Tag Archives: Garlic

Roasted Shrimp Salad

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Summer cooking is all about keeping cool, and you can do just that with this herbaceous shrimp salad that can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. Feel free to add you own special twist with different herbs and citrus flavors.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large seedless cucumber
2 pounds of 16-20 count raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 firm avocado
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 ° F.

Chop the cucumber into 3/4 inch quarter chunks. Place the chunks in a colander and toss them with a pinch of salt or two. Place the colander over a bowl and allow the cumbers to stand for 20 minutes. After salting, remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with clean paper towels, add to a salad bowl and set aside.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the shrimp onto the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss the shrimp in the oil and spread them out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the shrimp in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until pink. Cool the shrimp on the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, chop the avocado in 3/4 inch chunks. Add the avocado, minced garlic, chopped mint leaves, cilantro and chives into the salad bowl with the cucumber chunks. Pour the lime juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil over the salad and toss well to coat. Taste, and adjust with alt and pepper as needed.

Cover and place in the refrigerator and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
Cucumbers, with their delicate flavor and translucent flesh by nature are very watery. For the most part, it you are planning to combine them with any other ingredients, use the best variety of seedless cucumbers available to you.

Then, you must salt them to draw out as much liquid as possible. If you skip this step, a puddle of near-flavorless liquid will form quickly at the bottom of your salad bowl, your dip or soup will separate like curdled mayonnaise.

But if you can only find the kind with seeds, make sure, you must eviscerate them, cut them open length wise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Why, you may ask? Well, cucumber seeds, tend to springy, and evasive, will ruin the texture of any salad, soup, or dip.

To salt cucumbers, begin by lining a colander with paper towels, add the cut up cucumbers to the colander and light salt them. Allow them to stand for 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from the colander and pat dry with paper towels and you are good to go to use them as you please in your recipes.

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Brodetto

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This fisherman stew was inspired  by the local cuisine found along the coastal city of Ancona, Italy. This rustic dish simmers the seafood in a garlicky tomato sauce and  is served with a crusty bread. Many Italian coastal towns have their own version of this dish, which often features the catch of day. Brodetta was original conceived by fisherman to use up the smaller fish that they did not sell at the market that day.  While brodetto is similar to the  classic French  fish  stew, bouillabaisse, traditional  Italian recipes call for 13 fish as in recognizing Jesus and his 12 apostles in attendance of the Last Supper. The stew can be made with any type of fish, shellfish, including mussels and clams and either with octopus or calamari (squid). The key to making this particular recipe is to cook the shellfish and fish in stages. If you are shopping at your local markets and cannot find the listed seafood in this recipe, always choose sustainable varieties that are in season.

Serve 6

Ingredients:
6 (1-inch-thick) ciabatta slices
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
5 garlic cloves, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
One 32-ounces jar tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 pound mussels, scrubbed
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
12 ounces cod fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
12 ounces skin-on snapper fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 ounces raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 ounces cleaned squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:
Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 4 inches from heat. Brush bread with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Rub toast with 1 garlic clove and keep warm.

Thinly slice remaining 4 garlic cloves. Heat 1/4 cup oil over moderately high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and sliced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and vinegar; bring to a simmer. Add mussels and clams; cover and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Remove mussels with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. (Discard any that do not open.) Cover pot and cook until clams open, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove clams with a slotted spoon and place in bowl with mussels.

Season cod, snapper, and shrimp with salt. Add to pot, cover, and reduce heat to moderate; simmer 6 minutes. Add squid, cover, and cook until fish are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley, mussels, and clams. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until shellfish are heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic toast.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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Duck Confit Croquettes with Yuzu Vinaigrette

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I recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for a conference recently. Although I pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport quiet frequently, I rarely have time to leisurely grab anything to eat while trying to get from one terminal to another to catch a connecting flight.

However, this time I had an extended layover and being that it was lunch time, I decided to take full advantage of what the restaurant scene in the airport had to offer, and in checking the menu outside the establishment it appeared that One Flew South would fit the bill.

Located in Concourse E, One Flew South is the first upscale dining experience in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2017

 

The cuisine at One Flew South  can be described a spirited global fare featuring a ‘Southernational’- Cuisine inspired by world travels specializing in Deep Southern and Asian flavors that cannot be denied with dished prepared largely with high quality, fresh, local ingredients from regional farmers and purveyors. An added bonus is that frequent fliers’ know that this Southern/Eclectic spot offers an exceptional prepared to-go selection for travelers as well.


