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Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Garlic, A Healthy Garnish

Baked Garlic

Roast Garlic

A bulb of roasted garlic is a delicious
accompaniment to grilled meats. Photo
courtesy Sushi Roku Katana | West
Hollywood.

 

Originating more than 6,000 years ago in central Asia, garlic took the culinary world by storm, spreading from culture to culture. It is used in cuisines on all the world’s continents and is one of America’s most popular herbs*.

A member of the onion genus, Allium (the Latin word for garlic), garlic’s cousins include the chives, green onions/scallions, leeks, onions and shallots. Its botanical family, Amaryllidaceae, comprises flowering plants, most grown from bulbs (including, not surprisingly, the amaryllis).

Garlic is not only a delicious flavor to many people; it is also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, and may even fight Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Here’s more on the health benefits of garlic.

The most common use of garlic involves crushing or mincing a few cloves and adding the raw garlic to a recipe. But you can cook entire bulbs or whole cloves of garlic as a side or a garnish to please your favorite garlic lovers.

There are two principal ways to do this, each delivering different flavors and textures. Roasting an entire head of garlic is the simpler of the methods.

Both produce a rich, sweet, mellow flavor that appeals even to people who don’t like the flavor of garlic in recipes.
_________________________________________
*An herb is a plant that is used to flavor or scent other foods.

RECIPE: ROASTED GARLIC

A head of roasted garlic is served as a hearty side with roasted meats and poultry.

  • You can scoop it from the head with a utensil, or squeeze it from the cloves onto bread or toasts—a different approach to garlic bread!
  • You can give each garlic lover his/her own roasted garlic head/bulb, or share a number of bulbs at the table.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. CREATE a “hinge” on the top of the garlic bulb/head by slicing horizontally into it. Stop before you cut completely through. Then close the hinge and wrap the entire head in aluminum foil.

    3. PLACE the packet in the oven and bake for at least 45 minutes. It’s ready when you can squeeze the bottom of the bulb and the sweet, caramel-colored garlic oozes out the top.

     

    RECIPE: GARLIC CONFIT

    Confit is a method of preservation whereby a food (usually meat, as in duck confit) is cooked slowly in fat. It is then submerged and stored in the fat, where it will last for months.

    You can adapt the technique to garlic. Using peeled garlic cloves instead of the whole bulb, the confit method develops a flavor similar to roasting, but is more conducive to using as a garnish.

    Use the garlic confit as a topping or side garnish for meat, poultry and grilled fish; with eggs; to top burgers and sandwiches; as part of a condiment tray with pickles; or any way that inspires you.

    The garlic-flavored oil that remains in the dish after cooking is a quick flavor booster in almost any recipe that requires oil—including a vinaigrette for the meal’s salad course, or bread-dipping, or marinades. We like to use it in mashed potatoes and to cook eggs.

    You can freeze or refrigerate the confit for future use, so don’t hesitate to make a large batch at once. Bring some to garlic-loving friends.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F.

    2. PEEL the garlic cloves: First soak the unpeeled cloves in cold water for five minutes to loosen the skin. Slice off the root and tip with a sharp paring knife, then use the tip to lift off the papery skin.

    3. PLACE the peeled garlic cloves in an oven-safe dish with high sides, then cover completely with olive oil. You can also add aromatics to the oil—chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme—lemon zest, or chiles.

     

    Roasted Garlic

    Russian Red Garlic

    Top: Garlic confit, glistening cloves roasted in olive oil. Photo courtesy Apronclad.com. Bottom: Beautiful Russian Red garlic. Photo courtesy Chef Seamus Mullen | FB.

     
    4. COVER and bake for at least an hour, or until the cloves become soft enough to squish between your fingers. Remove from the oven and drain the oil into an airtight jar or other container. Store in the fridge.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cabbage Chips

    We over-kaled last year. We couldn’t escape it: It seemed as if every restaurant entrée we ordered came with kale. We made too many kale chips as “better for you” snacks.

    Now we’re on a kale moratorium, and were happy to discover that you can also make chips from kale’s cruciferous cousin, cabbage. The recipe is from our favorite gourmet grocer, Good Eggs in San Francisco.

