St. Patrick’s Day Hummus

In between plates piled high with corned beef and cabbage and overflowing pints of heady Guinness or green beer, there is a void that needs to be filled – snack time! You could reach for something rich, like a Guinness inspired cupcake with a green Bailey’s buttercream frosting (YUM), but if you want a healthy alternative, we’ve got something you can snack on all week long. Your belly (and your waistline) will thank you.

Follow us to the Gourmet Galley Kitchen for some naturally bright green St. Patty’s Day inspired snacking fare…

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus

Yield: 1 Quart

  • 24 oz frozen edamame (preferably non-gmo verified)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 heaping tbsp of chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or tin foil. Next, set a medium sauce pan up with a steaming rack and an inch or two of water, bring to a boil.

Spread half of the edamame out in a single layer and bake for approximately 7-10 minutes, until golden. meanwhile, steam the remaining edamame until fork tender. Approximately 5-7 minutes. Drain and move all edamame to either a high power blender or food processor.

Add a little water at a time as you process the edamame until it achieves your desired spreadable consistency. Flavor with the remaining ingredients until it reaches just the right high note and enjoy with cumin flavored pita chips or your favorite crudites!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our kitchen to yours!

Xo Kristen

 

 

Maple Syrup Taffy

Maple Syrup LollipopWinter storm Juno may have shut the state down yesterday but we are happily back in action today with everyone safe and sound! Juno left feet of snow for us to play in, and more is projected to be on the way later this week. Welcome winter!

When you’ve run through your list of ‘snow day’ activities and you’re left wondering what else to do with of all of this white stuff – we’re here to suggest an easy and delicious treat: Maple Syrup Taffy.

Now that it finally looks like winter around here, we thought it would be fun to whip some up and share the process with all of our friends. It’s almost maple sugaring season, after all! If you’ve ever been to a sugar shack or traveled up north to Canada, you may already be familiar with this simple joy. If not, you’re in for a real treat! Today is the perfect day to try making this snack and, if you have kids, you’ll want to get them in on the action too.

 

All you need is:

  • Pure maple syrup (support local!)
  • A candy thermometer
  • A sheet pan for easy clean up
  • Clean, fresh snow
  • A fork, Popsicle stick, chopstick, or something similar with which to roll the candy

You can make this inside with clean snow packed onto a sheet pan, or outside on a hard surface – like the ledge of your deck or picnic table.

Heat 1/2 – 1 cup pure maple syrup until it reaches the soft-ball stage (about 235 degrees) and then turn the heat off. If your pan doesn’t have a lip, transfer to a glass Pyrex measuring cup for ease of pouring.

Pour ribbons of hot syrup over the snow in a line and allow to sit for about 30 seconds. Then just roll it up like cotton candy and enjoy!

Tip: Eat as-is or sprinkle with your favorite spice – a smoked paprika or chili powder for example, or try some crunch with crushed salty pistachios. Dare we suggest, crumbled bacon?! Go ahead and be creative ūüôā

Cheers,

Kristen

 

Hitting Reset

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have a few personal goals for 2015! Don’t we all? Last year, I began my outdoor running routine with gusto. I hit the pavement every day before work! It felt amazing, I was proud of myself darnit! Looking back I wish I had pushed myself to stick with it through the crazy busy summer months. So here we are, it’s 2015 and I’m looking at it as an opportunity to hit the reset button. I have joined an inspiring new gym and have been working some new {cleaner} recipes into my weeknight meals at home. Won’t you join me?! Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetHere is a recipe that I thought was worth sharing from one of the two new cookbooks I received for Christmas!¬† It comes from Thug Kitchen’s The Official Cookbook which has quickly become my go-to. Let’s clear the air by saying I am a far cry from a vegetarian, and couldn’t even approach being a vegan. Through their guidance I’m learning how to make delicious substitutions that are lower in fat and calories, but just as delicious. It’s a refreshing approach to my regular cooking methodology.¬† The book opens with a sassy Julia Child quote, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” She’s right you know…

Almond Ceasar Salad
by Thug Kitchen

  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 head of your favorite lettuce, chopped

Soak the almonds in the hot water in either a blender or food processor, about 15 minutes. Once the almonds feel a bit soft, add everything but the last two items above. Puree or blend until creamy. Last, add the capers and buzz it for another 5-10 seconds. Season to taste with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

Toss with your chopped lettuce and enjoy without the guilt of a traditional Ceasar salad dressing! You can add protein by slicing up a farm fresh {hard or soft} cooked egg or add some grilled chicken for a healthy lunch!

