Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spiced Preserved Lemons

The Recipe: How to make preserved lemons, a cornerstone ingredient in Moroccan cuisine and an easy way to jazz up everything from salad dressings to stews. The salty-sour essence of preserved lemons, it's truly special.

You could call preserved lemons "pickled lemons" because they're preserved in a simple brine of salt and spices. They're so-so simple to make and there's a good chance you already have all the ingredients on hand.

My next recipe will show you how to use Spiced Preserved Lemons in a "concept recipe" stew that we've made every couple of weeks since last fall, swapping out different proteins and vegetables. The single constant? Preserved lemons. Here's that recipe, Spiced Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Tagine but I've also made it with beef and butternut squash .

Spiced Preserved Lemons ♥ KitchenParade.com, just lemons, salt and pantry spices but so handy to have on hand.

Good cooks keep odds and ends around, more "ingredient" than "dinner" but somehow, once they're around, just convert something so-so to something extravagant.

In my kitchen, on the sweet side it's Brown Sugar Lemon Curd (stir it with Greek yogurt or sour cream, instant sauce for fruit or cake) and Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash (need an explanation? I thought not). For a quick appetizer, it's Easy Almond Crackers. In the fall, I put away a few bags of Homemade Kabocha Squash "Pumpkin" Purée for breads and stews.

Like other "homemade pantry" ingredients, Spiced Preserved Lemons would fall into that often-so-interesting chapter called "other" at the end of cookbooks. You don't eat them on their own. And even when you make them, you can't use them for at least five days (this recipe) or even longer (some preserved lemons take months to fully cure). They don't really "fit" anywhere. But really? These oddball odds and ends, they up a good cook's game, a sort of secret weapon hidden in the fridge.

As an aside, I've learned to check this "other" chapter in cookbooks first thing. It often includes the very best of homemade kitchen staples! I just checked my own "other" category – it's here – and same holds true, it's full of oddball but (what I hope you find intriguing) recipes.

So I hope you'll spend a few minutes to preserve some lemons, then put the jar in the back of your fridge until next week. Because next week? I'll share a season-crossing concept recipe, so many variations with protein and vegetables, here it is now, Spiced Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Tagine. The recipe has only one required ingredient, preserved lemons.

And yes, like many "homemade pantry" recipes, you can some times find preserved lemons in specialty food shops and international groceries. But they're pricey-pricey. Putting them up at home? All it takes is lemons, salt and a few spices you probably already have. That's it.

ALANNA's TIPS Be sure to scrub the lemons well, many have a waxy coating. The slightly sweeter Meyer lemons work great, so do regular lemons but do try to find lemons whose skins aren't too thick. I love this idea from Bon Appetit that adds a little turmeric (for color) and sugar (to balance the salt). I'll make those changes to this recipe the next time I make Spiced Preserved Lemons, just one left in my jar right now!
HOW TO USE PRESERVED LEMONS Ideas from The Kitchn, Huffington Post and NPR.

SPICED PRESERVED LEMONS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes over 30 minutes
Time to table: 5 days
Makes 8 preserved lemons
  • 8 lemons
  • 10 cups water
  • 3/4 cup (190g) kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seed, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

WORK THAT KNIFE With a sharp knife, make pole to pole length-wise incisions in each lemon's skin, about a half inch apart, cutting through the skin but not into the interior flesh. (Confused? Check the upper right photo in the collage, above.)

JUST SIMMER Combine the lemons, water and salt in a large saucepan. Place a plate on top of the lemons to keep them submerged, then bring the water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer and let simmer about 20 minutes until the lemon skins become soft and tender.

JAR, BABY, JAR Use a slotted spoon to lift the lemons out of the water and pack the lemons loosely in a glass container (I use a quart jar). With the back of the spoon, press the lemons to release some juices. Drop in the spices, then cover with the hot cooking water. Place a lid on the container, let cool to room temperature.

NOW WAIT (BUT NOT LONG) Refrigerate the preserved lemons, they'll be ready to use in about five days.

AND PRESERVED LEMONS LAST, UM, HOW LONG? How long will they keep? Well. Let's just say I'm using lemons preserved three years ago this week. Three.Years. No.Kidding.

SKIN ONLY? SKIN & FLESH? I go back and forth. Some times I cut the skin into slivers and discard the lemon flesh. Other times, I mash the whole lemon with the back of a spoon (or run it through a mini food processor).

NUTRITION INFORMATION Honestly? I have no idea how to calculate the nutrition data for preserved lemons, especially the sodium. Start off with the idea that one whole lemon adds up to a total of 21 calories, then is divided umpteen ways in a recipe. Aside from the sodium, which would be considerable, I'm calling it "zero".
Adapted from Insalata's Mediterranean Table, a much unexpected and appreciated gift from the good folks at O Olive Oil some years back.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Let's Talk ... About Your Homemade Pantry


Spiced Preserved Lemons ♥ KitchenParade.com, just lemons, salt and pantry spices but so handy to have on hand.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a secret weapon or two or three that you make that's more "ingredient" than dinner? I'd love to know what's in your arsenal!


More Lemon Recipes You Might Love

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Italian Lemon Chicken Lemon Basil Shrimp Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon
Brown Sugar Lemon Curd Lemon Crinkle Cookies with Poppy Seeds Lemon Pudding Cake

Stocking Your Homemade Pantry

Homemade Mayonnaise for BLTs Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions Homemade Ricotta - Skinny & Creamy

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2015 Kitchen Parade



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Make Tonight a Pancake Night

So in the Christian calendar, today is Shrove Tuesday. For as long as I can remember, that means tonight is Pancake Night and that tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday, ash crosses will brushed onto our foreheads and we'll follow the old Finnish tradition to plant Lenten Grass, such a sweet way to mark the season of Lent with children.

But pancakes? Pancakes deserve a their own night and more than just once a year! Families do Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday and Sunday Dinner but I just might appoint myself the official ambassador for a year-round Pancake Night.

Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday. Make Tonight a #PancakeNight. A collection of pancake recipes, tools and tips.

QUICK LINKS

(click the
~ SECTION TITLE IN CAPS ~
for more information about each recipe,
or the Recipe Title
to go straight to the recipe page)

FAVORITE PANCAKES RECIPES
Because One Isn't Enough

My Mom's Pancake Recipe, light and fluffy homemade pancakes, either buttermilk pancakes or sweet-milk pancakes. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

MY MOM'S PANCAKE RECIPE (pictured above) is my very first pancake recipe. I make Mom's pancakes with buttermilk but it can also be made with "sweet milk" (you know, just regular milk.)

BEST FOR those who love light and fluffy pancakes and who might or might not keep buttermilk on hand. This recipe is filled with extra tips for anyone who's new to making homemade pancakes.

THE RECIPE My Mom's Pancake Recipe

Lifetime Pancakes, my sister's recipe for light, fluffy pancakes, scaled from a tiny batch for one or two to a large batch for a big family (or hungry teenagers). Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

MY SISTER'S "LIFETIME PANCAKES" (pictured above) prove that we are really and truly a pancake family – and that's before mentioning my almost 89-year old father who's the "real" pancake fiend in the family!

My sister Adanna has worked and tweaked this recipe over the years, fitting it to the passage of years. As a newlywed, she made pancakes for two (the "tiny" batch). As a young mother, she scaled the recipe for two growing boys (the "small" batch and the "medium" batch) and then, after some years, strapping teenage boys with bottomless stomachs for pancakes (the "large" batch). Now she and her husband are empty nesters, so it's back to pancakes for two (the "tiny" batch). Now you know why we call these "Lifetime Pancakes"!

BEST FOR those who like their pancakes extra-thick with lots of toppings. BEST FOR families that stretch small and large depending on the occasion.

THE RECIPE Lifetime Pancakes

Cottage Cheese Pancakes, moist and fluffy homemade high-protein, low-carb pancakes, using cottage cheese rather than oil or butter. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

COTTAGE CHEESE PANCAKES (pictured above) taste just like regular pancakes but are made with the miracle food cottage cheese. This makes them high-protein and low-carb. With no added sugar! With no added oil! Now I won't call these "diet" pancakes but ...

BEST FOR those avoiding processed sugar and looking for increased protein. This would be an extra-good choice for diabetics; moderation, of course, remains important.

THE STORY This column tells the story how my mom gave up making homemade pancakes and turned to a commercial pancake mix. Which one? It's the one that America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated endorse as well! Hint: Are you Hungry, Jack?

THE RECIPE Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Compote, simple recipe for cornmeal pancakes with a simple blueberry compote. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

CORNMEAL PANCAKES (pictured above) are perfect for blueberries, both cooked into the pancakes themselves and with a blueberry compote topping.

BEST FOR cornmeal lovers and blueberry lovers, those who like slightly more rustic pancakes.

THE RECIPE Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberries

ENOUGH RECIPES? Probably not! I'd still working on an overnight yeast pancake recipe and perfecting the Finnish Oven Pancake that's made in one large slab. And then there are buckwheat pancakes and Swedish pancakes and and and and ... you see what I mean? Pancake Night!

Do you have a special pancake recipe you really love that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.


VEGETABLE PANCAKE RECIPES

Carrot Buttermilk Pancakes, light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes with a surprise ingredient, a jar of carrot baby food. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

CARROT BUTTERMILK PANCAKES (pictured above) start off with My Mom's Pancake Recipe but I've added a small jar of carrot baby food, adding lovely color and added nutrition. Still? The pancakes don't "taste" like carrots, no one will know if you don't want them to!

BEST FOR adding nutrients to pancakes. These would be nice for Easter, too!

THE RECIPE Carrot Buttermilk Pancakes

Spinach Pancakes, whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach, light and fluffy. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

SPINACH PANCAKES (pictured above) are "dyed" green from the all-natural spinach but yet, there's no bitter spinach taste at all. They're surprisingly good and taste just like regular pancakes except maybe a little "greener". Thanks to both Greek yogurt and spinach, they're also high in protein.

BEST FOR adding nutrients to pancakes. Wouldn't they be just excellent for St. Patrick's Day?

THE RECIPE Spinach Pancakes


Leftover Pancakes

Leftover pancakes? Make Gashouse Eggs with Pancakes, just cut a hole in the center and drop in an  egg. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

Leftover pancakes? Yep, it happens. We all know about Gashouse Eggs, although you may call them something else. The same technique works for tortillas (see Mexican Gas House Eggs) and even in a pattypan squash (see Toad in a Pattypan Hole). Now? Pancakes!

Just cut a hole in the center of a cold pancake. Chop up the center with some chopped vegetables for a really good breakfast vegetable hash. Then drop the pancake into a hot skillet and an egg into the center, let it start cooking on the stove, then finish in the oven. When it's cooked, devour!


Pancake Fun!

Grandfather and grandson making bear pancakes. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother patiently cooked "bear pancakes". Now I don't really know if Gramma Kellogg "really" made bear pancakes every single time but I do know that in my memory, she "always" made bear pancakes.

And so it pleases me no end that a certain grandfather today makes bear pancakes whenever the five-year old twins come for a sleepover. He's not just cooking pancakes, he's building memories!

Pumpkin pancakes! Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

But it's not just bear pancakes. How about pumpkin pancakes?! Let your inner-child let loose!


Pancake Tools!

We use a Pancake Batter Squeeze Bottle to make pancake shapes. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

We use a Pancake Batter Squeeze Bottle to make pancake shapes, way easier than spooning the batter onto the griddle. Just don't overfill it, yes, that's the leavening at work, spilling out of the squeeze bottle before the griddle was even hot! (Like the Pancake Batter Squeeze Pen? Buy it on Amazon.)

We love this Electric Nonstick Pancake Griddle, especially for pancakes for a crowd. Just one more reason to Make Tonight #PancakeNight.

We also love the Electric Nonstick Pancake Griddle that my sister first introduced. What a pancake machine! First, the temperature is hot and even, just set the thermostat at 325F and go to town making pancakes. Second, there are different sizes but our griddle easily holds six or even eight pancakes at a time. Why only four in the photo above? I was testing a recipe for large pancakes for my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (Want to learn more about our pancake griddle? Check it out on Amazon.)






© Copyright 2015 Kitchen Parade



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Raspberry & Red Wine Granita

The Recipe: An icy-cold raspberry slushee for grown-ups. Just three ingredients and because it's a granita, you don't need an ice cream maker, just a freezer and a fork!

