Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: May 2018

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

If it’s true we first eat with our eyes, then this salad is worth a look!

When I was catering with my dear friend Jane we were always looking for great salads. This is a spinoff of a salad that was frequently requested and one we made often. It has evolved a bit through the years but still remains simple and delicious. Fresh strawberries are layered into crisp spinach and arugula with slices of sweet apples.

The fresh berries and greens are tossed with MontAmoré cheddar and toasted maple-glazed pecans. Then everything is coated with a slightly sweet and tangy vinaigrette loaded with more strawberries, a rich olive oil and a splash of fruity balsamic vinegar.

And a quick note on the cheese – if you’ve not yet discovered MontAmoré cheddar, run out and look for it! It’s a beautiful creamy cheese from Sartori, a mild cheddar with a slightly nutty note and a subtle resemblance to Parmesan. Perfection on a cheese tray, it adds just the right balance to the flavors in this salad.

Strawberries with their sweet bite and intoxicating fragrance highlight this glorious salad with a taste rivaled only by its appearance!

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

1 package spinach and arugula mix, 5-ounces, about 6 cups

2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 8 to 10 berries

1 Honeycrisp apple or your favorite, cored and sliced

¼ cup MontAmoré cheddar, gently crumbled

½ cup maple glazed pecans, recipe follows

Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Toss the spinach and arugula mix together with the strawberries and apple slices.

Add the crumbled cheese along with the pecans. Season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve!

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1-1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 6-8 berries

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon sesame oil

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place all the ingredients in your Vitamix or blender.

Process on medium speed for about 20 seconds or until well blended.

Maple Glazed Pecans

½ cup lightly toasted pecans

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Toss the pecans with the maple syrup in a small saucepan.

Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until the maple syrup has thickened and the pecans are coated – about 3-5 minutes.

If you’re making the glazed pecans in advance, spread them out on a piece of parchment to cool.

Strawberry, Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 30, 2018
: Serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side

Strawberries, with their sweet bite and intoxicating fragrance, highlight this glorious salad with a taste that is only rivaled by its appearance!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 package spinach and arugula mix, 5-ounces, about 6 cups
  • 2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 8 to 10 berries
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple or your favorite, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup MontAmoré® Cheddar, gently crumbled
  • ½ cup maple glazed pecans, recipe follows
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • For the strawberry vinaigrette:
  • 1-1/2 cups cleaned, hulled and sliced strawberries, about 6-8 berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the maple glazed pecans:
  • ½ cup lightly toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions
  • Step 1 For the salad:
  • Step 2 Toss the spinach and arugula mix together with the strawberries and apple slices.
  • Step 3 Add the crumbled cheese along with the pecans.
  • Step 4 Season with a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt and black pepper.
  • Step 5 Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve!
  • Step 6
  • Step 7 For the strawberry vinaigrette:
  • Step 8 Place all the ingredients in your Vitamix or blender. Process on medium speed for about 20 seconds or until well blended.
  • Step 9 For the maple glazed pecans:
  • Step 10 Toss the pecans with the maple syrup in a small saucepan.
  • Step 11 Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until the maple syrup has thickened and the pecans are coated – about 3-5 minutes.
  • Step 12 If you’re making the glazed pecans in advance, spread them out on a piece of parchment to cool.
Hot Crab Dip

Hot Crab Dip

Rich, luscious and simple. A little melting, a little stirring a lot of good eating!

This is a throwback to the days of canapés and canasta. This hot dip is loaded with lump crabmeat, cream cheese with its mild tang, creamy mayonnaise spiced with dry mustard, garlic salt, onion powder and cracked black pepper. Then flavors are brightened with a squeeze or two of lemon and deepened with a good splash of warm, earthy cognac.

You can throw this dip together without getting out those crab cracking tools. Fresh crabmeat is readily available at most food markets from the fishmonger or even in sealed containers that offer a fairly lengthy refrigerated shelf life, making it great to keep on hand in your fridge. This recipe makes enough to serve 8 people or up to 20 when partnered with other hors d’oeuvres.

A bit of spice and a lot of crab – serve on toasted baguettes, cheese biscuits or crackers. This hot crab dip is perfect for a late-morning brunch or mid-afternoon snack, wonderful as an addition to a cheese tray or as an elegant addition to any cocktail party.

So pour up a cold drink and enjoy!