    RECIPE: CABBAGE CHIPS

    Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Red chile flakes or caraway seeds
  • Optional: yogurt-dill dip
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with wire racks; parchment is fine if you don’t have racks.

    2. CUT the cabbage into quarters and discard the tough outermost leaves. Carefully remove the innermost leaves and spread them on the baking sheets/racks in a single layer.

    3. DRIZZLE or brush the leaves lightly with olive oil and use a brush (or your fingers) to spread the oil over the front and back of each leaf.

    4. BAKE for about 90 minutes, until the cabbage is crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oven and season with salt and chile flakes. Eat immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

    5. MAKE the optional yogurt dip. Blend nonfat Greek yogurt with dill, optional minced garlic and salt to taste. Or, substitute curry powder for the dill.

     

    Cabbage Chips

    Green Cabbage

    Cabbage is the new kale chip. It’s one of the lowest-priced fresh vegetables. Photos courtesy Good Eggs.

     
    THE CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES FAMILY

    Your healthcare providers want you to eat more cruciferous veggies.

    Cruciferous vegetables—also known as brassicas—are superfoods that comprise the Brassicaceae family of vegetables. These nutritional powerhouses are also packed with cancer-fighting* phytonutrients, powerful antioxidants.

    The family includes arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips.

    Eat up: They’re low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Consume them raw or lightly steamed to get the maximum amount of antioxidants. Just don’t overcook them! You can eat overcooked carrots or potatoes; overcooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts are not so pleasant.

    “Cruciferous” derives from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” It is so named because the flowers of these vegetables consist of four petals in the shape of a cross.

    Here’s a book you may enjoy: Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More.
     
    *Studies have shown the ability of cruciferous vegetables to stop the growth of cancer cells in the breast, cervix, colon, uterus, liver, lung and prostate.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Fruits & Vegetables

    Here’s our final installment of seasonal fruits and vegetables. We began this series with spring produce, then summer produce, then fall produce.

    With the winter season, our “year of produce” is complete. But don’t think of winter produce as bleak and limited. It’s time to revel in different types of citrus, try new fruits and winter squash varieties, and take a look at recipes for items you rarely buy: cherimoya and chestnuts, cardoons and collards.

    Then, look online for interesting ways to prepare them.

    If your main food market doesn’t have some of the more specialized items, check international markets that focus on Chinese, Indian, Latin American and other specialties. You can also check online purveyors like Melissas.com.

    The list was created by the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Take a look at their website, FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org, for tips on better meal planning with fresh produce.

    A final tip: Know where your produce comes from. While some imported produce is excellent, others are picked too early and have a long ocean voyage. If you buy something that’s lacking flavor, speak with the produce manager and get recommendations.

    WINTER FRUITS

  • Cactus Pear
  • Cherimoya
  • Clementines
  • Date Plums*
  • Dates
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Maradol Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pear
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate
  • Pummelo
  • Red Banana
  • Red Currants
  • Sharon Fruit*
  • Tangerines
  •    

    Persimmons

    When was the last time you had a persimmon? Persimmons can be eaten as hand fruit, made into tarts and sorbet, baked into muffins, sliced into salads, turned into mousse and more. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.

     
    *The date plum, also known as the lotus persimmon, is the variety known to the ancient Greeks as “the fruit of the gods.” Its English name probably derives from the Persian khormaloo, literally “date-plum,” referring to its flavor, reminiscent of both dates and plums. Sharon fruit is an Israeli cultivar of persimmon, called Triumph. The fruit is named for the Sharon Plain where it is grown. Sharon fruit” has no core, is seedless and particularly sweet. It can be eaten whole. You may find still other varieties of date plums in your market.

     

    Cardoons

    Not a variety of celery, these stalks are
    cardoons, a member of the artichoke family.
    If you’re an artichoke lover, snap them up:
    They taste like artichokes without the bother
    of the thorns and the fur. Photo courtesy
    Johnnyseeds.com.

