Thursday, June 30, 2011

Breakfast Burger

With Fourth of July weekend fast approaching, having a large arsenal of recipes for grilling is a must. While even the plainest burger is delicious cooked on the grill, a Fourth of July cookout is also a great chance to try out some creative recipes and impress your guests, so I offer up to you this recipe for your holiday grilling. This supremely savory burger is wonderfully decadent, with smoky bacon, pungent cheddar cheese, and decadent egg yolk melding together in an incredible collection of rich flavors. If you want to take it completely over the top, use a combination of ground pork and pork sausage instead of ground beef to make this burger maximally indulgent. Runny egg yolk melding all the ingredients together is one of the best parts of this burger, but if you're not a fan of runny egg yolks, this burger will still be fantastic if you cook the yolk through. I've put together many burger creations this summer, but my husband cites this as probably his favorite creation so far, so I know this is a recipe worth sharing. Go forth and fire up the grill this holiday weekend, enjoying some quality time and good eats with friends and family.

Breakfast Burger
serves 2

2-4 slices bacon (depending on size)
8-12 ounces ground beef (local, grass-fed organic is the best if you find/afford it)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
2 whole grain buns or English muffins
2 oz. sliced sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Cook bacon to desired level of crispness, remove from pan, drain, and break each slice into two pieces, if large. Reserve bacon grease in the pan. While the bacon is cooking, mix mayonnaise and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the top halves of the two buns.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan or gas grill over medium to medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal grill (my personal preference). Divide ground beef into two even patties and season each side with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook burgers to just shy of desired level of doneness (I like my burgers medium-rare). Preheat the pan containing the bacon grease over medium heat towards the end of the burger cooking time.

3. Placed sliced bacon and cheese on top of burgers and continue cooking until cheese is melted. While the cheese is melting, cook the eggs until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny, flipping halfway through. Place the burgers with the bacon and cheese on top of the bottom halves of the buns, top with the fried egg, and the other half of the bun.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pistachio Apricot Grilled Chicken Salad

Main course salads are an absolute staple of summer dining for me. They showcase the wonderful plethora of produce available at the farmer's market, don't take much effort to put together, and don't require turning on the oven. Salads often get a bad wrap and people often assume that they're just a boring collection of veggies with dressing, when they are in fact one of the best palates for combining flavors. In this salad I combined fresh and crunchy greens and peas with sweet and chewy dried apricots, salty and savory Parmesan cheese and pistachios, and grilled chicken for a healthy and immensely flavorful salad. If you're a vegetarian, eliminate the chicken and increase the amount of the other toppings or use tofu, seitan, or even chickpeas, cannellini beans, or grilled mushrooms instead. Grilled chicken contributes more to the texture than the flavor of the dish so vegetarians will still get to experience the full flavor range of this delicious salad. Hopefully this recipe will not only encourage you give this particular salad a try, but to go forth and create your own unique recipes, using the best produce that summer has to offer.

Pistachio Apricot Grilled Chicken Salad
serves 2

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces baby spinach
4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings removed
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios
1 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese
Salad dressing, for serving (I like Newman's Own Orange Ginger Dressing)

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, remove from heat, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice evenly into thin slices.

2. Meanwhile, wash and dry greens and spinach and chop, if necessary. Divide greens and spinach between two large plates, topping each with half of the peas, apricots, and pistachios. Add the sliced chicken and sprinkle shaved Parmesan over the top. Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas and Pasta

Sugar snap peas are one of the vegetables I most look forward to coming into season and they are abundant at the farmer's market now, much to my delight. I'll eat them pretty much any way they are prepared (as long as they aren't overcooked), but this is the first time I've made a pasta dish where the sauce is also composed of peas, as opposed to being tossed in whole. The rich olive oil and salty, savory cheese are balanced perfectly by the fresh flavor of the peas, achieving a flavor profile similar to that of pesto. Because this is a simple sauce, the quality of each of the ingredients is of the utmost importance, so use good olive oil and cheese for the best results. You can either pass the sauce through a chinois or fine mesh strainer to achieve a smooth consistency, but you can also skip that step for a sauce with a more rustic texture, my personal preference. If you're a fan of Meatless Mondays, give this fresh summer pasta dish a try tomorrow for dinner and you won't regret it.

