Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Chefs all over the world rejoice when ramps are in season. The truth is that ramps are in season for a very short period of time and signify the beginning of Spring. Ramp season typically only lasts a month or so from early April until May which is part of the reason why they are such a delicacy.

So What is a Ramp?

A ramp is an entity of its own. Some call them wild leeks. Ramps have a thin stalk that looks a bit like a scallion with one or two flat leaves. The flavor is a cross between an onion and garlic. Ramps have a very distinctive flavor that is not found in any commercially harvested vegetable. Ramps are foraged which makes them rare and adds to their delicacy. They are the first green that emerges from the soil after a long winter. Ramps can also be a little costly due to their scarce supply.

How to Prepare Ramps:

Ramps can be used in wide variety of ways. Once the bulb at the end is cut off the entire ramp can be eaten. They are delicious sautéed in butter and eaten with fried eggs or as a side dish with steak or fish. You can also use them in quiche with a little bacon. I have decided to make a caramelized ramp Chimichurri sauce that works well with fish or can be used as a marinade for skirt steak. Grilled swordfish with avocado is perfect with Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri. Make sure you save a little on the side if you are using the Chimichurri as a marinade so you can serve it as a sauce. I love how vibrant and green this Chimichurri is. It just screams spring to me.

Cleaning Ramps:

Ramps come from the ground and the soil can get caught in them. Run the ramps for several minutes under cold water to remove soil. Then cut off bottom stem and pull back the outer skin and rinse again.

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Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish, Sauces and Dips
Keyword: Sauce, dips, marinade
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 267kcal

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 10 ramps washed and cut in thirds

Instructions

  • Cut the bottom off of each ramp and wash well in cool water. Cut into thirds.
  • saute ramps in 2 tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Let cool
  • add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor and pulse a few times
  • while mixer in running slowly add olive oil and blend well
  • Use as a marinade or serve as a sauce with grilled fish or meat

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1307IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasting the garlic cloves creates a nutty mild garlic flavor that balances well with the tahini.

Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread that is made with cooked chickpeas. The chickpeas are boiled until very soft and their skin is beginning to come off. This makes it easy to mash them into a very smooth dip that blends perfectly with the silky tahini. Tahini is made from sesame seeds. I like to use the Soom Premium Tahini available here on Amazon. This tahini is all natural, delicious and made by a woman owned company.

Homemade hummus can be used in a variety of ways. You can serve it as an hors d’oeuvres with pita or flat bread and raw vegetables or as a side dish with charred broccoli and peppers. Simply toss the broccoli and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes in a 400 oven then serve over the hummus as a side dish or appetizer. The hummus will stay fresh for 5 days in your refrigerator and is a healthy snack to have around. If you feel a little hungry try dipping some pretzel crisps into the hummus as a mid afternoon snack

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack, Sauces and Dips
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Sauce, vegetarian, Side Dishes, dips, snacks
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 42kcal

Equipment

  • food processor or immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 clove garlic
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • tsp Extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle on top if desired
  • sumac to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 400
  • peel garlic and toss with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until light brown and soft
  • drain and rinse chickpeas and add them to a sauce pan with baking soda.
  • fill pan with water until chickpeas are just covered
  • bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until chickpeas are soft
  • drain in mesh strainer and rinse with cold water
  • mash roasted garlic with the back of a fork and add to food processor
  • add lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper and ice water and blend until smooth
  • add chickpeas and cumin and remaining teaspoon of olive oil
  • blend until very smooth scraping sides as necessary.
  • If too thick then add another tablespoon of water
  • place in a bowl and drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Fun to make and way better than packaged.

I have been wanting to make English Muffins for awhile. My family loves to eat English Muffins for breakfast and lunch. English Muffins are great to use for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or a tuna melt or simply toasted with some jam.

I saw this recipe on King Arthur Flour website. I love King Arthur Flour and always keep a supply of their all purpose, bread flour and “00” flour on hand. This English Muffin recipe calls for bread flour. The main difference between all purpose flour and bread flour is that bread flour has a higher protein content which produces lots of gluten which is essential in creating more stability and rise in the dough. All purpose flour is better for cakes and cookies.

This English Muffin recipe comes together very quickly but does require a double rise. The first rise is about 1.5 hours and the second proofing is a quick 15 minutes after the muffins have been shaped. Since this is a softer dough it is a good idea to shape the English Muffins and place them on the griddle or heavy bottom frying pan that you will be baking them on. The pan or griddle should be heavily sprinkled with semolina flour before you place the English Muffins on the pan. After the English Muffins have been placed on the pan you will need to sprinkle more semolina flour on top, cover with parchment paper and let proof for 15 minute . The semolina flour will prevent the bottom of the English muffins from burning before the inside is cooked. After the second rise you should place the griddle or frying pan on medium low heat.

The first side of the English Muffin will take 15-25 minutes, the second side will take roughly 15 minutes to bake. I like to turn the muffins periodically so that they brown evenly on the bottom. The English Muffins are done when the internal temperature reaches 185-200. After the English Muffins are ready let them cool completely and then brush off most of the semolina flour from both sides. After the English Muffins have cooled completely you can use a fork to cut them in half. Do not use a knife or else you won’t have the nooks and crannies.

