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Segedin Goulash Served Over Steamed Slovak Dumplings

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The first time I tasted Segedin Goulash I fell in love with its unusual flavors and rich, creamy sauce. If you like pork, think about it served in a spiced paprika pool, and finished in butter and sour cream. It’s a rich dish, that will be especially appreciated in cold weather to warm the soul. My parents were born in Slovakia, and we grew up eating lots of meaty stews, with dumplings. Traditionally, the Segedin Goulash is served over this style dumpling (or as a substitute, boil some basmati rice to use as a base). Kapusta, or a flavored sauerkraut, was also a common side dish, and gets put to use in the goulash.

We created this recipe as part of a menu for hosting guests over a weekend. The plan is full of ideas for filling up guests, but not spending too much time in the kitchen. So, if you are following our plan for Hosting Weekend Guests, you will be making extra so it can be transformed into Mini Pot Pies the following day for lunch. This dish will last, and the flavors only gets better after a day or two.

SERVES 4 WITH EXTRA FOR MINI POT PIES

PREPARE THE GOULASH

2 medium onions, chopped
4 TB butter

3 LB pork shoulder, cut into cubes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds

2 LB sauerkraut
water

2 TB butter
5 TB flour
2 CUP sour cream

In a large, deep saucepan, saute onions in butter, until they are a nice brown, about 5 min. Add cubed pork, along with spices. Saute about 15 min till pork is cooked through. Add sauerkraut, plus enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hr till thick and reduced.

In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Add this mix into the stew to thicken it. Stir in sour cream, and let cook gently for 2 min.

TO SERVE SEGEDIN GOULASH

Steamed Dumplings, recipe follows, sliced (or rice)

Put 2 or 3 dumplings onto a plate and pour the goulash over it.

SUNDAY LUNCH: MINI POT PIES

leftover goulash
puff pastry, thawed at room temp for 40 min

heirloom tomatoes, sliced
EV olive oil
salt

Fill ramekins just shy of the top with goulash. Cut pastry sheets to size of the ramekins, and fit around the top using your fingers to seal. Bake in preheated 400ºF oven for 20-25 min till puff pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Serve with sliced heirlooms on the side, drizzled with olive oil and salt.

recipe

STEAMED DUMPLINGS

Slovak-style dumplings are not your usual noodle-type fare. They are huge, sponge-y bread-sized morsels that do their job of soaking up the sauces and juices of many dishes. These go hand in hand with the Segedin Goulash, and make it that much better. Make these ahead if you don’t want to spend the time while guests are in attendance, or alternatively, involve guests in the prep if they love to cook.

MAKES 22 SLICES

PREPARE THE YEAST

1 CUP milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
packet of yeast

Heat milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds so it’s lukewarm. Then put 3 TB of the milk into a small bowl. Vigorously whisk in sugar and yeast and let sit for about 10 min, to allow the yeast to rise.

MAKE THE DOUGH

2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt
yeast mixture
remaining milk

slice of stale bread (optional), cubed

In a large bowl, combine ingredients well. Then knead for about 10 min with a mixer. Dough should be smooth and unsticky, add flour if necessary.

LET THE DOUGH RISE

Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit 2 hrs.

Dust a wooden cutting board with flour and divide the mixture into 2 parts. Dumplings will increase in size when you steam them, so start with a size that will accommodate the pot you have. Cover these with a towel, and let sit another 20 min.

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set up a double boiler, and get water to boil. Place dough inside pot and cover. Steam for 20 min without opening the lid. Remove from pot, and poke the dumplings to let any steam out.

Allow to cool slightly. Slice into dumplings about a half-inch thick. Set 2 on a plate and cover with goulash to serve.

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Curry Coconut Milk

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This soup can be made very quickly, once you have an already roasted squash. We upped the ante on this butternut squash soup with the addition of curry paste and coconut milk—the Indian and Thai spices make it rich, and the coconut milk gives it an appealing creaminess.

We created this dish as part of a plan for hosting weekend guests. If you are following the weekend guest plan, then you would have the roasted butternut squash you made the night before.  Make this soup while creating the Veggie Crepes, and serve together.

MAKES 12 SMALL MUG SERVINGS OR 4 LARGE BOWLS

START THE SOUP

2 TB olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

20 oz vegetable stock

Heat oil. Saute onion and spices 5 min. Add broth and cook for 10 min.

INCORPORATE THE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1 butternut squash, roasted

10 oz unsweetened coconut milk
3 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp salt

squeeze of lime for garnish (optional)

Cut squashes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and skin, then cut into cubes. Spoon out the flesh and add to the pot, stir to incorporate. Add coconut milk, curry paste, and cook for 10 min.

Process in blender or food processor in batches (or use an immersion blender). Season with salt.

Offer the lime at the table for those who would like to add a squeeze to their soup.

Creative Crepes for Breakfast & Lunch: Palacinky (Slovak Crepes)

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I have such fond memories of eating these for breakfast hot off the pan with strawberry preserves and a light sprinkling of salt on the top. But you can put most anything into these crepes. To make creative crepes: add vegetables, creamy sauces, or even ground meat. They are a great leftover reviver!

