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Easy Tomato & Grilled Cheese Croutons

Easy Tomato & Grilled Cheese Croutons
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For Soup
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 3 cups onions, chopped
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 4 cups chicken stock
  5. 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  6. large pinch of saffron threads
  7. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  8. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  9. ½ cup orzo
  10. ½ cup heavy cream
For Grilled Cheese Croutons
  1. 4 slices country white bread
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  3. 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 min.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp salt and orzo. Cook for 7 minutes. (it will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain and add to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top (see directions below).
  4. Lightly brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter, making sure to butter the corners. Put Gruyere cheese on unbuttered side of two slices and place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese, buttered side up.
  5. Grill the sandwiches on a panini grill for about 5 minutes or a skillet until both sides are nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Notes
  1. From Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa FoolProof
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Salmon with Pesto & Tomatoes

Salmon with Pesto & Tomatoes
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Ingredients
  1. 1 two pound Salmon Fillet
  2. 1 Jar Pesto (Marcel’s Pesto alla Genovese highly recommended)
  3. 2 ripe Heirloom or Beefsteak Tomatoes, thinly sliced
  4. 1 tablespoon s.a.l.t. Sisters Tuscan blend
  5. 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  6. 1 fresh lemon
  7. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Place salmon on a baking sheet and spread the salt blend over the top. Next generously spread the pesto over the entire top of the fish. Layer the tomato slices on next and top with the cheese.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until desired temperature.
  4. Serve with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and ground pepper.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Brussels Sprouts?… Yes, Brussels Sprouts! by Denise Stano

I might be one of the newest members of the Marcel’s retail staff, but I have been a Marcel’s supporter for many years.  You cannot help but look twice at the eye-catching window displays (how about that Snow family and the gorgeous Simon Pearce trees!!), walk into the store and are greeted by the aromas coming from the chef’s cooking classes, you are immediately hooked.

My first class experience at Marcel’s was a private party in 2012.  I was working at another retail store in town (aka AliKat) and we decided to hold our Christmas party in mid-November.  Holiday retail hours can be brutal and exhausting, so beginning the season early with a fun party seemed like a good idea…especially in case any Scrooge-like temperaments emerged as the season progressed!

We gathered with spouses and significant others on a Saturday evening with Chef Paul. He worked out a delicious menu for us to prepare and we read the recipes with anticipation…Beef Tenderloin Medallions, Wild Mushroom Ragout, Brussel Sprouts with Anchovies, Capers and Walnuts…what?  Brussel sprouts…??

He inquired as to how many of us liked the tiny cabbage-shaped veggie ….. and of course, no one raised their hand.  He assured us that after preparing this recipe we would all become Brussel sprout converts.  We smiled politely at his statement though I know we were all very doubtful.  We followed his instructions for our cruciferous side dish while secretly looking forward to the Baby Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting dessert that was to follow.  But guess what? After roasting those little cabbages and tossing them with Chef Paul’s amazing dressing, we all were in agreement that it was our favorite part of the meal. We unanimously said YES to Brussel sprouts.

Many of us served them at our Holiday table the next week, and in my family it has officially become our most requested side dish.  So if you are like so many and turn your nose up at the thought of Brussel sprouts on your menu, do yourself a favor and give these a try.  I promise you will love them and you might just have a new family favorite.

And when you stop in to thank Chef Paul, please pick up the new schedule of classes for the next quarter.  I know you will enjoy a fabulous evening making new friends, learning new cooking techniques and discovering new tastes no matter which class you choose.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Anchovies, Capers and Walnuts
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  2. 3/4 cup olive oil
  3. salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
  5. 2 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  6. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  8. 2 tablespoons honey
  9. 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  10. one, 2 ounce tin anchovies, drained and rinsed
  11. 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine Brussel sprouts and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat. Divide Brussel sprouts evenly onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred in spots. Shift the pans in the oven halfway through the roasting. Remove from oven. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Place steel blade into the work bowl of food processor. With motor running drop the garlic and shallots through feed tube and process until chopped. Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, capers and anchovies. Process to combine. Add remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and process until fairly smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the warm Brussel sprouts and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter walnuts over the top. Serve right away.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Inspired Continuing Education by Kiley Fields

In any profession there is continuing education. Sometimes it is required, other times it is inspired. Inspiration to learn something…just because. I often have these moments of inspiration in the kitchen. Sometimes I immerse myself in a unique cuisine or an underutilized ingredient. But I recently had a very unexpected inspiration to educate myself. There were a couple interactions that inspired me…

My husband came home from work a few weeks ago and told me about a colleague who has been replacing his meals with a nutritionally packed drink instead of food. Soylent. Have you heard of this stuff? I will let you do your own research and make your own judgements. His colleague’s take was that consuming this cylinder bottle of “liquid food” increased his productivity in the office. What? He voluntarily consumes this stuff?

Another friend shared with me his morning breakfast. A fruit and vegetable packed smoothie – which sounded delicious – until he threw in the 24g protein packed scoop of snickerdoodle flavored whey protein. Stop there!

