Tag Archives: refreshing

Panna Cotta with Blueberry Port Sauce and Strawberries

If you’ve only ordered panna cotta in a restaurant, you need to make this. If you can make Jello, you can do this. It’s closely related in terms of preparation.

Panna cotta is an eggless Italian custard. It’s fairly plain but is often served with a nice fruit sauce that enhances the flavor.

I created this red, white and blue sweet treat for the Fourth of July.

Since I needed something blue for my theme, I decided to make a blueberry port sauce to pour over and it’s wonderful. Strawberries add a touch of red and texture.  It’s very nice.

For the photos, I styled my panna cotta two ways: in a champagne flute, which is beautiful; and then in a star glass dish that I bought from Dollar Tree.

 

DSC_0709 (2)

 

You can also serve them in ramekins which is more traditional.

It’s simple and perfect for a couple or small family because there’s only five servings. Enjoy!

Panna Cotta with Blueberry Port Sauce and Strawberries

Makes 5 servings

1/2 cup whole milk

1 ½ envelopes (.25 ounces each) unflavored gelatin

2 cups of heavy whipping cream (1 pint)

½ cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sauce:

1 pint blueberries

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

3 tablespoons port

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

For the panna cotta: place whole milk in a bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Set aside for 3 minutes.

Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape the tiny seeds inside into a heavy bottomed pot. The seeds contain the vanilla flavor. Next add the heavy cream and sugar and heat it over medium or medium-low heat. You don’t want to rush it because you don’t want the cream to curdle. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Then pour the gelatin/milk mixture into the cream. Stir until gelatin is dissolved which takes about 3 minutes.

When it’s done, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract.

Pour ½ cup of mixture into ramekins or champagne glasses, whatever you plan to use to serve the dish.  Refrigerate for 4 hours.

For the port sauce, heat blueberries, water and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens. When it’s done, stir in the port.   For a mild port flavor, use 2 tablespoons. If you want more pronounced flavor, add 3 or even 4. I used Taylor Port which is readily available, inexpensive and works wells in this recipe.

Refrigerate the port sauce until it’s time to use. Note, you can also serve the port sauce warm but if you decide to do this make it right before serving.

Before serving, top each panna cotta with blueberry port sauce and fresh strawberries.

DSC_0683 (2)

 

Advertisements

Mango, Pineapple Salsa (serve it as an appetizer first and leftovers on pork, chicken or fish)

I love salsa. Fruit salsa. Smokey salsa. Charred salsa. Jarred salsa. Green salsa. You name it, I love it.

But I particularly love this Mango, Pineapple Salsa. One of my best friends makes a similar salsa and this is my version. My salsa won “Best Overall Salsa” at a friendly competition and it was up against an array of excellent salsas.

Aside from being delicious served on its own, this salsa is great on grilled fish or pork. I recently marinated pork chops for 24 hours in Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce (online) http://www.soyvay.com/flavors/veri-veri-teriyaki) and then pan fried the pork and topped it with the leftover salsa. It was fantastic!

 Pork with Mango, Pineapple Salsa

If you don’t have that sauce, use soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar  and 1/2 a garlic clove for 3-4 pork chops. That makes a nice marinade. A pork loin marinated in Asian sauce, grilled and then served with this salsa would be spectacular.

This would also be great on chicken or fish tacos.

The key to this salsa is ripe, sweet fruit. Mangoes are hardly ever ripe when you buy them, so I buy them 3-4 days before I need to make this salsa. I also buy extras in case some are not sweet. Whenever I have to use avocados or mangoes I buy extra because you’ll often get a disappointing one in the batch. I bought 5 mangoes to be safe. There were all sweet, so I ate the others for breakfast.

Let this marinate for 2 hours or more before serving. You can adapt this recipe and add 2/3 cup drained black beans to this and it’s delicious, too. In that case, I also add 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

If you can’t find ripe mangoes, you can use the jarred refrigerated type, but fresh is always best!

I like to serve it in a margarita or martini glass for nice presentation. It’s such a refreshing salsa for summer. I adore it!

salsa2

Mango, Pineapple Salsa

2 1/2 very ripe mangoes, chopped fine

2 ½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

¾ of a medium red onion, chopped

2/3 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine

1 teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt to taste

.Directions:

Chop all the ingredients and place in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste. Toss and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Fresh Corn Salad- and tips for using corn

Sometimes memories are so vivid you feel like you can taste them.

That’s how I feel about the sweet taste of corn on the cob fresh my grandparents’ farm.

My family would visit every summer. Grandpa would harvest corn in late July into August and I’d help my grandma shuck it for dinner. She always boiled it and served it so hot that a slab of butter would melt and slide down the side of the cob the second the butter touched it.

I couldn’t wait to nibble off the golden kernels in horizontal rows. It was a delicious tradition and a wonderful memory.

I still love corn on the cob although nothing compares to the flavor of farm fresh corn. For starters, corn is best consumed the day it’s picked because within 24 hours of picking, the sugars start to convert to starch and some of the flavor is lost.

