5 Insane Food Trends of 2017

2017 isn’t even halfway through and already there has been some wild and crazy food trends. Mermaid food, unicorn drinks, spaghetti doughnuts—these are just some of the tasty treats to have hit the food scene (and Instagram) in the short few months of this year.

Curious about these colorful, sparkly, sprinkle-y dishes? Keep reading.

1.    Mermaid Toast

03-how-to-make-mermaid-toastTrendy toast has been around long before food stylist, Adeline Waugh, began playing around with food coloring—avocado toast, anyone?

The foodie artist is hailed as the original creator of unicorn toast, in which cream cheese bases are added with healthy food coloring mixtures like goji berry powder (for an orange color) or pomegranate powder (to get light pinks). The end result is a brightly colored mixture that looks like something a unicorn would eat.

With mermaid toast, however, Waugh wanted to take her toast to new heights. “I simply wanted to create something new beyond unicorn toast. I’m always trying to evolve and think outside the box when it comes to food,” she said. By using chlorophyll and spirulina (types of vitamin-filled algae!) to get beautiful shades of blue and green for a more aquatic look, she “decided to name it ‘mermaid toast’ to keep up the tradition of toasts named after mythical creatures.”

Start with your favorite bread, toast it and brush with plain white cream cheese as a base, adding in dollops of colored cream cheese swirled around with a butter knife.

2.     Unicorn Lattes

unicorn-latteContinuing with the theme of colorful eats, Instagram has gone crazy over unicorn-inspired drinks. Infused with psychedelic colors, it’s actually quite nutritious and good for you, with no processed sugar or food coloring in it.

Acting as a natural digestive and metabolism booster, the drink is topped with turmeric, pomegranate, ginger, lemon, coconut milk, honey and blue-green algae—different versions can taste tart, sweet, spiced or a combination of sensations.

The End, a coffee bar in Brooklyn, has been a pioneer of this drink, using juice and plant-based potions to promote wellness and healing. Co-owner Bret Caretsky says, “We developed the Unicorn Latte as a healthy and delicious product.”

3.    Spaghetti Doughnuts

spaghetti donutsThis Italian-minded novelty food takes spaghetti pie to a new, handheld, level and allows your carb goals to become a reality.

Created by Pop Pasta, a New York-based company, notes that the food hybrid “combines a popular Neapolitan dish, the spaghetti pie with an American food icon, the doughnut.”

Essentially, the spaghetti doughnut is portable pasta and is in no way a sweet pastry. Combining spaghetti and red sauce, creators bake the strands in ring molds, add in eggs and cheese and fry until crispy.

4.    Black Ice Cream

black-ice-cream-Bj2Despite the color craze in drinks and on toast (or maybe because of it), a new phenomenon has popped up: black ice cream.

Black ice cream is made with activated charcoal, a detox ingredient often used in hospitals and emergency rooms, almonds, coconut and vanilla.

Don’t worry though, it tastes nothing like the charcoal briquettes you use in a barbecue—the treat has a mild sweetness and is the perfect summer treat for your wild foodie dreams.

5. Cloud Eggs

cloud eggsThe new Instagram “it” food, cloud eggs are a puffy mass that add an airy twist to your regular breakfast.

Making cloud eggs is actually quite easy: simply separate the yolk from the egg whites, beat the egg whites until they’re fluffy enough to form stiff peaks and bake them. Make a hole in each egg white and place the egg yolk inside, baking both items together. Serve on toast, eat them on their own, serve with cheese, herbs or ham or do something totally new and create your own food fad!

 

Making your toast look like it belongs to a mermaid or your eggs as fluffy as a cloud doesn’t do too much to change how it tastes but it is fun to get a little creative every now and then. What food trends do you think will get big by the end of the year?

If you decide to make any of these fun foods, take a pic and tag us on Instagram!

