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By Cheryl Shaffer, Chef Instructor

Dear Friends,

Once again we find ourselves in the A&P kitchen on behalf of research, our insatiable thirst for knowledge, and a hungry belly. “Choose your catalyst wisely,” is the common thread throughout life, and I’m sure it’s also one of the driving forces behind creating new recipes and finding new ways to use the contents of our pantry to their best advantage, especially when our time is in short supply.

There have been some thrifty sales on roasts lately, so we stocked-up on a beef chuck roast and a beautiful rolled pork roast. Root vegetables are always a good bet for winter meals because they are readily available and store so well.

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Canned broths or stocks and tasty sauces like the Allen & Petersen Family Pantry Picante Sabroso Apple Spread and Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce, as well as basic fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage should always be on hand to make a quick meal delicious.

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I decided to use the Kuhn Rikon 8 qt. pressure cooker and see how quickly I could take the beef chuck roast from a gorgeous hunk of raw meat to a delectable, 'Not Your Mama’s Yankee Pot Roast' with the help of some vegetables, stock sauces and herbs and a little creative spark. Time to get to work…

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I started with a 3 pound roast. I placed the pressure cooker pan on the stove, over medium high heat, and added about 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil was hot, (it should shimmer but not smoke on the surface), I added the roast, which I had salted and peppered on all sides.

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I let the roast brown on all sides, then removed it to a platter to rest while I sautéed two red onions that I’d rough chopped, three celery ribs, cut on the diagonal, 2 cups of baby carrots, four large potatoes, cubed, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 jalapeno peppers*, one red bell pepper, roughly chopped and 4 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley.

*I crave spicy foods, so I leave the seeds and inner membrane in the peppers. If you like a little less heat, you can easily remove them before chopping the peppers.

Once the veggies are transparent, I put them into a bowl so that I could deglaze the pan and salvage all of the wonderful, caramelized bits.

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I added one quart of vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar to the pan and allowed it to heat and with a little scraping, it picked-up all of the goodness on the bottom of the pan. I then added 2 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and returned the meat to the pan.

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I poured ½ of a 16 oz bottle of Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce over the roast, and topped it with the vegetables. I use the apple raspberry flavors because the pectin in the apples helps tenderize the meat, and raspberries pair beautifully with beef, giving a piquant, sweet flavor.

I minced 2 teaspoons each of fresh rosemary, thyme, dill weed and sage leaves - if using fresh herbs, remove the stems or woody pieces first - and added them to a teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Add one cup of tap water, then place the cover on the pan and lock it into place. I adjusted the flame to medium and set my kitchen timer to 30 minutes.

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After about 15 minutes, I noted that the first red line on the pressure top was exposed, which is how we usually gauge the time for vegetables. I figured I’d need about 15 more minutes, so I decided to make some hot water cornbread as a side dish, and to soak up the yummy juices. The cornbread is a family recipe - super easy - and a delicious alternative to making rolls or a loaf of fresh bread.

Hot Water Corn Bread

Heat 1” of vegetable oil in a cast iron pan, a heat it to 350’F. or until you see the shimmer on top of the oil.

Mix:

1 cup of corn meal (I use yellow, but the white cornmeal is fine)

1 onion, chopped fine

3/4 cup of boiling water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon parsley flakes

Mixture will be sloppy.   Use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, (the OXO Good Grips worked nicely), to drop the cornbread mixture into the hot oil. It will flatten slightly, and should fry to a golden brown in just a few minutes, turning once. Drain on a cooling rack or paper towels.

  • Note: if you have some bacon drippings saved in your refrigerator, from another recipe, you can add 2 teaspoons to the cornmeal mixture, prior to frying, for added flavor, or add crumbled bacon.

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Ok… it’s been 30 minutes, the second red stripe on the pressure release lid is now visible, and it smells heavenly… time to put an extra long oven mitt on my hand, turn off the stove and gently lift the pressure button to release the steam inside the pressure cooker. This is a time to be extra diligent that your arms are well protected from the escaping steam. If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool on it’s own, or use an ice bath. I’ve never been patient enough to wait that long, and of course, I’m cooking at meal time, so the family/ friends are HUNGRY NOW, especially because it smells so good!

