Sunday, August 25, 2013

Easy Peach Danish


Hmmm, I have to be honest about this recipe.  It's a variation of a recipe that's been posted online before.  However, the additions I've made to the original recipe  make it quite different, very pretty and quite good.  But I'll let you be the judge.









Remember in an earlier post I spoke about cooking with Balsamic Vinegars  and reducing them to get a sweeter concentrate of the infused flavor?  That's what I did here with our Peach Balsamic Vinegar.

     2 tubes Pillsbury refrigerated crescent butter rolls
     2  8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
     3/4 cup sugar *
     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
     1/2 teaspoon almond extract
     3/4 cup Joe and Son's Peach Balsamic Vinegar
     3 fresh peaches, peeled, and diced
     1 teaspoon brown sugar*


     1 tablespoon Joe and Son's Butter Olive Oil
     additional sugar* and cinammon for topping
     slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the Peach Vinegar in a saute pan and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat.  Add the diced peaches and brown sugar.  Stir and continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced by about half in volume and has become syrupy. This will resemble a chunky peach jam. Set aside.

Place one tube of the crescent rools in an ungreased  9x13 pan with sides. Spread and join at the perforations.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, cinammon, and almond extract. Mix well until all of the ingredients are well blended.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the  base pastry and top with the peach "jam".

Use the other tube of crescent rolls as a top pastry.  I find the results look better if I separate the rolls and place them individually over the danish filling.  This way I can manipulate the perforations to make it look like a homemade pastry with some hills and valleys.

Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the pastry and gently press down on them so they become part of the pastry.
Drizzle the butter oil over the top pastry and sprinkle with the additional sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

*This can be made in a sugar free version by using Splenda products.  Though Diabetics will still have to count the carbs from the pastry and fruit, the sugar content will be greatly decreased.


                                                                        

Thursday, August 22, 2013

About Balsamic Vinegars

Balsamic vinegar, that aged-in-wood variety many of us have fallen in love with, makes a wonderful syrup when cooked down to about one-third its original volume.  We have many infused flavors to choose from...both in the Dark Balsamics as well as the White Balsamics.  Our Balsamic Vinegars have no additives or preservatives added to them.  They have 3 carbs per tablespoon and 10 calories per tablespoon.

Why am I telling you this?  Because when reduced  (I'll tell you what this is in a sec) they make a thick, rich, sweet syrup that is wonderful for diabetics or people who are counting carbs. 





                                                                      



You can drizzle this amazing stuff over more foods than you'd ever imagine.......everything from roasted vegetables to desserts. It's even great on pancakes, fruit, pound cake,fruit sorbets and ice cream. This might just be the most versatile one-ingredient sauce ever.

School has just started and kids are coming home hungry for snacks.  Why not offer them slices of fruit drizzled with an infused Balsamic reduction?  Think about apples drizzled with Red Apple Balsamic or pears drizzled with Cinnamon Pear Balsamic.  The combinations are endless.

Balsamic reduction:
  1. Place 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar in a shallow saucepan over medium heat
  2. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced in volume by 1/2.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly, and store indefinitely at room temperature.

Lamb Chops With Mint Pesto

This dish is simple enough for a weekday family dinner or impressive enough to serve as a company meal.  One of the good things about it besides the fact the fact that it is so good.... is that it is so simple to prepare.  Served with roasted potatoes on the side plus a salad, your meal is complete.

Nowadays, I'm all about quick and simple, but tasty and pretty.  I mean, really, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen?  Don't we all have busy schedules?

                                                                       
 
Lamb Chops With Mint Pesto
 
Lamb:
4  lamb shoulder chops (8-10 ounce each)
2 Tablespoons Joe and Son's Mild EVOO (I used Hojiblanca)
1 Tablespoon dried, crushed rosemary
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
 
Salt and pepper the chops according to taste.
 
Combine the rosemary and garlic and add the Olive Oil to make a paste. Press into both sides of the lamb chops. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
 
Pesto:
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 small garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Joe and Son's Herbs de Provence Olive Oil
 
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend to a coarse textured puree.  Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and chill if making ahead of time.  Otherwise, serve at room temperature.
 