 

Image Sources

Mermaid Toast

Unicorn Latte

Spaghetti Doughnuts

Black Ice Cream

Cloud Eggs

4 International Easter Traditions

Easter is right around the corner and with it, a host of religious and cultural festivities that celebrate new life. The four international Easter traditions below just skim the surface of the interesting and unique activities that take place worldwide to commemorate the holiday.

 

1.  France54f63a6fb13f4_-_giant-omelet-xl

In the southwestern city of Haux, France, Easter eggs take huge precedent in the city—literally. Chefs arrive at the town’s main square to build a bonfire and fry up an omelet large enough to feed the entire town. The dish can feed up to 1,000 people and has been sized at over 10 feet in diameter. The gargantuan breakfast food requires 5,211 eggs, 21 quarts of oil and 110 pounds each of bacon, onion and garlic.

The annual omelet-making has been a tradition for just three decades but it stems back to Napoleon’s reign—the general demanded a giant egg dish be cooked for his soldiers as they passed through the French countryside.

 

2.  GreeceSONY DSC

The Greek Orthodox Church
places incredible importance on Easter and it’s one of the most tradition-filled holidays within the church. However, on the Greek island of Corfu, people break from mainland convention to take part in their own festivities.

One such practice? Tossing water-filled clay pots from their balconies.

Throwing these pots, also known as botides, originates from the Italian Venetians who welcomed in the New Year by throwing old household objects like tables, chairs and yes—pots—from their windows in an “out with the old, in with the new” approach. This New Year’s Day event still takes place throughout Italy but the Grecian islanders are the only ones who do this for Easter.

 

3.  Peru

Ayachucho, in central Peru, has 33 churches—one to symbolize each year of Jesus’ life—and the mountainous city reverently celebrates the 10 days leading up to Easter with constant religious and secular activities.

6-C-Night-comparsa

Some of these celebrations include music, dancing, ritual processions and bull running. Children carry bottles to collect holy water from the seven temples in the city. Colorful tapestries depicting religious imagery are sold in makeshift markets.

It’s an exciting week and the festivities end on Easter Sunday with a massive feast. Comprised of 12 traditional dishes, some favorites include chiriuchu (roasted guinea pig), papa rellena (stuffed potatoes) and chicha (a purple corn drink).

 

4.  AustraliaBilby-for-story1

Because Australian bunnies have a bad reputation for destroying crops and gardens, children on Easter Sunday get their chocolate eggs from the Easter Bilby, an endangered and indigenous rodent.

The big Easter event Down Under, however, is Pancake Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday). Celebrated weeks before Lent, this day is hugely important to Australia’s Easter traditions and marks the time for pancakes to be eaten in profusion.

 

 

Easter is a big holiday for many people and communities around the world have special celebrations particular to their country, city or home. If you observe Easter, what do you do to celebrate?

 

Image Sources:

France Omelet

Corfu Pot-Throwing

Ayachucho

Easter Bilby

3 Recipes to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patty’s Day is here! A cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

While it began as a religious occasion, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved to more generally celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish. Festivities involve public parades and festivals, cèilidh, a social gathering with Gaelic folk music and dance, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

While the holiday has propagated a culture of alcohol consumption (green beer, anyone?), it began as a feast day and we couldn’t resist finding some Irish recipes to try.

 

1.  Irish Soda Bread

You don’t need potatoes for this one! Irish Soda Bread is a variety of “quick bread” that can be prepared quickly and reliably and doesn’t require yeast or eggs.

 

Ingredients:bx0216h_irish-soda-bread_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-725

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour,
    plus extra for currants
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

2.  Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

vegan_shepherds_pieThe history of shepherd’s pie dates back to the late 1700s to early 1800s, when frugal Irish, Scottish and Northern English housewives were looking for ways to serve leftover meat to their families. The term comes from these areas because of the large numbers of sheep—when it eventually was prepared with minced beef, it was referred to as a Cottage Pie.
Of course, there’s so much more to this meaty dish than, well, meat. Filled to the brim with vegetables and herbs, it doesn’t need to be prepared with anything else!

