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RECIPE: Strawberries & Cream Shake

May 21st is National Strawberries & Cream Day.

This delicious shake was created by Bo’s Kitchen. Bo creates vegan recipes in the U.K.

You can make the shake with conventional half-and-half* or with nondairy milk; Bo uses coconut milk.

Bo’s recipe:

  • Simmer strawberries in a pan with a bit water and a splash of maple syrup, until the strawberries cook down to a preserves-like syrup. Allow to cool.
  • Add some of the strawberries to a glass and top with your milk of choice. Stir and serve.
  •  
    Kudos to Bo for recycling cream containers into such charming drinkware.
    ________________

    *Whole milk cuts the calories, but also the richness.

     

    Strawberries & Cream Shake
    [1] A strawberries and cream shake for National Strawberries & Cream Day (photo © Bo’s Kitchen).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Pimento Cheese & Sausage Dip

    Pimento Cheese Dip With Sausage
    [1] Vivian Howard’s Pimento Cheese & Sausage Dip, served with homemade saltines (photo courtesy Garden & Gun).

     

    The next time you have to bring something to a party, how about this Pimento Cheese & Sausage Dip?

    Served with homemade saltines, it’s the most popular item at Boiler Room Oyster Bar in Kinston, North Carolina.

    Chef Vivian Howard, who for five years shared her love of food on “A Chef’s Life” on PBS, shares her simple yet refined dip recipe with Garden And Gun magazine.

    Here’s the recipe for the dip, published in Garden & Gun.

    You’ll have to buy your own saltines.

    It’s a savory substitute for the classic block of cream cheese with pepper jelly!

    Also see:

  • Pepperjack Pimento Cheese Recipe
  • Pimento Cheese Ball With Pecans
  • Pimento Cheese Cheeseburger
  • Pimento Cheese History
  • 20+ Ways To Use Pimento Cheese
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    FOOD FUN: Salmon Skewers & Grilled Pineapple

    Do you like grilled salmon?

    The next time you grill, how about glazed salmon skewers like these: anchored in pineapple, with a side of cucumber salad?

    Created by Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle, you can create this clever idea at home.

    You can use your glaze of choice, or the honey-mustard glaze in the recipe for fish or chicken.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SALMON SKEWERS WITH HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZE

    Thick pineapple slices anchor the skewers, to be consumed at the end of the course.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 salmon steaks
  • 10″ skewers for grilling
  • Cucumber salad (here’s a recipe, or use your own)
  • 4 2-1/2-inch-thick fresh pineapple slices, plain or grilled
    (see the marinade recipe below)
  •  
    For The Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the glaze: Combine the brown sugar, honey and butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Stir to blend. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Set aside to cool.

    2. CUT each side of the fillet from the bone, and insert the skewers (pre-soaked if wood).

    3. PREHEAT the grill to medium heat. Brush the salmon with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Coat the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture.

    4. GRILL for 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes. You can grill the pineapple at the same time, 2-3 minutes per side, on a lightly oiled grate.

     

    Salmon Skewers
    [1] Grilled salmon takes a fun form at Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle. Yes, that’s a Mojito in the background.

    Salmon Steak
    [2] Cut salmon steaks in half, discarding the bone of salmon steaks (salmon from All-Biz Ltd.).

    Pineapple Slices
    [3] Anchor the skewers in thick pineapple slices. Here’s a recipe from Fabulously Frugal to turn pineapple slices into a delicious dessert.

    RECIPE: GRILLED PINEAPPLE MARINADE

    If you want to grill the pineapple, here’s a marinade.

    Ingredients

  • Pineapple rings
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the ingredients in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to coat evenly.

    2. MARINATE for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side on a lightly oiled grill.

      

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    RECIPE: Minted Pea Soup For Spring

    Minted Pea Soup
    [1] Minted pea soup from John Woodhouse (recipe below; photos #1 and #2 courtesy John Woodhouse).

    Fresh Spring Peas
    [2] Fresh spring peas give a flavor to the soup that frozen peas cannot.

    Organic Valley Half & Half
    [3] You can use half-and-half or heavy cream. See the footnote below (†) for the difference between half-and-half, light cream and heavy cream (photo courtesy Organic Valley).

     

    While you can still find fresh spring peas in the produce department, here is a classic spring soup, beloved by everyone from Fanny Farmer to Julia Child…and modern chefs as well.

    Elegant and a cheerful green color, it’s a world away from split pea soup, a rustic dish made from dried peas.

    Spring pea soup is such a classic that you can find it on menus nationwide, as well as in the recipe collections on the Epicurious, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart websites (and no doubt, hundreds and hundreds of others).

    It can be served hot or chilled, in bowls, cups or for just a taste, in shot glasses. Its bright color brightens up the table.
     
     
    PEA SOUP HISTORY

    Pea soup dates to the cultivation of green peas in ancient Greece, as far back as 500 B.C.E. Sources show that street vendors in Athens sold hot pea soup (source).