If you are following our weekend guest hosting plan, make a large batch for breakfast, then parlay the surplus batter into the Veggie Crepes for lunch. The batter gets better with time. For the lunch filling, use the vegetables you roasted the night before, along with a choice of sauces: the Lemon Beurre Blanc from the cod recipe and Black Truffle Dip from the brussels sprouts recipe .

MAKES 9 NINE-INCH CREPES

MAKE THE BATTER

2 CUPS flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt

4 eggs
2 CUPS milk

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then add to flour mix. Beat until smooth. The batter should be thick enough to hold together, yet be able to spread out on the heated skillet quickly, to create thin crepes. Use the first crepe as a test—if it comes out too thick, stir in a little milk to the batter to thin it out.

COOK THE SLOVAK CREPES

1 tsp butter for each crepe
1 tsp strawberry preserves (or your favorite flavor) for each crepe

Heat skillet over medium heat, enough to melt the butter quickly, but not brown it. Melt butter and pour one ladel-full of batter and immediately tilt the skillet to cover the entire bottom of pan.

When crepe is brown on one side, flip with spatula. Move to a plate, and with a spoon spread preserves thinly all over one side. Roll, and serve immediately to each guest.

SATURDAY LUNCH: VEGGIE CREPES

grilled vegetables
Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce
Black Truffle Dip

Reheat the grilled vegetables from dinner the night before in the oven or in a skillet. Let guests choose which sauce they prefer to spread over the crepes before adding the veggies, and rolling. Serve with Red Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup (see recipe).

Roasted Cod in Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce: Quick & Decadent

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

You can definitely place roasted cod in the comfort food category if you add a rich sauce to it. That’s where this lemon beurre blanc sauce comes in, with its buttery goodness.

I created this recipe to go with a plan for hosting weekend guests, which includes extra sauce to use with the next day’s lunch. Do not refrigerate the sauce, as it will separate. Keep out in a cool spot, covered.

SERVES 4 PLUS EXTRA SAUCE

MAKE THE LEMON BEURRE BLANC SAUCE

4 shallots, minced
16 oz prosecco
zest and juice (about 1/2 cup) of 2 lemons
bay leaf
big sprig of thyme on the branch

3 sticks cold salted butter, cubed
s + p

Combine first five ingredients in a non-reactive deep saucepan over high heat. Reduce liquid to 1/4 cup, about 20 min. Lower heat to med, remove thyme, and whisk in butter, one cube at a time until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Season with s + p. Serve sauce with fish, and keep extra out on the counter for crepes the following day.

ROAST THE COD… PREHEAT OVEN 450ºF

4 cod fillets (6 oz each)
2 TB organic sunflower oil
s + p

Get a large skillet hot over med-high heat. Add the sunflower oil and heat, then add fillets skin side down. Sear 5 min till golden. Flip fish, then move skillet into the oven. Roast about 10 min, till the center is opaque, and fish flakes easily. Serve with sauce on the side, and Roasted Winter Vegetable Medley (see recipe).

Healthy Party Snack: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Black Truffle Dip

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When entertaining, you never want your guests to be without food or drink! That’s why it’s important to plan to have some nibbles around while you are preparing dinner and starting to imbibe. I came up with this healthy party snack to take advantage of the fall harvest, when Brussels sprouts are at their peak of sweetness and are abundant everywhere. I paired it with a dip made of  black truffle pâté mixed with sour cream, to give it even more dimension. Tip: Make sure to really caramelize the Brussels sprouts in the pan for full flavor effect. You can have this dish served in 15 minutes, to great applause.

I developed this recipe as part of a plan for hosting weekend guests. The plan gives you ideas for serving from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. This is the welcome snack, the one to serve before dinner on Friday night. See the whole plan at this link.

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

MAKE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

1 TB olive oil
4 CUPS Brussels sprouts, cut in half (14 oz)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Heat olive oil and add onions. Saute until caramelized, about 7 min. Add in garlic about 6 min, and saute with onions for one minute. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add olive oil to the pan with Brussels sprouts. Let sit for 5-7 min to caramelize and blacken, then stir and let cook for an another 5-7 min. (Add oil to the pan if it starts to dry out.) Stir onions/garlic back in. Season with flaky sea salt.

MAKE THE BLACK TRUFFLE DIP

1 CUP sour cream
2 TB La Rusichetta Black Truffle Pâté
pinch salt

Mix together in a small bowl.

A Late Autumn Cocktail with Cider

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The assortment of sweet and spicy notes in these ingredients are perfect for the late fall season and the focus of this month’s Autumn cocktail with cider.

