Friday, March 11, 2016

Homemade Pickles & Mayonnaise


As a young boy LB always got excited when we went out to our favorite Bistro for burgers! As the server was nearing the table with these juicy treats P< would announce, "It's pickle time!" For many, pickles in particular call to mind summer sandwiches, grilling, picnics...and CONDIMENTS! 


Pickles


1 large gourmet cucumber, sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup sugar
2 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 star anise
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Place cucumbers and onions in 1-qt. wide lid mason jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, star anise, cloves, turmeric, and red pepper flakes to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes. Pour liquid over cucumbers and onions; cover, and refrigerate. Stir every few hours to move the veggies into the liquid. Pickles can be enjoyed the following day!


For the RQ mayonnaise on everything is what gets the appetite going! My mother used to whip up mayo, apple cider vinegar, dash of sugar, S&P for a wicked topping for burgers. It is equally as tasty on battered fish. And don't hesitate to dip your fries! And if you prefer tarter sauce, the home chef can whip up a quick batch with the above pickles.

Mayonnaise

1 large organic egg
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup EVOO

Whip this traditional homemade condiment by adding ingredients to tall wide mouth mason jar and combine with immersion blender. In less than 30 seconds, voila, Mayonnaise! Use w/in 5 days!
 
Spring and summer are nearing, and so too are our favorite seasonal foods!

* Pickle recipe compliments of The Vegetarian Times (March 2011)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Omelet & Hash Browns

LB made this for a weekday breakfast...what a lovely surprise for the RQ! Just goes to demonstrate what brilliance can result from a creative mind and a few basic ingredients! This omelet had shallots and mushrooms~YUM! I celebrate ALL home cooks willing to experiment again-and-again as they discover that so often it's the simplest of ingredients that make a meal.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dinner in "a snap" - Asian Noodles

Asian noodles in our house are simply a HOT bowl of goodness, especially on a cold winter's day. The simplest of ingredients follow. For lunch or dinner...ENJOY!

Asian Noodles

Buckwheat Noodles, Hakubaku, Organic Soba
Celery
Carrots
Garlic
Ginger
Green/yellow onions
Leafy Green/Cabbage/bean sprouts
cilantro
Soy Sauce/Tamari
Sesame Oil (Toasted if preferred)

Put water on to boil. Begin chopping desired veggies. Place noodles in pot when ready. Saute veggies in sesame oil. Add cooked (al dente) noodles to skillet and desired amount of soy sauce to saturate the noodles. Chicken broth can also be used in addition or in place of soy sauce. Top with fresh cilantro and Enjoy!!

 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Chicken Curry Salad

The home chef might not think of making what many consider a summer sandwich salad in the depths of winter, but the RQ says, "Think again!" Curry is a blend of spices many which are warming: cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and coriander! And for as many spices that make up the blend there are quite a few blends from which to choose! Thus, the cook can easily adapt this recipe to personal taste! The RQ particularly likes a blend that contains saffron and cardamon, traditionally know as Maharajah Curry. Saffron and turmeric in this blend create the yellow color to the dish that is quite pleasing to the eye! There's nothing more satisfying on a cold winter's day!

Make a lightly toasted sandwich with a few leaves of fresh spinach for a delicious sandwich or simply pile your chicken salad on top of a bed of your favorite greens!

Curry Chicken Salad

chicken breasts (boneless), boiled and chopped
onions (1 whole) 1/2 sliced; 1/2 chopped
garlic (5 cloves) 3 clove chopped; 2 cloves chopped fine/smashed
salt, healthy dash (for boiling chicken)
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped fine/grated
1 Tbsp Curry
1 tsp Cumin
1/3 cup walnuts, raw, chopped (nut of choice/toasted if preferred)
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise (mayo of choice)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium dutch oven or saute pan add enough water to cover the chicken breast, sliced onion, and roughly chopped garlic. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer til chicken cooked (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, in a skillet saute chopped onion, finely chopped garlic, and ginger. Once chicken is cooked, chop and add to saute mixture (onions & garlic in boiling water discarded). Add curry and cumin. Stir to combine and heat on low to let flavors begin to meld. Salt and pepper can be added when adding mayonnaise later. Often the salt added to the chicken while boiling is sufficient for seasoning. I like to cool the mixture down a bit before adding the mayonnaise and fresh cilantro. Place the chicken sauteed mixture on a pie plate to cool in the freezer for 10 minutes stirring two or three times. I then add the walnuts, cherries, mayo, and cilantro. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or enjoyed your favorite way right away! Enjoy!




