Archives for October 2016

Homemade Vanilla Extract by Judy Fitzgerald

judyblog1During a specialty farm tour this past summer at the Hawaiian Vanilla Company located on the Big Island of Hawaii, my family and I had a behind-the-scenes look to see how one family with 25 acres and a growing family of five kids produce 300 pounds of vanilla a year.  Owner Jim Reddekopp is the personal tour guide and explains how vanilla is grown and cultivated.  The whole Reddekopp family chips in to cultivate the vanilla and share the process with travelers. They host vanilla tastings and luncheons are accompanied by a presentation on raising vanilla and making it’s extract.  As they explained how easy it is to make at home since it requires only 2 simple ingredients and no special equipment, I couldn’t help but think how fabulous homemade batches of vanilla extract would be for baking back at home (or if you are really planning ahead, gifting for the 2017 holiday season!).  Below, I’ve included the recipe straight from www.hawaiianvanilla.com

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Print
Ingredients
  • 3 vanilla beans, minimum (you can double this amount to intensify flavor)
  • 12 ounces of alcohol*
Instructions
  • Lay the vanilla beans on a cutting board and carefully slice them length-wise, using a small paring or kitchen utility knife.
  • Scoop out the soft sticky seeds inside the beans with a small spoon. Spoon the beans into a 12-ounce or larger glass jar.
  • Chop the remaining bean husks into a few small pieces that can fit into the bottle.
  • Add the 12 ounces of alcohol, making sure all beans and husks are fully submerged.
  • Seal the jar tightly, shake well, and store in a cupboard that will not be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • This is the only challenging part of a homemade vanilla extract recipe – patience! The mixture will need to infuse for about six months. The longer you wait, the more intense the flavor will be.
  • After the infusion period is over, strain the mixture through a simple paper filter or cheesecloth. Now you can pour the resulting liquid into a pretty bottle or decanter. Be sure to mark the bottle clearly – vanilla extract is alcoholic and not suitable for tasting by curious kids in the kitchen!
Notes
  • *What kind of alcohol is best? Many chefs prefer to use vodka, as this spirit has the most neutral and “clean” taste, keeping the emphasis on the vanilla flavor. However, you can experiment with a more richly flavored alcohol, such as brandy or rum.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bone Broth

Bone Broth
Yields 12
Print
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds bones (organic pasture raised poultry or grass fed beef)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • Water
Instructions
  • Add the bones, vinegar, and vegetables to a large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid. Fill the pot with water until it covers the bones by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a very low simmer. Let the broth simmer covered for 12 to 24 hours. The longer the broth simmers, the more nutrients will be extracted from the bones. Ideally, the bones should be soft and crumble easily when they are done.
  • Let the broth cool and then strain the bones through a fine mesh sieve into mason jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for several months.
Notes
  • You can also use a pressure cooker - we used an 8 quart stovetop model.
  • Add all bones, vegetables, vinegar and salt to pot. Fill with water to max fill line. Lock on the lid and turn the dial to high pressure. Place the pot on a burner set on high heat. Once the indicator pops up indicating that the pot has reached high pressure, immediately decrease the temperature to the lowest possible setting to maintain high pressure.
  • Let cook for 2 hours. Let the pressure release naturally. Let cool and strain broth into mason jars.
Adapted from Nourish the Roots Blog
Adapted from Nourish the Roots Blog
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Autumn Greens with Cider Vinaigrette

Autumn Greens with Cider Vinaigrette
Print
Ingredients
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cups mixed greens, such as Belgian endive, Swiss chard, watercress and Romaine
Instructions
  • In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, cider, and vinegar. Whisk in the walnut oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the greens and divide among four plates. Serve immediately.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Wild Rice, Pear and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts

Wild Rice, Pear and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts
Print
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into ½” cubes (4 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium ripe pears, cored but not peeled, cut into ½” cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
Cook the wild rice
  • Add the water to a 2 quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook. Start checking the rice after 20 min. Rice may take anywhere from 20-45 min. to cook, depending on whether it’s hand harvested or cultivated. Tender wild rice just starts to split apart at the ends. Drain well. Let cool.
Make the salad
  • As the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
  • Combine the wild rice, sweet potatoes, parsley, scallions and pears in a large mixing bowl. (If you plan to refrigerate the salad for a few days, leave the pears out and add them right before serving).
  • Whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl, until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the wild rice mixture and toss to coat. Serve topped with walnuts.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Just Jump In by Cherise Slattery

There’s more than one way to skin a ______. You can fill in the blank. I was thinking cat. Recently we were on a family vacation and spent an entire evening having an idiom contest. There are thousands once you start paying attention. But I digress.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And there’s more than one way to mix a vinaigrette, or cook a steak, or bake a loaf of bread. When I teach a cooking class, I learn too. So many of the people who come to cooking classes love food and are already great cooks. Some people are learning how to make something for the very first time, and some are taking a cooking class because that is what they love, that is their hobby, and they immerse themselves in the experience.

panzanellaOne comment I often get is, “but I heard you were supposed to do it this way.” I believe there isn’t one right way, only your favorite way, or the way that has always worked best for you. If what you’re cooking looks delicious, and tastes delicious, the road that got you there doesn’t matter. The trick is finding your best way. I do that by continually reading, taking classes, and experimenting. You just have to jump in and start cooking!

And after some experimenting, here’s my favorite way to use up the very last of those summer tomatoes.

Panzanella
Print
Ingredients
  • 3 cups crusty bread, broken into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, ½ inch dice
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ½ cup pitted black olives
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  • Combine all ingredients and let sit at room temperature for one half hour before serving.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Autumn Panini with Fall Fruits and Cheeses

Roast Turkey and Brie Panini with Cranberry Mustard
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 pieces of rustic bread (similar to Turano Bread)
  • 3-4 slices of roasted turkey
  • 2-3 ounces Brie cheese
  • 3 tablespoons American Spoon Cranberry Mustard
  • 2-3 ounces olive oil
  • s.a.l.t. Sisters Charmane’s Bread Dip Herb Blend
Instructions
  • Preheat Panini grill.
  • Mix olive oil with a pinch or two of Charmane’s Bread Dip mixture. Set aside.
  • Spread American Spoon Cranberry Mustard on each slice of bread. Top with roasted turkey, then with brie cheese. Put sandwich together. Brush the outside of the bread with the olive oil mixture. Grill for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Slice on an angle and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/
Dark Forest Ham & Provolone Panini with Peach Preserves
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 pieces of rustic bread (similar to Turano Bread)
  • 3-4 slices dark forest ham
  • 2-3 slices Provolone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons American Spoon Red Haven Peach Preserves
  • 2-3 ounces olive oil
  • s.a.l.t. Sisters Charmane’s Bread Dip Herb Blend
Instructions
  • Preheat Panini grill.
  • Mix olive oil with a pinch or two of Charmane’s Bread Dip mixture. Set aside.
  • Spread American Spoon Red Haven Peach Preserves on each slice of bread. Top with black forest ham, then with provolone cheese. Put sandwich together. Brush the outside of the bread with the olive oil mixture. Grill for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Slice on an angle and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
Print
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Instructions
  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's fairly even.
  • Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
Notes
  • The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon).
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce
Print
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds pasta (angel hair or thin spaghetti)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • dash of sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • half and half, for thinning
  • extra blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
Instructions
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and cook for a minute. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Add cream and stir, then a little splash of half-and-half if sauce is too thick. Cook for a minute or two, tasting and adding more seasonings as needed.
  • At the very, very, very last minute. toss in spinach. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/