    The Mediterranean was not a dairying region, so creamy pea soup likely emerged in the northern climes of England and France.

    This recipe, from chocolatier and home chef John Woodhouse of Woodhouse Chocolate in Napa Valley.

    He’s been making the recipe for at least 20 years, in the style of rich soups from 19th century British and French cuisine. (Our Nana, who cooked the classic Continental repertoire, served her spring pea soup as as a first course before the spring leg of lamb* with mint jelly.)
     
     
    RECIPE: MINTED PEA SOUP

    This recipe tastes better when made a day in advance.

    Ingredients

    Ideally, make the soup the day before serving so the flavors can meld.

  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup, 4-1/2 ounces; you can substitute shallots)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups shelled spring peas (a.k.a. English or garden peas; the smaller peas are sweeter)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably bone broth)
  • 1 cup half and half (or heavy cream†)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and white pepper‡ to taste
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

    It’s easy to use one of the extra mint leaves as a garnish (as shown in photo #1). But people typically don’t eat the mint leaf, and we prefer the flavor contrast of chives. You can use one or all of the following:

  • Snipped chives
  • Dollop of crème fraîche (sour cream and Greek yogurt are heavy and tend to sink)
  • Swirl (or dots) of basil or rosemary olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ the onion in butter In a medium saucepan, until soft and translucent. Add the peas and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.

    2. ADD the half and half and mint. Place the mixture in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour through a strainer, pressing any solids that remain to extract every bit of flavor.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper‡. Place the soup in a glass or plastic container (non-reactive) and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. If you have used heavy cream, your soup might need a little thinning to the desired consistency with some milk.

    4. GARNISH as desired. Serve hot or chilled.
     
     
    Variations

    The original recipes used heavy cream, but many modern cooks, including John Anderson, lighten the recipe with half-and-half or even milk.

    Other cooks have made additional substitutions and additions, including:

  • Sour cream or crème fraîche blended into the soup, in addition to the cream.
  • Varying blends of heavy cream, milk or buttermilk.
  • Vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Fresh parsley, tarragon and/or garlic in addition to the mint in the soup.
  • Some cooks add leeks in addition to the onions or shallots.
  • Some cooks use frozen peas—although they miss out on the magic of fresh pea flavor. This is a soup that should be made seasonally.
  • Some cooks add bacon or ham bones, as with split pea soup. However, we think this overpowers the fresh pea flavors.
  • ________________

    *In her day—and our childhood—before artificial insemination and imports from the Southern Hemisphere, fresh lamb was only available as nature birthed it, in the spring. Sheep naturally mate in the fall so that lambs are born in the spring, when the weather is mild and grass is plentiful.

    †Half and half contains 10.5% to 18% butterfat (the average is 12%). Light cream and sour cream contain 18% to 30% butterfat (average 20%). Light whipping cream (often called simply “whipping cream”) contains 30% to 36% butterfat (average 35%). Heavy cream contains 36% to 38% butterfat. Here’s more about the butterfat content of different dairy products.

    ‡White pepper is used in fine cuisine to eliminate undesirable specks of black pepper in light dishes, such as mashed potatoes and white sauces. These days cuisine is less formal. Feel free to use the more flavorful black pepper. White pepper is black pepper with the outer skin removed. The skin and berry both contain piperine, the compound that creates the heat. When it is removed, there is less piperine and other flavor compounds, so white pepper is usually milder than black pepper, with less complex flavor.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Top Your Burger With Chicken Skins

    We have no plans to be anywhere near Hilton Head Island, alas. But if we could get there, we’d head to Lucky Rooster Kitchen And Bar for their Blanco Burger (photo #1).

    Fried chicken skins were on the bar-snack menu when a customer thought he spotted chicken skins atop a burger.

    He was mistaken, but the chef thought it sounded delicious.

    Behold, the Blanco Burger, two 4-ounce beef patties on a brioche bun, with:

  • Smoked gouda
  • Serrano pepper aïoli
  • Lettuce
  • Fried chicken skins
  •  
    The skins provide yummy flavor—even better than pork rinds.

     

    Burger With Chicken Skins
    [1] Crunchy chicken skins on a burger? What a great idea, from Lucky Rooster Kitchen And Bar on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

     
    The result: beefy, crunchy, juicy, salty, smoky and spicy. “to cut through the richness of the rest of the burger.”

    Just what we were looking for to celebrate National Burger Month (May).

    Thanks to Flavor & The Menu for the tip.
     
     
    HOW TO MAKE CRISPY CHICKEN SKINS

    Here’s a recipe for simple chicken skins, and here’s a highly-seasoned chicken skin recipe to turn large pieces of chicken skins into a cracker-size snack.

    Another tip: When you remove the chicken skins before cooking, keep them frozen in a heavy-duty freezer bag until you have enough to fry.

    You don’t need a burger to enjoy them. Like pork rinds, there delicious as is.

      

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