     

    WINTER VEGETABLES

  • Belgian Endive
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Cardoon
  • Chestnuts
  • Collard Greens
  • Delicata Squash
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turnips
  •  
    DON’T OVERLOOK FARMERS MARKETS

    Farmers markets are our go-to place for something different. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask the farmers if they know where you might find it, or to suggest other items in the market that you shouldn’t pass up.

     

    You can search the National Farmers Market Directory for locations near you.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: A Delicious Vegetable Mix At Breakfast (Ratatouille)

    Fried Egg Ratatouille

    ratatouille-theformerchef-230r

    You can dice your ratatouille fine or chunky.
    A fine dice is a better base for the egg,
    crostini, etc.; a larger dice is better as a side
    dish. Top photo courtesy Elegant Affairs
    Caterers. Bottom photo courtesy
    TheFormerChef.com.

     

    Nutritionists expend lots of effort to get their clients to achieve nutrition goals. Americans are major under-consumers of vegetables.

    There are numerous ways to add good vegetables into every meal (fried onion rings don’t count!) You don’t have to twist our arm to adopt this one: ratatouille at breakfast.

    WHAT IS RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille (rah-tah-TOO-ee) is a vegetable side dish that originated in the Provence region of France. The classic recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini plus garlic and herbs.

    Sometimes, each vegetable is sautéed separately, then layered into a baking dish and baked. Modern recipes make it easier: We fully sauté groups of vegetables with similar densities, combine them and don’t bake them. can customize the dish as you like—for example, with bell peppers, celery, fennel, olives, onions and yellow squash.

    There are similar dishes in other Mediterranean countries, including tourlou or briami in Greek cuisine, türlü in Turkish cuisine, samfaina in Catalonia and in ciambotta in southern Italy.

    OUR FAVORITE RATATOUILLE RECIPE

    We misplaced our nana’s ratatouille recipe card; but the recipe below, adapted from TheFormerChef.com, looks almost identical.

    Ratatouille is delightfully colorful when you use red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers and tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

    Regarding the tomatoes: Ratatouille has traditionally been a summer dish, when tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are plentiful. While you can find decent squash in the off season, imported tomatoes can be both pricey and lacking in flavor. You can substitute cherry, grape or sundried tomatoes; or use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes. Canned tomatoes don’t need to be sautéed; just drain them and add them to the final heating.

     
    TIP: Don’t throw away the liquid you drain off. You can freeze it into ice cubes for Bloody Marys, or add a bit of gin, tequila or vodka for a mini cocktail treat.
     
    RECIPE: RATATOUILLE

    We make double recipes and microwave the ratatouille (or other sautéed vegetables) from the fridge while the eggs are cooking.

    Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions diced (about 1.5 large onions)
  • 1 6 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 cups bell peppers (1 each, red, yellow, green), diced
  • 8 cups zucchini and yellow squash, large diced
  • 6 cups eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded as necessary
  • 3 6 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, basil, thyme)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground coriander fennel seeds
  • Optional garnish: capers or caperberries (the difference*)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet†, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

    2. RETURN the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add them to the onions and bell peppers.

    3. Return the pan to the heat and add the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the eggplant and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of water; the eggplant will absorb all the oil very quickly and the water will help it cook before it burns. When the water is absorbed and the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 more minutes), add the chopped tomatoes to the eggplant.

    4. COOK the tomatoes until they start to break down and the eggplant is soft, but not mushy. Add the rest of the vegetables back into the pan, folding it all together with a large spoon.

    5. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook; you want the flavors to remain fresh and distinct. Plus, if you plan to reheat the ratatouille at a later time, it will cook more then.
     
    __________________________________________
    *Capers are the flower bud of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa. Caperberries are the fruit with seeds inside. Both are brined and thus contribute saltiness as well as flavor to dishes. They are members of the same botanical order as cruciferous vegetables, Brassicales, but a different family.

    †While the pans can usually be used interchangeably, a skillet or frying pan has slanted sides and a sauté pan has straight sides. A skillet has a larger bottom surface area, and its straight sides are better for making an omelet or frittata—even though you may see slope-sided pans marketed as “omelet pans.”

