Monday, February 21, 2011

A day in the life of a Pepper(s)…and Tomato(es) - In Pictures!

I even made a song for this extra special soup…sing along will ya!?

“Broil it, peel it, bring it to a boil
Blend it, strain it and drink it with a smile!"

Juvenile? I know it! But it’s well worth it!! Treat your vegetables with love and creativity and they will tickle your taste buds until you can say “Sir, can I have some more, please?”

Rub the Peppers and Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Broil them in the oven for 50 minutes, or until skin is charred

 For the garnish, julienne some Basil and chop some Eggplant into thin straws. Fry these up until crisp and season with salt and red chili powder. Set aside for the big finish!

Once peppers and tomatoes are done, let them cool (or not!), and get some help peeling the skin off those babies!

Sautee onions and garlic in a pot with olive oil, add the peppers and tomatoes and season with salt, sugar, garlic powder, red chili powder and basil leaves. Stew it for 10 minutes and then add 2.5 cups veggie stock.
Simmer on medium heat for an additional 25 minutes

Puree the heck out of the mix with your immersion blender and put through a siev

Simmer the silky smooth orange yumminess for another 10 mins, and season again for taste

Bring it home with bells and whistles! Garnish with the fried eggplant and basil mix and add a freshly baked piece of puffed pasty to sop up this yumminess!

Ingredients for Soup:
6 Red Peppers
6 medium Tomatoes
3 cloves of fresh Garlic
4 Tbsps of Olive Oil
3 Basil leaves
1.5 tsps of red chili powder/cayenne pepper
Salt, sugar and garlic powder to taste

Prepare the Garnish:
1/2 cup of chopped Eggplant
3 leaves of Basil - julienned
Season with salt and red chili powder

Follow the pictoral steps above to make your soup and garnish!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Insomnia = Cookies, very special cookies

At The Gourmet Pantry we don’t just throw store bought cookie dough in the oven. No, Ma’am! We jazz them up and sprinkle on some caffine for an extra special doze of Insomnia!

PB&J cookies and Chocolate Chunk Coffee cookies

These are simple recipes that can be made with ingredients almost everyone has in their Pantry. Unless of course you are allergic to peanuts! If so, move on to the chocolate chip/coffee ones. NO ONE is allergic to Coffee. God, I hope not!

PB&J Cookies

1 Package regular store bought cookie dough
5-6 heaping tbsps of Chunky Peanut Butter (more if you like it!)
¼ cup of any mixed fruit jam/jelly

  • Mix up the cookie dough with the peanut butter and voila! You are all set for baking!
  • Pre-heat the oven at 350° F
  • Roll out prepared dough into small balls (the size of a ping pong ball) and lay them out on a baking sheet
  • Press each ball of dough in the center, with your thumb, to make a ‘well’ for the jam/jelly
  • Spoon in your favorite mixed berry jam/jelly into the ‘well’ and bake according to instructions on cookie dough package (usually about 15 minutes).
A special batch of these cookies was mailed out our 25th Twitter follower! If you want delicious mail too, spread the word and encourage your friends to follow our blog and twitter! You might be the lucky recipient of some gourmet treats as well!

Chocolate Chunk Coffee Cookies (Yes, it’s got to be Chunks, not chips!!)

1 Package regular store bought cookie dough
¼ package of Chocolate Chunks
3 tsps of Instant coffee powder (dilute the coffee in a little bit of water)

  • Follow the same instructions as above (except adding the jam/jelly) and bake the deliciousness until perfectly golden brown!

*Tip - We like our cookies to be soft and cake-y so we bake them for a few minutes less.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Date, you ask?

For many of us who might be single and just plain tired of bad Dates, Valentine's Day is that much dreaded hallmark holiday! Now, we've all had our share of bad Dates: late Dates, lazy Dates, unromantic Dates and just plain old crazy Dates!!

So we say it's about time we take matters into our own hands and change what a Date should really be like! This is one REALLY GOOD Date! :)

Valentine’s Dates with creamy goat cheese and orange zest with Fig Balsamic Vinegar!!

We stuffed our seedless organic dates with goat cheese, sprinkled with orange zest and balsamic. Alternatively, you can chop up the dates and prepare it as a salad with some crisp watercress leaves!

Happy Valentine's Day Gourmands!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Risotto

As winter drags on, the pumpkin pie spice really had our comfort mojo going. We wanted to do justice to this mixture of flavors, and since we made the sweet potato wedges with the spice, it got us thinking. What else could we make with this? As I spotted a leftover can of pumpkin pie filling, which was conveniently located right next to a bag of risotto, I thought--- hhhm, pumpkin risotto?! This dish sounds like it could be served up at a 5-star restaurant by your favorite celebrity chef, for $30 per person…. OR make it this way, and you’ll never know the difference. Cheap, easy, yet rich and delicious. And perfect for this “dead of the winter” time of year. Serve this on top of your favorite piece of meat to balance out the richness… or with a simple house salad to add a somewhat healthy twist to this carb-a-licious dinner.

OK--- now we must add that risotto is NOT impossible to make, despite popular belief. Yes, it requires a ton of stirring and watching and stirring and watching and adding water and broth and stirring & watching…. But this dish is actually easy to make!! Bobby Flay does not need to be present to get this job done, just try it out. Steps & illustrations below.

1 cup Arborio rice, risotto
½ large onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pumpkin puree (pumpkin pie filling)
¼ tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for topping

To begin, chop up ½ of a large white onion and 1 tbsp fresh ginger (if fresh ginger isn’t on hand, just add a teaspoon or two of ground ginger at this point). 
Add 1 tbsp olive oil or butter to a large sauté pan, heat on high, and add onion & garlic. 
After they have had a chance to get all nice & cozy, roughly 2 minutes, add the cup of uncooked risotto. Stir it up and let the ingredients fry up for a minute. 
Then, add 1 cup of dry white wine. Stir while the wine and alcohol cook out, roughly 2-5 minutes—or unti it stops sizzling. 

Then, add the first cup of vegetable broth. Again--- stir, and let the broth soak into the rice.
Give the rice a few minutes as you stir, and you can easily tell when the broth has been properly added & evaporates. 
Make sure the heat for the pan is on medium… too hot and you will burn the rice and the broth won’t get properly cooked, and too low and it will take you a million years to cook up your rice.
Add the second cup of broth, stir, and wait for it to soak in. 

Repeat the process for the third cup of broth.
Once the broth has been soaked up, the rice is cooked & ready to go! 
Now, add the cup of pumpkin puree for the final rich touch. We also added a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice for an extra hearty kick to the meal, but use this to your own discretion and palates. 
Let the ingredients sink in, and turn the heat off the pan. 
Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with a nice heaping tablespoon of parmesan cheese to add the perfect salty bite to the extra decadent & sweet risotto flavor.

Post your risotto related questions & comments!! Stay tuned for some upcoming & rich treats for this Valentine’s Day week!