Category Archives: Cook – Recipes from Friends

Coeur à La Crème: Getting to the Heart of Things this Valentine’s Day

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Simple to make, and delightful to eat, the Coeur à la Crème is a classic French dessert made with a few simple ingredients and topped with fresh fruit, making it a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day – or any day – with a loved one.

The French call it coeur à la crème (or heart of cream). It is a rich and creamy dessert that is believed to get its start in the French countryside way back in the Middle Ages. Most likely born out of efficiency, and the desire to use all ingredients on hand, the dairymaids discovered that when the whey drained from the milk during traditional cheesemaking, the remaining curds could be mixed with leftover cream to create a delightfully light and fresh cheese that was made even more tasty when topped with the sweetness of the fresh fruits of the season.

The dessert is relatively inexpensive to make, featuring only a few ingredients, and just a bit of preparation time.   Using only cottage cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream, which are then mixed and placed in a mold lined with cheesecloth so it can drain, the creamy treat is ready to eat in a few hours — although some Coeur à la Crème makers like to prepare this two days ahead of time to allow for the proper draining, and melding of the flavors of the dairy used.

Essential to the process is the draining of the liquids from the cheeses. The dairymaids of old used a strainer or colander to do the trick, but today, it is traditional to prepare it in a heart-shaped Coeur à la Crème mold. Made of porcelain and perforated at the bottom to allow the ‘whey’ to drain, and the curds to remain, the Coeur à la Crème mold is lined with cheesecloth or kitchen paper, and set above a pan or bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours, before it is ready to enjoy.

Molds vary in sizes, but the individual 4” (15 oz.) molds are a great way to serve up a romantic treat for two on Valentine’s Day, or even for individual servings at a dinner party.

This fresh cheese creation is delightful when created in the classic heart-shaped mold, and served as a complement to afternoon tea, alongside a cup of coffee for dessert, or a glass of wine for a romantic, and creamy, way to top off a Valentine’s Day meal with your loved one.

Quick and easy to create, here is an old-fashioned Coeur à la Crème recipe that will delight anyone this Valentine’s Day.

Old-Fashioned Coeur à la Crème

  • 1, 8 oz. container of whipped cream cheese
  • 1, 8 oz. container of cottage cheese, farmer cheese, or ricotta
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 container of fresh berries, washed
  • or, 1 package of frozen berries, thawed.

1. Blend the cream cheese with cottage cheese, and slowly add the heavy cream. This can be done by hand or in a food processor.

2. Line the Coeur à la Crème mold with cheesecloth or kitchen paper and pour in the blended cheese.

3. Place the mold over a bowl (to catch the draining whey), the slip it into the refrigerator, and chill for at least four hours.

4. Once firm and draining is complete, unmold the cheese by carefully turning it top-side-down on the serving platter.

When ready to eat, it is traditionally served with fresh berries or jam, but can also be topped with a chocolate sauce. Or, you can sweeten things up a bit by mixing a bit of sugar, vanilla and a fruit liqueur to create a fruit sauce that will accompany fresh berries. If desired, the Coeur a la Crème can even be served as an appetizer, and topped with savory seasonings or herbs.

However you serve it, the Coeur à la Crème is a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day, yet can be enjoyed all year round.

To learn more about HIC, Harold Import Co/’s Coeur à la Crème, available in an individual 4″ (15 oz.) size, or 7.25″ (24. oz) size, visit here.

To purchase, visit here.

 

Tuesday’s Tool: Fante’s Mamma Maria’s Mezzaluna

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Fante’s Mamma Maria’s Mezzaluna Rocking Chopper quickly transforms ingredients with a speed and efficiency that’s unmatched by knives to save time during food preparation.

Made in Italy, the beautifully curved blade, with its half-moon profile, makes quick work of chopping and mincing foods. Featuring a 9-1/2” stainless steel blade with beechwood handles, this versatile addition to cutlery and chef knives helps prepare quick healthy meals. Use it for mincing and chopping garlic, herbs, fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, even block chocolate, and more. It doubles nicely as a pizza cutter, too. Its ergonomic design is comfortable and easy to use.

