Recipes @ February 2012

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Soup for Supper

Enjoy a light-tasting Jamaican Winter Squash Soup with Salad for a family dinner at home.

After the lavish holiday dinners we've feasted on for Christmas and New Year's celebrations, we may be ready for a simple and light supper. The recipes below make a great healthy and light soup-and-salad supper that's great for a family dinner and for casual gatherings with friends.

Jamaican Winter Squash Soup

Serves 6

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 6 medium scallions, trimmed
  • 6 whole sprigs thyme
  • 1 medium winter squash (about 2 pounds), such as butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (4 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 1/2 small Scotch-bonnet chile pepper
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Mint or basil sprigs, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, cook the onion in the butter until tender but not brown. Tie the scallions and thyme together with a piece of kitchen twine. Place the squash, broth, chile pepper and scallion bundle in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until the squash is extremely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the scallion bundle and chile pepper; discard. Transfer the soup to a blender container and puree until smooth. For a very silky soup, pass through a sieve. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan; add the milk, salt and pepper, to taste. Heat through. Serve topped with mint or basil sprigs, if desired.
Salad Greens with Cheese Croutons

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated aged white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 1 recipe Maple Vinaigrette (recipe below)

  1. In a small bowl, toss together the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle the cheese mixture in the bottom of a heavy, nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and become bubbly over the entire surface. (You may need to reduce the heat, if necessary, to prevent the cheese from overbrowning.)
  2. Tip the skillet to allow excess oil from the cheese to collect in one place in the skillet and remove with a spoon. Carefully lift the "crouton" from the pan with an offset spatula and place on a piece of paper towel to drain; cool. When cooled, crumble the crouton into pieces.
  3. To serve the salad, coat a large salad bowl with some of the Maple Vinaigrette. Add the greens and crouton pieces. Toss to coat. Add additional dressing, if desired.
Maple Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/3 cup vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Cover the jar and shake vigorously.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Build a Spectacular Spring Brunch

24-Hour Vegetable Salad
If you're hosting a spring brunch, look to these two unique and lively recipes that will give impact to your brunch buffet.

Spread a little spring cheer with these festive brunch favorites that comes together easily, allowing you plenty of time to enjoy families and guests. Round out the menu with fresh fruit, juice, and coffee.


24-Hour Vegetable Salad

To get the best-looking layers, use a bowl that is taller than it is wide.

Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings

  • 5 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Orange peel strips (optional)
  1. Place salad greens in a 2 1/2-to 3-quart clear straight-sided bowl or souffle dish. Peel the carrot. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully cut the carrot into long, paper-thin ribbons. Set aside. Layer atop salad greens in the following order: mushrooms, 1/4 cup of the cheese, olives, cucumbers, carrot ribbons and green onions.
  2. For the dressing, in a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, orange peel, crushed red pepper and ground black pepper. Spread the dressing over the top of the salad, sealing to the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Cover the salad tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 to 24 hours.
  3. Garnish with orange slices, walnuts, and orange peel strips. Just before serving toss lightly to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Makes 8 servings

  • 12 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk, half-and-half, or light cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions or 1/4 cup snipped chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1 cup chopped smoked salmon (lox style) or fully cooked ham (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded provolone or fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and sliced
  • Sliced green onion or snipped chives (optional)

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the milk or cream, green onion or chives, and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil; add the eggs to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the eggs begin to set on bottom and around edge. Using a spatula, lift and fold partially cooked eggs so uncooked portion flows underneath. Fold in the salmon or ham. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes more or until the eggs are cooked throughout but are still glossy and moist. Transfer to a warm serving platter. Top with the cheese, tomato slices, and, if desired, additional sliced green onion or snipped chives.
Tips for Choosing Salmon

Before you buy the salmon, be aware that there are two kinds of smoked salmon: The thinly sliced, cold-smoked salmon, called lox, is what we've used in the recipe above. You can find it in the deli or seafood section of your supermarket. Heat-smoked salmon is thicker and has a meatier texture.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Make Caesar Salad 101

Caesar Cardini is credited for creating the famous Caesar salad. Find out how to prepare this restaurant staple at home.

Each ingredient in a Caesar salad has its own unique contribution to the final product. The sharp Parmesan cheese, the salty anchovies, the tang of fresh lemon juice, the spiciness of garlic and the crunchy texture of the romaine lettuce create a medley of flavors that have appealed to countless North Americans who have sampled this salad as least once in a lifetime. To top it all off, Caesar salad wouldn't be complete without the crusty croutons that add the finishing touch to this composed salad.

The origins of Caesar salad is somewhat peculiar. Caesar salad shares no historical significance to the great Julius Caesar, although it's tempting to think so. The salad actually was named after Caesar Cardini, who devised it in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924. History suggests that Cardini put together this salad when he realized one night that he had nothing in his kitchen to serve his hungry diners except for some romaine lettuce, eggs, stale bread and cheese. Not wanting to disappoint, Cardini created a composed salad on the spot, and the Caesar salad was born.

This restaurant staple can easily be made at home. For the best flavors, use only the freshest ingredients possible. Even the croutons should be made with fresh, not stale, bread.


Homemade Caesar Salad

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves washed and dried well
  • 1 recipe Croutons (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional cheese for garnish

  1. Place the garlic, anchovy fillets and salt in a large salad bowl. Using a fork, mash the garlic, anchovy fillets and salt together to form a paste. Whisk in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and egg yolk. Gradually whisk in the vegetable oil.
  2. Tear the romaine lettuce leaves into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces. Add the croutons, romaine and cheese to the bowl. Toss well. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Note: Raw eggs should be not be used in food prepared for babies, the elderly, pregnant women, young children or anyone whose immune system is compromised.



  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 10-inch loaf Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and olive oil. Add the bread cubes, and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper; toss to combine.
  2. Spread the bread cubes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and set aside until ready to use.