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops with the rosemary/garlic mixture. Turn to cook both sides.  Cook until desired doneness.  (I find medium-rare is best for this recipe.)
 
Place on serving dish and top with the pesto.
 
Serves 4.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chicken With Roasted Peppers And Capers







Folks, there's chicken and then, "There's Chicken".  I know, you're saying to yourselves, "Chicken again?"  But this recipe is different. 

Sometimes it just takes a few ordinary ingredients added together in a new combination to make a dish come alive.  This recipe is the one that does just that.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  A recipe does not have to be complicated to be delicious.  Most of the time, simple and quick is the perfect way to go. Even a cooking novice could make this in under 30 minutes from start to finish........

                                                                     
 
 

Chicken With Roasted Peppers
 
 
        Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, 8 oz. cut in halves (4 pieces)
  • 1 8 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 2"
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • 1 9 oz pkg frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained (I like Birds Eye)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup Joe and Son's Chipotle Olive Oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped



Instructions
  1. Heat the Chipotle Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken halves and sauté for 4 minutes each side.
  3. Add red peppers and artichoke hearts and sauté with the chicken for two minutes. 
  4. Add the white wine and chicken broth to deglaze the pan. 
  5. Toss in the capers, pepper and rosemary.
  6. Cook on medium heat and reduce mixture for 15 minutes.
  7. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and pour the sauce over it.

Serve with rice or pasta.  This makes about four servings.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fig Toasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese

We've all heard the story of Eve tempting Adam with an apple in the garden of Eden, but there is a version that says it was a fig she offered him.  After tasting a bite of these fig toasts you may agree these are worthy enough to tempt even the strongest of willpowers.     
 
Really....... so good, so easy and so pretty to look at.       
 
 
 
                                                               
                                               
 
 
 
  Fig Toasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese

    Ingredients:

12 fresh ripe black mission figs
6-8 oz  goat cheese
1 cup 18 year Joe and Son's Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tsp brown sugar
Baquette slices -  sliced 1/4" thick (48 slices)
 1/4 cup Joe and Son's Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 

    Preparation:

     Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush slices of bread with olive oil and toast in oven until crisp.

     Remove stems and slice the figs vertically into quarters.

     Combine balsamic vinegar, honey, and brown sugar in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon well. Keep warm.

Spread warm toasts thickly with goat cheese. Place figs on cheese. Drizzle with balsamic-honey reduction. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mexican Quinoa Bowl with Serrano Honey Vinegar and Persian Lime Olive Oil

Mexican Quinoa Bowl with Serrano Honey Vinegar and Persian Lime Olive Oil

1/2 cup Joe and Son’s Serrano Honey Vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Joe and Son’s Persian Lime Olive Oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup quinoa
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can of black beans
1 bag of frozen corn
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and garlic powder in a jar. Add Serrano Honey Vinegar and Persian Lime Olive Oil. Shake till well blended. Pour over chicken breasts and marinate in a zip lock bag overnight.

Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan till done. Let rest and slice on an angle. Reserve the marinade and simmer it in a saucepan on low heat for 10 minutes to cook and reduce. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. When it is done, fluff with a fork and add 1 tablespoon of Persian Lime Olive Oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, spread the frozen corn out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of Persian Lime Olive Oil. Roast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Begin assembling your Mexican bowl with the quinoa, corn, black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado and cilantro. Top with grilled chicken slices and drizzle with the reduced marinade.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chickpea Salad

Folks, it's too hot to be stuck in the kitchen.  I think salads are the perfect solution when you want a light, but healthy and hearty meal.  Take a look at this colorful salad....It's not your Grandma's chopped lettuce variety.







Chickpea Salad......





1 1/3 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 large red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup small cauliflower florets
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
3 Tbsp. Joe and Son's Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
3 Tbsp.Joe and Son's EVOO...mild to medium in intensity


1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper



1. Combine the chickpeas, celery, tomatoes, red pepper, cauliflower, and scallions in a salad bowl. Fold in the raisins and feta cheese.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the Lemon Balsamic, mustard, and honey. Slowly, in a thin stream, whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified.

Season with the salt and pepper.
Add the dressing to the chickpea salad and toss gently.