This cocktail takes advantage of the ciders appearing in your local liquor store and mixes beautifully with vodka, a sweet touch of cola, and salty grapefruit. The bitters pull it all together.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Signature Cocktail: East Cider Apple and fall flavors are emphasized in this slightly sweet and fizzy seasonal cocktail. Take advantage of the ciders now appearing in your local liquor stores. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Shacksbury Classic Craft Cider Some of the most gnarled trees in New England and old world orchards in England and Spain go into making this intense cider from Vermont. Cider is slowly fermented with cultured yeast in stainless steel, then aged for six months. The flavors really hold up in a cocktail. $9. shacksbury.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[3] Industry Standard Vodka Direct from Brooklyn, and distilled from sugar beets, Industry Standard boasts a fruity, complex flavor with hits of vanilla and spice. Vodka “made by nerds” utilizes yeast grown in an on-site lab, from a strain originating in beet fields of France, thus adding dimension to the vodka’s delicate flavor. Go and see how its made for yourself! A tasting room is open to the public, and offers tours, cocktails, plus views of New York Bay every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10PM, no reservation required. $36. drinkicd.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[4] More Good Syrups Using locally sourced and organic ingredients, More Good has created a line of hand-crafted soda syrup concentrates. In this month’s cocktail we added a bit of the Cassia Kream Syrup whose recipe started out as a take on historical cola, but has added cinnamon and vanilla. With 50% less sugar than main stream sodas, this is the one to use with your Soda Stream. Their shop in Beacon, NY, also offers organic loose leaf tea, organic & fair trade herbs and spices, an extensive selection of over 50 flavors and varieties of cocktail bitters. Another reason to drink More Good: founder Jason Schuler, has partnered with Generosity.org in an effort to make clean water accessible to everyone on the planet, and the company has raised thousands of dollars for the cause. $13. drinkmoregood.com

[5] Bittermilk No. 5 Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt Bittermilk has created a line of cocktail mixers that each feature a bitter agent, a sweetener, and an acid—thus contributing to a well-balanced cocktail. The company is the brain child of husband and wife, Joe and MariElena Raya, of Charleston, South Carolina, a couple with deep roots in the restaurant/bar industry. In developing the No.5, lime and lemon juice were combined with cinchona bark, (the source of quinine for tonic). Fresh grapefruits are peeled and the skins are charred to help bring out bitter yet refreshing notes, then a touch of sea salt helps pull savory caramel notes and rounds out flavor. Works well with any light spirit. $15. shop.bittermilk.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[6] Junior Merino Cachaca Lavender & Yuzu Bitters Junior Merino’s Intensives do the job of intensifying flavors in cocktails, and add complexity and elegance. Each is created with a different spirit base, which gets infused with botanicals. In this month’s cocktail we added a few drops of Cachaca Lavender and Yuzu. Also perfect for salad dressings, marinades, ceviche, soup, stew, desserts or seafood. $18.

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Kale Dip: A Tricolor Harvest Splendor

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When coming up with recipes for entertaining, I always like to include the idea of healthy ingredients. So, during the fall, when carrots are at their peak, a tricolor of roasted carrots could be the sweetest dish on the table. They make a nice match to the Creamy Kale dip, whose base is ricotta and yogurt, with added blend of spices in the mix.

The deep purple and orange tones of the carrots mimic an orange and black color duo, perfect for Halloween or Day of the Dead parties. Check the link to see the whole menu, which celebrates the harvest in a party-friendly way.

MAKES ABOUT 60 CARROT STICKS AND ABOUT 2 CUPS OF CREAMY KALE DIP

ROAST THE CARROTS…PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF

1 LB tricolor carrots, with green tops
2 TB EV olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 TB thyme, minced

Place carrots in a row on a baking sheet lined with parchment, drizzle with olive oil and honey, then sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 1 hour.

MAKE THE CREAMY KALE DIP

2 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch curly kale, sliced into thin ribbons (about 6 cups)
1/2 tsp salt

1 CUP fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 CUP Greek yogurt
1 TB thyme, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

In large pan, heat olive oil. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, saute 30 sec. Add kale, salt, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 min till cooked through. Allow to cool.
Transfer to food processor. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.

TO SERVE

thyme, minced, for garnish (optional)

Present carrots on a serving platter with a bowl of the creamy kale dip, sprinkle with more thyme.

Stuffed Apricots with Pistachios and Cream: A Slippery, Creamy Dessert

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When looking for a fruity dessert, that’s not too filling, apricots can fit the bill. To make these stuffed apricots with pistachios we started out with dried apricots, so this is something you can make even when apricots are not in season. Amazingly, they come back to life, and make the most amazing syrup. You can eat then with just the syrup, if you like, but adding the marscapone gives it a little richness, and the nuts add a little crunch and complement the fruit nicely.

This recipe creates an oozy, sweet light dessert, nice to include on your Halloween party menu featuring a graphic orange and black combination of things.

MAKES 20 BITES

SOAK THE APRICOTS

20 dried apricots
2 cups water

Soak the apricots in cold water overnight.

COOK THE APRICOTS… MAKE THE SYRUP

1/2 CUP turbinado sugar
squeeze of lemon juice

Remove apricots from liquid. Add the liquid to a pan with sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 min. Add apricots and simmer for 20 min till apricots are tender. Remove apricots, continue simmering liquid another 20 min till the liquid thickens to a syrup. Remove from heat, squeeze in lemon juice. Allow to cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.

MAKE THE CREAM FILLING

1/2 CUP mascarpone cheese
1/4 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped finely
1/2 TB lemon thyme, minced

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

CREATE THE BITES

cooked apricots
cream filling
1/8 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped
syrup
powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Cut apricots in half leaving one side attached. Spoon in cream filling, and close. Roll edge in pistachios. Drizzle syrup on top. Spear with small fork. Dust with powdered sugar.

Marinated Black Olive Bruschetta: Back in Black for Halloween

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Bruschetta is a fun party offering, where you can set our pre-made toasts, or just let your guests make their own. We chose crinkly Moroccan olives for this Black Olive Bruschetta, because of their intense taste, and the ability to hold up to the marinade without getting mushy. They lost a little of their leathery texture and soaked up the flavors nicely. The orange slices and curls add to the orange and black theme, in addition to giving the olives an additional level of taste.

