Friday, April 10, 2020

"Savor The Flavor" - April 2020

“Savor the Flavor” is hopping into April with some recipes that I hope you will enjoy. We will also be submitting some things to help you while you are all social distancing and hunkering down due to the Coronavirus. It is a good time to stay in, clean out your pantries, get things organized, and do some baking or cooking with your spouse, your children, or grandchildren.

This list of pantry staples are the items that I  like to keep on hand to help me whip up meals on the fly. They’re basic, versatile ingredients that are used frequently, are usually fairly inexpensive, and have a long shelf life (pantry, refrigerator, or freezer). Your personal list will take shape as you begin to cook regularly and develop favorite recipes or flavors. In the mean time, use this list as a guide for slowly building up your pantry over time. You don’t have to buy everything at once! Buy one or two items, as needed, but always check if you need to restock on these items before you do your weekly shopping trip.

Kosher salt
Fine salt
Black peppercorns
Extra virgin olive oil
Vegetable oil
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Balsamic or sherry vinegar
Rice vinegar (unseasoned)

Flour: all purpose, whole wheat or pastry
Baking soda
Baking powder
Cream of tartar
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Chocolate: chips or bar
Evaporated milk
Pure vanilla extract

Granulated sugar
Confectioners' sugar
Brown sugar
Maple syrup
Agave syrup

Long-grain white rice
Brown rice
Grains: bulgur, quinoa, couscous or farro
Pasta: standard, whole grain, rice noodles or egg noodles
Breadcrumbs: plain or panko

Cookies or biscuits
Popcorn kernels
Dried fruit: raisins, apricots or cherries
Seeds: sunflower, flax, chia or hemp
Peanut butter or almond butter
Breakfast cereal
Old-fashioned rolled oats

Chicken broth
Beans: cannellini, navy, chickpeas or black
Vegetables: hominy, corn or green beans
Olives or capers
Chiles: chipotles in adobo or pickled jalapenos
Tomato paste
Roasted red peppers
Anchovy fillets or paste

Bay leaves
Cajun seasoning
Cayenne pepper
Chile powder
Crushed red pepper
Curry powder
Fennel or dill seed
Granulated garlic
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Ground cumin
Ground ginger
Paprika: sweet and smoked
Sesame seeds
Whole nutmeg

Plain yogurt: regular or Greek
Unsalted butter
Cheddar or mozzarella
Goat cheese
Parmesan (wedge)

Bell peppers
Broccoli or cauliflower
Leafy greens: spinach, kale or chard
Lettuce: romaine, Boston or mixed greens
Flat-leaf parsley
Potatoes: sweet, white or new
Tomatoes: grape, cherry or seasonal beefsteak

Jelly, jam or preserves
Mustard: Dijon or whole grain
Hot sauce: Tabasco, Sriracha or sambal
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce or tamari
Asian fish sauce
Toasted sesame oil

Ground beef, ground turkey or Italian sausage
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bread: baguette or sandwich bread
Vegetables: peas, chopped spinach or corn
Fruit: berries, peaches or mangos
Nuts: almonds, walnuts or pecans
Dough: pizza, pie or puff pastry
Vanilla ice cream

Take a quick look at what you already have on hand to make sure you don't overbuy. You don't need to go crazy with purchasing canned goods if you already have the recommended two-weeks' worth. The same goes for cleaning supplies.
If you have fresh produce in your home, use that up first to minimize any waste. Then, look for canned, boxed, and shelf-stable items to have on hand. When it comes to canned goods, it's always preferable to look for low-sodium versions, and cans that say they don't have BPA lining, if you can find them. Frozen foods are excellent to have on hand, as well.
When it comes to perishables, don't be afraid to add some fresh produce to your list; just try to choose items that are longer-lasting (we've listed them out for you below) or foods you can freeze. Try to choose whole produce when possible instead of pre-cut (for example, whole mushrooms keep longer than sliced). If you accidentally buy too much fresh produce, know that you can freeze just about any fruit or vegetable (except items like celery, lettuce, and cucumbers that have a high water content and can get very soggy). Bananas another good purchase — if they get too ripe, simply peel and cut them, then freeze and add to smoothies.