DSC_0110 (2)

That said, I recommend buying corn from a farmers market for the freshest corn possible. If you’re not going to eat it that day, pop it in the refrigerator to slow down the conversion.

If you’re substituting fresh corn for canned, as a general rule, when you cut corn off the cob, you get about ½ a cup of corn.

When cutting corn off the cob, a neat little trick is to place the cob in the hole of an angel food pan or Bundt cake pan and then scrape off the kernels so they fall into the pan without going all over the counter (Bundt works better because the hole is smaller). I saw this idea on Pinterest and it works beautifully.

photo 2 (33)

Microwaving corn is my favorite cooking method because it’s so simple and fast. Simply pop the entire corn in its husk in the microwave and cook on high for 3-3.5 minutes; two ears for 4-5 minutes; three ears for 5-6 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before you shuck it.

Another popular cooking method is to boil the corn. I always add a good dash of salt but also 1/3 cup of sugar to the water to bring out the sweetness. I particularly recommend this if you buy corn in the off season when it’s likely been shipped from far away and not as sweet. Boil corn for about 6-8 minutes. The older corn is, the longer it takes to cook because it’s starchier (add 1-2 minutes).

If you’re working with a bunch of corn, don’t toss the cobs when you’re done. Corn cobs can be used to make wonderful corn stock and frozen for corn chowder this winter. I boil 8-10 cobs with 5 cups water, 2 cups chicken stock, a carrot, two celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, and one sliced onion. Boil for an hour and then cool and freeze it for corn chowder this winter. If you want to use it right away, you can use it in place of water when making rice, quinoa or risotto.

That’s all the corn tips I have. I made this for my husband when we first met and it’s one of his favorite dishes to this day. This salad has celery, several types of bell pepper, red onion, parsley, basil and a light vinegar dressing.

DSC_0005 (2)

It’s so refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with everything from sausages to chicken to burgers.  It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. And is an easy side dish for rotisserie chicken. The great thing about this corn salad is you can substitute canned corn in the winter.

Summer Corn Salad

3 ears of corn

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

¾ of a green bell pepper, chopped

½ an orange bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

5 basil leaves, sliced thin

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad, cook corn according to your favorite method. If you’re microwaving, microwave on high in the husks for 5-6 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husks and corn silks and cut corn off the cob and add to a large bowl.

Chop all your vegetables and add to corn. Add chopped parsley and basil and toss the salad with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Leftovers keep for days in the refrigerator.

It’s summer … Let’s throw a margarita party!

By Juliana Goodwin

Nothing livens up a hot summer day like a margarita party.

Margarita parties are one of my favorite, laid-back summer rituals. Now, if you don’t entertain very often because you think it’s too much work, then the margarita party is for you. This is simple, fun entertaining (and women tend to particularly enjoy these).

The idea behind it is to provide a variety of margaritas for guests to sample and finger food, so you have plenty of time to visit with friends. It’s a blast.

I make a wonderful basic margarita and it’s not overly acidic. I love margaritas but find that so many recipes (especially ones that use sour mix), make my stomach hurt after one drink. What’s my secret? I use frozen limeade and fresh lime juice in my classic margarita which makes it smooth and less acidic.

When throwing a margarita party, I always offer a pitcher of plain margaritas and then put out some liqueurs that people can use to add a shot to the classic margarita.

For example, for an Italian margarita, add a shot of amaretto (that one is a little too sweet for me). For a top shelf margarita, add a splash of Grand Marnier (that’s my favorite). A shot of brandy is surprisingly good in a margarita.

Add a hint of raspberry with a shot of Chambord or another raspberry flavored liqueur. Curacoa will add a hint of orange flavor and turn your margarita blue (it’s very pretty). If you don’t have a well-stocked bar, then buy a few airplane size bottles of liqueurs for guests to experiment with.

If you don’t want to add the extra cost of the liqueurs, simply make all the margarita recipes here (I have three) and you will have plenty of samples for guests.

I like to offer garnishes of lime and orange slices and then both coarse salt and sugar for guests to rim their glasses. You can buy specialty margarita salt or just serve coarse sea salt. A drop of food dye can color your salt or sugar and make it more festive.

Aside from the classic margaritas, I always have a pitcher of flavored margaritas, usually frozen cranberry margaritas. My mother got this recipe years ago from her cousin Jane Hightower and it has been a huge hit in our family. It’s wildly popular when I serve it at parties because it’s a great balance of sweet and tart. It’s also a frozen margarita which is particularly welcoming on a hot day. It also makes a large batch.

cran

For this column, I also whipped up a blueberry margarita too, which is delicious but sweeter than a classic margarita. My mother-in-law loved this recipe. There’s only four ingredients so it’s pretty easy to make and uses natural juice (again, less acidic). This makes a small batch, enough for three regular margaritas or six samples.

photo (8)

Another flavored option is mango margaritas. To make a batch, simply make your favorite pitcher of classic margaritas (if you’re making mine, omit the orange and orange liqueur), then add ¾ of a pint of mango sorbet and stir until it’s melted. This makes a fairly sweet margarita, but it’s delicious and refreshing. Serve it over ice. A twist on this idea to make margarita floats and serve a class margarita with a float of frozen sorbet (mango and raspberry are best) and let guest eat the sorbet out of the drink (like a root beer float).