To learn more about the Mezzaluna, visit us here. To purchase, visit our Where to Buy page, or here.

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HIC, Harold Import Co. Signs Deal as Exclusive Supplier for Marcato Line of Italian Made Products

Marcato_Atlas_Red

(January, 2016) Building on a tradition that began three generations ago, HIC, Harold Import Co. is proud to announce that as of January 1, 2016, the company will be the exclusive supplier of Marcato products here in the U.S. Marcato S.P.A. is the leading manufacturer in the world of machines and accessories for fresh pasta, biscuits, bread and pizza.

HIC, Harold Import Co. has a three-decade relationship with Marcato, providing the company’s retail customers with pasta machines and accessories from this iconic brand since the 1990’s.

“With this new agreement, we are excited to offer our customers a full range of products from this iconic brand,” explains Robert Laub, president, HIC, Harold Import Co. “Like HIC, Marcato is a family run business, and our long-standing relationship with Marcato has set the groundwork for our new agreement in which HIC, Harold Import Co. will be the exclusive supplier of Marcato products in the U.S. As the the full line source for all Marcato products in the U.S., we are confident that our partnership will prove to be a successful brand-building venture.”

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Tacapasta

Marcato’s history began in 1930 when Otello Marcato started producing pasta machines in a small workshop behind his house. His dream was to bring the authentic flavor of life in the kitchen – recipes, floury hands and smiles at the table – into every family.

“We are keenly interested in strengthening our relationships with retailers and consumers, and our confident that our agreement with HIC is a perfect way to continue to build the Marcato brand in the U.S.,” explains Giacomo Marcato, vice president, Marcato, S.p.A. “In addition to offering a full range of products to the U.S. market, we are dedicated to strengthening our relationship with retailers, supporting them with exciting brand-building opportunities including product training, in-store demonstrations, and consumer outreach programs,” Marcato added.

Under the agreement, HIC, Harold Import Co. will offer an extensive collection of high-quality and colorful Marcato products including the world-famous Atlas 150 pasta machine along with its 13 accessories for creating pasta of different thickness, cuts and shapes. Also available is a Ravioli Tablet, the Pasta Drying Rack, Pasta Rake, and Dispenser, in addition to Marcato’s Biscuit Maker – all made in Italy at the family factory.

HIC, Harold Import Co. offers the best culinary supplies, essential cooking tools, gourmet kitchen supplies and food preparation equipment at the most affordable prices. With more than 3,000 culinary supply products from the company’s own brands, exclusive brands, and top brands, HIC products are available in over 10,000 retail outlets worldwide.

Marcato will be holding a demo in the Kitchen Theater on Saturday, January 16th from 1:30-2:30 during the AmericasMart Atlanta. During the International Home + Housewares Show, held in Chicago this March, Chef Fabio Vivani, chef, culinary personality, restaurateur and cookbook author, will be at the HC, Harold Import Co. booth demonstrating Marcato products, signing books and sharing stories about Italy. Stay tuned for more details on this fun event.

For more information, contact HIC, Harold Import Co., at 800-526-2163. For media inquiries, contact Laura Everage, leverage@haroldimport.com, 415-306-4546.

 

Mrs. Anderson’s Animal Cracker Cookie Cutters

Oh, the memories so many of us have of reaching into a circus-train shaped box and pulling out an elephant, camel, hippo, goat or donkey cookie. Animal Crackers are a favorite childhood treat, and  HIC brings you the Mrs. Anderson’s Animal Cracker Cookie Cutter Set. This delightful collection of four cookie cutters (elephant, giraffe, zebra and lion) lets you create your own home-made animal cookies.

Made of BPA-free plastic, the cookie cutters come with a spring-action that stamps a design into the dough while aiding in the release of the  shapes. Perfect for homemade animal crackers, the set is also fun to use when creating decorative pie crusts, or baking gingerbread cookies.

To use, roll out the cookie dough and sprinkle a little flour on the cutters to keep the dough from sticking. Press the cookie cutter firmly into the dough, then press the spring-action lever to emboss the design into the dough and release the cookie.