Hot Crab Dip

2 containers fresh lump crabmeat, 8-ounces each

2 package cream cheese, 8-ounces each, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons dry mustard

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup good cognac or brandy

Rinse the crabmeat in a colander with very cold water. Gently sort the crab and remove any pieces of shell that might be in the meat. Drain well and place the crab in a bowl and refrigerate.

Place the cream cheese along with the mayonnaise in the top of a double boiler over medium heat.

Stir occasionally until the cream cheese and mayonnaise have softened and blended together, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the garlic salt, the onion powder, dry mustard, freshly cracked black pepper, kosher salt and lemon juice. Blend together until the mixture is smooth.

Gently stir in the crabmeat and continue cooking until the crab is warm, about 5 minutes. Pour in the cognac and stir to blend well.

Transfer to a fondue or chafing dish to keep warm. Serve with toasted baguettes, cheese biscuits or crackers.

Refrigerate any leftover dip in a sealed container for 3-5 days.

Hot Crab Dip, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 28, 2018
: Serves 8 or up to 20 with other hors d'oeuvres

A throwback to the days of canapés and canasta. This hot dip is loaded with lump crabmeat and brightened with a squeeze or two of lemon and deepened with a good splash of cognac. Rich, luscious and simple. A little melting, a little stirring a lot of good eating!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 containers fresh lump crabmeat, 8-ounces each
  • 2 package cream cheese, 8-ounces each, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup good cognac or brandy
Directions
  • Step 1 Rinse the crabmeat in a colander with very cold water. Gently sort the crab and remove any pieces of shell that might be in the meat. Drain well and place the crab in a bowl and refrigerate.
  • Step 2 Place the cream cheese along with the mayonnaise in the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the cream cheese and mayonnaise have softened and blended together, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the garlic salt, the onion powder, dry mustard, freshly cracked black pepper, kosher salt and lemon juice. Blend together until the mixture is smooth.
  • Step 4 Gently stir in the crabmeat and continue cooking until the crab is warm, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour in the cognac and stir to blend well.
  • Step 6 Transfer to a fondue or chafing dish to keep warm. Serve with toasted baguettes, cheese biscuits or crackers.
  • Step 7 Refrigerate any leftover dip in a sealed container for 3-5 days.
Bee’s Knees and Bourbon Infused Lemonade – They’re a Honey of a Pair!

Bee’s Knees and Bourbon Infused Lemonade – They’re a Honey of a Pair!

If you’re from the South chances are you’re quite familiar with simple syrup. After all, you can’t make a decent sweet tea without it. But there’s another nectar infused syrup that you might not know about – honey syrup – and it’s the perfect touch for these fun cocktails!

Honey syrup is made just like simple syrup with the honey subbing for the sugar. The honey melts into a naturally sweet liquid making it perfect for polishing up these two very different cocktails, one shaken and one stirred. Let’s start with shaking.

The Bee’s Knees is a cocktail said to have originated during the days of Prohibition. It’s a simple concoction of a smooth gin with its notes of juniper and citrus, accented with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a splash of that sweet honey syrup.

Considered a member of the family of sour cocktails, recipes for the Bees’s Knees vary on the amount of honey syrup. Don’t be afraid to tweak it to get just the right taste for your palate. Quite simply it is the “bee’s knees” – it’s the best!

Now let’s stir. Though the Bourbon Infused Lemonade is on a completely different flavor profile it’s also sweetened with that delectable honey syrup. This cocktail starts with the warm, subtle spice of bourbon then it’s brightened with lemonade, sparkling lemon soda and fresh mint all smoothed out with honey syrup.

Just add ice and give it a stir!

Cold, crisp and refreshing – The Bee’s Knees and Bourbon Infused Lemonade – They’re a honey of a pair!

Bee’s Knees

2 ounces good gin, about 4 tablespoons, preferably Plymouth Gin

¾ ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1-1/2 tablespoons

1 to 2 tablespoons honey syrup, or enough to suit your taste

Lemon twists for garnish

In a cocktail shaker add the gin along with the lemon juice and the honey syrup.

Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the cocktail is well chilled.

Pour into a coupe and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Bourbon Infused Lemonade with Honey Syrup

1-1/2 ounces good bourbon or whiskey, about 3 tablespoons

¼ cup lemonade

¼ cup lemon flavored soda or club soda

1 to 2 tablespoons honey syrup, or enough to suit your taste

4 to 5 fresh mint leaves

Garnish – Additional fresh mint sprig and a slice of fresh lemon

Pour the bourbon into a tall glass along with the lemonade, the lemon soda and the honey syrup.  Crush the fresh mint leaves and drop them into the glass.