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Once the steam has released, the top can be turned and you have access to the delicious meal – all cooked in one pot, 60 minutes, including the prep time, start to finish. The only other clean up required is for your prep tools, and that makes you a ROCK STAR!

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We had such rave results for the 'Not Your Mama’s Yankee Pot Roast', that we decided to try it with the rolled pork roast the next week, and substituted Picante Sabroso Apple Spread for the Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce, and Nappa Cabbage for the jalapenos, red peppers and we added a teaspoon of the J&D’s Applewood Smoked Bacon Salt. Otherwise, we had the same browning, cooking time and delicious results. The apple spread paired so beautifully with the pork, and the pressure cooking made the meat and vegetables fork-tender and so full of flavor - we used homemade rolls to get every drop of gravy from the bottom of our bowls!

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Macarons are a particular kind of special treat, perhaps because they are so delicate- yet so flavorful, have both a crunch and a chew, come in so many colors, and can be filled in innumerable ways, or maybe it's just because they can be tricky to master and make at home.

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We've certainly had our share of 'feetless' flops in the Allen & Petersen test kitchen, but with these tips, our own Beth Brown, Kitchen Store Specialist, gets closer to 'Macaroner' with every beautiful batch!

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Our favorite recipe is for French Meringue Macarons (pg 26) from the Macarons Cookbook by Cecile Cannone.

Beth’s tips for Macaron Making Success:

• Dry out your almond flour in a low temperature oven, for about 5 minutes, to eliminate excess moisture.

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• Combine flour and powdered sugar and pulse in the food processor, then sift twice for an extra smooth texture. Discard large bits.

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• Measure out your egg whites rather than just assuming your eggs are the right size to provide the necessary amount called for in your recipe.

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• Use gel food coloring! The liquid variety will add too much moisture to your macarons.

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• Don't over-mix your batter when combining meringue and almond flour,  and always do this step by hand! Using an electric mixer will deflate your batter.

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• To fill your pastry bag, and in between batches, set your pastry bag in a tall glass cup with the tip touching the bottom to keep batter from spilling out.

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• If using the Mastrad Macaron mat, leave some spaces empty, or there may be too much steam in the oven. If you do fill it all the way, open the oven more than once
to release steam- once at 5 minutes, and again at 7 minutes.

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• Let your macarons rest!! 15-30 minutes after piping and before you put them in the oven. This step is crucial for developing the "feet" on the macarons.

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• Allow the macarons to cool completely before taking them off the mat. Press your finger into the back of one of the cooled shells, it should be soft. If it’s crisp or hard, reduce baking time on the next batch.

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• Don't overfill your macaron shells, especially with a strong flavored filling as it can overwhelm the flavor of the macarons. Use just enough to hold the two together.

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• Because ganache can be made with white, milk or dark chocolate and can be easily flavored with a cream infusion, it makes a lovely filling for macarons- just be sure it has cooled and is firm enough to not compromise the texture of your cookies.

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Chocolate wafers also make a delightful companion to a macaron, especially with decorative transfers!

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By Beth Brown and Tina LeBaron, Kitchen Store Specialists

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Crème brûlée is a decadent dessert that evokes memories of fancy restaurants, low lighting, and black-tie waiters. Until I learned how simple it can be with the right tools, crème brûlée seemed unattainable . . . but no more!

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Ramekins and a chef’s torch are basically all you need to make mouthwatering crème brûlée at home.

With this easy recipe, you can wow your guests (or indulge privately and eat it all yourself! We won’t tell.)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups   Heavy Cream
  • ½ cup    Summit Spice Vanilla Sugar
  • ½ cup    Granulated Sugar, divided in half
  • ½ tsp    Blue Cattle Truck Pure Mexican Vanilla
  • 8          Egg Yolks
  • Pinch    Salt
  • Powdered sugar and/or sugar-coated berries for garnish

Other Useful Tools:

  • Yolk Separator
  • Pouring Ladle
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Ramekins
  • Torch
  • Silicone Tongs
  • Cooling Rack
  • Aerolatte Stencils

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil. Arrange 9 ramekins in a large baking pan and set aside.