Halloween and Day of the Dead parties are getting spookier by the minute! See the full menu in our party theme Spooky Harvest: a squid ink pasta, roasted carrots, and tomato soup—to name a few recipes in the party mix.

MAKES ABOUT 30 BITES

MARINATE THE OLIVES

2 CUPS black olives
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp orange zest
3 slices orange
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 TB parsley, chopped
EV olive oil

Lightly crush the olives, and transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Add the spices and cover with olive oil. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 to 3 days, shaking the jar occasionally.

MAKE THE BLACK OLIVE BRUSCHETTA

crusty baguette, cut into thin slices
EV olive oil
orange curls, for garnish
thyme, minced, for garnish

Drizzle olive oil onto bread. Take marinated olives and crush 3 onto each baguette slice. Top with orange curls and a touch of thyme. Or just leave out the ingredients and let guests make their own toasts.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese: A Halloween Treat

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Soup is a super easy way to get copious bites onto your party buffet. We paired tomato soup with grilled cheese to tie into a Halloween theme of black and orange hues, The bright orange tones of the soup and dark rye bread create a nice, spooky presence, much like the other recipes from our Halloween party plan.  Check the link to see the entire repertoire.

Serve this soup warm or cold. Guajillo pepper, avocado and cilantro add to the flavor mix.

MAKES 40 SHOOTERS & MINI GRILLED CHEESE BITES

ROAST THE TOMATOES… PREHEAT OVEN 375°F

2 LB heirloom tomatoes, quartered
EV olive oil
s + p

Spread tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with s + p. Roast on the middle shelf for about 1 hour, till the skins are blistered and the tomatoes have shrunk in size.

PREPARE THE CHILE

1 whole dried guajillo chile

Simmer for 10 min to soften. Let sit in water for 10 min more.

START THE SOUP

3 TB EV olive oil
1 med onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 guajillo chile, soaked
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over med heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 min. Stir in the garlic and pepper, sauté another 4 min. Incorporate crushed tomatoes, simmer covered for 10 min.

FINISH THE SOUP

2 CUPS organic chicken broth
roasted tomatoes
1/4 CUP cilantro, minced
1/4 CUP turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Add ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, then continue to simmer covered, about 30 min, stirring occasionally. Remove guajillo chile. Let soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender in batches. Blend until smooth.

MAKE THE GRILLED CHEESE

1 stick butter, room temperature
10 slices rye bread
1 LB extra sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature

Toast the bread, then butter one side of each slice of bread. Into a heated skillet, place bread buttered side down, top with cheddar, and 2nd slice of bread with butter on the outside. Press together. Heat for 4 to 5 min, flip and heat another 5 min. Move to a cutting board and let cool slightly, cut in half, then each half on the diagonal, into 4 triangles.

TO SERVE

1 avocado, cut into small cubes, for garnish
sprigs of cilantro, for garnish

Pour soup into shooter glasses about 3/4 of the way, top with a cube of avocado and sprig of cilantro. Insert grilled cheese triangle into the top at an angle.

Lamb Ribs Elevated: Classic Recipes for Modern People by Max and Eli Sussman

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This cookbook’s food is fun and creative, with recipes extremely crowd-pleasing and party friendly. Enjoy this recipe from the book for lamb ribs with touches of honey and lavender.

When a cookbook’s introduction tells you to “crank up the Stairway to Heaven, pop on some Ray-Bans, strip down to your underwear and socks, and slide into the kitchen,” you know you’re in for some fun.

Back with their fourth cookbook, Classic Recipes for Modern People, Brooklyn-based chefs (and brothers) Max and Eli Sussman take on beloved classic dishes, re-imagining them with a modern twist while bringing the same irresistible high energy and humor that imbued their previous titles. They tell us that recipes “should be ever expanding and evolving. We believe that a dish—no matter how classic and iconic—has the ability to morph into something new and fantastic.”

All the flavors you crave and remember are still there, but just heightened, bolder, bigger. The results are recipes that are adventurous yet doable, fresh and modern yet shaded with comforting nostalgia. With dishes “reinvented, re-jiggered, reordered, and re-created,” this means a classic TV dinner of ketchup-topped meat loaf and mash becomes Lamb Meat Loaf with Curried Potatoes, tuna casserole turns into Linguine Tonnato, and their Franks ‘N’ Beans becomes creamy white beans, sweet caramelized onions, spicy chorizo, and even kale, with no chopped-up hot dogs in sight.

hobnobmag review-Classic-Recipes1

CHILDHOOD INFLUENCES

Mining from their own childhood growing up outside of Detroit with their “vegetable-loving, always-cooking-from scratch,” junk-food-free parents, also means contemporized classics that are more veggie-forward and Jewish-influenced, including Crispy Artichokes with Miso Aioli, Salmon with Chermoula & Sautéed Vegetables, and dishes like a crispy layered Brisket & Potato Kugel and a “Gefilte” Fish Terrine that seems just as much at home at a French bistro as it would on a Passover table.

Crowdsourcing from friends and their diverse childhood food memories yields dishes like an Italian Sunday Pasta any nonna would be proud of and Arroz Con Pollo re-imagined into breaded, deep-fried balls, arancini-style.