Try this vegetarian-friendly option for a fun spin on a delicious dish.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups sliced mixed winter vegetables, such as celery, turnips, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, fennel, cabbage, or celery root
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

 

Direction:

Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Mash the potatoes over very low heat, gradually incorporating the cream and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sliced mixed vegetables, carrots, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat, covered, until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderately high, and cook until the vegetables are tender and almost no liquid remains in the pan, about 10 minutes longer.

Heat the broiler. Transfer the vegetables to a 9-inch pie plate, spread the potatoes over the top, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

 

3.  Spinach Pancakes and Corned Beef Hash

Depending on the amount of dyedfn_st-patricks-day-spinach-pancakes-and-corned-beef-hash_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-725
food you plan on eating, rest assured that your teeth won’t turn green from this special surprise: these green treats are made from spinach!

Spinach pancakes and corned beef hash is a traditional Irish meal that will get everyone in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.

Plus, it’s kind of healthy!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (about 3 to 4 ounces after squeezing)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped chives
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter

Toppings:

  • 4 fried eggs
  • 2 cups prepared corned beef hash, your own recipe or canned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

 

Directions

Blend the milk, egg, spinach, chives, flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a blender on medium-high, scraping down sides occasionally, until completely mixed and bright green. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add about 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan, heat through until foaming subsides. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet; use the back of your ladle or a spoon to spread it slightly. Pour 1 or 2 more pancakes, taking care to keep them evenly spaced apart.

Cook until the top is set and starting to bubble, and the undersides are browned and crisp at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook another 2 minutes on the second side adjusting the heat if the cakes are browning before the cakes fully set. Serve immediately or transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the skillet as needed, you should have 8 to 10 pancakes.

To serve pancakes, transfer 2 pancakes to each plate, top with 1/2 cup corned beef hash, a fried egg and a sprinkling of chives.

 

 

Irish Soda Bread

Recipe

Image

Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe

Image

Spinach Pancakes and Corned Beef Hash

Recipe

Image

4 Fun Things to Do With Chocolate (Besides Eat It!)

Ah, February. It’s known as the National Chocolate Lovers Month and with Valentine’s Day, a month for lovers. Hundreds of chocolate and other candies come out in barrels at shopping and grocery stores.

While eating all that chocolate is great, why not try something new with it? Here are some other fun things to do with it, besides eating.

 

1.  Red Wine Hot Chocolatered-wine-hot-chocolate-5

Martha Stewart’s official Facebook page called it “spectacular,” Cosmopolitan magazine called it “the best of both worlds,” Kitchn, a popular recipe site, called it “the answer to your cold-weather blues.” What is it? Red wine hot chocolate.

Now, you might be thinking, “why not just mix rum or whiskey to my hot chocolate?” or “I’ve had chocolate wine and it wasn’t my thing” or even just “Ew.” But before you write off this delicious drink (and it is delicious!) know that red wine hot chocolate is smoother and silkier than when liquor is added and it’s different than chocolate wine.

Wine is good. Chocolate is also good. Together? They are unstoppable.

 

Serves 2

1 1/2 cup milk

1 cup red wine (we recommend Cabernet Sauvignon)

1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks

Optional: Whipped cream on top

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and chocolate chips. Whisk constantly until the chocolate is melted into the milk and you have a thick and creamy hot chocolate. Empty in the red wine. Pour into 2 mugs or 6-8 smaller glasses and top with whipped cream.

 

2.  Chocolate Face Maskchocolate-face-mask

Chocolate is a great face stimulator. Because cocoa contains anti-aging properties that help hydrate, rejuvenate and tone your face, it’s able to battle blemishes and refresh the skin.

 

1 mashed avocado
3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (70% or more cocoa)
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoons cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients up. Gently massage the mixture onto your face and leave it on for about 25 minutes. Rinse the mask off with warm water.

