Sunday, February 7, 2016

Quince--The Comeback Fruit

The mysterious quince is making a comeback! Similar to an apple or pear, with it’s rich, golden skin tone and alluring aroma--reminiscent  of pineapple and guava--the quince is actually a relative of the rose.
If there was ever a poster child for the “slow-food” movement, the quince is it.  Unlike the apple or pear, quince can not be eaten raw. But when slow-cooked, develops a very sweet flavor, like a perfumed apple. With cooking the quince assumes a grainy texture, similar to a pear and turns a gorgeous rosy color.  Its complex taste is compatible with citrus and warming spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla.
Quince is used to make tarts, jams, preserves and is also a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern meat stews.  In Latin countries, quince is turned into a paste called membrillo and is used in tapas dishes that contain Manchego cheese. The quince is high in pectin, the natural gelling agent that allows jams and jellies to thicken. This made quince a very popular base for preserves in ancient times.  The Portuguese word for quince is marmelo and over time evolved into what we know today as the word marmalade.

Quince Crumble
Makes 6-8 individual servings
8 quince
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup Madeira or Sherry
Topping (see recipe below)
Ice cream, optional

Peel, core and slice quince into 8 wedges each. Put wedges into a large bowl of water, as you prep, to prevent from turning brown.
In a large stock pot add ½ gallon of water, sugar, honey, lemon and cinnamon stick. Over medium-high heat bring to a boil and allow sugar to totally dissolve. Lower heat. Drain quince and add to the pot; simmer for about two hours, until you can pierce the quince with a knife. (The quince will be a bright rose color.) Let cool. At this point you can store in refrigerator, in the juices, for up to a week. Reserve the juice for adding to your favorite cocktail
Preheat oven to 357F. Divide quince among individual ramekins. Sprinkle with Madeira and cover completely with topping crumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Top with ice cream. Can be served warm or room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers; warm in oven or microwave before serving.

Makes 3 cups
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
½ teaspoon Moroccan Coffee Spice Mix
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes

Put all ingredients except butter into a food processor. Pulse until blended. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Don’t over work.
Spread over top of the fruit.

 Reprinted with permission of Bella Magazine

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Miso & Ginger Glazed Salmon with Black Rice

Woke up this morning greeted by snow--when we were told it would pass us by. It is not nearly as much as is being experienced north of us; but for South Carolina, it is still daunting. What is it about bad weather that makes us take to the kitchen and start cooking?  Could it have something to do with the 25 degree temperature outside; and the kitchen is usually the warmest spot in the house? Take advantage of it by making a very healthy lunch on this snowy day.

Olive oil
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons red miso paste
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger 
4 salmon fillets
1 medium scallion, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only), garnish
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 scallion, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1 cup black rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons tamari
1 cup edamame, shelled
Kosher salt

For the salmon, heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with oil; set aside. Whisk the mirin, miso, brown sugar, tamari, and ginger in a medium bowl until combined. Reserve 1/2 of the miso mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Strain the remaining miso mixture, discarding the solids and set the strained sauce aside. Brush the salmon fillets with all of the unstrained  miso mixture. Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the rice, heat oil over medium heat, in a medium saucepan  Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add scallions, peppers, water chestnuts and rice and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the edamame, return to a boil and cook until bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain. In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil and tamari. Remove top from rice and fluff with a fork. Pour the soy sauce and oil over the rice and add edamame. Stir and set aside.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Broil the salmon on the baking sheet, rotating once or twice, until it’s just opaque in the center and a golden brown crust has formed, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oven and keep warm. Serve over rice and sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds. Pass the strained sauce on the side. Serves 4

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"A Very Special" Specialty Food Exhibitor....

The Flying Foodie is in Atlanta this week exhibiting in the  International Gift Show, held in the Americas Mart. One of my favorite specialty food exhibitors is:

The Wine Rayzyn Company from Napa Valley, CA--featuring dried cabernet sauvignon grapes (CarbernayZyn) that contain natural antioxidants with numerous health benefits. The CarbernayZyn is a sustainably-farmed superfood that is rich in flavor and combines the grapes, stems, skins and seeds to create a unique vineyard tasting experience without the alcohol. With a mission that includes "providing an opportunity for farmers to salvage delicious and nutritious fruit that might otherwise be discarded," no wonder this new process and product is worth watching. They had me at wine!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Portobello Cheeseburger with Daikon Fries

It seems that everyone I talk to is on a low carb diet. I am no exception. Most of the high carbs I had to give up were not an issue--after nine months I find that I can live without them. But there are still a few favorites I can't do without; and yes one of them is the good ol' cheeseburger and fries. I know I can have everything except the bun and fries, but where is the fun in that? I tried it and it was like drinking 3.2 beer. What's the point?
A friend of mine suggested I try portobello mushrooms in place of the bun. Genius!! And it was easy.  Remove the stems from the mushrooms and brush the whole cap with olive oil,  Pop them into a 400F oven, gill side up, for 10 minutes; flip and cook an additional 10 minutes. Now they are ready to use for your favorite hamburger recipe.
Now for the fries. Additional research led  me to try daikon radishes as a source for my  "would-be" fries. Daikon is a root vegetable that has the appearance of a long white carrot. Peel and slice into your favorite fries shape. Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 450F oven until brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper-towel lined platter. Serve with a dipping sauce.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken and Orzo Soup

Never thought I would see the kind of snow we had here in South Carolina the past two days!  Nothing to do but to stay inside and try to stay warm.  I will admit that I love looking out the window at the snow; but having grown up in Chicago, I was not too anxious to go out in it.  One way to stay warm while dealing with the boredom, is to make a big pot of soup.  Chicken soup really is good for the soul, especially during sub-freezing weather!

Chicken and Orzo Soup Recipe
(Serves 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 rib celery, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
5 cups chicken broth
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup orzo
4 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and salt; cook until tender, about 8 minutes. 
Add the chicken, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper and broth to the vegetables, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the orzo to the soup and cook until al denté, about 8 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook for an additional minute.
Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.  Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.   

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baked Cod With Kalalmata Olives, Limes and Capers

Now that the holiday season has come and gone, we can get back to our normal routines.  For some of us that means some sort of diet to lose the pounds we gained as the result of our overindulgence of the many recent celebrations. And I am not totally innocent of said digressions.

Every year I vow to improve my eating habits.   That usually lasts for about two weeks until all of my "cravings" eventually come screaming back at me!  I am proud that I have made it to the 6th day of January...  So let me be among the first to offer up this quick and easy to prepare, healthy  and extremely tasteful entree.  Happy New Year!

Baked Cod With Kalamata Olives, Capers and Limes 
(Serves 4)
4 (6 ounce) cod fillets
Seafood Spice Blend
12 thin lime slices
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup drained capers
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 475℉.  Put cod fillets  in an ovenproof baking dish and season with spice blend.  Top each fillet with 3 lime slices, the olives, capers and rosemary.  Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake until the fish is cooked through and flakey, 10-12 minutes.  Remove the fish from the oven and serve with spanish-style rice and your favorite steamed veggie.