     

    RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Serve with a poached or soft-boiled egg instead of a fried egg.
  • Mix the vegetables into an omelet or scrambled eggs.
  • Add with cooked eggs to a breakfast burrito or pita breakfast sandwich.
  • Combine eggs and toast: Make ratatouille crostini (toast topped with ratatouille topped with the egg).
  •  
    SUBSTITUTES FOR RATATOUILLE

    Serve any of the following, and don’t hesitate to mix them together.

  • Any leafy green vegetable(s), such as kale, spinach and/or watercress.
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts.
  • Sautéed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
  • Cauliflower steak.
  • Sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sweet potato or purple potato hash with beets and leeks (or default to white potatoes).
  •  
    OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille is a side dish that’s great with grilled fish or seafood on Meatless Monday, or as a side anytime with grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb or pork. But you can also:

  • Us it as a topping for pancakes or waffles—savory instead of sweet.
  • Serve it as a vegan main course with a whole grain, couscous‡, polenta, beans or legumes.
  • Use it to top bruschetta, crostini (the difference) or flatbread.
  • Use it instead of tomato sauce, chunky or puréed, on pasta, grains and other dishes.
  • Use as a topping for burgers, grilled cheese and other sandwiches.
  • Use the purée as a base for vegetable soup (add broth to desired consistency.
  •  

    Fried Egg On Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

    Fried Eggs On Toast

    Top photo: Go cruciferous: Place your egg atop sautéed Brussels sprouts, collards or mustard greens. At Olio e Piú | NYC, the Brussels sprouts are mixed with radicchio. Bottom photo: Combine the toast and eggs into ratatouille crostini, or as shown above, with asparagus in season. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

     
    We’re off to make breakfast: ratatouille and fried eggs (no surprise).
    ___________________________________
    ‡You can find whole grain couscous; but most supermarket products are not whole grain.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Frizzled Ham & Brussels Sprouts

    Here’s what to do with the leftover Christmas ham: Add it to lots of good-for-you cruciferous vegetables. We think that the ideal pairing is Brussels sprouts.

    The recipe is from PorkBeInspired.com, the consumer website of the National Pork Board.

    You can serve it as a main or a side.
     
    WHAT IS FRIZZLED HAM?

    Frizzle means to fry or grill with a sizzling noise. Frizzling is a technique used to crisp strips of cold cuts—bologna, ham, roast beef, turkey roll, etc.—in a frying pan. The crisped slices curl up like bacon (and you can substitute bacon for other frizzled meats).

    Frizzled meat can be added to scrambled eggs and omelets, sandwiches, grains, vegetables, salads, as a soup garnish, etc.

    RECIPE: SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH FRIZZLED HAM

    Prep time is 30 minutes; cook time is 20 minutes plus 10 minutes resting time.

    Ingredients For 8 Side Servings

      Brussels Sprouts With Frizzled Ham

    When you frizzle ham, you cook it like bacon. Photo courtesy PorkBeInspired.com.

  • 6 slices ham, (about 3 ounces), cut in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1-3/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed as needed
  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shallots† (8 to 10), thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (substitute pistachio nuts)
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  •  

    *The highly nutritious, anti-carcinogen Brassicaceae family of vegetables is also called the Cruciferous family, from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” The flowers of these vegetables consist of four petals in the shape of a cross. The family includes arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips. Eat up!
     
    †If you don’t have shallots, substitute sweet onions. You want mild onion flavor in this recipe.

     

    Brussels Sprouts

    You can shave Brussels sprouts in a food
    processor or with a mandoline. Photo
    courtesy Domesticate-Me.com. Check out their
    Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower
    Salad recipe.

     

    Preparation

    1. SLICE the Brussels sprouts in batches, placing them in the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a thin slicing disk. If you don’t have a food processor with a thin slicing disk or a mandoline, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts by hand.

    2. ZEST the orange, then squeeze the juice, measuring out 1/4 cup for the recipe (save any remaining juice for another use). Set the Brussels sprouts, orange zest and orange juice aside.

    3. WARM the olive oil in a large saucepan or small stockpot over medium heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisped and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer ham to a plate and set aside.

