Monthly Archives: January 2013

Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

Recently I had dinner at Beauty & Essex in NYC. It’s a fantastic restaurant, featuring big flavors on small tasting plates. They served a really stand-out salad that was so good I had to try and recreate it at home. Roasting your humble everyday carrots gives them a sweet, caramelized flavor that pairs perfectly with the creamy avocado. If you think salads are boring, give this one a try- you’ll be surprised! This recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise, then in 1/2
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped off
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 4 handfuls butter or baby romaine lettuce
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • Lemon & olive oil, salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400. In a roasting pan, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, and thyme leaves. Spread evenly in the pan and roast in the oven, tossing every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes to an hour, until the carrots are tender and turning golden brown at their ends. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the minced garlic and toss to combine. Remove the carrots from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a shallow pan, toast the cashews over medium low heat until golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Halve and peel the avocados, and cut into strips lengthwise. Squeeze some lemon over the avocado to prevent them from browning.
  • In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, carrots, avocado, and 1/2 the cashews. Squeeze over the orange juice, lemon juice, and olive oil to taste, starting slowly and adding more as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and toss everything to combine.
  • Plate the salad into four shallow bowls, and top each serving with the remaining cashews.
  • To make this a meal, add some toasted crusty bread and some grilled shrimp or chicken.

Recipe inspired by Beauty & Essex.

View the full recipe on Bachelor Kitchen.

Swedish Meatballs {With Celeriac Purée & Quick Pickle Cucumbers}

Swedish Meatballs with Celeriac Puree & Quick Pickle Cucumbers

This freezing cold January weather makes me crave warm, cozy, comforting food. Swedes practically wrote the book on winter comfort foods- to which this recipe can attest. If its going to be pitch black and zero degrees by dinner time (standard January in Stockholm), you’d better have something good to eat! These Swedish meatballs fit the bill. They’re warming and savory, and fill your kitchen with the most delicious smells. I ate my fair share of Swedish meatballs while living in Stockholm (and at the local U.S. Ikea) and I think this recipe lightens up the dish a little bit, while still capturing the highlights of the original. Traditionally served with mashed or boiled potatoes, I serve my meatballs with a healthier celeriac purée. Trust me, you won’t even miss the potatoes when you taste this silky smooth, flavorful side. This recipe makes a lot of meatballs, but you’ll be thankful for leftovers once you try them.

Swedish Meatballs 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground lean beef
  • 1 lb. ground lean lamb
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk (sub. almond milk if you’re dairy sensitive)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Splash of brandy (optional)

Directions:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the panko and the milk and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  • To the bowl, add the ground beef and lamb, the egg, parsley, garlic cloves, allspice, ginger, and the salt and pepper.
  • In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp. butter, and add the minced onion. Saute until tender and starting to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the onions and add them to the mixer. Whip the meatball mixture for five minutes on medium speed.
  • In the same pan from the onions, heat 1 tsp. butter over medium. Working in batches, form the meatballs with your hands. I like mine smaller, just slightly bigger than a quarter. Add them to the pan to brown in the butter on all sides. To encourage their round shape, I forcefully shake them around in the pan so they roll around and brown evenly, but do what you like. Remove to a plate, and continue browning the meatballs in batches until you’re through, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
  • In the same pan you used for the meatballs, add the beef stock and bring up to a simmer, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly sift over the flour, whisking constantly to ward off lumps. Bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If using the brandy, add a splash now and let the heat cook off the alcohol a bit.
  • Add the meatballs to the gravy and toss them to coat. Allow them to heat up in the gravy, and check to see they’re cooked all the way through. Serve alongside the celeriac purée and quick pickle cucumbers (recipes below) with some lingonberry jam.

