Archive for January, 2013

Fresh quince can be elusive.  But this is definitely the season in which to find them.  In light of the fact that they’re not edible, or at least enjoyable in their raw state, they have not found popularity in the market like other fall/winter fruits.That being said, I am smitten with this chameleon of the fruit world.  When its bumpy-ugly mug is cut open, fragrant creamy-white flesh is exposed.  Then magically its flesh turns the most festive cranberry-red color when cooked for a few hours.  The aroma of quince is jaw dropping, boasting notes of apple, flowers, and tropical fruit.  It is at once intoxicating and comforting.

While it simply begs to be eaten out of hand, don’t be lured by its siren song!  Instead, follow my recipe below and you will be rewarded with a rare, otherworldly condiment perfect for pairing with cheeses, roasted meats such as pork, chicken, or turkey, or slathering on buttered, toasted crumpets.

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh quince peeled, cored, and cut in to 2″ chunks
1 cup Pomegranate-Quince White Balsamic Condimento or Plain White Balsamic Condimento
1 cup granulated sugar
2 +/- cups water (or enough to barely cover the quince)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 split vanilla bean, or 2″ cinnamon stick (optional)

Instructions
Place the balsamic and sugar in a heavy 3+ quart pot, and slowly heat and swirl to dissolve the sugar over medium heat.  Add the quince and just enough water to cover.   Bring the contents to a steady, gentle simmer over medium-low heat.  Cook slowly, partially covered for 2 hours making sure there is enough liquid in the pot to prevent scorching.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the entire contents using a food processor or blender. The quince butter will thicken substantially as it cools, as quince is high in natural pectin.  Once cool, jar and refrigerate for up to one month.  Alternatively, this can be heat processed or canned for shelf stability.

This is particularly enchanting served with salty, briny, or nutty cheeses on cheese plates.  It is also fabulous with a Monte Cristo, or instead of cranberry in traditional leftover turkey sandwiches, on PB&J, or just slathered on toasted bread.

Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez

 

The sweet earthiness of the golden beets, along with the salty blue cheese, nutty arugula, tangy tangerines, and pungent olio nuovo olive oil make this salad a virtual party in your mouth.  Beyond that, the impeccably fresh seasonal ingredients are visually arresting, and resemble a ray of golden sunshine on the plate.
Ingredients
4 cups baby arugula
3 medium sized golden beets
2  medium Satsuma Tangerines, 1 peeled and divided in to segments, the other juiced
1 Tablespoon Cara Cara Orange Cream White Balsamic
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Peppery Olio Nuovo Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup good quality, crumbled blue cheese
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Tarragon Croutons (see recipe below) – or store bought croutons
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350.  Scrub the beets removing any debris, roots and green parts.  Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fully enclose the beets in to a package.  Drizzle the beets with a tablespoon of olio nuovo olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of water.  Seal the package by crimping the foil and roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Allow to cool and then peel.  Cut the beets in to six wedges and set aside.
Just before serving, whisk the tangerine juice with the Cara-Cara Orange White Balsamic and a pinch of salt.   Slowly drizzle in the remaining olio nuovo while whisking constantly to make a vinaigrette.  In a large bowl, gently toss the arugula with 1/2 of the vinaigrette and then arrange on a plate or platter.  Arrange the tangerine segments, golden beet wedges, and blue cheese over the arugula.  Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top, then add the croutons, and finish with fresh ground pepper if desired.  Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous salad portions
Tarragon Croutons

Ingredients
2 cups of fresh or day old sourdough bread cut in to 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup Organic Tarragon Olive Oil (or you can use any infused olive oil you desire)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375.  On a baking sheet large enough to hold the bread cubes in a single layer, toss the bread cubes with the infused olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper if desired. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the bread cubes are golden brown.  Cool and store in a zip lock bag or air tight container.
Makes 2 cups
Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez
Here are some lovely, healthy salad dressings to help start the year off right!