*remember to choose local and/or organic whenever possible.

Cheers to healthy new beginnings!

To check out some of my running adventures {and a healthy recipe}, click here!

xo Kristen

The Simplest of Appetizers

If you aren’t already in love with radishes like we are, buckle up! I’ll be the first to share that I grew up pulling these babies right out of the ground, barely brushing off the soil before popping them in my mouth with a healthy dose of salt. Not the fancy kind, we didn’t have that in my house back then. Maybe some of you were lucky enough to grow up with a garden like I did?¬† There were many days where I would march outside, salt shaker in hand and eat my way around it. That was the good stuff and the thought of it still makes me smile.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFast forward to a very recent experience, one I won’t soon forget. I found myself happily situated in front of a Harvest Table at a gathering of sorts with friends. It was beautifully presented, abundant and ripe with color. There were various cured meats and cheeses, tempting pate’s and warm aromatic Cafe Nuts. Amongst the mix, I found myself intrigued by one of the most simple of offerings, radishes with butter and salt. At first glance, I wondered if the butter were there by some mistake. How strange I thought. But friends, it only took one bite to understand the arrangement. I won’t lie, I felt like I was enjoying something incredibly luxurious which made me love it just a little bit more. The pop and crunch of the salt between my teeth, the velvety soft butter, it was stunningly good.

Move over Paula Deen, there’s a “new” vehicle for butter in town! Now in all honesty, this isn’t new at all. The French have been enjoying this little snack for years as I understand it. Lucky them, I’ve got some catching up to do. My suggestion, give it a try and see for yourself! Remember, the fewer the ingredients involved, the more crucial the quality of them is! Splurge on good unsalted grass-fed dairy butter and a box of flake salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel. If you don’t have a garden, visit your local farmer’s market and sample a few variety’s.

If you are one to entertain or looking for something new and exciting to bring to that next holiday party, we’ve got you covered!

All you need is:

  • a bunch of radishes, rinsed, dried and sliced
  • unsalted grass-fed dairy butter, softened
  • good flake salt

*Bring it to the next level by cutting up some warm crusty French bread for your guests to layer up with all of the goodness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Posh with Poaching

Poach {To cook in a simmering liquid}

For some of us, the thought of poaching anything at home seems a bit out of the question. It sounds¬†so tricky, doesn’t it? Time isn’t exactly in abundance this time of year either. I don’t know about you, but summers can be jam packed leaving little room in the schedule¬†to experiment in the home kitchen.¬†For me, that couldn’t be more true, but nonetheless, the mood struck. There I was, 8:30 on a Saturday morning, Sirius streaming some bluesy jazz, and¬†a carton of farm fresh eggs staring me in the face.

You see, one of our savvy event specialists, Kristen Wich recently featured the most delicious sounding olive oil poached fish on a couple of her summer party menus creating quite the buzz around the office. After listening to the rave reviews come back from our clients, a few of us worked up a little kitchen-courage. Peggy successfully poached some eggs for her family at home and Kristen loved the fish so much that she gave it a go with great success. She highly recommends following this Epicurious recipe!

Since eggs Benedict happens to be a personal favorite breakfast indulgence, starting with the ¬†poached egg seemed like the way to go. I’ll save the hollandaise for another kitchen adventure. Without Chef Crawford by my side, I decided to turn to Alton Brown for a little how-to.

Top with some smoked finishing salt and a crack of pepper, yum!

Top with some smoked finishing salt and a crack of pepper, yum!

 

Here’s how I did it if you would like to try this too!

Fill a wide shallow lidded pan with approximately 1.5″ of water and pre-heat until you start to see bubbles forming – a low simmer.

Add:

1 tbsp white vinegar

2 tbsp kosher salt

Meanwhile, crack your egg(s) individually into a ramekin or small bowl.

When the water is up to temperature, use a slotted wooden spoon to start a slow whirlpool in the water. Add your egg(s). Place the cover on the pan and set your timer for 3:5 minutes for a runny yolk or 3:75 for a slightly jelled center. Turn the heat off.

Note: Do not lift up the lid or budge the pan.

When the timer goes off, gently lift the egg(s) out of the water with your slotted spoon. That’s it!

As it turns out, it isn’t nearly as complicated as I thought!

Next, I’ll be following Kristen’s suggestion with a local and seasonal fresh catch of the day~

 

 

Fun in the Kitchen with Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

With Easter just a few days away, we decided to hop on into the Gourmet Galley kitchen to try our hand at naturally dyed Easter eggs. We couldn’t help but be inspired by some of the images floating around on Pinterest. Oh, and how could we not want to jump at the opportunity to try a new technique involving food?!

Here is how we did it ~

We started with some super basic ingredients that you just might have in your own pantry.

 

photo

  • Turmeric for yellow
  • beets for hues of¬†pink
  • blueberries for lovely¬†shades of blue &¬†purple
  • and parsley¬†for green

 

Now,¬†while the parsley didn’t come out quite as well as we anticipated, the other’s sure did!

 

 

photo (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  For the turmeric ~ 1/2 cup ground turmeric mixed with 3 cups water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Strain through a cheese cloth when it develops to the level of color you desire.

For the beets ~ 1 pint pureed with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar. Strain through a cheese cloth.

For the blueberries ~ 1 pint pureed with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar. Strain through a cheese cloth.

~Soak hard cooked white eggs until they reach the level of color you’d like~

photo 2

The kits we all grew up with will always be a sweet memory, but¬†if you’re feeling crafty and if you embrace a little rustic elegance like we do, then this is the project for you.

 

photo 1

 

We hope you’ve been “egg-spired” and consider adding them to your Easter family table-scape this year!

These make for lovely centerpieces or interesting additions to a food table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo 4

Happy early Easter from all of us at Gourmet Galley Catering.

Lunch Time!

We are spoiled over here at Gourmet Galley as our chefs like to make us lunch ūüôā Recently, we have been thinking about our friends who bring lunch to work every day and wondering what they might eat. Maybe if I bring my lunch to work I won‚Äôt splurge on the delicious (although not necessarily low-calorie) food prepared by our fabulous chefs … Are you looking for something tasty, easy, and fun to bring for lunch? Someone out there has to be sticking to their New Year‚Äôs Resolution, right? Maybe starting to think about the warm weather clothes that are just around the corner (hopefully!) ‚Ķ I found some wonderful suggestions that I am dying to try:

Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Feta

Quick and Easy Lunch Options

Healthy and Delicious Lunches

Don’t forget, back in January, Jen had found some great make ahead Salads in Mason Jars! {Click here to see!}

KT-5675

I hope you are able to find some new, fun lunches and take time out of your busy day to refuel!

~Trish

Chicken and Waffles … together?

I have been getting a lot of comments lately about my choice of breakfast last week. On Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend surprised me by making Chicken and Waffles from scratch, and boy was it delicious! When I tell people that, however, they look at me funny and wonder how two items that are seemingly unrelated could possibly taste this great together. I am here to tell you (and all of my friends, family, and co-workers), that they do taste great and that Chicken and Waffles is definitely one of my top five favorite foods … ever.

You see, I lived in Tampa, Florida for about two years and I have been back in Connecticut for less than one year, so Southern food is still on the top of my brain. There are certain things that you just cannot find up North, and great Chicken and Waffles is one of them. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that was my breakfast.

One great thing about this dish is that you can eat it for any meal you choose. The waffles make it perfect for a hearty breakfast and the fact that they are topped with fried chicken means you can eat it for lunch or dinner, too. It is not uncommon for restaurants in the South to serve Chicken and Waffles at every meal. I have even eaten this dish as a passed hors d’oeuvre at weddings! The combination of the spicy, tender chicken, freshly made waffles, and sweet maple syrup is something that cannot be matched.

Like I said, I have yet to find a good place to go for Chicken and Waffles around here, so I would love to know if you have a secret Southern-food spot.  In the meantime, Gourmet Galley is looking for a client who is as excited to try Chicken and Waffles as we are!

Here are the steps to assembling your very own Chicken and Waffles:

1.  You need a waffle.  Freshly made waffles are best, but frozen waffles can be used as a substitute.

2.  Top your waffle with fried chicken.  The flavor of your chicken is up to you, but I prefer something a bit spicy.  That way it stands out against the syrup.