There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted from food or food packaging, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Nor is there any indication that people have contracted coronavirus, from consuming food.
During these troubled times, it is always good to be cautious. Good hand washing and disinfecting high traffic areas, especially used for the preparation of food is essential. This is a time to be with your family. Cooking together is one way that you can be closer, share quality time with each other. Cooking has always been a source of comfort for many, so I would urge you to please get out your cookbooks, your favorite recipes and bring back the “Art of Cooking” into your lives.  I hope this article will help you understand a little bit about what you need to keep your pantry stocked along with your refrigerator and freezer. To quote Julia Childs “No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing”. 

 Next month, I will continue with these helpful hints. Please make this article yours, by submitting hints and recipes to or by calling me at 603-755-3012

Saturday, March 14, 2020

March 2020 - Savor The Flavor

"Savor The Flavor" is starting our the month of March with all things "Green". In this issue, I will be attempting to update this blog and include pictures. I want to thank Stan Freeda, Editor of the Puddledock Press for helping me set up this column for you to enjoy'

8 slices white sandwich bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter. Arrange a single layer of cucumber slices on 4 of the bread slices. Stir together the mayonnaise, chives, mustard and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture over the cucumbers. Top with the remaining slices of buttered bread. Cut off the crusts and cut each sandwich into three finger. ~~ENJOY~~

2 cucumbers, sliced and divided
5 sprigs fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
2 cups vodka
12 oz can limeade concentrate
12 oz can lemon lime soda, or sparkling water
Muddle one cucumber and sprigs of mint vigorously in a pitcher using the end of a wooden spoon or similar.
Add vodka, limeade concentrate and lemon-lime soda or sparkling water then stir until well combined.
Strain into a fresh pitcher or drink dispenser filled with ice then add sliced cucumber and mint for garnish.
How to "Muddle"
Choose a sturdy mixing glass, a pint glass, or a shaker tin. If you choose a thin-walled glass, you risk breaking or chipping the glass with your muddler.
Place the leaves into the bottom of the glass. Add sugar, pieces of fruit, or whatever else the recipe calls for.

"What is a "muddler"., you may ask: Definition: muddler is a bartender's tool, used like a pestle to mash—or muddle—fruits, herbs and spices in the bottom of a glass to release their flavor.

What is a "pestle" you may ask or a "mortar and pestle"? Mortar and pestle are implements used since ancient times to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder in the kitchenlaboratory, and pharmacy. The mortar (/ˈmɔːrtər/) is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, metal, ceramic, or hard stone, such as granite. The pestle (/ˈpɛsəl/also US/ˈpɛstəl/) is a heavy and blunt club-shaped object. The substance to be ground, which may be wet or dry, is placed in the mortar, where the pestle is pressed and rotated onto it until the desired texture is achieved.

2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. stout (such as Guinness)
2 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 16-oz. bag Ruffles
6 strips cooked bacon, chopped

2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
Make beer cheese sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in garlic and flour and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add stout and milk and bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat slightly. Stir in cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

On a large serving dish, scatter about half of the chips. Pour about half of the beer cheese on top then sprinkle with chives and chopped bacon. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately. ~~ENJOY~~

1 cup of shredded cabbage
4 ounces corned beef (chopped)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup of cooked diced potatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup onions (thinly sliced)
1.5 quarts vegetable oil (for deep frying)

8 pieces of egg roll papers (7-inch square)
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375°F.
Mix the onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and corned beef in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
Lay the egg roll papers on a clean dry surface.
Place 1/2 cup of mixture on each wrap, roll up into logs, then wet the edge of the wrap to seal.