 

3.  Chocolate Candleschocolate_candle

Do you have some old candles that you don’t know what to do with? How about turning them into romantic chocolate candles?! Here’s how to do it:

 

1 Chocolate Bar

1 Empty Can

Old Candle Wax

Candle Wicks

1 Empty Container

1 Saucepan filled 1/4th with water

Cut the top off of the can with scissors. Break up the chocolate bar and put the pieces into the can and put the wax on top of the chocolate. Start boiling water and place the can in it when it starts steaming. After a few minutes, you should notice the wax starting to melt. Mix the items in the cup thoroughly with a spoon to make sure all of the chocolate and wax are melted and properly mixed together. Once they are melted and mixed, pour the concoction into the container. Stick the wicks in. Wait 20 minutes for it to cool and set. You will notice a considerable color change from brown to cream. Wait 24 hours for the proper smell to develop.

 

4.  Chocolate Lip Butter / Balmchocolate-lip-balm

If you’re kissing your sweetheart or are just trying to fend off chapped lips, try out this delicious and moisturizing chocolate lip butter. It’s easy to make, smells amazing, and tastes pretty good, too (though we don’t recommend having this as a snack).

 

4 Tbsp jojoba, almond, or olive oil

1 Tbsp grated beeswax or beeswax pearls

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp vitamin E oil (or 3 punctured, squeezed out liquid vitamin E capsules)

7 drops lavender essential oil (or other essential oil)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp colored, natural lipstick (optional, if you want it to have a hint of color)

Warm the oils, beeswax and honey in a small, stainless steel pot or bowl. Be sure to warm it on VERY low heat (you can use a double boiler, if you’d like). Stir until the beeswax is completely melted. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the essential oil, vitamin E, cocoa powder, and colored lipstick. Place the bottom of the bowl into a shallow pan of ice water and continue whisking quickly as you add the honey. Once the honey is incorporated, quickly transfer the balm into your lip balm container (tube or tin) and allow to set for 3 hours.

 

Recipe Credits

Red Wine Hot Chocolate – immaeatthat

Face Mask – lahealthyliving

Chocolate Candle – instructables

Chocolate Lip Balm – crunchybetty

 

Image Credits

Red Wine Hot Chocolate –  immaeatthat

Face Mask – stylesatlife

Chocolate Candle – cf.ltkcdn

Chocolate Lip Balm – crunchybetty

5 New Food Trends for 2017

2017 is here and with it, a bevy of new food trends and culinary practices. To get you ready for a New Year’s foodie focus, we’ve compiled a list of five of the hottest food fashions.

1.   Purple Everything

Get ready for purple-colored food.purpleasparagus-1

Using a list compiled by experts tracking consumer behavior, grocery goers have already begun buying bushels of purple-colored foods: purple asparagus, plum preserves, purple cauliflower, eggplants. People are going crazy for purple.

Why? In addition to the pretty coloring, plum-hued foods contain a huge range of health benefits. Antioxidants, which neutralize aging and disease, are abundant in purple food (as long as the coloring is natural). To determine how much antioxidants are in a fruit or vegetable, the darkest colors have the most antioxidants.

2.   Alternative Pasta

Pasta goes through ups and downs in the market economy. Some years it’s all the rage and other years it’s the bane of foodies everywhere.

This year, it’s back to being popular… but with a kick.

With the advent of 2017, alternative pasta will be the next big thing: noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are on the rise. These funky pastas are chock full of fiber and protein, which are great sources of healthy nutrients. Most of them are also gluten-free and easy to digest.

3.   Dessert for Breakfast

“There was a study that recently came out from chocolate-pancakes-with-chocolate-sauce3srgbSyracuse University re-touting the benefits of dark chocolate, specifically on cognitive function,” says Liz Moskow, culinary
director at Sterling-Rice Group. “The thought was eating chocolate prepares you more for your workday.”

While we’re not sure if cakes and cookies are going to become a common 2017 breakfast theme, we do think that some sweet treats like chocolate pieces or Nutella will appear in pancakes, oatmeal and other common breakfast items.

