recipes

Appetizers & Sides 08 June 2017

A Sweet Cherry Season

(Family Features) Whether fresh cherries are a favorite or a treat you’ve yet to try, the time to enjoy them is now.

Orchards in the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s largest growing region, experienced a long, cool spring, which often translates into more time and energy a tree can put into the fruit. When combined with the superior growing conditions characteristic to the area, this season’s fruit showcases what Northwest cherries are known for: their large size and sweet flavor profile.

Popular varieties grown in the Northwest include the mahogany-red Bings and super-sweet, yellow Rainiers. Rainier cherries, with their unique golden color and red blush, tend to ripen earlier in the year. Growers pick Rainier cherries over multiple weeks, selecting the ripest fruit each time.

Other varieties include the early-ripening Chelans and Tietons, followed by the often larger and darker Skeenas, Sweethearts and Lapins. Aside from the light-hued Rainier (which has juice that doesn’t stain) you can typically spot sweet cherries by their dark red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

Great taste aside, sweet cherries are a healthful addition to summer picnics, parties and barbecues thanks to their fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power. They make for a snack that both grownups and little ones can enjoy straight out of the bowl thanks to their stem “handle” and can perk up appetizers, salads, desserts, sweet or savory sauces and more.

Outside of summer get-togethers, cherries make for a better-for-you late-night snack option as well. A cup of fresh, sweet cherries contains only 90 calories along with a low glycemic index of 22 making their cold, sweet crunch a tasty way to satisfy hunger cravings. Plus, they boast melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Fresh cherries should be kept in a sealed bag or container, and keep for approximately two weeks when refrigerated. To extend the cherry season and enjoy their health benefits after summer fades, buy an extra bag or two and preserve cherries by rinsing, packing and freezing them.

Basic freezing instructions

  1. Select 3-5 pounds of firm, ripe, Northwest-grown sweet cherries.
  2. After rinsing and draining, spread whole cherries with stems in a layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place in freezer until firm then pack into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags. Remove excess air and cover tightly.
  4. Add frozen cherries to smoothies or juices, or defrost and put in hot cereal, pies, turnovers, cobblers and more. Or enjoy as a frozen, sweet late-night treat.

To create a festive cherry dish for the summer season, try this Cherry Bruschetta as a snack or appetizer. Find more recipes and cherry tips at nwcherries.com.

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Cherry Bruschetta

Serves: 8

  • 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.
  3. Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
  4. Top each baguette with thin slice of cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of sliced basil. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

Holiday 23 January 2017

Very Merry Holiday Bites

(Family Features) Holiday parties should be fun — so why not serve up some tasty appetizers with a creative seasonal twist that will be sure to spice up your gathering?

These clever bites start with versatile party favorites Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies — and then the fun begins. Start off with an impressive — and edible — wreath for the centerpiece and serve with a cranberry-barbecue dip. Next, dress up your cocktail links with some delicious fare: simmer your Smokies in a zesty sauce; wrap them up in crispy bacon; make a splash with pineapple and edible flowers; dip and fry to make your own mini corn dogs; and turn them into tasty reindogs. With these fun-tastic appetizers, not only will you give guests plenty of food to eat, you’ll give them plenty to talk about.

For more recipes to add merriment to your celebrations, visit www.hillshirefarm.com.

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Holiday Appetizer Wreath

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • 32 Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dough rolls
  • Optional: Roasted bell pepper strips, cherry tomato halves and fresh rosemary for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Open package of sausages and drain off liquid.
  3. Combine cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce in a small saucepan; heat over low heat, stirring until smooth and hot.
  4. Unroll dough, separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. With knife or pizza cutter cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips, making a total of 32 strips.
  5. Wrap 1 strip of dough around each sausage. Place crescent-wrapped sausages with sides touching on ungreased cookie sheet or round baking stone in a circle, forming a wreath shape.
  6. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.
  7. Carefully remove wreath onto serving platter, if desired. Garnish wreath with bell pepper strips to form a bow, and cherry tomato halves and rosemary sprigs for ornaments, if desired.
  8. Serve with cranberry-barbecue sauce.

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Lit’l Party Delights

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup grape jelly
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Open package of sausages and drain off liquid; set aside.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until jelly is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Add sausages; heat 10 minutes or until hot.

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Reindogs

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 3 minutes

  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • Pretzel twists
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  1. Heat sausages according to package directions.
  2. Break a small pretzel twist in half. Stick a pretzel half into both sides of sausage to resemble antlers.
  3. Use 2 small drops of mustard for eyes and a small drop of ketchup for the nose.

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Corn Doggies

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 3 minutes

  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • 1 package (8.5 ounces) corn muffin mix
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Preheat oil to 375°F. Open package of sausages and drain off any liquid. Insert wooden toothpick into tip of each sausage.
  2. Mix corn muffin mix, flour, egg and milk in a large bowl until well combined. Working quickly, dip 4 to 5 sausages in batter.
  3. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and batter is cooked in the center.
  4. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining sausages.