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Raspberry Chocolate Cream Pie

The Red Queen is a sucker for dessert! This treat is easy to assemble AND even easier to make vegan with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks!

Raspberry Chocolate Cream Pie
(must allow a minimum of 4 hours for the pie to set)

MI-DEL Sweedish Style Ginger Snaps (5 ounces)
4 ounces butter or Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
10 oz Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips*
16 oz Nasoya Silken Tofu** 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Red Raspberry seedless fruit spread (Knott's/Dickinson's/Sorrell Ridge)
2 pints fresh red raspberries (you will have extra)

8-inch pie plate

Only the pie crust is baked! Set oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile crush ginger snaps in food processor or place in gallon size plastic storage bag and crush by rolling a rolling pin till fine. In a mixing bowl combine melted butter with crushed ginger snaps. Then press into bottom and up the sides of a pie plate (the bottom of a ramekin is great to finish pressing)! Crusts bakes for 10-12 minutes. Must cool before adding filling (at least 45 minutes).

When crust is almost cool begin preparing the chocolate filling. Melt chocolate in microwave at 50% power for three minutes, stir; if needed continue at 50% power in 30 second intervals, until completely melted. Process tofu till smooth, then add melted chocolate and vanilla extract blending till smooth. Must be chilled a minimum of four hours in refrigerator before layering with fruit spread and topping with berries. Note: the fruit spread is just enough to set the raspberries atop the pie!

A food processor is recommended but a creative home chef knows how to use the tools at hand! So have fun and ENJOY!

* The RQ uses 9 oz semi-sweet chips and 1 oz bittersweet;-)
**Different kinds of Silken Tofu are interchangeable for most recipes (soft, medium, firm). 

Note: Regular and silken tofu are processed differently, and not interchangeable in recipes.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Honoring a classic by baking the cake!


In the peak of summer there is nothing more satisfying than freshly picked berries! Whether using strawberries or raspberries, this dessert is a classic! As for the cake, home bakers will never again settle for the processed lady fingers found at the supermarket once they have tasted this gem!

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
2 quarts fresh strawberries/raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1-2 Tbsp Grand Marnier 
______________

Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
______________
2 cups whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Clean and remove hulls from strawberries. Slice in half. If using raspberries use the whole berry. Put berries in large bowl and sprinkle with suagr and Grand Marnier. Stir, cover, and refrigerate till serving time (up to 6 hours).

Cake: Lightly grease 8 inch round cake pan. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar cream of tartar, baking soda. With a pastry blender cut-in butter till size of small peas. Stir in chopped walnuts (fine). In a small bowl combine egg & milk. Add egg and milk mixture to flour mixture with a fork till just combined (do not over handle)! Press gently into prepared baking pan. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes (check @ 25-30 min). Once done, cool in pan for 10 min.., then remove to complete cooling on wire rack (about 15 minutes). 

Meanwhile whip cream, sugar, & vanilla till soft peaks form.

Assmebly
Cut cake in half horizontally creating a second layer. Top bottom half with 2/3 berries & juice from berries and 2/3 whipped cream. Place second cake layer and top with remaining berries and cream. 

Serve immediately!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Easy Biscuits II

As has been noted biscuits are one of the most basic recipes to be found. That said, as unique as we each are, so are the implementations and variations on basic recipes!

Basic Biscuits
(makes 8-9)

2 cups flour
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 Tblsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, COLD
3/4 cup whole milk, half 'n half, or heavy cream

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. With a wire pastry blender cut in precut butter slices till look like coarse crumbs~don't over mix! Add liquid and lightly mix with dessert fork. Once dough begins to come together use one hand to gently cup/palm/gather dough into loose ball. Then gently press out on floured surface and cut with biscuit cutter.

Place on cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes till just beginning to golden.

ENJOY!



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

 Ah, Autumn's Bounty! I can't think of a better combination than apples and butternut squash! Together they make a hearty brew! The RQ's mom introduced this thick soup when our family moved to her town. We've been making it every Autumn and every Thanksgiving since! One spoonful and the diner instantly knows why!
Butternut Squash Soup
(Epicurious, 1998)

butternut squash, 2 1/2- 3 1/3 lbs, peeled & chopped into 1/2" chunks
carrot, one large, peeled and chopped
celery, 4, peeled on ribbed edge and chopped
butter, 6 Tblsp
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider
thyme, dried, heaping teaspoon
sage, healthy three-finger pinch
apple, cored, peeled, chopped
onion, large, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
plain thick Greek yogurt, scant cup
thyme, fresh sprigs, garnish (optional)

The squash, carrot, and celery cook down in the melted butter over medium-high heat. The apples, thyme and sage are added along with the broth and cider (reserve 1/2 cup of the cider).  The soup simmers on med-low for about 30 minutes, covered.

