layer of olive oil, which further preserves the garlic by keeping air away. Or, you can store either in the freezer without the olive oil.

Make Pickled Garlic. It’s delicious in salads, relish trays, with sandwiches, as a garnish, with cocktails, on pizza, in pasta and more. Here’s a recipe.
  
Have garlic tips to add to this list? Let us know!

  

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FOOD HOLIDAY: Tequila Lemonade For National Lemonade Day

We recently published a recipe for lavender lemonade, a gourmet recipe you can use to celebrate National Lemonade Day, August 20th.

But perhaps you’d prefer to celebrate with a lemonade cocktail. Here’s a quick and easy recipe from Tequila Avión:

RECIPE FOR TEQUILA LEMONADE

Ingredients For One Drink

  • 2 parts silver/blanco Tequila
  • 4 parts fresh lemon juice
  • ½ part agave nectar
  • Ice/cocktail shaker
  • Garnish: lemon wheel
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    Preparation

    1. Combine Tequila, lemon juice and agave nectar in a shaker; shake.

    2. Strain into a tall glass of ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and celebrate!
     
    MORE LEMONADE RECIPES

    With Alcohol

  • Blueberry Lemonade recipe (with blueberry vodka).
  • London Lemonade recipe: with gin and triple sec.
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    Adult lemonade for National Lemonade Day. Photo courtesy Tequila Avión.

     

    Alcohol Optional

  • Arnold Palmer/Shandy recipe: half lemonade, half iced tea.
  • Classic Homemade Lemonade recipe.
  • Cranberry-Lemonade Spritz recipe.
  • Homemade Flavored Lemonade recipes.
  • Mint Lemonade recipe.
  • Spicy Lemonade recipe.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Versatile Parsley Vinaigrette

    Mince extra parsley for a vinaigrette and
    sauce. Photo courtesy Andrews McMeel
    Publishing.

     

    Have leftover parsley? Many of us keep unused stalks until they wilt, yellow and lose their flavor.

    Don’t let that happen: Fresh parsley adds punch to a vinaigrette—and not just for salads. Use a parsley vinaigrette with:

  • Bean salad
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Cole slaw
  • Green salad
  • Potato salad
  • Chicken, tuna or seafood salad salad
  • Grilled meat or poultry
  • Grilled or sautéed fish and seafood
  • Cooked vegetables
  •  
    Here’s a recipe from chef Seamus Mullen’s inspired cookbook, Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better.

     

    PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (substitute: white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and bright green.

    2. WHISK. Add mixture to a bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
     
     
    PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE VS. CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    Chimichurri, a spicy vinegar-parsley sauce, is essentially the same recipe without the lemon juice: finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar (red or white), plus red pepper flakes for heat.

    Chimichurri is the leading condiment in Argentina and Uruguay. It’s the national equivalent of ketchup in the U.S. or salsa in Mexico, served with grilled meat and fish.

    As the story goes, the name evolved from “Jimmy McCurry,” an Irishman who developed the recipe. The sauce was popular but “Jimmy McCurry” was difficult for Argentineans to say, so it became “chimichurri.”

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

    We enjoy making ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.

    But we’ve grown to prefer brownie ice cream sandwiches. They become more of an ice cream cake experience, and ice cream cake (or ice cream and cake) just might be our favorite comfort food.

    Brownie ice cream sandwiches will be a hit at your next party or special event; or keep them in the freezer as a regular treat. Either way, make them in advance (see note below for a party activity); then wrap in plastic (individually or the whole tray/sheet) and freeze.

  • Slice the brownie in half horizontally, and use a spatula to fill with slightly softened ice cream and lop off the excess ice cream. If you’re using ice cream in a rectangular package, you can remove the block of ice cream and slice the ice cream into pieces that fit the brownie.
  •  

    Yummy: a chocolate chip brownie ice cream sandwich. Photo courtesy Beverly Hills Ice Cream Company.

     

  • If you cut the brownies into two-inch squares instead of a larger size, you’ll be able to have the treats more frequently with fewer calories.
  •  
    Have fun mixing and matching brownie and ice cream flavors: a chocolate chip brownie with chocolate chip mint ice cream, a peanut butter brownie with peanut butter ice cream, a raspberry brownie with raspberry ice cream, and so forth.

