Maple Syrup-Lemon Dressing

This week we’re visiting New England, which is home to both maple syrup and the legacy of the Shakers.

About 10 years ago, our family visited the Canterbury Shaker Village, which is about 20 minutes north of Concord, New Hampshire. On a whim I picked up The Shaker Kitchen: Over 100 Recipes from Canterbury Shaker Village by Jeffrey Paige from their gift shop, which has turned out to be one of my favorite cookbooks.

Talk about eating local! The recipes in this book are all about using what could be grown and caught in New England. That doesn’t mean, however, the food was simple or flavorless. One of the highlights of the village was the amazing herb garden and fresh herbs are featured in many of the recipes in the book. Some of the recipes call for local ingredients that aren’t readily available everywhere (like fiddlehead ferns for the potato salad), but most are reasonably easy to find or substitute.

The Shaker Kitchen is a great primer on history and historical recipes.

Hardcover: 177 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (April 12, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0517588382
ISBN-13: 978-0517588383

 

maple-lemon-salad-dressing

Maple-lemon dressing adapted from The Shaker Kitchen.

The original recipe took white vinegar, which I replaced with lemon juice. In case you are wondering, the Shakers did have lemons and according to the book kept them preserved/stored in buttermilk (a quotation from 1882!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Blend the above ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Prior to serving, add 2 teaspoons of minced fresh mint or minced fresh basil. Whisk vigorously if the oil and juice have separated.

This dressing is excellent served with salads that contain fruit, such as the colorful cabbage salad in the previous post or a bowl of grated carrots with a handful of raisins.

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Be sure to visit Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads for more recipes and books.

wkendcooking
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Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

 

Colorful as Confetti Cabbage Salad

The topic for Food on Friday at Carole’s Chatter this week is salads. To celebrate spring, we have a complex and colorful cabbage salad.

colorful-cabbage-salad-0061

Each bite is a burst of different flavors!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, grated
  • 1/4 head (about 1 cup) thinly-sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced or chunks as you prefer
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1  1/2 cup mukimame (green soybeans), cooked or 2 cups edamame, cooked and then shelled
  • 1/3 cup raisins (may be served on the side as optional topping)

Preparation:

1. Cook the mukimame or edamame as per the package and then cool. If you are using edamame, remove and discard the pods, saving the green seeds inside.

2. Grate the cabbage into a pretty salad bowl and then add the remaining ingredients. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Cabbage salad seems to combine well with sweet flavors, so serve with honey-lemon dressing or the maple syrup lemon dressing highlighted in the next post.

Also participating in:

Link up your recipe of the week

Classic One Pot Spaghetti

One pot meals have at least two advantages:  they are usually quick to prepare and clean up is a breeze. That’s why I was eager to take a look at One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More by Editors of Martha Stewart Living

 

This book is perfect for beginners and busy cooks. The recipes are organized by preparation techniques, such as dutch oven, skillet, or slow cooker, which makes it easy to find ones that suit your equipment or skill. Many of the recipes are pared down to their essentials, for example Morrocan tagine becomes “Lamb and Apricot Stew.” Paring down doesn’t mean the flavor has been left behind, fortunately, only that the steps have been simplified to what is absolutely necessary.

If you have ever been faced with cleaning up a mountain of pots and pans after a single meal, you will definitely see the beauty of One Pot.

Publisher: Clarkson Potter (September 23, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0307954412
ISBN-13: 978-0307954411

 

individual-taste-one-pot-spaghetti-025

Today we’re featuring the ultimate one pot recipe.

Having grown up with the traditional method of making spaghetti by boiling the pasta in water in one pot and cooking the sauce separately in another, when I first saw this recipe in a newspaper, I was skeptical. It turns out that this technique is so fabulously fast, easy, and delicious, everyone should have it in their repertoire. (A similar version for linguine is given in the One Pot book on page 59.)

One Pot Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 box spaghetti or linguine ( 1 pound size)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 quart chicken broth or 4 cups water for vegetarian/vegan option

1. In a pot large enough to accommodate the length of the spaghetti, add the oil and saute the onions briefly. (This step may be omitted, but the onions will have a stronger flavor and crisper texture.) Cool briefly.

2. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and cover with the broth.

3. Cover pot and bring to boil. Cook as long as instructed on the pasta package, usually 9-12 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is al dente. Stir frequently while cooking to prevent sticking and keep liquid evenly distributed.

4. To serve, top with a pinch of chopped fresh basil (optional) and/or a drizzle of olive oil.

Note:  One pot spaghetti tastes best freshly prepared.

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Be sure to visit Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads for more recipes and books.

wkendcooking
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Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Versatile Mexican Avocado Salsa

The topic for Food on Friday at Carole’s Chatter this week is avocados.

Next week is Cinco de Mayo. What a perfect time for this yummy and versatile avocado salsa!

avocado-sauce-egg (Serving suggestion:  huevos rancheros)

Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup of your favorite bottled salsa verde
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Peel, pit and slice the avocado. Place the slices in a blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process on medium until smooth.

The lemon juice will help prevent the salsa from turning brown. If you are making it in advance, covering the storage bowl tightly with a lid or plastic wrap to keep out air will also help.

Serving suggestions:

1. This sauce is very good over huevos rancheros. Prepare eggs as you prefer. Lay a warmed corn tortilla on a plate, add the cooked egg, and top with avocado salsa and chopped cilantro. Serve with pinto beans, black beans or refried beans on the side.

2. Makes a great dip with corn chips.

3. You can also leave the avocados out of the fajitas and top with avocado salsa instead.

(Affiliate links)

What is your favorite brand of salsa verde?

One of Elena’s Secrets: Sopaipillas

Have you ever had sopaipillas (also called sopapillas)? Sopaipillas are tasty bits of fried dough that may be dished out as a side for savory soups or may be served as the ultimate sweet dessert.

ind-taste-sopapillas

Our family recipe for sopaipillas is modified from one we found in a favorite old book, Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking by Elena Zelayeta (1958).

Elena Zelayeta’s story, which is included in the front matter, is truly inspiring. After losing her sight during pregnancy for her second child, Elena taught herself to cook all over again through sheer determination. Can you imagine trying to measure liquids without being able to see? She became so adept, she taught cooking classes as well as wrote a series of cookbooks.

 Sopaipillas

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance (or shortening)
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • Oil for frying (canola)

1. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.

2. Add Earth Balance and coarsely cut into the flour with a fork or pastry knife, as if for pie dough.

3. Mix in enough cold water for the dough to hold together, again about the consistency of pie dough.

4. Place on lightly-floured board and knead until smooth. Cover with clean towel or plastic wrap, and let rest at least 10 minutes. In the mean time, begin to prepare the oil for heating.

5. Roll the dough with rolling pin to form a rectangle. Continue to roll until the dough is very thin (preferably less than 1/8 inch thick, which makes a lighter sopaipilla). The dough will be more elastic than pie dough.

6. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares or 2 x 3-inch rectangles with a knife.

7. Heat oil in wok or deep-fryer to 375° F (190° C). Drop a few squares at a time into the oil. The oil should sizzle and the dough should soon float to the surface if the oil is hot enough. Fry until puffy and golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Flip with tongs or a slotted spoon. Remove when evenly browned, drain on paper towels, and serve warm.

Serving suggestions:  Serve sopaipillas for dessert with honey, or with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

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Be sure to visit Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads for more recipes and books.

wkendcooking
____________________
Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Easy Yeast Bread

Today we’re pairing another recipe with a children’s poem for National Poetry Month. The subject is making bread. See the poems and suggested activities to accompany them at our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil.

simple-yeast-bread

I recently came across a recipe for a peasant bread at Alexandra’s Kitchen that requires no kneading. How simple is that? I began thinking about ways to simplify the procedure even more, and thought of the super rapid rise loaf I make in the breadmaker in just one hour. The breadmaker recipe calls for more yeast than the standard 4 hour bread. What would happen if I increased the yeast?