4.   Dosha Dining

Dosha dining, or Ayurvedic dining, is a holistic-based approach to food. By focusing on meals that reduce inflammation, improve energy and stamina, and just make you feel better, dosha foods are supposed to help balance the body’s physical and emotional constitutions.

With the immense popularity of Ayuryedic activities like yoga and meditation, it’s easy to see how people would turn to foods that are good for their dosha. Even if you don’t buy into the dosha theory, you’ll still see a rise in meals that use turmeric (a main dosha ingredient) and other Indian spices.

5.   Plants = Meat

It’s a carnivore’s nightmare, vegetables are beginning to stand in for steaks, burgers and other butchered items. It’s called “plant butchery” and the end 1-wkl2mlzhregbc4f0agtvlgproduct looks, feels and tastes like actual meat… except that no meat is used.

Made to resemble barbecue ribs, pepperoni or teriyaki jerky, among other items, chefs chop up legumes, mushrooms and vegetables, infuse the product with beet juice, and serve it to vegetarians or meat-eaters who are looking to dial back on their meat consumption.

Now that you’re hip to the new foodie trends, it’s time to get cooking! Most of these items use ingredients that you can find in our store or online!

 

Image Sources

Purple Asparagus via fortheloveoffoodblog.com

Chocolate Pancakes via cookingclassy.com

Plant Butchery via medium.com

Year’s End Holiday Recipes Sure to Impress

As 2016 comes to an end, one of the wonderful things we all look forward to is holiday meals. No matter your traditions, there are plenty of comfort foods we wait for all year.

If you’re in charge of bringing a dish to share, don’t worry, we have you covered. We’ve put together a list of delicious holiday recipes from around the globe that is sure to impress.

Leaf Bread

Leaf bread is a traditional holiday recipe from Iceland. Families make this bread together a few days before Christmas. This beautifully decorated, cake-like bread is deep fried and usually served with smoke lamb. This recipe is perfect for family bonding.leaf-bread

Servings: 25

Ingredients

  • 12cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. whole milk, heated to 115°
  • Canola oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Using two forks or your fingers, cut butter into flour mixture, forming pea-size crumbles. Stir in milk until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth.
  2. Divide dough into twenty-five 1-oz. balls; working with 1 ball at a time, roll dough into a 7″ disk, about116” thick. (Cover remaining dough with a damp towel to prevent dough from drying out).
  3. Using a paring knife and working outwards from the center of disk, cut rows of nested V’s14” apart. Use knife to lift the tip of every other V; fold each tip back to cross over the V behind it, pressing the dough to adhere.
  4. Store cut dough disks between parchment paper and cover with a damp towel until ready to fry.
  5. Heat 2″ oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 400°. Fry 1 dough disk at a time, flipping once, until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


Soupe Crasse (Cheese and Bread Soup)

Cold winter nights wouldn’t be complete without hot and hearty soup. So, all the way from Italy, we bring you soupe crasse. It’s a cheese soup that is typically made with day-old bread.soupe-crasse

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 12cups beef or chicken stock
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. Italian breadsticks
  • 1 lb. Taleggio cheese, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12small onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Bring stock to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat.
  2. Grease bottom of a 3-qt. high-sided skillet with 1 tbsp. butter. Break breadsticks into 212” pieces. Put 1 layer breadsticks in skillet. Cover breadsticks with layer of cheese. Continue layering breadsticks and cheese; ladle stock over breadsticks one ladleful at a time and heat skillet over low heat. Bring to a simmer; cook, without stirring, for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook, until onions are soft, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Set a fine sieve over a small bowl. Strain butter, pressing onions with back of a spoon; discard onions.
  5. Drizzle butter over soup; continue cooking for 10 more minutes. To serve, spoon onto serving plates.