    4. ADD the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.

     

    5. STIR in the Brussels sprouts; then stir in the orange zest and orange juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

    6. TRANSFER the Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl, top with the ham and serve.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tree & Wreath Christmas Crudités

    Crudites Christmas Wreath

    Christmas Tree Crudites

    Give the crudités some Christmas spirit. Top
    photo courtesy Superhealthykids.com; bottom
    photo courtesy MomEndeavors.com.

     

    Recently we showed how to Christmas-ize your breakfast, lunch and dinner. But we saved the crudites for last.

    At any holiday gathering, it’s a good idea to have a raw vegetable platter (the French term, crudités, pronounced crew-dee-TAY, sounds much more interesting), along with hummus or a nonfat yogurt-based dip.

    But what can you do that’s special for Christmas?

    Turn the crudités into a Christmas tree or wreath.

    You can do it flat on a platter, or turn into a craft project with a styrofoam base: a cone for a Christmas tree or a ring for a wreath.

    And, you can assign it to the kids for their contribution to the festivities.
     
    WHAT TO BUY

    Broccoli florets make the best base because they evoke an evergreen tree; but decorate your tree or wreath with:

  • Celery sticks (for the trunk)
  • Bell pepper strips for garlands (orange, red, yellow)
  • Carrot circles (use a crinkle cutter)
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Ciliegine (cherry-size mozzarella balls)
  • Grape tomatoes (red and yellow)
  • Mini cucumber and/or zucchini slices
  • Pearl onions
  • Peppadews (red or yellow-orange)
  • Pimento-stuffed olives and
  • Red gaeta, niçoise or other red olive variety
  • Starfruit (carambola) or a yellow bell peppers to make a star (an inexpensive mini cookie cutter set is a great asset, with star, heart, raindrop, flower, triangle and other shapes)
  • Water chestnuts
  •  
    Provide toothpicks to spear the mozzarella balls, olives, etc.
     
    WHAT ABOUT DESSERT?

    For dessert, you can serve a low-calorie wreath or tree of fruit, like this fruit Christmas tree we featured previously.

    But it’s only one of the many options that creative cooks have put together. Here are more designs for fruit Christmas trees.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Alternative Holiday Potato Recipes

    If you don’t have sacrosanct holiday potato recipes, here are two outside-the-box ideas, one for mashed potatoes, one for sweet potatoes. Of course, they work on non-holidays, too. Both are from GoBoldWithButter.com, one of our go-to sites for delicious recipes.

    RECIPE: BLUE CHEESE MASHED POTATOES

    Butter, buttermilk and blue cheese give these mashed potatoes a rich, tangy flavor. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2-1/12 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chives, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •    

    Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

    For lovers of blue cheese, this is potato heaven. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

     
    *Buttermilk substitute: For 1 cup buttermilk, substitute 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.
     
    Preparation

    1. PEEL the potatoes and rinse under cold water. Cut each potato into quarters and place in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then reduce heat to a low boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with fork, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. HEAT the buttermilk and butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling.

    3. DRAIN the potatoes, return to the pot and warm over low heat for 1-2 minutes so the moisture evaporates. Use a ricer, potato masher or food mill to mash the potatoes.

    4. STIR in the buttermilk mixture 1/3 cup at time, until the potatoes are the consistency you prefer. Stir in the crumbled blue cheese and chives, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

    5. TRANSFER to a a bowl and garnish with additional blue cheese and chives and serve hot.

     

    Thai Sweet Potato Recipe

    Sweet potatoes with Thai accents. Photo
    courtesy Foodie Crush | Go Bold With Butter

     

    RECIPE: THAI-INSPIRED SWEET POTATOES

    These sweet potatoes are served in au gratin fashion, but baked in a butter sauce that’s infused with bright Thai flavors: chili sauce, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Beyond the turkey, it goes well with everything: chicken, pork, beef and even fish.

    The recipe, developed by Foodie Crush, couldn’t be simpler. The biggest challenge is to thinly cut the sweet potatoes at an even thickness, to ensure even cooking time.

    If you’re hesitating about buying the Thai ingredients, they’re basic to most Thai recipes. They’ll inspire you to do more Thai cooking when the holidays are over.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

     
    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Layer the slices of sweet potatoes in a 9″x9″ or 8″x11″ baking dish.

    2. MELT the butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Whisk in the honey. Add the fish sauce, chili sauce and soy sauce and pour over the potatoes.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with fork. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chicken Or Turkey Stock

    Thanksgiving Turkey

    Enjoy your feast, but don’t toss the carcass.
    Use it to make stock! Photo courtesy Sur La
    Table
    .

     

    Plan ahead: Don’t throw away that turkey carcass. Or the roast chicken* carcass. Or those tops, root ends and stems from trimming vegetables. Save the vegetable trimmings from the week’s meals: carrot tops, celery ends, fennel fronds, herb stems, kale stalks, leek tops, scallion ends, etc.

    Check the freezer for herbs and vegetable scraps you may have tucked away.

    Use all of it to make a delicious batch of chicken or turkey stock, which you can then turn into cooked grains, sauces, soups, stews and other preparations.

    RECIPE: CHICKEN STOCK OR TURKEY STOCK

    Ingredients

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut in half
  • Chicken or turkey carcass
  • Vegetable trimmings† or 1-2 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery
  • Parsley and thyme (leftover stems are fine)
  •  
    *Or duck, game hen, quail or any poultry carcass. You can blend them together into one stock as needed.
    †Check the freezer for herbs and anything else you might have tucked away to prevent spoiling.
     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a stock pot (6-8 quarts for a turkey, 4-6 quarts for a chicken) and cover them with water plus one inch. If the carcass doesn’t fit in the pot, use poultry shears to cut it into pieces that do. Don’t salt the water; stock should be unsalted to accommodate any recipe. Place the top on the pot.

    2. BRING to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for minimum of 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Once or twice during the simmering, remove the cover and skim off the frothy scum that’s formed on the top of the broth. Add more water if it boils away; the bones should always be covered. When the broth has turned a golden brown color and is rich in flavor…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat. As soon as it’s comfortable enough to handle, strain the broth and discard the solids. If it isn’t clear enough for you, strain it again through cheesecloth.

    4. FREEZE the chicken broth in portion-sized containers. We like ice cube trays (once frozen, store the cubes in a freezer bag); or in half pint or pint storage containers. If you have a short-term use for it, you can refrigerate the stock for up to a week.
     
    Tips

  • A stock pot with a pasta strainer insert is ideal for this purpose.
  • If you don’t want to “watch the pot,” you can use a slow cooker on a low setting.
  •  

    USES FOR STOCK

    Instead Of Water

  • Grains: rice (plain or in risotto), quinoa, couscous and other dishes
  • Soups: use as much stock as you have, then fill in with water
  • Vegetables: steaming and boiling
  •  
    Instead Of Butter And/Or Cream

  • Gravy
  • French sauces, such as bercy and velouté
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Polenta
  • Purées: use stock to smooth out a bean or vegetable purée
  • Sautés: add some stock and use less butter or oil
  • Soups, from wintry butternut squash soup to summer gazpacho
  • Stuffing, dressing and other savory bread pudding recipes
  •  
    Instead Of Wine

  • Deglazing the pan for sauce
  • Marinades
  • Any recipe that requires wine
  •  

    Chicken Stock

    Take pride in your homemade stock. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STOCK & BROTH

  • Broth is a finished soup; stock is an ingredient.
  • Broth has a higher proportion of meat.
  • Because stock is made largely from the bones, it contains more gelatin, which gives it a richer mouthfeel.
  • Stock is not salted. Since it is an ingredient, it combines with whatever seasonings the recipes call for.
  •  
    What about bouillon?

    The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably, though not correctly.

    Bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantial with the addition of a grain (barley, rice, etc.) and vegetables.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Mojito Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/mojito sweet potatoes ingridhoffmann 230s

    Mashed sweet potatoes with a “Mojito” touch. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann | Facebook.

