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A flavorful, healthy and local alternative to European olive oil. Stoney Brook’s first bottled oil, butternut squash seed oil is so delicious this time of year drizzled on Butternut Squash Soup or salads.

The oil contains only one ingredient: oil from roasted pressed varietal squash seeds. The oil’s nutty taste also makes a great replacement for nuts in baked goods or stuffings for those with nut allergies.

Available in our oil section  $14.50

This recipe came from Joan Nathan who prepared a ton of it for our Les Dames d’Escoffier event for Martha’s Table.   The pomegranate seeds add a sweet and tart zing to the guacamole.  I thought it would make a nice upscale dish for our Cinco de Mayo party.  Although this recipe serves two, it can easily be scaled to whatever size you need.

Ingredients

1 ea ripe avocado, skin and pit removed
1/8 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 ea lime, juiced
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 pinch sea salt, to taste
8 ea tiny pita pockets or flatbread crackers to serve
Procedure

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mash the avocado.

Stir in the red onion, lime juice, and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with salt.

Spoon into pita pockets or spread on crackers and serve.

Servings: 2

Here’s a hearty salad that can be a satisfying vegetarian or gluten-free entrée or if you’d like toss in some shredded cooked chicken breast or duck confit. Sherry vinegar plays a key role in this vinaigrette as it is not as acidic as red wine vinegar and not overly sweet like balsamic. But, in a pinch you can substitute just be sure to adjust with more sweetness or more acidity.

 
Ingredients

8   cup   water
2   cup   wild rice
2   tsp   salt; plus more to taste
1       bay leaf
12       sprigs thyme
4   tsp   grapeseed or canola oil
2   lb   chanterelle or portobello mushrooms; wiped clean and
  vinaigrette:  
1/2   cup   olive oil
6   Tbs   sherry vinegar
4       lg shallots; thinly sliced
2   tsp   fennel seeds; toasted and cracked
2   tsp   cumin seeds; toasted and cracked
2   tsp   fresh thyme leaves; coarsely chopped
2   tsp   freshly ground black pepper
1   cup   mixed dried fruits
1   cup   chopped walnuts; toasted
1   lb   stemmed arugula or watercress; washed, dried
8   oz   fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Procedure
To prepare the rice:
1. Wash the rice under cold water for 2 minutes. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the salt, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the washed rice to the boiling water and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain the rice and remove the bay leaf and thyme; let cool. (This can be done 1 day ahead of time and refrigerated.) You should have 7 cups cooked rice.
2. In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed or canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set aside.
To make the vinaigrette:
1. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, sherry vinegar, shallots, fennel, cumin, thyme, and pepper and season with salt. Add the dried fruits.
2. In a salad bowl, combine the cooled wild rice, cooked mushrooms, and walnuts. Toss with the vinaigrette and fruits.
3. To serve, portion the salad onto a large platter, top with the greens, and sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese.
Servings: 4

I love the taste of salty and sweet flavors and when perfectly balanced with a little acidity and richness all the flavors bounce around in your mouth. This recipe is a perfect example of the ying-yang play of sweet figs and salty olives. Try your own versions with dried apricots, cherries, or mango.

 
Ingredients:

1   cup   dried black mission figs; stems trimmed
1/3   cup   water
1/3   cup   kalamata olives pitted, chopped
2   Tbs   extra-virgin olive oil
1   Tbs   balsamic vinegar (try to use one that is not too acidic)
1   Tbs   drained capers, chopped
1 1/2   tsp   chopped fresh thyme
11   oz   fresh goat cheese, cut into rounds
1/2   cup   chopped toasted walnuts
1/4   cup   toasted walnut halves
Procedure:
Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix in olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, and chopped thyme. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Stir chopped walnuts into tapenade; spoon into center of cheese circle. Garnish with walnut halves and thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve with breads and/or crackers.

Yield: 2 cups

photo: foodandstyle.com

What better way to warm up than sharing a warm pot of festive cheese fondue to share with friends and loved ones? Here are some of our favorite non-traditional fondue recipes:

Gorgonzola Dolce Fondue - adapted from New York Times

1 garlic clove, halved
1 cup sweet wine, such as Passito di Pantelleria or Sauternes
3/4 pound Gorgonzola Dolce, crumbled
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cream cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crusty bread, apple cubes or grapes, for serving

1. Rub cut side of garlic on inside of a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed saucepan, rubbing the bottom and half way up the sides. Add wine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss Gorgonzola with cornstarch. Add a quarter of the cheese into simmering wine; reduce heat to medium, and whisk constantly until cheese is completely melted. Repeat until all cheese has been added. Whisk in cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Other delicious fondue recipes:

Fondue Savoyarde with Mushrooms – Saveur Magazine

Feta Fondue with Walnuts and Parsley – Tyler Florence

Whiskey-Cheddar Cheese Fondue – Food & Wine

Roast Pumpkin with Cheese “Fondue” – Gourmet

Fondue with Chipotle and Tequila – Blog Food & Style

Measuring Basics

Experienced cooks know that careful measuring is important if you want to get consistent results in the kitchen. This is especially true for baked goods, when too much (or too little) baking powder or baking soda or flour can mean the difference between a tall, gorgeous layer cake and a flat, dense frosted pancake.
So what should be in your arsenal of measuring utensils? Basically, you will need one set of measuring spoons for the little stuff and two sets of measuring cups for the big stuff. (Since you measure dry ingredients differently than liquids, you need a set of cups for each.)
Liquid Measuring Cups come in 1-, 2-, 4- and 8-cup glass or clear plastic cups with pour spouts. You can buy sets of three or four, but if need be, you can get by with just one 2-cup measure. Purchase cups with handles and make sure they have the last marking well below the rim (so measured liquids will not spill over the top). When measuring liquids, always place the cup on a level surface, then bend down and check the measurement at eye level for accurate reading.
Dry Measuring Cups are glass, plastic or stainless steel and come in graduated nesting sets which usually include a 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup. With these cups, the measurement is at the rim, so that you can level off ingredients. To “level off” a dry ingredient, add enough to the measuring cup to heap over the top of the cup, then use a table knife to swipe across the top, causing excess to fall out and creating a level top. For less than 1/4 cup, use standard measuring spoons.
Measuring Spoons, available in plastic or stainless steel, are used to measure smaller amounts of both dry and liquid ingredients and usually come in sets of four that include 1/4-teaspoon, 1/2-teaspoon, 1-teaspoon and 1-tablespoon measures. For dry ingredients, be sure to level off the ingredient as you do for cup measures.
Tips for Accurate Measuring
  • When measuring ingredients such as flour or granulated sugar, do not tap, shake or pack down the dry ingredient. Just lightly spoon it into the cup to overflowing, then level off the top with the edge of a knife.
    • As with flour and sugar, when measuring bread crumbs or grated cheese, spoon lightly in the measuring cup and level off; do not pack down.
    • Brown sugar, however, should be packed down firmly, without leaving pockets of space, then leveled off for accurate measuring.
    • Note that although some flour packages say that sifting is not necessary, it is best to stir up the flour before measuring as it has a tendency to pack down.
    • Before measuring baking powder or baking soda, be sure to break up any lumps first—a quick way is to press it through a wire strainer.
    • When measuring butter or margarine, you don’t need to pack it into a measuring cup. The wrappings have markings indicating tablespoons and teaspoons, so you need only cut the stick at the appropriate spot.
    • To measure honey, corn syrup, molasses and other sticky ingredients, lightly oil the cup or spoon with a spritz of cooking spray—the sticky stuff will easily flow out with the simple aid of a rubber spatula.
    • For sticky ingredients, you can also first fill a metal measuring cup or spoon with boiling water and let it sit a few moments. Pour out the water, then immediately fill the warmed measure with the sticky stuff—it’ll pour right out.
    • When measuring strongly flavored seasonings, such as hot pepper sauce or vanilla, measure the ingredient over the sink, NOT directly over the dish you are preparing. (Think about what would happen if your hand slipped a bit and you put a tablespoon of red pepper into the meatloaf instead of a teaspoon!)
    • Occasionally, you’ll see a measurement for a “heaping tablespoon” or “scant 1/4 cup.” “Heaping” means that you should add more of the dry ingredient to the cup or spoon, so it heaps above the measure. “Scant” means that you should use a bit less than the measurement.
Measurement Equivalents
Here are some common measurement equivalents:
1 teaspoon = 60 drops
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
2 cups = 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
4 cups = 2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
Other miscellaneous equivalents:
1 dash = less than 1/8 teaspoon
1/3 cup = 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
1 jigger = 1 1/2 fluid ounces = 3 tablespoons
Learn how to cut down on cuts from knives—and make chopping and slicing easier to boot!

  • The first rule of knife safety is to keep your knives sharp. It’s much easier to cut yourself with a dull blade than a sharp blade because a dull blade can easily slip off food.
  • Invest in a sharpening steel and use it to sharpen your knives frequently. It’s also a good idea to occasionally have your knives sharpened professionally.
  • Always use a cutting board when using a knife; the blade can easily slip if you cut on glass, marble or steel.
  • When chopping and slicing, never take your eyes off the blade—even a second’s distraction can result in a cut finger.
  • Never try to catch a falling knife—step out of the way and let it fall to the ground.
  • To carry a knife, hold it firmly by the handle, close to your thigh, with the point down.
  • Never put a knife in a sink of water—it’s too easy for someone else to reach into the soapy water and come out with a cut hand.
  • Don’t store knives in a drawer. Not only will they get nicked and scratched, but it’s easy to reach in and cut yourself.
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