Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seasoning your cast iron cookware

Re-Seasoning your Lodge Cast Iron

While maintaining the seasoning (as in Step 5 above) should keep your Cast Iron in good condition, at some point you may need to repeat the seasoning process. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:

Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).

Rinse and dry completely.

Apply a thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware (inside and out).

Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any dripping.

Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.

Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven.

Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.

Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.

How to remove rust from cast iron cookware

1. Take a potato and cut the end of it off. This will be your scouring pad. Put Ajax or Comet Cleanser in the rusty cast iron cookware. Alternatively you can soak the pan in vinegar causing a chemical reaction that causes the rust to decompose. Use the potato to rub the cleanser around. You will notice that the end of the potato changes and gets "slicker". When it does this, slice a thin slice off the end of the potato that you have been using.

2. Rinse the skillet and put a bit more cleanser in the pan and scrub with the potato again.

3 Repeat the above process until the pan has all the rust gone.

4 Wash with liquid dish soap and water and rinse well. Then dry.

5 You can leave it like this if you are just going to deep fry in it. But if you don't want it to stick, do the following steps.

6 Put a bit of oil or shortening about 1/4 in. deep (6 mm [1]) in the pot and rub onto the sides up to the top.

7 Put into an oven at a low temperature, say under 300 ºF (150 ºC) and cook the oil or shortening for several hours.

8 In the future when you use the pot or pan, if it sticks, repeat step 7 until it stops sticking

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recipe for Redlands Daily Facts Food Column 10.30

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Caramelized Shallots

Preheat oven to 375F

For topping:
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbs minced fresh flat leaf parsley

For gratin:
1 tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt to taste, plus 2 tsp
2 lb Brussels sprouts trimmed halved lengthwise
2 tbs all purpose flour
8 oz gruyere cheese, grated
½ oz Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 tsp lemon zest
¾ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
4-5 shallots, thin slice

Microplane (or cheese grater
12in or larger cast iron cookware (or dutch oven)
large stock pot
mixing bowls

Preheat oven to 375F

For topping:
In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, butter, lemon zest, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.

For caramelized shallots, finely slice 4-5 shallots very thin. Heat large cast iron skillet on stovetop, drizzled with grape seed oil or any high heat oil (soy oil will work too). Heat cast iron with oil, add sliced shallots and cook only until translucent, do not brown or overcook.

For gratin, use large (12in or larger) deep cast iron skillet (dutch oven or large ovenproof non-stick fry pan greased with a thin layer of butter). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat . Add the brussels sprouts and cook just until tender, 5-7 minutes. Drain then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, Gruyere, Parmigano-Reggiano, lemon zest, 2 tsp. salt and pepper. Stir in the cream, then the brussles sprouts and caramelized shallots. Transfer the mixture to the cast iron cookware and smooth to make layer even in thickness. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let the gratin rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More soup tips....

1. A simple important step is using fresh cold water for the base to any soup. Cold water is the foundation to any good stock and is the foundation to any good soup. Hot water comes from a tank that can have traces of metals and sediments, which in turn can create a bad taste in your soups. The heat can also leach heavy metals like lead from your plumbing into the water, which could then go into your soup.

2. A good stock makes for good soup. If you are making your own stock, you should make it with plenty of bones, the meat on the bones gives the soup flavor and the bones give it body, because of the natural collagen. Cold homemade stocks often have so much body and texture that it can be scooped out with a spoon. A good quality stock provides the soup with body and a silky texture. Good stock can be portioned and frozen for future use.

3. Whenever you make a soup, cook it slowly and only allow to boil briefly then reduce to simmer. Boiling soup for an extended period off time disintegrates the ingredients and makes the liquid cloudy. When reducing heat, reduce until you see small bubbles around the rim, not rolling bubbles across the service.

4. Season slowly, add water slowly. The old expression is that you can always add, but you can never take away. Add water and seasoning slowly and taste often to adjust until desired consistency and flavor are achieved.

5. Soups are best made in bulk and portioned out and frozen for future use. Soups are the perfect food for busy schedules since frozen portions can be stored in zip top bags to make efficient use of freezer space.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Seeing the wonderful people from Ryley's Farm at the OAM event on Saturday, inspired me to dig out some soup recipes using apples! This time of year, there's nothing better than apples from Ryley's Farm!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

4-5 lbs butternut squash, peeled seeded and diced to make approx 12 cups
1.5 lbs granny smith or other green apple, peeled, cored and diced to make approx 4 cups
1 cinnamon stick
1.5 tsp finely minced ginger
5.5 cups veg stock (or sub with chicken stock)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup good quality maple syrup
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups half and half
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup unsweetened whipped cream, crème fraiche or mascarpone for garnish.

In a large heavy stockpot or dutch oven (I like to use my large LeCreuset), combined squash, apples, cinnamon stick, ginger and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer and cook slowly, covered until the squash and apples are soft and translucent, for approximately 30-40 minutes. Be sure not to undercook vegetables to ensure a silky and flavorful soup.

