Category Archives: Recipes

It’s the season for seasoned butter

basil bunchYou can make your own seasoned butter in a jif! There are hundreds of combinations.

For the mixtures, I always used a simple rule of thumb:

  1. something green (usually an herb)
  2. something acidic (lemon, lime, orange)
  3. something salty (a plain or smoked salt, capers)
  4. something with heat (jalapeno, chili flake, cayenne)
  5. something to give color (like turmeric or paprika, if it didn’t have color already).

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Recipe: Summer Salad – Tomato Pesto Mozzarella Panzanella

If you are looking for an authentic, traditional panzanella salad, you’d be better off with this one from Giada De Laurentis. But if you want something equally delicious,  that can be made in about 4 minutes, I’m your girl! There is no toasting of the bread, no seeding or peeling of tomatoes, or other fussy steps.

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A bounty of tomatoes from Common Hands Farm

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Recipe: Spicy, Sweet ‘n Smokey Cowboy Chili

It’s that time of year that this owner of a spice company looks forward to the most:  the annual Chili Contest at Catamount Ski Resort!

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This great event brings together chili competitors from all over — home cooks, caterers, chefs, restaurants. It’s great fun but also a great cause, as both the competitor registration fee and the tasters’ entrance fees are donated to the Roe Jan Food Pantry.Chili cookoff image

According to Heather White, Communications Manager for Catamount,

“A total of $676 for the Roe Jan Food Pantry during the event, so please give yourselves a hand!  We had 95 people as taste testers, who voted for the winners.”

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19 bubbling pots of chili were available for tasting this year. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Wintery Spiced Fruit Compote

My younger sister likes to tell people that I went through a period,  early in my cooking life, where almost everything I made was stewed. I claim no recollection of this and yet, here I am with a stewed fruit compote recipe.

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Why? Because it’s delicious and warming and fragrant and elegant. Not to mention, it was THE perfect dish to bring to a brunch potluck during the holidays. Did I mention, it has no added sugar? Read the rest of this entry

Elegant, Easy Holiday Menu with Spanish flair

Recipe: Roasted Orange-Fennel Salad

Epic Christmas Eve dinner 2013,  continued:

Sicilian Roasted Salad

Sicilian Roasted Salad

Our menu was coming along swimmingly, but there was a marked absence of greens. I said something about how elegant whole romaine leaves can be as a salad; my sister Peggi said something about once having a broiled salad with oranges; my sister Lisa said something about “stop talking, start cooking!” and we were off and running. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Sage Butternut Lasagna

Another recipe in the series of “Christmas Eve dinner 2013”:

The plan was to make 3 very different types of raviolis, from scratch:

  • porcini mushroom with black truffle oil
  • butternut squash with brown sage butter
  • two cheese with roasted tomato and caper sauce

The thing with planning, is that not everything cooperates, right? The kitchen sink backed up during the prep phase, which put a stop to all washing of dishes, pots and utensils. I had already prepared the butternut squash filling, so I decided to make a lasagna out of it, and skip the other 2 raviolis in the interest of reducing cookware that would need to be washed.

Butternut-Sage Lasagna

Butternut-Sage Lasagna

Not a bad move, all told;  it was freaking delicious. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Spanish Chorizo with Smoked Paprika Potatoes

In continuing to document the most fun Christmas Eve meal I just had, I have to tell you about this dish!

Chorizo & Potato with smoked paprika

Chorizo & Potato with smoked paprika

Recap: no kids this year, no enduring family traditions, opening the door to the imaginative Spanish-style menu we developed.

I had been keeping an eye out for appropriate ingredients during the week before, and I spotted fresh chorizo at The Berry Farm while making a delivery. I’ll be darned if I can’t remember the brand, but I do recall that there were no gross ingredients, no nitrates or mentions of organ meats, and it was local. (I also picked up a package of huge, moist Medjool dates which got transformed into this recipe.) Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Stuffed Dates

This is a RARE recipe that does not include any spices!  But it was soooo delicious, as part of our Christmas Eve dinner this year,  that I had to share it with you.

dates with chaource

I am sure that as long as there have been dates, people have been stuffing them. When planning the dinner menu, I thought I remembered seeing dates stuffed with almonds, somewhere in my travels. Turns out,  dates stuffed with blue cheese, with or without almonds and bacon, are a classic Spanish dish.

Since I was already serving almonds, I decided to skip them in this dish. Bacon is not a hugely popular ingredient in my family (if you can believe it), so I 86’d that, too.

That left only the blue cheese to deal with. Instinctively, I knew how these two foods would work together. Dates are very dense, intensely sweet with a lingering taste of honey in your mouth. I needed something that would cut through that sweetness and give a sharp, delicious contrast.

“Chaource” cheese is what came to mind! Not a blue, at all, but I knew it would work. Chaource is a cow’s milk cheese with a bloomy, ash-coated rind. It is one of the oddest cheese I’ve encountered, the reason being that it completely changes in character during ripening.

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Rory Chase of The Amazing Real Live Food Co at my booth at the Hillsdale Farmers Market in 2013 ~ educating customers on his cheeses

I use “Moonlight Chaource” from The Amazing Real Live Food Co in Pine Plains NY, and I also re-sell it at my farmers markets, so I’ve eaten quite a bit of it over the years.

When it is younger, it is quite firm, almost crumbly in the center, and the rind remains white with grey speckles of ash.  As it ages, the interior turns creamy melty gooey, like a ripe Camembert, and the rind darkens somewhat.

che_amz_chaource_zI prefer Chaource at this ripe stage. It is pungent, sharp, creamy, and the taste lingers in your mouth for hours. I knew this was the right pairing for my Medjool dates — and it was!chaseholm-farms-16

Recipe:

Slit each date and remove the pit.
Insert about 1/2 tsp of Chaource into the date.
You can pop the completed dates under a broiler for 1-2 minutes, on a cookie sheet, but you don’t have to (I didn’t).

Recipe: Smokey Spiced Spanish Almonds

I admit, I’m not all that familiar with Spanish food.

spiced almonds

Although I’ve lived in several countries in Europe, and traveled a lot, I just haven’t had much exposure to it. For some reason, Spanish restaurants aren’t that popular around me, which is surprising considering how many other international cuisines there are  (I checked!  Asian, Cajun, Creole, Chinese, Eastern European, French, Greek,  Indian,  Italian,  Japanese, Mexican,  Thai, Vietnamese are all within 15 minutes of me).

So…  when my family decided to go with a Spanish theme for our Christmas Eve dinner this year, I gulped. Read the rest of this entry

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