    You can add an extra layer of “inclusions”: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, crushed toffee, mini M&Ms and so forth.

    As an alternative, dip the edges of the ice cream in them. But while the dipped edges look more exciting, when you layer the extras you won’t have bits of them falling onto the floor.

    PARTY DESSERT: Set up a brownie ice cream sandwich bar with halved brownies, pre-cut ice cream rectangles (place the tray of ice cream atop a tray of ice) and bowls of inclusions. It can get messy, but it’s fun.

    Find more of our favorite brownie recipes in our Cookies & Brownies Section.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Omelets & Frittatas For Dinner

    A classic Italian frittata (recipe below).
    Photo courtesy National Potato Board.

     

    Omelets and frittatas seem like leisurely brunch or lunch fare. But don’t hesitate to serve them for dinner.

    An hearty egg dish with a large salad is a tasty and nutritious meal at any time of the day. Vegetable fillings (see the list below) add variety, not to mention nutrients and fiber—and are one way to get vegetable-wary family members to eat more of them.

    What’s the difference between an omelet and a frittata?

  • Omelet. With an omelet, the added ingredients are a filling, added to the beaten eggs as they set in the pan. As the omelet continues to cook, it is folded with a spatula into semi-circular or rectangular shape.
  • Frittata. With a frittata, the eggs and ingredients are mixed together, then cooked more slowly. The egg mixture completely fills a round pan, giving a round shape to the frittata, which looks like the cousin of a quiche (as with a quiche, a frittata can also be enjoyed at room temperature). “Frittata” comes from the Italian verb “friggere,” “to fry.”
  •  
    Both can be made in the same frying pan or special omelet/frittata pan.

     

    WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR OMELET OR FRITTATA

    Sautéed Vegetables: The list is more inclusive than exclusive: artichoke, bell pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, chard, eggplant, kale, mushroom (use the wild varieties for more flavor), onion/leek/green onion, potatoes (boiled/roasted), spinach, zucchini—heck, anything you have in the fridge. Add minced jalapeño or chili flakes if you like heat.

    Cheese: Some favorite cheeses work well: melting cheeses (Emmenthal/“Swiss,” mozzarella, Provolone; grating cheeses (Asiago, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano/Parmesan, Pecorino Romano); soft cheeses (goat cheese/chèvre).

    Meat: ham/prosciutto, roast chicken/turkey, salame, sausage. When you make chicken or ham, set some aside for the next night’s frittata.

     

    RECIPE: FRITTATA WITH POTATOES, ONION, ZUCCHINI & RED BELL PEPPER

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper strips
  • 5 eggs (the fresher the eggs, the tastier the omelet)
  • Optional: grated Parmesan cheese
  •  

    To make a rectangular omelet, pick up this special Nordicware omelet pan at Willliams-Sonoma. There’s also a microwave version.

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    2. SAUTÉ. In an 8” nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potato and cook, turning often, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the potato slices with a slotted spatula and set aside in a bowl.

    3. FRY. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan and fry the zucchini, turning once, until tender and slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Using the slotted spatula, add the zucchini to the potatoes.

    4. SAUTÉ. Add enough oil to the pan to total 2 tablespoons and return to medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove with the slotted spatula and add to the potatoes. Add the bell pepper strips to the vegetable mixture.

    5. BEAT. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until well blended, adding a little of the optional Parmesan. Add to the vegetables. Pour the mixture into an oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until set and golden, about 25 minutes. Cut in half and set aside half. Cut the remaining half into wedges and enjoy for dinner. Cover the other half and refrigerate for up to 2 days for another supper.

    TIP #2

    If you’re not good at flipping a frittata or omelet, use your broiler to cook the top side. Place the pan in the broiler under a low flame. When the top is golden brown, it’s time to dig in.

    MORE

    Treat yourself to this excellent egg cookbook.

    How many different types of eggs have you had? Check out our Egg Glossary.

    Find more egg recipes in our Eggs Section.

      

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