Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Appetizers: Pinecone Cheese Ball

We love entertaining, so we're always looking for new ways to impress our guests. One of our old favorites, the Old Farmhouse Chutney Cheese Ball, got a new look for the holidays. The unique blend of flavors will satisfy all your guests while it's delightful pinecone shape will add a festive element to your table.


Pinecone Cheese Ball


Old Farmhouse Chutney Cheese Ball

 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Old Farmhouse Chutney
  • 1/4 cup green onion - diced
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/2 cup Colby cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Mix together the cream cheese, Old Farmhouse Chutney, scallions, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Fold in the Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses.
  3. Form 

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • Fresh rosemary, for garnish
  • Crackers

Make one recipe of Stonewall Kitchen's Old Farmhouse Chutney Cheese Ball. Instead of forming a ball and coating it with chopped pecans, divide the cheese ball mixture in two and form into pinecone shapes. Starting at the tip of each "pinecone," insert sliced almonds in rows. Continue rows of almonds until you get to the bottom of the "pinecone." Transfer pinecones to a serving dish. Garnish with rosemary and serve with crackers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tips From the Kitchen: The Best Mashed Potatoes

There's nothing better than a bowl of creamy, silky mashed potatoes! Here are some tips on how to make the best mashed potatoes:

 

    • Best choices for potatoes are Russet (very starchy, creamy) or Yukon Gold (great buttery flavor). Red Bliss potatoes are too starchy and not recommended. Leave skin on and cook until a paring knife slips easily into the potato.
      • Science behind leaving the skins on - the starch is protected by the skin and potatoes will be less gummy.
    • Always salt your water that you cook your potatoes in. They will be more flavorful.
    • Once your potatoes are cooked, process them through a potato ricer for silky, creamy mashed potatoes. A potato masher can be used, but will yield slightly chunky potatoes.
    • Do not over mix your potatoes and never use a food processor or electric mixer. The starch becomes gummy and potatoes will not be fluffy and creamy.
    • Add melted, warm butter before adding warm dairy.
      • Science behind leaving the skins on - the fat encapsulates the starch and the potatoes will be silkier.
    • If you are going to hold your potatoes for an hour or two before serving, place mashed potatoes in a metal bowl over simmering water and cover (make sure the bowl does not touch the water). The potatoes will remain silky. You may have to add a little additional dairy just before serving.

    Favorite Mashed Potato Recipe:

     

     

    Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 cup warm half-and-half or whole milk
    • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Pepper

    Directions:

    1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft and a paring knife easily slides into each potato. Do not overcook. Drain and remove peels with a paring knife.
    2. Pass potatoes through a ricer or mash into a large metal bowl. Stir in butter.
    3. Heat half and half or whole milk and garlic 5-10 minutes in a small pot. Do not allow to boil. Remove garlic cloves and discard. Stir milk into potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

    Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    The Perfect Roast Turkey

    With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to finalize your menus for the big day! If you’re looking for a way to dress up your traditional dinner, why not try this lacquered roast turkey? A glaze made with our Orange Cranberry Marmalade is applied during the cook time, leaving the skin shiny and crisp while the inside remains juicy and flavorful.


    Lacquered Roast Turkey

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (12 to 15-pound) turkey, rinsed under cool water and patted dry, excess fat removed
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
    • 1 medium onion, quartered
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup of Stonewall Kitchen Orange Cranberry Marmalade
    • 1/3 cup hearty red wine
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1-1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Season turkey cavity with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of sage leaves. Place onion inside. Cream butter, remaining sage, 1 teaspoon of salt and several turns of pepper together until smooth. Starting at the neck, carefully work your hand under the turkey skin, separating it from the breast meat. Spread sage butter evenly under the skin, patting the skin outside to smooth it out. Truss turkey legs, fold wings underneath body and season with salt and pepper.
    3. Roast turkey breast on an upper rack in a roasting pan for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 325 degrees and continue roasting until cooked, about 20 minutes per pound.
    4. While turkey is roasting, combine selected Stonewall Kitchen Orange Cranberry Marmalade, wine, lime juice, honey and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce by half. Strain and set aside.
    5. About 1/2 hour before turkey is done, when a meat thermometer reads about 160 degrees F, begin basting turkey with the glaze. Baste every 10 minuets until turkey thigh reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. Reserve unused glaze for gravy.
    6. Remove turkey from oven and drain cavity and pan juices into a measuring cup. Transfer turkey to a platter and tent loosely with foil while preparing gravy. Turkey should stand for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
    7. Spoon 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan juices (or unsalted butter) into a saucepan. Skim off remaining fat and discard. Heat fat over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and cook until it is medium brown color. Whisk in stock and bring to a boil. When smooth, whisk in pan juice and remaining glaze and bring back to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sliced turkey.
     If you're looking for a way to use up the rest of your Orange Cranberry Marmalade, although it is delicious simply on toast and scones, try this side dish to accompany your roast turkey:

    Candied Baby Carrots

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound of baby carrots, steamed or boiled until just tender, well drained
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons Stonewall Kitchen Orange Cranberry Marmalade
    • Salt and white pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, optional

    Directions:

    1. Melt butter and Orange Cranberry Marmalade in a large skillet over medium-high heat until bubbly.
    2. Add carrots and stir to cover with glaze. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley, if desired, and cook until carrots are hot.
    3. Serve at once or gently reheat over medium-low heat, adding a little water if necessary.
    For more festive recipes, check out our favorite Thanksgiving recipes on our website.



    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Avocado Tips, Tricks and Recipes!

    Oh those delicious avocados!
    The avocado is the fruit of a tall evergreen tree (Persea americana).  More specifically the avocado is a single seeded berry that is also known as the "alligator pear" due to its shape and rough leather like texture of the skin.

    Why are avocados so healthy for you?
    Did you know that an avocado is a great source of fiber and has more potassium and magnesium than a banana?  These nutrients are known to reduce blood pressure.

    Although avocados are known to be high in fat (30%), it is a healthy fat.  Avocados are full of mono-unsaturated fat and vitamin E that can reduce bad cholesterol in your blood. Avocados can be used to replace fat in baked goods for a healthier snack. 

    Avocados also contain little to no sugar or starch.

     

    Speeding up the Ripening Process

     
    An avocado commercially ripens after harvesting.  Unfortunately, right when  you want to make guacamole, most of the avocados in the store are hard as rocks.  A way to speed up the ripening process is to place your avocados in a brown paper bag with ripe bananas or apples.
     
    The science behind this - Ripe fruit, such as bananas and apples, release a hormone ethylene.  This gas will speed up the ripening process of the avocados.  An avocado that is hard and not ripe placed in a brown paper bag will ripen in 3-6 days at room temperature while an avocado placed in a bag with an apple or bananas will ripen in 1-3 days.  Place ripe avocados in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Do not put an unripe avocado in the refrigerator as the cold damages the cell structure and it will never ripen.
     

    Cutting an Avocado

     
    To remove the flesh of the avocado;
    • Run a knife around the avocado lengthwise.
    • Twist the two halves and pull apart.
    • Force a knife into the seed, twist and remove from flesh.
    • Slice or dice the flesh with a dinner knife cutting down to the skin, but not through it.
    • Remove flesh with a spoon running it close to the skin and gently remove the flesh.
    If you are not comfortable with a knife, you can always pick up a gadget such as the Avocado Slicer that does the slicing and scooping for you!
     

    Preventing browning of  your avocado or guacamole

     

    When avocados are exposed to air they brown.  This starts to happen as soon as you cut into an avocado.  There are several things you can do to prevent browning.
    • Adding acid, such as lemon or lime juice, prevents oxidation and therefore prevents browning.
    • Cover guacamole with plastic wrap or spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over the top.  This eliminates the air.  When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap or scrape off the layer of mayonnaise.
    • Immerse sliced avocado in cold water.  They will stay fresh for up to 4 hours
    The science behind this - Omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados are sensitive to light, air and heat and oxidize when exposed to them causing the avocados to brown and break down.

    Avocados are available all year round.  Enjoy this healthy fruit on sandwiches, salads, in soups or as guacamole!  Here are a few of our favorite uses for this tasty fruit.


    
    

    Friday, November 1, 2013