The secret to an ultra-chill sorbet is all in the pectin

The Free Press WV

Raspberry sorbet is refreshing_but it’s often too icy to be worth eating. For smooth scoops, we froze a small portion of the base separately, adding it back to the rest before churning.

Because this small amount froze so rapidly, there wasn’t enough time for large ice crystals to grow; mixing this super-chilled mixture into the larger base encouraged the growth of similarly small crystals, for a fine-textured result.

We also added pectin in addition to the berries’ natural amount to give the sorbet stability in and out of the freezer. If using a canister-style ice cream machine, be sure to freeze the empty canister for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours before churning.

For self-refrigerating machines, pre-chill the canister by running the machine for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring in the sorbet mixture. Let the sorbet sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften before serving.

Fresh or frozen berries may be used. If using frozen berries, thaw them before proceeding.


Servings: 8

Start to finish: 6 1/2 hours

1 cup water

1 teaspoon powdered pectin such as sugar-less Sure-Jell

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 pounds (4 cups) raspberries

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat water, pectin, and salt in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pectin is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Process raspberries, sugar, corn syrup, and cooled water mixture in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, pressing on solids to remove seeds and pulp (you should have about 3 cups puree); discard solids. Transfer 1 cup puree to small bowl and place remaining puree in large bowl; cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl will freeze solid.)

Remove puree from refrigerator and freezer. Using tines of fork, scrape frozen puree into large bowl with chilled puree. Stir occasionally until frozen puree has fully dissolved.

Transfer mixture to ice cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick milkshake and lightens in color, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories; 4 calories from fat; 0 g fat ( 0g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 49 mg sodium; 28 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 23 g sugar; 1 g protein.

A new twist on grilled potatoes, thanks to rosemary, garlic

The Free Press WV

Grilled potatoes are a summer classic. We wanted to put a new spin on this dish by adding rosemary and garlic.

Unfortunately, we found it was difficult to add enough flavor to plain grilled potatoes. Coating the potatoes with oil, garlic, and rosemary produced burnt, bitter garlic and charred rosemary.

It turned out that we needed to introduce the potatoes to the garlic-oil mixture not once, but three times. Before cooking, we pierced the potatoes, skewered them, seasoned them with salt, brushed on the garlic-rosemary oil, and precooked them in the microwave.

Then, before grilling, we brushed them again with the infused oil. After grilling, we tossed them with the oil yet again. We finally had it_tender grilled potatoes infused with the smoky flavor of the grill and enlivened with the bold flavors of garlic and rosemary.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour

This recipe allows you to grill an entree while the hot coals burn down. Once that item is done, start grilling the potatoes. This recipe works best with small potatoes that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If using medium potatoes, 2 to 3 inches in diameter, cut them into quarters. If the potatoes are larger than 3 inches in diameter, cut each potato into eighths. Since the potatoes are first cooked in the microwave, use wooden skewers.

1/4 cup olive oil

9 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper

2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved, and threaded onto wooden skewers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat oil, garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until garlic is light blond, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl; press on solids. Measure 1 tablespoon solids and 1 tablespoon oil into large bowl and set aside. Discard remaining solids but reserve remaining oil.

Place skewered potatoes in single layer on large plate and poke each potato several times with skewer. Brush with 1 tablespoon strained oil and season with salt. Microwave until potatoes offer slight resistance when pierced with paring knife, about 8 minutes, turning halfway through microwaving. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet coated with 1 tablespoon strained oil. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon strained oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place potatoes on grill (on hotter side if using charcoal) and cook (covered if using gas) until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Move potatoes to cooler side of grill (if using charcoal) or turn all burners to medium-low (if using gas). Cover and continue to cook until paring knife slips in and out of potatoes easily, 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Remove potatoes from skewers and transfer to bowl with reserved garlic-oil mixture. Add chives, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss until thoroughly coated. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 285 calories; 100 calories from fat; 11 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 171 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 5 g protein.

Grilled beef skewers get even better with a robust marinade

The Free Press WV

Well-marbled steak tips, with their beefy flavor and tender texture, proved the best choice for our grilled beef kebabs.