Place heavy cream in a medium saucepan and whisk in Vanilla Sugar, stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let the mixture rest for five minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, add egg yolks, ¼ a cup of granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk together until light and smooth. Add ¼ cup of cream mixture to the eggs, whisking immediately to combine and temper the eggs. Repeat. Add the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly as you combine.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any large vanilla beans pieces or bits of egg that may have cooked. Portion the custard into ramekins so that they are each nearly full.

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Place baking dish full of ramekins in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the pan slowly to avoid splashing water inside the ramekins, until the water reaches 2/3 up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the edges of the custard in the ramekins are set, and the centers are only slightly jiggly.

Using a spatula or tongs, preferably silicon coated for extra grip, carefully transfer ramekins to a cooling rack. Let cool until at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least three hours until cool.

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When ready to serve, sprinkle tops evenly with 1-2 teaspoons each of the remaining granulated sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the top of each custard. Let the custard rest for one minute. Place your stencil as close to the surface of the crème brûlée as possible. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remove stencil. Add sugar-coated berries for garnish.

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Already a crème brûlée aficionado? Using the Vanilla-infused sugar from Summit Spice adds an extra layer of flavor, and gives it those delectable flecks of vanilla bean. Dress it up even more using cappuccino stencils to create powdered sugar accents, and you’ve got a five star dessert.

Looking for even more inspiration, and more excuses to use your torch—because, really, it’s super fun—check out the Crèmes Brûlées cookbook by Mastrad and learn how to make dozens of sweet - and even savory - crème brûlée recipes to bring some fanciness to your table!

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By Lucy Gibson, Chef Instructor

These fresh and simple recipes allow you to make many lovely little one-bite dishes from your baked and smoked fishes:

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Salmon Cakes

1lb cooked salmon flaked

1 egg

2 Tbs of parsley

2 Tbs chopped green onion

Salt and pepper

2 Tbs cream cheese

  • Combine all ingredients in bowl mix well, shape into cakes.

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Panko bread crumbs

1 tsp paprika

  • Put 1 cup panko breadcrumbs in a bowl with the paprika
  • Mix together.
  • Roll the salmon cakes in the breadcrumbs, put on a baking sheet and bake in the
  • Oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees

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Salmon and Avocado Vol-au-Vents

Use the mixture for the salmon cakes and put a teaspoon of the mixture in the fully baked

Vol-au-vent case

bake in oven 359 for 15 minutes garnish with Avocado and baked Salmon flake.

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Smoked Salmon Vol-au Vent

8oz smoked salmon

1 pkg. cream cheese

I pkg. Frozen Vol-au-Vent cases

I teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley

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Bake Vol-au-Vent cases following the instructions on package. Allow to cool.

Mix smoked salmon, hot sauce and cream cheese until well blended.

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Spoon approximately 1/2 teaspoon of Salmon mixture into Vol-au-Vent puffs.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve.

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Cucumber Sandwiches

Slice cucumber. Spread smoked salmon mixture between two slices of cucumber.

Hold together with toothpick. Garnish with lemon rind or dip in a Balsamic Vinegar reduction.

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Make sure you have your cookie jar stocked, because these flavors make one surprisingly amazing team!

By Lucy Gibson, Chef Instructor

Cran-Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies        

1 cup butter
½ cup white sugar
¾ cup soft brown sugar
1 egg
2    cups flour
1tsp. baking soda
1 cup blueberry infused Craisins
1 cup Callebaut white chocolate Callets

Using a KitchenAid stand mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugars until almost white. Add egg and mix well. Add baking soda and flour. Mix until completely combined. Stir in craisins and callets.
Using a portion cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheet lined with a Silpat mat.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

tris

by Cheryl Shaffer, Kitchen Store Specialist

Mushroom Phyllo Triangles

Mince together:
3 Rosemary leafs, fresh
3 sprigs fresh Thyme
3 Sage leafs, fresh
10 stems fresh Chives, minced
2 baby Carrots
1/4 of a large Idaho potato
3 leafs of Purple Cabbage
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
Saute the above together in a skillet with 2 Tablespoons Butter and 1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
until everything is softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Add 10 chopped Mushrooms.