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English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins are easy and fun to make
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Proofing1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, muffins
Servings: 16 Muffins
Calories: 160kcal

Equipment

  • Cast iron Griddle or heavy bottom frying pan
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • cups lukewarm milk
  • 3 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 egg beaten lightly
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • semolina flour to sprinkle on pan

Instructions

  • Mix flour, salt and yeast together
  • In a stand mixer fitter with dough hook add butter, sugar and mix
  • add egg and milk and continue to mix for 1 minute
  • add flour mixture and mix for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and puuls away from sides
  • shape into a ball, place in bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1.5 hours until double in size
  • remove from bowl and gently press down in center of dough to deflate
  • divide the dough into 16 pieces, gently roll into a ball and flatten into a 3½ inch disk shape
  • Place each disk on a cast iron griddle or heavy bottom frying pan heavily sprinkled with semolina flour
  • sprinkle more semolina flour on top of muffins and cover with a piece of parchment paper
  • let english muffins rise for 15 minutes
  • place griddle or frying pan on medium low heat
  • cook English muffin for 15 – 25 minutes until bottom is a light golden brown
  • flip muffins over and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown on bottom and internal temperature is between 185 and 200. Adjust heat lower if muffin bottom is beginning to burn.
  • Let English Muffins cool completely.
  • Scrape most of the semolina flour off of the muffins when they are cool
  • Always use a fork to cut muffins in half. DO NOT USE A KNIFE.

Notes

Semolina flour prevents the bottoms of the muffins from burning. I like to brush most of it off before once the English Muffins are cool.
Muffins can be frozen in airtight plastic bags.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Delicious Homemade Pretzels and Pretzel Nuggets

Living in NYC I love to walk in Central Park and eat a big, hot salty pretzel. Soft pretzels are sold by street vendors all over the city and are best eaten hot with lots of mustard. The pretzel was originally created in Germany by a Monk around 610 A.D. They were called ‘pretiola’ which translates to ‘little reward’. The monk would give the pretiola to children as a reward for learning their prayers. The twisted shape of the pretzel is meant to resemble a child’s arms crossed in prayer.

I have spent a lot of time perfecting a recipe for homemade soft pretzels at home. The dough comes together very quickly but does require a rise of about an hour in order to create a pretzel with the right texture and consistency. I like to make these pretzels with my daughter Olivia. It is a lot of fun to roll out the dough and shape them into pretzels. It is essential to boil the pretzel for 30 seconds in water and baking soda before baking them in the oven. This step is what creates the slightly chewy texture to the soft pretzel and prepares the outside to crisp up in the oven. Please note that you should add the baking soda to the water first and then bring it to a boil. Adding the baking soda to boiling water will cause the water to boil over and will make a mess. Trust me on this one, it’s not pretty. After boiling the pretzels, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to dry for a few minutes before brushing with egg wash and sprinkling on pretzel salt. You can make the dough into pretzel shape or nuggets, both work well. It is important not to crowd the pretzels when boiling them. I only boil one or two at a time. Also, do not boil them for more than 30 seconds. Boiling the pretzel for too long will alter the taste because of the baking soda. These pretzels are best eaten fresh out of the oven while they are still warm. You will have freshly baked pretzels that are absolutely addicting. You can wrap them in foil and place in an airtight bag in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat the pretzels in a 350 oven. They will be good but they will not be as good as when you eat them the same day

Can I top my pretzels with other toppings?

Yes, you can top the pretzels with a variety of toppings, savory and sweet. I like to use pretzel salt on some and everything seasoning on the rest. You need to buy pretzel salt which is a specialized salt. It is not the same as coarse salt. Pretzel salt is white and has less sodium than coarse salt. You can also sprinkle grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the pretzels when they are almost done baking so that the cheese melts on the pretzel. If you would like to make the pretzels a little sweet I would add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the dough and sprinkle the pretzels with cinnamon and sugar when they are half way through baking. You can serve the sweeter pretzels with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce.

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Homemade Pretzels

A soft chewy pretzel recipe
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
kneading8 mins
Total Time38 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pretzels
Servings: 12 pretzels
Calories: 215kcal

Ingredients

  • cups milk warm not boiling
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • cups flour
  • tsp instant yeast OR 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • pretzel salt for sprinkling over pretzels
  • 9 cups water
  • ½ cup baking soda

Instructions

  • mix flour and instant yeast together
  • place warm milk, sugar and salt in a mixer fitted with dough hook
  • slowly add flour and mix
  • add melted butter and continue to mix until dough comes together
  • take dough out of bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until elastic and smooth. about 5 minutes.
  • place dough in a mixing bowl that has been greased with vegetable oil
  • rub top of dough with a little oil, cover with a dish towel and place in warm place for 1 hour
  • preheat oven to 400
  • add ½ cup baking soda to 9 cups of water and bring to a boil
  • cut dough into 12 pieces
  • roll each piece into a long rod around 16 inches long
  • form into a pretzel shape press ends into pretzel. Or cut into 1 inch nuggets.
  • Boil one or two at a time for 30 seconds
  • place on a parchement lines sheet.
  • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt or everything seasoning
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. (8-10 for nuggets)

Notes

You can use active yeast instead of instant yeast. If you use active yeast place the contents of one envelope into the warm milk and allow to activate for 5 minutes. Then proceed with recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzel | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 1703mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg