Respect Your ElderBerries

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Retirement? What’s that? I have never been so busy in my life. On any given day I am cooking/baking up a storm, baby-sitting my grand-daughter, tending the garden and traveling here or there. I am not complaining, but here is the thing. While my mind still thinks I am 30, the body knows I am double that number. I get a bit tired a bit quicker, but that is not going to stop me. While I always taught my children to respect their elders I just can’t believe I am that person now. I will do whatever it takes to stay healthy, vibrant and energetic because I have a sweet grand-daughter who is no longer walking, but running. “Wait for Kiki Annabelle”!

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Enter elderberries. Recently, I was gifted some elderberry products from Ann & Rodger Lenhardt of Norm’s Farms. The information on the web site is fascinating. I didn’t know much about elderberries, but in my research learned that Hippocrates (ancient Greek father of medicine) referred to “elders” as his “medicine chest”. High in vitamin C, iron, antioxidants and potassium elderberries outshine all those other “super fruits” that seem to have gotten lots of press lately. Not only are the berries nutritious, but they are delicious and come in a variety of supplements, syrups and jams to boost your immune system and good health.

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I very much enjoyed developing a few recipes with Norm’s Farms products. First up is a very simple appetizer (great for those outdoor deck parties y’all are throwing right now) using the most sweet and savory Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam. I love the crunch contrast of the pecans mixed in with the fruit. Next Thanksgiving skip the cranberry sauce and serve this jam with your roast turkey. You heard it here first.

Crispy Melted Cheese Cups with Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1-package (15 count) mini fillo shells

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Norm’s Farms Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam

Heat oven 350F. Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese and pepper until well blended. Remove shells from all packaging. Fill shells with cheese mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove tray from oven and top each with a small spoonful of jam. Return to oven and bake 1 to 2 more minutes or until heated through. Makes 15 small bites.

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The next recipe uses Norm’s Farms Blueberry Elderberry Preserves. While developing a dessert recipe would have been the obvious choice I decided on another savory one. Plus this vinaigrette does double duty as a salad dressing and marinade taking full advantage of all the greens in my garden and the grill. After all, the weather is so fine right now I’m betting you’d rather be outside enjoying yourself rather than stuck in the kitchen.

Blueberry Elderberry Vinaigrette & Marinade

¼ cup Norm’s Farms Blueberry Elderberry Preserves

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or low-sodium)

2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients until well blended. Drizzle over your favorite salad as a vinaigrette or use as a marinade on fresh chicken and/or pork. I like to marinade meat overnight and grill the next day.

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Norm’s Farms products are sold in many stores across the USA and can also be ordered directly from their web site. Click on the link, Norm’s Farms for more great recipes, too. Enjoy.

Why-Elderberry

elderberries from Norm’s Farm

Three Citrus Saltfish Tostadas

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When a food product evokes happy childhood memories one can’t help but want to experiment with it. Here I am with Buena Ventura saltfish pollock fillets and wondering why my dad never made his famous bacalao salad during any other time of the year but Christmas and then me following the exact same tradition. Why just serve this delicious fish on just one night? IMG_5483

This is premium pollock fillets sourced from the cold waters of the North Pacific and salted under strict quality conditions. Readily available and easy to prepare why not cook it for a meatless Monday meal, a taco Tuesday or even a “wild-caught” Wednesday. I first tried using the salt fish in a filling for potstickers and egg rolls. The fish certainly holds its own against bold Asian flavors, but I wanted it to shine a bit more brightly rather than being covered up in a wrapper. IMG_9431

A Mexican inspired salt fish tostada it is. A perfect main dish for any night of the week this recipe shines bright with a citrus and spice marinated pollock, crispy corn tortillas and plenty of healthy crunch from fresh vegetables. It will evoke memories of the freshest fish taco you’ve ever eaten, if I do say so myself.

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To prepare salted fish for recipes soak it in fresh cold water in the refrigerator for 8 hours, changing the water three times. For more info & recipes check out www.cfeboston.com.

Three Citrus Salt Fish Tostadas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 (16 oz) package Buena Ventura Salted Pollock Fillets, prepared

2 lemon slices

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

3 grinds fresh black pepper

8 corn tortillas

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1 small red bell pepper, seeded, diced

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh cilantro

½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese

Cook fish in a pan of boiling water that contains the two lemon slices for about 2 minutes or until the fish flakes. Transfer fish to paper towels; pat dry. Place fish in a heat proof bowl. Using two forks or your fingers flake fish into bite-size pieces; keep warm. In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, garlic, honey, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and black pepper just until honey is melted and mixture is warmed through; pour over fish. Toss fish with marinade, cover to keep warm, and let stand for 10 minutes. Fry tortillas in hot olive oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle each with a little salt.

To serve, top each tortilla with purple cabbage, red pepper, avocado, green onions, cilantro and cheese. Using a slotted spoon remove fish from marinade and place on top.

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For lots more delicious fun and information connect with CFE International social media.

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Store Locations: Cousins, H-Mart, Jetro, Price Chopper, Price Rite

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Stirrings’ Holiday Cocktails

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Quarterback Sneak with a margarita rimmer cocktail garnish

It has been a blast creating new cocktail recipes for the Stirrings’ Stir It Up Holiday Mixology Challenge. I have a few recipes to share, so let’s kick-off the season with The Quarterback Sneak. It’s the perfect tailgate cocktail, but also fantastic for a Halloween party because there is a bit of trickery involved. Who doesn’t love a trick for a treat? By appearances, this cocktail is not what it seems. Can you guess the flavor just by looking at it? “Pomegranate” you say? Yes, it’s pink like pomegranate and even has pomegranate seeds floating around in it, but take a sip.

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What the what? Is that watermelon in October? Made with real juice the Simple Watermelon Martini is infused with fresh ginger and lemon and garnished with the Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer. Go ahead and treat all your guests to this sneaky and fun cocktail.

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Quarterback Sneak

1 cup (8 oz.) Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini

2 (2-inch) slices fresh ginger

1 fresh lemon wedge, quartered

3 tablespoons Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini  Rimmer Cocktail Garnish, on a flat plate

½ cup (4 oz.) silver Tequila

ice cubes

1 (10 oz.) bottle club soda

Pomegranate seeds

In small saucepan, combine watermelon mixer and ginger. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon wedge into the pan and drop the wedge into the mix. Bring watermelon mixture just to a simmer; turn off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse ginger and lemon flavors and cool down. Remove and discard ginger and lemon wedge. Run a fresh lemon wedge around rim of 4 serving glasses; turn moistened glass edge in rimmer to coat. Fill glasses ¾-full with ice. Pour infused watermelon mix and tequila into a 2-cup measure; stir. Divide mixture evenly among glasses. Top off with club soda. Slice remaining two lemon wedges into thinner slices. Garnish each cocktail with a slice of lemon and fresh pomegranate seeds.

For a mocktail simply eliminate the tequila and top off your drink with additional club soda or your favorite flavored soda water. 

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Happy Halloween, Happy Tailgate Season and keep the Quarterback Sneak in mind for your next April Fool’s themed dinner party. Next up is The Bee Naughty cocktail.

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Do we agree that the second Halloween is over we roll right into the Thanksgiving-Christmas season? Already the mall is buzzing with Christmas music and holiday decorations, so let’s get a move on. I will be naughty for a moment and remind you that there are ONLY 55 days left until Christmas.

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The Bee Naughty features Stirrings’ Simple Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail Mixer and rimmer garnish by the same name. This cocktail is sweet, tart and bitter. It gets a bit of a sting from pan-roasted and crushed black peppercorn infused honey.

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Naughty or nice? This cocktail is both. For a mocktail just substitute some lemon flavored seltzer water for the vodka. Stirrings’ mixers and garnishes makes hosting a party simple and easy. All you have to add is some holiday decor, delicious food and wonderful friends.

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The Bee Naughty

5 whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer Cocktail Garnish

6 ounces Stirrings’ Simple Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail Mix

3 ounces vodka

ice

Toast peppercorns in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant; crush with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to a powder. Return pepper to skillet and turn off heat. Add honey stirring with a small spoon until warmed through and mixed with pepper. Place rimmer on a flat plate. Using the back of the spoon dipped in the honey mixture lightly dampen the edge of two martini glasses. Dip the glass into the rimmer rotating the glass until evenly coated. With the same spoon drizzle about a teaspoon of the honey pepper mixture down and around the inside of each glass. Pour half of the cocktail mix into the pan with the remaining honey and pepper; gently heat, stirring, until the honey is dissolved and fully blended with the cocktail mix. In a shaker, combine warm cocktail mixture, remaining cocktail mixture, vodka and ice; shake well. Divide cocktail among prepared glasses.

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Happy New Year! Let’s celebrate with the Winter Watermelon Pear Spritzer. It’s inspired by the places I have been and the people I love. Like Nantucket where the Stirrings’ company was born and my sweet William. This recipe sparkles with everything I enjoy about mingling fun and complimentary flavors. It is a lovely combination of winter’s finest fruits and fennel dressed up with the fresh taste of real watermelon juice from the Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini mixer. Cheers to you and me and the sea!

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Winter Watermelon Pear Spritzer

¼ cup Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini

¼ cup pear brandy (poire Williams)

1 slice fresh fennel

1 strip lemon zest

1 bottle chilled Prosecco or club soda

Fennel fronds for garnish

Pomegranate seeds

In small saucepan, combine watermelon mixer, pear brandy, fennel and lemon zest; bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature to infuse flavors. Remove and discard fennel and zest. Spoon 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of syrup in each of 4 flute glasses. Top with Prosecco or club soda.

Option: run a lemon wedge around the rim of each glass and dip in Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer.

For more delicious Stirrings’ recipes and beautiful photos check out their Instagram @stirringsPinterest @Stirrings MixersTwitter @stirringsmixers and “Like” the Stirrings Facebook page. Locally, their mixers and rimmer garnishes are available at Acme, Janssens, Hockessin Liquors and Total Wine & More. For more locations check here: Stirrings’ store locator.