Sugar Snap Peas and Pasta
adapted from Gourmet, via Epicurious
serves 4

1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings discarded
12 oz. whole wheat penne
1 medium garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

1. Cook sugar snaps in an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes, then transfer 1 cup sugar snaps to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Transfer cooled sugar snaps to a cutting board. Cook sugar snaps remaining in pot until tender, about 2 1/2 minutes more, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Measure out and save 1 cup cooking water, reserving remaining water in pot.

2. Return cooking water in pot to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, then drain in colander. While pasta is cooking, cut 1 cup sugar snaps (on cutting board) crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Purée half of sugar snaps from bowl, half of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup saved cooking water in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force purée with a rubber spatula through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl, if desired (I actually like a rustic, chunky texture). Purée another batch in same manner, forcing through sieve into bowl, and add cut sugar snaps.

3. Toss hot pasta with sugar snap sauce and, if necessary, enough of remaining 1/2 cup saved cooking water to thin sauce to desired consistency, then season pasta with salt and pepper.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BBQ Tuna Melts

If you haven't make Pickled Red Onions yet, for BBQ Bacon Burgers or for another of the myriad uses they have, here's a bit more motivation. As I've said before, I try to eat fish at least once a week, and canned tuna, though not ideal, is a convenient and inexpensive way to get fish into my diet. Even when I was kid and would say I didn't like fish, I was always happy to have tuna salad on a sandwich or crackers. While I still enjoy your typical mayo-and-relish tuna salad as an adult, I prefer something a bit more interesting with some bolder flavors. I picked up some smoked tuna on a lark on a recent shopping trip, thinking that the smoked flavor would immediately elevate even your basic tuna salad, but it inspired me to make this delicious barbecue-inspired tuna salad. I recommend choosing a smoky, vinegary barbecue sauce for this recipe rather than the overly sweet (and high fructose corn syrup filled) that seem to dominate these days. The tuna and barbecue sauce imbue this tuna salad with a delicious smoky flavor, the pickled red onions add a sharp and crunchy element with rich, melty cheese blending it all together for a not-so-average tuna melt that makes adding fish to your diet simple, inexpensive, and just plain delicious.

BBQ Tuna Melts
serves 2

One 4.5-ounce pouch Hickory Smoked tuna (or plain canned or pouch tuna)
2 tablespoons light mayo
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
4 slices whole grain bread
Pickled Red Onions
2 oz. shredded quesadilla, Monterey Jack, or other good melting cheese
Cooking spray

1. Preheat a panini press according to manufacturer's directions (alternatively, preheat a pan over medium to medium-high heat). In a small bowl, combine tuna, mayo, and barbecue sauce and mix well to combine.

2. Place half of the mixture on each of two slices of bread. Top with pickled red onions and shredded cheese and place second slice of bread on top.

3. Open the preheated panini press and spray with cooking spray. Place the assembled tuna melts on the bottom plate, close the lid, and grill until bread is browned and cheese is melted, 4 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BBQ Bacon Burgers

Made any Picked Red Onions yet? If you haven't had the time or motivation to try out that delicious condiment, let me provide a bit of inspiration. I came up with the recipe for this burger before I ever made pickled red onions, and the desire to put them on this burger was the impetus for finding a recipe. I usually caramelize onions in bacon fat whenever I'm making bacon for a burger, but the bright flavor of the pickled red onions was a welcome change from my usual routine. The sharp and crisp red onions are the perfect contrast to smoky barbecue and rich and savory beef, bacon, and cheese, holding their own against the other big flavors in this burger. This recipe isn't the only place picked red onions have found a home, so check back soon for more ways to incorporate this simple condiment into your culinary repetoire.

