Recipe of the week: Southern-style deviled eggs with crispy Spanish ham

Chef Lindsay Autry pipes a kicky deviled yolk filling into herb-crusted egg white halves. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Chef Lindsay Autry pipes a kicky deviled yolk filling into herb-crusted egg white halves. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

One might believe a good deviled egg shines in its simplicity and requires nothing else to achieve perfection. We beg to differ.

Sure, simple, Southern-style deviled eggs are swell on their own, but add a sliver of crispy Serrano on top, a dusting of Cajun spices and dill on the egg white halves and you’ve got deviled eggs that are sublime.

These are deviled eggs, as created by West Palm Beach Chef Lindsay Autry, of The Regional Kitchen & Public House.

SOUTHERN-STYLE HERBED DEVILED EGGS
In this recipe, Chef Lindsay Autry takes inspiration from her grandmother’s deviled eggs.

Makes 24 deviled eggs

12 whole eggs, boiled and peeled
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s or Hellmann’s)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped gherkins or dill relish

A mix of Cajun spices and fresh dish gives these egg halves an herbed crust. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
A mix of Cajun spices and fresh dish gives these egg halves an herbed crust. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

For herb crust:
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning or any Cajun spice blend
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

For crispy topping:
3 to 4 slices Serrano ham or prosciutto

Prepare the eggs:
1.
Cut boiled eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a fine sieve over a small mixing bowl.
2. Force the egg yolks through the sieve into the mixing bowl, creating a fine powder. (Alternatively, you can mash the yolks with a fork.)
3. To the mixing bowl, add mustard, mayonnaise and optional cayenne and mix well. Adjust seasoning, and fold in the chopped gherkins or dill relish. Set aside.
4. Gently wipe out the egg whites with a damp paper towel to remove any of the leftover yolks.

To crust the eggs:
1.
In a small bowl, mix the Old Bay or Cajun seasoning together with the chopped fresh dill. Spread mix on a plate.
2. Place each egg white half, cut side-down on the spice blend to crust the tops. Set aside.

Crisp the topping:
Place slices of ham or prosciutto in a 250F degree oven for 30 minutes to crisp. Set aside.

Autry places crisped prosciutto atop herbed deviled eggs. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Autry places crisped Serrano ham or prosciutto atop herbed deviled eggs. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

To fill the eggs:

1. Place the yolk mixture in a piping bag or a Ziploc bag. (If using a plastic bag, snip off a lower corner for piping.)

2. Pipe the mixture into the crusted egg whites. If using a simple plastic bag without a fancy pastry tip, pipe the filling in a zigzag motion for added flair.

3. Break crispy ham or prosciutto slices into bite-size pieces and place them atop filled deviled eggs.

GIVE YOUR EASTER EGGS A POP OF NATURAL COLOR

Here’s a natural way to dye your Easter eggs:

Chef Lindsay Autry soaks hardboiled and peeled eggs in natural ‘dye’ liquids that take their color from beets and turmeric.

(Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

After 3 hours of soaking, the eggs turn brilliant hues.

Like this:

Dressed up for Easter: a trio of colorful deviled eggs, jazzed up by Autry. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

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Day of the Dead: How to honor departed loved ones today

In many ways, Day of the Dead is the opposite of Halloween. It’s not about ghouls and goblins, sexy nurse costumes or Donald Trump masks. It’s about matters of the soul, memory — and delicious sweet bread.

Pan de Muertos, sweet dessert bread, is often served with Mexican hot chocolate. (Credit: Agencia Reforma)
Pan de Muertos, sweet dessert bread, is often served with Mexican hot chocolate. (Photo credit: Agencia Reforma)

In Mexico and Mexican communities, this day arrives the morning after Halloween and its high-fructose-corn-syrup rushes. It’s celebrated with colorful altars, festive Day of the Dead sugar skulls and, most poignantly, with foods to honor the dearly departed.

Whimsy and memory: Day of the Dead altar. (Cox Newspapers)
Whimsy and memory: Day of the Dead altar. (Cox Newspapers photo)

According to ancient indigenous belief, the souls of our departed loved ones come to visit once a year. We honor them by baking sweet, iconic Pan de Muertos dessert bread and by making their favorite dishes.

The two-day holiday, which combines All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, starts Tuesday.

RELATED: DAY OF DEAD AT HARBOURSIDE PLACE

Here is a recipe by Mexico City chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte, whose work on Mexican food and culture is reflected in her epic 2014 book, “Mexico: The Cookbook” (Phaidon).

Day of the Dead Bread is one of 700 recipes contained in the book.

Pan de Muertos

Pan de Muerto by Mexico City chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte. (Photo: Fiamma Piacentini-Huff)
Pan de Muertos by Mexico City chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte. (Photo credit: Fiamma Piacentini-Huff)

RECIPE: Day of the Dead Bread

From “Mexico: The Cookbook,” by Margarita Carrillo Arronte.

Ingredients

1 cup milk

4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry (fast-action) yeast

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 to 2 teaspoons orange blossom water, to taste

3/4 cup melted butter, plus more for greasing and brushing

Day of the Dead inspires festive costumes and dances. (Cox Newspapers photo)
Day of the Dead inspires festive costumes. (Cox Newspapers photo)

Make the bread

For glaze:

1 egg, beaten

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of sugar

To prepare the dough, bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.

Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Sprinkle in the sugar and yeast and pour in the milk. Close the well by flicking flour over the milk and let it sit for 1 hour.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the melted butter, and shape into a ball. Transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add the butter and knead again for 10 minutes.

Return to the bowl and cover. Let rise for 2 hours, until doubled in size.

Grease two baking sheets with butter. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Take two of those pieces and roll them into tight balls and then press them gently to flatten a bit. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

After the dough has rested for 1 hour, take the remaining piece of dough and divide it into 10 little pieces. Roll two of these pieces into small balls and 8 of these pieces into long, thin logs.

To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and mix well. Brush the loaves gently with the glaze. Take four of the logs and drape them in an X shape over one of the balls. Repeat for the other disk of dough.

Brush these with egg. Take a little ball of dough and place it on the top of one disk of dough, where the X meets. Press down gently so it sticks. Repeat for the other little ball of dough.

Glaze the dough balls and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. While they are still warm, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Makes 3 loaves.

Ziggy Marley’s roasted yam tart will make you want to cook for fall

We found our fall cooking inspiration where we least expected to find it: in Ziggy Marley’s new cookbook.

More specifically, we found it on pages 74 and 75, where Marley’s recipe for a lush, roasted yam tart beckons like a warm fire on a wintry day.

Yammy: This sweet potato tart will fix your fall cravings. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)
Yammy! This sweet potato tart will fix your fall cravings. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)

That is, after all, what pops up in the thought bubble this time of year, even if we live in seasonally challenged South Florida: Ah, fall! Chilly temps and gemstone hues. Cider. Soups. Holiday baking. What shall we cook?

Okay, there are no raging autumn leaves or crackling fire on wintry days here, nothing so dramatic that it sparks cravings for appropriately hearty fare.

But we do have seasonal nuance. And we have imaginations. So we will cook for fall with the same brazen attitude we wield each time we zip up our winter boots and strut into our air-conditioned offices.

Perhaps this was the true appeal of that Ziggy Marley fall recipe – it’s a fall recipe wrapped in a familiar island cloak. The Grammy-winning musician, oldest son of legendary Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley, presents lusciously roasted dishes in his newly published “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook” (Akashic Books, $24.95).

ziggybookcover
Marley’s book, which dropped Oct. 11, presents dishes that reflect his life and family.

Marley, who also owns a GMO-free product line called Ziggy Marley Organics, did not set out to write a Jamaican cookbook, but one that reflects his life. He took inspiration from the food of his Bull Bay youth, his family’s holistic Rasta culture, his wife Orly’s Israeli and Iranian background as well as his own preference for healthy, natural foods.

