FOOD: VEGETABLE SOUP WITH SOME BUBBLY

Westchester, with the cold weather around for a few more months how about trying a healthy, hearty, and nutritious vegetable soup that will warm you right up! It’ll snap you from your sweet Valentine’s Day hangover and put that leftover Champagne or white wine to good use!

Save some time and start by chopping your onions; You can chop your other vegetables while the onions are sweating!

Start buy chopping  1 cup each of Yukon gold potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, onions, and celery. If you have it available I recommend substituting a half a cup of fennel for half a cup of celery to add more depth in flavor.

Place the onions in the largest soup pot you own on low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sweat the onions until they are translucent. Next drop in all of your vegetables.

Onions breaking a sweat!

Here is where I like to use my leftover prosecco or white wine. Take your leftover 750 bottle and fill the empty part with water. You will want to use 3 750ml bottles worth of liquid in total. I like dropping in the veggies first so that you don’t get any splash on your stove that you would usually get if you dropped the veggies into a pot of water.

Bring the liquid to a boil and then keep at a simmer for an hour. The low and slow cooking will create a flavorful broth. Your veggies should have softened at this point.

Test a potato, if the potato is cooked to taste the. You are almost there. At this point you want to add a can of cannelloni beans, a package of frozen chopped spinach, a tablespoon of roasted minced garlic, a tablespoon of parsley and a tablespoon of basil. Salt and pepper to taste. I like to salt at the end because if you salt early, some of your broth will evaporate and you can end up with a salty soup. Bring the soup to a boil once you have added the last of the ingredients.

 

Healthy, Hearty, Vegetable Soup

Ladle and enjoy.

SPOT: MEZZA LUNA

So you are having a party on Sunday, you have your TV set for the big game, but you are not ready to attempt my pulled pork recipe. What to do?

 Visit our friends and sponsors page and try these two dishes and your party will have fiery and delicious treats.

 Let me introduce you to The Goodfellas pizza. This pizza packs a flavorful pepper punch in a crunchy crispy crust.  The broccoli rabe, sausage, cheese and mix of sweet and spicy peppers melt together to give you a perfect bite. The crust on all of Mezza Luna’s pizzas are just as delicious as your first bite. You will definitely enjoy this on game day.

Goodfellas Pizza

 Why stop the spice at pizza? Try an order or five orders of Mezza Luna’s buffalo chicken wings.  Crispy, spicy, and tender; everything you can ask for in wings. Mezza Luna serves these in hearty portions with blue and celery.

 Order these or any of their appetizers and make your party one to remember. Mezza Luna has regular orders as well as catering trays of chicken fingers, fries, mozzarella sticks, meatball sliders, fried zucchini and more…

 Check out their website below and put in your orders….

http://www.mlpizzeria.com/

Order yourself a Goodfellas Pizza today!

 

FOOD: PULLED PORK

Hello Westchester Food Finders,

One of our avid readers asked for a simple recipe on a college budget. Justin, not only does this work for you and your budget, it would make a great addition to your big game menu next weekend.

Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Pulled Pork Sandwich

 

Let’s start out with a large pork loin or roast. Go to a big box store if you have a membership, otherwise your local supermarket will due. I was able to get my pork for an economical 1.99 a lb. Keeping to the college mentality of fewest ingredients and low cost,  I recommend getting a McCormick’s Brown Sugar Bourbon mix. It’s a pre-blended mix of seasoning and works very well with this recipe. You can also easily use it for grilling chicken and other meats, so you will put any extra seasoning to use.

Great food and great for your budget!

 

Place your pork in an aluminum baking tray. Aluminum trays eliminate the clean up and the non-existent storage space of a small apartment. The tray should be recycled when you are done cooking.

Coat your pork in seasoning and add a can of beer to the tray. Cover your pork with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees until your pork is cooked to 190 degrees. A large pork roast will take a few hours to cook through, so make sure you plan ahead and plan on some study time.

Allow the pork to cool slightly once cooked. You will want to shred your pork with two forks. When cooked properly the pork should pull apart pretty easily and shredding in your aluminum pan will keep any potential messes away from the counter as well as your pulled pork moist and delicious.

