Archive for the ‘General Blog’ Category
Friday, December 21st, 2012
Thinking about making something different for New Year’s Eve? Lobster Bisque is a festive, filling soup that let’s your friends know you care enough about them to make something special. I’m not going to tell you that this is one of our super simple dishes but it is worth the time.
I can’t take credit for this dish, I’ve taken it from the New Basics Cookbook (the original Silver Pallet writers) changed a few ingredients. The complete recipe is in our cookbook but I included a few step by step pictures here to help.
chop tails into 2 inch pieces and find a good fish stock
watch Cindy making roux on you tube
If the lobster is too expensive for your budget try switching out the lobster with crab and shrimp. This time a year many markets put their frozen shrimp and crabmeat on sale.
after the "meat" is cooked, marinate in Madera or Marsala wine
almost finished, remove the shells, strain and use your emulsion blender before adding the meat back into the soup.
If you do go this route, find a good fish stock to “beef” up the broth. I serve the bisque in a small bread bowl.
Hollow the bowls out, reserving the inside bread and warm the “bowls” in the oven. Scoop a ladle full of bisque into the bowls and place the top and insides on the edge for dipping. If you get into trouble, shoot us an email. Good luck and have a fun, festive and happy New Years Eve!
Friday, November 30th, 2012
My grandmother, Sadie A. Shafer made the best carmel sauce for us when we were growing up. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get her recipe before she passed away. But fortunately for me, she taught me to love cooking and to experiment with foods. So I think I have come up with a sauce pretty close to hers.
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combined the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over a medium heat until the butter is melted. Bring to a slow boil while constantly stirring for 2 minutes, lower the heat and add cream and vanilla. Cook for another minute over med heat. Remove and when cool enough pour into a glass container.
I love to cut up crisp apples and drip into the carmel sauce or try your hand at Cindy’s vanilla ice cream with carmel. Simple and delicious!
Saturday, November 24th, 2012
We all love it, do it and regret it! Ahh, Thanksgiving dinner, it is simply the best holiday. You know the drill, preparing all day for your families favorite dishes, setting the table and blasting through the first plate so you can have room for seconds before your stomach has even digested the first.So now that we’re on the other side of Thanksgiving, it’s cleanse time. This is a little recipe I first had in Botswana and adapted for home. Give it a try, it’s tasty and healthy.
Ginger Lemonade Cleanse
1 ginger root
1 8 quart pot of water
2 whole lemons
1/4 cup of honey
Peal and cut the ginger into small pieces. Place in pot of water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a mesh strainer, add the juice of 2 lemons and honey. Pour into a pitcher, add ice and refrigerate. Besides the cleansing aspect of this concoction, there are real health benefits to ginger, honey and lemon. These three ingredients help with digestion, nausea, infections and poor moods.
Friday, November 16th, 2012
THANKSGIVING, It’s all about the…food, family, football, friends? How would you finish the statement? In my family, it’s all about turkey,stuffing,mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie; except for Jay, for some reason he thinks it’s all about the ham. Ham Jay? We’ve never had ham for Thanksgiving. You don’t even eat ham! But anyway, it’s time to stock the shelves for the holidays.
ABOUT THE TURKEY
Fresh is more expensive and should be bought one or two days before you cook it. Frozen can be bought in advance, but must be defrosted. This could be a problem in a crowded fridge. Make room.
Figure on about a pound to a pound and a half per guest, depending on whether or not you want left-overs. Defrost in the refrigerator, 1 day for every 5 pounds, In other words, a 20 pound bird will take 4 days to defrost.
If you must, and only if you must, thaw the turkey in cold water in your sink, keeping it completely submerged for safety reasons. Weigh it down,use cans or plates, change the water every 30 minutes and defrost for 30 minutes per pound. A 20 pound turkey will take 10 hours to defrost.
Roasting The Bird:
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight Time
6 to 8 pounds – 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds - 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds - 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds - 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds - 6 to 6-1/2 hour
Whole Foods Market Golden Roasted Turkey
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight – Hours
6 to 8 pounds - 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds – 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds- 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds- 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds- 5-1/2 to 6 hours
Invest in a meat thermometer! When The thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees, you’re cooked. Let the bird sit for 20 minutes before carving.
If this all seems too much for you, get a canned ham, serve it with Mac and Chese, and invite Jay.
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
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Take advantage of this opportunity to get acquainted with this extraordinary jewelry designer, and good luck!!
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Since Joanna has been harvesting her tomatoes, it inspired me to make some homemade tomato soup. Tomato soup is probably the easiest of all soups and paired with a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich, it’s hard to have anything better. I didn’t have any ripe ones from my own garden so I had to resort to store bought. When using fresh tomatoes, dunk them in a boiling pot of water for a few minutes until you see the skin split. Drain and refresh with cold water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin, split and remove the seeds. Don’t stress about getting all the seeds. I then chop them through my kitchen aide while sauting the garlic in olive oil. Add to the pan and cook down for 15 minutes. I needed to add a large can of crushed organic tomatoes since I didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes. Finish with fresh chopped basil and cheese. I made this version with garlic, basil and parmesan cheese but you can have lots of variety with a tomato base. If you like a creamier version, simply add a little cream or half and half.
