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A most merry holiday menu

A Festive And Fabulous Holiday Menu

It’s beginning to feel – and taste – a lot like Christmas ! The tree is up, the snow has coated everything in wonderful white, and the season is in full, festive swing.

Our Christmas menu selection this year is full of fabulous flavor, using the foods and ingredients we love so much around here. We looked for great innovative ways to prepare some classics, but also wanted to have pretty presentation and a bit of a wow factor – this is a once-a-year event, and your table should be anything but ordinary!

A most merry holiday menu

A most merry menu! Photo credits, left to right, top to bottom: Spoon Fork Bacon; How Sweet It Is; Taste Food Blog; Oh Sweet Basil; Gourmet Food Store.

START…

…with this festive Pomegranate Cheese Ball by How Sweet It Is. Twinkling pomegranate gems glisten and glow festively in this incredible appetizer that reminds us of a Christmas ornament (an edible, delicious one!) and acts double duty as a centerpiece. This classic-yet-chic cheese-ball appetizer is made with sharp white cheddar, mixed with some smoky toasted almonds, then sumptuously finished with cream cheese, mascarpone, and sage butter.  Everything gets blended with an electric mixer and then formed not a ball. We are raving about this appetizer!

Get the Pomegranate Cheese Ball recipe here >

A delicious centerpiece to start off your holiday feast!

A delicious centerpiece to start off your feast! Photo: Pomegranate Cheese Ball by How Sweet It is.

FOLLOW…

Instead of a Christmas ham or turkey, we’re making this a sophisticated, delicious and upscale alternative:  Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck by Spoon Fork Bacon. Traditional dishes are great and all, but sometimes it’s time to shake things up, but there’s something very “everyday” about ham, and by December 25th, we’ve just about had enough with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. This duck is juicy and tender, but with loads more flavor than a turkey. You can use a whole duck, or two if you’re feeding a large crowd. This recipe also includes a Spiced Cranberry -Persimmon Chutney (which we think is just perfecto for this), but since a roasted duck is a super versatile main, you can pair it with your favorite sauce.

Find the Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck recipe here >

Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck by Spoon Fork Bacon.

A very crispy Christmas! Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck by Spoon Fork Bacon.

SERVE WITH…

Creamy, cheesy, luscious Scalloped Potatoes by Oh Sweet Basil! We almost have no words to describe the incredibleness that is this au gratin dish. It’s classic and comforting, and we think it will pair perfectly with our more complicated main dish. Russet potatoes, butter, heavy cream, a great sharp cheddar cheese, all spiced with thyme, bay and cloves, and baked until gorgeously golden and deliciously melty. We’re planning to make this with sharp and buttery Fiscalini Farmstead 18 Month cheddar for an extra boost of flavor…and we’re planning to make it our staple winter comfort dish throughout the season!

Find the Scalloped Potatoes recipe here >

A sumptuous side! Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

A sumptuous side! Creamy Scalloped Potatoes. Photo by: Oh Sweet Basil.

TOAST…

…with a warm glass of Glogg (recipe by Taste Food Blog). If you’re ready to go beyond the Eggnog this year, you should definitely try this yummy alternative.  Glogg is the classic Scandinavian Christmas drink. A kind of spiced mulled wine, it’s made with cloves, cinnamon, red wine and brandy, served cozily warm with almonds and raisins. It’s pretty much the grown-ups cup of hot chocolate, and it’s much more beautiful to serve, the merry red drink adding to the Christmas atmosphere.

Find the Gløgg recipe here >

Warm spiced glogg

Stay mellow and warm with a glass of Glogg. Photy by; Taste Food Blog.

AND FINISH WITH…

Nutella Mascarpone Mousse

Nuts for Nutella! Nutella Mascarpone Mousse. Photo: Gourmet Food Store.

Mascarpone Nutella Mousse! The creamy hazelnut chocolate spread is pretty much an addiction of ours, and it’s the perfect treat to end a holiday meal. This dessert combines sweet mascarpone with Nutella and heavy whipping cream. Just blend equal parts of each in a blender and you’re done. Garnished with cheery red berries, festive green mint and (more) chocolate, this is the ideal clincher to our picture-perfect Christmas meal!

CONTRIBUTORS:

We’d like to thank the following bloggers for sharing their amazing recipes and beautiful photographs. Visit their blogs for more delicious recipes and tons of culinary inspiration.

www.SpoonForkBacon.com
www.howsweeteats.com
www.tastefoodblog.com
www.ohsweetbasil.com

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu – 11 Delicious Recipes!