Below is a recipe that is included with the set — but you can experiment and use your favorite cookie cutter recipe —  You can even try making chocolate Animal Cookies.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item is donated to Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). C-CAP works with public schools across the country to prepare disadvantaged high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. HIC is proud to support C-CAP by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of select items. To learn more visit ccapinc.org.

Lemony Shortbread Animal Cookies

AnimalCutterDough350

    1 lb butter

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp lemon juice

4 cups all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Mix in lemon juice. Scrape down sides of bowl to incorporate ingredients.

Add 2 cups of flour into the mixture and combine until incorporated. Then, add remaining flour until dough begins to form a ball. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl, incorporating all ingredients.

Wrap dough ball in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour rolling pin and work surface. Once dough is chilled, roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Use the Mrs. Anderson’s Animal Cookie Cutters to cut dough into desired shapes. Place cut Shapes onto baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F, for 9 to 12 minutes, or until edges are a light golden brown.

The Lemony Shortbread Animal Cookie Recipe was created by Christopher Williams, who attended  Richards Career Academy and graduated with a Scholarship from C-CAP to attend Johnson & Wales University in Colorado. He graduated in 2010 and currently works as a pastry chef.

Beer Can Chicken with Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce

Elizabeth Karmel makes Beer Can Chicken at Martha Stewart’s Home

Elizabeth Karmel makes Beer Can Chicken at Martha Stewart’s Home

Written by Elizabeth Karmel

Anyone who knows me, knows that Beer-Can Chicken is my favorite way to roast chicken. It’s more of a technique and less of a recipe. And, we all know that there are as many flavor variations for chicken as there are days in the year! So, the recipe bears repeating! This rich and savory recipe is novel because of the use of peanut butter, and that makes it a great topic of conversation at dinner. But the real reason to make it is that the combination of peanuts, rosemary and chicken is un-beatable! Use my chicken sitter to grill-roast the chicken and use my original angled barbecue basting brush to slather the bird with the Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce.

I first saw the idea for grilled peanut butter chicken in a collection of recipes from NASCAR fans. I loved the idea of a grilling sauce that was based on peanut butter—the fat in the peanut butter seals in the juices and flavors the meat as it cooks. The recipe in the book was filled with Asian flavors and as much as I love sates, I wanted to try the idea with a more Western flavor profile. I love the combination of rosemary and peanut butter, making this a sophisticated dish that makes you forget that it is based on peanut butter.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Elizabeth'sSignature

 

Beer-Can Chicken with Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce

©2015 Elizabeth Karmel

Makes 4 servings

Grilling Method: Indirect/Medium Heat

  • 1 Whole roasting chicken, 4 to 5 pounds, preferably Amish or organic
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1,  12-ounce can domestic beer or 12-ounces of white wine
  1. Remove the neck and giblets, and rinse the chicken inside and out if desired; pat it dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Pour the beer or wine in the Chicken Sitter, making sure that it is only 2/3rds full. Place the Chicken Sitter in the center of the cooking grate over indirect medium heat and “sit” the chicken on top of the beer can. The chicken will appear to be sitting on the grate. Make sure the drumsticks are positioned in front of the Chicken Sitter and the wings are twisted “akimbo” behind the chicken.
  3. Cover the grill and cook the chicken for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165°F in the breast area and 180°F in the thigh.
  4. Brush with the Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce during the final 40 minutes of the cooking time.
  5. Remove it carefully to a platter, holding the can with tongs. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.  Serve with extra Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce as a dipping sauce.

NOTE: When removing the chicken from the grate, be careful not to spill the contents of the Chicken Sitter, as it will be very hot.

 

Elizabeth Karmel's Angled BBQ Brush

Elizabeth Karmel’s Angled BBQ Brush

Peanut Butter Grilling Sauce

©2015 Elizabeth Karmel

Note: Use indirect heat for any food that takes longer than 15-20 minutes to cook—this includes all bone-in pieces of meat.

Uses: beer-can chicken, chicken thighs or chicken quarters, chicken tenders, boneless, skinless chicken breasts; duck, grilled shrimp, skirt steak

Makes about 1 ½ cups

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, preferably natural—no sugar added
  • 4 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 4  cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2  Tbsp honey
  • 1  Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1  Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tsp ground dried rosemary
  • 1  tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • ½  tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1. Place peanut butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over low heat. Stir occasionally, making sure the peanut butter doesn’t burn. When it is melted, add the garlic, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, rosemary, paprika and red pepper flakes.