CLASSICS IN THE MAKING

The Sussmans even delve into “Future Classics,” as in “spankin’-new Sussman bros dishes that one day will be classics,” where we get a collision of bold, brash flavors in recipes like sticky-hot-sweet Lamb Ribs with Hot Honey & Lavender (recipe follows) and the ingenious Corn Bread & Brisket Patty Melt. If we learn anything from the Sussman brothers’ raucous headnotes, it’s that they sure know how to have fun—and eat fantastically as well.

We’ve included a recipe from the book that’s ideal for serving while watching the game, as part of a party theme for hosting an 5-star menu for sports fans.

recipe

Lamb Ribs with Hot Honey and Lavender

Serves 4-6

2 large shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup (6 oz/185 g) honey
2 1/2 TB kosher salt
1 TB freshly ground white pepper
1–2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending how hot you like the ribs)
1/2 tsp dried lavender

2 racks lamb ribs, about 2 lb (1 kg) total weight
Fresh mint for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a bowl, toss together the shallots, garlic, ginger, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until browned, 15—20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F (120°C).

Let the shallot mixture cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor, add the honey, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and lavender, and purée until smooth.

Rub the honey mixture evenly on the lamb racks. Place the racks, meaty side up, on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, 3—4 hours. Remove from the oven, cut the ribs apart, and eat immediately. Or let the racks cool, scrape off the excess rub, and rewarm the racks under the broiler or over a hot grill until the outside is crispy and the inside is warm, then cut apart just before serving. Garnish with the mint and serve right away.

Classic Recipes for Modern People by Max and Eli Sussman (March 2015; Publisher: Olive Press; Photographer: Erin Kunkel

Richard Caruso of Javelina Shares his Recipe for Habanero-Glazed Spicy Chicken Wings

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Looking for a more upscale, tongue-tingling recipe for spicy chicken wings? Try this Tex Mex combination from a NYC chef know for his bbq creds.

Those looking for a taste of Tex-Mex in NYC have been gathering at Javelina, which is known for its boisterous vibe and melty, goo-ey fare. Perhaps it’s their selections of tequila that gets the place all riled up (see our post) but we like the bar bites too.

For this month’s party theme for hosting an upscale party event,  Chef Richard Caruso shares his recipe for creating the most juicy and spicy chicken wings on the planet. A plate of these at your next sports viewing party might have you hosting your own fan club.

Only for the consummate host, these are not your Tabasco-infused, finger-staining wings, but a lively mix of hot and sweet proportion, with fantastic side dips. Caruso comes to Javelina from the BBQ world, so really knows how to keep meat flavorful and perfectly cooked. javelinatexmex.com

recipe

Habanero Glazed Chicken Wings

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

(for 12-18 wings)
2 TB chili powder
2 TB salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 TB paprika

Mix together in a bowl.

FOR THE JALAPENO-RANCH DRESSING:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TB chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped jalapeño chili
1 TB cider vinegar

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate (will last 1-2 weeks).

FOR THE HABANERO-LIME GLAZE:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 habanero chilies (finely diced with seeds)
1/4 cup honey
1 TB corn starch
2 TB water

In a pot, bring all the ingredients except the corn starch and water, to a boil, then lower to simmer.
In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and water together. Slowly whisk in the mixture into the glaze until there are no lumps and the glaze becomes thicker. Set aside and cool. Note: you can set aside some of the glaze for a spicy dipping sauce.

TO MAKE THE WINGS:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl toss the wings with the vegetable oil, then add the spice mix and toss until evenly coated.
Place the wings on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 min.

Remove from oven, move wings to a clean bowl and coat with the habanero glaze. Bake for an additional 5 min, remove from the oven and let stand.

Place wings on a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with celery and carrots and jalapeño-ranch dressing.

hobnobmag recipe spicy chicken wings

See more tips for hosting a five-star sports viewing in the UP YOUR GAME issue.

Stuffed Pork Loin with Caramelized Plantains for a Party

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make this party-perfect pork for serving during game breaks. It will be a welcome slice of hearty meat-and-side-dish in-one. This stuffed pork loin looks great, with its swirling pattern, and definitely tops serving chili or hot dogs.

One of the recipes that’s part of our upscale game plan for game watching—keepin’ it classy. Make sure to select plantains that are yellow, just starting to turn black, which are sweet but not overly so.

As for butterflying the loin, you could ask a butcher, or give it a shot yourself. You will need a very sharp, long knife. Watch this video by Chef John on the FOOD WISHES channel, on YouTube and you may become hypnotized by the chef’s very pleasant, amusing and informative voice as he explains the steps.

MAKES ABOUT 12-15 SLICES

PREPARE THE STUFFING

1/2 TB vegetable oil
4 yellow plantains, peeled, cut into ½ inch slices
salt, to taste

1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the plantains. Sprinkle salt. Brown both sides, about 3 min each. Move to dish. Sprinkle with sugar and a little more salt.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Caramelized Plantains

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF … STUFF THE PORK

5 LB pork loin, butterflied
salt
pepper
chili powder

cooked plantains
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp honey

Season the meat with salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Line the plantains in rows, leaving about an inch on the left, bottom and top. Leave about 2 inches clear on the right so when you roll the pork it will seal at that end. Toss onion rings, parsley, and honey over the stuffing. Roll pork. Tie with string every 1 1/2 inches or so.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Stuffed Pork Loin

ROAST THE PORK

1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
stuffed pork
Sweet Hot Sauce
parsley leaves for garnish

Place intact onion rings at the bottom of a roasting pan with some water. Place stuffed pork on top. Move to oven, middle rack. Cook for about 1 hr (internal temperature should be 135ºF).