It’s the final countdown to Thanksgiving, so how about some delicious inspiration? We gathered our culinary troops to help you out! We’ve selected our favorite Thanksgiving recipes from genius foodies from all around the web. Spend spend less time researching, and more time enjoying.  Take a look and get cookinspired!

Thanksgiving feast!

Photos by: 1) My Endless Picnic. 2) The Galley Gourmet 3) Cooking Canuck 4) A Spicy Perspective 5) Tide & Thyme 6) An Edible Mosaic 7) The Faux Martha 8) Domesticate ME! 9) Drizzle & Dip 10) Unexpected Elegance 11) Simple Gourmet Cooking

A THANKSGIVING DINNER MENU

  1. Homemade Cranberry Sauce – My Endless Picnic
  2. Dry Brined High-Heat Roast Turkey – The Galley Gourmet
  3. Turkey Gravy – Cooking Canuck
  4. Apple Cider Turkey Gravy – A Spicy Perspective
  5. Roasted Turkey – Tide & Thyme
  6. Pumpkin And Cheese Spice Bread –  An Edible Mosaic
  7. Cranberry Sauce – The Faux Martha
  8. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese, Sage and Pepitas – Domesticate ME!
  9. Roasted Sweet Potato With Pecan and Maple – Drizzle & Dip
  10. Pecan Pie – Unexpected Elegance
  11. Buttermilk Biscuits – Simple Gourmet Cooking

 

fresh truffle recipe truffle risotto truffle ragu truffle pizza

Wintertime Weeknights: Favorite Fresh Truffle Recipes

fresh truffle recipe truffle risotto truffle ragu truffle pizza

Looking for an update to your Friday night menu? Fresh truffle season is in full swing, with aromatic white truffles from Italy and black truffles from France flown in every week (and flying off our shelves!). These amazing mushrooms are easy to incorporate to any dish – slice and add! Don’t believe us? We found three great truffle recipes to make this winter more delicious. Invite friends over, grab a great bottle of wine, and get ready to enjoy those long winter nights with good company and delicious food.

OUR FAVORITE FRESH TRUFFLE APPETIZER: RISOTTO

Comfort food at its best, risotto gets some serious upgrade to first class when you add truffle shavings.  We loved that in this fresh truffle recipe by Fred of Delicious Tapas (www.delicioustapas.blogspot.com) reinvented the usual hearty (and heavy) risotto dish as a tapas, meaning a small, appetizer-sized portion. It gives you the opportunity to get a taste of the dish, without the moaning and groaning (and guilt!) that  comes after eating a very heavy meal.  The truffles are sliced paper thin and then added at the end of the preparation, where the heat and steam of the risotto brings out the aroma and flavor. Although Fred uses black truffles, you can easily substitute for fresh white truffles for a more intense garlicky aroma. Serve this as a fresh truffle appetizer at your next dinner party or alongside some other small dishes as a tapas meal.

Get the recipe! > Truffle Risotto

Truffle risotto recipe

Truffle Risotto, Tapas-Style! Photo by: delicioustapas.blogspot.com

FAVORITE FRESH TRUFFLE ENTREE: LAMB RAGU PAPPARDELLE 

When the weather turns chilly and we want a rich, filling dish that will carry put some warmth in our bones, we turn  to this fantastic Lamb Ragu Papperdelle with fresh truffle shavings by Noms & Rambles (http://www.NomsandRambles.net).  This is the perfect winter truffle recipe, combining tender, fall-of-the-bones roasted lamb with colorful (and healthy) vegetables, a flavorful Napoli tomato sauce and lots of aromatic herbs and spices.  The fresh truffle shavings give this otherwise rustic “country” dish an indulgent and luxurious final touch. Perfect for a large gathering, make enough for leftovers; this dish demands seconds!

Get the recipe! Lamb Ragu Pappardelle With Fresh Black Truffles

Lamb Ragu Papperdelle With Shaved Truffles truffle recipe

Lamb Ragu Papperdelle With Shaved Truffles. Photo by: www.nomsandrambles.net

FAVORITE FRESH TRUFFLE SNACK: TRUFFLED PIZZA

The plainest and most commonplace dish goes from dull to deluxe when you use the right ingredients and some imagination.  Start with a simple thin crust pizza dough, then layer up delicious fresh mozzarella (from real buffalo milk), a bit of truffled cheese, sweet Prosciutto di Parma ham, a bit of truffle oil, and finish up with thin slice of fresh truffle (white or black, your choice). Unlike chewy doughy crusts, a thin crust allows you to actually taste the great ingredients you’re using. This sophisticated fresh truffle recipe for pizza is ready in minutes (make the dough ahead and freeze) and will become your go-to dish for a glamorous pizza party.

