Fresh Herbs Create Fresh Flavors by Lynn Dugan

Whether in your garden or from a farmer’s market or grocer, fresh herbs can create fresh flavors in your kitchen.  Fresh herbs can be added as a finish to green salads, sautéed vegetables, bruschetta, pizzas, dips, salsas and dressings – the possibilities are endless.  And if you are substituting fresh herbs for dried in a recipe, use a 3:1 ratio.

Here are some tips to help with the use and storage of fresh herbs:

  • Pick herbs frequently if home grown. Snip chives often for a sturdy plant with frequent new leaves. Parsley and cilantro, whose new growth comes from the middle, should be picked working from the outside, in. Basil should be picked from top. Scissors are best to trim herbs.
  • Wash herbs gently. Fill a salad spinner with cold water and swirl the herbs gently loosen any dirt. Drain the water and spin the herbs dry.
  • Store Sturdy Herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, chives) by arranging them in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel.  Loosely roll up the paper towel and transfer to a plastic zipper lock bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator, 2-3 weeks.
  • Store Tender Herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, tarragon) by snipping off the bases of the stems. Transfer them to a large jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar by covering it with a plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks.
  • Store Basil by snipping off the bases of water at the bottom. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Avoid direct sunlight.

And here is a yummy triple herb pesto that can be used with pasta, as a sandwich spread, or in a tortellini salad. It’s herbilicious!

Pesto

Basil-Mint-Parsley Pesto
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cup basil
  2. ½ cup mint
  3. ¼ cup parsley
  4. ½ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted
  5. 4 cloves garlic
  6. ½ cup parmesan cheese
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  8. 1/4 cup EVOO
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, blend garlic and nuts. Add basil, mint, parsley and cheese. Occasionally scrape down sides to blend evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly drizzle the olive oil to blend. Adjust oil amount, as needed, for proper consistency.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

A Cheese Adventure by Maureen McHugh

Would I like to go on a cheese tour of Wisconsin’s Dairyland?  Absolutely!!

Fortune Fish & Gourmet, in partnership with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, invited Jill and a guest to board a bus for a three day tour that would take us up to Madison where we would explore the Southwest cheese region of Wisconsin. Our primary interest was to see what great cheeses we could identify and bring back to Marché when it opens this fall. What I didn’t expect was to be completely blown away by the farmers and cheesemakers that we met along the way. We met 15 cheesemakers in three days, many who represent generations of European cheesemakers who immigrated to Wisconsin.  Here are a few highlights from our cheese adventure.

20150616_094859[1]First stop the Crave Brothers, a locally owned, family run dairy farm and creamery, was one of our most anticipated stops. They not only make outstanding fresh cheeses but also do it by practicing farming techniques utilizing 100% green power.  By working in harmony with the land and investing in innovative farming practices they are a carbon negative company which continues to pass the heritage of dairy farming and cheese making down to the next generation.

Another stop was to Uplands Cheese, a small dairy farm that honors the age-old traditions of milking cows seasonally, in time with the pastures. They make only two traditional farmstead cheeses: Pleasant Ridge Reserve, made in the summer months, while the cows eat fresh pasture and Rush Creek Reserve, made in the fall, when their diet changes to hay.

While on a tour of Cedar Grove Creamery we were lucky enough to meet cheesemaker Anna Landmark who quit her job as a policy research director for a Wisconsin non-profit a few years ago and took the plunge into full-time cheesemaking. Today, she’s co-founder of Landmark Creamery and is crafting small batch seasonal cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep, and water buffalo.

Anna shares space at Cedar Grove Creamery. She had just finished making a batch of her Petit Nuage cheese and was nice enough to let us have a tasting.  Petit Nuage is a French style soft sheep milk cheese. What a treat! Each cheese is a perfect single portion that has a tangy brightness and sweet finish. We could imagine pairing it with honey, preserves, or adding it to a grilled vegetable salad.