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When the mushrooms are cooked, add:

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
a few grinds of fresh milled pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
Thaw 1/2 of a box of Phyllo (Filo) Dough. You’ll use about 1/2 of this roll. Open the roll and
cover the dough sheets with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
Take 2 sheets of Phyllo dough and brush it with melted butter. Cover it with 2 more sheets of
dough and brush those with melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut the buttered sheets in half,
giving you two large rectangles.
Place 1 Tablespoon of the mushroom mixture on the bottom of each rectangle, in the center.
Fold the edges of dough over the mushroom mound. You’ll have two long, narrow rectangles.
Carefully fold the dough over itself like you would fold the American Flag, ending up in a triangle
shape. Brush the top with melted butter and place it on a cookie sheet with a Silpat sheet.
Continue until you have all of the mushroom mixture is used. You should have about 12
triangles.
Bake 350 oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the Phyllo dough is golden brown and crisp. Allow
to cool a little, serve warm.

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by Cheryl Shaffer, Kitchen Store Specialist

Portrait Potato Crisps

1 large Idaho baking potato, scrubbed but not peeled
Vegaline spray
flaked sea salt
J&D's Sriracha Rub Seasoning Blend
1 egg white, beaten to use as brushed-on “glue” for the herbs
Assorted Herbs:
rosemary
thyme
chives
red chili pepper seeds
poppy seeds
sage leaves
thinly sliced carrots
thinly sliced purple cabbage
thinly sliced potato peel
thinly sliced jalapeño pepper
thinly sliced lemon, lime or orange peel - be careful - you want color only, not the white pith or it
will be bitter.

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tools:
Mandoline set at thinnest slice
metal cooling rack set over a cookie sheet
sharp knife
mini cookie cutters

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Thinly slice the potato into cameo-like ovals. Brush with egg wash. Arrange the herbs into a
pleasing arrangement. I used mini cookie cutters to easily cut shapes from the cabbage, carrot,
citrus, and potato peel.

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When you have your design set, sprinkle with a little Sriracha
seasoning, give a light spray of Vegaline, and sprinkle of flake sea salt. Carefully transfer the
ovals to the metal cooling rack, which has been sprayed with Vegaline, and bake 350 degrees until
potato is cooked and starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

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These can be a bit time consuming, but if you cut out your basic shapes ahead, you can put
them together fairly quickly.

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I could get 9 ovals on each rack. The crisps are good on their
own, but can also be dipped in a bit of creamy dressing. Each bite is different, depending on
your mix of herbs used in the portrait.

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by Cheryl Shaffer, Kitchen Store Specialist

Mac & Cheese Bacon Cups

1/2 # pasta - I used egg noodles, cooked until al dente
1 bunch of green onions, white and green, sliced thinly
3 heels of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
2 cups heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 oz grated parmesan cheese
2 oz grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons beef base
2# bacon, thick sliced
12 teaspoons Panko crumbs

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For Bacon Cups:
Invert a pop-over mold onto a metal cooling rack, placed over a cookie sheet with sides.
Spray with a little vegetable spray to help reduce sticking.
Cut two strips of bacon in half, and criss cross them over the popover mold. Cut another strip in
half, and wrap it around the top of the mold, then continue with a full strip to fully wrap around
the mold. Gently squeeze it with your hand, to fit the mold and reduce any holes.
Continue to wrap each of the popover molds. You should have enough bacon to wrap 12
molds.
Bake in a 375 oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bacon is completely cooked. Cool. Carefully
remove cups from the molds. If they are not completely cooked on the interior, set them upright
on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, as needed. Cool.

