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Archive for March 16, 2015

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Artichoke Hearts Day

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Celebrate with an artichoke baked potato. Photo courtesy Bonefish Grill.

 

Today is National Artichoke Heart Day, an occasion to mix up our favorite luxurious yet low-calorie dishes, “Luxury Salad.” It combines artichokes with hearts of palm, roasted red pepper, red onion and black olives in a white wine vinaigrette. Here’s the recipe.

But we’re all about options, and we’re making a stuffed baked potato from some of the artichoke hearts.

We were inspired by this photo from Bonefish Grill. The elaborate recipe topped with an artichoke heart seems an elegant way to celebrate National Artichoke Hearts Day.

The potato is stuffed with some sautéed spinach, then crowned with a poached egg and the artichoke heart.

RECIPE: ARTICHOKE STUFFED POTATO

Ingredients For One Serving

  • 1 baked potato
  • 3 tablespoons sautéed spinach
  • 1 poached egg
  • 1 artichoke heart, drained
  • Optional: hollandaise sauce (recipe)
  • Garnish: tarragon chiffonade
  • Preparation

    1. BAKE the potato(es). When the potatoes are almost done…

    2. Sauté the spinach and poach the egg(s). Warm the artichoke heart(s) in the microwave.

    3. SLICE the top off the potato(s) to provide an even platform. Scoop out a bit of the potato to create a shallow well for the spinach.

    4. FILL the well with the spinach, top with the poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Crown with the artichoke heart, sliced in half as necessary. Garnish with the tarragon.

      

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    PRODUCT: Pointed Cabbage, The New Brassica* In Town

    Even if you don’t eat cabbage regularly, you may be having some corned beef and cabbage tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day.

    If you think there’s nothing new in cabbage, check out the new cabbage in town. Originally grown in Spain as Sweetheart or Sweet Heart cabbage, it is now grown in California branded as Kool cabbage.

    It is delicious pointed cabbage, another name by which it is known. Still other names include duchy cabbage, hearted cabbage and hispi.

    A conical-shaped member of the cabbage family, the leaves are more open (less tight) than those of a conventional green cabbage, with a softer texture and sweeter taste. It also requires less time to cook.

    Note that while a pointed cabbage is, in fact, cool, kool is the Dutch word for cabbage. It gave its name to koolsla, which in the U.S. became cole slaw (kool = cabbage, sla = salad).
     
    COOKING POINTED CABBAGE

    Kool/pointed cabbage is best enjoyed cooked, as opposed to raw in slaws and salads.

     

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    Sweetheart or Kool cabbage, known by a variety of other names. Photo courtesy EuropeanCuisines.com. Check out their recipe for Shredded Baby Cabbage in Cream Sauce.

  • Melissas.com, which sells the cabbage online, suggests removing the center core and using the leaves in stir fry, boiled or steamed as a stand-alone side dish or grilled as a topping for steak or lamb chops.
  • Cut the cabbage in half and then into quarters, removing the hard core from each quarter at an angle. Then slice and wash thoroughly.
  •  
    It’s easy to overcook cabbage and bring out those odoriferous sulfur compounds.

  • To steam cabbage, place it in a steamer and cook for 5-10 minutes until tender but still crisp.
  • To boil cabbage, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the prepared cabbage and cook for 5 8 minutes until tender but still crisp.
  • To stir-fry cabbage, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add the cabbage and stir fry for 4-5 minutes or until tender but still crisp.
  • To grill cabbage, preheat the grill to medium. Cut the cabbage into wedges (8 for a conventional cabbage) and remove the core. Place on a piece of foil large enough to wrap all the wedges. Season to taste (garlic powder, salt, pepper), seal in the foil and grill for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.
     
    Don’t forget the corned beef!
     
    *Brassica is the plant genus that comprises the cruciferous vegetables, nutritional powerhouses packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants). They include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini, rutabaga, turnips and others.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Chip Mint Cupcakes

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    St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. Photo courtesy
    Zulka.

     

    Family-owned Zulka manufacturers premium-quality sugars/ They’re dedicated to producing more natural sugar through responsible, environmentally friendly cane production. The sugars are minimally processed, which helps to preserve the fresh flavor of the sugar cane and more of the nutrition that is stripped away when cane is processed. The result: better tasting sugar!

    The company provides lots of recipes for how to use the sugars. Here’s their suggestion for the perfect St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. Get out your muffin tins!

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE MINT CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 18 Cupcakes

    For The Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup canola oil*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups mini chocolate chips, divided
  • For the Frosting:

  • 6 ounces full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract (use more for a stronger flavor)
  • 6-10 drops green food coloring
  •  
    *Mild virgin olive oil, sunflower or grapeseed oil can be substituted.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Prepare the muffin tins with 18 cupcake liners.

    2. COMBINE the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl, whisking well. Set aside.

    3. MIX the butter and sugars until in a large bowl with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

    4. ADD the melted and cooled cocoa mixture, mixing well until fully combined. Add the oil and extracts and mix again, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.

    5. ADD the sour cream and then the flour mixture and mix slowly until just combined. Add the milk and mix for another 20 seconds. Fold in 1 cup of the mini chocolate chips.

    6. FILL the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back slightly when lightly pressed. Let them cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

     

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    Cane sugar, one of the three different types used in this recipe. Check out the different types of sugar in our sugar glossary. Photo courtesy Zulka Morena.

     

    7. MAKE the frosting. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese, butter and salt until lightened and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition.

    8. ADD the vanilla extract and food coloring, starting with small amounts until you reach the desired flavor and color. It will darken more as it sits.

    9. FROST the tops of each cupcake using either a spatula or a frosting bag fitted with an open star tip, and sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips on top. Serve at room temperature.

      

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