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Archive for January 6, 2015

RECIPE: Grapefruit Salad With Honey

Remember the half grapefruit, a first course at breakfast, lunch or dinner? Rich in vitamin C, it became a staple at breakfast, lunch and dinner tables when train transport began to bring the fruits up from Florida in the the early 1900s.

Today, the half grapefruit and grapefruit salad have largely fallen out of fashion. Yet grapefruits are winter sunshine, and the tradition should be revived posthaste. This recipe is from Bee Raw Honey, which used its maple honey. The fruity flavors of the honey balance the sweet acidity of the grapefruit.

Our favorite grapefruits are in the pink and red families, but taste a variety to find what appeals to you.

RECIPE: GRAPEFRUIT SALAD WITH HONEY

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and sliced into rounds about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 /3 cup hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 /2 cup microgreens
  • 4 heaping teaspoons honey
  • Fleur de Sel or Maldon sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ARRANGE grapefruit slices on four salad plates.

    2. DRIZZLE each plate one teaspoon of maple honey.
     

       

    maple-honey-grapefruit-salad-beeraw-230

    The best fruit in winter: citrus! Photo courtesy BeeRaw.com.

    3. SPRINKLE each plate with hazelnuts, micro greens and a touch of salt. Serve immediately.

     

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    A trio of microgreens: red amaranth, mizuna
    and beet greens. Photo by Claire Freierman |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    WHAT ARE MICROGREENS

    What are microgreens? They are tiny, tiny vegetables, no more than 8 to 14 days old, that have just developed their cotyledon (first) leaves. They are far tinier than “baby greens.”

    Think of the first, threadlike shoot that rises when you plant a seed, and the first tiny leaves, barely a quarter-inch in diameter. You may have seen a few scattered on your plate or garnishing your food at fine restaurants.

    Microgreens are very tender and oh, what flavor! Both intense and delicate, visually captivating and sublime to eat, they are a gourmet experience. Yet, they are highly nutritious with scarcely a calorie.

    For people who already like greens, microgreens are the zenith. For people who do not care for salad or raw vegetables: If you don’t like these precious greens, we’ll rest our case. Use them in salads, main dishes, soups and as general garnishes.

    Here’s more about microgreens.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Homemade Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons

    From McCormick, here’s a lighter version of the classic combination of tomato soup with grilled cheese. Instead of a sandwich, the grilled cheese is miniaturized into a crisp crouton. A bowlful of the soup will warm you up on a chilly day, and the croutons will make you smile with delight.

    We had fresh basil on hand, so used it instead of dried. We loved the extra punch of basil flavor. To convert dried to fresh herbs, or vice versa, use this ratio: One tablespoon of fresh herb equals one teaspoon of dried herbs.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP WITH GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS

    Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

    For The Tomato Soup

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) no salt added crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 cups fat free half-and-half (we used regular)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
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    Tomato_Soup_Grilled_Cheese_Croutons_mccormick-230r

    The croutons are miniature grilled cheese sandwiches! Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    For The Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 6 very thin bread slices
  • 3 ounces reduced fat Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
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    Tomato_Soup_Grilled_Cheese_Croutons_close-230

    A close-up. Don’t you want a bowl right now? Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the tomato soup: Place the crushed tomatoes, stock, roasted red peppers, sugar, basil, garlic powder and onion powder in a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth.

    2. POUR into a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese; simmer until heated through. Season with pepper. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Meanwhile…

    3. MAKE the Grilled Cheese Croutons. Mix the mayonnaise and thyme in a small bowl until well blended. Spread 1 side of each bread slice with the mayonnaise mixture. Prepare 3 cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise side out on the bread.

    4. SPRAY a large skillet with no stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, then cut each sandwich into 9 croutons. Top each bowl of soup with 3 croutons.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Bake An Epiphany Cake

    In France, the holiday season continues into January with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, the 12th day after Christmas.

    For the occasion, pastry shops are filled with galettes des rois, Epiphany cakes. (The name actually translates to kings’ cake; a galette is a flat pastry cake.)

    The cake is traditionally—more of an almond puff pastry tart—is filled with frangipane (almond cream). Other fillings can be substituted, from almond paste (marzipan) to chocolate ganache to sliced apples. In the south of France, brioche is often substituted for the puff pastry.

    You can buy puff pastry (pâte à choux) or make your own with this recipe.

    The cake is often garnished with a metallic gold paper crown, and a charm is baked into the filling. Originally a baby, representing baby Jesus, today any trinket can be substituted. The person who finds the trinket in his or her slice becomes “king” for the day.

    A couple of years ago we published an Epiphany Cake recipe from Héléne Darroze, proprietor of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris.

    This year, we present François Payard’s slightly different recipe, with a bit of rum and almond extract (Darroze prefers a citrus zest flavor accent).

    It was a staple for French-born Payard, who grew up in Nice, where his grandfather owned a pastry shop (his father also was a pastry chef).

     

    king-cakes-2-pierrehermeFB-230

    Each baker puts his or her own design on top of the Epiphany Cake. These are from Parisian pâtissiér Pierre Hermé \.

     

    RECIPE: FRANÇOIS PAYARD’S GALETTE DES ROIS

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound puff pastry dough
  • 5 ounces (about 10 tablespoons)ground blanched almonds
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) softened butter
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 drop almond extract
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 small toy or figurine (this year we used a silver dollar)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the cream filling: Mix together the almonds and sugar. Add the creamed butter, the two whole eggs and rum; mix well together.

    2. DIVIDE the puff pastry dough in half; roll out each half into a 12-inch (about) circle. Lay one pastry round sheet on a very slightly greased baking pan. Pour the filling in the middle and spread without reaching the edge. Drop the toy into the filling.

    3. TOP carefully with the second circle of dough. With moist fingers, press firmly all around to seal the “cake.” Glaze the surface with the remaining beaten egg yolk. (For a little more control over the color, brush the yolk on roughly halfway through the baking)

    4. DRAW some light, curved lines for decoration using a knife or fork. Make a few tiny cuts on the top to let out steam during cooking.

    5. BAKE for about 35 to 40 minutes in preheated 400°F oven. Check with an oven thermometer, as oven temperatures can vary. Remove when the pastry is golden. Cool and serve while still warm, if possible.

    We like ours with a dab of barely- (or non-) sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Store Fruits & Vegetables

    berries-bowl-230

    Berries are fragile. Don’t buy them unless
    you plan to eat them within two days. Photo
    courtesy California Strawberry Commission.

     

    We adapted this article from the original on Vegetarian Times because we’re guilty of throwing out a lot of spoiled produce.

    But we’re no different from the rest of America. Back in 2002, researchers at the University of Arizona, working with the United States Department of Agriculture, spent a year tracking families’ food-use habits.

    What they discovered: The average family tossed out 470 pounds of spoiled food per year, about $600 worth, representing some 14% of the food brought into the home. Nationally, we dump $43 billion worth of food every year.

    It seems that intentions were good, because families bought lots of fresh fruit and produce. But every day, researches discovered, these households discarded more than half a pound of fruits and vegetables that had gone bad. The spoiled food represented a staggering one-fourth of all the produce purchased.

    So how can you waste less produce, and equally as importantly, consume the nourishment that gets tossed along with the money spent?

    For starters, you could buy only what you need for a day or so, and then be sure to eat it. Put it front and center on the refrigerator shelf.

    But many of us are too busy to shop that often, so Plan B is: Take better care when you buy and store produce. Here’s what to do:

     

    BE AWARE OF ETHYLENE

    Be aware that more than a few fruits give off high levels of ethylene gas, an odorless, colorless gas that speeds the ripening and decay of other, ethylene-sensitive, produce. That’s why you can quickly ripen ethylene-sensitive fruits, like stone fruits, by enclosing them in a paper bag with an ethylene-generating fruit like an apple or a banana. Here’s how to divide and conquer:

  • Ethylene Generators/Refrigerate The Produce: apples, apricots, cantaloupe, figs, honeydew, kiwi, mangoes
  • Ethylene Generators/Don’t Refrigerate The Produce: avocados, bananas (unripe), nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes
  • Ethylene Sensitive/Keep Away From Ethylene Generators: asparagus, bananas (ripe), berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce/leafy greens, parsley, peas, peppers, squash, summer squash, sweet potatoes, watermelon
  •  

    For longer life:

  • Keep the ethylene-producing fruits apart from ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep the produce whole; don’t even remove the stem of an apple until you’re ready to eat it. As soon as you damage the integrity of the fruit or vegetable, create an environment where microorganisms start to grow.
  • Never refrigerate potatoes, onions, winter squash or garlic. Keep them in a cool, dark, place, but separate them so their flavors and smells don’t migrate. They can keep up to a month or more.
  • Store cold-sensitive fruits and vegetables on the counter; they’ll lose flavor and moisture in the fridge. These include garlic, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. The first three should be stored in cool, dark places.
  • The worst thing to do is to seal fruits and vegetables in an airtight bag. It stops their respiration—yes, produce does breathe—suffocating them and speeding up decay.
  • Check the vegetable bins for mold and decay. Mold proliferates rapidly and will contaminate other produce.
  • Consider an ozone-generator like BerryBreeze, which reduces the ethylene.
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    apple-basket-230

    Apples have great staying power, especially when refrigerated. Stock up; but if the apples are turning soft, turn them into baked apples or compote. Photo courtesy USA Apple.

     
    We use a Berry Breeze in the fridge, and also place an ethylene gas guardian (E.E.G., also called an ethylene gas absorber) in the produce crisper drawers. These products actually absorb ethylene. Check out Bluapple and ExtraLife.

    There are also produce bags are also on the market, such as those by Debbie Meyer Evert-Fresh Green Bags and BioFresh, which absorb ethylene and support respiration.
     
    SHOPPING TIPS

  • If you’ll be making several stops between the market and kitchen, get a cooler for your car. When you get home, put the produce into the fridge as soon as possible.
  • Shop farmers markets early in the day. Just-harvested greens wilt rapidly once they’ve been in the sun for a few hours.
     
    EATING TIPS

  • Eat more perishable items first: Berries last only a few days, oranges can last for months. Cucumbers will remain fresh longer than leafy greens. Before you put the item in your shopping cart, think of its longevity and when you will consume it.
  • If your produce has peaked and you still haven’t eaten it, quickly cook it. Make fruit compote or soup, and toss it into the freezer.
  • Produce with the best staying power: apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, garlic, onions, potatoes, winter squash.
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