Move roast to a cutting board, top with an aluminum foil tent. After 15 min, cut strings with scissors, slice into 3/4-inch slices. Line slices on a plate, drizzle pan drippings, top with Sweet Hot Sauce, garnish with parsley leaves. Serve with a small bowl of Sweet Hot Sauce and another bowl with the onions from the bottom of the pan.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Stuffed Pork Loin2

Chicken a Whole New Way—Dressed in a Smoked Cumin Mayo

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make chicken a whole new way. We accomplished this with The Smoking Gun by PolyScience, which adds smoke flavor without adding heat. Guys, and gals, will love using this gadget. The Smoking Gun is perfect for smoking just about anything—mayo, butter, juices, you-name-it. You’ll be really surprised at how much flavor can be added in a minute amount of time, the mayo only needed about two minutes.

We love this recipe as part of the classy menu we created for serving while watching the big game. Sports fans can graze on these bites all through the game. Alternate serving idea: Mix the smoked mayo with chicken bites to create a chicken salad and serve atop crackers or make mini sandwiches.

MAKES ABOUT 80 BITES

GRILL THE CHICKEN BREASTS

1 LB chicken breasts
smoked salt

Get a grill pan nice and hot. Cut breasts into uniform thickness, if necessary, separate the tenderloin. Sprinkle with smoked salt. Grill.

MAKE THE CUMIN MAYO

2 TB mayo
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked salt

herbs, for garnish (optional)

Mix ingredients together in deep bowl. Spread mayo around the sides to create a lot of surface. Cover bowl in plastic wrap, with the tube from The Smoking Gun inserted. Place wood chips in gun, light it as you would a pipe. Turn on the gun, and allow smoke to fill bowl, about 20 secs. Shut off gun. Allow smoke to remain for 2 to 3 min, (the longer you leave it, the more intense the result will be). Remove plastic. You will get a waft of smoke here, so avoid area with smoke detector. You might want to open a window for a minute to allow smoke to dissipate.

MAKE THE BITES

With a sharp knife, cut breasts into bite-size pieces. Put a dollop of the mayo on the bites using a small spoon. Spear with toothpick. If you have any oregano, parsley or chives around, chop and sprinkle over the bites to decorate.

Beef & Veal Meatballs & Port Reduction: Rich and Decadent

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are hosting the gang to come over and watch the game, these beef and veal meatballs will show off your culinary style. Super easy to throw together, just mix the ingredients and bake in the oven for 25 min. Though they can be eaten at room temperature, but if you put them in a half hour before half time, you can enjoy them hot out of the oven. The port reduction adds another upscale element. See our entire menu featuring high-end nibbles to serve while watching sports  at this link.

As an alternate serving  idea, make sliders out of these, and add sauteed onions as a topping. Guests will love them.

MAKES 62 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… MAKE THE MEATBALLS

1 LB ground beef
1 LB ground veal
2 oz prosciutto, minced and cooked till crispy
1 1/2 CUPS parsley, minced
1/2 CUP pignoli nuts, toasted, crushed
s + p
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 CUP panko bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together, and roll into 1-inch balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for 25 min, turning once for even cooking.

MAKE THE PORT REDUCTION

1/2 CUP prunes, pitted, chopped
1/2 orange, chopped
1 TB orange zest
3 CUPS port wine

In a small saucepan, bring ingredients to a boil, then simmer about 40 min till reduced and syrupy. Push through a fine mesh strainer, and discard the prunes.

TO SERVE

parsley, broken into individual leaves or finely chopped

Put a pick into each ball, drizzle with sauce, and garnish with parsley. Set a bowl of the sauce for dipping alongside.

Halloumi Appetizer with Honey-Lime Syrup: Grilled Cheese Greek Style

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Cheese is always welcome in a party setting. I’ve put a little more thought, though, in creating this halloumi appetizer. Paired with a crisped salty ham and a drizzle of honey-lime syrup, you combine creamy, salty, and sweet in one bite. This recipe was inspired by Greek foods, which seem extra delicious in the summer heat.

In keeping with the Greek theme for this party menu, I searched NYC shops for pastourma (aka pastirma), a type of Greek charcuterie, but could not find any in time for recipe testing. What I did have on hand was Surryano, a dry cured ham from Virginia that was featured on pizza in our Lazy Pizza Party. The saltiness and perfect fry-ability of the ham worked perfectly with the halloumi grilling cheese.

To give it a slightly sweet and citrus-y bent, I then matched it with Greek honey infused with lime and lemon verbena. These are great just off the skillet, and may get a little chewy when cooled, but the flavors are absolutely perfect together.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

MAKE THE HONEY-LIME SYRUP

1/4 CUP Ariston Greek Wildflower Honey
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp lemon verbena, minced

Pour honey into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for about 15 secs, till honey is warmed through and thinner in consistency. Whisk in lime juice and lemon verbena. Remove lemon verbena leaves. Funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle. Refrigerate if not using right away.