As the bus drove us back to Illinois we were both excited to share the experience and thought: what better way than a tasting!  Jill has provided a sneak peek of what’s ahead by including Landmark’s Petit Nuage and Nordic Creamery’s Summer Butter in the current Marcel’s refrigerated case. Nordic Creamery uses farm-fresh sweet cream to make “Summer Butter” from April to October when cows are on pasture, creating fresh, herby flavors and a sunny yellow color.  Pick some up next time you’re in! Follow all the happenings at Marché on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marche496.            

 

Falling for Apples (Caramel Apples, that is) by Carolyn Raber     

One fruit is synonymous with fall……apples.   Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cake, applesauce, apple dumplings, apple cider, apple donuts, and all the rest.  The one apple treat, however, that is most revered at the Raber house is caramel apples.  It all started one October day early in our marriage when my husband said he was hungry for caramel apples.  So I did what I knew…..I bought a bag of Kraft caramels along with apples and had 8 caramel apples ready when he got home from his teaching day.   Thrilled as he was upon seeing them, his joy turned to surprise upon taking a few bites when he said, “These aren’t like my mom makes.”  Now, in fairness to my husband who is totally easy to cook for, that is the ONLY time he said that his mother made something better than I.  He may have thought it, but he has never again said it!  I was not upset, just curious.  What was Mother Raber’s trick?  I come from a long line a good cooks and I thought everyone made caramel apples from Kraft caramels.  He assured me there was another way.  And there was.  I am sharing here my late mother-in-law’s caramel apple recipe, along with some tips I’ve learned along the way.

CaramelApplesFlipped

CARAMEL APPLES 

6-8 apples – firm, tart, room temperature (Honeycrisp and Mutzu are my favorites)
1 C. sugar
½ C. white Karo syrup
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 tsp. good vanilla (I use Madagascar)

Wash and dry apples, remove the stems, and insert  a craft stick into each.  I like the round ones when I can find them.  Grease a platter to put them on later.

In a heavy medium pan over medium heat, bring all ingredients except vanilla to a boil, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula so that none sticks to the pan.  Then lower heat and continue to stir constantly until mixture reaches about 225 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This usually takes about 10 minutes. Watch it carefully and test in cold water for very soft ball stage.  Do not overcook or it will take the fillings out of your teeth!  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Let cool just 1-2 minutes, then dip and spread caramel over each apple.  Place on greased platter or plate to set.

Some people like the apples dipped in nuts, but we are purists….no nuts.

A Batter Bowl & A Wooden Spoon by Dana Williams

photo (6)I’m a bit of an equipment junkie. Having spent the better part of the last twenty years working in kitchen stores, I’ve developed an extreme affection for cooking/baking tools and small electrics! Customers who ask me questions like “Do I really need this avocado slicer?” will be answered with a resounding “Absolutely!” I’d be lost without my stand mixer, my food processor, my VitaMix and my juicer.

So, that being said, my new mini obsession is baking without plugging in a single thing. My current two favorite pieces of “equipment” are my heavy beech French mixing spoon and my Simon Pearce batter bowl. Recently, I’ve turned out each of the following recipes more than a few times. Any recipe that calls for melted butter is usually pretty simple to mix up without a stand or hand mixer. My “Mom’s Best Granola” (self proclaimed!) starts with melted coconut oil mixed with cinnamon, honey and vanilla. Your kitchen will smell heavenly! These little Praline cookies come together in a flash and are buttery, crunchy and totally delicious. Try them both and let me know how you like them!

Mom’s Best Granola

Preheat oven to 325.
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c sliced almonds
1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 t sea salt
Combine oats, walnuts, almonds, salt and coconut in bowl.
Combine coconut oil, cinnamon, honey and vanilla in small sauce pan. Pour over combined oat mixture and mix well. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 – 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Let cool on parchment paper and store at room temp.

Praline Cookies

Preheat oven to 375
1/2 c butter – melted
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 egg – lightly beaten
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c chopped pecans
Powdered sugar
Mix first six ingredients together and then stir in pecans. Using a small cookie scoop, roll into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 – 10 minutes until they just start to brown on edges. Remove from oven, let cool 2 minutes and dust liberally with powdered sugar. Makes 30 cookies.