Aged Maple Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette Over Wilted Baby Spinach


Ingredients
4 tablespoons Aged Maple Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoon aged red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon good quality Dijon style mustard
4 tablespoons Ultra Premium extra virgin olive oil (your choice)
2 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked to a crisp and finely crumbled

2 quarts young spinach leaves, stems removed, washed
Directions
Place spinach in a serving bowl.
Place the maple balsamic, half the crumbled bacon, red wine vinegar, salt, half the shallots, pepper, and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Gently warm while whisking – remove from heat before it reaches a simmer.  Allow to cool for a minute, and then whisk in the extra virgin olive oil to emulsify.  Adjust seasoning,
Gently dress spinach with warm vinaigrette and top with remaining crumbled bacon and shallot.
Serve warm

Classic Caesar Salad
Ingredients
2 large pasteurized egg yolks
1/2 garlic clove, peeled
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Ultra Premium Extra Virgin olive oil – the greener the better

1 cup croutons
6 hearts of Romaine Lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped or left whole

Directions
Place all ingredients into the the container of a blender or food processor in the order listed and secure lid.
Turn machine on and processed for 20 seconds.

Drizzle the dressing on the lettuce, add croutons and more grated Parmesan

Aged Raspberry Balsamic & Toasted Almond Vinaigrette

Ingredients
3 tablespoons Aged Raspberry Balsamic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Toasted Almond Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds
1/3 cup crumbled feta or Cherve cheese
2 quarts of your favorite lettuce greens
Directions
Place all the ingredients in to a bowl and whisk.  Alternately, this can be made in a blender or food processor.  Arrange  arrange lettuce in a bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette, sprinkle with almonds and cheese.
Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez

 

Polenta
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup dried polenta
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons Ultra Premium California Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the stock to a simmer in a heavy 6+ quart pot.  Slowly whisk in the polenta.  Cook on low stirring frequently for approximately 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat an stir in the cheese and olive oil.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

Wild Mushroom Ragu
3 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms such as oyster, shitake, cremini, etc. wiped clean, tough stems removed
2 tablespoons Certified Ultra Premium Organic California Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (I used extra dry Prosecco)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

While the polenta is cooking, heat the extra virgin over medium-high in a large 12″ saute pan. Add clean, dry mushrooms to the pan.  Cook until the mushrooms caramelize and become crusty golden-brown.  Add the shallot, and saute for two minutes, add the garlic and saute for a minute.  Add the wine and cook scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and reduced by half.  Add the stock and cook until reduced by half.  Taste and adjust with salt and fresh pepper if desired.

Truffled Mascarpone
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 teaspoon white truffle oil

Stir the truffle oil in to the mascarpone.
Serve the wild mushroom ragu over the hot polenta.  Add a dollop of the truffled mascarpone, a sprinkle of pecorino cheese, and a pinch of minced parsley.

Serves 4-6

Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez
This is actually a mash-up of Chicken Saltimbocca and Chicken Piccata.
4 – boneless skinless, preferably free-range chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/4″ thick
4 pieces of thinly sliced provolone cheese
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup all purpose flour for dredging
1/2 cup really good quality, super fresh, high oleic, low FFA, high phenol extra virgin olive oil with a throaty-peppery kick (400+ smoke point)

Heat olvie oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Lay each breast out flat and lay a piece of cheese on each breast.  Roll as tightly as possible.  Being careful not to   unroll each breast, dredge in flour.

Add the breasts to the hot oil until golden-brown on all sides, once again turning carefully so as not to unroll the breasts.  (Some cheese may ooze out of the ends of the roll and this is o.k. as long as it doesn’t begin to burn in the oil)

Once the breasts are golden brown, and  have cooked through (about 5 minutes per side) and have lost their pinkness, remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Drain off all but a couple tablespoons of olive oil from the pan.  Place back over medium-high heat and add the shallot. Saute for approximately two minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the garlic, saute for another minute, then add the wine, continuing to scrape up any frond from the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken stock and capers, continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced by half and slightly thickened.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and fresh ground pepper if desired. Add the breasts back to the pan, spooning sauce over the tops, to warm for another minute, and then serve sprinkled with flat leaf parsley over polenta or pasta, if desired.

Serves 4

Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez