Monday, March 24, 2014

Welcom spring with comfort food recipes

Welcome Spring with comfort food recipes!

Enjoy an elegant dinner of Spring Risotto, Salmon with Fresh Sorrel Sauce, and Fresh Peas with Mint that is surprisingly simple to make. The fresh spring flavors of mint, fava beans, peas, and new potatoes are highlights for this holiday-worthy menu from
Fava Bean Bruschetta
Favas are sometimes called broad beans or horse beans, and are most often used in Mediterranean foods. This bruschetta is a delicious way to showcase them. Manchego viejo cheese is aged and has a firm texture similar to Parmesan. If you can't find Manchego viejo, use Parmesan.

  • 2 1/4 pounds unshelled fava beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) French bread baguette, cut into 32 slices
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Manchego viejo cheese
Remove beans from pods; discard pods. Cook beans in boiling water 1 minute; rinse with cold water. Drain; remove outer skins from beans. Discard skins. Place beans in a food processor. Add tarragon and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); process until almost smooth. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons bean mixture over each bread slice. Arrange cheese evenly over bread slices.

Salmon with Fresh Sorrel Sauce
Sorrel is a tart, slightly sour spring herb. You can substitute watercress or arugula, if you'd like. The bread helps thicken the sorrel sauce for a consistency that is similar to pesto.
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Fonda Shaia
Photo by: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Fonda Shaia

  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped sorrel
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
  • Fish:
  • 8 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
To prepare sauce, combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
Preheat broiler.
To prepare fish, sprinkle fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sorrel sauce.

Spring Risotto
Fava beans must be shelled twice. First they're removed from their pods, then blanched, cooled slightly, and pinched to remove the outer skins. Fresh beans taste the best, but canned fava beans will also work when fresh are out of season. Look for sun-dried tomato paste with the other tomato products in the supermarket.

  • 6 cups boiling water, divided
  • 1 cup dried morels
  • 2 pounds unshelled fava beans
  • 5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 large)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated fresh Romano cheese
Combine 3 cups of boiling water and morels in a bowl; cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms; rinse with cold water. Drain and chop.
Remove beans from pods; discard pods. Place beans in a medium saucepan with remaining 3 cups boiling water; cook beans 1 minute. Rinse with cold water. Drain; remove outer skins from beans. Discard skins.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth warm over low heat.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until leek is tender. Add rice and tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook about 2 1/2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in morels and beans; cook for 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Stir in green onions. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Fresh Peas with Mint
Look for pea pods that are plump, firm, and bright green. Store the pods in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a day, and shell just before cooking.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups shelled green peas (about 3 1/2 pounds unshelled)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add peas, water, broth, honey, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until peas are tender. Remove from heat; stir in mint. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Greek Easter Bread
Add this sweet, spiced homemade bread to your must-bake Easter recipes. It's beautiful, delicious, and large enough to feed a crowd.
Becky Luigart-Stayner
Photo by: Becky Luigart-Stayner 

  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of sugar
  • 2 packages dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons each)
  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg yolk
Place allspice and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
Combine water, dash of salt, dash of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in allspice mixture. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture; stir with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Strawberry Shortcake Jelly Roll
Fresh strawberries and whipped cream make this a lovely springtime dessert. A curl of orange rind adds a nice garnish.
Becky Luigart-Stayner 
Photo by: Becky Luigart-Stayner

  • 4 cups quartered strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Orange rind strips (optional)
Combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour; stir occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar, egg whites, and egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Stir in lemon rind and vanilla. Sift half of flour mixture over egg mixture; fold in. Repeat procedure with remaining flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Loosen cake from sides of pan; turn out onto a dishtowel dusted with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off wax paper; let cake cool 2 minutes. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together. Place, seam side down, on a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour). Unroll carefully; remove towel. Spread jam over cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Reroll cake, and place, seam side down, on a platter. Cut into 8 slices.
Beat cream with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Serve strawberries and whipped cream with cake. Garnish with orange rind, if desired.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Favorable Blueberry Season Expected in Southeast

The spring is shaping up to be another strong season for southeastern blueberries.Florida kicks off domestic production by commencing shipments in mid- to late March in its south and central growing regions before north Florida begins in mid-April, with Georgia’s first production usually starting in late April.The region is growing in importance with retailers.While California produces berries in April and May, the Golden State’s production doesn’t really peak until May 20 to June 20 and are shipped primarily to West Coast retailers, said Brian Bocock, the Grand Junction, Mich.-based vice president of product management for Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif.“The Southeast is critical,” Bocock said. “It absolutely hits a window that is needed to supply the customer base when Chile winds down in March. The Southeast fills a very needed role in filling the blueberry supply line in filling a 52-week continual supply.”In general, this season’s southeastern production appears to be strong, he said.The region is also growing in production.Responsible for about half of the continent’s total and fresh fruit production, the western region, which includes all of the West Coast and blueberry behemoth British Columbia, is North America’s largest blueberry producing region.The second-largest production region, the South, is seeing increased plantings, particularly in Georgia, and is generally responsible for producing 23% of the crop’s total and fresh production, according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.“We are seeing more production out of the two regions,” said Mark Villata, executive director of the Folsom, Calif.-based organization. “They’re definitely on the rise. There is a lot of new acreage that was planted two to three years ago that’s starting to get into full bearing mode, so we are seeing increases in the West and in the South.”Last season, Florida produced 21.5 million pounds, a 14% increase from 2012, with almost all production going fresh.This year, Florida expects to harvest up to 25 million pounds, said Bill Braswell, owner of the Auburndale, Fla.-based Polkdale Farms and Juliana Plantation and farm manager of Bartow, Fla.-based Clear Springs Packing LLC.Florida should be in a good position to fill demand created by dwindling offshore production by the time Florida ramps up volume, he said.That void should provide Florida berries a favorable window, Braswell said.“The blueberries look really good and we have had nothing negative happen to the crop so far,” Braswell said in mid-February. “Everything looks good at this point.”Braswell said he expects Florida production to peak during the second and third weeks of April, just as Georgia’s southern highbush crop ramps up.Some harsh cold weather struck Georgia production regions, said Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations for Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla.“There was some ice and snow in some locations,” he said in mid-February. “There wasn’t any significant damage. The bushes weren’t at a stage where they were flowering or anything like that, which could really hurt them.”North Carolina typically begins production in mid-May with production peaking around Memorial Day through June 10.Growers report acreage increasing, Bocock said.Julie Woodcock, executive director of the North Carolina Blueberry Council Inc., in Atkinson, said the last official number the council has seen is more than 6,000 acres.She said she knows of several farms that plan to start producing within 18 months.At the beginning of the domestic blueberry season, the Southeast is a key part of the deal, said Stacy Spivey, North American berry program director for Alpine Fresh in Miami.“There is a lot of high-quality fruit and nice volumes that come out of the Southeast,” he said. “The domestic season relies on the Southeast to get started on the right foot.”For more details click here.

Source : The Packer, Doug Ohlemeier, 03/03/2014 11:05:00 AM.