Really Simple Bread

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water, gently warmed
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1 pack RapidRise Instant Yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 cup bread flour

1. Warm the water to about 100° F. Place the water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Mix in the sugar and salt and then add the yeast and stir. Allow the yeast to activate while you prepare the flour.

2. In another larger bowl, measure 1 1/2 cups of bread flour. Add the yeast mixture and work the dough. It should form a soft, spongy dough. Note:  I live in a dry climate, so end up using more water in most recipes. If your dough is too soft and sticky, begin adding more bread flour a few Tablespoons at a time. If you have children helping, let them work the dough with floured hands so they get the feel of it.

3. Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour.

4. At about 1/2 hour into the rising time, preheat the oven to 425° F. Grease a baking sheet with Earth Balance or butter.

5. After an hour, flour hands and turn the dough onto the greased baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

6. Cool before cutting. Cutting the bread when it is too warm inside ruins the texture.

Alton Brown has another version that ferments over night in the fridge and does require some kneading.

This bread would be fun project to do with kids.

To make it your own, you might want to play around with adding some wheat, graham, or rye flour. Honey can replace the sugar as well.

 

I’d love to hear how you modify this recipe and how it turns out.

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Be sure to visit Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.

wkendcooking

 

Mango Scones (Or Not)

The topic for Food on Friday at Carole’s Chatter is mangoes (edit:  oops, bananas), so let’s make some scones with dried mangoes. If you don’t have any dried mangoes on hand, however, you may substitute other dried fruit such as dried apricots, golden raisins, or currents; or you may leave the dried fruit out altogether.

 mango-scone-with-raspberry-jam(Yummy mouthful of mango scone served with raspberry jam)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see note*)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup diced dried mangoes, diced dried apricots, golden raisins, or currents (optional)

Wet ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons Earth Balance or butter, if allowed, melted
  • 1/2 cup soy, rice, almond or coconut milk
  • 1 egg or egg substitute

*Note:  Whole wheat pastry flour is preferred, because it gives a wonderful soft texture. Regular whole wheat flour will work in a pinch.

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

1. Grease a cookie sheet.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

3. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine the wet ingredients and mix well.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The dough will be quite stiff, like a biscuit dough. Do not over mix.

5. With floured hands, shape into a flattened circle about 1 inch thick and place on the greased cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Let rest at least 10 minutes or cool on a wire rack.

Serve with Earth Balance, butter, jam or nut butters, if allowed.

scone-and-jam

We recently discovered Dalmatia Fig Spread, which is absolutely superb on these scones, especially if you decide to leave out the dried fruit (image below is Amazon affiliate link).

What do you serve on scones?

Please let me know if you would like the measurements translated.

We Love Non-Dairy Trifle (And You Should, Too!)

wkendcookingFor Weekend Cooking we are paying tribute to the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti for National Poetry Month. According to the Poetry Foundation, Rossetti likened one of her works to “a Christmas trifle,” a traditional treat of her time. See more about the poet and suggested activities for children to celebrate Poetry Month at Wrapped in Foil, our sister blog.

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 strawberry-trifle-1

Trifle is traditionally served on holidays and consists of layers of cake, fruit, jam and pudding or whipped cream. Our trifle departs from the classic, however, because we have taken out all the dairy products.

Strawberry Non-dairy Trifle

You will need:

1. Cake

Many trifle recipes call for sponge cake. Over time, I have found that pound cake (recipe below) actually holds up better to the pudding and moist fruit, plus it is easy to work with. Pound cake also re-introduces some of the richness taken out by not using cream. If you want to make the dessert lighter, by all means use sponge cake. If you can’t use eggs, a white cake made with egg substitute will also work.

2. Fruit

Fresh strawberries are a must. Raspberries, blackberries. blueberries, and/or mangos are also good choices. Wash, hull and slice at least 16 oz. of fresh fruit. Frozen can be substituted if thawed and drained.

3. Pudding

Make a non-dairy pudding using soy, almond, or coconut milk (recipe below).

