Tag Archives: garlic

Magic Soup

14 Mar

Even though winter’s winding down, we keep encountering folks who have that ‘change of seasons’ flu- especially here in the northeast right now. It seems the timing is perfect for this soup recipe sent to us by Kathy Larson, Frontier’s VP of Sustainability and Education. It might be just what’s needed if you’re battling the blahs while waiting for spring.

by Kathy Larson

Some years ago while we were in the city shopping, I started getting a sore throat, feeling achy and blah.  We had planned to eat supper before going home but I was looking forward to getting home and wrapping up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea.  However, my husband really wanted to stop at a Thai restaurant that was on our way home, so thinking perhaps some hot soup would be good, I agreed.

I got a hot, spicy and brothy soup with cilantro, mushrooms, onions, chili peppers and other goodies at the bottom of my bowl.  I like spicy foods, but this was just at the limit of comfortable eating and I remember taking careful spoonful after spoonful to avoid coughing.  Soon I was sweating and panting a bit but I cleaned up every drop of that tasty soup because it just felt healing.  And the best thing was that the next day, I felt healed!

Ever since, when I start getting that achy, sore throat feeling I make a hot, gingery soup that always warms me up and makes me feel better.  I vary this soup depending what I have on hand, as I usually am making it when I can’t plan ahead.

Magic Chicken Soup

1 small chicken (or 2# deboned, skinless chicken pieces)

Water to cover and cook chicken (2 to 3 quarts)

3 astragalus root slices

3 bay leaves

2 to 4 whole red chilies

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup chopped carrot

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp tamari

1 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp parsley flakes

3 cups bok choy or other Chinese cabbage, chopped

juice of one lemon

Garnish: 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaf chopped

Place the chicken, bay leaf, chili peppers and astragalus in a large soup pot, cover with water and cook until tender (about an hour).  Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.  Rinse shiitakes under cool water to remove any grit, then place in a small bowl and cover the mushrooms with hot water to soften (15 minutes).  Add onion, celery, carrot, tamari and drained, chopped mushrooms to stock and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from the bone and add it along with the garlic, ginger and parsley flakes to the soup and continue simmering another five minutes.  Add bok choy and lemon, stir well, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  If soup is not as spicy as you would like, add cayenne ¼ tsp at a time.  Serve piping hot and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Kathy says: I also make this soup without chicken and add chicken broth powder to the veggies while they are cooking to get a richer broth.

 We’d love to hear about your magic soup recipes!

Creating the Perfect Pickle

19 Aug

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who’s never forgotten the fun of canning and pickling the bounty from your garden. Or you’re one of the many new people joining in this time-tested way to enjoy your crops all year long.

A symbol of both thrift and abundance, the pickle jar is a staple in every well-stocked pantry. If growing your own pickles doesn’t strike your fancy, you’re still a pickler if you enjoy mixing up that lively relish recipe or gourmet side dish of spicy pickled mango.

Using an array of spices and a variety of produce (think outside the cucumber patch), you can easily make your own signature pickles.

You’ll find it easy to experiment when making pickles, because the basic ingredients and processes are similar

If you’re going to make pickles, good spices are essential to good pickling. If you have fresh spices in the garden, like stalks of graceful dill, include those for visual interest and fresh taste.

But dried spices — whole, ground, and crushed — are really all you need.

For ease and dependability, you might want to keep a ready-made pickling blend on hand. You can have some fun concocting your own custom spice combinations, too. One person’s favorite pickles might highlight the warm sweetness of cardamom and allspice, for example, while another cook’s favorite blend might pop with chili peppers and garlic.

Here’s our favorite blend to get you on your way.  This is where the bulk section can really be your friend – buy a pinch or buy a pound of these ingredients, depending on the size of your project.

GET-YOU-STARTED PICKLING SPICE BLEND

Use this recipe as a rough guideline, and vary amounts and spice choices according to taste. Simply combine all ingredients to make about 1/4 cup of blend. Make small batches of several blends and use your assortment on pickling day.

one 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken up

3 bay leaves, torn into small pieces

2 small dried chili peppers cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed

2 teaspoons dill seed

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed

Finally, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Use soft water, or distilled or bottled water. Hard water interferes with the curing process.
  • Use vinegars—cider, white, or others—with 4 to 6 percent acetic acid. Commercial vinegars meet this requirement, and you can buy a ph meter to test homemade vinegars.
  • Use pickling salt—not table salt that contains iodine or anti-caking agents or sea salt, which contains trace minerals. Pickling salt (and kosher salt) is free of additives that might discolor ingredients.
  • Use pots, pans, and bowls that are unchipped enamel, stainless, or glass. Galvanized, copper, brass, or iron pans or utensils can react with the salts or acids and change the color and taste of the pickles or even form toxic compounds.

Please visit our Facebook page and post a photo of your pickle or canning project – we’ll randomly choose one of you to win a great batch of canning accessories and spices!

Grilled Vegetables – Endless Possibilities

27 May

What a great feeling it is to clean off that grill and get it ready for the summer season. Some of you are lucky enough to live in climates that allow you to be outside grilling all year. Some of us relish an all-too-short season. We’re here to help you make the most of it, no matter how long it lasts.

Experienced grillers are familiar with how flavors and textures of vegetables are enhanced by grilling. But with a little direction, even beginning grillers will find that soft, juicy vegetables like squash, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms are well suited to grilling because they absorb oils and seasoning well.