Celeriac Puree

Ingredients:

  • 3 large celeriac roots (should yield about 4 cups once diced)
  • 1 cup skim milk (may need a little more or a little less)
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Dice the celeriac and put it in a large pot with the garlic cloves. Cover with water (add a pinch of salt) and bring up to a boil, cooking until tender. Drain the celeriac and add to a blender in batches, adding just enough milk to allow it to purée.
  • Once you’ve blended all the celeriac, add everything to a large pot over low heat. Add the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Quick Pickle Cucumbers

  • Six Kirby cucumbers, or two English cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Directions

  • Slice the cucumbers thinly into disks, and add them to a bowl with the salt, sugar, pepper, and vinegar.
  • Mix everything to combine, and allow to marinade for as long as possible (even overnight if you can).
Gamla Stan, StockholmStockholm, Sweden

French Onion Soup {to bolster your immune system & fight the flu}

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With a flu epidemic sweeping the country, you’d be wise to bolster your immune system any way you can. Onions have both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and they boost your body’s defenses by promoting your immune response to the flu.  Onions even have anti-microbial properties, which means they can help your body fight the flu on contact. If you do happen to come down with the flu this season, this onion soup can help relieve your symptoms and help you feel better in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 10 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 springs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and minced
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
  • Gruyère cheese to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel the onions, and slice them thinly into half-circles. While you’re doing this, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the chopped onions and sauté until softened and starting to caramelize. Once the onions start to really brown, add 1/4 cup of the wine to deglaze the pan. Repeat this process, letting the onions brown and the wine absorb, before adding another 1/4 cup of wine to deglaze again. (You’ll end up doing this five times to use up all the wine).
  2. Mince your garlic cloves, and add to the onions, stirring to combine. At this point the onions should look caramelized and golden brown all over. When you taste a spoonful, it should taste slightly sweet, with no bite to the onions. Add the chicken or beef stock, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, over medium low heat for 30 minutes (or longer if you’ve got the time).
  3. Add a few dashes Worcestershire sauce and the minced thyme, stir everything together, and season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with grated Gruyère cheese. If you like, you can toast up some crusty bread and add that on top of the soup before adding the cheese, and broil in your oven for a few minutes to melt everything together.

Read the full post on Bachelor Kitchen.

Photo Credit: www.lukalooks.com

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Chocolate Raspberry Pavolva

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Though this may be the season for diets, cleanses, and new years resolutions, you’ve still got to make a little room to eat and entertain. This Chocolate Raspberry Pavolva is by no means a diet food, but next to most bakery cakes, it looks practically healthy. The dark chocolate and cocoa powder provide heart-healthy antioxidants and polyphenols (just like the ones present in red wine- so drink up!) and the absence of any flour keeps this dessert gluten-free for those with allergies. If you really want to make this healthy, you can omit the whipped cream and just top with extra fruit and shaved dark chocolate. Either way, this Pavlova always proves to be a crowd pleaser, and serves as the perfect end to a dinner party with friends. Whether you serve a Paleo-approved salad with fish or a no-holds-barred juicy steak with mashed potatoes- this dessert fits the bill!

Ingredients

  • Six large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-4 tbs. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped finely (shoot for around 70% cocoa)
  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • Fruit (such as raspberries or strawberries) for topping

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat six large egg whites until they become satiny and marshmallow-y, like the consistency of marshmallow fluff. If you have trouble getting egg whites to cooperate, make sure they are right out of the fridge, and try sticking your bowl and beater in the fridge for a bit before you use it.
  3. With the mixer running, add one cup of granulated sugar spoonful by spoonful, and beat until the egg whites have transformed into into a big glossy pouf that sticks to the whisk and holds firm peaks.
  4. Sprinkle over three or four tablespoons of good cocoa powder, a splash (around a teaspoon) balsamic vinegar, the same amount of vanilla extract, and the dark chocolate.
  5. Gently fold all that chocolate into the egg whites, working under and over with a rubber spatula so you don’t deflate the egg whites. Don’t be too timid though, you want everything well mixed.
  6. Pile the mixture onto the prepared pan, and form into a big fat disk. Don’t smooth it out too much though- you want some peaks to get a balance of crisped and soft meringue. Place your in the middle of the oven, and then immediately lower the temperature to 300 degrees. This gives you the crispy crust while still keeping the middle soft and delicious.
  7. Bake for around an hour. It will look crisp around the edges and the center will be soft-set.
  8. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, allowing the meringue to cool completely before taking it out (give it 30 minutes if you can). When you’re ready to serve, plate the meringue and top with some heavy cream (about 8 ounces) whipped with a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of sugar.
  9. Pile the whipped cream into the sunken crater that formed as the meringue cooled, and then top with any combination of berries you have on hand. Raspberries are beautiful, but strawberries work nicely as well.

*Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

 Read the full post on Bachelor Kitchen. 

Palmiers {French Pastries with Cinnamon & Sugar}

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Pastries look impressive. They give the impression that you’ve finessed butter and flour into golden browned, puffed-up perfection. But here’s the secret, if you use store-bought puff pastry dough, you can give that same impression with minimal muss and fuss. At the French Culinary Institute, we made puff pastry dough from scratch because the curriculum dictated it, but even my chefs there thought it was a big waste of time. You can get high quality dough in the freezer section of your grocery store, and won’t have to spend your day rolling and folding and refrigerating the fussiest dough in the world.

These Palmiers (which get their name from their elephant ear shape) are delicious served with vanilla ice cream for dessert, or just with coffee or tea as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (try Pepperidge Farm or Dufour)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, kosher salt, and cinnamon

Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt/cinnamon mixture onto your countertop

Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry, trying to get an even coating

With a rolling pin (use a wine bottle if you don’t have one!) roll the dough until it’s 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom

Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other like you’re closing a book. You should have 6 layers total

Slice the dough into slices about the width of two fingers and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper

Bake the Palmiers for 6 minutes until caramelized and browned on the bottom, then turn them over and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Let them cook slightly, then enjoy. Be careful handling these while they’re hot- sugar burns are the worst!

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*Recipe inspired by Barefoot Contessa

Read the full post on Bachelor Kitchen. 

Montclair Art Museum Hosts Smokin’ Hot Barbeque Event

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MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM CELEBRATES GEORGIA O’KEEFFE IN NEW MEXICO EXHIBIT DURING SMOKIN’ HOT BARBEQUE EVENT

MONTCLAIR, NJ, December 5, 2012— Montclair Art Museum (MAM) hosted a Smokin’ Hot Barbequefriend/fundraiser event celebrating the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land  in the Museum’s Leir Hall.

Guests of the Smokin’ Hot Barbeque were transported from Montclair to the southwest for an exciting evening showcasing New Mexico through the art of Georgia O’Keeffe. The highlighted exhibition features 15 paintings and drawings of Katsina dolls (representations of Katsinam, or Hopi spirit beings) and over 30 paintings and works on paper of New Mexico landscapes and architecture.

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Guests were greeted with colorful bandanas in lieu of tickets- and many guests dressed to the nines in their own western fare. Cowboy boots and hats abounded!

 The southwestern theme displayed itself through a fabulous silent auction and delicious savory fare provided by Ruthie’s BBQ & Pizza. Pulled pork, spicy mac & cheese, and ribs kept everyone happy. Margaritas and cocktails were conjured by Egan & Sons while DJs Russ Boris and Darren DeVivo from WFUV (90.7 FM) played O’Keeffe-inspired soundtracks.

This event was offered in partnership with Ruthie’s BBQ & Pizza, Egan & Sons, WFUV, and Elements Therapeutic Massage. All ticket proceeds benefited the Montclair Art Museum.

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Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land

September 28, 2012 – January 20, 2013- This exhibition, originated by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, will reveal the little-known breadth of Georgia O’Keeffe’s interest in northern New Mexico and will more particularly illuminate her keen sensitivity and deep respect for the Native American and Hispano cultures of the region. From 1931 to 1945, O’Keeffe created numerous drawings, watercolors, and paintings of Kachina dolls (or Katsinam), carved representations of Hopi spirit beings. The exhibition will include 15 of these depictions, together with actual Kachina dolls and over 30 paintings and works on paper ofNew Mexico landscapes and architecture.