Tomato and Corn Pie

Tomato and Corn Pie
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Ingredients
  1. Dough
  2. 2 to 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 T baking powder
  4. 1 3/4 t salt, divided
  5. 6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  6. 3/4 cup cold whole milk
Filling
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 2 T fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, large dice (about 4 large)
  4. 1 1/2 cups corn (from about 2 ears), coarsely chopped by hand, divided
  5. 2 T finely chopped basil, divided
  6. 1 T finely chopped chives, divided
  7. 1/4 t black pepper, divided
  8. 7 ounces coarsely grated Smoked Fontina (1 3/4 cups), divided
  9. 1 egg for egg wash
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms dough, then gather into a ball. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes
  3. Roll dough into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Place in 9-inch pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang. Prick bottom with fork all over. Put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  5. Blanch tomatoes. Peel and dice large pieces of tomato and gently remove seeds. Let tomatoes drain on paper towel to remove excess moisture. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, sprinkle with ½ the corn, 1 T basil, 1/2 T chives, 1/2 t salt, 1/8 t pepper and 1 cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round and fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush with egg wash. Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  7. Do ahead: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Half Empty or Half Full? by Kelly Montgomery

We recently dropped off our two boys at Butler University, where Egan returns for his junior year and Max begins to navigate his first year away from home.

Back here, things seem a little empty right now. The foyer is missing its usual collection of what always seemed like dozens of very large shoes. Two of our four bedrooms are looking stripped-down, if not exactly clean. (Picture the Whoville houses after the Grinch’s visit on Christmas eve). The basement is no longer full of boys and their games and their mess and their noise. The calendar has empty spaces that used to be occupied with basketball games and volleyball games and practices and tournaments. And the table looks a bit too spacious with only 3 diners instead of the usual 5. I think we’re going to have to remove the leaf. Even the pile of laundry waiting to be folded looks disturbingly small. Weird.

Mom and boys

And yet, I discovered something interesting yesterday in the kitchen. The refrigerator was FULL! The pantry too! We have long struggled with keeping enough food in the house for our growing young men and their friends. “But I just went to the store!!” was my usual response to their constant pleas of “There’s nothing to eat!” Now, suddenly, I’m beginning to see some possibilities here. I could try more new recipes, splurge on premium ingredients, replace quantity with quality. I could fill the shelves with the finest produce, cheeses, meats, and wine! I could try some new things from Marcel’s Market. This is an upside I hadn’t considered.

We are so grateful to have our youngest, Lily, at home with us for just a while longer. For her, this year will be full of all the excitement and challenge of her first year of high school at Glenbard West. Full of dances and softball, auditions and homework, critical wardrobe decisions and teenage girl drama. But PLEASE, no boys. I don’t know if any of us are ready for that yet.

According to experts (friends and coworkers who have already been through it), this empty-ish feeling will soon pass and everything will feel normal again. And the boys will come home for holidays and even summers, if we’re lucky. Everything will fill up again. Except the fridge and the cabinets and the pantry, which we will struggle to keep stocked once again.

And that will be just fine with us.

Quinoa Cauliflower Patties

Quinoa Cauliflower Patties
Yields 16
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup quinoa (3¼ ounces / 95 grams)
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2½ cups cauliflower florets (10 ounces / 280 grams)
  4. ⅓ cup rolled oats (1 ounce / 30 grams)
  5. 1 medium shallot, diced fine (3 tablespoons / 1 ounce / 30 grams)
  6. 3 serrano chiles, seeds and veins removed, chopped fine
  7. ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  8. 2 large egg whites
  9. 1 egg yolk
  10. 2 tablespoons corn starch
  11. ¼ cup milk
  12. ½ teaspoon salt
  13. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  14. 1 cup crumbled feta (4½ ounces / 125 grams)
  15. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  16. 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Rinse the quinoa. Put the quinoa and 1 cup water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is just fully absorbed. Turn cooked quinoa into a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large, shallow, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and chiles and sauté for 3 minutes, until shallots begin to soften (avoid browning the shallots).
  3. Meanwhile, pulse the cauliflower and oatmeal in a food processor until it resembles coarse meal, about 6 to 8 one-second pulses.
  4. When shallots and chiles are sauteéd, add them to the processor and pulse 2-3 times to distribute.
  5. Turn cauliflower mixture into the quinoa. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, and feta cheese and stir thoroughly. Whisk corn starch thoroughly into the egg whites. Add this mixture to the quinoa/cauliflower along with the yolk and ¼ cup milk. Mix thoroughly to distribute liquids. Using a spoon or spatula, press the batter down firmly in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest batter in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or up to two hours.
  6. To prepare patties, heat vegetable oil and butter in a large, shallow, non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Drop batter, ¼ cup at a time, into skillet. Let the lumps of batter fry for about one minute and then gently squash batter into patty form with a spatula. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes until first side is nicely browned. Flip the patties and cook another 6 or 7 minutes. Serve.
  7. The batter will keep covered in the refrigerator for a day or two, and makes excellent leftovers.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Sauteed Quinoa with Swiss Chard

Sauteed Quinoa with Swiss Chard
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces bacon, finely diced
  2. 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  3. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  4. 2 yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  5. 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, trimmed, stems removed, leaves cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  6. Salt
  7. Freshly ground black pepper
  8. 4 cups cooked red quinoa
  9. 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large sauté pan cook the bacon over medium heat until it is lightly browned and has rendered its fat, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the onion is lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  2. 2. Add the Swiss chard and cook until it is tender, about 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. 3. Stir in the cooked quinoa and olive oil and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. 4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. 5. Transfer the quinoa to a heated bowl and serve right away.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Maple Butter Roast Chicken with Green Chile Vinaigrette

Maple Butter Roast Chicken with Green Chile Vinaigrette
Serves 6
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For the Chicken
  1. 1 4 Pound whole roasting chicken
  2. ½ C. Unsalted butter at room temperature
  3. 2 T. Grade B Maple syrup
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 t. Dried Lavender flowers, crushed
For the Vinaigrette
  1. 2 Poblano peppers
  2. 2 T. Freshly squeezed lime juice
  3. 1 T. Cider vinegar
  4. 1/3 C. Olive oil
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken on a work surface, breast side down. Using a sharp knife or poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone and remove it. Discard the backbone.
  2. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan and press firmly on the breast to flatten the chicken slightly.
  3. Combine the soft butter with the maple syrup, minced garlic, crushed lavender flowers and salt and pepper to taste. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the flesh of the chicken under the breast and thigh. Take a small spoonful of the butter mixture and insert it into the pockets created between the skin and flesh. Press on the chicken’s flesh to spread the butter beneath the skin.
  4. Rub any remaining butter residue over the top of the chicken, and season it generously with salt and pepper. Let the chicken stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 and make the vinaigrette.
  5. Place the poblanos directly on your stove top burners and turn on the flame to low-medium. Turn the peppers occasionally, until they become thoroughly blackened. Place the peppers on a work surface and cover with a towel. When the peppers are cool, peel off the skin (don’t do this under running water, or you will lose all the flavor!) Chop the peppers and place them in a blender or mini prep with the lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Process until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400. Roast the chicken one hour, or until the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 158 and the dark meat reaches 170. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with foil and let rest 15 minutes, before separating the leg/thigh portions and cutting each breast in half horizontally. Arrange the chicken on a platter and top with the vinaigrette.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c. fresh basil leaves
  2. 4 whole cloves
  3. 2 whole star anise
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1/3 c. sugar
  6. ½ t. kosher salt
  7. 1 plum tomato, peeled, halved, seeds removed
  8. 3 c. 1” pieces chilled seedless watermelon (about 1 lb)
  9. 2 c. 1” pieces chilled peeled cucumber
  10. ¼ c. fresh lime juice
  11. 1 red Thai chile or Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  12. Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
  13. Mint for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups basil leaves, cloves, star anise, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and 1 ½ c. water to a boil in a small saucepan
  2. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes; strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a medium size bowl. Set aside and cool completely
  3. Puree basil syrup, tomato, melon, cucumber, lime juice, and chile in a blender until very smooth.
  4. Taste and adjust, re-seasoning as necessary
  5. Divide gazpacho among bowls.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/