GRILL THE HALLOUMI

11 oz halloumi cheese
10 slices Surryano Dry Cured Ham
bamboo picks

Cut brick of halloumi through the center lengthwise, then each half into 1/4-inch thick slices, then cut those into 3/4-inch slices. You should end up with slices approx 3/4-inch wide by 1.5-inches long by 1/4-inch thick. Next, cut the ham into 1/2-inch strips to wrap around the halloumi. (It should slightly overlap, ideally) Spear the halloumi onto bamboo picks carefully, driving the stick directly through the center. Heat a skillet. Brown about 1 to 2 min each side. Fan out on a plate.

TO SERVE

halloumi-ham bites
10 lemon verbena leaves, cut into thin ribbons
honey lime syrup

Sprinkle lemon verbena ribbons over the bites and drizzle syrup liberally.

Greek Pantry: Authentic Olive Oil, Sweets, Sauces and More

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are cooking Greek food, you need to gather a few essentials. Here are a smattering of high-end products that are the must-haves for your Greek pantry.

Support Greece in the most fun way: by eating their products. We’ve gathered a selection of goods imported straight from the homeland, plus products made with handed-down recipes by second and third generation Greek Americans. Kali orexi! [Bon appetit!]

[1] Five Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This super design-y bottle stands for an excellence you can sense before even tasting it. Using hand-picked, sustainably-grown Koroneiki olives from Finiki Lakonias, Greece, the oils have no additives and are produced using a method of cold extraction at low temperatures, resulting in very low levels of acidity. The packaging, in matte black, allows it to be displayed prominently on the counter or buffet. Check the entire line for other extraordinary olive oils, in matte white bottle, and special edition Swarovski crystal Five. So giftable. $24. fiveoliveoil.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[2] Navarino Icons Spoon Sweets

Start a Greek tradition in your household: offer a sweet preserve to arriving guests, along with a glass of cold water to kick off the gathering. These flavor-packed “spoon sweets” are made by gently boiling seasonal fruit for hours—or even for days (as the tomato version is), resulting in sweet gem-like delights that are a perfect accompaniment to strong cheeses, Greek yogurt, or even atop ice cream.

Choose from three varieties: tomato, olive, and the limited edition orange. The olive variety is made by simmering Kalamata olives, pitted and stuffed with almonds, and brewed in an intoxicating syrup of fresh orange juice, wine, honey, herbs, and spices. The tomato variety is simple but sweet, using only three ingredients: sugar, lemon, and fresh tomatoes picked in August.

Navarino Icons is an incredible company committed to distributing authentic products created by small-scale producers on the coastal region of Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. Their food products are all prepared using recipes handed down for generations, and always with respect for local traditions. $16-$18. navarinoicons.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[3] Olympia Provisions Loukaniko Sausage

Based in Portland, Oregon, Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions) is making America’s best charcuterie, and though it’s almost impossible to choose, one of their best products is their loukanika, a traditional Greek salami boldly flavored with garlic, cumin and a touch of orange zest. The recipe itself was passed down by “Old Man Cairo,” the father of head salumist Eli Cairo.

Cairo, who is a first generation Greek American, grew up with his father making charcuterie from scratch at home, where doing things the old fashioned, handmade way was the norm. Lucky for us, Cairo has taken up his father’s craft, and now he and his fellow salumists at Olympia Provisions are taking charcuterie in America to new heights, using nearly extinct old world techniques, aging his salumi naturally and slowly, and using hand-butchered antibiotic-free Pacific Northwest pork. olympiaprovisions.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[4] Kaldi Greek Cooking Sauces

Kaldi’s line of all-natural cooking sauces make recreating your favorite long-simmered Greek specialties simple and easy—all you need is to add beef, chicken, shrimp, or your favorite vegetable.

Choose from sauces based on traditional Greek dishes: the hearty veggie-packed PLAKI, perfect with beans or fresh vegetables; the sweet and savory PORTOKALI made with blood oranges, olives, ginger, and tomatoes on seafood or fish; SAGANAKI, woven with quintessential Greek flavors of anise, black olives and capers; and the deep rich STIFADO made with red wine, onions, and allspice over beef, lamb, or chicken. There’s no limit to the scope you can bring to these one-pot creations—just think of these sauces as an amazing base to jump off from. amazon.com

[5] Ariston Wildflower Honey

This month’s Halloumi and Ham bites were highlighted by a lime-honey-lemon verbena sauce, in which we featured this delicious honey. Bees have a field day in Messinia, an untouched area of Greece, where wildflowers bloom in glorious profusion. Add a jar of this to your cheese board, or tea service. $6. aristonspecialties.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[6] Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese

Halloumi, traditionally made with goat and sheep’s milk, is the most famous cheese of Cyprus, Greece. The name Halloumi is derived from the Greek word “almi”, which refers to the brine solution that is used to preserve the cheese. Salty, tangy, and with a very elastic texture, Halloumi’s high melting point makes it perfect for grilling, as it can magically brown without devolving into a melty mess.

Since the name Halloumi is a protected product of Cyprus, this American brand calls their version Idaho Golden Greek Grillin’ Cheese, which is made using a traditional halloumi recipe but with 100% Jersey cow’s milk, which has a higher butterfat content.