Try artichokes, eggplant, garlic, and all varieties of onions and beans on the grill as side dishes or main dishes. Imagination and exploration are key. Hit up your local farmer’s market for whatever is in season.

We decided to turn things over to our Facebook fans for some new ideas on grilling vegetables. We posed this query, and the responses that followed are downright mouth-watering.

Grilling and fresh veggies — a match made in heaven. Tell us your favorite way to prepare grilled vegetables.

  • Garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, and a little bit of water.
  • Marinate peppers in garlic, olive oil, basil & capers…then grill. Zucchini only needs a little olive oil, salt & pepper. Love to skewer asparagus, brush with oil, salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan as it comes off the grill!
  • Olive oil and garlic salt!
  • I use your All-Purpose Seasoning on everything. I like to brush veggies with coconut oil and then season with the All-Purpose Seasoning. Key is doing both sides!
  • Lots of extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, and chopped shallots, plus whatever dried herbs mix compliments the rest of the meal; e.g., Italian Herbs, Herbes de Provence, Fine Herbs, etc. Your Garlic and Herb marinade is the best.
  • Your pepper grinders truly make a difference on all the roasted vegetables that I love to grill – corn, tomatoes, squash, onions.
  • I discovered your Salad Sprinkle is a great rub not just on veggies but on meats, and for grilling bread!
  • I put olive oil on mushrooms, squash, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and then usually I sprinkled with salt and pepper, but I have now discovered your Lemon Pepper Marinade!
  • My favorite roasted veggies are sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, with onions and mushrooms. I like to season them with a little olive oil and a little safflower oil to cut down on the burning because we like them to be a little bit crunchy on the edges like fries. I season them with several different varieties of seasoning, depending on the evening.
  • I frequently add fresh lemon juice and lemon pepper, or lemon juice and Tuscan seasoning, or lemon juice and fresh garlic, or lots of whole cloves.

It sounds like our fans think the key is finding a mix that adds just the right flavor to whatever you put on the grill.

We’ve got a multitude of grilling features on our website; help yourself to some ideas.

We’d LOVE to hear more of your tips!

Hunting for Wild Ramps

15 May

This spring we learned about a new wild vegetable – the elusive ramp. We’d been hearing about ramps and seeing the word on menus for a few weeks.  Such is the fervor, in the northeast anyway, even Time magazine did a feature on them.

We asked our Facebook fans to discuss ramps awhile back, and we were met with both puzzled and informed responses. So what, pray tell, is a ramp? It’s an early spring wild vegetable also known as spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wild garlic, and, in French, ail sauvage and ail des boi.

That should give you a good idea about what we’re dealing with here. Ramps have a strong garlic-like odor and a definite onion flavor. In fact, speaking from experience, if you eat them and fill your car with them on the same day, the smell in your car will remind you of this experience for days afterward.

Last week, our friends Luc and Nina, the chef and co-owners at a wonderful local restaurant in Woodstock, NY called ORiole9, asked us to go “ramp hunting” with them.

It was a beautiful spring day, and the drive to our deep woods location was gorgeous, as are most drives in the Catskills. We parked, and jumped out to start our trek. We personally were under the impression that the ramps would be hiding in plain sight under a nearby bush, though our hosts knew better.

We crossed a stream filled with slippery rocks (several times) used muscles we forgot we had (the ones only used to climb like a mountain goat) and reached the top of one of the lushly wooded peaks – and there they were. Right next to two downed trees, in a location so secret and so remote we couldn’t begin to describe it to you. You just have to go see it yourself. (Or check out the photos at the link below.)

How lucky we were to be with a chef on this hunt – as soon as we returned to the restaurant, Luc made an omelet with cheddar cheese and ramps, which he whisked to our table before we even knew he was absent. It was delicious.

So, here’s the question. Are ramps popular where you live? Do you have any ramp recipes to share? We’d love to hear what you have to say.

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE RAMP HUNT.

A Trip Through the Frontier Recipe Files

7 Apr

If you’re a fan of Frontier on Facebook, you’ve seen the recipe links we post there often. If you’re not a fan on Facebook, you can become one here.

Sometimes when we post a recipe, one of our customers will comment, “Where can I find more recipes like this?” On our website, that’s where!

We’ve spent many hours gathering and editing our collection of recipes. A lot of them were developed in our test kitchen or were contributed by talented friends and employees, but we also have gotten permission to share over a thousand natural food recipes we’ve chosen from wide range of cookbooks.

You’ll find a nice variety of recipes — from appetizers to vegetarian — in 14 categories with subcategories for ethnic cuisines and ingredients. There’s also an ingredient and recipe title search box. There’s a print version of every recipe, too, so you can save your favorites. We hope you think of our website the next time you need a new idea for a natural dish.

We’ve got quite a file of cooking articles and tips too, and that’s a story for another day.

Some of our Facebook fans are starting to let us know how recipes turn out when they try them. We love this!

On that note, here’s a quickie you can make and use tonight. It’s a lemony butter you can put on your favorite noodles, on bread, or on a baked potato.

Lemony Pasta Butter

Place a big dab of this flavorful butter on hot pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and coarsely ground pepper, and you’ve created a delightful main dish! It’s also terrific on baked potatoes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup softened butter or soy margarine
1 teaspoon chervil leaf
1 teaspoon marjoram leaf
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, or freeze for use as needed.

Let us know if you try it. Or, give us your own tip for adding spices to butter to turn up the flavor.

Thanks for stopping by.

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