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Pigs in Heaven

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • 1 package thick sliced bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Open package of sausages and drain off any liquid.
  3. Cut each bacon slice into 3 to 4 pieces. Wrap each sausage with a piece of bacon; secure with a toothpick.
  4. Place on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.
  5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until bacon is browned.

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Lit’l Luaus

Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes

  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies
  • Canned pineapple (1 can)
  • Edible flowers
  1. Heat sausages according to package directions.
  2. Cut 1 pineapple ring in half.
  3. Wrap two halves of pineapple around each sausage.
  4. Garnish with edible flowers.
Holiday 19 January 2017

Parmesan Pepper Spritz Crackers

Makes about 7 dozen crackers

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black
  • pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about
  • 8 ounces) grated
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter,
  • softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In small bowl, combine flour, black pepper, white pepper and salt. In large bowl, beat cheese, butter and garlic until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture to cheese mixture. Mix until dough forms a ball. Gradually add milk, mixing until fully incorporated. Shape into small logs and place in Cookie Master Ultra II. Using desired disk, press crackers onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet on cooling grid. Remove from sheet and cool completely. Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Source: Wilton Enterprises

Holiday 06 December 2016

Easy Upgrades for Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) Holiday gatherings call for an extra touch to make the celebrating special. Since many holiday festivities are centered on food, focus some attention on the refreshments for a simple way to upgrade your next holiday party.

From the presentation to the pairings, it’s easy to make an ordinary spread extraordinary this holiday season. Take this year’s event to the next level with these easy tips that bring the wow-factor to your gathering:

Make it look as pretty as it tastes. Even simple platters of crackers and cheese can feel extra special when presented on a pretty plate. If you’re serving food buffet style, use a colorful tablecloth and stack sturdy boxes of varying sizes underneath to serve as risers that create some visual interest for the spread. Incorporate seasonal decorations such as ornaments or sprigs of holly and poinsettia blooms. For a plated meal, a table-runner adds just the right pop of color and a tasteful centerpiece of candles or evergreen dressed with holiday trinkets elevates an everyday table.

Offer the perfect pairings. When planning your menu, consider the types of beverages you’ll serve along with the appetizers and dishes. When paired properly, food and cocktails complement one another, making the flavors more vibrant and the overall experience more impressive. A good starting place is cheese. Pair alpine-style cheese such as Roth Grand Cru with Riesling; creamy blue with gin; smoky blue with merlot; Havarti with pinot noir; Spanish-style such as Roth GranQueso with scotch; and Gouda with prosecco.

Enhance traditional favorites. Putting a fresh, elegant spin on the basics instantly elevates your menu and the overall experience for your guests. Even a staple like cheese can get some special dressing for the occasion. This recipe combines three rich, flavorful cheeses for a fondue that’s sure to delight guests.

Explore more ideas for exceptional holiday entertaining at rothcheese.com.

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Culinary Education Center House Fondue

Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 3/4 pound Grand Cru Original, shredded
  • 3/4 pound Grand Cru Reserve, shredded
  • 1/2 pound Roth Fontina, shredded
  • 16 ounces Pinot Grigio or other light- to medium-bodied white wine
  • 1 loaf crusty artisan bread
  • fresh apples, grapes and pears
  • black and white pepper (optional)
  • nutmeg (optional)
  1. Combine cheeses and wine in ceramic fondue pot and stir to combine. Allow mixture to soak 15-30 minutes.
  2. Heat mixture over low heat, approximately 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Do not allow mixture to boil. When cheese has melted completely, remove from heat and transfer to tabletop burner.
  3. Serve fondue with chunks of bread and fruit. If desired, provide pepper and/or nutmeg guests can sprinkle onto a plate and use for dipping bread and cheese. Pair with chilled dry Riesling and a shot of authentic Swiss kirschwasser.

Source: Roth Cheese

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Seafood 07 August 2015

Spicy Thai Crab and Sweet Corn Fritters

2008 Grand Prize winning recipe by: Edwina Gadsby of Great Falls, Mont.

Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 6 ounces lump crabmeat, drained, flaked and picked over for cartilage
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) or canned sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or Thai basil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Thai Chili Roasted Garlic Dipping Sauce or other favorite dipping sauce
Preparation
  1. In medium bowl combine eggs, fish or soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and ginger. Stir in crabmeat, corn, green onions and cilantro. Add flour; stir until ingredients are combined.
  2. In 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2-inch canola oil until hot. Carefully spoon crab mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, flattening slightly with spoon. Cook fritters about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining batter.
  3. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Serves

Makes 6 appetizer or first-course servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions

Serve with a bottle of chilled Rías Baixas Albariño wine.

Source

Rías Baixas Albariño

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