Get the recipe! Prosciutto & Mozzarella With Truffles Thin Crust Pizza

Prosciutto, Mozarella & Truffle Thin Crust Pizza.

Prosciutto, Mozarella & Truffle Thin Crust Pizza. Photo by: www.gourmetfoodworld.com

Products from this post:

Fresh Italian & French Truffles >
Prosciutto di Parma >
Organic Arborio Risotto Rice >
Mozzarella di Bufala >

Halloween recipes: Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes.

Top Five Gourmet Halloween Recipes Featuring Pumpkin!

We post a lot about sophisticated, la-di-da recipes around here, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But today we’re looking for more fun than fondue. It’s almost Halloween! Our favorite Halloween recipes featuring pumpkin by our spookily talented contributing bloggers will make this Halloween frighteningly delicious.

Read on for our favorite Halloween recipes featuring everyone’s orange vegetable, pumpkin.

1. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte with Whipped Cream.

Giving Sbux a bit of competition! Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte with Whipped Cream. Photo by: Mary Younkin

Long lines at the coffee shop spooking you out? This the perfect Halloween recipe for latte-lovers! Try Mary’s recipe for a homemade pumpkin latte made from pumpkin puree. So easy to make at home, no styrofoam cups required!

You can find our more great recipes from Many on her cooking blog:
www.barefeetinthekitchen.com

View Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe >

2. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Smoothie

Our fave pumpkin-for-breakfast Halloween recipe: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Smoothie.

Our fave pumpkin-for-breakfast Halloween recipe: Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Smoothie. Photo by: Rachel Farnsworth

You know us, we’re suckers for gourmet recipes that are also healthy, and this Halloween recipe is perfect to kick off your day. Rachel’s smoothie recipe of Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, spices and rolled oats will get you up and going for a long afternoon of trick-or-treating!

View Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe >

Find more delicious from-scratch recipes from Rachel on her blog at:
www.thestayathomechef.com

3. Pumpkin Harvest Cookies

Our favorite cookies for Halloween - Pumpkin Harvest Cookies.

Our favorite cookies for Halloween – Pumpkin Harvest Cookies. Photo by: Katie Compton

Pumpkin, chocolate chips, shredded coconuts and spices? Our taste buds went crazy just looking at the ingredient list for Katie’s Halloween recipe of Pumpkin Cookies. Make a large batch to give away to trick-or-treaters, and save some to have with your afternoon coffee.

View Pumpkin Harvest Cookie Recipe > 

For more recipes (and fashion style tips!), visit Katie’s blog:
 www.rufflesandtruffles.com

4. Pumpkin Birmuelos with Caramel Drizzle

A deliciously Kosher Halloween! Pumpkin Birmuelos With Caramel Drizzle.

A deliciously Kosher Halloween! Pumpkin Birmuelos With Caramel Drizzle. Photo by: Melinda Strauss

It’s easy to keep kosher on Halloween when you have the help of Melinda Strauss, of Kitchen Tested. Her adaptation of the classic birmuelo – a sort of fried doughnut – includes mixing up some pumpkin puree, and drizzling the whole thing with caramel.  L’Chaim!

View Kosher Pumpkin Birmuelos Recipe >

For more incredible (and always kosher) recipes from Melinda, find at her at:
www.kitchentested.com 

5. Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes

Favorite Halloween recipes: Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes.

Frighteningly yummy spiderwebs adorn these decadent chocolate and pumpkin-frosted cupcakes. Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes. Photo by: Alexandra @ Confessions of A Bright Eyed Baker.

We promised Halloween cupcakes, and cupcakes you shall have! But these are no scary store-bought cupcakes, no sir. Alexandra of Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker brewed up some decadent, moist chocolate-and-pumpkin cupcakes with bright orange-spiced cream cheese frosting. Plus a sophisticated chocolate “spiderweb” to top it all of.  Wickedly good!

View Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcake Recipe >

For more indulgent baking (and more) from Alexandra, check out her blog at:
http://www.brighteyedbaker.com

Happy Halloween, fellow foodies!

Braised Chicken in a delicious Sherry and Sherry Vinegar Reduction.

Winter Weeknights: Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar

There are a few things more comforting than a big bowl of pasta during a cold winter night. Easy to make (boiling water, anyone) and the ingredients don’t really spoil (who has ever looked at the expiration date on a box of spaghetti?). However, weeknight pasta can get boring and need beefing up, or, in this case, chicken-ing up! Introducing your new favorite pairing for your winter spaghetti dinners: Braised Chicken With Sherry Vinegar by Alexandra of AlexandraCooks.com.