               Photo Credit: TripAdvisor 2018.

The food menus has offering covering soups and appetizers, salads, sandwiches and full entrees. The  is a dessert menu for those that may have a sweet tooth, so be sure to ask your server to share it with you.

One Flew South has a top shelf bar that serves proper cocktails and features an exceptional sushi menu and take-away items. The restaurant presents an enticing culinary destination for travelers braving the world’s busiest airport.

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        Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2018

 

With that being said, I ordered the French Southern inspired duck confit croquettes and the thyme braised pork belly. The croquettes were made with duck, English Peas and Carolina grits and served with fennel slaw, candied citrus, Yuzu vinaigrette and topped with micro greens of cilantro and parsley.

As for the entree,the thyme roasted pork belly was cooked to perfection and served over a bed of parsnip puree and a black-eyed pea and arugula salad. This dish is normally served with a blackberry-onion marmalade, but because the blackberries were not in season yet, the chef made do with a balsamic vinegar reduction. I am working on replicating this recipe and hope to post it at a later date. Stay tuned!

The service was great and I truly enjoyed my meal and I could not wait to get back home to my kitchen to see if I could create such and interesting appetizer tailored to my taste. You see, cooking is pure happiness for me and I was truly inspired my first dining experience at One Flew South I start with this French inspired crispy Duck Croquettes recipe that is absolutely amazing. This process is a bit time consuming in terms of preparation, as they are a bit tricky to make, but they are so totally worth it. Make a few extra while you’re at it. You can keep them in the freezer, just ready to deep fry when you want to.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Croquettes:
3 Duck Legs about
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Béchamel:*
2 tablespoons all purpose flour*
1 oz unsalted butter
1 cup Whole Milk
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Breading*
Finely ground Japanese Panko bread crumbs*
2 Eggs
1 cup rice flour
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

For the Candied Citrus Peel:**
1 grapefruit
2 Navel oranges
2 lemons
2 1/2 cups sugar

Yuzu Vinaigrette:***
Yields Approximately 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup Yuzu Juice, Yuzu marmalade or Monin Yuzu Fruit Purée
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oilSalt and pepper, to taste

For the Fennel Slaw:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 lb fennel (sometimes called anise; about 1 1/2 large bulbs)

For the Garnish:
Mixed Micro greens

Directions:
To make the confit: Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper the duck thighs and fry in a little olive oil. Once it got nice color put it in a large casserole.

Saute the shallots and add to the casserole with and garlic. Add wine and some olive oil.

Place the casserole in the oven at 350°F for about 1 ½ hours, until the meat is soft and falling off the bone. Let it cool down to manageable temperature and pick the meat from the bone.

Chop the meat finely and add to a bowl. Also,  add  the shallots from the casserole and add to the bowl.

For the Béchamel: Add the onion and the butter to a medium saucepan and cook on low heat, until the onions are translucent. Whisk in the flour with a little of the milk to the saucepan. Stir and slowly add the remaining milk until a thick paste is formed. Bring to a boil,  constantly stirring.  Reduce the heat and cook over low heat for a short while, as the consistency should thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside, allowing the béchamel  to cool slightly.

To  a large plastic or stainless steel bowl, add about 1 cup of the béchamel, the chopped duck and  the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Place the bowl in the freezer to solidify the mixture, for at least 1 hour. This step makes it easier to manage the meat mixture.

Spray your hands with a light coating of vegetable spray. Using a small ice cream scoop, fashion the croquettes, by rolling the meat mixture in balls, about 3 ounces each, and set on a plate. Place the croquettes in refrigerator for a least 4 hours.

To make the candied citrus peel: Score grapefruit, oranges, and lemons through peel from top to bottom in 6 sections for grapefruit and 4 for oranges and lemons (don’t cut into fruit). Pull off strips of peel with your fingers. Slide a small, sharp knife along inside of peels to remove excess membrane so peels are about 1/4 inches thick. Cut peels lengthwise into strips about 1/2 in. wide in center and tapered on ends.

Put peels in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice more.

Refill pan with 2 1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar; bring to a boil, making sure that sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until peels turn translucent and syrup begins to form bigger bubbles, about 1 1/2 hours.