Remove the pot from heat, and remove cinnamon stick. Add the butter, maple syrup, nutmeg, half and half, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth using immersion blender. (or puree in batches with food processor or blender).

Pass pureed soup through a fine mesh strainer, discard solids.

Return pot to the stove and bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste, adjust seasonings.

Ladle into warm bowls and serve hot. Garnish with dollop of cream (sub with mascarpone or crème fraiche) or top with diced apples.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Useful Equipment for Making Soup and Producing Purees

Food Mill: A hand-cranked food mill purees soup by forcing ingredients through a preforated round disk to remove fibers, skins and seeds from vegetables. Most mills come with both medium and fine disks offering the cook a choice of coarser or smoother purees.

Food Processor: A food processor purees soups almost instantaneously. First, fit the processor with a metal blade. Ladle small batched of the cooked product and a bit of the liquid into the food processors bowl. Be careful not to over fill, fill to just about half way. Cover and pulse the machine several times, then process until the puree to desired consistency. When using a food processor, straining may be necessary to remove fibers, skins and seeds. Remove them by pouring contents into a sieve over large bowl or you may use a stainless steel wire mesh strainer.

Handheld blender ("Stick Blender"/"Immersion blender") Hand held blenders also called immersion blenders have a blade that can lowered directly into a pot of soup, blending large amounts of soup at one time without having to switch the contents from pot to a separate bowl. I prefer using an immersion blender for ease of use, less dishes to clean and for it's ability to easily achieve a smooth silky texture in soups in the least amount of time and with little effort. Immersion blenders also tend to incorporate air into the soup, resulting in a silky foamy texture.

Standing blender: Blenders make pureeing soups fast and easy, they can handle more liquid than food processors and usually produce a better puree than food processors. When using a blender, work in small batched and never fill blender more than half way to prevent overflow.

White Cheddar and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

White Cheddar and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
1 head cauliflower, about 2.5 lbs, cut into florets
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream (or sub with yogurt)
2 tsp kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
toasted crusty bread for garnish

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, approx 5-7 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, cream the 2 tsp salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a fine puree. (You can also use as food mill or if nothing else a blender but the blender probably will not give you the smoothest texture). Blend with stick (immersion) blender for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted well and combine with the soup. Adjust seasonings.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, serve hot with toasted bread, or garnish with croutons or chopped chives.

Leek and Potato Soup

2lbs leeks
3 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lb Yukon gold or yellow
6 cups chicken stock
champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley or chives

Prepare the leeks by trimming off the root ends and the upper green tops. Halve the white part of the leeks lengthwise and then, without cutting through the root end, cut lengthwise into ¼ in wide strips. Then cut the leeks crosswise into ¼ in dice. Wash the diced leeks thoroughly in a large basin if cold water. Once the dirt has settled, scoop them out with a sieve or strainer. Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the leeks, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about ten minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼ in dice. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, still maintain their shape. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Let the soup cool to room temperature and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before serving, remove the bay leaf and reheat the soup over medium heat and taste again for salt. If you like, add champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar to sharpen the flavor. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Finish with ground pepper, olive oil drizzle or garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives.

Monday, October 18, 2010

RIPE ! Join the fun !

On October 23, Olive Avenue Market will host RIPE: A Fall Garden to Table Festival! The festival will be from 10am to 1pm, there is no cost to attend. RIPE celebrates the edible gardening revolution and our regions thriving commitment to local food. Please join us and spend some time with local growers, farmers and gardeners who are passionate about fresh food. This will be an educational seminar to showcase the building and planting of a garden at Olive Ave Market, featuring locally grown produce and heirloom vegetable plants and local foods. For more information, visit

Roasted Yams and Apple Soup

We served a version of this recipe at the Redlands Conservancy Feasting on the Farm Event last evening, but we used Cinderella Pumpkins instead of Yams and everyone seemed to love it!
Roasted Yam and Apple Soup

2-3 lbs yams (or 1 Cinderella pumpkin cut in half, roasted)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 green apples, such as granny smith, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick through skins of yams with fork, place on baking sheet and roast until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes. Rotate yams ½ way through cooking. On stovetop, heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, shallots, and apple and cook until onions are translucent. Stir occasionally, cook12-15 minutes. Don’t burn or brown onions. Remove yams from oven; cut each in half and scoop out soft flesh with spoon. Set peels aside. Add the cooked flesh to pot with onions, celery, and apples. Add 6 cups water, 2 tsp salt, ½ tsp ground pepper. Bring back to low simmering heat, stirring frequently. Use immersion blender on stovetop or place in blender or food processor and puree. If using blender or food processor, blend in batches then return to pot on stovetop. Add water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve hot with finely diced apples to garnish.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


What a great day yesterday! Thank you, Redlands Daily Facts for the coverage of a special event and a wonderful day!

Roasted Root Vegetables, recipe for Redlands Daily Facts Food Column "Root of Savory" 10.9.10,

Roasted Root Vegetables

Note: This is a fairly universal way to roast root vegetables. This recipe is very similar to one we prepared in culinary school. Any root vegetables may be used for this recipe. It's not necessary to limit yourself only to the below mentioned ingredients, feel free to include any of your other favorite vegetables in this wonderful seasonal dish!