     

    Chef Ingrid Hoffmann calls these “Mojito” mashed sweet potatoes because they have fresh mint and lime juice. Find more dellicious recipes on her website, IngridHoffmann.com.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed but unpeeled (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the whole sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

     
    2. DRAIN and rinse the potatoes under cold water until they are easy to handle. Meanwhile…

    3. WARM the oil in a small saucepan over high heat, about 1 minute. Alternatively, microwave the oil in a microwavable bowl on high until the oil is warm, about 30 seconds. Add the mint leaves and crush with a pestle or the handle of a wooden spoon. Set aside.

    4. PEEL the sweet potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Add the mint mixture, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the mint sprigs, and serve hot.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Leaf-Shaped Veggies For Thanksgiving

    You can be very artistic with vegetables. It just takes a bit of planning. While it takes some dexterity to make this “rose tart”, here is a simple alternative.

    It comes from one of our favorite creative cooks, Vicky of Stasty.com. She cuts up vegetables with a leaf cookie cutter before roasting them. She then tosses the cooked veggies in a mustard and maple syrup vinaigrette.

    Cookie cutters make vegetables fun any time of the year. You can make stars for Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, bunnies for Easter and so on. Check the size of you cutter to be sure it isn’t larger than the beets and potatoes. You may need to use two sizes: medium and small. Here’s a good set of leaf cookie cutters from Wilton: three different leaves, each in small, medium and large.

    After you’ve cut out the shapes, keep the vegetable scraps to make stock; or chop them and steam them lightly to use in scrambled eggs, omelets, grain salads, etc. Stick them in the freezer if you’re too busy to think about it now.

    RECIPE: LEAF-SHAPED ROASTED VEGETABLES
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Vegetables

  • 9 ounces/250g uncooked red beets, skinned and trimmed
  • 18 ounces/500g butternut squash, peeled
  •    

    leaf-shape-vegetables-close-230

    Volunteer to make the vegetables; then cut them with a leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Photo © Stasty.com.

  • 14 ounces/400g Yukon Gold, Purple Peruvian or other all-purpose* potatoes, washed and peeled
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  •  
    *Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn and/or Purple Peruvian potatoes will give you the color you want. You can substitute other all-purpose potatoes such as Katahdin or Kennebec (a leading chipping potato). Check out the different types of potatoes in our Potato Glossary.
     
    For The Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or substitute†
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or to taste)
  • Garnish: 1 heaping tablespoon capers
  • Garnish: a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  •  
    †Substitutes in order of preference: rice wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar. See the different types of vinegar.

     

    leaf-shape-vegetables-vicky-stasty-2-230

    Headed for the oven. Photo © Stasty.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE two baking pans with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

    2. SLICE the potatoes and butternut squash into 1/8-inch thin slices, using a very sharp knife or a mandolin on its thickest setting. If cutting with a knife, ensure the slices as even as possible.

    3. SLICE the beets the same way. Use a separate chopping board or cut the beets last, or they will bleed into the other vegetables.

    4. USE a leaf cookie cutter to cut out the leaves. For more visual interest, use different shape leaves (maple and oak, for example). Once again, keep the beets on a separate chopping board so they don’t bleed on the potatoes and squash. TIP FROM VICKY: Raw root vegetables are a lot tougher to cut than cookie dough, so protect your palms by placing a small towel underneath your hand when you press down on the cutter.

    OPTIONAL: You can make the leaves even more decorative by scoring some veins with a knife. This is labor intensive and a task ideally delegated to a helper.

     
    5. PLACE the potato and squash in a bowl and toss in most of the oil, paprika salt, pepper and some herbs. Move the oiled squash and potatoes to one of the lined baking sheets. Place the beets in the same bowl, toss them in the remaining oil, paprika, salt, pepper and herbs, and add them to the other baking sheet.

    6. PLACE both baking sheets in the oven. Cook the smaller leaves for 20 minutes and the larger leaves for 30-40 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking…

    7. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and mustard in a bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Next, whisk in the maple syrup.

    8. PLACE the cooked vegetables on a warm serving dish. Pour on most of the dressing, reserving some in a jug for those who’d like more. Scatter the capers on top. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs before serving.

      

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