Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

Hash-Browned Sweet Potatoes with Garam Masala and Turmeric

by Danica Waters / photo courtesy of www.cmroman.com

 

Here is a toast to replacing the everyday with the truly extraordinary – especially when the extraordinary is exceedingly simple to create.  Take these hash browns, for example.  Paired with Sunday morning omlettes (try them stuffed with spinach, scallions, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and some spicy pepper jack), this preparation is a surprisingly simple, altogether incredible addition to the breakfast table.

Light some white candles and serve with a pot of hot tea.  (Even if you’re still in your jammies.)

Enjoy!

 

Hash-Browned Sweet Potatoes with Garam Masala and Turmeric

2 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to ¼”dice

2 small russet potatoes, cut to ¼” dice

1 onion, cut to ½” dice

5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

¼ C olive oil

Kosher salt

3 tsp garam masala or to taste

1 tsp turmeric, or to taste

 

In large heavy pan with a good lid, heat pan over medium heat.  Add oil until hot but not smoking.  When oil is ready, add potatoes, onion, garlic, and spices.  Combine and cover – cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  When potatoes are golden brown and lightly caramelized on the base of the pan, remove lid and allow some of the moisture to dissipate.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

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Green Beans Sauteed in Olive Oil

by Danica Waters / image courtesy of www.moosecrossinggardencenter.com

 

There are lots of recipes for sautéed green beans out there in the wild blue yonder.  Most of those recipes invite a whole lot of other ingredients to the party: tomatoes, wine, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, etc. – the list goes on and on.  It seems that somewhere along the way, we forgot that the good ol’ green bean can hold its own on the dinner table; its simple, spectacularly fresh flavor doesn’t need a lot of help as long as it’s treated properly.  Allowed to simply be itself, the green bean has all sorts of great things to offer:  Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, and a full range of beneficial B Vitamins, carotenoids, and antioxidans are but a few of its virtues.

 

This recipe is simple.  It features fresh green beans sautéed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until crisp tender, and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh lemon juice.  Exquisite!  .

 

An excellent accompaniment to Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce, these green beans go well with French and Italian cuisines, in addition to fish, poultry, and vegetarian dishes.  This preparation is so delicious, it might have you looking at that grayish green been casserole on the Thanksgiving menu in a whole new light.

 

Enjoy!

 

Green Beans Sauteed in Olive Oil

(serves 4)

 

1 lb fresh green beans, washed, trimmed, and patted dry

2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ a lemon

Kosher Salt to taste

 

Prepare beans, be sure they are thoroughly dry to avoid splatter when they are added to the oil.

In a wide, shallow sauté pan or frying pan, heat olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Add green beans and cover; allow to cook for about a minute.  Beans should be lightly browned, but not charred – keep your eye on them.  Remove cover and allow condensation to run back into the pan; turn beans and cook another minute.  Once beans are browned a bit on all sides, add 2 -3 Tbsp water to the pan.  Reduce heat to medium and allow to steam until beans are bright green and crisp tender, approximately an additional 3 -5 minutes, depending on your preference.

 

Remove to a serving dish; squeeze fresh lemon juice over beans and season with Kosher Salt to taste.  Toss well and serve.

 

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Balsamic Glazed Acorn Squash

by Danica Waters

 

In the chilly autumn evenings, nothing beats the flavor and aroma of warm, baked squash.  While acorn squash is typically associated with winter squash varieties, it actually belongs to the same species as summer squashes, such as zucchini and yellow crooknecks.  Thankfully, the tough skin of an acorn squash allows it to keep for weeks in a cool, dark place, making it a favorite staple for the fall and winter months.

 

The best acorn squash should be approximately one to three pounds, and feel heavy for its size.  If the squash is any bigger than that, you run the risk of getting a squash that has been harvested too late in the season, which will render the squash tough and stringy.  Look for a squash that has a nice combination of green and orange coloring, that’s not too shiny.  If the squash is shiny and completely green, it’s been harvested prematurely.

 

Nutritionally, a one-cup serving of acorn squash comes in at a meager 115 calories and is packed with fiber, potassium, and magnesium.  That same one cup serving will also give you 2 grams of protein and 30% of your daily Vitamin C requirements, which makes it a very attractive alternative to, say, diet-killer mashed potatoes.  While acorn squash is traditionally baked and seasoned with loads of butter and brown sugar, this recipe features a figure-friendly basting with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

 

And F.Y.I.:  try roasting and seasoning the acorn squash seeds for sprinkling on salads.  They’re edible and delicious!

 

Enjoy!

 

Balsamic Glazed Acorn Squash

 

Acorn squash, figure on serving one-half of a squash per person

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Balsamic Vinegar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash acorn squash (see recipe for vinegar-based vegetable wash).  Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and long fibrous strands.

 

Sprinkle squash halves with kosher salt; place face down in a large roasting pan.  Add water to the pan to a depth of 1/4” and place in oven. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender but still firm.

 

Remove from oven and allow to cool; slice squash halves into 1-1/2” sections on the bias and put back in the roasting pan, right-side up.  Brush each section generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and return to hot oven.

 

Bake five minutes; baste squash with balsamic vinegar.  Repeat process until squash is very tender and well-roasted.  Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

 

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Kentucky Bourbon Peaches

by Danica Waters

 

 I discovered this gem of a recipe in a canning guide given to me by my Mother-In-Law nearly a decade ago.  I suspected just by looking at the ingredients that this recipe would be over-the-top; boy, was I was right.  Let’s put it this way:  if you could bottle that wonderful butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of feeling that comes with the change of the seasons, this is it.

 

The ginger and clove accents make the peaches smell like the autumn harvest and Christmas all at the same time;  the deep, heady flavor of a good Kentucky Bourbon transforms blushing summer peaches into a gourmet gift everyone will clamor over.

 

Try serving these peaches warm over vanilla ice cream, perhaps on some chilly late autumn evening when the fire crackles in the hearth and your home is filled with the lively conversation of friends and family.

 

Enjoy!

 

Kentucky Bourbon Peaches

(Adapted from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving)

 

17-20 medium peaches, ripened

8 inches cinnamon stick

2 Tbsp finely chopped gingerroot

1 tsp whole cloves

1 C sugar

2 C water

½ C good-quality bourbon

 

Fill boiling water canner with water.  Place 5 clean pint mason jars in canner over high heat.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and keep jars hot until ready to fill.

 

 

In separate small saucepan, place lids in hot but not boiling water to soften sealing compound.  Keep hot until ready to use.

 

 

Bring a large saucepan or stockpot filled with water to a rolling boil.

Fill another large bowl or pot with ice water, place next to the stove.

Fill another large bowl or pot with a solution of ¼ lemon juice to 4 cups water – this is your color preservation solution for the blanched peaches.

 

To blanch peaches:

 

Thoroughly wash ripened peaches.  Blanch the peaches by placing them in the boiling water for only 2 minutes.  Remove with heatproof tongs and immediately place in ice water bath to cool.  When peaches have cooled to the touch, simply slip off their skins.  Cut peaches in half and remove seeds.  Immediately place in color preservation solution; set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make syrup:

 

Break cinnamon stick into pieces; tie with gingerroot and cloves in a cheesecloth square (creating a spice bag).

 

 

 

In a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, combine sugar and water;  add the spice bag.  Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes.

 

Drain peaches;  add to boiling syrup.  Return to a boil and cook for about 3 – 5 minutes.

 

 

Remove from heat and discard spice bag.  Add bourbon to the peaches and mix well.

 

Pack hot fruit snugly in overlapping layers in a hot jar;  leave ¾ inch headspace.  Pour in syrup to ½ inch headspace.  Remove any air bubbles by sliding a rubber spatula in-between jar and fruit; readjust headspace by adding more syrup, not to exceed ½ inch headspace.

 

 

Wipe rims of jars with clean, damp cloth to remove any stickiness; center prepared lid on jar, and secure with ring.  Do not over-tighten – screw on ring to fingertip tightness.

 

Place jars in hot water bath canner; return to a boil.

 

Process 20 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 feet.

 

Remove jars and allow to cool for 24 hours.  Test your seals:  if center of lid springs back when touched, your seal is broken and you should immediately refrigerate and use contents promptly.

 

If center remains depressed when touched, your seal is good, and peaches can be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

 

 

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Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish

by Danica Waters

The recipe for Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish comes from my Mother-In-Law. (I affectionately refer to her as “Mum”; she’s a nicer, Scottish version of Martha Stewart, an artist, a savvy but unassuming perfectionist, and an absolute wonder at everything she touches.)  I will never forget the year she sent this relish in a care package, because I’ve never seen anything disappear so fast in my entire life.

 

We put it on ham sandwiches.  I’d never tasted anything so over-the-top delicious.  We put in on turkey sandwiches.  Truly knocked our socks off.  Then Mum mentioned that one of her friends put the relish in a foil package with some wild-caught salmon and a bit of olive oil and threw the whole lot on the grill.  It blew the taste buds off of everyone at her dinner party.  Of course we tried it; it was magnificent.