While using an immersion blender, the remaining 1/2 cup of cider can reduce stove top till about 1/4 cup. This mixture can then be stirred into the plain yogurt to "dress" the soup. Remember to stir in the heavy cream after pureeing the soup! The chef will notice a few substitutions when comparing recipes. As regards ingredients likely to be on-hand, a large sweet onion, fresh thyme from the garden, and plain yogurt work just fine in this recipe! As always, ENJOY!

Note:  if the veggies/fruit are prepared ahead of time, this could be considered, dinner in "a snap!"

Thank you Epicurious!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dinner in "a snap" - Parpardelle Egg Pasta alla Carbonara

Mouth watering!
With fresh and simple ingredients any meal becomes a feast with the right recipe! The RQ prepares many versions of this recipe but this one is simple and made with ingredients that are often on-hand! Pair this with a lovely green leaf salad dressed with honey* and the meal is complete!

Parpardelle alla Carbonara
Serves 2
Parpardelle or desired pasta, 4 ounces
Bacon, 4 slices (apple-wood smoked, opt), cooked in skillet
half 'n half, 1/3 cup (whole milk can be substituted)
eggs, 2 (organic preferred)
Asiago or other dry-sharp Italian cheese, 3/4 cup, finely grated
parsley, 2 Tblsp
salt & fresh cracked pepper

Begin by measuring out the half 'n half and mixing in the two eggs; set aside. Place water for pasta on stove to boil adding pasta when ready. Fry the bacon in a skillet stove top turning frequently to not burn! Once done immediately move to paper towel to absorb excess fat. While bacon sizzles and water boils, grate cheese and chop parsley. Mix cheese with egg mixture. Chop resting bacon into bite size pieces. Swiftly drain al dente pasta and get it back into the hot pot and toss with egg & cheese mixture. Top with bacon, parsley, and freshly cracked black pepper. ENJOY!

Green Salad
Green leaf lettuce, sunflower seeds
*Honey Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp honey, half a lemon, s&p

Note: Is the sauce hot enough to "cook" the eggs? How swiftly can you get the pasta and remaining ingredients back into the pot?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup has always been a favorite during the Autumn season! My Italian grandmother made this often and always reminded me of its simplicity! Lentils impart a hearty stew-like soup. So be careful not to overburden the soup with too many additions. Carrots, celery, onions, and garlic are essential and all that's needed to lend a meaty flavor. Between prep and cooking "soup is ready" in ninety minutes!

Lentil Soup the way my Gram used to make

1/2 pound lentils, (French or brown), rinsed, set aside
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh tomato, chopped (Roma/canned diced)
Bay Leaf
4 cups chicken stock, (homemade ideal)
4 cups water
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Asiago cheese, finely grated

Wash lentils (pick over-sometimes pebbles). Heat oil in thick bottomed pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot saute onions, garlic, celery, and carrots (pinch of salt) for about 10 minutes or until veggies are slightly brown. Next add chopped tomato and bay leaf cooking 10 additional minutes. Then add lentils, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, cover with lid cracked slightly, and simmer for about an hour. When lentils are soft but not mushy, add parsley, salt & pepper to taste. If desired sprinkle with grated Italian cheese to serve. Crusty bread and a simple salad complete this meal. Relax and enjoy!

NOTE: If you want to add an extra step to prep the beans try sweating them. For this recipe I would add the beans along with tomatoes and bay leaf.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Together Smoking ... Again

Nothing beats the taste of smoked meat! We combined two local ingredients from our favorite farmers market to produce an amazing result. Beef Brisket from Aberdeen Farms and BBQ rub from Allens Hill Farm. This 2lb brisket took 2 hours to smoke at 325 deg. Next time I will use a proper smoker box as the aluminum foil burned through from the intense heat of the lump charcoal.
Soak The Wood Chips

Use a quality rub like Allens Hill Farm BBQ Rub

Indirect Heat. Chips in foil. 325 deg until meat is 160 degF with instant read thermometer

The Smoking Rig

Only time you will ever see Portman with a Beer at 7am

Finished Product ready for transport to Lil B


Friday, June 27, 2014

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad is a lovely surprise as as the summer months heat up. The RQ was inspired by  The Red Fern,  a local Rochester restaurant that serves an extraordinary vegan cuisine! The RQ created her own version of the potato salad and served it on a bed of purple kale salad, which is both pleasing to the eyes and satisfying to the palate! (Recipe below.)