Fry the rolls for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil then drain on paper towels. ~~ENJOY~~

4 slices bread
2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 drops blue food coloring
1/4 cup (about 8-ounces) minced ham 
Special Equipment: Cookie Cutters
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using the cookie cutters, cut out different shapes in the bread and spread them with butter. Arrange them on a cookie sheet and bake until the bread is toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Break the eggs into medium bowl by lightly tapping the egg against the counter. Push gently into the crack with your thumbs and pull the 2 sides of the shell apart. Throw out the shells. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and 2 to 3 drops of blue food coloring to the eggs to make the desired green color. Whisk the eggs until they are completely mixed together.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Make sure your adult helper is nearby. Add the ham and cook it until it begins to brown a little, about 3 minutes. Stir it with the wooden spoon to keep it from sticking. Pour the eggs right on top of the ham. Don't stir until the eggs have begun to set, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to fold the cooked eggs over as they cook. Chop up the eggs with the tip of the spatula. Remove the eggs to small plates as soon as they are done and serve with your different shaped toasts. ~~ENJOY~~

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lb. beef chuck stew meat, cubed into 1" pieces 
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 c. low-sodium beef broth
1 (16-oz.) bottle Guinness 
2 tsp. fresh thyme

Freshly chopped parsley, for serving
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with salt and pepper, then add to pot and cook on all sides until seared, 10 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Transfer beef to a plate. 
In same pot, add remaining tablespoon oil and cook onion, carrots, and celery until soft, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add beef back to Dutch oven, then add potatoes, broth, beer, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until beef and potatoes are tender, 30 minutes.

Garnish with parsley before serving. ~~ENJOY~~

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seed
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course meal. Stir in currants.
Mix in beaten egg. Pour in milk and mix to make a soft dough.
On a flour surface, shape dough into a ball and kneed lightly 5 or 6 ties. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutter (if no cookie cutter use the lid of a canning jar) -approx 2 inch in diameter.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly browned.
Serving Size: Makes 30 2 inch cookies
Number of Servings: 30  ~~ENJOY~~

1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped

2-1/2 cups frozen peas (about 10 ounces)
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional toppings: Plain yogurt, croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute onion until tender. Stir in peas and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peas are tender, about 5 minutes.
Puree soup using an immersion blender, or cool slightly and puree soup in a blender; return to pan. Stir in quinoa, salt and pepper; heat through. Serve with toppings as desired. ~~ENJOY~~
Editor's Note
Broccoli coleslaw mix may be found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

Look for quinoa in the cereal, rice or organic food aisle.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches mustard greens, stemmed and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
In a large pan with straight sides on medium heat add the oil. Add the garlic to the hot oil. Saute until garlic is softened and fragrant and has infused the oil.
Add the mustard greens. Season the greens with salt, and pepper, and saute while tossing to wilt. Once wilted add the chicken stock and stir. Raise heat to a simmer, then lower and cook for about 5 minutes more.

Stir in the ground mustard. Serve warm. ~~ENJOY~~

Savor The Flavor is starting out this month by thinking about “All Things Valentines Day”.

Savor The Flavor is starting out this month by thinking about “All Things Valentines Day”. 

1 - 64 ounce container of V8 Strawberry Lemonade of your choice.
1 liter Sierra Mist or Sprite
1 1/2 quart container of raspberry or strawberry sherbet 
Chill strawberry lemonade and sierra mist for a few hours.
Pour the strawberry lemonade and Sierra mist in a gallon pitcher or punch bowl.
Stir to combine flavors.
Pour mixture into mason jars and top with a scoop of sherbet.
Serve immediately.~~ENJOY~~

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1 tablespoon diced pimientos
2 heads endive, separated into leaves
In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Stir in the shrimp, onion, celery and pimientos. Spoon 1 tablespoonful onto each endive leaf; arrange on a platter. Refrigerate until serving. ~~ENJOY~~

February 7, 2020 is “National Fettuccine Alfredo Day”
Fettuccine Alfredo
Kosher salt
1 pound fettuccine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), plus more for topping
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.
Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and butter in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking to combine. Whisk in the nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
Add the pasta and cheese to the sauce. Increase the heat to medium and toss to coat, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Transfer the pasta to bowls and top with more parmesan. ~~ ENJOY~~