Within that diverse mix, we found our fall inspiration. Marley offers wonderfully warming recipes, like a lightly spicy coconut-curry squash soup, a cumin-laced roasted cauliflower dish, a stout gingerbread loaf and, yes, that roasted yam tart.

At a time of the year when it’s hard to think of yams without visions of melted marshmallows, the yams in this tart stand on their own in their natural sweetness. That sweetness finds a buttery backdrop in the baked puff pastry, savory contrast in onions and feta cheese and thyme, plus depth and roundness in coconut oil.

The roasting yams and baking puff pastry will fill your kitchen with those fall baking aromas. And, let’s be real, isn’t that what we crave at this time of the year as we contemplate the sway of palm fronds outside?

ROASTED YAM TART

Yams = fall cooking. (Cox Newspapers photo)
Yams = fall cooking. (Cox Newspapers)

 

THE RECIPE

The sweet yams and creamy-salty feta are a pair made in heaven. Plus, the buttery pastry adds a rich, toasty element.

Recipe adapted from “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook,” published Oct. 11 by Akashic Books.

1 puff pastry sheet

½ pound yams, sliced

½ cup onion, sliced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup feta, crumbled

Hempseeds, as desired

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Par-bake the puff pastry sheet on a sheet pan to 80 percent of the package cooking time.

2. At the same time, combine the yams, onions, thyme, ½ tablespoons coconut oil, salt, pepper and 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil on a sheet pan and roast alongside puff pastry.

3. When pastry sheet is par-baked, remove from oven and brush with ½ tablespoon of each oil.

4. Remove vegetable filling from oven, making sure the yams are soft, and spread evenly over pastry.

5. Top with feta cheese and hempseeds, and bake until the cheese somewhat melts and puff pastry cooking time is complete (meaning the final 20 percent of the package cooking time).

6. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve hot.

Serves 2 to 4

In the test kitchen: We baked the pastry and yams at separate times, then together. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)
In the test kitchen, we baked the pastry and yams at separate times. (Liz Balmaseda/Palm Beach Post)

Test kitchen notes: After making Marley’s recipe recently, we have the following recommendations to maximize the yams’ flavor and the puff pastry’s toasty texture.

  • Using a spray bottle, spritz olive oil on the yam slices and roast them on the sheet pan at 375F till tender (about 35 minutes), flipping them over halfway into the roasting time.
  • For a sweeter touch, caramelize the onions in a skillet before adding to the tart.
  • Bake the puff pastry separately from the yams to eliminate any excess moisture in the oven.

Don’t forget it. Pin it!

ziggy-pinterest-735

 

 

Make these easy apple and honey muffins for a sweet Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah arrives Sunday night, just as it seems the world could use a critical dose of sweetness. The Jewish new year, symbolized by the sweetest of foods, is a time for renewal, for family, for matters of the soul and for rivers of honey.

And if something as simple as honey-dipped apples can beckon happiness, imagine those ingredients baked into warm, heady muffins.

If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, here’s a recipe for some exquisite apple and honey muffins. It comes from “Our Table,” a new kosher cookbook by author and food stylist Renee Mullerpublished by Artscroll ($34.99).

Renee Muller's recipe for Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins appears in her upcoming book, "Our Table: Time-Tested Recipes, Memorable Meals.” (Courtesy: Our Table/ Artscroll)
These Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins appear in Renee Muller’s book, “Our Table: Time-Tested Recipes, Memorable Meals.” (Courtesy: Our Table/ Artscroll)

The recipe’s use of brewed tea exalts the apple and honey flavors. It’s a holiday winner: Fragrant with cinnamon, the apples and the muffin batter hint of fall.

APPLE AND HONEY ROSH HASHANAH MUFFINS

This recipe is reprinted with permission from “Our Table: Time-Tested Recipes, Memorable Meals,” by Renee Muller (Artscroll/October 2016). It’s freezer-friendly, dairy/pareve.

roshhashanahourtablecoverMuller writes:

“At our house, Rosh Hashanah cannot happen without honey muffins. At least, that’s the way my kids see it. It’s a family project, and by now, a family tradition, too.