Add your favorite sauce and toss your pulled pork. You may enjoy as is or build sandwiches and sliders. If you are planning on serving for a party as I am, you can even try having multiple variations. I plan on Buffalo, BBQ, and Sesame Ginger Teriyaki! We’d love to hear how your pulled pork turned out.

Please comment or reach out via email info@westchesterfoodfinds.com .

 

FOOD: GRILLED MAPLE CHILI GLAZED JUMBO SHRIMP

Good Day Food Finders!

My next dish works well as an appetizer or entrée. Its fresh, simple, and exclusively for WestchesterFoodFinds.com !

Grilled Maple Chili Glazed Jumbo Shrimp

I was lucky enough to find these jumbo shrimp at my local fresh fish monger. It is a special occasion for me so I opted for the fresh, wild caught, Florida variety. Keep in mind the larger the shrimp, the fewer per pound, and the more expensive they get.  If you are on a budget, get the smaller size and follow the recipe as is. The only adjustment you will need to make is that you will skewer your shrimp.

I prefer to clean my own shrimp. If you want to save yourself the effort, you can buy them cleaned and de-veined, but I feel that the shrimp is at its freshest with the shell on.

Wash your shrimp and remove the shell. I also remove the tails at this point as doing so eliminates having your guests having to deal with them on their plates.

Hold your shrimp firmly and make a shallow cut along the back down to the tail. Pull out the vein and nasty stuff and rinse under water. Repeat until all of your shrimp are washed and cleaned.

On to the maple chili glaze. Mix 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to your desired level of heat per pound of shrimp. Place your shrimp in a plastic zip top bag and pour in half of your glaze. You will save the remaining glaze to drizzle over your shrimp once cooked. Seal the bag and move the shrimp around so that they are all covered. Place the bag of shrimp and let them marinate for a few hours before grilling.

Shrimp cook quickly. Preheat your grill so that you get nice grill marks. Place the shrimp on your grill at high heat for a minute on each side with the grill lid closed. Your  shrimp is ready when pink and firm to the touch.

On the Grill

Plate, drizzle, and garnish with some fresh parsley. You can serve as an appetizer as is, or with a side of rice and vegetable and make them a meal.

Enjoy! Please share the recipe with friends and family and please like us on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

 

FOOD: DRUNKEN HONEY HERB CRUSTED FILET MIGNON

Westchester Food Finders, I have a great New Year’s Eve entrée for you!

My Drunken Honey Herb Crusted Filet Mignon is easy to prep and even easier to cook. You can have your decadent and rich meal in the comfort of your own home at a fraction of the high end restaurant prices.

Start out by sourcing your filet mignon. If you have a butcher you like to use regularly, give them a call as ask for a filet mignon roast. They will peel, clean and tied the roast for you.

Some super markets and farm based grocery stored will peel, clean, and cut or tie your filet mignon as long as you purchase the entire tenderloin. The filet when bought whole, is usually priced attractively, so take advantage of buying the whole tenderloin and have them cut some steaks for you to save for another day. Have them prepare the roast to your preferred size.

If you are feeling inspired, you may buy the whole tenderloin and clean it yourself. Remember that you want to remove all of the excess fat. Most importantly you will want to peel off the silver looking lining that wraps the tenderloin. This lining cooks tough and is not something you want to serve yourself or your guests. Tie your tenderloin with two to three inches of spacing. The ties will keep your filet firm while cooking and cutting.

The “trick” to cooking a delicious filet mignon roast is that you have to over season the roast. Since you are cooking a large piece of meat and cutting once cooked, you want the mixture of herbs and spices to be absorbed by your filet.

I like to place all of my favorite herbs and spices in a bowl and add my liquor of choice and some honey to create an herb paste. The paste gets thick and sticky and makes it easy to layer on your roast.

Please follow this list of herbs loosely, as this is your chance to customize the flavor of your roast and make it “yours”.

I like to use a combination of parsley, basil, roasted chopped garlic, pink sea salt, chili powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, paprika,  fennel seed, and chopped sage. I add three parts liquor to one part honey. I prefer a rye, whiskey or bourbon. Some brands actually offer a honey variety which works best in my opinion.