Braised Chicken in a delicious Sherry and Sherry Vinegar Reduction

Sophisticated Take On Chicken And Noodles! Braised Chicken in a delicious Sherry and Sherry Vinegar Reduction, Over Egg Noodles. Photo by: Alexandra of AlexandraCooks.com

The dish itself is derived from a French recipe, chicken au vinaigre, which consists of braised chicken in a thick sauce of shallots and tomatoes reduced in sherry vinegar and sherry wine. The modern twist comes from the egg noodles (or any other pasta). Noodles are thoroughly NOT French, but perfect for this dish, according to Alexandra (and we agree!), because the wide noodles “soak up the delicious sauce so nicely”.

Braised Chicken in a delicious Sherry and Sherry Vinegar Reduction

Braised Chicken in a delicious Sherry and Sherry Vinegar Reduction – browning the chicken. Photo by: Alexandra – AlexandraCooks.com

The recipe calls for the more flavorful sections of the chicken – thighs and drumsticks. However, Alexandra buys the chicken whole and like to cut it up – she has a super useful video on how to do this, if you’re interested in giving it a try. If, however, you’re not feeling like putting in some many kitchen hours, just buy a tray of thighs and drumsticks (organic or free-range chicken is always more flavorful).

Why Sherry Vinegar?

The addition of a good aged Sherry vinegar makes a world of a difference in sauces. To even be considered Sherry vinegar, it must be produced from the sherry grape, aged in American oak barrels for at least six months, and all this needs to happen in what’s called the “sherry triangle” of Spain, an area in the Spanish province of Cadiz. This wine vinegar is sweet, well rounded, with a full bouquet of flavors, which translates into the finished preparation.

This dish will fill your kitchen with delicious aromas, as you braise, sauté and reduce your heart out. Serve Alexandra’s Braised Chicken in Sherry Vinegar with egg noodles, your favorite spaghetti, or just with a big hunk of bread to wipe that plate nice and clean. For more of Alexandra’s great recipes, follow her blog at www.AlexandraCooks.com. You can view her original recipe, along with some very useful tips, here.

Products From This Post:

Cepa Negra Sherry Vinegar – Aged 40 Years
Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar
French Dijon Mustard
Spanish Natural Rock Salt

Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar - AlexandraCooks

Rating: 51

10 minutes

50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: About 4 Servings

Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar - AlexandraCooks

Ingredients

  • Thighs and drumsticks from one 3lb chicken, skin on.
  • kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly cracked pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive, grapeseed or peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup medium-sweet sherry
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar, prerably aged
  • 1 – 1-1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup drained and coarsley chopped peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet and sear chicken until golden on each side. Add more oil as needed working in batches.
  3. Reduce heat and sauté shallots, covered until softened; uncover and sauté until golden brown. Add sherry and deglaze; reduce by half. Add vinegar and sugar and reduce by half. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, mustard, salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs and legs, partially cover and cook 7 mins. Cover and simmer 20 mins or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken to a plate.
  5. Simmer sauce 10 mins or until slightly thickened and flavors are rich and mellow.
  6. Return chicken to pan and heat through.

Notes

Serve this mouthwatering braised chicken in sherry vinegar over your favorite pasta, or simply with a side salad and a big hunk of bread.

http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/gourmet-food-blog/braised-chicken-sherry-vinegar/

Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe: The finished dish! Succulent, sweet and gorgeous.

Beautiful Pairings: A Delicious Duck Breast Recipe With Wine And Figs

Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe: Start with delicious duck breasts and sweet ripe figs.

Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe: Start with delicious duck breasts and sweet ripe figs.

We’re in the midst of the most beautiful season, the peak of autumn, filled with the blazing red of fall foliage and vibrant orange of pumpkin patches. Culinary speaking, autumn is a lovely time for cooking, with gorgeous seasonal ingredients bringing flavor and color to our tables, and the weather allowing for heartier main dishes with meats. Today we’re featuring a duck breast recipe that highlights some of our favorite ingredients: earthy duck breast, sweet figs and voluptuous wine.

This duck breast recipe starts with boneless Muscovy duck breasts. Muscovy duck is a fabulous flavorful fowl meat, with a bold and succulent flavor, much more complex than what you would expect. Paired with the sweet figs cooked in Beaujolais wine, it’s absolute perfection – a sophisticate melding of sweet and salty flavors, a buttery on the inside yet crispy on the outside texture, and just a sublimely rich dish.

Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe: The finished dish! Succulent, sweet and gorgeous.

Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe: The finished dish! Succulent, sweet and gorgeous.

Cooking Tips For Our Muscovy Duck Breast Recipe

This duck breast recipe is simple, but there are some things to know.

  • Muscovy duck breast should always be cooked medium (or medium rare). Overcook it, and it’ll be dry and tough. So…
  • Use a kitchen thermometer if you have one, to make sure you don’t overcook it. Our duck breast is ready once the inside temperature reaches 120 degrees.
  • Look for the ripest figs you can find, they’re the sweetest! They should be soft (but not mushy), and have small wrinkles on the skin.
  • You don’t need oil or butter for this Muscovy duck breast recipe; the duck meat itself has enough fat to cook to perfection by itself.
  • Save the rendered fat from the pan where you cooked the duck breast, this concoction is full of delicious flavor and perfect for sautéing veggies or potatoes
  • Serve with your favorite red wine, especially great with Burgundy wine or Pinot Noir.

 

Duck Breast With Wine-Poached Figs

Rating: 51

20 minutes

50 minutes

Yield: 2

Duck Breast With Wine-Poached Figs

A delicious combination of perfectly-cooked succulent duck breast, paired with a reduction of sweet figs in Beaujolais wine.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless Muscovy duck breasts
  • 6 figs
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cup of Beaujolais wine
  • 2 cup of Chianti wine
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add 2 cups of Beaujolais wine, 2 cups of Chianti wine, of sugar, bay leaf and cinnamon stick to a medium pot, over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the stove, and add the whole figs. Bring back to a boil and simmer for about 10/15 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Remove the wine and fig mix from the stove, then carefully remove the figs one by one and place them in a double bowl with ice. Leave to cool. Once the figs are fully cooled down, mix them back up with the wine sauce. If you want, do this one day in advance and keep the sauce in the refrigerator until you use it.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  4. Peel and dice the potatoes into ½-inch thick cubes. Pour some flour on a shallow dish, and toss the potatoes, very lightly coating them in flour.
  5. Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat, drizzle some olive oil, and sauté the potatoes until lightly browned. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow oven pan, salt and bake until fully cooked (about 10/15 minutes).
  6. While the potatoes are baking, prep the duck breast.
  7. With a sharp knife, score diagonal and horizontal lines (diamond pattern) on the skin side of the duck. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  8. Place the duck breast skin-side down on a large sauté pan, over medium heat, and sauté until golden brown (no butter or oil needed here!). Flip, and cook the other side.
  9. Once the duck breast is ready, remove from the pan and plate, adding the potatoes (garnish them with parsley). Cut the figs in half and heat the wine sauce, pouring over the duck breast.
http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/gourmet-food-blog/duck-breast-recipe-with-wine-and-figs/

Products from this post:

Muscovy Duck Breast – Boneless >
Cinnamon Sticks >
Gourmet Salt >

A medley of fall flavors: Roasted chicken in a creamy dijon and tarragon sauce.

A Recipe For Fall: Roast Chicken With Dijon Mustard and Fresh Tarragon

Are you mourning the end of summer already? Don’t! Fall is such a wonderful season for foodies and gourmets! So we might need to remember to close the windows at night and throw on a sweater. So what! Early fall is the best of both worlds – we still have lovely daytime temperatures that allow us those walks on the beach, and cooler night temperatures give us the chance to add heartier ingredients, autumn-y spices, and finally, FINALLY turn the oven on! It’s time to bring out the big guns (by which we mean, roasting pans, basters, oven mitts, intense ingredients like Dijon mustard, etc.).

A medley of fall flavors: Roasted chicken in a creamy dijon and tarragon sauce.

A medley of fall flavors: Roasted chicken in a creamy dijon and tarragon sauce. Ph: Sue Moran

Fear not, fellow foodies, we found the perfect dish to transition us to Fall: Roast Chicken Breast With Tarragon and Dijon Mustard Sauce, compliments of contributor Sue Moran, from The View From Great Island.

Intense and bright: Dijon mustard and fresh tarragon.

Intense and bright: Dijon mustard and fresh tarragon. Ph: GourmetFoodStore / Sue Moran

The Recipe: Intense Dijon Mustard and Bright Fresh Tarragon

This recipe is everything we could want for a transitional dish – it’s hearty without being heavy, flavorful without being cloying, and the combination of creamy Dijon mustard sauce with aromatic tarragon is both bright and fresh. The recipe calls for chicken breasts (dish bonus: lots of healthy protein there), but you could just as easily use the delicious tarragon and Dijon mustard sauce with any fresh white fish that’s available at your grocery store (Sue recommends haddock, cod or tilapia).

Colorful seasonal produce to pair with our Roast Chicken With Dijon Mustard and FreshTarragon.

Colorful seasonal produce to pair with our Roast Chicken With Dijon Mustard and FreshTarragon. Ph: Chillimarmalade.com

What to serve this with: a medley of seasonal fall produce, of course! You could try roasting parsnips and carrots, like Sue did, or any other colorful veggie you choose. If you want a bit more oomph, try adding a start for a side dish, like couscous, wild rice or even quinoa. Want more recipes from Sue? Visit her website at www.theviewfromgreatisland.com.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon & Dijon Mustard Sauce - Sue Moran

Rating: 51

20 minutes

50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon & Dijon Mustard Sauce - Sue Moran

A wonderful recipe to takes us into Fall, delicious roasted chicken with a creamy Dijon mustard and bright tarragon sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (I asked my butcher to de-bone a couple of skin-on breasts)
  • olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 baby vidalia onions, sliced (or 1 leek, or 2 large shallots)
  • splash of marsala, white wine, vermouth or dry sherry
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of fresh chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground or Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season well with salt and fresh pepper. Rub the oil and spices in to the meat.
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, put the chicken breasts in, skin side down. Sear for a couple of minutes until the skin has good color.
  3. Remove the chicken to a baking pan that has also been drizzled with olive oil, skin side up.
  4. Cook at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. The time will depend on how large your chicken breasts are (your thermometer should read between 170 and 180.)
  5. Finish under the broiler if you want more color or crispness to the skin.
  6. Set aside to rest under foil.
  7. Reserve any juices from the cooking to add to the sauce later.
  8. In the same pan you seared the chicken in, add the onions and saute over medium low heat for several minutes until they soften. Do not brown them.
  9. Give the pan a splash of wine and squeeze in the lemon juice. Let reduce on medium high for a minute.
  10. Add the tarragon, the cream, the mustard, and any leftover juices from the cooked chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cook for a minute or two. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
  11. Pour onto a serving platter or shallow casserole dish.
  12. Slice the chicken and nestle into the sauce. Sprinkle with a little more fresh tarragon.
http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/gourmet-food-blog/chicken-dijon-mustard-recipe/

Caviar and egg, a classic combination!

Gourmet Guide: Serve, Store, and Eat Caviar Properly

Caviar is one of our best-selling items here at GourmetFoodStore.com.  A lot of you love to eat caviar, so it might come as a surprise to know just how many people are intimidated by the glossy eggs.  How do you serve caviar is one of the most oft-asked questions, followed by the inevitable sequiturs, how do you store caviar, and, of course, how do you eat caviar?

First on our “Gourmet Guide” series, read on to find out everything you need – well, everything we could think of! – to know about serving, storing and eating caviar!

How To Eat Caviar: Caviar on quail eggs and celery salt.

Caviar + Quail Eggs: A classic combination! Ph: CharlotteJulienne

THE DO’s AND DON’Ts OF SERVING, EATING AND STORING CAVIAR

DO…

Serve ChilledCaviar is always served not just cold, but ice-cold. Keep tins of caviar in the fridge right until you’re ready to serve. If you’re going to set the caviar out for people to serve themselves, buffet-style, keep it in the original tin over another bowl of ice, to keep it nice and chilly. Or invest in a gorgeous caviar server!

Use Mother Of Pearl: You want to use either mother of pearl, glass or (and we shudder to even suggest it) in an emergency, plastic…but really, why would you ever serve caviar with plastic?

How To Eat Caviar: Mother Pearl Serving Set And A Glass Serving

Left: Mother of pearl utensils won’t alter the flavor of caviar. Right: A glass server with a bowl for ice will keep your caviar nice and chilly.

Keep It Simple: The most classic way to eat caviar is over a blini or toast points, with a dollop of crème fraiche. A sort of buckwheat mini-pancake of Russian origins, blinis have a very mild bland flavor that acts as the perfect vessel for the salty taste and crunchy pop of caviar.

Feel Free To Be Creative: There are other ways to serve caviar besides as an hors d’oeuvre. Try it over soft or hard boiled quail eggs, with potatoes, or sprinkled over pasta.

How To Eat Caviar: caviar over crispy potato skins with creme fraiche.

A simply delicious and creative way of serving caviar: freshwater caviar over crispy potato skins with creme fraiche. Ph: Thefood-online.com

Drink Vodka or Champagne: down a shot of chilled vodka with caviar to be super authentic, or with a flute of bubbly champagne to be totally glamorous. You can also try a light beer or a crisp and subtle white wine.

Be Gentle: caviar eggs are delicate and tend to be crushed, so gently place the eggs where you want them.

DON’T…

Use Metal: You never, ever, ever, EVER want to eat caviar with a metal utensil – don’t even touch it with metal. Metal changes the flavor of caviar and will taint it with an awful metal bite.

Add Too Many Other Ingredients: the idea is to keep side ingredients bland and to a minimum, to let the flavor of the caviar shine through…after all, you’re paying a pretty penny for each of those eggs!

Actually Cook It: caviar is really not meant for cooking; it becomes tough and the flavor changes.

Drink Caviar With Red Wine or Dark Beer: Try to eat caviar and then down it with a big bold red wine and you’ll quickly realize why. The caviar’s saltiness calls for a drink that’s refreshing and cleanses the palate. Red wines and dark beers are too overwhelming.

How To Eat Caviar: hen egg, homemade potato chips, onion sousbise, and herb salad.

Go beyond the blini and try your caviar with a soft hen egg, homemade potato chips, onion sousbise, and herb salad. Ph: Eats.Meets.Wes

TIPS FOR STORING CAVIAR

  • Read all labels carefully once you get your product.
  • Caviar is highly perishable and must be stored in the fridge.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Once opened, consume within 2-3 days, caviar won’t keep for long.

 

Products from this post:

Caviar Selection >
Creme Fraiche >
Blini & Toast Points >
Caviar Serving Utensils >

Labor Day Cookout Gourmet Feast!

Bye Bye Summertime! A Sophisticated Gourmet Labor Day Cookout Menu

Labor Day Cookout Gourmet Feast!

A Labor Day Cookout Feast! Left to Right: Bacon Scallops by Kate, Gourmet Chili Dogs by Bev, Succotash by Profiteroles & Ponytails, & Key Lime Pie by Galaxy Desserts.

It’s… inevitable. Summer, with all it’s fun under the sun, is almost over. Labor Day weekend  is almost upon us, and with it, the unofficial close to the summer season. But before we unpack the sweaters and bring out the comforters, there’s still time for a last summer hurrah! Get ready for a Labor Day Cookout! Celebrate a fun-filled, warm and beautiful long weekend with family and friends… and great food, of course!

Labor Day weekend celebrations are all about barbeques and grilling, picnics and cookouts, so we’ve prepared a summery Labor Day Cookout Menu for you, with recipes as fresh as they’re unfussy, as down-to-earth as they’re sophisticated, with the freshest ingredients of the summer season.

  Labor Day Cookout Menu

Appetizer
Grilled Bacon Scallops by Kate
Salad
Summer Succotash by Profiteroles & Ponytails
Main
Gourmet Chili Dogs by Bev Cooks
Dessert
Key Lime Pie by Galaxy Desserts

 

Grilled Bacon Scallops by FramedCooks.com

Bacon Scallops for a Labor Day Cookout

Summer on a stick! Photo: Bacon Scallops by Kate of FramedCooks.com

Start off your meal with an easy, summer-ready appetizer.  Plump sea scallops wrapped with bacon, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled to perfection.  Add a squeeze of lemon and you have the most delicious start to a Labor Day cookout. Grilled Bacon Scallops Recipe

Summer Succotash Salad by Profiteroles & Ponytails

Colorful Labor Day Cookout Salad

The most colorful Labor Day yet! Ph: Saccutash by Profiteroles & Ponytails

An outdoor meal is never complete without a fresh, seasonal salad. This Succotash Summer Salad by Profiteroles & Ponytails could just as easily be a meal by itself. Sweet corn, juicy grape tomatoes, plump edamame, avocado, onions and sweet pepper. Drizzle with some lime juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and you’re done! Summer Saccutash Recipe

 

Gourmet Chili Hot Dogs by BevCooks.com

Gourmet Chili Hot Dogs For Labor Day Cookout

(Hot) Dog days of summer! Gourmet Chili Hot Dogs, Ph: Bevcooks.com

A stylish, sophisticated version of an American classic we all know and love? That’s what we’re talking about! There’s no need to get complicated, to get gourmet. Bev of Bevcooks.com made these barkin’ hot dogs with grilled Polish Kielbasa, slid those puppies into fresh baguettes, then ladled a generous portion of her amazing sweet and spicy chili and finished off with shredded cheddar, diced onion and cilantro. This recipe inspired our Labor Day Cookout Menu, so run for the recipe, now!  Gourmet Chili Dog Recipe

Key Lime Pie by Galaxy Desserts

Key Lime Pie For Labor Day Cookout Desesrt

A flourishing finish! Key Lime Pie by Galaxy Desserts

Our Labor Day Cookout dessert is the most labor-less of them all! These gourmet key lime tarts are made by Galaxy Desserts in California, featuring an all-butter shortbread crust and a filling made out of real Key limes. Just take out of the freezer and serve. Order here >

 

 

Pain au chocolat - delicious flaky french bread filled with melted chocolate

Beyond the Baguette: Our Five Favorite French Breads Plus The Best Pain Au Chocolate Recipe Ever!