“This recipe was given to me by a relative in Israel who bakes them all the time and claims that no matter how many batches she bakes, there are never enough.

“She’s absolutely right. We once baked a quadruple batch of these (sans the apples) for a bake sale on our block and we were left without a crumb!” 

Makes about 48 muffins

For the apples

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 Granny Smith apples, diced

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the muffins

2 cups prepared tea, lukewarm

2 cups sugar

2 cups oil

2 cups honey

12 eggs

6 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Prepare the apples: In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon; cook until apples are fragrant and soften a bit, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Prepare the muffins: In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine tea, sugar, oil, honey, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. (I like to use a cupcake pen for this; I find it very helpful.) Top with a teaspoon of prepared apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost dry with some moist crumbs attached.

Author’s note: “The apples are optional; I find that some children prefer the muffins plain. We add the apple for Rosh Hashanah (very loudly singing, ‘Dip the apple in the hooooneeeyy’ as we do so) but throughout the year, we bake them plain.”

Kitchen tip: I recently discovered an amazing gadget called ‘The Cupcake (or Muffin) Pen.’ It really removes the whole messy aspect of filling cupcake pans with batter. Look for it in specialty equipment stores.”

Cauliflower rice has reached craze level — but does it taste like rice?

There’s a Cuban slang term that perfectly describes the latest cauliflower trend.

“It’s like white rice. It’s everywhere,” goes the saying popular among my rice-crazy people.

In this cauliflower trend case, it’s not like white rice – it is white rice. It’s cauliflower rice and, yes, it’s everywhere.

Dueling bowls of cauliflower fried rice: Which did we like best? (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Dueling bowls of cauliflower fried rice: Which did we like best? (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)

Chefs are stir-frying it. Big box stores are selling chilled packages of it. Paleo devotees and vegans are singing its praises.

But does it taste like rice rice? Short answer: It can. Sort of.

Like rice, cauliflower morsels soak up the flavor of their seasonings. The cruciferous veggie can develop a sulfurous scent if overcooked, but it can be avoided in a quick, well-seasoned skillet.

I first tasted cauliflower rice in a brilliant stir-fry dish by nationally acclaimed Miami chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award “Rising Star Chef” nominee who is a regular headliner at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival. The almost crunchy cauliflower fried “rice” is sautéed with shishito peppers and carrots at Rapicavoli’s Eating House restaurant.

Inspired, I bought a head of cauliflower days later and riced up the florets in my food processor, reserving the stems for soup. I chopped up aromatics and veggies, then went about my stir-fry, swapping in the riced florets for white rice.

The result was tasty, but rather mushy. Perhaps I left it in the pan, covered, for too long. Or perhaps residual moisture on the florets combined with the heat emanating from the spinning processor blade doomed the rice.

Riced and packaged cauliflower at Trader Joe's. (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Riced and packaged. 

Whatever the case, my cauliflower rice enthusiasm was relegated to the back burner of my mind. Then I found a bag of perfectly riced cauliflower at in the produce section of Trader Joe’s.

It was evidence of a trend already well established. A Paleo-following friend mentioned she buys packaged riced cauliflower at Costco. And recently, Green Giant got in the cauliflower rice game, rolling out bags of frozen “Riced Veggies” this month.

Cauliflower rice without the chopping and food processor hassle? I was intrigued enough to grab a bag of it at Trader Joe’s and cancel my white-rice side dish plans for our Sunday night supper.

I kept the preparation simple. I sautéed chopped onion, celery and two or three garlic cloves in olive oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat, then added about a cup and a half of the packaged rice and turned up the heat to medium-high. I seasoned the ingredients with salt and pepper and sautéed the granulized cauliflower in the garlic-infused oil for three to four minutes. I lowered the heat and covered the pan for another minute or two, then tasted for seasoning and texture.

It was not as tender as my food-processor rice had been, but it was not mushy – it was almost there. I covered it for another minute and it was perfect.

I scooped a large spoonful of the rice into a bowl of garbanzo, butternut squash and chorizo stew. The rice soaked up the stew’s flavors without losing its lightly chewy texture.

I topped my homemade garbanzo stew with cauliflower "arroz." (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
Garbanzo stew + cauli “arroz.”

The heady bites of that Sunday supper sparked other cauliflower rice ideas and curiosities: Would it work in paella, or arroz con pollo? Could it ever match the creaminess of risotto?

Nina Kauder, a plant-based chef working in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach, can vouch for the success of cauliflower rice in risotto. She sampled a stellar rendition at a five-course, “plant-powered” dinner she presented some days ago at Boynton Beach’s Secret Garden culinary incubator. It was a mushroom Marsala served over truffled cauliflower risotto.

The success of this rice, she says, was built with layer upon layer of flavor, from the dish’s earthy mushrooms to its meaty chickpeas and bright, fresh herbs.

“When you’re creating vegan food, you want to build a lot of layers of flavor. You can’t be one note. It’s not enough,” says Kauder.

Cauliflower rice, an excellent source of vitamins and phytonutrients, has many benefits, she notes. But, flavor wise, it needs some love.

That love starts in the form of aromatic sautés or sofritos and continues with spices and herbs and seasoned broths made of roasted veggies and/or bones.

“It’s all about the seasoning. It’s what focuses the flavor,” says Kauder, who suggests experimenting with nutritional yeast for deeper, rounder flavors. Just sprinkle about ¼ cup of the yeast into your cauliflower rice sauté. “The greatest cheat in vegan dishes is nutritional yeast. It gives you the cheesiness in flavor and texture.”

Mushroom Marsala over cauliflower risotto, as presented at Secret Garden dinner in Boynton Beach. (Contributed by Sivan Fraser)
Mushroom Marsala on cauliflower risotto, as presented at Secret Garden. (Credit: Sivan Fraser)

Some days ago, I asked Tequesta personal chef Lenore Pinello to conduct a flavor and texture experiment in her cook shop, In the Kitchen. (Watch the cook/taste test on video at MyPalmBeachPost.com/rice.) The recipe: her simple fried rice.

Pinello fired up two woks and stir-fried a progression of veggies in them. To one wok, she added cauliflower she riced using a hand grater. To the other, she added the Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower.

In the end, it was a bit of a tie. For flavor, we preferred the hand-grated cauliflower best, as it soaked up more flavor than the other. For texture, we liked the more al dente feel of the packaged rice.

“But I could eat both of them all day long,” Pinello said.

Then, in an apparent flash of inspiration, she reached for one of the cauliflower stems she had set aside. She grated the vegetable’s tougher part into a bowl. The texture of the riced stem was similar to that of the packaged cauliflower rice.

That seemed to explain why the bagged rice was drier than the fresh one – the fresh one was made of more tender florets.

Chef Kauder believes that using the stems is a genius move.

“What do you do with the tough core once you’ve packaged the florets? It’s perfect for the job at hand (ricing). It’s maximizing the retailability and reducing their waste,” she says.

The bigger picture, of course, is that trendy cauliflower rice may be succeeding in places the food pyramid fails.

“The truth is no one eats enough vegetables – even vegetarians,” says Kauder, noting the uncanny resemblance of white rice and cauliflower rice. “We eat with our eyes first and sometimes vegetables that are reminiscent of other foods are not enough – it really has to look like it.”

FRIED CAULIFLOWER RICE

Recipe by Chef Lenore Pinello of In the Kitchen shop in Tequesta.

Serves 4

4 sliced bacon, cut into lardons (cubes)

1/2 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cups riced cauliflower, either freshly grated or packaged

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup sliced scallions

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

Preheat a wok or large skillet. Add bacon and stir-fry until golden brown.

