Honey-glazed beets

Serves 4 as a side dish

We serve these beets on a bed of garlic-honey yogurt, but they are also fabulous on their own, tossed with pasta, or made into a bruschetta on wood-grilled bread spread with ricotta. If your beets come with their tops, roughly chop the greens and stir them in at the end of cooking.

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1 cup Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

Pinch salt

1 pound beets, peeled and cut into wedges or quarters, depending on size

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter

Zest and juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon honey (try a floral honey like raspberry flower honey)

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup toasted, chopped pistachios

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey, and garlic. Set aside.

In a large skillet, combine vegetables, oil, honey, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until beets are tender. This will take about 15–20 minutes, depending on the age and size of the beets.

When the beets are tender (they can be easily pierced with a fork, but shouldn’t be falling apart) remove the cover and add the orange juice and zest. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the beets are just starting to brown and are shiny and glazed.

Spread yogurt across the bottom of a serving platter or 4 individual plates. Top with the beets and then with the pistachios.

Honey-garlic chicken

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1 pound skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 serving-sized pieces if needed

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

⅓ cup flour (more, if needed) for dredging

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

⅓ cup honey

2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce

Place flour on a plate, season with paprika, salt, and pepper.

Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 3 minutes a side, or until golden.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, honey, vinegar, and fish sauce.

Continue to cook chicken until glazed with sauce and cooked through to 165°.

Honey ice cream

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This recipe, adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, is a delicious change from good ol’ vanilla. Wildflower honey makes a delicious ice cream, but for a real pop of flavor use a strongly flavored honey like buckwheat or conifer honey. The honey is added at the end of the custard-making. Honey is gently acidic, and adding it too early could cause the base to curdle.

Makes 1 quart

5 large egg yolks

¼ cup sugar

1½ cups whole milk

Pinch salt

1½ cups heavy cream

½ cup (6 ounces by weight) honey

In a large bowl whisk yolks and sugar together well, until sugar is dissolved into the yolks.

Pour the cream into another large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

In a medium saucepan bring milk and salt to a simmer. Pour warm milk slowly over the yolks, whisking the entire time. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring with a rubber spatula, until mixture is thick and coats the spatula.

Pour the contents of the saucepan through the strainer into the cream. Stir gently to combine, then whisk in honey.

Chill well overnight and then freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Jalapeño-honey vinaigrette

Makes about 1 cup

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This vinaigrette is a handy mealtime tool to keep around. Try it on grilled vegetables (as we have here), or marinate grilled shrimp to stuff into a taco.

½ cup olive or avocado oil

1 jalapeño, minced (seeded if less heat is desired)

¼ cup white wine or cider vinegar

2 tablespoons clover or wildflower honey

1 orange, juice and zested

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Bee’s Knees cocktail

Makes 1 seriously strong cocktail

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This classic cocktail dates back to Prohibition. The honey and lime juice likely helped to mask the flavor of bathtub gin! Today, make this drink with a smooth modern Plymouth-style gin (these gins highlight more subtle aromatics and leave the juniper in the forest). Try adding a thyme or lavender sprig to the shaker for a different take on the classic.

¼ cup (2 ounces) gin

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Swirl the shaker to melt the honey into the lemon juice. Top with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass.

Sriracha Cauliflower

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

This may never replace the iconic wing, but these spicy bites are pretty darned addictive. Plus, a hot oven gives you crispy florets while keeping you away from the deep fryer. Use your favorite purchased blue cheese dressing, or whip up your own by whisking sour cream, a splash of red wine vinegar, a generous amount of ground pepper, and a handful of blue cheese crumbles. When cutting up the cauliflower, don’t toss the core—cut it into thin strips and roast it along with the florets.

Serves 6 as a snack

1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (about 8 cups)

½ cup flour

½ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

⅔ cup sriracha

2 tablespoons butter, melted 

Heat oven to 450°. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, water, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower and toss to coat well. Lay onto baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.

In a large bowl, stir sriracha and butter together. Toss the baked cauliflower in the sauce. Return florets to the baking sheet and bake for another 30 minutes, or until crisp. 

Serve with blue cheese dressing and carrot and celery sticks if desired.

Cracker Jill

This recipe, taken from the blog of Cathy Barrow, friend of Edible Pioneer Valley (cathybarrow.com), makes the perfect bar snack. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste: Leave out the nuts, amp up the pepper, swap the bourbon for rum, and so it goes … Cracker Jill lasts about two to three days in a tightly covered container. 

Makes about 12 cups

6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled, 1 tablespoon bacon fat reserved

1 cup popcorn kernels

⅓ cup grapeseed oil

2 cups salted peanuts, or slivered almonds (if you have run out of peanuts)

6 ounces unsalted butter

8 ounces light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon gochucaru chili powder (or pimente d’Espelette, or Aleppo pepper, or cayenne), depending on your pantry and your preference

Heat oven to 250° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

In a 5-quart heavy pot, heat the grapeseed oil and 3 popcorn kernels. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn, remove the pot from the heat, cover and wait exactly 30 seconds. Place the pot back on the heat, shaking often until the corn stops popping. Dump into a very large bowl immediately. Add bacon, bacon fat, and peanuts. Set aside.

Make the caramel: In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, and salt until dark amber and a candy thermometer reads 265° to 270°. Add the baking soda and stir well, then add the bourbon and chili powder and stir very thoroughly and carefully, as the bourbon may sputter. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir gently and thoroughly to coat with caramel.

Spread the popcorn out on the baking sheets lined with parchment. Slide in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely. Break up especially large chunks.

Chickpea “Fries”

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Chickpea flour is used in snacks across the world. In Italy, chickpea flour is mixed into a crispy crèpe called farinata. In India, chickpea flour (called besan flour) is used in pakoras and other fritters. This recipe hews closely to the French panisse, a french fry–like fritter. Chickpea flour is easily found in supermarkets and Indian markets.

Serves 6 as a snack

6.4 ounces (1½ cups) chickpea flour

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted 

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2¼ cups water

Oil for pan-frying

Garlic mayonnaise for serving

Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with pan spray. 

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk in water until there are no lumps. Place the pan over medium heat. Stir continuously with rubber spatula until the mixture is very thick. Scrape the batter onto the baking dish and spread it into a ½-inch-thick layer. The batter may not cover the entire dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. 

The next day, unmold the batter and cut it into french-fry-sized strips. In a heavy skillet, pour oil to a depth of ¼ inch. Heat oil until very hot, but not smoking. Gently lay the strips into the oil in batches and fry, turning to brown all sides, about 5 minutes total. Do not crowd the pan; the strips should not touch each other. 

Drain hot fries on paper toweling. Serve with garlic mayonnaise. 

Garlic Mayonnaise

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup prepared mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

1 to 2 cloves garlic, to taste, minced 

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch paprika

Mix all ingredients together. Keep cold until ready to serve. 

Inside-Out Shishito Poppers

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Recipe by Mary Reilly, Food Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Jalapeño poppers are standard bar fare. In this recipe, shishito peppers and a tequila-spiked queso dip offer similar flavors in a slightly more elegant package. No deep-frying required!

No peppers on hand? The queso dip is also great with tortilla chips or cut vegetables. 

Serves 4 to 6 as a snack

2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 pound shishito peppers

1 batch Tequila-Spiked Queso Dip

Coarse salt

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over high heat until very hot. (If you have an exhaust fan, this is the time to use it.) Add the oil to the pan, then the peppers. Let the peppers rest in the skillet until charred, then stir gently to spin and char evenly. Let the peppers cook for another minute or two. The peppers should be charred and starting to soften. 

Remove from skillet and sprinkle with salt. Serve with queso dip. 

Tequila-Spiked Queso Dip

(adapted from Rick Bayless)

Makes about 2½ cups

1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 small red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup diced tomato (canned is fine)

3 tablespoons tequila 

½ pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 3 cups) 

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened. Add the tequila to the skillet and cook until it’s almost completely evaporated. 

Reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle the cheese into the pan. Stir constantly, until completely melted. Stir in the sour cream and cilantro. Keep warm in a small chafing dish until ready to serve. 

Mini Potato Skins

Recipe by Mary Reilly, Styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

Perfect for game day or any day, these two-bite morsels will tick all the essential snack boxes: crispy, cheesy, and salty. Try fingerlings or tiny new potatoes. If only large ’taters are to be found, follow the recipe (the baking time will be longer), but cut the potatoes into inch-wide wedges. 

Serves 6 as a snack

1½ pounds little potatoes (about 12 small potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

½ cup shredded cheese (try cheddar, pepper jack, parmesan, or a combination)

¼ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons minced chives

Heat oven to 400°F. Bake potatoes until cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool until cool enough to handle. 

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out some of the potato, making a boat. Drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crispy.

Preheat broiler.

Divide the cheese and bacon between the potato halves. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with sour cream and chives. 

A New Take on Milk and Cookies

Story and food styling by Joy Howard, Photos by Dominic Perri

My 6-year-old daughter will dip anything into what she’s drinking. It’s like a compulsion. Whether it’s cookies in milk or baby carrots in juice, there seems to be something deeply satisfying to her about the act of plunging a morsel of food into her cup and gobbling it up. Searching for a treat that pairs well with her quirky habit recently led me to a new baking project: biscotti.

If you think of these crunchy, dunk-worthy cookies as a sweet reserved for grown-up coffee drinkers, you couldn’t be more wrong! In Italy, where the recipe originated, they’re traditionally served at the end of a meal with a dessert wine called vin santo. While it’s true that neither coffee nor wine is a kid-friendly accompaniment, you don’t need my daughter to tell you how delicious a homemade slice of biscotti can be any time of day with a glass of milk. (It also makes a wonderful ice cream topping if you crumble it.)

This version features toasted almonds and a hint of orange zest. The flavors are subtle and perfect for soaking up all sorts of drinks—both kid- and parent-approved. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the texture of the cookies, which are dry and crunchy but not dense and hard like the ones often found in pastry shops and cafés. Making the cookies is a two-step process. After the dough is baked and cooled slightly, it’s sliced and returned to the oven for several minutes more. This allows each cookie to develop its characteristic texture. During the first step, kids can mix, roll, and shape the dough; and in the second phase, they can take charge of arranging the cookies on the baking sheet before the second bake.

Easy Almond Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons almond extract

½ teaspoon orange zest

½ cup lightly toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and set at medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and blend between each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extract and the orange zest and continue to blend until incorporated.

Reduce the mixer’s speed to medium-low. Slowly add the flour and blend well. Add the almonds and mix for just a few seconds to incorporate. With floured hands, scoop up the dough (it will be very sticky) and place it on a lightly floured surface. 

Evenly halve the dough and roll each portion into a 1½- by 15-inch log. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange with a few inches between each log. Gently press the top of each to flatten it slightly.

Bake until golden and puffy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 15 minutes. Reserve the baking sheet. 

With a sharp knife, slice each log into ¾-inch cookies. Arrange on the baking sheet, standing upright, and return to the oven. Bake until lightly dried, deep golden, and crisp on the outside, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.  

CHILLED RADISH AND GINGER SOUP WITH GRILLED RADISH AND SCALLIONS

by Sanford D’Amato, Food styling by Joy Howard, Photo by Dominic Perri

CHILLED RADISH AND GINGER SOUP WITH GRILLED RADISH AND SCALLIONS

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For 8 to 10

2 tablespoons regular olive oil

1½ pound trimmed radishes, cleaned and cut in quarters

8 ounces Granny Smith apples, washed, cored (not peeled), and cut in medium dice

2 ounces fresh ginger root, washed (not peeled) and sliced

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

8 cups unsalted chicken stock

Zest of ½ lemon

In a 1-gallon sauce pot, place the oil over medium heat. Add the radishes, apple, and ginger and cook for 10 minutes (do not brown). Add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, and cardamom and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock. Bring up to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the radishes are very tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme, add the lemon zest, and carefully purée in a blender until very smooth. Refrigerate.

To Finish the Dish

12 scallions, ends trimmed

3 tablespoons regular olive oil, plus more if needed for coating

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

24 radishes (large enough that they won’t fall through the grill grates), cleaned, ½ inch of green tops left on, and cut in half

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Prepared Chilled Radish Soup

Toss the scallions with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then season them with salt and pepper. Grill over a hot fire for 1–2 minutes per side, until cooked. Toss the radishes with the remaining oil, salt, pepper, and sugar, and grill over medium heat until very tender, 4–5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and toss with the lemon juice. Cut the cooled scallions on the bias into 1-inch lengths. Toss with the radishes and divide between bowls. Pour the soup around the radishes and serve.

Midnight in Paris Onion Soup Gratinée

Midnight in Paris Onion Soup Gratinée

This recipe from Betty Rosbottom’s new book, Soup Nights, is the perfect antidote to cold winter nights. Betty shares a tip direct from Julia Child: “She suggests stirring some small strips of Gruyère into the soup before adding the toasted bread slices. Those little strips melt as the soup simmers in the oven, melding beautifully into the onion broth.” Read more about Betty’s new book on page 10. Serves 6.

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Quick-Pickled Onions

Quick-Pickled Onions

I am never without a jar of these onions on hand. They go well in everything: chopped into salads, sprinkled onto grilled beef or lamb, stuffed into a wrap with hummus, anywhere you want a tangy hit from vinegar and a little oniony bite. They keep forever in the fridge, but they’re so easy to make, I usually pickle a pint at a time. Makes 1 pint. 

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Baked Onion Rings

Baked Onion Rings

Onion rings tend to be a treat relegated to burger shacks. This oven-fried version is easy to make, and since these rings are lower in fat than the deep-fried option, you can enjoy them any time. Use sweet onions like Vidalias or, if you like your onions to have a little more bite, use white onions instead. These are best when they’re baked on a silicone baking sheet (sometimes called a Silpat), but if you prefer, you can bake them on parchment-lined baking sheets instead. Serves 4.

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Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Mocha Frosting

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Mocha Frosting

Sauerkraut for dessert? This cake can be found in community cookbooks from areas with large German populations. As crazy as it sounds, the kraut adds a sweet-sour tang and a lot of moisture to this cake. Whether you disclose the identity of secret ingredient is up to you. If you don’t feel up to making a layer cake, bake the cake in a 9- by 3-inch baking pan instead.  The cake is best the day it is made; the frosting will start to “wilt” after a day, but will still taste delicious!

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