CAN-DO REAL FOOD CAN BE USED TO ENHANCE YOUR MEALS, SNACKS AND PARTIES
Jams with cheese as an appetizer We have served many of our jam products with cheese and crackers as an appetizer. Aged cheese with a nutty, slightly salty flavor work best with the sweet jams and a whole grain cracker. One very traditional pair (actually a common Spanish dessert or tapas) is quince paste with Manchego cheese. To me, Manchego tastes in between an aged Swiss cheese and Parmesan. It has the nutty salty flavor that will go well with almost any of our jams. Add some hazelnuts (this is Oregon!), salami and/or olives to make a nice antipasto platter. Aged goat cheese works well with our Lemon Pepper Pinot Gris Wow.
Baked brie can be enhanced with any of the jams and a small wheel of brie. The recipe (very easy) IS SO easy and people will think you worked so hard. Purchase a box of Puffed Pastry in the freezer section where they have pies and other desserts, usually near the phyllo dough. Use ONE pastry in the box. Put a circle of jam (so many of what we make work perfectly for this) in the center of the pastry and place the brie (either a round one or a triangle one cut and placed close together) on top of the jam. Fold the pastry up and then turn it over. Place some parchment paper or aluminum foil under it to help with the transfer to the serving plate later. Bake 425 degrees for 20 minutes when it will be ooey-gooey. Serve with crackers. When we take it to a party, it seems to be the first to disappear.
MAIN COURSE MEAL IDEAS
Sweet Potato Curry Dish using the Winter Squash Coconut Curry Instant Soup Mix
Vegetarian – Serves 4 to 6 2 large sweet potatoes 1 Tbs olive oil or butter ½ large onion, coarsely chopped ½ cup raisins (optional) 1 large package Winter Squash Coconut Curry Soup Mix 1 – 1 ½ cups water
- Microwave sweet potatoes until cooked but still somewhat firm, peel and cut into bite size pieces
- Heat oil or butter in skillet, add onions and cook until just transparent
- Add soup mix and water, simmer until sauce thickens. If sauce is too thick, add water as needed.
- Add sweet potatoes and optional raisins. Simmer, stirring to coat the sweet potatoes and plump the raisins.
- Serve over cooked white rice with mango chutney or other Indian condiments on the side.
Quick and easy pasta using Loaded Pasta Sauce
This is great when you have to put together a meal easily and quickly. Cook the pasta (any you have on hand will do). Once it is boiling add a teaspoon of salt, and add enough pasta to feed the hungry horde. While you are waiting for the water to boil (don’t watch it!), you can open a jar of pasta sauce into a sauce pan and heat. You can add sliced mushrooms if desired — I try to keep some in the fridge at all times.
If you want to make a meat sauce, brown a pound of ground meat in a little olive oil and add to the sauce. If the ground meat is frozen (the usual case in our house), defrost in the microwave before browning. One pound of ground meat will work with either a pint or quart of pasta sauce. Drain the pasta when just done and dump into a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. A green salad and crusty bread will complete the meal. I have put all this together in under 30 minutes even with frozen meat. Pint serves 2-3, Quart 4-6 especially with meat added.
Roasted Meat with Jam Glaze
One way to use a number of jams, jellies or marmalades is as a glaze on your favorite meat or fish. Simply take a tablespoon or two of the product and dilute with wine or broth in a saucepan over low heat until liquefied. Generally equal parts of jam and liquid will work. If you are planning to broil either in the broiler or out on the grill, it is better to cook the meat first, then at the last brush on the glaze. The high sugar content of the jam is likely to burn if used throughout the broiling. For baking, this is less of a problem (lower heat), so brush the glaze on the meat or fish before baking.
Naughty Bunny (carrot marmalade) will go well with white meats (chicken, pork or rabbit). A dry white wine or chicken stock is best for thinning the glaze. It would also make a good glaze for baked ham especially with a couple of tablespoons of brown mustard.
Naughty Zuk (lemon zucchini marmalade) will go well with fish as well as white meats. Dry white wine and chicken stock for meat, white wine or water with fish.
Pinot Gris Lemon Pepper Wow (jelly) can be used just like the Naughty Zuk because of its lemon flavor. If you use wine, a pinot gris would work best.
Herbed Grilling Sauce works well with any white meat, especially chicken or duck, as a marinade before cooking. Because it has less sugar and not thick, it is ready to use right out of the bottle. Cut up the chicken into quarters (if starting with a whole chicken) and place in a shallow glass dish and coat all sides well with the marinade. Allow to sit covered for 30 minutes or so before grilling. It also can be baked in the oven in an oven proof dish.
Pinot Noir Wow (Jelly) would make an interesting addition to pan drippings from a beef roast, rather than as a glaze. One tablespoon to about of cup of au jus or beef broth should do. If this is a bit sweet to your taste, add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to give it a sweet/sour taste. Reduce slightly and thicken if desired with 2 teaspoons of corn starch (I prefer potato starch) whisked together with equal amount of water. Whisk into the hot liquid until smooth and thickened. Slice the roast onto a serving platter and drizzle a little sauce over it. Serve the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat. Mashed potatoes or a nice wild rice mix (follow instructions on package) takes well to the sauce. A green veggie or salad and crusty bread. An Oregon Pinot Noir is the ideal pairing.
Like the jams or marmalades, our Smokey Fig Orange Cooking sauce goes well with a variety of meats, especially pork. One that is a favorite in our house is with a pork roast in a slow cooker. Brown the roast on all sides in a heavy pan with a little olive oil. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker (crock pot) and add an 8 oz. jar of Smokey Fig and an equal amount of dry white wine or chicken broth. Cover and cook on medium for about 2 hours until the meat is tender. Remove meat from crock pot and slice onto a serving plate. Drizzle some of the cooking juices over the meat and serve the rest in a gravy boat. You can thicken with some potato starch if desired. Mashed potatoes or rice makes a good starch and will be a vehicle for the sauce. A green salad and crusty bread completes the meal. I like a dry pinot noir rose with this.
Simple Green Enchiladas:
This is Beth’s favorite and she often requests it for her birthday meal. I usually make it all from scratch, but our Tomatillo Salsa cuts out a lot of the work. Actually the basis of the salsa is my Sauce Verde (green sauce) which I use in this recipe.
- Two pints Tomatillo Salsa, blended smooth
- 1 pound chicken breasts or tenders
- 1 pound of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded.
- 1 pkg (30 count) corn tortillas cut in halves
- Optional: one bunch green onions, chopped
Start with the Tomatillo Salsa (choose the heat you like) and put it in a blender to blend smooth. Brown some chicken breasts or chicken tenders in a little olive oil on all sides. Set aside on paper towels to cool. Chop or shred into bit size pieces. Add the blended salsa (now sauce Verde) to the pan drippings and heat. Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of an oven proof baking dish and top with a layer of corn tortillas, followed by some of the chicken and some of the Monterey Jack cheese and some green onions. More sauce and another layer of tortillas. Unlike traditional enchiladas, I do not roll them because it is faster. Continue repeating layers ending with cheese on top. Sprinkle with green onions.Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes or until all bubbly. Remove from oven and cut into squares and serve. Some guacamole and refried beans completes the meal. A good Mexican beer goes great.
Serves 6-8 but reheats well for smaller families.
Using finishing salts such as pinot noir or pinot gris salt
Finishing salts are added after cooking just before serving as the delicate flavor of the wine will be lost in cooking. Sprinkle the pinot noir salt over a grilled steak or lamb chops, pinot gris over chicken, pork or fish (think red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat). Pinot gris salt is especially nice on steamed vegetables such as green beans, broccoli or sugar snap peas. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice enhances the fresh taste of the veggies.
RUGELACH – Using Filbert’s Chocolate Revenge
|YIELD:||3 dozen cookies|
Ingredients for the Dough
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
For the Filling:
- 1-2 jars Filbert’s Chocolate Revenge
- Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until evenly combined, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Beat in the superfine sugar, vanilla, and salt. Reduce the speed to low. Add 1¼ cups of the flour and mix just until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining 1 cup of flour. Do not overmix.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands well and gently knead to be sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed, about 10 seconds. Divide the dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 2 hours.
- Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Working with one disk of dough at a time, unwrap and place on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, and roll out into a 13-inch-diameter circle. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread with about 2 tablespoons of the preserves, leaving a 2-inch-diameter space in the center of the dough, and a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the jam with about 2 tablespoons of the Filbert’s Chocolate Revenge. Using a sharp pizza wheel or large knife, cut the dough into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 wedges, to give a total of 12 wedges. One at a time, starting at the wide end, fold the corners in about ¼ inch and then roll up. Do not roll the rugelach too tightly or the filling will ooze out. Place each rugelach on the pans about 1 inch apart, with the point of each facing down. Curve the ends of the rugelach slightly toward the point to make a crescent. Repeat this process with the other two disks of dough.
- Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on the pans.
FIG Newtons USING Fig Paste
Makes about thirty 2-inch cookies
For the cookie dough:
- 1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4teaspoon kosher salt
- 10tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened
- 2/3cup brown sugar
- 1large egg
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of one orange
For the fig filling (if you can’t get Can-Do Real Food’s Fig Paste again)
- 1pound dried figs, cut into small pieces
- 1/2cup water
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until combined.
- Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. The dough will be very soft. Scoop it out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the figs and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and allow the water to boil until the figs have absorbed it. If your figs are very dry and tough, you may need to use more water and simmer longer to get the figs to soften.
- Transfer the figs to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until the mixture is completely smooth. Allow the filling to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325?F. Place a large piece of parchment on your work surface and flour it liberally. The dough is very soft. Divide the chilled dough into 4 pieces. Place one piece of dough on the parchment and return the others to the refrigerator.
- Shape the piece of dough into a rectangle by squaring it on the work surface (tap the 4 sides on the surface until they form a rectangle). Roll the dough, stopping frequently to make sure it isn’t sticking to the parchment, into a long rectangle, about 4 inches wide by 12 inches long. Be vigilant about lifting up the dough and reflouring it to prevent sticking. This will make life easier as you go.
- Scoop the fig filling into a pastry bag or a plastic zip-top bag with one corner cut off. Pipe the filling in a 1-inch strip down the center of the dough rectangle. You may need to flatten the filling a bit — it’s easier to do this if you dip your fingers into some water first. Fold one side of the dough over the filling, then the other. Press down on the seam to close it. Using the parchment, flip the cookie roll over, seam-side down. Brush any excess flour off the parchment and transfer it gingerly to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you repeat this step with the other 3 pieces of dough.
- Bake for about 16 minutes or until the dough is no longer tacky and has begun to brown around the edges.
- While the cookie rolls are still warm, either transfer them to a cutting board (a large spatula helps) or cut them directly on the baking sheet. Cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookies. You may need to wipe off your knife every so often — the filling is rather sticky at this point.
- Immediately place the cookies in a single layer inside a plastic zip-top bag and close the bag. This seems counterintuitive, but in order to keep the cookies soft, like the real thing, they need to steam. Cool the cookies completely. Remove them from the bags and place in an airtight container. They can be kept, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks. Hahahaah…silly statement.
EASY PIE CRUST
My mom was a prolific pie baker and used a very easy way to make a crust. It will not be flaky but it will roll out nicely and easily transfer into your pie plate.
¾ cup shortening
¼ cup BOILING water
2 cups of flour
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- I use my electric mixer or the food processer. My mom did this by hand in a bowl.
- Measure shortening and place in the bowl
- Boil the water and add to bowl, then beat until the shortening looks like whipped cream
- Add flour and mix. When the bowl comes clean, it is ready.
- Put a sheet of waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap on the counter. Place half the dough on the paper and then cover it with another sheet.
- Roll out to fit in your pie plate.
- Peel off the top paper. Flip the pie plate upside down on the crust and then flip it over.
- Peel off the paper and fit the crust into the pie plate.
- Put in your filling.
- Roll out the top crust between the 2 sheets of paper.
- Peel off the top paper and then flip the crust on top of the pie. Adjust location and peel off the paper
- Seal crust and bake per your pie recipe.