As you can see, you’re only limited by your imagination that’s part of the reason I love these parties; I come up with something new every time.

Since you will be serving several options of drinks, I suggest using smaller glasses, like juice glasses or even dessert cups so people can sample without drinking too much.

The great thing about this party is you can make all the margaritas in advance and pop the pitchers in the refrigerator so you don’t have to stop to make more drinks.

Also, don’t forget to have buckets of ice for drinks.

As for the food, I keep it simple. I am a big believer that variety is the spice of life and so I offer three or four different flavored salsas, like classic, chipotle, black bean, peach or pineapple. I always throw in a fruit salsa. I have made salsa for these parties and bought it, too. I like to serve some salsas in margarita glasses to add height to the table setting. Walmart sells giant margarita glasses you can use to serve dips or chips. A dollar store is a good place to buy margarita glasses if you don’t have any; TJ Maxx also tends to have an affordable selection. Pier 1 has beautiful glasses if you’re budget isn’t too tight.

Chips and salsa isn’t enough to sustain everyone, so I usually make a taco bar. To do this, I just make taco meat and shredded chicken and leave those in slow cookers and just put out taco trimmings so people can help themselves whenever they want. That is one of the keys to a margarita party is guests can help themselves. It makes them feel at home and you don’t have to slave away; you can enjoy your own soiree

As for the tequila, you can use silver or gold but I prefer gold because it’s been aged in barrels so it tends to be smoother.

Other than that, all you need for the perfect party is to invite your friends and enjoy a summer day. Have fun.

Pitcher of Margaritas

1 ( 12-ounce) can of frozen limeade

2 ½ cans of water from the limeade can (note, this is cans not cups)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or another good quality orange liqueur

1 ½ cups gold tequila

1 orange

1 lime sliced up

In a large pitcher, stir together limeade, water, lime juice, Grand Marnier, tequila and juice the orange and add it to the mix. Slice up a lime and use it to garnish drinks or float a few slices in the pitcher.  Keep refrigerated until serving. Serve over ice.

classic

Blueberry Margaritas

Makes 3 margaritas or 6 sample size

1 ½ cups Naked Blue Machine juice

½ cup gold tequila

½ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup orange liqueur

Fresh blueberries to serve

Stir together juice, tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur. Serve over ice and top with fresh blueberries.

bueberry

Frozen Cranberry Margaritas

1 (12 ounce can) frozen cranberry juice

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 ½ cups of tequila

½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

6 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

3 ½ cups ice

This makes a large batch, so you have to split it into two batches in the blender. Add half the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Then transfer that to a large pitcher. Repeat and transfer the other half to a large pitcher. Stir and serve immediately.

cranberr

Source:  From Hope Goodwin’s cousin Jane Hightower

cran

Wasabi and Cucumber Deviled Eggs for Easter

I am still taking a break from my rotisserie chicken recipes to offer up some Easter dishes. Easter is one of my favorite holidays.

Easter would not feel like Easter without deviled eggs. My Wasabi and Cucumber Deviled Eggs are delicious and refreshing. There’s enough wasabi to taste it, but not enough to make your nostrils flare.

Whenever I cook for company, I try to find the middle of the road in terms of flavors. You can add more if you love wasabi or know your guests won’t mind extra heat. I am actually pretty traditional when it comes to deviled eggs, but I love these. It’s a slight twist on a classic.

Whenever I make hard boiled eggs, I always boil two or three extra because there’s always one or two eggs that is deformed or rips when you’re peeling it, so extras are essential. My recipe calls for six, so boil eight or nine. If you’re fortunate enough that they all work out, you can fill extra egg whites with deviled egg mix because there is always leftover yolk mix once everything has been mixed in.

Wasabi and Cucumber Deviled Eggs

Serves 4-6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               *6 large eggs

2 tablespoons finely minced cucumber (be sure it’s minced fine)

3 tablespoons Miracle Whip

1 tablespoon Woeber’s Sandwich Pal Wasabi Sauce, plus ½ teaspoon

Salt and pepper to taste

If you have a favorite boiling method, use it. If not, follow mine.

To boil the eggs: Place eggs in a large pot so they are in a single layer and fill with water that rises 2 inches above eggs. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, boil for 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. Let rest 15 minutes. Drain water off and then scoop ice over eggs to cool.

When cool, peel eggs and slice in half horizontally. Remove yolks and place in a bowl.

Mash yolks with a fork and then add cucumber, Miracle Whip, wasabi sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined and mostly smooth. Refill egg whites with this mixture and cover and refrigerate until time to serve.