Drain peels, saving syrup for other uses (such as topping pancakes) if you like. Spread peels on a nonreactive cooling rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow peels to dry completely, about 2-3 hours.(Store the candied peels in an airtight at room temperature for future use.)

Meanwhile, make the yuzu vinegrette. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except oil until combined. Slowly add oil with blender running until all of the oil has been added.If you do not have a blender or food processor, then add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well blended. Decant to a glass mason jar or cuvette and set aside.

To make the fennel slaw: Whisk together all ingredients except fennel. Trim fennel stalks flush with bulb, discarding stalks, and remove any discolored outer layers. Halve fennel through root end and discard core. Thinly slice fennel with a mandoline or other manual slicer.Place the fennel in a large bowl and toss the fennel with enough dressing to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to fry the croquettes, set up the breading station. In the first shallow dish add the flour. Whisk the eggs and add them to a shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to a third shallow dish. Dip a duck conift ball, first in flour, then beaten eggs and finally in breadcrumbs. Set aside. Repeat until all the balls have been coated.

Add several inches of vegetable oil to a deep fryer or a large pot. Heat the oil to 360°F.  Deep-fry the croquettes in batches, if necessary until they are a nice golden brown in color. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

To serve as an appetizer, with the fennel slaw,followed by the croquettes, topped with the candied citrus, micro herbs and the yuzu vinaigrette.

 

Cook’s Notes:
* You can substitute cornstarch for the flour for a gluten free option. Also use gluten-free breadcrumbs as an alternative to the the Panko.

**To save time, make the Citrus Candied Peel several days ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

***This simple yuzu-soy vinaigrette goes well with many dishes, as a dressing for salads, cooked veggies, as a sauce for raw fish dishes such as tuna tartare or sashimi, or as a dip for homemade tempura. Yuzu marmalade (Yujacheong, 유자청), can be purchased from a local Asian Markets. If you cannot find Yuzu juice at your local supermarkets, you can use lemon juice as a substitute.

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Crab Mac ‘N Cheese

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Wow!

I cannot believe it.  This is my 500th Post on this Blog and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate with my favorite comfort food.

I absolutely love Macaroni and Cheese and this is a very special dish meant for any occasion. The homemade bechamel sauce compliments the sweet jumbo lump crab meat perfectly. Serve it as a side dish or as an entree it’s a fantastic and budget friendly way to serve crab meat to a crowd with style.

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds conchigliette pasta*
1/4 cup butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic,finely minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
Chopped fresh parsley or crushed dried parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant and softened,for 3 minutes. Add flour and whisk until combined and golden, for about 1 minute. Add milk and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened and smooth.

Stir in 1/2 white cheddar, the mozzarella and Asiago until slightly melted, then remove from heat.

Add the bechamel sauce and crab meat to pot with cooked pasta and gently stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until bubbly, for 20 minutes.

Garnish the dish with parsley and serve immediately.

*Cooks Notes:
Conchiglie [koŋˈkiʎʎe], is a type of pasta in which the name is derived from the Italian word “conchiglia” .Commonly known as “shells” or “seashells” , this pasta is usually sold in the plain durum wheat variety, and also in colored varieties which use natural pigments, such as tomato extract, squid ink or spinach extract. The shell shape of the pasta allows the sauce to adhere to it. A miniature variety called conchigliette is also available.

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Thank you so much!

 

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Creole Herb Crusted Lamb

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This rack of lamb recipe is simply delicious. Beautifully coated with a flavourful herb crust and cooked to perfection, serve it at your next dinner party and impress your guests. When purchasing lamb, ask for lamb that has been grass-fed from birth to market. It is healthiest for you and delicious!

Serves 4 

INGREDIENTS
For the Lamb:
2 racks of lamb, cut in half with 3 bones per serving
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil(for browning)
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1 bouquet of thyme
2 tablespoons Creole  mustard*

For the Herb Crust:
3 cups Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup  fresh parsley, stems included
1 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup of mint (optional)
4 sprigs thyme (leaves only)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black, pepper to taste
1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese, grated
Splash of  olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Heat oven to 400°F.

Select a cast iron skillet.

Remove the fat cap if present. Cut each rack into 3-4 bones each (approximately one serving).  NOTE: Do not cut all the way to the meat. Season on all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the skillet to very hot, add olive oil until it is shimmering.  Add a bouquet of thyme, cloves of garlic. Place the lamb in skillet and sear on all sides of meat  and using tongs sear the ends, to give it a nice dark color.

Once browned, place the racks skin-side-down in the skillet, and into the oven for 12 minutes.

Preparing the Crust: Place the panko  breadcrumbs, herbs, spinach and Parmesan cheese into a blender or a  food processor and pulse several times until you have a very fine  green crumb. Add a splash of the olive oil and continue pulsing for a few more seconds. NOTE: It will still look like dry crumbs, but when you pinch it, it should stick together well. Pour onto a plate.

When lamb has been in for 12 minutes, remove from oven and brush all sides with  mustard. Then press each rack into the crumb mixture, coating on all sides and pressing it to get an nice even coating. Shake off any excess. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. Allow meat to rest for a bit.

Place the racks (this time skin-side-up) in a baking dish.  Place back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes (longer if you want well-done), Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of each rack. NOTE: The chops may be cooked to 145 °F (medium rare),160 °F (medium), or 170 °F (well done).

Serve the lamb with potatoes boulangère and courgettes provençal, but you can serve with anything you find fitting to your taste.

Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute Dijon mustard for the Creole mustard, if desired.

Chilled English Pea Soup with Crab and Meyer Lemon

Chilled English Pea Soup with Crab and Meyer Lemon

Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger, Food and Wine Magazine, 2018

 

By SARAH HELLER
Food and Wine Magzine
April 2018

This refreshing, verdant English pea and watercress soup is the perfect base for a zesty crab salad. Chef Sarah Heller of Napa’s Radish Leaf Cuisine folds sweet Dungeness crab with Meyer lemon, crème fraîche, and a host of delicate spring herbs before mounding atop each serving of the soup. Any lump crab meat or cooked, chilled shrimp would also work.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 small celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 cups whole milk, divided
5 cups fresh English peas, shelled
2 bunches watercress (about 4 ounces), rinsed
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice, divide
1/2 pound cooked Dungeness or other lump crabmeat
Pea tendrils and freshly ground black pepper, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over low. Add onion, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté until onions are translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 2 cups milk; bring to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

While vegetables are cooking, prepare a large bowl of ice water and bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Add peas to pot, return to a boil, and cook until peas are bright green and just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove peas with a slotted spoon, and immediately plunge into ice water. Return water in pot to a boil, add watercress, and cook until bright green and wilted, about 1 minute. Plunge watercress into ice water. Drain peas and watercress; set aside peas. Squeeze watercress to remove as much water as possible.

Combine peas, watercress, and remaining 1 cup milk in a blender. Process on high until smooth. Working in batches if necessary, add onion mixture to blender; process on high until smooth. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and white pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Whisk together crème fraîche, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 tablespoon dill, tarragon, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium bowl. Gently fold in crab. Chill until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Stir remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice into soup. To serve, pour 3/4 cup soup into each bowl, add one large dollop of crab salad in center of soup, and drizzle with oil. Garnish with chives, pea tendrils, and black pepper, if desired.

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Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Radicchio and Fennel

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Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients:
9 ounces of  Pappardelle pasta (home made or commercially prepared)
2 cups butternut squash, diced
2 cups fresh radicchio, shredded
1/2 cup fresh fennel, shredded
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese  (optional)

 
Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add garlic and cook for 1 minute stirring occasionally. Add the squash and sauté for 5-6 minutes on high heat until the squash is golden and crispy.  Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the radicchio and vinegar, lower the heat and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the Pappardelle according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the Pappardelle to the pan adding a little of the pasta cooking water to loosen if needed, then add the remaining oil and toss to combine.

Add the fennel. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide among plates, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or grated Pecorino cheese if desired.

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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Cuban Chicken Soup with Plantain Dumplings

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Recipe adapted from the cookbook
Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen
by Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn and Jody Eddy
2016

The winter doldrums continue and there is nothing more perfect than a comforting bowl of chicken soup to warm your soul.

But wait!

This is not your grandmother’s chicken soup and dumpling recipe, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a Cuban grandmother. With its long simmering time and the addition of calabaza, a tiny orange-and-white squash, this is a wonderful way to warm up on a chilly day. The additional of Bijol, a traditional Cuban blend of ground achiote, cumin and corn flour, infuses the soup with a pleasant yellow color, but if you don’t have a Latin specialty market in the neighborhood, a pinch of turmeric makes a good substitute. The plantain dumplings are a lovely combination of sweet and savory, but they do not hold well. If you have leftover soup, the dumplings will completely disintegrate overnight. If you are not planning to eat all the soup in one dinner serving, add only enough dumplings to suit your hunger pangs, then freeze the soup without dumplings and whip them up whenever you are ready to dive into the leftovers.

And like every recipe, this soup has many variations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Ecuador it is known as Caldo de Bolas and in Columbia, it is called  Sopa de Pollo y Platano Verde. Where as in Puerto Rico it takes on the name  Sopa De Pollo con Mofongo which is considered the Puerto Rican version of Matzah Ball Soup. Imagine that!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Soup:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups calabaza squash, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Bijol (optional)*
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the plantain dumplings:
2 ripe plantains, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup rice flour

Directions:
In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool slightly. Using 2 fork, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and add the squash, tomatoes, cumin cinnamon and Bijol. Simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, make the dumplings: Place the plantains in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 teaspoons water and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave until very soft, about 2 minutes. (If you don’t have a microwave, place the plantains in a fry pan with 1/3 cup  water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat until the plantains are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. NOTE: Do not use any more water than this or  the plantain’s sweetness will leach out into the water. Sprinkle the plantains with the salt and pepper and mash them with a fork until smooth. Add  egg, cornmeal and rice flour to the plantain mixture until a combined. Roll the mashed plantain into smooth balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Drop the plantain dumplings into the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

*Cook’s Notes:
Six to seven bone-in chicken thighs can be substituted for the chicken breast if you like more flavor to the soup.

If Bijol or tumeric are not readily available, Goya Sazon Culantro y Achiote® seasoning is available in most major supermarkets and grocery stores. With its combination of garlic, cumin, coriander seed, it can be the perfect seasoning for this soup, also giving a vibrant red orange color that is visually appealing.

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Thank you so much!

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Quail in Rose Petal Sauce

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In   Laura Esquivel’s Novel,  Like Water for Chocolate, the reader is introduced to this recipe in Chapter 3, where the love sick character Tita, who is a cook, prepared an elaborate dish with a rose, a token of love, given to her secretly by her lover Pedro. She calls the dish “quail in rose petal sauce”. At the dinner table, the meal receives an ecstatic response from Tita’s family members, especially Pedro, who always compliments Tita’s cooking. However, a more curious affect is observed in Gertrudis, her younger sister, not long after eating the dish, who begins “to feel an intense heat pulsing through her limbs.” It appears that the meal serves as a powerful aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, arousing in her an insatiable desire. This turbulent emotion pulses through Gertrudis and on to Pedro. Tita herself goes through a sort of out-of-body experience. Throughout the dinner, Tita and Pedro stare at each other, entranced.

Dripping with rose-scented sweat, Gertrudis goes to the wooden shower stall in the backyard to cool off. Her body gives off so much heat that the wooden walls of the shower stall burst into flames—and so do her clothes.Running outside, the naked Gertudis is suddenly swooped up by one of Pancho Villa’s men, who charges into her backyard on horseback.

“Without slowing his gallop, so as not to waste a moment, he leaned over, put his arm around her waist, and lifted her onto the horse in front of him, face to face, and carried her away.”

The escape of Gertrudis serves as a foil to Tita’s stifled passion. The intensity of the former’s reaction to the meal serves to communicate the potency of the passion that the latter possesses but is unable to express directly. With her primary form of expression limited to food, Tita takes the illicit token of love from Pedro and returns the gift, transforming it into a meal filled with lust. The manner in which Gertrudis is affected by the food and later swept away on a galloping horse is clearly fantastical, and the vivid imagery like the the pink sweat and powerful aroma only exemplifies the novel’s magical realism.

To  be carried away so gallantly,  in a moment of passion………..is magic!

And with that being said, this would be the perfect dish to make for someone you love, especially for a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy!

Updated February 2, 2018

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 quail (or 6 doves or 2 Cornish Hens)
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup dry sherry
6 peeled chestnuts (boiled, roasted, or canned)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red prickly pear fruit puree
(or substitute raspberries, red plums or pink dragonfruit)
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 teaspoons rosewater
Petals of 6 fresh, organic red roses, for garnish
Pepita seeds, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the serving platter in an oven set to low. Rinse the quail and pat dry. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and lightly brown the birds on all sides. Add sherry and salt and pepper to the quail. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn the quail, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the quail when done to your liking and place on a heated platter.

Combine the remaining ingredients with pan juices, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pan and simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and/or honey. Pour the sauce over the quail on the heated platter.  Sprinkle with the rose petals and pepitas, for garnish, and serve hot.

Cook’s Notes:
The original recipe for this dish calls for rose petals, but you don’t want to use petals from conventional flower shop roses—those are treated with fungicides. Still, if you have some organically grown roses in your backyard, or know where to buy them, feel free to use them to garnish the finished dish.

If you cannot find any rose petals, 3 bags of  Tazo Passion Hibiscus Tea is a great alternative to use as well.

You can find rosewater at local Middle Eastern stores.

The original recipe calls for cactus. In this version red prickly pear fruit puree or juice is used and can be found at most health food stores—or substitute frozen raspberries or even use 2 large red plums that have been pitted and skinned, for the red prickly pear.

Another  substitution for the prickly pear would be  dragon fruit , which is closer in terms of the flavor given that both are cactus fruits.While you may not initially equate “cactus” with “edible,” the dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is indeed borne on a cactus. When the fruit is cut open, the flesh is revealed to be either snow-white or magenta pink and peppered with tiny, edible black seeds throughout — quite a contrast to the exterior.The flesh is mildly sweet, some say comparable to a melon. A source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C, the dragon fruit is widely cultivated throughout much of the tropics, particularly in Asia. Its popularity in tropical Asia combined with the dragon reference may lead us to believe it originated in Asia, but the fact is no one seems to agree on where it came from. We do however know it is in the cactus family (Cactaceae), and therefore almost sure to be of New World origin.

If you have a dove hunter in the family, try this with dove instead of quail. In fact, doves may be an even more romantic choice, if you don’t mind picking a little birdshot from your teeth. Cornish hens also work well, as a substitute for the protein in this dish.

 

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Roasted Beet Hummus

Roasted Beet Hummus recipe

Photo Credit: PhillyVoice.com, 2017

 

Did you know that the very food known as “Hummus” was derived from the Arabic  word meaning “chickpeas”, and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means “chickpeas with tahini”.  Hummus is basically  a Levantine dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or a mixture of other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.  It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. It can also be found in most grocery stores anywhere in the world.

The chickpeas used in hummus make it high in fiber, protein and iron, and when lemon is added, offers your body a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants. What’s more, a thick spread of hummus will never threaten your waistline, but tahini has been known to be anti-inflammatory and lower cholesterol.

Yes, you can buy hummus at just about any local grocery store these days, but it so much better if you make for yourself at home and so easy to do as you can follow this recipe basic recipe with a few tips from Inspired Taste.

For some people, hummus is like the comic relief at an awkward dinner party. Everybody’s yearning for it, and it’s a universal pleaser. This light, savory snack is the perfect hors d’oeuvre as it  slides smoothly onto your chip, pita, pretzel, bagel, carrot or cucumber slices and rarely leaves a mess. And it is perfect for Super Bowl Parties

But for a change of pace, we switched it up a little to liven up a party in presenting this quick and easy roasted beet hummus which is a light, savory snack that will make your mouth pop with flavor.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 medium roasted beet, cooled, peeled, and quartered (Directions Follows)
One 15-ounce, can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash salt and pepper
Water, to thin as needed
Optional spices: dried sage, cumin, paprika

Directions:
In a food processor, blend roasted beet until smooth. Add remaining ingredients to blend, reserving olive oil and water. Drizzle in olive oil while hummus is blending. If too thick, thin out with water until you have the desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, as needed.

Place in a bowl and serve with vegetables , crackers or whole grain pitas of your choice.

Directions for Roasting Beets
 Option 1 
1. Preheat oven to 400 º F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. If buying whole beets with stem, remove leaves and stalk.
3. Peel beets and dice.
4. Lay on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried sage.
5. Cover baking sheet with foil and bake beets for 1 hour or until tender.

Option 2
1. Preheat oven to 425 º F.
2. Scrub, wash, and remove leaves/stalk from beets.
3. Place whole beets on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt.
4. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

 

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