Valerie Confections Plum Ketchup

Today’s 5 star secret recipe is for a tasty condiment made by Valerie Confections in Los Angeles, California.  This locally owned shop specializes chocolates, pastries, teas, cakes and more.  Owner, Valerie Gordon also makes a rich and savory Santa Rosa plum ketchup which is layered with deep, smoky flavors.  This is a wonderful twist on the classic ketchup.

Enjoy!

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Valerie Confections Plum Ketchup

1 pound Roma tomatoes
4 pounds Santa Rosa plums or other black-skinned plums
3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Marash pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peel the tomatoes: With a sharp paring knife, cut a small X at the base of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop the tomatoes in the water. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon when the skin has just begin peeling from the X, about 20 to 30 seconds. Immediately place the tomatoes in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then peel the skin from the tomatoes when they are cooled.

Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds, then roughly chop the tomato flesh and place in a large bowl.

Slice and seed the plums. Toss the plums and brown sugar with the tomatoes, then set aside.

In a wide-bottom pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, paprika and Marash pepper and cook until aromatic, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir the plum, tomato and brown sugar mixture into the pot and increase the heat to high, stirring frequently. Continue cooking at high heat; the ketchup will bubble fast and furiously. When the major bubbles subside and the ketchup starts to thicken, reduce the heat to medium.

Stir in the salt, pepper, molasses and cinnamon and continue stirring. Taste the ketchup and adjust the seasonings and flavorings if desired, then remove from heat and cool slightly.

Using a food mill or immersion blender, puree the ketchup until all the chunks are gone and you have a smooth paste.

Refrigerate the ketchup or can according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about 10 (8-ounce) jars.

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Vertical Wine Bistro’s Israeli Couscous

Today’s 5 star secret recipe is for a delicious Israeli couscous served at the Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, California.  This dish features large, pearly couscous flavored with chopped fresh herbs and garlic and a touch of bright tang from lemon juice and vinegar. It’s rounded out with complex notes from the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout.  Ras el hanout can generally be found at gourmet markets and many well-stocked supermarkets.

The chef at Vertical Wine Bistro recommends making this dish ahead of time to allow the flavors time to marry before serving.  This couscous pairs nicely with a piece of freshly grilled chicken.  Try this marinated grilled chicken recipe from our forum: Go Here

Enjoy!

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Vertical Wine Bistro’s Israeli Couscous

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
1 (8.78-ounce) package Israeli couscous
Chicken or vegetable broth (typically 2 cups broth per 1 cup couscous, or as the package directs)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add the white onion and ras el hanout and sweat until the onion is translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the couscous over low heat and stir for 3 minutes, then add the broth. Raise heat to bring to a boil, and cook until the couscous is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the cooked couscous onto a shallow rimmed pan to cool, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine the red and green onions, bell pepper, tarragon, mint, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and remaining oil along with the couscous, gently mixing with your hands to separate the couscous and fold together the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to give the flavors time to marry. Remove from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving to come to room temperature, and stir once more before serving.

Serves 8

Source: LA Times
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Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Fraiche’s Strawberry Sangria

Today’s 5 Star Secret Recipe comes from Fraiche in Culver City, California.  This restaurant was described at a delicious, non-pretentious slice of culinary heaven.  They offered up well prepared, seasonally fresh dishes but unfortunately they recently closed.  Fortunately for you, with today’s secret recipe you can enjoy a refreshing strawberry sangria that was served at Fraiche.

This makes slightly more sweetened lime juice than is called for in the recipe; the remainder can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

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Fraiche’s Strawberry Sangria

Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sugar
16 ripe strawberries, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
4 ounces Grand Marnier
4 ounces premium vodka
8 ounces California Pinot Noir

Combine the lime juice and sugar in a small heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then immediately reduce the heat to very low and simmer about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Divide the strawberries among 4 old-fashioned glasses. Sprinkle equal amounts of balsamic vinegar over them (it’ll be just a few drops in each, about one-eighth teaspoon). Divide the Grand Marnier among them, and muddle the ingredients in each glass.

Fill each glass about two-thirds full with ice, then pour equal amounts vodka over the ice in each. Add one-half ounce of the simmered lime juice to each glass. Pour equal amounts of the wine into each glass, then stir gently and serve.

Serves 4

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Mustards Grill’s Curried Slaw

Today’s 5 Star Secret Recipe comes from Mustards Grill in Napa Valley.  This popular restaurant in wine country is known for upscale Californian-New American fare.  At Mustards they serve a wonderful curried slaw.  The recipe is simple but this dish has a wonderful depth of flavor.  It works as a perfect side dish to your meal.  Indian curry paste can be found in many well-stocked supermarkets as well as specialty cooking stores.

Enjoy!

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Mustards Grill’s Curried Slaw

Curry vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons prepared Indian curry paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together the curry paste, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper until the salt is dissolved, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and continue to whisk until fully emulsified. This makes a scant cup of vinaigrette, which will keep for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

Slaw and assembly:
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/3 head)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red Fresno or jalapeno chile, seeded and thinly sliced
Prepared vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrot and chile.

Stir the vinaigrette to make sure it is emulsified and toss the slaw with just enough to coat lightly; you may not use all of the vinaigrette. Place the slaw in a serving bowl or divide onto plates. Garnish the bowl or servings with the cilantro leaves and green onion.

Serves 8

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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