We created a robust marinade using several key elements: Beef broth and tomato paste added rich, umami tones, salt helped brine the meat and keep it moist, a bit of sugar helped with caramelization, and rosemary and lemon zest added bright aromas. (For a spicy North African variation, we used cilantro, paprika, cumin, and cayenne.)

We cut the meat into large pieces and packed it tightly onto the skewers to help keep it moist and tender while grilling and also patted it dry to help prevent steaming. We paired our beef with a trio of firm and flavorful vegetables that came into their own when grilled: peppers, red onions, and zucchini.

If you can’t find sirloin steak tips, sometimes labeled “flap meat,” substitute 2 pounds of blade steak (if using, cut each steak in half to remove the gristle). You will need six 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe. If you have long, thin pieces of meat, roll or fold them into approximate 2-inch cubes before skewering.


Servings: 4-6

Start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes, plus 1 hour to marinate


1 onion, chopped

1/3 cup beef broth

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Beef and Vegetables

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick

2 red or green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces, 3 layers thick

For the marinade process all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Transfer 3/4 cup marinade to large bowl and set aside.

For the beef and vegetables place remaining marinade and beef in 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and toss to coat. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours, flipping bag every 30 minutes.

Add zucchini, bell peppers, and onions to bowl with reserved marinade and toss to coat. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Remove beef from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Thread beef tightly onto two 12-inch metal skewers. In alternating pattern of zucchini, bell pepper, and onion, thread vegetables onto four 12-inch metal skewers.

— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over center of grill, leaving 2-inch gap between grill wall and charcoal. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium-low.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place beef skewers on grill (directly over coals if using charcoal or over hotter side of grill if using gas). Place vegetable skewers on grill (near edge of coals but still over coals if using charcoal or on cooler side of grill if using gas). Cook (covered if using gas), turning skewers every 3 to 4 minutes, until beef is well browned and registers 120 F to 125 F (for medium-rare), 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer beef skewers to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest while finishing vegetables.

Continue to cook vegetable skewers until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to platter. Using tongs, slide beef and vegetables off skewers onto platter. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories; 110 calories from fat; 12 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 67 mg cholesterol; 462 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 26 g protein.

A bright quinoa salad with a bite, creaminess and acidity

The Free Press WV

Sure, quinoa is a complete protein and is known as a “superfood,” so it’s a great base for a hearty and healthful main dish salad. But we love it also for its intriguing and delicate texture and nutty flavor.

For a quinoa salad that showcased these great qualities, we started by toasting the quinoa to bring out its flavor before adding liquid to the pan and simmering the seeds until nearly tender.

We then spread the quinoa on a rimmed baking sheet so that the residual heat would finish cooking it gently as it cooled, giving us perfectly cooked, fluffy grains.

Black beans, mango, and bell pepper lent the salad bright flavor, color, and satisfying heft. A simple but intense dressing made with olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, and cilantro gave this dish the acidity needed to keep its flavors fresh.

Finally, sliced scallions contributed bite, and a generous topping of avocado slices provided a creamy richness that balanced the bright dressing.

If you buy unwashed quinoa (or if you are unsure whether it’s washed), be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove its bitter protective coating (called saponin). For a spicier dressing, add the jalapeno ribs and seeds.


Servings: 4-6

Start to finish: 45 minutes

1 1/2 cups prewashed white quinoa

2 1/4 cups water

Salt and pepper

5 tablespoons lime juice (3 limes)

1/2 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed

2 scallions, sliced thin

1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced thin

Toast quinoa in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until most of water has been absorbed and quinoa is nearly tender, about 15 minutes.

Spread quinoa on rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely, about 15 minutes; transfer to large bowl. (Cooled quinoa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Process lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt in blender until jalapeno is finely chopped, about 15 seconds. With blender running, add oil and cilantro; continue to process until smooth and emulsified, about 20 seconds.

Add bell pepper, mango, beans, scallions, and lime-jalapeno dressing to cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topping individual servings with avocado.


Nutrition information per serving: 480 calories; 239 calories from fat; 27 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 239 mg sodium; 52 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 11 g protein.

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