Now if you are like some of my friends, you are scratching your head over the list of herbs and thinking where do I even find fennel seed, and when will I ever use this stuff again. If that is you, pick up a pre-mixed steak seasoning. Something like a Montreal steak or steak house seasoning will do. Add your parsley and basil, and anything flavorful in your liquor cabinet will do just fine!

Place your roast in a pan of choice and wrap your filet in your herb paste. (No shame in using an aluminum pan when your hosting. They cut down your clean up and they can be fully recycled) Cover your roast either with a lid or with aluminum foil and place in the center of your oven’s top rack. Cook at 400 degrees.

Now since not all roasts are created equal, you will have to use a thermometer to test for doneness. I prefer my filet mignon medium-rare. So I cook my roast to an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

Test your roasted every 20 minutes. You will want to uncover your roast once your internal temperature hits 100 degrees and you will test every 10 minutes from that point on. Uncovering the roast will dry your herb mixture slightly and give you the “roasted” texture to the outside of the meat.

Once your roast is cooked. Remove from the roasting pan and plate. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes and carve table side. Plate with your favorite sides and you will have wowed yourself and your diner guests.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM WESTCHESTERFOODFINDS.COM

Wishing the very best from our family to yours!

Come back to see how our Surf and Turf works out. Pictures and full recipes of our Grilled Maple Chili Glazed Jumbo Shrimp and our Drunken Honey Herb Crusted Filet Mignon to follow! Here’s a hint of what’s to come…Perfect for your New Years Celebration!

 

FOOD: PEAR SPARKLE

Hello Westchester Food Finders!

With the Holidays approaching one of our readers reached out and asked If I could share a quick and easy cocktail that she can serve at a small party she is hosting.

Aimee from Bedford, let me introduce you to the Pear Sparkle.

Grab a pitcher or simply leave out the champagne flutes; The Pear Sparkle is easy to prep in bulk or a la carte, which makes it a great cocktail for entertaining.

Ingredients:

Pear Liquor or a pear flavored Cognac or Brandy

Pear of choice, Sliced. (Pear needs to be hard. Too soft and the pear will fall apart when you soak it in the liquor)

Prosecco, Champagne, or sparkling wine of choice.

Directions:

Slice your pear and place the slices in a container with one ounce of liquor for each slice. Soak your pear for 2-4 hours. Too short of a soak, and the liquor will not have enough time to take on the added flavor. Too long of a soak and you end up with a mushy pear!

Add a slice of “marinated” pear and one once ounce of the soaking liquid into a champagne flute. Top with bubbly of choice, mix and serve.

If you want to make a kid friendly or alcohol free version, simply add a sliced pear soaked in simple syrup to your flute and top off with a half seltzer, half apple cider mixture.

Enjoy!

 

 

THINGS: CHESTNUTTER

Food Finders, Tackle chestnuts quickly, easily and injury free!

chestnuts

I have a great kitchen gadget for you just in time for your holiday season! Let me introduce you to the Chestnutter. This little marvel will make scoring your chestnuts a breeze. The design is simple, easy to use, and most importantly it keeps your hands and fingers away from pointy knives.

chestnutter

I have the fondest memories of my grandfather finding the sharpest, pointiest, and scariest looking knives in his house and sitting at my kitchen table and pressing the knife into both sides of the chestnuts and carving x shapes into the shell and flesh. It was very effective for him especially since was the method his father taught him decades before.

Part of the lesson that my grandfather taught my father, and my father taught me, was that you only get better with practice and some battle wounds. I’m too late to spare myself the cuts, but that doesn’t mean I can spare my kids.

 Directions are pretty simple. Place chestnut in the scoop of the Chestnutter. Press the handles until you have scored the shell. Lift the shorty handle and keep the long handle depressed. Now lift the short handle and repeat on the other side.

 scoring-the-chestnut

Chestnuts are scored. Salt to taste and roast for 15-20 minutes. Roasting times vary, so grab one out of your oven early and give it a taste test!

Get your today!

FOOD: OVEN ROASTED TURKEY

Food Finders, I wanted to start off by wishing you and all your friends and family a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

As many of you, I’ve had my hands full in the kitchen this morning. Wanted to share the recipe I am using this thanksgiving. Its great for smaller birds, but even better for your Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece…

Use the below as your reference and remember to adjust your cooking time per pound of turkey!

FOOD: ROSEMARY ROASTED CHICKEN