All Hail Asparagus, Spring is just around the corner

  So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid, it’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

 

GRILLED ASPARAGUS MOCK CRAB TART (dairy)

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb mock crab shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and mock crab on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND LOX BITES (dairy)

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 lb lox, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, lox and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

ASPARAGUS STRATA (dairy)

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

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ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT (dairy)

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS (pareve)

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

ASPARAGUS AND PASTA SALAD (dairy)

6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup of the water used in cooking

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan for serving

Cook the Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and 1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

Too Much Candy for Halloween??? Nah……recipes for leftover candy

So the high holiday of candy is coming up and your little darlings will get enough sugar to power a small nuclear plant and it’s time for the “parent” to consider confiscating a portion of bounty “for their own good” of course. Yeah, right, that didn’t work with my kids either.

What I did do was try to channel some of the candy to other venues. I always let my kids eat about 1/3 of the candy, they had to give at least 1/3 of the goodies they collected to one of the women’s shelters for the kids there who didn’t get to trick or treat and the remaining 1/3 was put into the communal candy basket at home for us to use as a family (ok, my husband and I snarfed a few) for some of our favorite, made with candy recipes.

Rather than try and justify how chocolate should really be its own food group I’m just going to offer the following recipes that have graced my family’s table in the weeks following Halloween and pray you don’t gain as much weight as we do when we eat them.

 

 

CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR CROISSANTS

 

1 (8 ounce) tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

2 (1.55 ounce) milk or semi sweet chocolate candy bars, broken into small pieces

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Unroll crescent roll dough; separate into triangles. Brush with butter.

 

Preheat oven to 375. Arrange candy bar pieces evenly over triangles; roll up from the wide end. Place point side down on a greased baking sheet; curve ends slightly. Brush the top of the croissant with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the top with almonds. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8. This recipe can be doubled.

 

CANDY BAR CAKE

 

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups finely chopped candy bar (Snickers, Almond Joy, Milky Way, peanut butter cups or a combination of any of your favorites)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Frosting:

4 1/2 ounces milk, semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped candies

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10-cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a bowl sift together the 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl combine the chopped candy with remaining 1/2 cup flour. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until combined about 2 minutes then add the yolks and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk and then the last of the flour.  In another bowl for the electric mixer beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks. By hand, fold the chopped candies and egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool on the rack for an additional 20 minutes.

 

To make the frosting place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over the top. Microwave for about 30 seconds and then remove and stir. Return to microwave and cook an additional 30 seconds or until the chocolate is totally melted. Whisk to combine and let cool for a few minutes. Place the cake on the serving platter and pour the icing evenly over the top of the cake (some will drip over sides but that’s ok). Sprinkle the remaining chopped candy over the top. Let cool and serve.

 

 

Modified from ALL YOU OCTOBER 2011

KIT KAT KAKE

 

1 (18 ounce) packages refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, prepared recipe favorite

6 cups whipping cream

2 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

14 Kit Kat bars

2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine

whipped whipping cream or whipped topping

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Press cookie dough in bottom to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake approximately 18 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely. In a large bowl, put 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 5 cups whipping cream. Microwave on HIGH for 4 – 5 minutes until chocolate is soft. Remove and stir well until chocolate and cream are mixed well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.  Melt remaining chocolate chips with butter and stir until smooth.

 

Place large cookie in center of 10-inch spring form pan. Cut candy bars long ways and dip one end in chocolate mixture. Place vertically between cookie and sides of pan. Continue until all candy bar pieces are used.  Chill 20 minutes.  Whip cream and chocolate mixture until stiff.  Chop remaining candy bars into chunks. Take cookie shell and place one-third of mousse on bottom. Sprinkle chunks on top. Repeat layers, ending with mousse. Chill in freezer overnight.  Top with whipped cream and chunks of candy bar.  Return to freezer for at least 1 hours. When ready to serve remove from freezer and slice.

 

Submitted by Rachael Margoles Philadelphia PA source unknown

 

CANDY CORN BLONDIES

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 cup each orange, yellow, and brown candy-coated chocolates (from a 12.6-ounce bag) or 8 Reese’s peanut butter cups, removed from their wrappers and coarsely chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; stir just until moistened. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Arrange candies or chopped peanut butter cups in 12 rows (2 rows per color, repeating once) on top of dough.Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days. Makes 16.