The Red Queen's Sweet Potato Salad
(serves 4)

1 large yam (cut into hearty bite-size pieces and steamed)
1/4 red onion, diced
2 celery stalks, cut on bias
1 Tblsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup safflower Vegenaise
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Carrot Chopper made an excellent fingerling potato salad last weekend AND reminded The RQ to STEAM the potatoes to get the most nutrients! Guess what, the potatoes turn out perfectly; not at all mushy. Steaming only takes about 10-15 minutes! Spread the steamed potato chunks on a plate to cool and prepare the remaining veggies and dressing. Throw it all in one bowl, smash and Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sweet Chocolatey Treats

Tasty Mini Brownies
Carrot Chopper is wickedly creative with a mini-muffin pan! Featured here are moist chocolatey brownies, recipe by the minimalist baker! Remember to adjust time and temperature for smaller muffin cups!

The RQ must take a moment to talk about the many treats her vegan daughter creates! This past weekend P<, CC, and The RQ ALL enjoyed an endless supply of Chocolate-Almond and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups~and, yes, made in a mini-muffin pan! From mixing bowl to freezer Hershey's Reese's Cups, "eat your heart out!" Check out Juli Bauer's Easy Chocolate Butter Almond Cups! CC substituted peanut butter & shredded coconut for one round of cups~YUM!
If you're not yet convinced to dig that mini-muffin pan out of the cupboard, take a look at these scrumptious Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins! CC adapted the original recipe by substituting 1/4 cup applesauce for an egg and 1/4 cup coconut milk  instead of dairy milk.
Imagine P< and The RQ waking up on a weekend morning to the aroma of freshly baked muffins! CC had them artfully displayed and ready for devouring!

And although the zucchini muffins featured here are not chocolate, CC recommends the following two recipes: Zucchini Brownies and Zucchini Brownies-2.

The RQ and P< THANK Carrot Chopper for keeping them "fat and happy!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Indian Rice and Spinach Salad

 Indian Rice with Mung Dahl and a Coconut Curry Sauce
Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Meet Lisa Barnes, a Natural Chef, and grab this delicious Salad recipe!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pizza Surprise

Friday night is pizza night and that means bring your creativity. How the pizza is topped is always a surprise and has lots to do with what's left in the fridge from the week! Last week The RQ, Little Brother, and P< enjoyed homemade pizza ever so lightly drizzled with olive oil, roasted red peppers, and sauteed onions. Ah, simple pleasures!

The RQ recommends always proofing the yeast. It doesn't take long and prevents waisting ingredients if it's not active. To proof active dry yeast dissolve yeast (amount called for in recipe of choice) in 1/4 cup warm water (100-110F), stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar, and let sit 10 minutes. If the mixture doubles the yeast  is ready to go. Remember to make quantity adjustments for sugar and water used in proofing.

Pizza Dough
(2 small pizzas)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast or rapid rise
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 Tablespoon olive/vegetable oil
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Proof yeast. While waiting for yeast to expand, combine flour and remaining sugar in food processor or kitchen aid with dough attachments. Once yeast is successfully proofed, gradually add 3/4 cup of the ice cold water to the dry ingredients on low speed. Next add proofed yeast mixture (includes 1/4 cup of water for total needed in recipe). Follow with the as much remaining 3/4+ cup ice cold water to bring the dough to a well-formed ball. Remember, the dough doesn't like to get too wet so be watchful! Now mix in oil and salt. Place dough on flat surface and knead for a few minutes or until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl and allow the dough to rise at least 3 hours. Punch down and let rise for another 30-60 minutes. Place inverted jelly-roll pan in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 500F. Split dough in half and roll dough. Lightly brush pan with olive oil and place pizza dough directly to bake for 5 minutes or less, when bottom begins to crisp but not brown. Remove dough with spatula to cutting board or appropriate surface to dress with toppings of choice! Place back in oven for an addition 7-12 minutes. Enjoy!