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Cook the pasta in salted water, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper and thyme
until the white onions are translucent. Add the cream, cream cheese, and whisk until smooth
and bubbling. Add the beef base, Romano and Parmesan cheese, whisk until smooth. Add the
pasta and stir until well coated. Remove from heat.
Spoon the mac & cheese mixture into the bacon cups and dust with about 1 teaspoon of Panko
crumbs on each cup. Place cups on a baking sheet or in a casserole pan and bake at 350 until
the crumbs are golden.

Remove and enjoy!

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by Cheryl Shaffer, Kitchen Store Specialist

Chocolate Sriracha Candied Bacon Lollipops

2 # bacon, thick sliced
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. J&D's Sriracha Rub Seasoning Blend

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1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a metal cooling rack that has been set over a cookie
sheet pan, with sides. (you don’t want the bacon drippings to mess up your oven). Bacon
strips may touch, but should not overlap.
3. Spread the sugar / spice mixture over the bacon, to coat the tops of each strip. Use the
back of a spoon to smear it into the bacon.

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4. Bake in the oven until bacon is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Check often as oven temps
may vary and bacon thickness may cook faster or slower.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
6. Bacon may be enjoyed as is, or to make it extra special:

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7. Cut each slice in half, and dip 1/2 of the cut slice into the following chocolate glaze, then
sprinkle with a little flaked sea salt, place on parchment paper and freeze about 10 minutes,
to set the chocolate.

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Chocolate Glaze:
6 oz Challabaut Dk Chocolate Morsels
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is
smooth. You may need to add 15 seconds of heating time. Be careful, over-heating the
chocolate can cause it to seize.

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by Tina LeBaron, Kitchen Store Specialist

Homemade Sriracha Chile Lime Tortilla Chips

14                   Corn Tortillas

3                      Limes

1 Tblsp           Sriracha Seasoning

2 tsp               Sea Salt

Canola Oil (or any high heat cooking oil)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a cookie sheet, line as many tortillas on a single layer as possible, saving those that don’t fit for the next batch, preferably with a wire rack set on top of the sheet for extra even heating.

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  • Bake for 5 minutes. Prepare a large fry pan with a half an inch of canola oil and heat slowly over medium heat.
  • Zest the limes into a small bowl, and then add the Siracha Seasoning and sea salt. Adjust to taste keeping in mind the heat level will be slightly taken down once on the tortilla chip.
  • Next, stack the baked tortillas and cut into triangles.

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  • Once the oil is at about 350 degrees, place tortilla triangle in a single layer. Flip the chips after about 30 seconds or until golden brown. Be sure to lower the temperature if the oil begins to smoke.

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  • Remove chips once both sides are golden brown, and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

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  • Sprinkle with prepared seasoning and enjoy plain or with your favorite dip or salsa. Crunch!

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3                      Jalapenos

2 - 8oz pkgs   Cream Cheese

½ cup             Sour Cream

1 cup              Romano Cheese (or any cheese on hand)

1 - 10 oz jar   Artichoke Hearts

1 – 12 oz pkg Frozen Spinach

1 tsp               Vegetable oil

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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  • Rub jalapenos with 1 tsp of oil. Tongs in hand, roast jalapenos right over the flames if you’re experience, or on a mid-high heat grill pan.

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  • Turn peppers occasionally making sure all sides are done evenly until charred and softened.

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  • Remove from heat and on chopping board, carefully remove stems. Next, slice in half; remove seeds and membranes to lessen the heat of the pepper.

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  • Dice into small pieces. Wash hands immediately after handling hot peppers.

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  • Defrost frozen spinach in microwave and set aside.
  • Soften cream cheese slightly in microwave, about 20 seconds.

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  • Then in a medium bowl, mix cream cheese with sour cream until incorporated. Add grated Romano cheese, mix. Next, add drained artichokes, spinach, and diced jalapenos. Mix.

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  • Spread mixture into a small baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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  • Enjoy with your favorite chips, crackers, or bread!