4. Jam

Our Fast Berry Syrup is a fresh-tasting alternative to commercial jam that works great. I recommend doubling the recipe.

5. Equipment

This special dessert is often served in a glass trifle bowl, which has relatively straight sides and stands on a pedestal (image is affiliate link). It really shows off what can be a beautiful creation.

Special bowls are, however, not absolutely necessary. Any big, deep bowl will work.

Lemony Pound Cake

Makes two loaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Earth Balance (or butter if dairy is allowed)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease two loaf pans (approximately 9x5x3 inch) and set aside.

In a glass mixing bowl, soften the Earth Balance in the microwave (about 30 seconds on high). Measure in the sugar and mix together. Stir in the vanilla and zest. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix well. Separate roughly half the batter into each loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until done. (The top will split like a quick bread).

Let the pound cakes cool and remove them from the pans.

Non-dairy Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla soy, almond or coconut milk
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (substitute another thickener, such as flour, if corn not allowed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar or to your taste (sweetened flavors will require less)

Measure the ingredients into a saucepan and whisk them together. Place over high heat and stir constantly until mixture boils and begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly before use. Refrigerate if not used immediately.

Assemble the Trifle

Trifle is all about layering. Cut the pound cakes into even slices. Lay down a layer of pound cake slices to cover the bottom of the dessert bowl. You may need to cut some of the slices to make them fit.

Spoon in a layer of fresh fruit (about half you prepared). Cover the fruit with our Fast Berry Syrup or strawberry jam. Spoon in half the non-dairy pudding and spread out to create another layer.

Continue to build layers with another layer of slices of pound cake, the rest of the fruit, berry jam or syrup, and the rest of the pudding. Even out the pudding.

Finish the trifle with another covering of pound cake slices. Top with jam or fresh berry syrup.

 

strawberry-trifle-slice-37

Serve or refrigerate immediately. Trifle tends to be better when freshly made.

In case you are wondering, it is definitely worth the effort.

 Are you participating in National Poetry Month? Who is your favorite poet?

Bring Out Lemons For Really Perfect Scrambled Eggs

A few weeks ago I came across Alton Brown’s recipe for perfect scrambled eggs.  I had to laugh because Alton used the wrong ingredients for perfect eggs. Rather than adding milk, he should have taken his culinary cues from hollandaise sauce:  butter, lemon and eggs.

scrambled-eggs

Really Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Minced scallions (optional)
  • Garlic pepper (optional)

1. Melt the Earth Balance or butter in a small skillet over medium low heat.

2. Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk quickly to scramble.

3. Once the butter is melted, add the lemon juice to the eggs and then pour the egg mix into the warmed skillet.

4. Using a spatula, gently stir the eggs as they cook so they are evenly done. Remove immediately once they reach the texture you prefer.

If the eggs form small curds, reduce the amount of lemon juice next time. In this case, more is not necessarily better.

5. Serve with minced herbs, minced scallions, and/or salt and pepper to taste.

Our family prefers The Spice Hunter’s Garlic Pepper (image is affiliate link).


What do you think? Are these better than scrambled eggs with milk?
Are you brave enough to try scrambled eggs with lemon juice?

Hate Cilantro? Try Oregano Salsa!

Some people definitely don’t enjoy the flavor of cilantro, which they describe as “soapy.” Yet many salsa recipes call for it as a major ingredient.

Substituting Mediterranean oregano, such as in this quick and easy oregano-flavored salsa, may be perfect solution.

oregano-salsa-101

Easy Oregano Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 white onion
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 Tbsp. packed fresh Mediterranean oregano leaves (omit stems)

Place above ingredients in a blender and pulse briefly. The ingredients should be mixed well, but still be slightly chunky. That’s it! Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. For example, if you enjoy spicy foods, add a can of diced jalapenos instead of, or in addition to, the diced green chilies. You might want to increase the oregano slightly if your supply is very mild, but you don’t want to substitute it one-for-one for cilantro in most recipes because oregano is more intense.

 

oregano1

 

Do you have any favorite oregano recipes?