 

This recipe yielded nine half-pint jars of corn relish.  Yes, it involves a lot of chopping.  It is worth every minute.

 

Enjoy!

 

Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish

(adapted from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving)

 

7 ears fresh corn

1-1/2 C chopped celery

1 large sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small sweet green pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1-1/4 C sugar

2 tsp celery seed

3 C white vinegar

2 Tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp turmeric

1-1/2 C water

 

Remove husks and silks from the corn, trim the ends.  Place ears in a large kettle of boiling water and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove corn and immediately plunge into cold water to stop cooking process.  When corn has cooled, cut kernels from the cob.  You should have about 4-5 cups of corn.

Fill canner with water.  Place nine clean half-pint jars in water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and keep water hot until you need to fill the jars.

In a large saucepan (stainless steel or enamel work best) combine corn, celery, peppers,onion, sugar, celery seed and vinegar.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil; remove cover and boil 5 minutes.   Skim any foam that rises to the top.

 

Combine mustard and turmeric with water.  Stir into vegetable mixture and return to a boil.  Boil uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Place lids in hot but not boiling water to soften sealing compound.  Keep hot until ready to use.

 

Remove hot jars to a surface lined with clean kitchen towels.  Ladle hot relish into the hot jars, taking care to maintain ½ inch head space.  Using a non-metallic spatula, remove air bubbles from jars by sliding spatula between glass and relish; readjust to fill to the ½ ‘ headspace.  Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness.  Center lids on jars,  screw on rings just until fingertip tight.

Replace jars into hot water bath in canner; bring to a boil.    Process jars 15 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 ft.

 

 

when pressed, the seal is not good, and the contents must be refrigerated immediately and used promptly.  If center remains depressed, label and store for up to a year in a cool, dark pantry area.

 

For best flavor, allow jars to sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks before using.  For even better texture, refrigerate prior to serving.

 

Be sure to keep refrigerated after opening.

 

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Black Bean Sliders With Spicy Mango Puree and Guacamole

by Danica Waters, photo courtesy of chefchloe.com

While most men I know would fall all over themselves for a huge plate of Texas Barbeque Short Ribs, an ever-increasing number of men are choosing a different dietary path.  And while I’ve got a ton more information forthcoming for the carnivorous crowd, I’m gonna’ strike a little balance and give our vegetarians some tasty options this Father’s Day.

I know a lot of vegetarian/vegan recipes fall short on the flavor meter, but these little vegetarian burgers are to die for.  The miniature-sized “Sliders” make a great buffet selection;  they’re easy to eat and impressive to look at, too!  While the little burgers require a bit more work, the “Slider”  is a great way to help the weight-conscious eat healthy and control their portion size without feeling like they’re missing out on any of the fun!

Adapted from a recipe I found on a fantastic vegan website created by a 22-year old named Chef Chloe, these little baby bean ‘burguesas are outstanding served with my Spicy Oven- Fried Sweet Potatoes (recipe coming later this week).  Here’s to all the vegetarian/vegan dads out there!  Enjoy!

Black Bean “Sliders” With Spicy Mango Puree and Guacamole

For the “Sliders”:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1-  14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small carrot, finely diced or shredded (about ½ cup)

1/2 C fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob

1/4 C fresh red pepper, finely diced

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 tsp whole cumin seed, or more to taste

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ bunch cilantro, chopped

¼ cup water or more as needed

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until tender and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Add chili powder & cumin seed to the onions during the last five minutes of cooking, to open up the flavors.
  2. In a large bowl of a food processor set to “pulse” (or use a large spoon or your hands) mash together beans, carrots, cornmeal, breadcrumbs,  salt, cilantro, ¼ cup water, and caramelized onions with spices.  Don’t over-process; there should be some texture to the mixture, rather than being reduced to puree.  If mixture is too dry to hold together, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Using your hands, form mini burger patties that match the size of your miniature slider rolls.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/high heat and fry patties. Let each patty get browned and slightly crisp on each side before flipping (about 3 minutes on each side). Add more olive oil to skillet as you continue to fry more patties.  When finished, remove patties to a large baking sheet covered with paper towel to drain.
  5. Make your condiments:

Spicy Mango Puree

1 mango, peeled and cut

½ cup sun dried tomatoes, whole or sliced

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but any kind will do)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Guacamole

3 ripe Haas avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

½ lime, juiced

¼ cup purchased salsa fresca

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

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