Tomato Basil Soup
1 lb fresh tomatoes plus on large can of crushed organic tomatoes
4 garlic closes chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 fresh basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup vegetable stock to thin the soup
1/4 cup of cream, optional
Visit our cookbook for other super simple soup recipes!
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Monday, September 17th, 2012
Botswana is not only known for it abundance of elephants but their many fabulous chefs. While we were traveling on safari this summer we were treated to some delicious locals foods. They are tasty and inexpensive.This baked polenta recipe is from Kwetsani Camp in the Okawango Delta, part of the Wilderness Safari group. Since it’s a water based camp, the staff needs to plan their meals carefully and load up on pantry items. This recipe uses instant polenta and a jarred relish (but I’ll include a homemade relish too).Botswana Baked Polenta
Chef Olivia and her trusted assistant
Serve the polenta hot with a green leafy salad and ginger lemonade. Simple and delicious!
Friday, September 14th, 2012
I was lucky to have my tomatoes come on and get beautiful and plump at the end of the season. I was getting ready to leave town and I saw that I had baskets of them and I realized that I really wanted to can them this year. It had been probably ten years since I had last canned tomatoes. I was worried that I might have forgotten some secret, but it is very straight forward.
Get your equipment together.
Your quart jars and lids( use fresh lids every time you can unless you have those pretty glass lids that I haven’t tried yet but want to use because of their elegant beauty)
The large enamel pot for the boiling water bath, the jar caddy that helps to set the group of jars into and lift the jars out of the water bath
A tea kettle of boiling water to pour over the lids to sterilize them
A pot to boil water in for the removal of tomato peel
Colanders for your washed tomatoes and peeling tomatoes both
Drop the tomatoes into boiled water for one minute only… a little longer if the skin doesn’t readily peel away from the fruit, but watch it closely as too often I have forgotten and then the fruit of the tomato just isn’t as firm and pretty in the can or I should say JAR. You end up cooking it a little. It is easy to forget as you are peeling the tomatoes that you just put another batch in the hot water. I try to remember to put on the timer so I don’t let them sit too long in the water. Notice how long it takes yours. It can vary with the age of tomato and the variety all have their individual traits. Yes every variety of tomato has its own personality. Some are delicious and firm to slice, some are super watery and have so many seeds that they aren’t very good to can because your later soups and sauces made from them will have too many seeds. If you are making tomato sauce or soup, you can strain the seeds out or even squeeze them out of the tomato when you are preparing them for cooking…. So when you take the tomatoes out of the hot boiled water to loosen the skin… then you want to put them into a bowl of cold water or I often put them in a colander and run cold water over them.
As you are going along you are putting the lids of your jars in a bowl and pouring boiling water on them to sterilize them. You can let them sit until ready to screw on the filled jars. Do not take them out of their hot water bowl before or they start becoming non sterile immediately.
You get ahead of your self with the peeling or skinning of the tomatoes and filling a bowl… Then when you have them ready fill the jars. You can fill the jars to the brim with the tomatoes. Fit as many in as you can because after they are canned and out of the ” boiling water bath” they will be taking up much less space. See in the finished photos how much the tomatoes deflated and left space in the jar. Those jars were packed full.
The time in the water bath depends on the size of the jar or the type of vegetable. For tomatoes in quart jars it is about 45 minutes. After you take them out and set them on the counter to cool, you may need to tighten the lids. Do so CAREFULLY as these jars are boiling HOT. The lids will become concave as they become sealed in this vacuum cooling process. The ones that don’t seal you can process again in the bath. If you just can’t get one to seal, change the lid and if that happens to you again like it has for me for some unknown reason( I blame the redwood forest Elves), then just put it in the refrigerator and use it as soon as possible.
If you have enough after your harvesting projects are done, home grown and home made products make great gifts for the holidays. Take a jar of your canned or dried and oil and garlic soaked tomatoes to a friend for a gift. There is a lot of love in that jar.
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Soon after the attack brought down the twin towers, my husband and I visited the site to pay our respects. It left us deeply saddened and upset. We hadn’t been back again.
Last Saturday, first thing in the morning, the whole family took the subway from Brooklyn and visited the memorial. There is still a sense of sadness and loss, but it is tempered with hope. There are long lines, that move quickly and quietly. No NY hustle and bustle here, people from all over the country and the world have come to honor the memory of those who died here.
You will have to pass through security, much like in an airport, but more civil, and no one complains or rushes you. Once inside there is something that unites the visitors, I heard so many different languages, you’ll see people of all ages and nationalities sharing a deep sorrow and finding peace.
Peace, you won’t find answers here, you’ll find a place to make peace and to reflect. So many selfless men and women gave their lives here in an effort to save others. The memorial is a beautiful tribute and a reminder of that which makes us human, which makes us one.
If you’re planning a trip to NYC this summer, pay a visit, it’s a very different element of the NY experience. It is still a work in progress, the museum is not yet open to the public, and there is still a lot of construction going on around it, in some ways, that makes it all the more meaningful.
Admission is free, but you will have to get a visitor’s pass. You should do this on-line, although you can get them at the visitor’s center. Bring an ID.