BBQ Bacon Burgers
serves 2

2-4 slices bacon (depending on size)
2 whole grain hamburger buns
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (I used Frontera barbecue sauce)
2 oz. sliced baby Swiss cheese
8 oz. ground beef (local, organic, grass-fed is the best if you can find/afford it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pickled Red Onions

1. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Cook bacon to desired level of crispness, remove from pan, drain, and break each slice into two pieces.

2. Preheat a grill pan or gas grill over medium to medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal grill (my personal preference). Cook burgers to just shy of desired level of doneness. Placed sliced bacon and cheese on top of burgers and continue cooking until cheese is melted.

3. Meanwhile, spread 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce on the top half of each hamburger bun and top with pickled red onions. Add cooked burger to bottom half of bun, top with upper half, and serve.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pickled Red Onions

When it comes to making dishes special without expending a lot of time and effort, special condiments are often the way to go. Swapping out mayo for a garlic aioli or taking the time to make your own pickles or barbecue sauce can take a sandwich from ordinary to extra ordinary with just a little initial investment of time. One great way to spice up sandwiches and burgers are homemade pickles, and I'm not just talking about pickled cucumbers. Since I'd never made any quick pickles at home, I looked for a simple recipe that didn't require a run to the store, a big time investment, and would provide a good base for developing my own pickle recipes. Deborah Madison is a name you can count on for quality recipes, and this is no exception. Although this is a very basic recipe, the acidic, crisp onions provide are a great foil to savory meat, salty cheese, and fresh, crunch vegetables on burgers and sandwiches alike. Now that I've found success with the basic recipe, I plan on experimenting with different vinegars and  herbs and spices, as well as different vegetables and hopefully create my own signature recipe along the way.

Pickled Red Onions
from Deborah Madison via Food and Wine
makes approximately 2 cups

1 1/2 cups white wine or cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large, dark red onion, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
3 cups boiling water

1. In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and cold water with the sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.

2. Put the onion slices in a colander and pour the boiling water over them. Rinse under cool water and drain. Add the onion to the vinegar brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach and Cannellini Beans

Lately I've really been making an effort to incorporate more beans into my diet-they're a healthy, inexpensive, and delicious versatile pantry staple. I used to eat beans primarily in baked beans, chili, or soup but recently I've really discovered a love of beans in pasta, salads, and wraps. The nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta complements beans extremely well in this dish, the spinach keeps it light and fresh, and the Parmesan adds richness and saltiness. If you're not a fan of spinach, broccoli rabe or arugula would make excellent substitutions, chickpeas could stand in for the cannellini beans, and this dish can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock in place of chicken broth. Although it's not a culinary masterpiece, this is another tasty, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare dish for gathering the family around the table after a busy work day.

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach and Cannellini Beans
adapted from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious
serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned unsalted chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 15 1/2-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces fresh spinach
8 ounces whole wheat penne, freshly cooked
Salt and frshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add spinach by handfuls until wilted, then add cannellini beans and cook until beans are warmed through. Transfer spinach mixture to large bowl and add cooked pasta.  Season pasta with pepper and crushed red pepper, if using; sprinkle with grated Parmesan and toss well. Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perfect Salmon Burgers

It's easy to fall into a rut when it comes to grilling. I've come up with a number of creative burger recipes, but they've all been beef burgers and I want to branch out into something a bit different in the burger department. I actually made these during my Memorial Day weekend grilling binge when I wanted to cap off the weekend with something a bit healthier from the grill. My biggest fear with cooking fish on the grill is sticking, which these burgers did a bit, but they were still delicious and deeply flavorful, if a little less aesthetically pleasing than I would have liked. The fatty, rich salmon is balanced well by pungent dijon mustard, bright, acidic lemon juice, and fresh scallions, enveloped by a crunchy layer of panko. I make a point of eating fish at least once a week and this was a welcome change from my typical salmon fillet. Making these burgers gave me a bit more confidence in my ability to grill fish, so hopefully I'll be graduating to grilling an entire fish on the grill sometime soon.

Perfect Salmon Burgers
from The Food Network
yields 4 burgers

1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 brioche buns, split
Tartar sauce and arugula, for topping

1. Cut three-quarters of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Put in a large bowl. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunks; transfer the chunks to a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and cayenne. Pulse to make a paste.

2. Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with the diced salmon. Add the scallions, 2 tablespoons panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Gently mix until just combined.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 mounds on the parchment paper. With damp hands, pat into 4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the broiler. Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

5. Meanwhile, arrange the buns, cut-side up, on a broiler pan and broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the patties on the buns; top with tartar sauce and arugula.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

With rhubarb season waning and giving way to a bounty of strawberries, I offer up one last recipe to celebrate rhubarb. I don't like my muffins terribly sweet (it's a muffin, not a cupcake), so if you're looking for a dessert masquerading as breakfast, these aren't the muffins for you. But if you are looking for a healthy, flavorful muffin, these are right up your alley. These simple, charming muffins are just sweet enough to provide a beautiful contrast to the tart rhubarb and rich and crunchy walnuts. The whole wheat pastry flour gives the muffins a tender, delicate crumb that cradles the soft rhubarb and crunchy topping. Whip up a batch of these muffins today to give rhubarb season a proper send-off! And if you want to keep it around just a bit longer, freeze some extra for a taste of early summer anytime.

Rhubarb Walnut Muffins
adapted from Food Network; original recipe provided by The Blacksmith Inn, Bailey's Harbor, WI 
makes 10 muffins 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cups brown sugar 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners, grease with butter, or spray with cooking spray.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, mixing only until moist. Gently fold in rhubarb and walnuts. Divide batter between 10 muffin tins (about 1/4 cup batter per muffin). Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for a couple minutes in the tin, then serve warm, removing the remaining to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rhubarb and Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberries made their first appearance at the farmer's market this week and I immediately snatched up a quart with visions of many delicious summer desserts instantly dancing through my head. With the oppressive heat that plagued us here in Wisconsin for a good part of this week, a big bowl of ice cream was practically a necessity. Although ice cream can be extremely refreshing in the depths of summer heat, it can also be very fatty and heavy and just weigh you down. This ice cream is the perfect bowl of refreshment in the summer heat because while the half-and-half and whole milk make the ice cream creamy and smooth, the large amount of fruit keeps the ice cream bright and refreshing.

One of the most importants things to consider with this recipe is that the amount of sugar given here is merely a guide. The sweetness of the strawberries and tartness of the rhubarb can vary greatly, so taste both components, start by adding less sugar than the recipe call for, and adjust accordingly. The strawberries I had were quite sweet and I didn't find it necessary to add very much sugar, although I tend to like my desserts less sweet than many people. I reported the amount of sugar from Martha Stewart's, although my ice cream needed significantly less than original recipe. Supermarket strawberries tend to be a lot less sweet and flavorful than fresh farmer's fruit, and they will likely need the full amount, if not even a bit more. This ice cream manages to be sweet, tart, and creamy all at once, and is the perfect end to a hot summer evening.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about 1 quart

1 pound trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces ripe strawberries, hulled
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup whole milk

1. Place rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, and the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to mediumlow; let simmer, stirring frequently, until rhubarb is very tender and beginning to fall apart, about 12 minutes. Mash with a potato masher, if desired, to achieve a smoother texture. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl; set aside.

2. Place strawberries in the bowl of a food processor; puree. Strain through a fine sieve or chinois into a bowl; set aside.

3. Scald cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let boil. Remove from heat, add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

4. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rhubarb, strawberry puree, and half-and-half mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli, Chickpeas, and Garlic

Whole wheat pasta and canned beans are two things I always have in the pantry. They're healthy and filling and offer myriad possibilities for delicious meals, customizable to nearly any taste. With just some vegetables and a punch of flavor from garlic and spices you can easily create a quick and satisfying dinner that holds up pretty well for lunch the following day. Reconstituted dried beans and fresh vegetables make this kind of meal the best it can be, but frozen vegetables and canned beans make this dish incredibly quick and simple to prepare. Hearty beans pair perfectly with fresh and crunchy broccoli, lightly coated in a simple, flavorful sauce of olive oil and garlic with a subtle kick of red pepper. Broccoli and chickpeas make a wonderful pair, but cannellini beans and spinach would also be great choices. As much as I'd like to prepare gourmet meals every night, I don't always have the time or energy, so quick and healthy, but still tasty meals like this one are staples of my culinary repetoire.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli, Chickpeas, and Garlic
from Gourmet, via Epicurious
makes 4-main course servings

6 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli (not thawed)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti

1. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli and salt and cook, breaking up frozen chunks and stirring occasionally, until broccoli is thawed and crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and cook until heated through.

2. Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to broccoli and chickpeas in skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until combined well. Serve drizzled with additional olive oil.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cranberry Bacon Blue Burgers

After spending a beautiful afternoon at Capital Brewery for REAP's Burgers and Brew, I thought it was the perfect time to share the recipe for my newest burger creation, which I made as part of marathon of grilling Memorial Day weekend. Burgers are my new favorite palate for culinary creativity, which combines perfectly with recent obsession with grilling (and makes for a happy husband). I actually made the Cranberry Chutney specifically to make this burger, though it's found a place in a number of other meals since then. I love this burger because it hits so many different tastes-sweet, sour, and acidic cranberry chutney, salty and pungent blue cheese, and savory bacon all blend together with sweet, soft caramelized onions for an extremely flavorful burger, harmonizing perfectly with the flavorful of grass-fed ground beef, but not overwhelming it. I love the pungent flavor of blue cheese, but if you're not a fan (as I realize many aren't), cheddar or Swiss cheese would also be quite delicious on this burger. If you're looking to mix up your grilling repertoire this summer, give this recipe a try!

Cranberry Bacon Blue Burgers
serves 2

2-4 slices bacon (depending on size)
1/2 large or 1 small onion, sliced
2 whole grain hamburger buns
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I love Hook's)
1/4 cup Cranberry Chutney
8 oz. ground beef (local, organic, grass-fed is the best if you can find/afford it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Cook bacon to desired level of crispness, remove from pan, drain, and break each slice into two pieces, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon grease in the pan. Add sliced onions and cook over low to medium-low heat until caramelized, about 30 minutes.

2. While the onions are cooking, preheat a grill pan or gas grill over medium to medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal grill (my personal preference). Cook burgers to desired level of doneness (about 130 degrees F for medium-rare, my personal preference).

3. Meanwhile, spread 2 tablespoons cranberry chutney on the top half of each hamburger bun. Top with crumbled blue cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon. Add cooked burger to bottom half of bun, top with upper half, and serve warm.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cranberry Chutney

When it comes to prepared sandwich and burger spreads, I'm a mustard girl, but when I have the time, I definitely like to kick it up a notch with some homemade aioli or chutney. I've had some Wisconsin cranberries hanging out in the freezer that I bought at the farmer's market last year, and after rediscovering them during a recent cleaning out and reorganization of the freezer, I was inspired to make some cranberry chutney. I thoroughly enjoyed Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish and Ginger Cranberry Sauce in the past, but I'm always on the search for something new and this recipe is definitely one to file away for future use.

This sweet, sour, and savory condiment is the perfect spread for a smoked turkey and swiss sandwich (as I happened to enjoy for lunch today), but would also be welcome on pork tenderloin, chicken, any many other proteins. It takes little effort to make this flavorful spread and a slathering of this on a sandwich in lieu of mayonnaise or mustard elevates the sandwich to a whole new level. This chutney will keep for around a week in the refrigerator, but leftovers freeze well so you can easily inject a little gourmet flavor into your sandwiches for weeks to come.

Cranberry Chutney
from Gourmet, via Epicurious
makes about 2 cups

5 shallots (6 oz), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook shallots in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries just pop, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool.