Posts from January 2016

Plantains

01/20/2016

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The winter weather finally hit us here in Florida; we had our first hard frost last night. Normally, our freezes come much earlier when our banana crop isn’t ripe enough for picking. This year with the late cold weather meant bananas for us!

These guys are much smaller and more starchy than the ubiquitous Cavendish sold in stores, so they’re better cooked than they are eaten raw. We made some jerk chicken and peppers, and pretended we were in Jamaica.

Ingredients:

Small plantains or bananas
Vegetable oil

Instructions:

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Peal the banana, and cut in half length-wise. Saute for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the side starts to brown. Eat immediately.

Chicken Phở with Lemon

01/15/2016

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The proper pronunciation for this Vietnamese soup is “Fuh” not “Pho”. Given that, we found this pho-abulous soup with pho-resh ingredients is just as tasty enjoyed in Pho-orida as in Southeast Asia. Enjoy it with pho-riends or pho-amily!

Ingredients:

Broth:
2 yellow onions, pealed and chopped into quarters
1 two-inch piece of ginger, pealed
1 three-pound chicken, skin on
12 c water
1 T salt
1/4 c fish sauce
1 t coriander seeds
1 package rice noodles

Garnishes:
scallions
mung bean spouts
Hoisin sauce
sriracha
cilantro
Lemon slices

Instructions:

The broth will take over two hours, so prepare accordingly. First, turn your oven to 400 degrees. Next, get your 12 cups of water boiling on the stove. Chop the onion, and peal the ginger. Put on an oiled cookie sheet, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the ginger and onions start to brown. Put all that, including the juices, into the pot of boiling water with the salt, fish sauce, and spices. Add the chicken. Boil for at least an hour and a half. Then strain out the chicken and onions and ginger (obviously keeping the broth), let cool for a moment, remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Discard. Discard the onion and ginger too. Chop the rest of the chicken, and put back in the pot. Right before serving, put in rice noodles. Cook according to package (or for 2-3 minutes).

Chop the garnishes. Each person can then assemble his or her own bowl to their liking with the garnishes available.

Kumquat Caramels

01/09/2016

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As Christmas gifts for near and far-away friends, I made a batch of citrusey caramels to be dropped off on front porches and mailed across the country. I had gotten kumquats from a client of mine many months ago, and the remainder that I didn’t use fresh I dehydrated and stuck in the freezer for such occasions. The blast of tartness goes well with the super sweet caramel.

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil (for baking sheet)
2 c heavy cream
2 c sugar
6 T butter
2 T orange peel, finely chopped
1 c light corn syrup
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
1 c dehydrated kumquats (or dehydrated orange pieces)

Instructions:

First, line a 9-13 in. baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly brush the paper with oil so the caramel doesn’t stick to it. Next, in a large baking pan, bring the cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and stir occasionally until the caramel reaches 248 degrees (this takes about 15 minutes).

Immediately remove the caramel from heat, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the caramel onto the lined baking sheet, and let cool for 20 minutes. When the caramel is still warm, but not liquid, put a kumquat slice ever 1/2 inch in the caramel. Let stand at room temperature for half a day. Cut into small squares, and wrap each piece in waxed paper.

Oyster & Artichoke Soup with Lemon

01/03/2016

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IMG_2457We’re back in the South after a wonderful holiday spent in the Midwest. Snowflakes, big meals, and of course family made our hearts (and bellies) full.

My family’s Christmas tradition is to have oyster soup for the holiday. I decided to make a twist on the otherwise family standard recipe, adding artichokes and lemon juice from the lemons we brought up from our tree. It passed muster, though we’ll see if I’m able to grab the reigns again when it comes to tweaking traditional family recipes.

Ingredients:

4 T butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
2 c chicken stock
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of half a lemon
2 (8 oz) cans artichoke hearts
1 c half-and-half cream
1 c water
S&Pparsley, for garnish
2 pints fresh oysters

Instructions:

First, melt the butter in a large stock-pan on medium-high heat. Next, add the onion and celery. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the onions are clear. Next, put in the garlic and green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and S&P. Add the chicken stock, water, half-and-half, and artichokes. Bring to a boil, but then immediately turn to a simmer for 10 minutes. Next, put the soup in a blender (being very careful when blending–you may have to blend in batches because it is hot). This then can simmer for a long time if you’d like; when ready to serve, put in the oysters and juice. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the oysters start to curl around the sides. Do not overcook the oysters, or they’ll become rubbery. Serve this immediately with parsley as a garnish.

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