 

Modified From Everyday Food

MILKY WAY TART

 

 

Crust

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 large egg yolk

 

Filling

3 1/2 ounces milk chocolate candy bars chopped

2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons water

 

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)

 

Make crust: Whisk flour and cocoa in medium bowl. Beat butter and powdered sugar in another medium bowl until well blended. Beat in yolk. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating just until blended. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours.

 

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Press each onto bottom and up sides of 4 1/2-inch-diameter tartlet pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate crusts 1 hour or freeze 30 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 375. Bake cold crusts until set and dry-looking, about 12 minutes, pressing with back of spoon if bubbles form. Cool crusts in pans. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.

 

Make filling: Place milk chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups cream to simmer in small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

Combine remaining 1/2 cup cream and butter in small saucepan and stir over medium heat until butter melts; remove from heat. Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until color is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Immediately add hot cream-butter mixture (mixture will bubble vigorously). Remove from heat and stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Transfer caramel to small bowl and chill until slightly firm (semi-soft), stirring often, about 40 minutes.

 

Spoon caramel into center of baked crusts (about 2 generous tablespoons for each crust). Set aside.

 

Using electric mixer, beat chilled milk chocolate-cream mixture until peaks form; spoon atop caramel in crusts, dividing equally (about 1/2 cup for each crust) and spreading evenly. Chill at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Remove tartlets from pans. Lightly sift cocoa powder over tartlets and serve.

 

Created by Maury Rubin City Bakery /  Bon Appétit  September 2006

 

KITCHEN SINK COOKIES

 

4 eggs

3/4 cup margarine

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups peanut butter

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

7 cups oatmeal

3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi sweet)

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 cup M&M’s ® (you can use the peanut or peanut butter ones too!)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the eggs, margarine, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and peanut butter. Beat to combine . In a separate bowl mix together the baking soda, salt, and oatmeal. Mix the oatmeal mixture into peanut butter mixture. Add chocolate chips and pecans and stir until combined.  Drop golf ball sized balls of dough (I use an ice cream scoop) on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten each cookie into a circle shape with the bottom of a glass. Press M&M‘s into the top of unbaked cookies.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

 

My files, source unknown

 

Fall Fruit is Spelled Nectarine

  Quick foodie question, that you think you should know but will take a moment and say, hummmmm do I really know the answer. Simple question, what’s the difference between a nectarine and a peach? The simple answer is, there really is no difference between the two fruit, it’s just that one has fuzz and the other doesn’t.

Nectarines are a stone fruit (it means they have a pit) that are at their peak in mid to late summer. Depending up on if the pit is free or attached to the fruit, nectarines are classified as (like the peach) free stone or clinging.  Yes, the fruits have slightly different tastes and textures, but it’s really so slight that in a peeled, blind taste test it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. They can be substituted for each other in most any recipe and rather than give you more than the basic facts that the fruit is a good source of  vitamins and minerals, low in calories and great in both sweet and savory dishes I thought I’d just give you bunches and bunches of recipes and let you get started cooking.

 

BROWN SUGARED NECTARINES

 

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

5 large nectarines (about 1 1/2 pounds), or peaches (which must be skinned)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Sweetened whipped cream, whipped topping or ice cream (optional)

 

Set a strainer over a bowl and cut the nectarines into slices and place them the strainer. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot add the nectarines and saute them until they start to soften and their juices reduce and begin to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of them and cook until the juices thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and cook until the juices thicken, then add any of the juice that collected in the bowl. Stir to combine and cook until the juices are very thick, which will take a minute or so. Total cook time should be 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon the nectarines to 4 individual serving dish and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from Epicurious August 2001 by Susan Herrmann Loomis

CHICKEN AND NECTARINE SALSA

 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces

1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Salsa

2 cups diced nectarine (about 3)

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, brown sugar, lime juice, olive oil chili powder, garlic, salt cumin and pepper. Mix to coat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a large skillet heat the oil and then saute the chicken (discard liquid marinade) and onion for about 10 to12 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. While the chicken is cooking in a bowl combine the nectarine, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt. Mix to combine and then gently stir in the avocado. Place the chicken and onion on a platter and serve with the salsa. Serves 4.