Raspberry & Red Wine Granita, an icy-cold raspberry slushee for grown-ups. Just three ingredients, no ice cream maker, just a freezer and a fork.

“What?! You don’t have an ice cream maker?” asked my mom’s friend in surprise more than ten years ago. Phyllis knew I was a foodie, her food sensibility had long inspired me. (Naturally, there’s a story, see Cold & Creamy Cantaloupe Soup.)

Trusting her judgment, I set off to find one and the same ice cream maker has been a workhorse ever since.

But last summer, the bowl lost its freeze mojo, something I learned, naturally, right in the midst of making what was supposed to be Raspberry & Red Wine Sorbet.

So instead, I turned the mixture into a “granita” – that’s an icy form of sorbet from Italy. You don't need an ice cream maker to make granita, just a freezer and a fork!

The result was so icy and refreshing, I’ve made it three times and never once pulled out the ice cream maker to make sorbet.

And once? I had a terribly sore throat and ooh, the fruity crystals felt so soothing. The granita must have medicinal effect too because the next day? All better!

It strikes me that this is a great “concept” recipe. In spring, I’d use a rose with strawberries or rhubarb, in summer, a fruity white wine with peaches or apricots. That said, I love the tart combination of raspberries and red wine so much I’ve stuck to it all three times! What appeals to you?

ALANNA’s TIPS Word to the wise, this granita has a definite “kick”. Spoon in moderation! No spooning and driving! One batch, life intervened and one hour resting time stretched into two days. In the fridge, this was no problem. Use a whole bottle of wine or a bottle’s equivalent (about 3-1/4 cups) of a blend of red wines, even a mix of leftover red, white and sparkling wines. Do avoid treacly-sweet bottles of wine, better to waste bad wine than good raspberries. With a fairly high alcohol content, even our good freezer doesn’t freeze the granita solid-solid. No problem, though, it makes for a magnificent blend of ice crystals and syrupy juice. This granita is great to have on hand for impromptu evening "drinks" – a touch of sweet without being filling or bulky.

RASPBERRY & RED WINE GRANITA

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Time to table: 12 - 24 hours
Makes about 10 servings
  • 1 bottle fruity red wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 12 – 16 ounces frozen or fresh raspberries (a berry blend works great too)
  • Fresh raspberries, for serving, optional

In a saucepan, mix the wine, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil hard for a minute, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.

Take off the heat, stir in the raspberries and let steep for an hour or more in the refrigerator.

Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the wine mixture through it. Press the raspberries through the mesh with the back of a spoon. (Use the smashed berry flesh in a smoothie or the morning oatmeal!)

FOR GRANITA Transfer the berry-wine mixture to a freezer container. To avoid spilling, place the container inside another dish. (I use a 9x13 pan, a spill makes a huge mess in the freezer.) Freeze until hard, about 12 hours. With the tines of a fork, scrape the frozen mixture to fluff into icy crystals and serve immediately.

FOR SORBET If you prefer a smooth, fruity sorbet and have an ice cream maker, by all means, use it. Chill the berry-wine mixture first, then process until firm.

MAKE-AHEAD This can be made several days, even a week in advance, no problem. After it freezes, just apply plastic wrap to the surface to avoid freezer burn. Lasts several weeks, if it does, if you know what I mean.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 162 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 3mg Sodium; 27g Carb; 3g Fiber; 22g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3 & WW Points Plus 3.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Just Three Easy Steps, No Ice Cream Maker Required

Steep wine, water, sugar, berries Press berries through strainer Freeze, then scrape with a fork

Raspberry & Red Wine Granita, just three ingredients, no ice cream maker required.

It's so easy to make this granita! The first two steps help infuse the wine with the very most berry flavor as possible. Then, just freeze the mixture and then, when it's frozen hard, scrape with a fork. Sooo easy!


More Raspberry Recipes: Perfect for Your Valentine

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Raspberry-Red Wine Coulis (Reduction Sauce) Chocolate Raspberry Icebox Cake Sugar-Free Raspberry Bliss

Or Yeah, Chocolate!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble
Chocolate Cream Puffs Stuffed with Strawberries & Cream Vanilla Brownies Chocolate Decadence Cake

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2015 Kitchen Parade