Whisk together and heat on a low flame for about 1 minute as the sauce comes together. Remove from heat and cover.

 

 

The History Behind Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen New Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle

Article Contributed by Nicole Herman, with Notes from Helen Chen

Helen Chen is a leading Asian culinary expert, cookbook author, cooking instructor and developer of Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® cookware and cooking supplies, in partnership with Harold Import Co. (Scroll to the base of this post to learn more about Helen.) Every great tool has a great story – This is the history behind Helen’s new Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.

Helen Chen Teaching a Stir-Fry Cooking Class

Helen Chen Teaching a Stir-Fry Cooking Class

A Note From Helen –

It all started with a brilliant idea from my mother, Joyce Chen. In the 1950’s our restaurant was the first to serve authentic Sichuan dishes before Sichuan cuisine was even on the radar in the United States. The two most popular dishes were the ones made in the Kung Pao and Yu Xiang styles.  These dishes quickly became favorites with our restaurant clientele.  Since all of our dishes were cooked to order, our chefs had to cook the most popular ones multiple times each night.  My mother’s creative idea was to make the sauces herself, in advance, and have our chefs cook with them.  This would not only save them time, but also provide consistent quality control so no matter which chef cooked the dish, it would always come out of the kitchen perfectly delicious every time.

Chinese chefs can be just as temperamental as any other professional chef, but it was a testament to the quality of these sauces that our chefs not only agreed to use them, but quickly embraced the idea whole-heartedly when they realized how quick and easy they were to use…and how delicious they tasted.

For my mother, who was always thinking of ways to improve her art, it was a natural progression to take this concept from our restaurant kitchen to home kitchens.  For a time we had our own line of bottled stir-fry sauces.  Although they are no longer in production, people who remember them always tell me how wonderful they were and ask where they can buy more.

Enter, Helen’s Asian Kitchen Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.  The genesis of my new stir-fry sauce bottle came from my mother’s incredibly innovative idea of making her own stir-fry sauces, and  now you can too! I’ve chosen four of my own delicious and versatile stir-fry sauces that can make the home cook a master chef.  Now stir-frying can be truly quick, easy and always delicious.

Helen Chen Teaching Stir-Fry Cooking Class

Helen Chen Teaching Stir-Fry Cooking Class

My four unique sauces (Mandarin Orange, Canton Oyster, Beijing Hoisin and Sichuan Black Bean) are made with ingredients that can be readily found in most American supermarkets.  And for those people with food allergies, making sauces from scratch allows for substitutions that fit dietary requirements.  To use, simply follow the recipe – ingredients and quantities are printed right on the bottle – shake, and you’re ready to cook.  The sauces are incredibly versatile and may be used with just about any meat, seafood, vegetable, noodles or even as a marinade for kebabs or for barbecuing.  With your own bottled cooking sauces it’s easy to cook for one or for eight.  Plus, once the sauce is made, it will keep in the refrigerator for future use.

I’d like to share with you an easy stir-fry noodles recipe made with my Canton Oyster sauce, the recipe for which is also found right on my Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.

Recipe: Helen’s Easy Stir-Fry Noodles with Oyster Sauce (made in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® Easy Stir Fry Sauce Bottle)

Helen Chen's Easy Stir Fry Noodles

Helen Chen’s Easy Stir Fry Noodles with Oyster Sauce

You may vary the type and amount of shredded vegetables in this versatile recipe, or make it vegetarian by omitting the meat.  The stir-fry sauce will provide all the rich flavor you’ll need.

Serves 6

1 pound dry Chinese wheat noodles or thin spaghetti
8 ounces shredded lean pork or chicken breast
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry sherry
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces shredded napa cabbage
5 medium dried black mushrooms, soaked in hot water 15 mins until soft
2 ounces snow peas, ends snapped off, strings removed and shredded on the diagonal
1 medium carrot, shredded
½ cup canned shredded bamboo shoots, drained
6 tablespoons Canton Oyster Stir Fry Sauce, or more to taste  (Made using the recipe on Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® Easy Stir Fry Sauce Bottle, or you can purchase a pre-made sauce from your local grocer or Asian food specialty store.)

1.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until a little softer than al dente.  Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.  Set aside.

2. In a small bowl mix meat with cornstarch and sherry. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry.  Cut off the stems with scissors and discard. Shred caps.

3.  In a wok, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat, add the well-stirred meat mixture and stir-fry about two minutes or until it separates and changes color, about 1 minute. Add the onion, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot and bamboo shoots and stir until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.

4.  Sprinkle the noodles with a few tablespoons of water to loosen them up, drain, then add them to the pan.  Pour the Canton Oyster Stir Fry Sauce over the noodles and add in the snow peas. Continue tossing and stirring until well mixed and evenly colored, about 1 minute.  Taste and add more sauce, if desired. Transfer the noodles to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Biography of Helen Chen

Helen Chen

Helen Chen

HIC, Harold Import Co. is proud to call Helen Chen a partner in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® made by HIC Harold Import Co.

Helen Chen is a leading Asian culinary expert, cookbook author, cooking instructor and developer of Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® cookware and cooking supplies.  Helen learned to cook from her mother and has combined the comfort of home-style dishes with an updated incorporation of heart-healthy oils and readily available supermarket ingredients—making cooking great Asian food easier for everyone.

Helen Chen’s unique line of Asian cooking supplies was developed through many years of culinary experience and provides the kind of high-quality standards that you can expect from HIC, Harold Import Co. Some of the products available in the Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® innovative line of Asian cooking utensils include steaming accessories, cutlery, cookware, tea & sake, tabletop, utensils and housewares.

*Not affiliated with Joyce Chen products

Culinary Futures Chicago Cocktail Hour & Silent Auction to Support C-CAP

C-CAPLogoThe Culinary Futures Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction to support Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) will be held Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 6-8 p.m., at Ovation, Chicago’s premier event space.

Proudly hosted by HIC, Harold Import Co., Conimar Corporation, Primula, Fletchers’ Mill, and R.S.V.P. International, Inc., this 6th annual event brings together industry professionals and friends to benefit C-CAP, a national non-profit organization that works with public schools to prepare at-risk students for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

The Careers Through Culinary Arts’ curriculum enrichment program links public high school culinary teachers and their students to the foodservice industry.

LOGO_HIC_Color_NEW“C-CAP’s efforts in providing teacher training, scholarship and cooking competitions, job training, internships, college and career advising, and product and equipment donations are essential,” says Robert Laub, president of HIC, Harold Import Co. “For the past six years, we are glad that this event has played an important part in helping the organization attain its goals.”

In the 2014-2015 academic year, C-CAP Chicago impacted the lives of 3,000 students in 18 public schools working with 34 teachers in job training and internships, teacher trainings, college and career advising, product donations and culinary competitions that lead to culinary school scholarships. In 2013-2014 Academic Year-End Results included awarding 30 Scholarships valued at $584,453.

During this year’s event, guests will enjoy dishes prepared and served by C-CAP students from nine local Chicago High Schools. A selection of fine wines and locally crafted beers will also be available. The evening’s festivities include a silent auction and music by Chicago’s premier DJ Sean Alvarez.

Chicago High Schools Represented

  • Manley Career Academy
  • North Grand High School
  • Simeon Career Academy
  • Prosser Career Academy
  • Clemente High School
  • Washington High School
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Juarez High School
  • Curie Metro High School

All proceeds from this special event will benefit C-CAP Chicago. For more information about C-CAP, visit www.ccapinc.org/

HIC, Harold Import Co., offers an expansive line of kitchen tools and accessories that make everyday or special occasion cooking and baking more fun, convenient, and professional looking. For more information about HIC call 800-526-2163 or visit www.haroldskitchen.com.

Tickets are $75 each, and can be purchased here.

Tickets will also be sold during the International Home + Housewares Show in the HIC, Harold Import Co., Booth #S1449.

Media admittance is complementary. Please RSVP to Laura Everage leverage@haroldimport.com, or 415-306-4546.