 

Modified from a recipe from Jennifer Martinkus, Cooking Light July 2011

 

BLUEBERRY AND NECTARINE BREAD

 

1 1/2 cups flour, divided

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs

2 nectarines

2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

 

Topping:

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside. Combine 1/3 cup pecans, sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt. Mix just to combine and then add in the butter, eggs orange juice and orange zest.  Mix to combine for 2 to 3 minutes but don’t over mix.   By hand, fold in the fruit and remaining pecans. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle the  topping over the top.  Bake 50  to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for ten minutes, remove the bread from the pan and then  cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes 1 loaf.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

SALMON WITH FRESH NECTARINE BERRY COMPOTE

 

6 – 5 ounces fresh skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick

4 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce

3 nectarines, pitted and chopped

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Lemon wedges

 

Brush the salmon with 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce and season the salmon with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or grill cook the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes until done. While it’s cooking in a bowl combine the nectarines, blueberries, pecans, and the remaining barbecue sauce. Mix well, mashing the fruit slightly. Season with salt. Serve salmon with salsa and lemon wedges. Serves 6.

 

My files source unknown

 

NECTARINE AND PISTACHIO COUSCOUS

 

1 cup couscous

1 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 organic nectarines, diced

1 bunch chopped parsley (stems removed) (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

 

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let it stand, covered stand 5 minutes, then take off the top and stir it. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and then set it aside. In a large serving bowl combine the couscous, nectarines, parsley, pistachios and green onions and the dressing, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

 

My file, source unknown

PECAN STUFFED NECTARINES

 

1/2 cup pecan pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 nectarines, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of cinnamon

Maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9X13 baking pan and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor process the pecans until they are finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the egg yolk and pulse until combined. Arrange the nectarine halves, cut sides up, in the baking pan. Divide pecan/sugar mixture between the nectarine halves, mounding it in center of each half. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the top of the nectarines. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t let the nectarines get too soft. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Great served with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

My files, source unknown

 

NECTARINE, MANGO AND AVOCADO SALAD

 

1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn into bite-size pieces

2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach

4 Nectarines, sliced

2 mangos, sliced

2 avocados peeled, sliced

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Smoked almonds or candied almonds for garnish

 

In a bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate. In a bowl combine the lettuce, onions, spinach, nectarines and mango. Toss to combine. Gently add the avocado and spoon the dressing over the top. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with the almonds. Serves 8

My file, source unknown

 

SHRIMP AND NECTARINE SALAD

 

1/4 cup oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 piece peeled fresh ginger; (1 1/2 inch)

1 1/2 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn in large pieces

1 1/2 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

2 to 3 ripe nectarines cut in thin wedges (2 3/4 cups)

1 large ripe avocado; halved, seeded, peeled and sliced thin lengthwise

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 cup fresh basil leaves; cut in thin strips

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

 

In the bowl of food processor or blender combine the oil, lime juice, ginger, honey and hot sauce. Process until smooth and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, shrimp, nectarines, avocado, red onion, water chestnuts and basil. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad, toss to coat and serve. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

Artichoke Heart Heaven/ Recipes You’ll Love

 

So there I was at that mega huge warehouse shopping club picking up my  mega huge cans of olives and pickles our 4th of July bbq that didn’t have fireworks because of the fire ban when I spied the largest jar of marinated artichoke hearts I’d ever seen. Not only was it the largest jar of marinated artichoke hearts I’d ever seen, it was only one of the 6 jars that came in the case. I’d gone to warehouse shopping heaven. Thank goodness I brought the SUV, there’d never have been room in the trunk of the car for the 3 cases I just had to buy.

Since I was having a ton of people to watch the fire works (which will be postponed until Labor Day, neighbors take note) I know we’ll polish off more than a couple of jars.  The trick will be to make sure that my kids don’t eat them as snacks or in salads before I get a chance to make some of my favorite recipes.
MARINATED MOZZARELLA AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS

1 (9 oz.) container fresh Mozzarella cheese balls in water, drained or 1 (8
oz.) pkg. Mozzarella, cubed
1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 of a 7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, cut into 1 x 1/4 inch strips
1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary leaves, crushed and crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients together in a large glass bowl. Mix to combine, cover and chill at least one hour. Serves 6 to 8. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

NIBBLES

2 (6 oz.) jars marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 eggs
1/4 cup. bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 lb. (2 cups.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons minced fresh or 1 Tablespoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9X9 pan. Drain the marinade from 1 jar of artichokes into a fry pan and set the artichokes aside. Drain the second jar and discard the marinade. Chop both jars of artichokes, and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion and garlic to fry pan with the marinade and saute until onion is limp. In another bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano and Tabasco, and then stir in cheese, parsley and artichokes. Mix well.  Turn the mixture into the greased pan. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6 or 8.

TORTELLINI AND ARTICHOKE PASTA SALAD

 

1 10oz pkg cheese  tortellini

1 jar artichoke hearts

2 to 3 tablespoon roasted red pepper or pimento, diced

4 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoon basil, chopped

2 tablespoon parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

 

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, rinse and drain well. Place the cooked tortellini in a bowl. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the marinated artichoke liquid over the tortellini and toss to keep them from sticking together.  (You can add more to taste).  Drain the remaining artichokes and cut them into chunks. Add the artichokes to the tortellini and then add the red pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, basil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine.  Refrigerate if not served immediately.

SHIRLEY’S CHICK PEAS WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND OLIVES

Canned non-marinated artichokes can also be used – in that case, use

some olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together and a little bit

of vinegar to give the salad a kick.

 

1 1/2 cups chick peas, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 clove garlic—minced (crushed)

16 kalamata olives

2 jars marinated artichoke hearts—quartered

2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and set it aside. In a large bowl combine the chick peas, artichoke hearts and olives in a bowl then place equal amounts in the middle of two plates. Drizzle the top of the salads with the olive oil and lemon juice dressing, and top with the chopped flat-leaf parsley and a little freshly cracked black pepper. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

ARTICHOKE BRUSCHETTA

 

1 (6.5 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 French baguette, cut into 1/3 inch thick slices

Preheat the broiler.  In a medium bowl, combine the marinated artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, red onion and mayonnaise. Top French baguette slices with equal amounts of the artichoke heart mixture. Arrange slices in a single   layer on a large baking sheet. Broil in the preheated oven 2 minutes, or until toppings are bubbly and lightly browned. Serves 6 to 8.

TOM CARTLIN’S LINGUINE WITH TOMATOES AND ARTICHOKE HEARTS

My friend Tom created this sophisticated dish from an assortment of pantry staples when company stopped by unexpectedly.

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 16-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 14 3/4-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
12 ounces linguine, freshly cooked
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (about 5 ounces)

 

Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reserved juices, basil and oregano and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the artichokes with the marinade to the sauce and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese to sauce. Toss until sauce coats pasta and mixture is heated through, about 2 more minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to large serving bowl. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup Parmesan on the side. Serves 4.

 

BAKED CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS AND ARTICHOKES

 

4 chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
5 green onions, chopped
1 cup dry white wine

 

Preheat oven to 350. Season chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Place skin side up in 9×13-inch baking dish. Drain the artichokes, reserving marinade. Cut artichoke in half. Top chicken breasts with artichokes, mushrooms and green onions. Pour reserved marinade and white wine over the top of the chicken and then bake, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Spoon the sauce from the bottom of pan over the top of the chicken and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 4.

 

Bon Appétit March 1991

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN SALAD
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups diced cooked chicken (from one 3-pound purchased cooked chicken)

1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 3 ounces)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)
1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup dried currants
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers

 

Combine oil, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard in small bowl; whisk to combine. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in medium bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup of the dressing.  Cook the orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water to cool; drain well. Transfer orzo to large bowl. Stir in remaining dressing and toss to coat. Add the chicken mixture, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, currants, and capers. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 4.

 

 

MARINATED OLIVES, RED BELL PEPPER, ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND MUSHROOMS

 

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, drained well, halved lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
4 ounces small button mushrooms, trimmed, quartered
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, quartered lengthwise

 

Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add vegetables and olives. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Can be made 1 day ahead.) Keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.) Transfer mixture to bowl and serve.

MY SISTER LOIS’S WILD RICE AND ARTICHOKE SALAD

3/4 cup wild rice
3/4 cup brown rice
3 cup  water
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz Jar marinated artichoke hearts; drained, halved
1 red pepper (sweet) cut into 1/2-inchpieces
1 medium carrot; very thinly sliced

DRESSING
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 Garlic clove; minced
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 small Head leaf lettuce; washed, dried, and torn into bite size pieces

Rinse the wild rice in a strainer under cold running water. Put in a medium size-bowl and pour on boiling water to cover. Let soak for 30
minutes, and then drain thoroughly.

Rinse the brown rice in a strainer and put in a medium-size saucepan along with the drained wild rice, 3 cups of water, oil and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Do not stir rice at any time. When done, put the rice in a large bowl and chill until very cold, about 2 hours.
When the rice is cold add the artichoke, pepper, scallions and carrot, and toss well.

To make the marinade combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour the dressing over the
salad and toss well. Chili for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, arrange equal portions of lettuce on 4 large plates and mound on the rice salad.

Black VS Green Olives, Which Would You Choose? Great Recipes

Every parent who has ever sent a child to summer camp knows about color wars. That fight to the death Olympic like couple of days where what color/team you’re a part of defines you, empowers you and generally consumes every waking moment. In our house color wars revolves around olives; team green and team black.

Yes, we’re a house divided and while I’m the captain of team black and my husband is the captain of team green our ambivalent side shifting children could care less. They just want olives.

Just so we’re clear, aside from their taste and color olives all come from the same tree. The only difference between them is the state of their ripeness when picked (green ones are harvested when they are immature, a bit denser and a tad more bitter and black ones stay on the tree just a little longer and have a more mellow flavor). All olives must be cured before being eaten and they way they are cured with determine their, final flavor and texture.

Olives are one food you can keep on your pantry shelf, unopened for 3 to 4 years. Once opened, keep them in their original brine in a container with a lid or the original jar. For the most part we use the stuffed green olive or the black from the can in most of our recipes. However, get creative and try some of the other varieties that specialty markets and gourmet sections of your supermarket now carry

 

manzanilla:  Spanish green olive, available unpitted and/or stuffed

 

picholine:  French green olive, salt-brine cured, with subtle, lightly salty flavor

 

kalamata:  Greek black olive, deep purple, almond-shaped rich and fruity flavor

 

niçoise:  French black olive, small in size, rich, nutty, mellow flavor, high pit-to-meat ratio, often packed with herbs and stems intact

 

liguria:  Italian black olive, with a vibrant flavor, sometimes packed with stems

 

ponentine:  Italian black olive, salt-brine cured then packed in vinegar, mild in flavor

 

gaeta:  Italian black olive, dry-salt cured, then rubbed with oil, wrinkled in appearance, mild flavor, often packed with rosemary and other herbs

 

lugano:  Italian black olive, usually very salty, sometimes packed with olive leaves

 

sevillano:  Californian, salt-brine cured, very crisp

 

Modified from about.com

 

Olives are typically not the main ingredient in a recipe. That being said the following recipes are all olive centric and showcase the full bodied flavor of these bite size treats. While you can interchange the different types of olives in the recipes you should know that some are saltier than others and you need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

 

TRADITIONAL TAPENADE

This is a thick olive topping that is terrific with crackers, bread or on chicken or fish.

 

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 to 4 tablespoons capers

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed

1 3/4 cups pitted black or green olives (or a combination)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (fresh is best)

1/3 cup olive oil

Black pepper to taste (optional)

 

In a food process combine all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a paste. Makes approx 2 cups

 

Modified from epicurious.com

CLASSIC GREEK SALAD

 

4 large tomatoes cut into chunks

1 large cucumbers, peeled and diced

1 green pepper, cleaned and chopped

1 red pepper, cleaned and chopped

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 head romaine, shredded

1 to 1 1/2 cups feta cheese, crumbled

14 to 16 Kalamata olives, pitted

 

Dressing

 

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper to taste

 

Combine all the dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion and romaine and toss to combine.  Top with cheese and olives and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss to coat and serve. Serves 6.

 

My files source unknown

GREEN OLIVE CHICKEN

 

4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 1/2 cup uncooked rice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large can whole tomatoes

14 to 16 large green or black olives

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder or more to taste

 

In large skillet heat the oil and lightly brown the chicken. Don’t cook it totally, just brown the outside. Remove the chicken from pan and drain it on paper towels.  Don’t clean the pan.  Add the onion and green and red pepper to pan and cook slightly. Stir in the garlic and rice. Cook stirring until rice is turning golden. Add the tomatoes, olives, chicken broth, oregano and chili powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the chicken. Cover the pan and cook, at a simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is done. Serves 4.

 

My file source unknown

 

OLIVE PEPPER CHEESECAKE

 

Butter for greasing pan

1 cup panko bread crumbs

16 oz cream cheese, softened

8 oz grated sharp cheddar

1 pkg. taco seasoning

16 oz sour cream, divided

3 eggs

1/3 cup diced green or black olives, drained well

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

1/2 cup salsa

2 cups of your favorite guacamole or avocado dip

Chopped tomatoes for garnish

Chopped olives for garnish

Cheddar for garnish

Corn chips

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch spring form pan and then coat it with panko bread crumbs and set it aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, cheddar and taco seasoning until fluffy; stir in 1 cup sour cream. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Fold in the olives and peppers. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Combine remaining sour cream with salsa and spread the mixture on top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan and then remove sides from spring form. Top with the guacamole. Garnish the additional tomatoes, olives and cheese. Serve corn chips.    Serves 12 to 16.