Add onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Drizzle sesame oil into pan until fragrant.

Add cauliflower and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, until tender (but not mushy). Add soy sauce to coat the cauliflower rice.

Toss in peas and carrots and stir-fry until the colors are bright, about 1 minute.

Add the scallions and ginger and cook for 1 minute.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.

Loren Cordain, the researcher who dubbed the term "Paleo diet," has written a new cookbook called "Real Paleo Fast & Easy" that features this recipe for crisp spicy pork with cauliflower rice and herbs. Photo by Loren Cordain
Loren Cordain’s ‘Real Paleo Fast & Easy’ cookbook includes the following recipe for this crispy spicy pork with cauliflower rice and herbs. (Credit: Loren Cordain)

CRISPY SPICY PORK WITH HERBS

with cauliflower rice

Recipe from “Real Paleo Fast & Easy,” by Loren Cordain (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Serves 4

1 pound ground pork

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley

1/4 cup snipped fresh mint

Lemon wedges or crushed red pepper, for serving (optional)

Form pork into two 1/4-inch-thick patties. In an extra-large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place patties in skillet; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned and very crisp. Carefully turn patties and cook 3 minutes more or until second sides are browned and crisp. Reduce heat to medium. Break patties into small pieces; add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, cumin and garlic. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spices are fragrant and meat is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse cauliflower (in batches if necessary) until the pieces are the size of rice. In a large skillet cook cauliflower rice in the remaining coconut oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender and just beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and lemon zest.

Serve pork over cauliflower rice; sprinkle with parsley, mint and, if desired, additional crushed red pepper and lemon wedges.

Glam up your guac: Here’s a recipe for National Guacamole Day!

Kicky mash up: Avocado Grill's ginger guacamole. (Contributed by Jennifer Martinez)
Kicky mash up: Avocado Grill’s ginger guacamole. (Contributed by Jennifer Martinez)

The unexpected can happen when National Guacamole Day falls on a Friday (which would be today). The craving for blinged out, creamy avocado dip and those unruly TGIF thoughts can build – and before you know it, you’re swigging micheladas and diving into a bowl of green goop.

Then again, the unexpected can involve something less basic. It can involve ginger, as does the Ginger Guacamole at Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach.

How does one use ginger in guac? We’ve got the recipe. TGIF, indeed!

Avocado Grill’s Ginger Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Julien Gremaud.

3 ripe avocados

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 tablespoons diced tomato

2 tablespoons diced jalapeño

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped ginger

1 tablespoon Sriracha

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice avocados in half. Discard the seed. Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon and place in bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 of the lime juice immediately to prevent browning. Use a fork and mash to desired consistency.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomato, jalapeño, ginger, Sriracha, and cilantro. Stir gently to mix ingredients.
  4. Add remainder of lime juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir just slightly, until incorporated.
  5. Serve as a dip with your favorite tortilla chips, or use with your favorite dish.

Football food: Make tachos, the lovechild of tater tots and nachos

Tachos are the lovechild of tater tots and nachos. (Credit: Oxmoor House)
Tachos are the lovechild of tater tots and nachos. (Credit: Oxmoor House)

Only those who truly love football and food with equal passion can appreciate a heap of Tachos. The guilty pleasure mashup dish is, in effect, the well-accessorized lovechild of tater tots and nachos.

Tachos shares the newly published “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, $22.95) with other decadent, made-for-sports-watching dishes, such as Shepherd’s Pie Quesadilla Bites, an Irish-Mexican mashup.

BEST LOCAL SPORTS BARS FOR WATCHING FOOTBALL

The book’s author, sports mega-fan Daina Falk, who operates HungryFan.com, a site for sports-loving foodies, tapped into the game-day cravings of sports fans.

“There’s nothing better than cheering on your team at deafeningly loud decibels while chowing down on ‘sportsfood’ yummies,” she writes.

Which brings us to Tachos. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome!

TACHOS

The following recipe and note are reprinted from Daina Falk’s “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook” with permission of Oxmoor House.

“You’ve heard of nachos. You’ve heard of tater tots. Combining them creates sheer taste bud amazingness in the form of what I call ‘Tachos.’ The key to this recipe is that the tater tots must be served really crispy and hot. This dish is goopy, so you really want your tots to hold up to the cheesy yumminess like tortilla chips would.”

6 ounces dried chorizo, diced

1⁄2 cup Negra Modelo, or another dark beer

16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 serrano pepper, seeds and veins removed, minced

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

3 cups tater tots

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

1⁄4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper, optional

GDC full cover 0602acj.indd1. Cook the chorizo over medium in a large saucepan for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp and the fat has rendered. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain, and discard the rendered fat.

2. Heat the beer in the same saucepan over high for about 5 minutes to reduce it a bit. Reduce the heat to low, and add the cheese, stirring often as it melts into the beer. Once fully melted, add the fresh and canned chiles, 1 tablespoon of the green onions, and half the chorizo.

3. Bring to a simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bake the tater tots in a preheated oven according to package directions, making sure to cook them to their crispiest.

5. Place the tater tots on a large tray, and drizzle the cheese sauce on top. Dollop with the yogurt and salsa. Top with the remaining chorizo and green onions and the cilantro. Feel free to sprinkle with some freshly ground black pepper, too, and then serve immediately.

Makes 1 large plate

Lean, green and supreme: a belly-warming soup for drizzly days

Stray veggies mingle in this yummy green soup. (Photos: Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Stray veggies mingle in this yummy green soup. (Photos: Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

Here’s a soup that loves stray veggies, those dissed broccoli stems, the last of the spinach, that forgotten zucchini.

greensoup2 I call it my Random Veggie Soup because it transforms leftover, back-of-the-fridge produce into something delicious and healthy.

The beauty of this soup is that you can customize it with your favorite seasonings and stock. Of course, stock is not a required ingredient here. If you follow the flavor-building technique described below, you can make a luscious soup using just water.

One. Start by gathering and washing your random veggies, which can include herbs, stems, celery tops, even romaine lettuce. Separate the more dense veggies (carrots, broccoli stems) from those that will cook faster (spinach, kale).

Two. Chop aromatics (such as onion, garlic, celery, pepper, ginger) to taste. Drop aromatics into warm olive oil in a soup pot. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, plus your desired seasonings. (Sometimes I reach for warm spices like smoky Spanish pimenton, turmeric, cumin and/or Jamaican curry. Other times, I prefer lighter notes like coriander, cardamom, celery seed and dill.)

Three. Sauté aromatics over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. (Tip: I add chopped broccoli stems with the aromatics, so they can soften.) Once the onion begins to turn translucent, add no more than 1 cup of water to the pot, stir and cover. This is the flavor-building stage: flavors bloom as aromatics simmer alone, then in little liquid. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli stems are slightly tender.

Four. Add greens to pot, adjust seasoning and stir. If using zucchini, add now and stir. For a touch of acidity, add two or three grape tomatoes. Once veggies are well incorporated, add another 1½ or 2 cups of water to the pot, or just enough water to cover the veggies. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.

Five. Taste the broth for seasoning and adjust as needed. Once veggies are tender, scoop them into a blender with a slotted spoon, adding just enough liquid to cover. Blend at high speed, adding liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency. Serve into bowls, and drizzle with good olive oil and, if desired, croutons.

greensoup10I love a smooth, velvety soup, so I use a high-powered blender at high speed. But if you like a chunkier soup, use an immersion blender.

If you crave a creamier soup, add a splash of half and half and/or a dab of butter. For a vegan version of creamy soup, add ½ cup of cannellini beans.

 

 

National Toasted Marshmallow Day: Celebrate with s’mores Jello shots!

Yes, the Jello shot is inside the marshmallow. Genius! (Photo from That's So Michelle)
Yes, the Jello shot is inside the marshmallow. Genius! (Photo from That’s So Michelle)

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Let’s toast the day with S’mores Jello Shots. Yummy!

S’mores Jello Shots to the rescue!

How fun is this recipe from That’s So Michelle, who is clearly a Jello shot genius? No campfire required!

S’mores Jello Shots in Real Marshmallows
1 bag giant marshmallows
1 cup chocolate vodka of choice
1 cup water
2 packets Knox gelatin
1 packet hot chocolate
Melted chocolate for coating the marshmallows (i.e. Wilton candy melts, found in the baking aisle)
1 cup crushed graham crackers

1. Using your fingers, pinch out the center of giant marshmallows.

2. Let marshmallows sit out a little while to toughen up.

3. Make alcoholic chocolate Jello. Says That’s So Michelle: “I used 1 cup water and a packet of hot chocolate mix. I sprinkled 2 packets of Knox gelatin on top and let it sit for a minute. Then turn on the heat and whisk until boiling and dissolved. When dissolved, pour into 1 cup cold vodka .”

4. Important: Let chocolate Jello mixture cool. It should be at least room temperature before you pour it into your marshmallows. If it’s hot it will melt the marshmallows.

5. Carefully pour Jello mixture into the marshmallows.

6. Save any leftover Jello in case marshmallows need to be topped off after they set for a few hours.

7. Melt chocolate and spread it around the edges of the marshmallows, then roll them in crushed graham crackers.

Not into s’mores or marshmallows? We don’t understand, but OK.

Maybe these five recipes for Adult Root Beer Floats will float your boat instead?

 

Mango magic: an easy-to-make mango bread with island vibes

Still life with mango-peach tarts. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Still life: mango-peach tarts. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)

That lingering mango bounty of yours is not going to transform itself into a tart, muffins or jam. Home cooks of summer, your mango season is waning. So we’re here with fresh inspiration for your mango vision board.

Backyard mangoes and, for nuance, Georgia peaches. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Local mangoes and Georgia peaches. LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/Earth and Sugar

It comes courtesy of local pastry chef Sarah Sipe, who recently joined fellow baker/food stylist Janderyn Makris at food photographer Libby Volgyes’ studio. Their mission: to immortalize some peak-of-season, Palm Beach County mangoes (and maybe a few Georgia peaches, for subtle contrast).

The result of their collaboration just may nudge you into the kitchen to create something lovely and mango-licious.

Mango-peach tarts. (LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Mango-peach tarts. (LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)

Luckily for us, Sipe – who will serve as pastry chef at Chef Lindsay Autry’s upcoming restaurant, The Regional Kitchen & Public House – has agreed to share her recipe for mango bread (and muffins).

Mango on, people! 

Sipe's mango bread. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Sipe’s mango bread. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)

Sarah Sipe’s Fabulous Mango Bread

With Oat Crumble

For Oat Crumble

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup butter

¾ cup all purpose flour

¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats

¼ tsp kosher salt

Make oat crumble: Mix all ingredients until butter is incorporated and texture is crumbly. Set aside. 

Mango-coconut bread. (LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Sipe’s mango-coconut bread. (LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)

For Bread

Butter and flour for coating loaf pans; paper liners for muffin tins

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ cup unsweetened coconut (optional)

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 each whole eggs

¼ cup mango puree

1 ¾ cup peeled, diced mango

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour loaf pans. (For muffins, line tins with paper liners.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and coconut (if using), and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and mango puree until combined.
  4. Add flour mixture into mango puree mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated.
  5. Fold in the diced mango and pour batter into prepared pan. Generously sprinkle top with oat crumble. (If making muffins, fill ¾ full and sprinkle oat crumble on top.)
  6. Place loaf pan or muffin pan in oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. (For muffins, bake 18 to 20 minutes.)

Makes 1 loaf pan or 12 medium muffins.

Mango loaf and muffin-scape. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)
Mango loaf and muffins. (Photo by LibbyVision.com, styling by Janderyn Makris/ Earth and Sugar)