This recipe was one of my very first cooking experiments, almost 30 years ago.Read More
Do you want to enjoy your water with a pop of color and a hint of flavor (but no calories)? Make ice cubes stuffed with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
The technique is very simple make-ahead, and the key to success is using boiled, filtered water. The rest is up to you.
1. Bring 3 cups filtered water to a boil. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 4-5 hours covered with plastic wrap.
2. Arrange your garnishes in each compartment of a large ice cube tray. Pour enough water to fill each compartment. Freeze trays 5 to 6 hours or until completely frozen.
3. Remove trays from the freezer, and allow to sit at room temperature 3 to 4 minutes to allow frost to melt. Add the ice to water or other summer drinks
Here are some favorite flavor combinations (pin the image below for later!):
- Strawberry slices and basil
- Tiny cubes of watermelon and cantaloupes with lime curls
- Fresh thyme sprigs with lavender flowers (available at good spice stores)
- Blueberries with orange zest curls
- Nostrum flowers
- Cucumber slices and mint
- Dried rose petals (available at good spice shops)
- Some herbal tea blends sold in bulk at artisanal tea stores are pretty spectacular in ice.
Let your creativity soar and remember, beauty has no calories.
Believe it or not, your microwave can do more than reheating your coffee or your day-old pizza (actually, reheating pizza is NOT its forte.)
If you’re heading to college where the only cooking vessel is a microwave; or if it is just too hot to cook – your microwave is your friend. It is also great when you cook for just one.
All you need is a mug (I got Mrs. G’s) and a few good recipes.
The only caveat is that the microwave doesn’t brown the food as well as the oven — unless you have a microwave-convection oven combo (Shop GE at Mrs. G’s now). To solve this issue, just decorate the top with some tasty garnishes. They will add color and flavor.
- • 1/3 cup marinara sauce or ketchup ( get it locally from First Field)
- • 1/3 cup panko crumbs (or smashed gluten-free crackers)
- • Two tablespoons grated onion
- • One teaspoon chopped garlic
- • One teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- • 1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed from the farmers market
- • One large egg
- • More ketchup for garnish
- 1. Combine marinara or ketchup, panko, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and ground beef in a large bowl. Stir to mix (I like to knead it in my hands, their warmth helps distribute the fat and flavors.)
- 2. Spread beef mixture evenly in a nine 1/2-inch microwave-safe loaf dish coated with olive oil; Keep the mixture somewhat fluffy.
- 3. Loosely cover with a paper towel.
- 4. Microwave for 8 -10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, and a thermometer reads 160°;
- 5. Let stand for 3 minutes. Serve topped with additional ketchup if desired.
- 6. Note: To prepare one serving of a meatloaf, divide the mixture in four, and freeze three portions. Microwave the remaining portion in a lightly oiled mug for 3 minutes. When ready to cook the remaining frozen meatball mixes be sure to thaw them completely in the fridge before cooking.
- • 1/2 cup almonds or other nut flour
- • 1/4 tsp baking soda
- • A pinch of salt
- • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- • 1-ounce (1/8 cup) New Jersey blueberries ('tis the season!)
- • One egg
- • One tablespoon melted butter
- • Two tablespoons maple syrup
- • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- • A little more maple syrup, to top
- 1. Mix almonds, baking soda, salt and cloves in a bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to cover them with the dry mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, butter, syrup, and zest. Combine the wet mixture with the dry one and mix thoroughly.
- 2. Pour into a coffee mug that you have coated with a little bit of oil or butter. Microwave for 90 seconds. Drizzle with a bit more maple syrup. Enjoy.
- • Melted butter to brush the cup and the top of the frittata
- • 1⁄2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
- • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
- • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- • 1⁄3 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- • 2 eggs
- • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
- • salt and pepper
- • Extra one tablespoon crumbled goat cheese and one tablespoons chopped basil to garnish.
- 1. Brush a microwave safe cereal sized bowl or a mug with some melted butter
- 2. Chop the spinach. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the basil, goat cheese and parmesan and mix.
- 3. Beat the two eggs and cream in a separate cup, pour over the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- 4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes until starting to set. Drizzle with some butter and sprinkle the remaining goat cheese. Microwave for another minute.
- 5. Sprinkle with basil if you wish and serve immediately.
- There are lots of greens at the farmers market right now. Use them in a frittata.
Blueberries are one of the fruity highlights of the summer, and as the New Jersey State Fruit, we are fortunate to have them in abundance and in close proximity at the numerous local farms in Mercer County. Thankfully, there is a way to preserve the juicy flavor of in-season New Jersey blueberries and enjoy them in the dead of winter. The method is simple: Flash Freeze them.
Source: JerseyFresh.nj.gov on Facebook
Flash freezing extends the life of our local summer berries (as well as many other foods).