 

French Baked Ham with Spiced Apples & Pears

In keeping with holiday tradition, we bring to you a ham recipe. The difference? This one is from France. The result is a delicious, aromatic and unforgettable holiday centerpiece.french-baked-ham-with-spiced-apples-pears

Servings: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 1 8-lb smoked, fully-cooked, spiral-cut ham
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 sweet-tart baking apples, cored and halved
  • 4 pears, cored and halved

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Using kitchen twine, wrap the ham first vertically, and then once on each diagonal, making sure to loop around the bottom of the ham, to hold it together. Place the ham in a large, deep roasting pan, cut side down.
  3. Dissolve the dry mustard in the 1/4 cup water. Stir the mustard mixture into the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
  4. Brush the maple glaze over the surface of the ham. Arrange the apples and pears around the ham and bake it, uncovered, for 1 hour and 40 minutes, basting the ham and fruit every 20 minutes. Loosely tent foil over the ham if it appears to be browning too quickly.
  5. Allow the ham and fruit to cool down slightly before removing the twine and serving warm or at room temperature

 

Vasilopita Cake (Greek New Year’s Cake)

No holiday meal is complete without dessert. This next recipe is a traditional Greek cake or bread that is usually served on New Year’s Eve in celebration of the life of Saint Basil. After baking the vasilopita cake, a coin is inserted through the base and when cut, the person who finds the coin is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.vasilopita-cake

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 13 oz. butter
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs (divided into yolks and whites)
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 7 oz. yogurt, strained
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. self-rising flour

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. hot water or milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To prepare this vasilopita, start by dividing the eggs into yolks and whites. Place the egg whites in the bowl of the electric mixer, along with a pinch of salt. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachments are clean and free of any water. Whisk the egg whites until the mixture is very thick and glossy and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted (meringues). Place the mixture in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Use the electric mixer to mix the butter and sugar, for about 20 minutes, until the butter is creamy and fluffy, like whipped cream. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whilst mixing, allowing time for each one to be absorbed, before adding another. Pour in the orange juice, the vanilla extract, the orange zest, the yogurt and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour and blend, using a spatula. Add 1/3 of the meringues and blend with light circular movements from the bottom up. Repeat with the rest of the flour and meringue (adding 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 meringue and then the remaining flour and meringue).
  3. To bake the vasilopita, preheat the oven to 390. Butter the bottom and sides of a round non-sticking cake tin (approx. 32cm diameter) and pour in the mixture. Place the cake tin in the preheated oven, on the lower rack, turn the heat down to 345 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes, until nicely colored and cooked through. Check if the vasilopita is ready, by sticking in the middle of the cake a wooden skewer or toothpick. If it comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
  4. Let the vasilopita cool down (otherwise it will break) and invert the pan on a plate. Wrap a coin with aluminum foil and stick it in the cake. Invert the vasilopita on a serving platter.
  5. Prepare the glaze for the vasilopita. In a large bowl add all the ingredients and blend with a spatula to combine, until the glaze is smooth and glossy. Add a little bit more hot water, if needed (the glaze should be like a thin cream). Top the vasilopita with the glaze and even out with a spatula. Don’t forget to carve the number of the year on top of the glaze!

No matter your menu, we hope these recipes or others bring your family together this holiday season. Pick up many hard-to-find ingredients in store or online.

 

Recipe Sources
Leaf Bread via saveur.com
Soupe Crasse via saveur.com
French Baked Ham via frenchfood.about.com
Vasilopita Cake via mygreekdish.com

Image Sources
Leaf Bread via Flickr.com
Soupe Crasse via Flickr.com
French Baked Ham via search.creativecommons.org
Vasilopita Cake via photopin.cc

Three Ways to Spice Up the Menu for Eat an Apple Day

 

You’re the apple of my eye, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, The Big Apple.  With so many expressions dedicated to one fruit, it’s only fair we show our appreciation on September 17th for National Eat an Apple Day.

To celebrate, we’re sharing some global recipes showcasing the many flavors of apples.

 

Empanadas de Manzana (Apple Empanadas)

recipe0678These delicious Mexican pastries have spawned eateries and food trucks across the nation. What would traditionally make the filling of an apple pie is baked into a crispy, flaky, sugar-coated shell.

Ingredients

  • 6 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into ½” pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped brown sugar cane
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 pkg. (11.6 oz.) puff pastry for turnovers, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling out dough
  • 1 egg, mixed with 2 tsp. water and beaten

Directions

  1. Add apples, brown sugar cane, lemon juice, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon and ground cloves to small pot; set pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and apples begin to release their liquid. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and apples are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer cooked apples to bowl; chill until cold.
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. In small bowl, mix sugar with remaining cinnamon until combined; set aside.
  2. On lightly floured work surface, using rolling pin, roll out puff pastry round until about ½” larger in diameter. Spoon 2 tbsp. cooled apple mixture into middle of dough. Moisten edges with beaten eggs; fold in half to form half-moon shape. Seal edges by pressing with fork; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry rounds and filling to make 12 empanadas. Brush tops of empanadas with beaten eggs; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Using tip of knife, make small slit in top of each empanada to vent.
  3. Bake until empanadas are puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating pan after 10 minutes for even browning. Transfer empanadas to cooling rack; let sit until cool enough to handle. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Tarte Tatin

img_3569lemon-loaf2-700x454-300x195This French recipe turns pie baking on its head. Dried, caramelized apples cook at the bottom of a skillet draped in pastry dough to make a glazed fruit shell pretty enough to sit in the Louvre.

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 large, firm-fleshed apples, preferably Braeburn, or use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, very soft
  • ⅔cup granulated or light brown sugar
  • 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry

Directions

  1. At least one day before you plan to cook the tart, prepare the apples: Slice off the bottom of each apple so it has a flat base. Peel and quarter the apples. Use a small sharp knife to trim the hard cores and seeds from the center of each quarter; don’t worry about being too neat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, lightly covered, for at least one day or up to three days. (This key step reduces the amount of liquid in the tart. Don’t worry if the apples turn brown; they will be browned during the cooking anyway.)
  2. When ready to cook, heat oven to 375 degrees. Thickly coat the bottom of a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet with butter. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top.
  3. Cut one piece of apple into a thick round disk and place in the center of the skillet to serve as the “button.” Arrange the remaining apple pieces, each one standing on its flat end, in concentric circles around the button. Keep the pieces close together so that they support one another, standing upright. They will look like the petals of a flower.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry about 1/8-inch thick. Place an upside-down bowl or pan on the pastry and use the tip of a sharp knife to cut out a circle about the same size as the top of your skillet. Lift out the circle and drape gently over the apples. Use your hands to tuck the pastry around the apple pieces, hugging them together firmly.
  5. Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat until golden-brown juice begins to bubble around the edges, 3 minutes (if the juices keep rising, spoon out as needed to remain level with pastry). Keep cooking until the juices are turning darker brown and smell caramelized, no longer than 10 minutes more.
  6. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until puff pastry is browned and firm.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a round serving plate. If any apples remain stuck in the pan, gently use a spatula to retrieve them, and rearrange on the pastry shell. Cut in wedges and serve warm with heavy cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

 

Apple Strudel

51136400_hiresThere’s a million different renditions, but there’s nothing quite like the original version of this German pastry. Not quite a loaf of bread, and not quite a pie, this blend of apples and raisins topped with cream is sure to please.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package puff pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Stir the granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.
  1. For best results, make sure to toss the apples and raisins until they’re evenly coated with the flour mixture. The flour helps to thicken the juices released by the apples as they cook.
  1. For some nutty crunch, 1/4 cup sliced almonds may be added with the apples and raisins.
  2. Sprinkle additional flour on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut several slits in the top of the pastry.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
  4. For a Vanilla Sauce to serve with the strudel, stir 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup light cream, 1/3 cup sugar, 4 egg yolks, beaten and 1/2 vanilla bean in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean.

 

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