Fill with ice and stir to mix. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon.

Honey Syrup

1-1/2 cups honey

1 cup water

Combine the honey and the water in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat stirring until the honey is melted into the water. Cool and refrigerate.

Bee's Knees, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 25, 2018
: Makes one cocktail

A simple concoction of smooth gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice and sweet honey syrup.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Honey Syrup:
  • 1-1/2 cups honey
  • 1 cup water
  • For the Bee's Knees:
  • 2 ounces good gin, about 4 tablespoons, preferably Plymouth Gin
  • ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1-1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey syrup, or enough to suit your taste
  • Lemon twists for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Honey Syrup:
  • Step 2 Combine the honey and the water in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat stirring until the honey is melted into the water.
  • Step 3 Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 4 For the Bee’s Knees:
  • Step 5 In a cocktail shaker add the gin along with the lemon juice and the honey syrup.
  • Step 6 Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the cocktail is well chilled.
  • Step 7 Pour into a coupe and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Bourbon Infused Lemonade with Honey Syrup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 25, 2018

Bourbon brightened with lemonade, sparkling lemon soda and the aromatics of fresh mint all smoothed out with honey syrup. Add ice and stir!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Honey Syrup:
  • 1-1/2 cups honey
  • 1 cup water
  • For the Bourbon Infused Lemonade:
  • 1-1/2 ounces good bourbon or whiskey, about 3 tablespoons
  • ¼ cup lemonade
  • ¼ cup lemon flavored soda or club soda
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey syrup, or enough to suit your taste
  • 4 to 5 fresh mint leaves
  • Garnish – Additional fresh mint sprig and a slice of fresh lemon
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Honey Syrup:
  • Step 2 Combine the honey and the water in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat stirring until the honey is melted into the water.
  • Step 3 Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Step 4 For the Bourbon Infused Lemonade:
  • Step 5 Pour the bourbon into a tall glass along with the lemonade, the lemon soda and the honey syrup.
  • Step 6 Crush the fresh mint leaves and drop into the glass.
  • Step 7 Fill with ice and stir to mix.
  • Step 8 Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon.
Croque Monsieur – A Glorious Ham and Cheese!

Croque Monsieur – A Glorious Ham and Cheese!

This is the ultimate ham and cheese sandwich – a knife and fork version with layers of gooey cheese covered in a rich and velvety béchamel sauce!

We typically think of serving a ham and cheese sandwich for a light lunch or casual dinner dish but this is no ordinary ham and cheese. Inside the lightly toasted bread you’ll find tender slices of ham with a nutty Gruyère cheese accented with a bright and tangy Dijon mustard.

Then the sandwich is covered with a creamy sauce that is loaded with more Gruyère and Parmesan. Finally, it’s topped with just a bit more shredded Gruyère and baked until it’s hot and bubbly!

The Croque Monsieur can also be served as a breakfast sandwich in the form of a Croque Madame. It’s the same delicious sandwich topped with a fried egg making it perfect for brunch – or lunch – or dinner!

There are a number of steps in making this sandwich but don’t be dismayed. Lightly toast the bread before you start then cover and set aside. The sauce starts with a béchamel sauce, a basic white sauce that can be made in advance. Just gently reheat before you add the cheese and assemble the sandwiches.

An absolutely divine sandwich – a delicious gift from the French – Merci beaucoup!

Croque Monsieur

4 large slices of bread, or 8 regular slices

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk, room temperature or warmed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2-1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, about 6 ounces, divided

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan or Parmesan and Fontina blend*

2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

6 ounces sliced ham

Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes, turn and toast for another 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the béchamel sauce.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes.

Pour in the milk and whisk into the butter and flour until smooth. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.

Add the kosher salt, the black pepper and the nutmeg along with the 1/2 cup of the Gruyère cheese and the Parmesan. Stir to blend together and remove from the heat.

Spread one side of all the bread slices with the Dijon mustard. Layer one half of the bread slices with ham, sprinkle one cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese over the ham.

Top each with the remaining bread slices. Spread the sauce over the tops of each sandwich to cover. Finish by topping each with the remaining Gruyère cheese.