3.  Drizzle maple syrup over your chicken and waffle.

4.  Enjoy your fabulously delectable Southern meal.

For those of you who want to take things to the next level, you may want to add a strip or two of bacon in between your chicken and your waffle.  You might encrust your chicken with pecans, or use a honey flavored maple syrup.  Oh the possibilities!

I will leave you with a photo from my wonderful Chicken and Waffles breakfast in order to get your mouth watering  : )

 

chix and waffles

Health and Mason Jars!

Happy New Year! ¬†My New Year’s Day Potluck was spent with friends and family. ¬†Potluck was the admission because I was exhausted from all of the Christmas festivities and fighting a never ending cold. ¬†We ate too much food, raised a few glasses and kicked off the new year with some blackboard wishes. ¬†We asked everyone to write their wish for 2014. ¬†Public wishes we called them…..as some wanted to keep them a secret…hmmm..

blackboard

Happiness, Health, Wealth were no surprise repeated. ¬†I am always on the health wagon January 2nd or whatever the next Monday falls on! ¬†It has been said that we do all function better, look better and thrive when at our healthiest. ¬†So onward for great things in 2014…I would like to call it a year of doing. ¬†Stop talking or thinking about it and do it. ¬†Nike’s gold mine…Just Do It. ¬†There’s no time like the present, Time is a wastin’, Make hay while the sun shines…insert all anti-procrastinating cliches here.

I need fun things to keep me interested with my latest endeavor and I love to research and find out anything and everything. ¬†I also love food….so if anything is going to mess with my menu, it has to be good and a variety. ¬†This brings me to mason jars. Weird segway, I know. Never thought I would be blogging about them. ¬†Love them or hate them, they do not go away quietly. ¬†My theory – everyone has so many of the lovely jars hanging around and no one knows what to do with them. ¬†They’re great for candles, straws, make up brushes, etc.. ¬†I have come full circle to ‘liking’ them again. ¬†Only because of their new uses! ¬†Besides keeping your Qtips or your Thyme Lemonade in them, put food in them! ¬†This is not a new concept…we have all seen the layered cookie ingredients gifted at Christmas in the large jars. ¬†So pretty and fun. ¬†Take it another step and eat healthy meals out of them! ¬†Salad, refrigerator oatmeal –¬†Put your breakfast ingredients in overnight, wake up, shake and there you go!

Take your salad on the go and shake and eat…

Hello picnics…what better way to transport individual salad?!. ¬†Could not be easier, quicker and you will look so clever dining at your desk. ¬†How about strawberry shortcake or trifles on the dessert station at your wedding? ¬†The options are endless!

Mason jars….just try and go away..we’ll find you! ¬†Not surprised if we are still talking about you in 2015 either!

xo
Jen

Warming Trend!

Unfortunately the warming trend I am about to mention does NOT involve the weather here in New England! ūüôĀ In fact, 2014 is gracing us with a blizzard this evening!

This morning we once again had a chitter-chattering office full of lovely ladies! All aglow after the holidays, we were wrapped up in a conversation about SMOOTHIES! Some of the office gals can make a mean smoothie. As we chimed in on what kind of smoothies we are trying and creating we realized it’s no fun to drink cold smoothies when it’s 20 degrees or below! But we like and want our smoothies year round! And thus, the warm smoothie discussion was born.

Our witty wedding specialist Emily said, ” Warm smoothie….soooo soup!?!”Laughter broke out and we all exclaimed obviously a warm smoothie has its own identity, sheesh! What better way to welcome the new year than bantering about warm smoothies!? We then piled in the kitchen to make grilled cheese sandwiches…Cheese, salami, apple slices, and caramelized onions packed and melted between slices of crisp bread. Oh happy 2014!

So, what do you all think about a warm smoothie? Need some examples? Well, here is the Winter Mango Smoothie¬†I found while perusing the interwebs. It’s fruity like any ol’ signature smoothie, but has a warmth that satisfies the chill of winter. We thought this sounded tasty, but a few spices may add an extra something! Perhaps some ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg would be very promising choices!

If chocolate is more of your thing, which it probably is right?? ūüôā here is a Hot Chocolate Smoothie. The website includes some suggestions for additional spices like a pinch of cinnamon, but how about a pinch of cayenne!?¬†

I hope these examples sparked your warm smoothie creative juices! And as always, comment with any ideas you would like to share. 

~Shaina

P.S. HAPPY NEW YEARS GG BLOG READERS!