VALENTINES DAY LASAGNA (Crockpot  or slow-cooker)
1 lb Ground Beef
1 jar regular size spaghetti sauce
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes Italian or Basil, Oregano & Garlic Flavored
12 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg ~~ENJOY~~
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 onion chopped
1 package 8oz no-cook lasagna noodles
salt to taste
Brown ground beef and chopped onions until no longer pink. Drain, and return to pot.
Stir in pasta sauce, canned tomatoes and 1/3 cup water on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Dump ricotta cheese in a bowl with the egg, stir well until combined.
Pour 1/5 of your meat sauce into the bottom of a greased Crock Pot and top with a layer of dry noodles. They won’t fit perfectly, you’ll need to break off bits and pieces all over the place (I’d consider wearing safety goggles for this job) and overlap them some – but no worries, it’ll all work out in the end.
Spread a ricotta cheese mixture on top of noodles. I've found it's easiest to squeeze mixture out of a zip lock. (see image below recipe).
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, followed by mozzarella. I use more mozzarella than parmesan.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have 3 layers of noodles or are simply out of ingredients. It’s hard to mess this up – the most important part is to make sure there is a layer of sauce touching each layer of noodles so that it will “boil” while cooking. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. During the last hour, pour the extra 1 Cup Mozzarella on top so it will melt and look lovely by dinner time~~ENJOY~~

February 25, 2020 is “Clam Chowder Day”

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 1/2 celery stalks, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 large waxy-style potato (about 3/4 pound), diced
5 cups clam juice (five 8-ounce bottles clam juice)
One 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
1-1/2 cups minced clams, drained (about four 6-1/2 ounce cans)
1 tablespoon kosher salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Tie the parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot with the potatoes. Pour in the clam juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and clams. Cover and bring to a low simmer. Season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately. ~~ENJOY~~

3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice, or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the broth and keep it warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook for about 2 minutes until the rice is toasted. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Repeat, adding 3/4 cup of hot broth 2 more times, stirring often, about 12 minutes longer. At this point, the risotto can be made 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate the risotto (the rice will still be firm) and remaining broth, uncovered, until cool, then cover and keep them refrigerated until ready to proceed.
Bring the remaining broth to a simmer, then cover and keep it warm over very low heat. Stir 3/4 cup of hot broth into the partially cooked risotto over medium heat until the broth is absorbed and the risotto is hot, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining broth and simmer until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the peas and parsley. Add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls. Sprinkle additional cheese over and serve. ~~ENJOY~~

12 ounces frozen berries (blueberries or raspberries)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 cups crisp topping, recipe follows
5 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts such as; walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1 1/2 cups crushed crackers, gingersnaps or cereal
4 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Place the flour, sugar, nuts and crackers into a large mixing bowl and combine. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it is crumbly. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use as topping for crisps, cobblers or grunts.
Do you know what a “grunt” is? A Slump?
A dessert, traditionally served on America's east coast that is a combination of a pie and a cobbler. It consists of fruit, most often berries, which are cooked beneath a crust of biscuit dough. ... A Grunt is similar in preparation to the Slump with the exception that the Grunt is steam cooked and the Slump is baked.

2 bags chocolate chips (dark or milk chocolate)
1 bag pretzels (logs work well for this, but you can try any of the medium to thick variety of twists)
Chopped nuts, for garnish, optional
Colored nonpareils, for garnish, optional
Sprinkles, for garnish, optional
Coconut, for garnish, optional
Crushed cookies, for garnish, optional
Melt chocolate in double boiler over medium heat on stove top. Using tongs, or your fingers, quickly dip pretzels in chocolate allowing the excess to run off. Place dipped pretzels on waxed paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, colored sugars or other toppings. Allow to harden. You may need to refrigerate for a while to help this along. Once hardened, remove from sheets and store in a cool location, with waxed paper between layers.
Tip: Package pretzels in clear cellophane bags or in vase for festive gift giving!
Hint: Get your children and grandchildren involved and watch their creativity show. ~~ENJOY~~

Next month, Savor The Flavor will be bringing you “Everything Green” for St. Patrick's Day.  Thank you for making us part of your day~ See you next month.

Deborah L. Reed, Editor of “Savor The Flavor”