Thursday, December 20, 2012

Candied Ginger

Wouldn't you know it!  I was all geared up for corn syrup free candy making this Christmas .... and after no rain since September, it's been raining.  And the humidity is up too high - I proved it to myself with a disastrous batch of Seafoam.  However, these candied gingers turned out great!  And you end up with quite a bit of ginger syrup that makes a great ginger ale (mixed with seltzer water).  It's also yummy over ice cream and I'm thinking it'd work really well in some baked goods recipes I have in mind.

There are several things that will make this turn out really good - find the freshest ginger you can (Asian markets are often a good place to start), cut the ginger as thin as you can and in very small pieces (much smaller than the ones in the photo), and look at the grain in your ginger.  Yes, ginger has a grain that can be tough to cut across.  I cut my larger pieces against the grain and then made my small slices with the grain - much easier.  This is very hot at first, but it mellows after a few days in an airtight container.

Candied Ginger
1 cup peeled fresh ginger cut into very thin, small pieces
3 cups organic sugar
3 cups water
about 1/2 cup organic sugar

In a non-reactive pan, combine the water and raw sugar and heat over medium heat until dissolved.  Add ginger.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 - 50 minutes - until the ginger is tender.  Spread the white sugar over the bottom of a cake pan or pie plate.  Strain out the ginger and add to the additional sugar, stirring to coat and separate the pieces.  Leave out on the counter until dry and hard.  Separate the pieces and store in an airtight container.

Green Olives

I don't know if Trader Joe's canned green olives (ingredients are only olives, water, and sea salt) are lower in histamines than the usual cured olives with vinegar, but I've been able to eat 4 to 5 at a time once a week with no apparent problems.  They're pretty bland by themselves, but delicious marinated in this recipe!

Marinated Green Olives
1 can plain green olives (like the Trader Joe's ones I mention above), rinsed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper
1 small red sweet pepper cut into matchsticks
slivered almonds

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, wine, fennel, salt, and pepper and whisk well.  Stuff olives with almond slivers.  Add olives and sweet red pepper to the marinade, combine well, and refrigerate for a few hours.

Update through 12 - 20 - 2012

Arrowroot - Penzey's
Sweet potatoes - organic, unwashed, unwaxed and no sprout retardant
Trader Joe's canned green olives - olives, sea salt, and water are only ingredients
Laura Chenel goat chevre
Mitica Drunken Goat Cheese

Recipe changes:
Added peppermint ice cream option to coconut milk ice cream recipe.
Added caramel ice cream option to coconut milk ice cream recipe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Empire Half Turkey Breast

This is our favorite way to roast turkey breasts!  The Empire one is great because, unless you don't do well with corn fed meat, it works for many corn allergic people (washed in water and salt only and the soaker pad does not use citric acid according to one of their customer service reps), it's brined and is very moist and tender.  And it turns out beautifully - I forgot to take a picture of it before the skin came off, so imagine it all golden brown!

Empire half turkey breast
about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs - I use sage and thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Mix herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Gently cut the membrane that holds the skin on - just along the front so that you make a pocket.

2.  Stuff in the herb mixture.  Smooth the skin back down and rub the turkey with the olive from your hands.  Salt and pepper the outside.

3.  Roast in a 425 degree oven until the thickest part gets to 165 degrees - a little over an hour.  Remove from oven and tent with foil for 5 minutes.  Take the meat off and slice - save the skin and bone for stock.