Ballard’s award-winning version is not your everyday squeaky, vacuum-packed variety. Cooked to crisp, golden perfection and with a rich bouncy bite, we daresay Ballard’s American-made cheese is a mighty rival to its Greek counterpart. The Ballard family started their small dairy nine years ago with the strong belief that loving care and a healthy diet would create not only higher quality milk, but also happier cows. $16.50 ballardcheese.com

Summer Grill Delight: Skirt Steak Teriyaki Roll-Ups

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Warm weather beckons to prepare your summer grill for all the festivities to come. And steaks on the grill are a special treat. I’ve come up with a different way of serving skirt steak to guests: in little bites at a time with fresh vegetable accompaniment. Tip: Choosing skirt steak, as opposed to flank steak, adds more fat, thus more flavor.

Here’s the basic idea: pound steaks into ultra thinness. Sear both sides. Cut into long strips to create the rolls—make sure to roll so the grain of the meat runs parallel to the roll. We cooked the steak on a skillet, but a grill pan or bbq would work just as well. See more recipes in our Summer Grill party for entertaining in the great outdoors.

MAKES ABOUT 50 ROLLS

MAKE THE TERIYAKI SAUCE

1/2 CUP San-J Organic Shoyu
1/4 CUP water
5 TB sweet rice wine
1 TB honey
1/4 CUP raw turbinado sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Heat ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 min, to reduce.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Cut Carrot Strips with Peeler

PREPARE THE VEGGIES

3 TB safflower oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, cut into thin strips, matching the length of the peppers
1 TB thyme, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil and add all ingredients to a large skillet or wok. Stir fry for 5 min.

PREPARE THE STEAK

1 3/4 LB skirt steak
safflower oil
s + p
—-
Pound steaks till about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Brush oil on one side of steak, season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a little safflower oil in a large skillet. Place sections of steak into pan seasoned side down. Sear for 2 min. Flip, and season other side, sear for additional 2 min. Set aside to rest.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe How to Steak Roll Ups

ASSEMBLE THE ROLLS

steak
veggies
5 scallions tops, cut into 4-inch strips
teriyaki sauce

Cut each steak into half lengthwise, so that you have long, skinny pieces. On steak, lay 2 strips each of pepper, carrot, scallion. Roll tightly. Secure the ends with 2 toothpicks, stabbing straight down. Cut the roll in half in between the 2 toothpicks, so that you have 2 pieces that sit flat with veggies sticking out of the top. Set on a serving dish and spoon teriyaki sauce over.

Mini Portions of Dessert: Walnut-Pecan-Raisin & Cream Cigars

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Phyllo dough comes in handy for creating these mini portions of dessert. Some tips for working with phyllo: It’s very important to keep them under a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out while you are working with the sheets. Also, covering the finished rolls as you go will ensure a proper result. These can be made a day ahead, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to maximize numbers, cut each phyllo sheet into 9 rectangles instead of 6, and you will have 90 rolls.

I developed this recipe as part of a Greek food party menu. If you love Greek food, see more of the plan for hosting a Greek-themed party.

MAKES 60 CIGARS (6.5 INCHES)

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…TOAST THE NUTS

3/4 CUP walnuts
3/4 CUP pecans

Toast nuts in a heated skillet for about 2 min, set aside to cool. Roughly chop.

PREPARE THE FILLING…GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

6 TB brown sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch s + p

1 CUP golden raisins
toasted nuts
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature, cut into chunks

Pulse dry ingredients together. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Put into a piping bag and set aside.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Walnut Pecan Raisin Cream Cigars

MAKE THE CIGARS

20 sheets phyllo pastry
2 sticks salted butter, melted
brown sugar

Lay a sheet of phyllo out and brush lightly with butter. Dust with sugar. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter again. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 6 rectangles.

Pipe a line of filling near the bottom of each rectangle. Roll the pastry over the filling tightly, squeezing gently. Brush the seam with melted butter to seal, then all over. Place cigars on a baking sheet lined with parchment, seam side down, under a damp paper towel till ready to bake.

Bake the cigars on the oven’s middle shelf for 17 min, till they are flaky and a light golden brown. Serve stacked geometrically or vertically in a tall glass.

Grilled Eggplant Slices Stuffed with Herbed Feta

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make sure to get high quality feta, one that has a bit of a kick to it, preferably whole, not crumbled. Fresh herbs are mandatory to add new dimension. I grew some lemon basil this year and cannot get enough of it, it really takes basil up to another level. If you can’t find any, go for regular basil or even lemon verbena.

Get your eggplants from your local greenmarket—now is the time. And make sure not to cut them too thin, 1/4-inch is ideal, any thinner and they will not hold the feta, any thicker and you will not be able to fold then over. We have more recipes with a Greek bent in our party theme that showcases the best in Greek ingredients,.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

GRILL THE EGGPLANT

2 eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
pastry brush
1-2 CUPS EV olive oil
s + p
2 TB dried oregano

Brush one side of eggplant slice with oil and season with s + p and oregano. Heat a grill pan or bbq, and place eggplant seasoned side down. Oil and season other side. Grill about 2 to 3 min each side, till cooked through. Allow to cool slightly before assembling bites.

MAKE THE HERBED FETA

16 oz feta cheese, room temperature
1 TB lemon basil, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Combine ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread the mix onto half of the grilled eggplant and fold over.