1lb red-skinned potatoes, with peel left on, scrubbed, cut into 1in. cubes.
(or sub sweet potatoes, yams or whatever you like!)
1lb celery root (celeriac) peeled cut into 1in cubes.
1lb parsnips, peeled cut into 1in cubes
1lb carrots, peeled cut into 1in cubes (or sub with baby carrots, left whole)
1lb rutabagas, peeled cut into 1in cubes.
1lb jicama, peeled cut into 1in cubes
1lb turnips, peeled cut into 1 in cubes
1lb water chestnuts, cut into 1in cubes
2 large onions, cut into 1in pieces
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only) cut into 1in thick rounds
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or fresh thyme or any other fresh herb you like)
8-10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (depending upon amount of vegetables used)

Preheat oven to 400F. Wipe roasting pan or baking sheet with cloth or paper towel soaked with cooking oil to prevent vegetables from sticking to pan. Combine all cut vegetables (except garlic cloves) into mixing bowl, toss to coat all vegetables evenly. Use as much olive oil as necessary to coat evenly coat all vegetables. Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast vegetables approx. 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are evenly cooked, add garlic. Stir vegetables and garlic in pan. Continue to roast vegetables until browned and tender, approx addnl. 30-45 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips for Cooking and Roasting Vegetables

Some additional tips for cooking and roasting vegetables (related to Redlands Daily Facts Food Column "Root of Savory", 10.9.10)

The following guidelines for vegetable cookery might be helpful for you.

1. Vegetables should be carefully cut into uniform shapes and sizes to promote even cooking and provide a visually attractive finished product.
2. Cook vegetables for as short a time as possible to preserve texture, color and nutrients.
3. Cook vegetables as close to service time as possible. When held, even without heat, vegetables will continue to cook.
4. When necessary, vegetables can be blanched in advance, then refreshed in ice water and refrigerated. They can be reheated as necessary.
5. White and red vegetables (those with flavonoid pigments) may be cooked with a small amount of acid such as lemon juice, vinegar or white wine to help retain color.
6. When preparing an assortment of vegetables, cook each type separately, then combine them. Otherwise, some items might become overcooked in the time required to properly cook others.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Farmer's Market Roasted Pumpkin and Green Apple Soup

(for food column article)

Farmer’s Market Roasted Pumpkin and Green Apple Soup

Note: There are several ways to prepare this recipe. Originally, I made this recipe using heavy cream and bacon! It was delicious, but when cooking for my health conscious mother and sister, I decided to make this delicious soup a bit more healthy to eat. I've listed a few substitutions for various ways to prepare.

3lbs Roasted Pie Pumpkin
1.5 tbsp Olive Oil
4 oz Turkey Bacon (turkey bacon is THE substitute for pork bacon!)
½C Onion, Diced
2 Granny Smith Apples (or other tart green apple), peeled, cored, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
12 oz Soft (silken) Tofu (sub with 8oz heavy cream or 8 oz yogurt)
4C Chicken Broth (or sub with veg broth)
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Sage (dried or chopped fresh)
1C Apple Cider
¾ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut pie pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and loose ‘strings’. Place on baking sheet, cut side down, with thin layer of water covering bottom of baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes at 300F. When done, pumpkins should be dark brown to slightly black around edges on skin. Texture of pumpkin flesh should be moist, separating easily from skin. Scoop out filling with large spoon and put aside in separate container.

In pan (or dutch oven) on stove top, sautee ½ C diced onions, diced apples, 1.5 tsp olive oil and 4 oz diced turkey bacon. Sautee all ingredients until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, sautee additional minute. Add roasted pumpkin, 1tsp sage, 1 bay leaf, 1 C apple cider, 4 C chicken broth. First bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approx 30 min. Place ½ contents from stove top in blender. (or use a stick blender and blend on stove top). Add half tofu or cream. Put blended contents aside, then blend second half of stove top ingredients. Add second half of tofu or cream to blender. (Hint: Never fill a blender more than half way, always blend first on slow speed and hold lid on top of container!) After second round of cooked ingredients are blended and all tofu is added, return soup to stove top pot. Reheat soup and serve hot. Garnish with chopped chives or spoonful of cream. Enjoy!

Redlands Daily Facts Food Column Recipes

Recipes from this weeks Redlands Daily Facts Food Column will be posted this afternoon. Thank you for following!

Farmer's Market at Grove School Starts TODAY !

I was so sad to see the downtown Redlands Farmer's Market end last weekend.... BUT then I heard the farmer's market will continue, in a different form... in a different location. The wonderful staff and students at The Grove School are hosting a Saturday morning Farmer's Market on the grounds of the Grove School Farm. Address is 11126 Iowa Ave (cross street Orange Ave). This Farmer's Market will feature locally grown produce from the Grove School farm and other farms from the Redlands community. Hours are 8am to Noon Saturdays. Big Thanks to Mamie Powell of The Grove School ! Way to go, Mamie !!