Place the sandwiches on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees for 5 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

For a Croque madame top the finished sandwich with a fried egg. Serve warm!

*Sartori makes a beautiful Tuscan cheese blend of shaved Parmesan and Fontina.

Croque Monsieur, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 23, 2018
: 6-8

This is the ultimate ham and cheese sandwich – a knife and fork version with layers of gooey cheese covered in a rich and velvety béchamel sauce!

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 large slices of bread, or 8 regular slices
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, about 6 ounces, divided
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan or Parmesan and Fontina blend
  • 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 ounces sliced ham
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes, turn and toast for another 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the béchamel sauce.
  • Step 2 In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and whisk into the butter and flour until smooth, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Step 3 Add the kosher salt, the black pepper and the nutmeg along with the 1/2 cup of the Gruyère cheese and the Parmesan. Stir to blend together and remove from the heat.
  • Step 4 Spread one side of all the bread slices with the Dijon mustard. Layer one half of the bread slices with ham, sprinkle one cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese over the ham. Top each with the remaining bread slices.
  • Step 5 Spread enough sauce over the tops of each sandwich to cover. Finish by topping each with the remaining Gruyère cheese.
  • Step 6 Place the sandwiches on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees for 5 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  • Step 7 For a croque madame top the finished sandwich with a fried egg, preferably cooked over easy.
Cream of English Pea Soup

Cream of English Pea Soup

Simple soups are often the best and this one can certainly be placed in that category. Tender English peas are transformed into an elegant soup that is easy to prepare and wonderful served warm or chilled.

For many of us our first – or perhaps the only – exposure to peas is the canned variety. Sadly for the lovely English peas this process of preserving often leaves these crisp, green beauties lackluster and well, somewhat mushy. And though finding fresh English peas can be a challenge this soup can be made using either fresh or frozen peas.

These little gems are paired with sautéed sweet onion then quickly and gently cooked in just a touch of chicken stock. Then they are blended into a luscious béchamel sauce creating a glorious creamy soup.

Whether your meal is casual or formal this soup is fabulous as an appetizing first course, partners perfectly as a side or stands alone as a comforting main dish. A delicious way to transform the simple English pea – all dressed up in this lovely cream soup!

Cream of English Pea Soup

6-1/2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup chopped sweet onion, about 1 small onion

4-1/2 cups fresh or frozen English peas (not canned)

¼ cup chicken stock

5 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon dry mustard

4-1/2 cups milk

¾ -1-1/2 cups half and half

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the peas and the chicken stock, cover and cook stirring occassionally for about 4-6 minutes until the peas are tender but still bright green. If you’re using frozen peas cook just until the peas are warmed through.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until smooth.

Add 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, the black pepper and dry mustard blending into the butter and flour. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Whisk the milk into the butter and flour. Continue cooking and stirring with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly.

Stir in the cooked peas and onions.

Using an immersion blender purée the mixture until smooth.

Add 1 cup to 1-1/2 cups of the half and half to reach your desired consistency. Stir in the nutmeg and the additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt if needed.

Garnish with a touch of crème fraîche or shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese

Serve warm or well chilled.

Cream of English Pea Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 21, 2018
: 6 as a side or main course, 8 as an appetizer

Whether your meal is casual or formal this soup is fabulous as an appetizing first course, partners perfectly as a side or stands alone as a comforting main dish. A delicious way to transform the simple English pea - all dressed up in this lovely cream soup!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6-1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion, about 1 small onion
  • 4-1/2 cups fresh or frozen English peas (not canned)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4-1/2 cups milk
  • ¾ -1-1/2 cups half and half
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Garnish: crème fraîche or shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the peas and the chicken stock, cover and cook for about 4-6 minutes stirring occasionally until the peas are tender but still bright green. If you’re using frozen peas cook just until the peas are warmed through.
  • Step 2 In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, the black pepper and dry mustard blending into the butter and flour. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Whisk the milk into the butter and flour. Continue cooking and stirring with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Step 4 Stir in the cooked peas and onions. Using an immersion blender purée the mixture until smooth. Add 1 cup to 1-1/2 cups of the half and half to reach your desired consistency.
  • Step 5 Add the nutmeg and the additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt if needed.
  • Step 6 Garnish with a touch of crème fraîche or shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese
  • Step 7 Serve warm or well chilled.
Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

One of the most delicate of all cakes is Angel Food. Said to be “food of the angels” this recipe dates back almost two centuries. This simple white sponge cake is made from a base of whipped egg whites that creates a texture almost lighter than air. With an aroma and essence of pure vanilla extract and notes of almond – it’s one spectacular dessert!

Mom made this cake frequently serving it with freshly whipped cream and fresh berries. The first time I ever made this for the Engineer he swore he didn’t like angel food cake – then he had one piece, then another, and another…. He finally confessed the only angel food cake he had ever eaten came from the grocery store. Not a great point of reference. Now he was hooked!

Most pantries have everything needed to make this delectable cake except maybe the cake flour – which is a must. Cake flour is finely milled and has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour.

Make sure your egg whites are free of any egg yolk and let them come to room temperature before you start. This helps the egg whites reach peak volume when they’re whipped. The addition of cream of tarter acts as a stabilizer for the eggs whites. You also want to sift the flour before you measure the amount needed -then sift the flour with the sugar five times as noted. This helps to develop that light, fluffy texture you’re after.

One bite and you’ll agree – it’s food of the angels and maybe a little heaven on earth!

Angel Food Cake

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour

1-¾ cup sugar, divided

1-1/2 cups egg whites, about 11 extra-large eggs at room temperature

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Sift the flour together with ¾ cup of the cake flour five (5) times.

Combine the egg whites with the kosher salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat using the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the egg whites are foamy.

Add the cream of tarter and continue beating until soft peaks form – about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not beat until the egg whites are dry or they will “break”. Slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup of sugar and beat into the egg whites on low speed. Scrape down with a spatula to make sure all the sugar and egg whites are well blended.

Mix the vanilla and the almond extracts into the egg whites.

Gently sprinkle the flour mixture over the top of the egg whites and mix in using low speed just until the flour is blended into the batter – about 1 minute.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make certain the batter is well mixed.

Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan (one with a removable bottom). Use a spatula or knife and run it through the batter 2 to 3 times to break up any air bubbles.

Bake the cake in a 375-degree oven, placed on the rack just slightly below the middle. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the “cracks” appear dry. Do not open the door until the cake is done. Remove and immediately invert the cake. If your pan doesn’t have supports a wine bottle works well for this.

Allow the cake to cool completely. To remove the cake from the pan – take a thin knife and gently run it around the edges to loosen it slightly. Flip the cake over onto a cake plate and gently run the knife between the bottom of the pan and the cake to release it.

Serve plain or with your favorite dessert topping!

Country Captain – A Southern Spice-Filled Delight!

Country Captain – A Southern Spice-Filled Delight!

Country Captain – a dish of stewed chicken – is considered a Southern classic and one that dates back centuries. Though copies of the recipe have been found in cookbooks from the American Colonial period of the 1700s, the South claims this as one of their own. It’s a simple dish layered with vibrant spices that create an intoxicating aroma with an absolutely amazing flavor.

Sweet onions, crisp bell peppers, garlic and red plum tomatoes create a colorful backdrop for the sauce before it is accented with golden raisins and toasted almonds.

But the spices are the key players in this dish. Freshly cracked black pepper, cayenne pepper, mace and paprika set the stage – and then the curry steps in to deliver an unexpected performance!

It’s always important to use quality spices and it’s especially true in this dish. I was recently introduced to an amazing collection of spices, seasonings and herbs from SeasonalitySpices*. Their Maharajah Indian Curry is an exquisite handcrafted blend that is as beautiful to the eye as it is to the palate. One look, one whiff of this exotic spice and it had me pulling out this recipe!

And for those who swear they don’t like curry – set that belief aside and give this dish a try. The combination of the spices and the savory notes blend together in a delicious way creating a succulent chicken with a spectacular sauce.

Country Captain

1 whole chicken or your favorite bone-in pieces cut into 8 portions, about 4-5 pounds

2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thin

2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped – about 1/2 teaspoon

½ teaspoon mace

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 can whole plum tomatoes, 28-ounces

½ cup golden raisins

1/4 cup toasted almonds, sliced or slivered

Season both sides of the chicken with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Combine the flour, the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, the cracked black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Whisk to blend well.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture coating all sides completely then place it in the hot butter and oil.

Cook in batches if needed so that the chicken browns evenly on all sides. Crowding the chicken will cause it to steam and not brown.

Transfer the browned chicken to a separate platter. Toss in the sliced onions, the bell pepper, garlic, mace and curry powder into the skillet, mixing to blend in the spices.

Cook over medium heat until the onions and peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes along with their juices, breaking up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.

Place the chicken skin side up back into the skillet, nestling the pieces into the sauce. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Then add the raisins working them into the sauce. Cover and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve over Jasmine rice.

*You can find the fabulous collections of spices, salts and herbs from SeasonalitySpices on Etsy.com.

Jasmine Rice

1-1/2 cups Jasmine rice

1-3/4 cups water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the rice, the water and the kosher salt in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered saucepan for 10 minutes.

Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and serve.

Classic and oh, so comforting!

Country Captain courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 16, 2018
: 6-8 portions

Country Captain - a dish of stewed chicken - is considered a Southern classic. It’s a simple dish layered with vibrant spices that create an intoxicating aroma with an absolutely amazing flavor.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4-5 pounds
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped – about 1/2 teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 can whole plum tomatoes, 28-ounces
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, sliced or slivered
Directions
  • Step 1 Season both sides of the chicken with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 2 Combine the flour, the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, the cracked black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Whisk to blend well.
  • Step 3 In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture coating completely and place in the hot butter and oil. Cook in batches so that the chicken browns evenly on all sides.
  • Step 4 Transfer the browned chicken to a separate platter.
  • Step 5 Toss in the sliced onions, the bell pepper, garlic, mace and curry powder into the skillet, mixing to blend in the spices. Cook over medium heat until the onions and peppers are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 6 Add the tomatoes along with their juices, breaking up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  • Step 7 Place the browned chicken skin side up back into the skillet, nestling the pieces into the sauce. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Step 8 Add the raisins, working them into the sauce, cover and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Step 9 Serve over Jasmine rice.

Jasmine Rice courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 16, 2018
: 6-8 portions

Perfect as a side, in a pilaf or dessert!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the rice, water and kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.
  • Step 2 Cook the rice for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered saucepan for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Step 3 Fluff with a fork before serving.

 

Slow-Roasted Fresh Strawberries

Slow-Roasted Fresh Strawberries

One of my favorite things as a kid had to be fresh strawberries. It was a fruit that neither of my Grandparents had in their gardens, as the climate in the Texas Panhandle wasn’t ideal for growing them. In the small rural town where I was raised, strawberries only appeared in the food markets in the spring and summer months. Mom would clean and slice those plump red berries before tossing them a generous handful of sugar. The juices would release from the strawberries creating a syrup that she would spoon along with the sweetened berries over her ice cream or shortcakes.

I discovered roasted strawberries a number of years ago. I can’t take credit for this idea but the least I can do is share it. There are a number of versions for this technique. They range from roasting in a very hot oven to roasting with a cooler temperature plus adding extra flavoring or nothing but berries and sugar. This is a version I use – it’s somewhere in the middle.

The strawberries slow roast as the sugar melts. They slowly collapse into a juice that is enhanced with a touch of pure vanilla and almond extracts leaving their beautiful notes in the roasted fruit. The process is easy and the only skill you need is patience.

Slow-roasted strawberries are fabulous over yogurt for brunch or served as a dessert topping. The depth of flavor is hard to describe – an almost a sweet, earthiness surrounded with a luscious nectar!

Slow-Roasted Strawberries

2 quarts fresh strawberries, about 8 cups

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Rinse, remove the stem, hull the strawberries and slice them in half. Place the berries in a large bowl then add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the almond extract.

Stir well to combine. Let the berries sit for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the sugar to dissolve slightly. If you like a thicker juice, cut the sugar to 1/2 -2/3 cup depending on the sweetness of the strawberries.

Pour the strawberries in a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast at 300-degrees for 1-1/2 hours stirring the berries 2 to 3 times while they cook.

Serve warm or chilled.

Refrigerate the strawberries until ready to serve.

Slow-Roasted Strawberries

May 14, 2018
: Serves 6-8

Slow-Roasted Strawberries have a depth of flavor that is hard to describe – an almost a sweet, earthiness surrounded with a luscious nectar! The process is easy and the only skill you need is a little patience!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries, about 8 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Rinse, remove the stem, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Place the berries in a large bowl then add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the almond extract.
  • Step 2 Stir well to combine. Let the berries sit for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the sugar to dissolve slightly. If you like a thicker juice, cut the sugar to 1/2 -2/3 cup depending on the sweetness of the strawberries.
  • Step 3 Pour the strawberries in a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast at 300-degrees for 1-1/2 hours stirring the berries 2 to 3 times while they cook.
  • Step 4 Serve warm or chilled.
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Griddle Cakes with Orange Curd

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Griddle Cakes with Orange Curd

Pancakes have a special place in my heart. An odd statement for sure. Life as a single working Mom was often challenging but it seemed to have taught my young daughter to be very resourceful. The first meal Emily ever cooked for me was a piping hot plate of pancakes. It was a Friday night and I was stuck on a call dealing with a work-related emergency. Suddenly, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder as my eight-year-old daughter handed me a plate of golden, beautiful pancakes. Dinner was served!

This is a wonderful pancake recipe that is decades old. I found it published in two favorite cookbooks belonging to my Grandmothers. One cookbook dates back to 1938 and the other dates to 1947. Goes to show good food stands the test of time.

Originally known as Sour Milk Griddle Cakes, this breakfast quick bread was made with soured milk which is now commonly referred to as buttermilk and sounds a bit more appealing! This recipe requires one extra step and with this tiny effort you will be rewarded. Start with basic pancake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda then mix with the wet ingredients – buttermilk, eggs and butter.

The eggs are separated then the egg whites are beaten into stiff peaks.

They are folded into the batter creating a pancake that is extraordinarily light and fluffy.

For an extra special touch, top this gorgeous breakfast stack with a creamy orange curd.

Made with freshly squeezed orange juice and brightened with citrus zest – this orange curd is an unexpected treat served atop these puffy pancakes.

Mother’s Day is a time to reflect and say thank you. So heat up the griddle and treat the special women in your life to a delicious brunch!

And for me as a Mom, I think it’s equally important to say “thank you” to my beautiful daughter who makes being a Mom a joy! I got in the right line. Thank you for an incredible journey – with many chapters still to come!

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Griddle Cakes

2-1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 extra-large eggs, separated

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.

In a small bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Lightly beat the egg yolks and add with the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter.

Then gently fold in the beaten egg whites just until combined.

Heat a griddle to medium heat. (If you’re using an electric griddle set the temperature to 350-degrees) Once the griddle is hot add a large spoonful of batter, leaving enough room between each pancake to flip them. When the pancakes are golden brown on the bottom and set on the top flip them and continue cooking until browned and the center is cooked through.

The edges will appear dry when the pancakes are cooked through.

If you need to keep them warm for a short bit – place the pancakes on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 200-degree oven.

Serve with warm orange curd and maple syrup!

Orange Curd (Vitamix method)

6 extra-large eggs

½ cup orange juice, one large orange

Zest of one large orange, about ½ teaspoon

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup butter, cut into pieces

¼ teaspoon orange oil, optional

Place the eggs, orange juice, zest, sugar and kosher salt in the blender.

Use the “hot soup” program on the Vitamix or begin blending on low, increasing to high and process for about 5-6 minutes. Then with the machine on low speed add the butter and blend an additional 30-45 seconds. If you want to enhance the orange flavor, stir the orange oil into the finished curd.

Chill until ready to serve.

Making citrus curd in a Vitamix is almost effortless. But here’s a version you can cook on the stovetop.

Orange Curd (Stovetop)

6 extra-large eggs – yolks only, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups sugar

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice – one large orange

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest from 1 large orange, about ½ teaspoon

½ cup butter, cut into pieces

In a heavy saucepan add the beaten egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and kosher salt, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 12-15 minutes. Add the butter and the lemon zest, stirring until the butter has melted and mixed into the lemon curd.

Chill until ready to serve.

Old-Fashioned Griddle Cakes, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 11, 2018
: Makes 6-8 pancakes

Extraordinarily light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.
  • Step 2 In a small bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Step 3 Lightly beat the egg yolks and add with the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter then gently fold in the beaten egg whites just until combined.
  • Step 4 Heat a griddle to medium heat. (If you’re using an electric griddle set the temperature to 350-degrees)
  • Step 5 Once the griddle is hot add the batter, leaving enough room between each pancake to flip them. When the pancakes are brown on the bottom and set on the top flip them and continue cooking until browned and the center is cooked through.
  • Step 6 Serve with warm orange curd and maple syrup!

Orange Curd, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 11, 2018
: Makes about 4 cups of orange curd

This creamy and bright citrus orange curd is wonderful on pancakes or waffles or served as a beautiful dessert sauce!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup orange juice, one large orange
  • Zest of one large orange, about ½ teaspoon
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the eggs, orange juice, zest, sugar and kosher salt in the blender. Using the “hot soup” program begin blending on low, increasing to high and process for about 5-6 minutes. With the machine on low speed add the butter and blend an additional 30-45 seconds.
  • Step 2 If making the orange curd on the stovetop use only the egg yolks.
  • Step 3 In a heavy saucepan add the beaten egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and kosher salt, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the butter and the lemon zest, stirring until the butter has melted and mixed into the lemon curd.
  • Step 5 Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of the curd to prevent a “skin” from forming, then store in a covered the container. Chill until ready to serve.
Teatime Tassies

Teatime Tassies

This was one of Mom’s “go to” desserts. Little morsels of pecan pie filling tucked into a delicate cream cheese and buttery crust. Teatime Tassies are lighter than a traditional pecan pie making them perfect for warm weather entertaining!

If making pies is not your thing – rest assured you can handle this. The dough is a simple blend of cream cheese, butter and flour plus a touch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Starting with softened butter seems counterintuitive to what we know about making pastry dough. But the softer butter and cream cheese allow the two to blend together in just the right manner creating a soft, almost creamy pastry.

The soft dough is easily molded into miniature muffin cups just waiting to hold that luscious pecan filling – made with dark brown sugar, butter and eggs plus pure vanilla extract, a splash of cream and glorious toasted pecans.

These tiny cups of pecan and pastry goodness are just the right bite for teatime – or anytime!

Teatime Tassies

Cream Cheese Dough

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup flour

Cream the butter together with the cream cheese on medium speed until it is well blended.

Add the sugar, the kosher salt and the flour and continue mixing just until the ingredients are blended and the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 pieces, rolling each gently into a ball.

A small ice cream scoop is perfect for dividing the dough into 24 balls.

Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Lightly spray the cups of miniature muffin tins. Place a chilled dough ball into the cup of a miniature muffin tin. Gently press into the bottom and the sides of each cup.

Pecan Filling

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 extra-large egg

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup chopped toasted pecans

Combine the dark brown sugar with the egg, the butter, vanilla extract, cream and kosher salt.

Beat until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the chopped pecans evenly into each of the pastry shells.

Divide the filling between each and finish topping with the remaining pecans.

Bake at 325-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set. (The pastry shells will not be brown.)

Set the pans on wire rack to cool for five minutes. Carefully run a sharp knife around the edge of each pastry to loosen them slightly and allow to cool for another 10 minutes. Remove the pastries from the pans and set on a wire rack until they are completely cooled.

Teatime Tassies, recipe courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 9, 2018
: Makes 24 tassies

Teatime Tassies - tiny Southern tarts with a luscious pecan filling baked in a buttery, cream cheese crust. Perfect for entertaining!

By:

Ingredients
  • Cream Cheese Pastry Dough
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pecan Filling
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the pastry dough:
  • Step 2 Cream the butter together with the cream cheese on medium speed until it is well blended. Add the sugar, the kosher salt and the flour. Continue mixing just until the ingredients are blended and the dough comes together.
  • Step 3 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 pieces, rolling each gently into a ball. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Step 4 Lightly spray the cups of miniature muffin tins. Place a chilled dough ball into the cups of the miniature muffin tins. Gently press into the bottom and the sides of each cup.
  • Step 5 To make the filling:
  • Step 6 Combine the dark brown sugar with the egg, the butter, vanilla extract, cream and kosher salt. Beat until the mixture is smooth and well blended.
  • Step 7 To make the tassies:
  • Step 8 Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the chopped pecans evenly into each pastry shell. Divide the filling between each and finish topping with the remaining pecans.
  • Step 9 Bake at 325-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set. (The pastry shells will not be brown.)
  • Step 10 Set the pans on wire rack to cool for five minutes. Carefully run a sharp knife around the edge of each pastry to loosen them slightly and allow to cool for another 10 minutes.
  • Step 11 Remove the pastries from the pans and set on a wire rack until they are completely cooled.
  • Step 12 Preserving Good Stock
  • Step 13 preservinggoodstock.com