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passion fruit pavlovas

Passion Fruit Pavlovas Recipe

passion fruit pavlovas

Sweet, with a dash of fresh citrus flavor, airy pavlovas are the perfect dessert to welcome summer.  

The filling – or topping – of our pavlovas is made with exotic Passion Fruit Frozen Puree, but feel free to give your imagination free rein and use any of the other lush flavors from our incredible Boiron line of French fruit purees – or mix it up and offer a variety.

Pavlovas are a classic European dessert of light and crusty meringue. Named after a Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, the dessert is, surprisingly enough, a New Zealand invention (though a hotly contested one) and the New Zealand’s National Dessert.

The stiff meringue “pillows” hold up beautifully and provide the perfect centerpiece for the lush passion fruit cream, with a soft center that melts in your mouth at the first bite. The trick to the pavlova is that once it’s done baking, it should be left to cool down completely in the oven, to avoid deflating.

Passion Fruit Pavlovas

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 8 pavlovas

Passion Fruit Pavlovas

Ingredients

    MERINGUE
  • 4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Corn starch
  • PASSIONFRUIT PUREE FILLING
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Grated lime peel
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup Passion Fruit Frozen Puree
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 limes, sliced thinly
  • 2 sprigs fresh Rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 275 F.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg whites into soft peaks, then add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beat continuously until you stiff peaks forms. Stop beating, incorporate the vinegar and cornstarch, then whip about 30 seconds more until you get a fully combined.
  3. Place a sheet of sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet, and with a pencil, draw 8 circles of about 3-½ inches diameter.
  4. Drop one or two full tablespoons or 1/3 cup of meringue in the center of each circle. With a spoon, gently press into the center of each circle to create an indent or shallow hollow.
  5. Transfer to oven and reduce the heat to 200 F. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. The meringue circles should be easily lifted from the parchment paper. When it’s done, leave to cool in the oven and then take to a dry place without covering.
  6. While meringue is baking, start your filling.
  7. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the 1/2-cup sugar, and add the lime peel and juice.
  8. Place the bowl in a water bath or double boiler – simmering, not boiling – mixing with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Make sure the water doesn’t boil over, or the preparation will spoil. Remove from heat.
  9. Add the yogurt and the Passion Fruit Frozen Puree and transfer the bowl to an ice bath to cool. Use immediately or store in the fridge
  10. Fill the pavlovas with the passion fruit filling and garnish with two half-slices of lemon and a bit of rosemary.
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Spring Risotto Recipes

Spring Risotto Recipes!

Spring Risotto Recipes

A risotto might conjure images of hearty winter dinners, but the beauty of a basic risotto recipe is that you can take it from winter to spring, simply by adding some seasonal vegetables and removing some of the cheese and butter that is so comforting during the colder weather season, but too heavy during the lighter months.

We give you some ideas by extraordinary bloggers, who show you how you can take some humble grains of rice and easily transform them into an amazing, fresh spring and summer gourmet meal. Plus, a great and simple risotto recipe to add to your summer risotto recipe repertoire!

 

Minty Fresh Risotto Recipe

Spring Risotto Recipes

Spring Pea and Mint Risotto by Gratinee Blog

This creamy but fresh risotto recipe starts with the classic Arborio rice and gets a boost of veggies with crunchy sugar peas and a bright flavor from fresh mint. The perfect centerpiece for any spring – or summer – lunch! The original recipe comes from the extraordinary Donna Hay, but it’s really Darina’s wonderful photography over at Gratinee Blog that made this gorgeous risotto make our top five.

 

The Lighter Side of Risotto 

Spring Risotto Recipes

Lighter Spring Risotto by Iowa Girl Eats

We always love finding lighter versions of a classic recipe, as long as it doesn’t skimp on flavor, of course. This fabulous Lighter Spring Risotto recipe by Iowa Girl Eats includes loads of health and flavorful vegetables like asparagus and spring peas, plus meaty mushrooms and of course, Arborio rice. What it doesn’t include: butter and cheese, so you can eat your risotto and still be ready for summer swimming.

 

Put Some Spring In Your Lemon Risotto

Spring Risotto Recipes

Lemon Risotto by LoveandLemons

“Tender yet crunchy green vegetables with bright creamy lemony rice”…we can’t describe it any better ourselves! Jeanine from Love and Lemons uses her favorite ingredient to add some bright citrus flavor to her delicious Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Peas, loading the dish with spring veggies like peas and asparagus, and finishing it with a secret genius technique – which you can read all about here.

 

Lemon & Dill Risotto

Lemon & Dill Risotto

Ingredients

  • ½ stick of butter, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups fish stock (heated)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind (finely grated)
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • 1 ½ cup parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, place the butter and the oil.
  2. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 2–5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Next, incorporate the rice and the garlic, and stir continuously for about 1 minute until rice is well coated.
  4. Add the white wine and cook until evaporated, or about 1 minute.
  5. Start adding the stock, one cup at a time, STIRRING continuously, for about 25–30 minutes or until all the liquid absorbed and the rice is al dente. If the liquid evaporates and the rice is not done yet, add more stock until fully cooked and creamy.
  6. Finally, add and stir in the lemon rind, dill and cheese.

Notes

Photo by: LoveandLemons

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Croque Monsieur by Accidental Locavore

Our Favorite 5 Gourmet Sandwiches

An intricate, elaborate meal is great, but with summer just around the corner, light, fresh dishes are the order of the day for the season. The understated (and many times underrated) sandwich is the perfect dish for spring and summer, and it doesn’t have to be boring or plain. We’re here to prove that between (and beyond) two slices of bread can lie a magnificent gourmet dish! The secret lies, as it always does in gourmet cooking, in selecting the best ingredients and using a bit of culinary creativity.

Original vs. Gourmet Sandwiches

  1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich vs The Croque Monsieur
  2. Ham Sandwich vs The Prosciutto Sandwich
  3. Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich vs The Lyonnaise Sandwich
  4. The Steak Sandwich vs Flank Steak and Chimichurri Sandwich
  5. Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich vs Smoked Salmon With Avocado & Egg Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich vs The Croque Monsieur

OriginalThe Grilled Cheese Sandwich Gourmet VersionThe Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur by Accidental Locavore

Croque Monsieur by Accidental Locavore

Grilled cheese, French-style! This is perhaps the easiest, albeit oversimplified definition of the Croque Monsieur (a play on the words “crunch” and “mister”). Eaten in France in bars, bistros, and famously originating at the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, this cheesy sandwich typically uses Emmental or Gruyere cheese, both earthy, nutty cheeses with great melting properties, alongside a good amount of ham. The bread, contrary to expectations, is not the famous baguette, but rather a broad, country loaf-style hefty slice, with the crust cut off. It can’t be too thin, or the melted cheese will overwhelm it. A key ingredient? The sauce. A Croque Monsieur sometimes comes with a béchamel or Mornay sauce, basically a cream-based concoction that is drizzled on top and then broiled. Yum! Anne Mayfield of The Accidental Locavore has been on a personal quest of finding the perfect Croque Monsieur, so we reached out to her for a delicious, easy-to-make at home recipe for an authentic Croque Monsieur

View Full Recipe: Croque Monsieur

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Ham Sandwich vs The Prosciutto Sandwich

OriginalHam Sandwich Gourmet VersionThe Prosciutto Sandwich
pen-Faced Poached Egg Arugula & Prosciutto Sandwich by Sarcastic Cooking

Open-Faced Poached Egg Arugula & Prosciutto Sandwich by Sarcastic Cooking

You can have a ham and cheese sandwich…or you can have a Prosciutto di Parma and poached egg with arugula sandwich! That’s what Stefanie of Sarcastic Cooking recommends, and just looking at the picture of her trademark Open-Faced Poached Egg Arugula & Prosciutto Sandwich made our mouths start watering. This recipe is perfect for a gourmet brunch or breakfast, combining buttery, gorgeous prosciutto ham with tart arugula leaves, a perfectly cooked poached egg, all with a drizzle of creamy citrusy lemon vinaigrette. Delicious, filling, and sophisticated!

Roasted Eggplant, Veggie, Provolone & Prosciutto Sandwich by My Gourmet Connection

Roasted Eggplant, Veggie, Provolone & Prosciutto Sandwich by My Gourmet Connection

Not into the just-one-slice thing? If you’re a purist who believes that a sandwich should come with two slices of bread (we beg to differ!), we found this amazing alternative from Lynne Webb of MyGourmetConnection.com. Her hefty Roasted Eggplant, Veggie, Provolone & Prosciutto Sandwich includes: “slices of garlic-balsamic roasted eggplant, topped with warm, buttered tomatoes, wilted spinach, prosciutto and provolone cheese”. We loved the combination of salty and sweet prosciutto with the healthy veggies, and because the sandwich is served warm, it’s guaranteed to be filling.

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Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich vs The Lyonnaise Sandwich

OriginalBacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich Gourmet VersionThe Lyonnaise Sandwich
Salade Lyonnaise Sandwich by A Cozy Kitchen

Salade Lyonnaise Sandwich by A Cozy Kitchen

Crunchy, salty and fatty bacon, trust us, we got hungry just writing this sentence! We had heard of the famed Lyonnaise salad, a dish typical of the city of Lyon, in France, that combined frisse lettuce with bits of fried bacon and a poached egg, and we thought it was genius of Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen to bring the classic salad to a sandwich form. She cooked up bacon with shallots and red wine, mixed with fine Dijon mustard, and tossed it with the frisse. She added the soft poached egg and some tomato slices, and used warm buttery brioche buns to contain the whole shebang.  With bacon, red wine, brioche, oeuf (that’s egg in French), and a French name to boot, the Lyonnaise sandwich is definitely one to add to the repertoire.

View Full Recipe: Lyonnaise Sandwich

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The Steak Sandwich vs Flank Steak and Chimichurri Sandwich

OriginalThe Steak Sandwich Gourmet VersionFlank Steak and Chimichurri Sandwich
Flank Steak on Texas Toast with Chimichurri by Food52

Flank Steak on Texas Toast with Chimichurri by Food52

For a lot of people, a great meal is based on one thing, and one thing only: meat. Steak, specifically. So we thought our list could never be complete without a gourmet steak sandwich. There were many delicious choices out there, but we think our winner deserved it. Meet: The Flank Steak On Texas Toast With Chimichurri Sandwich by Food52 (www.Food52.com)! A very popular seasoning right now, chimichurri is a spicy garlic dressing from South America, made out of several spices mixed in olive oil. It brings out the earthy flavor of the steak without overpowering the meat, giving it a delicious spicy touch. In this sandwich, the Chimichurri sauce is used both to marinate the steak and to craft a deliciously inventive mayonnaise.  The thick and buttery Texas toast is absolutely essential to absorb the weight of the sandwich – and the delicious juices from the steak!

 

View Full Recipe: Flank Steak on Texas Toast with Chimichurri

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Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich vs The Smoked Salmon With Avocado & Egg Sandwich

OriginalLox and Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich Gourmet VersionSmoked Salmon With Avocado & Egg Sandwich
Open Face Sandwiches with Avocado, Egg and Smoked Salmon by Framed Cooks

Open Face Sandwiches with Avocado, Egg and Smoked Salmon by Framed Cooks

Disclaimer: I LOVE smoked salmon. Actually, to say I love it is an understatement. I’m a full-blown smoked salmon addict. I will have it on anything and everything, for every and any meal. So nailing the greatest smoked salmon sandwich recipe was a task of personal pride. The winner was the Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Egg Open Faced Sandwich by Kate of Framed Cooks.

We love that she used just one slice of bread, since it allows the smoked salmon flavor and texture to shine through, plus the sweetness of the avocado paired wonderfully and matched the buttery texture of the smoked salmon, and the salty and filling scrambled eggs gave it more substance and extra heft. All in all, a protein-packed, antioxidant rich, super filling and incredibly delicious gourmet sandwich!

View Full Recipe: Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Egg Open Faced Sandwich

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The artichoke’s tough exterior hides a tender and tasty heart. Photo by: Mercedes Palomino

Artichokes: The Spring Produce You Should Be Eating NOW

The artichoke’s tough exterior hides a tender and tasty heart. Photo by: Mercedes Palomino

The artichoke’s tough exterior hides a tender and tasty heart. Photo by: Mercedes Palomino

Early spring is bursting with fresh, colorful produce, and you should be eating it now. A great one to incorporate? The wonderful artichoke. It’s at its peak March through May, so now’s the time to give all your artichoke recipes a try.

About the Artichoke

It might have a tough exterior, but the artichoke has a heart of gold. This round, multi-layered flower of the thistle family is not only delicious, it’s also packed with healthful nutrients.  Super high levels of potassium, calcium, fiber and antioxidants make this a must-eat. Add to that great flavor and incredibly versatility, and you’ve got yourself a veggie winner!

How to Pick An Artichoke

Go for the ones that appear tightly closed and feel heavy – this is a sign of freshness. Also look for an even, olive-hued leaf. If it shows some areas with black streaks, it means it’s been frost-kissed (burned by frost) – these artichokes are actually quite soft and flavorful, if not pretty.

How To Prep An Artichoke

Start by trimming the top off with a bread knife, about 1 to 2 inches. Then, with kitchen shears, cut each exposed thorn by ½ inch. Remove the first couple of layers of leaves, as they will be a bit tough. Finally, cut the stem off – although it’s perfectly edible, it might hinder your presentation. While you’re prepping, place cut artichokes in a bowl with water and lemon juicy, to prevent browning of the leaves (some browning will inevitably occur).

How To Store An Artichoke

Store the artichokes that you won’t be using right away, unwashed, in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. They will keep for about 4-5 days. Once the leaves open up and appear looser, eat right away.

How To Cook An Artichoke

Since artichoke leaves are fibrous, you should always boil (or steam) them to soften them up. Anywhere from 20-45 minutes should do the trick, depending of the size of the produce. To get to the artichoke heart, cut it across the center, lengthwise, and spoon out the fuzzy, hairy part – that’s the “choke”, and it’s inedible – under that lies the tender, delicious heart.

The possibilities of the artichoke are endless – fabulous in a smooth artichoke dip, and equally incredible when stuffed and baked. You can really have fun and experiment with it, so grab your basket and get yourself to market, stat!

Like artichokes? You’ll love: Artichoke and Truffle Sauce by Urbani

 

Easy Artichoke Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 large artichokes (or 5 medium ones)
  • 1 tbsp. coarse or kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass bowl with cold water and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Prep the artichokes by rinsing them first with cold water. Then with a serrated knife, trim the top by cutting off about 2 inches. Remove the first layer of leaves until you see the lighter colored ones. With kitchen scissors, cut the pointy ends of the remaining leaves, about ½ off. Once you’re done with an artichoke, place it in the bowl with lemon juice while you prepare the next.
  3. Fill a large, heavy pot with about 2/3 full of water, kosher or coarse salt, and lemons. Bring to a boil and add the artichokes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high, partially cover the pan, and cook until tender, about 40-50 minutes (depending on size of the artichokes) until a sharp knife goes through the base easily - like a baked potato.
  5. Cool the artichokes and serve with your favorite dip or sauce, like Hollandaise.
  6. To eat: pull off each leaf, dip the soft end in your favorite sauce (anything mayo or butter based is amazing), grip the broad end tightly and scrape the fleshy end with your teeth, sucking all that meaty flesh; discard the rest of the leaf.
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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!

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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
lambragu

Wintertime Weeknights: Favorite Fresh Truffle Recipes

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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

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

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

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

FAVORITE FRESH TRUFFLE ENTREE: LAMB RAGU PAPPARDELLE 

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

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

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

FAVORITE FRESH TRUFFLE SNACK: TRUFFLED PIZZA

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

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

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

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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!

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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!

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

Get the Pomegranate Cheese Ball recipe here >

 

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.

maple-balsamic-roasted-duck1

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

Find the Maple Balsamic Roasted Duck recipe here >

 

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!

Scalloped potatoes

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

Find the Scalloped Potatoes recipe here >

 

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.

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

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

Find the Gløgg recipe here >

 

AND FINISH WITH…

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!

mascarpone nutella mousse

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

 

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

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

Winter Weeknights: Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

 

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Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar - AlexandraCooks

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Braised Chicken With Sherry and Sherry Vinegar - AlexandraCooks

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

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

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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 fabulously 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.

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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

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

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.
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Cooking with wine: Coq-Au-Vin recipe. Ph: I-Hua Lim. www.msihua.com

Cooking With Wine: A Delicious Coq Au Vin Recipe

Cooking with wine: Coq-Au-Vin recipe. Ph: I-Hua Lim. www.msihua.com

Cooking with wine: Coq-Au-Vin recipe. Ph: I-Hua Lim. www.msihua.com

There’s a wise saying that says, “you only need four things in life – family, friends, great food and great wine“….ok, so we just made that up…but doesn’t it just ring true?! Today we’re featuring a classic dish that is cooked with great wine, and is the perfect meal to share with friends and family: Coq Au Vin!

One of the most well known of French cuisine dishes, the classic Coq Au Vin recipe – which easily translates into “chicken in wine” (but sounds oh-so much fancier in French) is a sort of rustic country recipe given a sophisticated twist. The ingredients are farm basics – chicken and fresh vegetables.  But it’s that robust flavor of a fine red wine that gives this dish that sensual, luxurious touch.

COQ AU VIN RECIPE ESSENTIALS:  THYME, WINE & TIME

There are several steps to a Coq Au Vin recipe, and a most important ingredient: patience. Although the dish is called simply Chicken in Wine, it should really be called SLOW-Cooked chicken in wine…you’ll need wine and time! This recipe needs long cooking times, because the idea is to break down the meat until it’s superbly tender, with nary a hint of toughness, and for the flavors of the vegetables, wine and aromatics to fully blend in together so that every bite is bursting with flavor.

SLOW FOOD, SLOW COOKER!

Since this is one of those “classic French cuisine” dishes, you’ll find tons of results out there for Coq Au Vin recipe. However, the recipe we’re featuring this week was a standout. Slow Cooked Coq Au Vin by I-Hua, from The Chronicles of Ms. I-Hua & The Boy, an amazing cooking blog from beautiful Australia.  Find more fun and delicious recipes by I-Hua at www.msihua.com.

This Coq Au Vin recipe might be “slow cooked” but it’s definitely not time consuming. I-Hua’s trick is using a slow cooker for the job, maintaining all the beauty of this traditional recipe but using the modern time-saving device to avoid slaving over the stove. The result is an amazingly tender chicken, incredibly flavorful, perfect to feed a crowd of hungry and exacting foodies!

COQ AU VINE RECIPE & WINE TIP

A Coq Au Vin recipe usually calls for Burgundy wine (the region where this dish originates), but this rule is not set in stone – you can use Beaujolais (which is the wine of choice for our feature recipe), or any other full-bodied red. It doesn’t even have to be French…but to be truly authentic, it should be!

Coq Au Vin Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Coq Au Vin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Chicken (chopped into 8 pieces - thigh, drumstick, breast & wings)
  • 7 oz of Bacon (cut into batons)
  • 2 cups (500ml) of Beaujolais Red Wine
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) of Semi-Sweet Sherry Wine
  • 2 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of Tomato Paste
  • 2 stalks of Carrot (chop into 2-inch pieces)
  • 12-15 Pickled Pearl Onions (from a jar)
  • 7oz of Button Mushrooms (trimmed & halved)
  • 4 cloves of Garlic (chopped finely)
  • 1 large Onion (chopped finely)
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Parsley Leaf (chopped finely) for garnishing
  • 1 Tbsp of Plain Flour
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and fry the bacon batons until most of the fat is rendered. Transfer speck to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan (on medium heat), brown the thighs, drumsticks and wings on both sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove chicken pieces.
  3. Place chicken breast (skin side down) in the same pan and fry for 2 minutes and remove.
  4. Transfer fat from the pan into a separate bowl (for the slurry) but keep at least 2 tablespoons of it in the pan.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and add chopped onion. When the onion starts to soften, add in garlic and cook until fragrant (careful not to burn the garlic).
  6. Pour in the Sweet Sherry and start deglazing the pan by scrapping off the fond at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Once most of the liquid is evaporated, add in the Beaujolais wine, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, carrots and tomato paste. Simmer (low heat) for 5 minutes.
  8. Place chicken pieces and speck into the slow cooker. Pour contents from the pan into the slow cooker, making sure that the chicken pieces are covered with liquid (add more chicken stock if required).
  9. Cook on low for 4-5 hours (or until meat is very tender). Add in pickled pearl onions and mushrooms at the last hour.
  10. Transfer chicken pieces, speck, pickled onions and mushroom from the slow cooker to a dish and cover to keep warm.
  11. Strain your stock from the slow cooker through a fine sieve and discard any herbs, chopped onions & garlic.
  12. Heat the stock in a pan (on medium heat) to reduce it a bit. Using the fat kept earlier, mix 2 tablespoons of fat with 1 tablespoon of flour to make your thickener.
  13. Add 1 teaspoon of the flour and fat mixture at a time and stir into the sauce. Do this until you are happy with the thickness of the sauce.
  14. If you prefer a thicker sauce, keep adding more of the flour and fat mix, but keep in mind that you might not have enough sauce to cover the chicken.
  15. Once the sauce is done, return the chicken pieces and other ingredients into the pan to reheat and coat with the sauce.
  16. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley.
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