A recent New York Times article brought to light very distressing news to us. Forget the economy, global warming, and politics, the world is facing a…French bread CRISIS!  The article stated that, “the average Frenchman these days eats only half a baguette a day compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900.”

Mon dieu!

The icon of French breads, a crusty baguette.

Simply perfect: the icon of French breads, a crusty baguette.

Take heart, baguette lovers, help is on the way! To counteract this unacceptable situation, the Observatoire du Pain, a lobby for bakers and millers, has started a campaign to promote the consumption of one of France’s most iconic food staples, French bread.

And because there’s nothing that we love more than a good food cause, we’re joining the cause, and giving French bread some love and attention. Here’s our list of Five Favorite French Breads plus, a delicious Pain Au Chocolat recipe to try your bread-baking hand at home.

Tackling the French bread crisis, one baguette at a time!

OUR FAVORITE TYPES OF FRENCH BREAD

  1. The Baguette: the ultimate classic, this flute of crusty bread should practically be stamped on your passport when you enter the country.  A traditional baguette or “baguette de tradition” must, by French law, have the following ingredients: wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. Perfect in it’s simplicity! Don’t feel like baking? Try our frozen, ready-for-the-oven artisan baguettes by Bridor! Click here
  2. The Brioche: a mixture between bread a pastry, brioche is made with a super buttery dough, braided into the classic shape. But it’s the addition of sugar and eggs which makes this a sweet treat as well, perfect to make French toast (see below), or to eat with a cup of tea or coffee. Oh la la!
  3. Le Pain Perdu: Also known as the world-famous, USA-favorite, French toast! The name, pain perdu, means “lost bread”, so named (some say) because it was made using leftover, stale bread.  Well,  if stale bread dipped in eggs and fried turned into French toast, then not all is lost!
  4. Beignets: Probably just as much a tradition in New Orleans as in Paris, this doughnut is actually a deep-fried bread dough.  There are several variations of this, but the most well-known, at least in America, is the one popularized by New Orlean’s famed restaurant, Café du Monde. Theirs is fried in cottonseed oil and then liberally covered in delicious powdered sugar.
  5. Pain au Chocolat: last, but absolutely not all least, our favorite (and featured) type of French bread! The French call it “pain” (bread), but Pain a Chocolat is really a buttery and flaky croissant, filled with gooey melted luscious chocolate. Oh, oui!  We found the greatest recipe for a homemade Pain au Chocolat, by our featured blogger, Alexandra from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker. It might take a few tries to get it right, but the results are completely worth it, we swear!
Pain au chocolat - delicious flaky french bread filled with melted chocolate

Pain au chocolat – delicious flaky croissants filled with melted chocolate! Ph: Brighteyedbaker.com

 

Pain Au Chocolat by BrightEyedBaker.com

3 hours, 30 minutes

15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Serving Size: 1 Croissant

Chillier afternoons calls for a hot cup of tea and a sweet treat. Try this sophisticated chocolate-filled French croissant, the traditional and delicious Pain Au Chocolat, and be immediately transported to belle Paris!

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 11 tablespoons butter, divided
  • generous 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • generous 1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter and combine with milk to cool quickly. Place another 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) out to soften.
  2. Add the melted butter, milk, bread flour, granulated sugar, and salt, to the yeast/water mixture. Mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes. If the dough seems tough, add another tablespoon melted butter. Change attachment to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for another two minutes. At this point the dough should be soft and supple.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle, 10" x 15". Cover again with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes.
  5. Take the softened stick of butter and rub onto the rectangle of dough (Your hands will get very buttery). Rub on as much butter as possible, and then, with the shorter side facing you, fold into thirds, like you would a letter. Roll again into a 10" x 15" rectangle and fold into thirds once more. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
  6. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll again into a 10" x 15" rectangle. Rub the remaining butter onto the dough, fold into thirds, roll out once more (10" x 15"), and fold once more.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut the folded dough into 12 rectangles, using 4 slices in the longer direction and 3 slices in the shorter direction.
  8. One rectangle at a time, with the shorter end facing you, place about 10 chocolate chips halfway along the rectangle. Fold the end closer to you over these chocolate chips, and repeat on the other side, adding chocolate chips to the other half and folding over the first half. Press end into dough to form a seam.
  9. Repeat the above process for each rectangle of dough. Place each pain au chocolat seam-side down on a lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.
  10. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine egg and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl to form egg wash. Brush over each pain au chocolat. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, until puffed up and lightly golden.
  11. Enjoy warm from the oven, or store in refrigerator and microwave each pain au chocolat for 25-30 seconds when ready to eat.

Notes

Prep time includes resting and rising time for the dough.

http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/gourmet-food-blog/our-five-favorite-french-breads/