In food-industry terms, flash freezing means freezing foods “in a flash” at extremely low temperatures. This method prevents the water molecules inside food from forming large crystals. Small crystals do a better job preserving nutrients and flavors. They also help the food keep its moisture when thawed.
In home-cook terms, flash freezing means freezing individual morsels of food separately. This allows the food to freeze faster and keeps the pieces from clumping together. It also enables you to thaw and use just the amount you need. (Please scroll down to the “how”).
Most good flash freezers are too cumbersome for the home. But the German manufacturer Liebherr offers a freezer with a “superfrost” option. The “SuperFrost” drops the temperature to a frosty -30. The operation is simple: Just push the button on the control panel. (it takes about six hours to drop to this temperature. So please plan in advance). Watch Debbie introducing the Liebherr flash freezers.
You can flash freeze at home no matter what kind of freezer you have. You will need 2 items:
1. A tray that fits your freezer, and
2. Freezer bags.
How to flash freeze:
1. Gently rinse the berries and pat them dry;
2. Divide them into small, individual portions;
3. Line the tray with parchment paper or plastic wrap;
4. Place berries on the sheet or tray in one layer. Make sure the edges of the berries don’t touch. If they touch, they fuse
together as they freeze;
5. When the berries are frozen, remove them from the baking sheet;
6. Transfer to resealable freezer bags or freezer-safe containers with tight-fitting lids;
7. Label the package with the name of the item, and the date it was frozen;
8. Return the food to your regular freezer (not to the flash freezer if you used it).
And now to the million dollar question: How long can I keep my flash-frozen food?
According to the USDA, food stored continuously at temperatures of 0°F or below is safe to eat. Yet over time, frozen foods might lose flavor, texture, and quality.
So I’d say you should use your berries within a year. That is to say, until a new batch of Jersey Fresh berries is ready for flash-freezing.
For a complete list of Jersey Fresh availability and season forecast, visit JerseyFresh.nj.gov’s weekly guide at http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/find/JFAvailReport.pdf. For a complete list lot what’s in season and when, visit http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/find/availability.html.
Before my kids were born, I could easily spend a whole day just cooking dinner. I would hop from farm to farm in search of meticulous ingredients. Then I would spend hours in the kitchen creating elaborate chef dinners. I loathed people who made mayonnaise in a blender rather than whipping it by hand, let alone bought it at the store.
When my first child was born, I (stressfully) held on to this practice. But when my second and third ones arrived, I had no choice but to cave in. And I started to cut corners.
Sixteen years later, I’ve developed a whole repertoire of shortcuts. Sure, my occupational pride is hurt. But dinners are made with ease and nonchalance.
One of my favorite shortcuts is that of guacamole. In this particular recipe, we first grilled the avocado and lime on the Big Green Egg after being inspired by local blogger Amanda Biddle of StripedSpatula. Guacamole is so simple that there is no need for a recipe:
1.Grill cut sides down on medium-high direct heat for about 5 minutes;
2. Scoop out the flesh of three ripe avocados;
3. Drizzle some lime and sprinkle with salt;
4. Mash with a fork and then stir in about half cup of fresh, store-bought salsa.
5. That’s all!
People who’ve tasted this guacamole said that it tasted like the “real thing” from a restaurant. So let me tell you a secret: restaurants cut corners, too.
Finals are upon us, and our kids are cramming. We can’t take the tests for them, but we can help them think more clearly.
As every parent knows, there are many ways to do that (or are there?). Here I’d like to offer a recipe that may keep their blood sugar stable, and provide just enough carbs to appease them. It combines protein and good-for-you fats with some brain clearing, mood lifting substances.
And, believe it or not, all that goodness is wrapped up as chocolate peanut bars.
This recipe plays up the beloved peanut-butter-and-chocolate combination. If you wish, replace the peanut butter with any other nut or seeds butter.
It is important to use butter from grass-fed cows. Grass-raised foods have a higher level of Omega-3 fats in them. Omega-3′s have been known to help with learning, concentration and brain development.
In case you were wondering, the omega-3 finds its way into the food from the grass. The grass also gives it a beautiful gold color, great flavor, and vital nutrients. You can find local grass-fed butter at some farmers markets.
Use high-quality chocolate with at least 70% cacao. In my opinion, the coconut and raisins provide just enough sweetness, so I use 99% cocoa with no sugar at all.
- • Four tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter.
- • 11/4 cups peanut or almond butter (make fresh in your Wolf Gourmet blender!)
- • 1 cup high-quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao, chopped
- • 1 cup raisins
- • 1 cup ground hemp seeds or flax seeds
- • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- • ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1. Melt the butter, chocolate, and nut butter in a saucepan. Work over medium heat (or the lower heat on a dual stacked burner).
- 2. Combine the other ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the melted butter mixture and mix well with a silicon spatula.
- 3. Spread mixture onto an 8X12-inch pan. Chill until it's firm and cut into 1-inch squares. A tiny piece goes a very long way.
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