Quick and Sweet Pickled Shallots

Pickled shallots are just one of those things that add a special “something” to your dish. Whether it be a burger or a salad, it’s that extra punch of flavor that can turn a great dish into an awesome one. And, with a recipe like this, you can have said awesomeness in a flash!

Quick and Sweet Pickled ShallotsQuick and Sweet Pickled Shallots

Yield: ½ pound of pickled shallots

¾ cup water

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ pound shallots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

1¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place shallots in a medium bowl.

Heat water and sugar together in a small sauce pot until sugar is melted. Pour over shallots and add vinegar and salt. Mix together.

Cover, refrigerate and let sit, the longer the better. I usually wait at least 4 hours before I find the flavor of the shallots to be pickled, but I’ll admit I have thrown them on a burger after only 1 hour of waiting!

Store, sealed, in the refrigerator. They should last at least 1 – 2 months, but many more, like your other opened pickle jars in the refrigerator.

Spiced Carrot Almond Bites

A few months ago, I had an excess of carrots (and by excess I mean about a 20 pound surplus) and a bit of a sweet tooth. Well, what to do? Throw some carrots, fruit, nuts, spice and cocoa in my food processor and minutes later, my sweet tooth problem was resolved! Hooray! As far as my surplus of carrots, well, I made a very small dent with this dessert snack, but I can say that I did enjoy a lot of carrot juice that week. Win-Win! (Did I mention these are raw, gluten free, vegan and DELICIOUS?)

P.S. You can see a video of me making these on my Facebook Page.

 

Spiced Carrot Almond Bites

 

 

Spiced Carrot Almond Bites

Yield: approximately 16 balls

 

3 small carrots, peeled and chopped into the size of whole almonds

1 teaspoon orange zest

15 deglet noor dates, pitted

5 dried black mission figs, chopped roughly

1 tablespoon old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup toasted almonds

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1-ounce good quality dark chocolate, 65-70% cocoa solids, chopped roughly

¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

 

Place all ingredients, except coconut, in a food processor and process until well combined and the ingredients stop moving about in the bowl.

Place shredded coconut on a large plate.

Using your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll balls in the coconut to coat.

Refrigerate 30 to 45 minutes to firm up before serving.

 

 

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

This herbed spicy egg salad sandwich is so good that I am making it for lunch today! For those who may not be familiar with harissa, it’s a hot chili pepper paste. You can find it at Whole Foods, speciality stores and online. In fact, I recently bought some online at Amazon as I didn’t have time to make a Whole Foods run. It’s one of those condiments where a little bit goes a long way. It’s spicy, but what I love about it is that it also has a nice peppery, earthy flavor and can be added to sauces, dips, mayonnaise… it’s quite versatile like that. But first, why not give it a try in this egg salad recipe…?!

 

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

 

 

Harissa Egg Salad Sandwich with Fresh Herbs

 Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

1 small shallot, peeled and diced small, 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon champagne vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 large cornichon, diced small, 2 tablespoons

¾ teaspoon harissa

Zest from ½ lemon

¼ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon finely chopped mint

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro

3 whole hard boiled eggs, chopped roughly

3 hard boiled eggs –whites only, chopped roughly, yolks reserved for another use

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit while you prep the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, cornichon, harissa, lemon zest, cumin, mint, parsley and cilantro. Add the chopped eggs. Mix together. Add the small bowl with shallot, lemon juice and vinegar. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice if needed.

Serve as tea sandwiches or on toasted buns with lettuce and tomato.

Week of Recipes in Review: July 14

Plenty of new recipes coming this week and don’t forget about the previous week’s as well!

Recipe Review July 14

Strawberry Creme Fraiche Cobbler Ice Cream (top left)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie (top right)

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (bottom left)

Gluten Free Granola Bars (bottom right)

Cooking for the Gastric Cancer Foundation

Tonight, I had the good fortune to cook with my brother and fellow Next Food Network Star competitor, Hans Rueffert. Hans is chef and co-owner (with his lovely wife) of the Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia, (if you are ever near – you must go – quaint, beautiful and delicious food, of course) author of the cookbook “Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow” (a steal at only $25!), father of 2 fantastic kids (and 1 more on the way) and is a gastric cancer survivor. Hard core. He is also a health and nutrition coach, chef/teacher, advisor, mentor, and inspiration/coach for others…  definitely one of the most generous people I know. He is close friend and was even there to support Super Sous’ mom when she fought cancer last year. A true genuine hearted person.

So, it was a huge honor (and a blast) for me to cook with him tonight for a Gastric Cancer Foundation private dinner in San Francisco. Here we are serving up the soup course: Summer Corn Soup with Chanterelles, Creme Fraiche and Basil Pesto.

Rueffert and Lyon

 

And my Mixed Berry Crostata – how much more summer can you get?!

mixed berry crostata

Thanks for the invite, brother Hans! Let’s cook again soon.

If you want to support kicking cancer in the ass!, you can click to donate to the Gastric Cancer Foundation.

 

 

Strawberry Basil Ice Pops

Do you have extra strawberries hanging around in the freezer? How about some extra basil? Well, here’s a seasonal summer ice pop will get you through even the hottest of days.

 

Strawberry Basil Ice Pop

 

Strawberry Basil Ice Pop

Yield: 6 ice pops

 

1 10-ounce bag frozen strawberries

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 large basil leaves, finely chopped

¾ cup water

6 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute.

Pour into ice pop molds and freeze.

 

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

These sweet and spicy chicken wings are so delicious (just look at those beauties!) that you should probably double or triple the batch… Actually, let’s say definitely triple the recipe…

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

 

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Wings

Yield: 1 to 2 servings

 

Tamarind Glaze

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced

 

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sauce reduces to about 3 tablespoons.

 

Chicken Wings

1 pound organic chicken wings, patted dry

½ teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

½ tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon raw white sesame seeds

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on the sheet tray.

Place chicken wings in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the baking powder and toss to combine. (The baking powder will help keep the chicken skin dry and crispy!)

Place chicken wings, skin side up, on the wire rack and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, flip the wings, brush on half of the glaze, flip the wings back over, brush on the remaining glaze, then sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds.

Return to oven and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until a beautiful deep brown color is achieved and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

 

 

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

This could not be easier to make and it’s perfect for a quick dessert, snack or potluck/party dish. Now, let’s put those summer fruits to good use, shall we?!

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

 

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

4-ounces blueberries

8-ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered

12-ounces peaches, pitted and diced small

8-ounces plums or pluots, pitted and diced small

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and gently mix with a rubber spatula or spoon.

Let sit 5 minutes, stir once more and serve.

 

 

Recipe Review: Week of July 7

Don’t forget about last week’s recipes – so many delicious dishes to make!

Recipe Review Week of July 7

Spiced Amaretto Peaches (top left)

Salmon Burgers with Homemade Tartar Sauce (bottom left)

Black Garlic Aioli (top right)

Grilled Spiced Okra (bottom right)

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Warning: these cookies are dangerously delicious! In fact, the last time I made these, Super Sous and I had to get rid of them as we couldn’t resist their chocolatey sweet talk. Do you have an oven dial thermometer? I highly recommend you get one to make sure that the oven temperature is exactly 350 degrees Fahrenheit so you can cook these puppies to perfection in just 14 minutes. Trust me on the 14. Super Sous and I experimented (see photo). Good luck and be careful – these will be gone before you can say “chocolate chocolate chip cookie.”

 

 

choc choc chip cookie on tray

1/4 cup batter formed into balls

choc choc chip cookie testing

Cookie Testing

Choc choc chip cookie done1

choc choc chip cookie done2

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 12 cookies

 

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

2 whole large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

8-ounces good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped into medium chunks

 

Add butter and sugars to a stand mixer and mix on medium using the paddle attachment for 10 minutes. Scrape the sides down on the inside of the bowl using a rubber spatula once or twice throughout the process.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

After 10 minutes, add 1 egg. Mix until the egg fully incorporates into the mixture. Add the second egg and mix until it fully incorporates. Add the vanilla and mix again until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides down once again.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. You may need to scrape the sides down again. Once the flour is just incorporated, turn off the mixer. Stir the chocolate chunks in with a spatula or large spoon.

Refrigerate cookie dough for 1 hour.

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, gather a generous ¼ cup of the batter and form a ball with your hands. Evenly space 6 cookies on a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Bake, one sheet tray at a time, in the oven for 14 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on the sheet tray for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.