 

Submitted by Reggie Magaran Chicago IL

FRESH OLIVE CHOP

 

2 (6 oz.) can Lindsay Naturals Green Ripe Olives, drained and chopped

1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, diced

4 ounces crumbled feta

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

toasted pita wedges, crackers, thinly sliced baguettes or tortilla chips

Italian flat leaf parsley as a garnish

 

Place the olives, red pepper, feta, oregano and lemon zest together in a bowl.  Gently toss together.

 

Spoon the mixture into a small bowl and place on a larger platter.  Surround the bowl of with the pita wedges, crackers, baguette slices and/or tortilla chips.  Or spread the olive mixture onto the pita wedge and/or baguette slices, garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.  Place on a platter and serve immediately.es, crackers and/or baguette slices, garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.  Place on a platter and serve immediately.

 

This recipe was created By cookbook author Joanne Weir, modified.

 

ARTICHOKE AND BLACK OLIVE DIP

 

1 (7.5 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced

1/2 cup diced Lindsay® Ripe Pitted or Lindsay® Greek Kalamata Pitted Olives

1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes

1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons light or regular sour cream

2 tablespoons light or regular mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving. Serve with crackers or chips. Serves 6 (1/4 cup) servings.

 

Modified from Lindsay.com

 

CHICKEN CHILI MAC N CHEESE

 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 chili peppers, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons flour

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (1 lbs.) box macaroni pasta, cooked

8 ounce grilled chicken breast, diced

1 (6 oz.) can California Black Ripe Olives, whole, pitted

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/8 teaspoon paprika

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a saucepan melt the butter. Stir in peppers and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until smooth and golden. Whisk in the chicken broth, a half cup at a time, until smooth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta, chicken and olives. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with breadcrumbs, sprinkle the top with the paprika and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Recipe courtesy of the California Olive Committee, modified

 

OLIVE CORN AND RICE SALAD

You can add or subtract the amount of veggies as you please!

 

1 (16 oz.) can whole corn, drained or 2 cups fresh off the cob

3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1/ 2 cup chopped red pepper

1/ 2 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chopped black olives

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped and seeded

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/ 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/ 4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

 

In medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, corn, rice, peppers, green onions and olives. Toss to combine. In a jar with a lid combine the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, parsley, mustard and garlic powder. Shake the dressing to combine and pour over the salad. Cover and chill several hours. Stir in the shredded lettuce just before serving then top with the Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8

 

My files source unknown

 

BAKED PASTA WITH OLIVES

 

1 pound pasta (fusilli or bow tie), cooked according to the package, drained, kept warm

5 small zucchini cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 (28 ounces) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

1cup black olives, sliced

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese shredded or cubed

2 to 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese for topping

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and saute zucchini until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper and put them in a large bowl. Add the pasta, tomatoes, olives, 1/3 cup Parmesan, rosemary and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine Place the mixture into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the top.

Cover the top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan and bake until cheese is melted and the top slightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6

 

Modified from The New Pasta Cookbook by Joanne Glynn

It’s Blueberry Time/ Kosher Recipes

There’s only one bad thing that can be said about blueberries, they can be messy if you squish one.  Other than that, they’re really a wonderful fruit.

A typically American fruit the flavor and sweetness of the blueberry is the frosting on the cake that is fruit. A blueberry is a super food, one that is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. This may sound obvious but when buying your blueberries you should remember they should actually be blue, if they’re even slightly green, red or purple forget them. Only blue will do.

The blueberries you want should be uniform in size, not big and small, firm not hard and have a slightly waxy sheen. To store then you should keep your blueberries refrigerated and please don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. They will spoil if you do. They should last, in the refrigerator, for 10 days to 2 weeks.

You’re in luck, blueberries are in season right now and very affordable so hopefully this column will nudge you toward adding them to your shopping list this week.

 

Blueberry Guide

Approx 3 cups of blueberries in a pound

One cup of fresh or frozen blueberries =2/3 cup pureed

1 cup frozen blueberries = 2/3 cup thawed blueberries

BLUEBERRY AND CREAM MUFFINS

 

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

3 ounces cream cheese cut in cubes

2 teaspoon lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Brown sugar to sprinkle on top

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line the cups of a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.  In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt and set aside.

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Stir in the melted butter and mix until smooth. Mix in milk. Add dry ingredients and stir until all dry is incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold the berries into the batter.

 

Pour an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top and then bake for 30 minutes (or until the top is golden), remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

BLUEBERRY APPLE SALAD

 

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, divided

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons apple jelly

Zest of 1 orange

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, cut into 1-1/2-inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted

 

To prepare dressing: In a blender container, combine1/2 cup of the blueberries, oil, apple jelly, lemon juice, orange zest, mustard and salt; blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside. In a salad bowl combine the spinach with apple slices, celery, pecans and remaining 1/2 cup blueberries. Toss gently, drizzle the dressing over the top, toss gently and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a recipe from my mom Anita Weinfield, Northbrook IL

LIME AND BLUEBERRY BARS

 

2 cups blueberries

21/4 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/3 cup lime juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Extra powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until blended. Cut in the butter (mash with a fork until dough holds together). Press the mixture over the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and baking powder. Gently fold in the blueberries. Gently pour the mixture over warm, baked crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar cut and serve. Serves 12

 

Modified from about.com

BLUEBERRY CORN MUFFINS

 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cups blueberries

Coarse sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 1 12 muffin pan and 1 6 muffin pan and set them aside. In large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, orange juice, margarine, egg and orange zest. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix, by hand just to combine. Add the blueberries and gently mix them in. Do not over mix. Divide the batter between the 18 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Modified from an old Moosewood cookbook recipe in my files, book unknown

 

BLUEBERRY PULL-A-PART BREAD

 

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries

2/3 cup brown sugar

10 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 pkgs (10 oz ea) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

 

Preheat oven to 350. REALLY grease a 10 x 4 tube pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Cut the biscuits in half. Roll each piece in sugar mixture. Arrange about one-fourth of the biscuit pieces and one-fourth of the blueberries in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Place blueberries between biscuit pieces, creating a mosaic effect. Repeat with three more layers (covered dough balls and blueberries), covering blueberries of one layer with dough balls in next layer. In saucepan combine the brown sugar, margarine, vanilla, cinnamon and the additional 1 cup blueberries. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the margarine melted. Pour the mixture over biscuits and berries in the pan. Bake 34-45 minutes or until done. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you try and remove this from the pan. Place a plate on the top of the pan and invert. Serves 8 to 10 servings.

 

Modified from epicurean .com

BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH SMOKED TROUT

 

8 oz romaine lettuce, shredded

4 Smoked trout fillets, skinned broken into medium pieces

1 1/2 cups blueberries

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

In a bowl, combine arugula, trout and blueberries. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, mint, salt and pepper. Divide the salad onto 4 chilled plates. Drizzle each serving with dressing. Serves 4

 

Modified from a recipe from Chef Marc Meyer, Five Points, New York City

 

BLUEBERRY ORANGE SAUCE

This is super over roast chicken or turkey

 

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 oranges, sectioned

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and then set it aside. In a small saucepan combine the orange juice and 1/4 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the blueberries and orange sections and bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the berry mixture, whisk to combine and then cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, the sauce will thicken slightly. Remove it from the heat and serve. Makes approx. 2 cups.

 

NOTE: if you want a sauce to go over a fruit salad just omit the salt and pepper.

 

BLUEBERRY MANGO SALAD

 

2 cups fresh blueberries

3 to 4 mangos, peeled, seeded and sliced or cubed

1/3 cup frozen piña colada mix, thawed

1 to 2 tablespoons rum

Baby spinach

Toasted pecans

 

In a large bowl, combine blueberries, mangos, piña colada mix and rum and mix to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates. Spoon the berry mango mixture over the spinach. Top with the toasted pecans and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

BLUEBERRY CRANBERRY CHICKEN SALAD

 

4 cups cook chicken cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, sliced thin

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup minced green onion

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2/3 cup toasted almonds

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, red onion, celery and rice vinegar. Toss to coat and add the green onion, parsley, cranberries and blueberries. Gently mix to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard and then spoon the dressing onto the chicken mixture. Mix to coat and then garnish with the toasted almonds. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a BHG.com recipe

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