And finally, a girlfriend who is constantly on the run with five kids. She is a self-described “clean” eater. A go to protein for her might be boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked with olive oil cooking spray and no salt. Bad idea for so many reasons. When I saw her last she gave me a cute little “protein ball.” Protein balls are her thing. Just pop a bunch of nutritionally balanced ingredients in a food processor, pulse away, roll into balls, and you have an on-the-go nutritional snack. Quick, easy and no baking. Generally speaking I like the idea of these “protein balls”. Finally, we are using “real” food – not engineered liquid food or snickerdoodle flavored powder. But, how can we make them taste better, have better texture? Hence, my inspiration for continuing education!

  I spent a Saturday afternoon educating myself. My challenge was to develop a nutritional high protein convenience snack made with “real” food that tasted good. I needed variation in texture and depth in flavor. I tried sweet, I tried savory. I tried TVP – that’s where I drew the line. TVP, textured vegetable protein. This is the main ingredient in dishes like vegan “chicken nuggets” and vegan “beef tacos.”  It provides the protein and texture without the meat. Uh, really? Not sure this qualifies as “real” food.

After many trials and an entire pantry of ingredients utilized, I finally landed on a snack I was pleased with. High protein, lactose-free, and no refined sugar mini muffin bites. Nice texture and good flavor. I sampled them to a few of my best critics. Thumbs up all around. Most importantly, my girlfriend with five kids loved them. Then she asked if she could leave out the egg and throw all the ingredients in a food processor to make them into “protein balls.” Nooooooo! Enough with the protein balls!

My self-written course on high protein convenience snacks began and ended on that Saturday afternoon. I will make the mini muffins again, they were good. But until I get around to it, my go-to high protein snack will be a simple and nostalgic one: a fresh cut apple with a couple tablespoons of peanut butter.

High Protein Mini Muffins Made With “Real” Food That Tastes Good
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ripe banana, mashed
  2. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  3. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  4. 4 tablespoons ghee, plus more for preparing muffin pan (can substitute butter, but will no longer be lactose-free)
  5. 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 cup teff flour (look for Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  8. 1 cup rolled oats
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  12. 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  13. 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  14. 1/3 cup dried blueberries
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease mini muffin tin wells with ghee, set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl stir to combine banana, egg, peanut butter, four tablespoons ghee, coconut sugar and vanilla extract. In separate medium bowl whisk together teff flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in walnuts, flaked coconut and blueberries. Batter will be quite dense.
  4. Using spring loaded portion scoop or tablespoon fill each muffin well with 1.5 tablespoons of batter. Push down in to well slightly with back of tablespoon.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until puffed, golden, and cooked through.
Notes
  1. 3 mini muffins have 9 grams of protein. need more protein? eat more muffins.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Thanksgiving Countdown by Jennifer Dorn

We are a few days away from many peoples’ favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. We celebrate with our families and gather around tables across our community – we are thankful for our bountiful harvest and blessings.  It is a wonderful day and meal. But …yes there may be some stress for cooks out there on this final countdown.  I am lucky to work with many talented cooks that have shared some ideas with me – I have added a few of my own to allow you more time relaxing with family and friends.

First of all, a few things can still be purchased: 

  • Appetizer – order a Cheese & Charcuterie Board from Marché.
  • Dessert – order a delicious locally baked Pumpkin Pies from Marché. Call (630) 790-8890 no later than Saturday, November 17th.  
  • At Marcel’s we are stocked with brining mix and bags for your turkey and we are always available for your last minute kitchen and meal prep needs.

The few days leading up to Thanksgiving can be used to chop ingredients – yup this could take hours so go ahead and start early.  My co-worker Sharon chops the onions, celery and carrots and places them in labeled zip lock bags for time saving minutes on the big day.

Let your slow cooker do some extra work for you. Use it to keep extra side dishes or an extra turkey breast warm.

The day before, make many of your side dishes.  Bake your potatoes the day ahead and use the Powder Horn Potato recipe below.  It is one of our family’s favorites.  Did I mention that at our house it is all about the sides?!

Set the table early. My sister-in-law is so organized that she sets out her serving dishes/utensils and labels each one with a sticky note for use on the big day. This way you know what will go where and whether or not you need to make a last minute trip to Marcel’s for that one servingware piece still needed. One year we took old family photos/school pictures and made them into place card settings. Make it FUN because now you are ready and will have time for the details.

All of us here at Marcel’s are very thankful for our loyal customers and we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Powder Horn Potatoes
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 10 medium potatoes
  2. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  3. 8 ounces cheddar cheese grated
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops or chives
  5. 2 cups sour cream
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bake Potatoes in their skins at 400* for 40 minutes or until slightly firm. Cool overnight.
  2. Thanksgiving morning peel and grate potatoes mix together butter, cheese, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper and stir into potatoes. Pour mixture into lightly greased 2 1/2 quart casserole baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 mins or until lightly browned.
Notes
  1. From: Creme de Colorado Cookbook
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chicken Lombardy

Chicken Lombardy
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Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless chicken breasts
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 1 cup butter - melted
  4. 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms - sliced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  7. 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  8. 1/2 cup chicken stock
  9. 1/2 cup fontina, or mozzarella cheese - shredded
  10. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Pound chicken to 1/8” thickness. Dredge chicken in flour and sauté in 1/2 cup butter (3-4 minutes per side). Place chicken in greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in remaining butter and spread over chicken.
  3. Stir wine and chicken stock int drippings in pan. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Pour over chicken. Bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees until brown. Combine cheeses and sprinkle over chicken. Place under broiler 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Toasted Farro Salad with Roasted Leeks and Root Vegetables

Toasted Farro Salad with Roasted Leeks and Root Vegetables
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 leeks
  2. 2 medium turnips, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into ½” thick half moons
  3. 1 large rutabaga, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into ½” thick half moons
  4. ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  5. Sea salt, to taste
  6. Ground black pepper, to taste
  7. ¾ cup dried farro
  8. Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  9. ¼ cup minced parsley, divided
  10. 2 tablespoon minced dill, divided
  11. ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Move oven shelf to top third of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Trim the dark green sections from the leeks, and halve lengthwise. Immerse leeks in water and shake out any sand and excess water. Trim the roots, and cut each half into 3 segments. In a medium bowl, toss the leeks with 2 T olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the leeks out on the small baking sheet.
  3. In the same bowl used for the leeks, toss the turnip and rutabaga moons with 1 T olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on baking sheet.
  4. Roast both sheets of vegetables for 20 minutes, toss vegetables and rotate baking sheets and roast for another 20-25 minutes, or until soft with browned edges. Turnips and rutabagas may take a few minutes longer.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the farro. Boil a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a large skillet over med-high heat, add the dry farro, and shaking the pan frequently, toast just until the farro browns lightly and is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add farro to the boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes, or until farro is done al dente. Drain, toss with 2 tablespoos lemon juice and 3 tablespoons each minced parsley and dill.
  6. Toss the cheese with 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and one tablespoon each minced parsley and dill.
  7. Toss the farro with the roasted turnips and rutabagas. Top with roasted leeks, crumbled cheese, and remaining dill and parsley. Toss gently and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Tuscan Butter Salmon

Tuscan Butter Salmon
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, patted dry with paper towels
  3. kosher salt
  4. Freshly ground black pepper
  5. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  8. 2 cups baby spinach
  9. 1/2 cups heavy cream
  10. 1/4 cups Parmesan
  11. 1/4 cups chopped herbs (such as basil and parsley), plus more for garnish
  12. Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering but not smoking, add salmon skin-side up and cook until deeply golden, about 6 minutes. Flip over and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add butter. When butter has melted, stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are beginning to burst then add spinach and cook until spinach is beginning to wilt.
  3. Stir in heavy cream, parmesan and herbs and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
  4. Return salmon back to skillet and spoon over sauce. Simmer until salmon is cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
  5. Garnish with more herbs and squeeze lemon on top before serving.
Notes
  1. Recipe from delish.com
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
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Eggplant Sauce
  1. 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  2. 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  3. 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  4. ¼ cup dry white wine
  5. 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  6. 6 ½ tablespoons water
  7. ¼ teaspoon salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon sugar
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Polenta
  1. 6 ears of corn
  2. 2¼ cups water
  3. 3 tablespoons butter, diced
  4. 7 ounces feta, crumbled
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 pinch Black pepper
Eggplant Sauce
  1. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it -- the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before adding the eggplant back in. You can save the oil to fry lamb chops or eggs in tomorrow.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
Polenta
  1. Remove the leaves and "silk" from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels -- either stand each ear upright on its base and shave downward, or lay each ear on its side on a cutting board to slice off the kernels. You want to have 1 1/4 pounds kernels.
  2. Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.
  3. Process them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.
  4. Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency. (Be aware that if you have a lot of liquid left in the pan, it can take a while to cook down the polenta, and it will sputter. Consider holding back some or all of the liquid. Alternately, if you like the consistency after processing, you can skip to step 5.)
  5. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Mexican Muffin Egg Cups

Mexican Muffin Egg Cups
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 8 Eggs
  2. 3 tablespoons Milk
  3. 1/4 teaspoon Mojo Seasoning Blend*
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  6. 1/2 Can Green Mild Chilies
  7. 4 ounces Chorizo Sausage
  8. 3 Green Onions chopped
  9. 1/2 cups Finely chopped Red Pepper
  10. 1/3 cups Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Sauté chorizo sausage until lightly browned. Next add red pepper and green onions and cook another minute. Add cooked sausage to egg mixture and pour into prepared muffin tins. (It is important to spray or line with paper/silicone liners or the eggs will stick.) Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 16-18 minutes until eggs are set. Top with chopped tomatoes and avocado for extra healthy benefit!
  3. Optional Garnish Ideas: Chopped Tomatoes, Avocado, Cilantro
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/