A “Use it All” Recipe – Carrot Top Pesto

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Summer is fast approaching and that means plenty of fresh farm produce will  soon be available, just waiting to be added to a favorite warm weather recipe.

Pesto is the perfect summer recipe.   It’s fresh, colorful and you don’t even need to turn on an oven.

Try a new version of pesto by creating a carrot top pesto.   Yes, that’s right!   The whole carrot is used to make this terrific flavorful spread, including the feathery carrot tops.   Try it with some simple roasted carrots, as a spread on your favorite cracker or as a substitute for mayonnaise on a summer vegetable roasted sandwich.

Here’s a quick one minute video that shows you how easy it is to whip up.

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A simple roast chicken

close up Moroccan chicken

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple roast chicken.   If prepared properly, there’s nothing  like that crispy skinned yet tender meat from a perfectly roasted bird.

Transform a simple roast chicken into an exotic-flavored crispy creation by using a turmeric-based rub.   Start by brushing the bird with butter then generously rub in the Moroccan spice blend.   Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and the bird is ready for the oven.

Roast chicken, though a basic recipe, can be challenging to get right.  Often the breast is dry or the thigh is not cooked through.    Try preparing the chicken by using a spatchcocking method.   Don’t be intimidated by the term.   Think of it as butterflying an entire chicken prior to roasting.

Use kitchen shears to remove the chicken backbone.   Flip the chicken over onto a clean work surface then gently press down on the breast, making the chicken flatten out.    The result is a chicken that roasts faster and more evenly than the using the traditional trussing and roasting method.   

To get you started on your chicken roasting adventure, try making this Moroccan spice rub. I like to make a big batch and keep it in the cupboard.  You’ll find the blend of exotic flavors will spice up everything from salmon and chicken to a simply stir-fry.

Spice-Rubbed Moroccan Roasted Chicken
Makes one whole chicken

Remove the backbone of the chicken and gently press the breast to flatten the bird.  This technique, known as spatchcocking, allows the chicken to roast evenly.  Sweet smoked paprika and dried turmeric are available at specialty spice houses such as Penzy’s and the Spice House.

ingredients
1 whole roasting chicken

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 orange, washed and dried, skin on, sliced into 6 rounds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

preparation

Spatchcock the chicken by cutting out its backbone with kitchen shears.  Lay the chicken flat, breast side up.  Firmly press down on the breastbone to flatten.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.    Combine the paprika, white pepper, thyme, salt, turmeric and cumin in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan with a flat rack insert.  Alternately, line a rimmed baking sheet pan that is slightly larger than the bird with parchment paper.   Place the chicken, breast side up, on the prepared pan.   Brush the chicken with the melted butter.   Evenly rub the spice mixture on to the top of the bird.  Tuck the orange slices under the bird. 

Let spice-rubbed chicken rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.   Drizzle top of chicken with the olive oil.  Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast and thigh reads 165 degrees.   Remove chicken and discard orange slices.   Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

 

 

 

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Cooking with mushrooms!

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The spring issue of Edible Door Magazine is out!   Don’t miss my article on growing mushrooms.    I am including information on both table top mushroom kits as well as growing your mushrooms on logs in your backyard.

Fruiting shiitake mushroom tabletop kit for, Field and Forest Products

Growing mushrooms in your own home is easy!   A table top mushroom kit, like the shiitake mushroom kit shown above, works perfect for an apartment or condo dweller that has limited access to a backyard.  

A table top mushroom kit is a great start for a novice mushroom grower. These compact kits are inexpensive and provide quick results. Field and Forest Products sells tabletop kits for a variety of mushroom types including shiitakes, oyster, king trumpet and reishi along with the more common white mushroom and crimini.  

A good place to start shopping for mushroom-growing paraphernalia is Field and Forest Products. Husband and wife team, Mary Ellen Kozak and Joe Krawczyk, started their company more than 30 years ago.   “We create all of our own kits with the exception of white mushroom and crimini which are made by River Valley Ranch out of Burlington, Wisconsin,” Kozak said. “Everything is certified organic and made of resources that recreate the woods.”

“All you need is a mushroom kit, a dinner plate and a plant misting bottle. The easiest mushroom to start with is the shiitake. They will grow in 7 to 10 days. You can usually get two fruitings from one kit.”

Once you start growing these delicious fungi, you won’t want to stop with just one type.   Branch out from shiitake and try some oyster or trumpet mushrooms.

Here are some mushroom recipes you may want to try……

Close up Herb ricotta and roasted mushroom arugula crostini

Wild Mushroom Crostini with Basil Ricotta

Click here for a YouTube Video to prepare this dish!

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Shiitake Mushroom Rockefeller

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Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts

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Simple Roasted Wild Mushrooms

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A variety of mushrooms from Field and Forest Products

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Shiitake mushrooms fruiting on a log

King trumpet mushroom kit

King Trumpet Mushroom Table Top Kit

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