Our Favorite Burgers for #NationalBurgerMonth!

May is #NationalBurgerMonth, and the timing couldn’t be better as we New Englanders bust out the grills and start dining al fresco – the perfect situation for burgers! We’re rounding up some of our top burger recipes today, as well as a few expert tips for the best tasting burgers. Enjoy!

Burger Tips

  • Ensure consistent size and shape. Burgers are better with friends, so you’re most likely grilling up a bunch at the same time. If you’re creating your own patties, use a food scale or a cut-out or lid to ensure that all the burgers are the same shape and size – consistent done-ness is key!
  • Use cold to your advantage. Shape patties when the meat is cold to ensure the juiciest burgers (otherwise you run the risk of the fat and meat separating), and dip your hands in cold water before handling the patties to ensure the meat doesn’t stick.
  • Don’t squish your burger while grilling. Fight the instinct to press down on your burger. See those flames leaping up every time you do it? Those are all the fat – and flavor – leaking right out of your burger!
  • Don’t cut into that burger! It’s tempting to check the center of a burger visually to see if it’s to your liking, but the safest way to check for doneness (and to ensure that you don’t sacrifice a burger in the process) is by using a meat thermometer. Guidelines for cooking temps are as follows, though it’s important to note that the USDA temperatures under 160 degrees are not considered safe for ground beef consumption:
    • Rare: 120 to 125
    • Medium Rare: 130 to 135
    • Medium Well: 150 to 155
    • Well Done: 160 to 165
  • Pick the right bun. When testing burgers in our JAC kitchen, we always use the best, most hearty local buns. Nothing dampens the mood more than a soggy, falling apart vessel for your burger. Be sure to choose a sturdy bun to stand up to your burger and toppings.

Just Add Cooking Beef Burgers

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Classic Burgers with Oven Fries

Start dreaming of July with this American classic. These burgers come loaded with all the goodies for you and your family: lettuce, tomato, onions, and avocado. Paired with oven fries this dish screams shorts and flip-flops, even if it’s not quite summer yet.

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Black ‘n Bleu Burger

Salty blue cheese plus a perfectly spiced beef burger make this dish a fantastic treat. Cajun spices are mixed into the all beef patties and then topped with fresh tomatoes, red onions, and blue cheese. Served on the side is a batch of crispy sweet potato hash.

Vegetarian Burgers

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Eggplant Burgers with Roasted Parsnip Fries

Parsnips look like big, white carrots but they have a spicier, nuttier flavor. Once roasted they take on a sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the chili powder. Our spiced eggplant burgers are coated in panko bread crumbs and seared on the stove top to give them a crisp crunch. Smoky, spicy, sweet, and savory, this dish has it all!

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Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Herbed Potatoes

In this vegetarian take on a stuffed hamburger, we cook hearty and earthy portobello mushroom caps filled with a tangy goat cheese stuffing. Topped with spicy arugula and juicy tomato slices, this meal is sure to please both the carnivores and vegetarians in your family.

Twists on the Classic

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Chorizo Burger with Massaged Kale Salad

Our Chorizo Burger is a Spanish twist on the American Classic. We’ve replaced the beef patty with chorizo from local meat vendor Bianco and Sons. Topping the burger are slices of fresh tomato and a quick aioli. A side salad of garlicky massaged kale rounds out the dish.

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

We decided to put a fun twist on a classic cheeseburger by turning it inside out! Creamy, delicately flavored Monterey Jack cheese is stuffed inside savory turkey patties, giving them mouthwatering, gooey centers. Sweet potato fries and a sweet, tangy sauce heighten this dish further.

wicked_good_pastrami_burger

Wicked Good Pastrami Burger

Wicked Good Burgers ain’t your daddy’s patty on a bun. We love Andy Husbands’ recipe for a super tasty burger and bet you do too.

Spring Grilling Recipe Roundup

Grilling season is here! It’s been a long wait for Boston with a winter that stretched into spring, but we’re finally emerging from the snow banks. There’s no better way to celebrate spring than grilling outdoors, which is why many of our spring recipes can be made on the stove or on the outdoor grill. We’ve put together a roundup of our favorite grilling recipes and sides so you can get an early jump start on the season!

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Gourmet Hot Dogs

We’ve taken a classic hot dog and kicked it up to a new level. Top your hot dog with crunchy fried onion flakes and tangy zucchini relish, and pair it with a side of creamy horseradish slaw.

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Grilled Portobello and Cabbage

Satisfy your grill cravings in a healthy way with this flavorful portobello burger that even meat lovers will want to sink their teeth into. Topped with sharp blue cheese and crunchy red onion this burger is satisfying in texture and flavor. Grilling the cabbage gives it deep, caramelized notes.

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Grilled Salmon & Summer Salad

This salad is a perfect summer meal. Grilling the vegetables outside lets you enjoy the summer and keep the heat out of your kitchen. The addition of lime to a simple vinaigrette takes this dish to another level. The charred taste of roasted corn, peppers, and squash work perfectly with the fresh lime juice.

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Grilled Veggie Pita Pockets

Our Grilled Vegetable Pita Pockets are a great summer grilling recipe that’s super portable too! Whether you’re playing an intense game of badminton, or relaxing by the pool you can take these pita pockets with you anywhere. The grilled veggies and marinated chickpeas are topped with briny feta cheese and cool tzatziki yogurt sauce.

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Spiced Latin Sliders & Bean Salad

These spiced sliders are a great summer treat that can be prepared easily on the grill or in a skillet. Fresh fresno chili is complemented with cumin and queso fresco in these beef sliders. A marinated black bean salad adds a cool creaminess to this spicy dish.

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Pork Chops & Potato Salad

This home-style meal is a great dish for any time of year. Juicy pork chops are topped with a delicious tart jam featuring the bounty of Massachusetts fruits made by Deborah’s Kitchen. Served with the pork chops is a warm potato salad with spicy arugula and subtle sherry vinegar.

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

We decided to put a fun twist on a classic cheeseburger by turning it inside out! Creamy, delicately flavored Monterey Jack cheese is stuffed inside savory turkey patties, giving them mouthwatering, gooey centers. Sweet potato fries and a sweet, tangy sauce heighten this dish further. Cook on a skillet or outside on the grill, your choice!

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Succotash with Lamb Kabobs

Our take on succotash combines sweet corn, silky avocado, crisp cucumber and aromatic basil. Lamb kebabs are the perfect foil for the fresh flavors.

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Eggplant Burger with Roasted Parsnips

Parsnips look like big, white carrots but they have a spicier, nuttier flavor. Once roasted they take on a sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the chili powder. Our spiced eggplant burgers are coated in panko bread crumbs and seared on the stove top to give them a crisp crunch, or try them on the grill for a smoky flavor! Spicy, sweet, and savory, this dish has it all!

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Halloumi Skewers & Couscous 

Halloumi is a style of cheese from Cyprus that has a very high melting point, which makes it the perfect cheese for grilling. Our recipe pairs it up with a Greek-style couscous salad that features kalamata olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Christmas Food Traditions Around the World

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At Just Add Cooking, we’re inspired every day by the food traditions and flavors of other countries and cultures. And while every family has its own food traditions for the holidays – often closely tied to their heritage – Christmas is the perfect time to try on new traditions for size. We’re exploring Christmas food and drink traditions from around the world. Join us!

Britain

What IS a traditional British Christmas dinner? It all kicks off with folks wearing paper hats from Christmas crackers and often exchanging tacky gag gifts. As for food, the meal typically begins with a light appetizer of Scottish Smoked Salmon & Dill Sauce or a Prawn Cocktail recipe. From here, recall one of the most famous Christmas movies of all time: A Christmas Carol… and the main attraction, the Christmas goose! While this used to be the go-to roast, it’s now more often a turkey, roast beef, beef Wellington, glazed ham or roasted chicken. And for dessert? Do you remember that episode of Friends where Rachel makes a “traditional English trifle” complete with a layer of beef? Well, that may not be far off from a traditional British Christmas pudding recipe.

Credit: www.meilleurduchef.com

Credit: www.meilleurduchef.com

France (and other French colonies)

Have you heard of Buche de Noel? Dating back to the 19th century, this “Yule log” has been a symbolic part of French culture in many ways & varies depending on the province. For example, in Provence, the previous year’s log was used to start the new year’s log whereas in Burgundy, parents would hide small gifts like nuts & coins under the log while children said their prayers. The traditional French dessert is typically made with sponge cake and includes some sort of chocolate filling, whether it be buttercream or ganache.

Germany

And for the taste of Christmas in Germany? Well that would be Gluhwein, of course! This winter warming mulled wine dates back to 1420 and is made with a variety of spices, including cinnamon, cloves & vanilla while being sweetened with sugar and strengthened with rum or another liquor. Today, Germans often enjoy a mug of Gluhwein while strolling through candy-striped tents found in German Christmas markets.

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Iceland

Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic tradition that began during World War II, when paper was one of few commodities that was not being rationed. Upon gaining independence from Denmark, the people of Iceland began to trade books as other gift options were often in short supply. The tradition still continues today and, in fact, every household receives a published book catalog in mid-November to order books for family and friends. Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, books are immediately opened and individuals enjoy a cup of hot chocolate as they read!

Italy

Are you familiar with the Feast of the Seven Fishes? A popular Italian-American feast, this grand meal is associated with many different Southern Italian traditions. Some say that it commemorates the midnight birth of the Baby Jesus, while others proclaim that the number seven represents the “seven hills of Rome” or the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Either way, the long-standing tradition of consuming seafood on the night before Christmas aligns with the practice of abstaining from eating meat until Christmas Day. Today’s popular La Vigilia meal components range in recipes and contain everything from baccala and clams casino to shrimp cocktail, squid, eel, mussels, octopus salad, baked-stuffed lobsters & much more.

However you celebrate, with whatever dishes, a very happy holiday from us here at Just Add Cooking!

 

 

Fall Comfort Food – Chicken Marsala with Polenta

After some prolonged summer weather, fall has reached New England! As the season turns, we’re reviving this space to share more behind-the-scenes glances at Just Add Cooking and our mission to create a sustainable, convenient and eco-friendly way for Boston area families to eat locally. We’ve been hard at work creating new recipes, bringing in even more New England ingredients and updating our packaging, and we’ll be sharing much of it here soon!

Today, we want to kick off fall with one of our new recipes. It’s a twist on a classic, comfort food favorite: Chicken Marsala. Instead of pasta, we’re pairing this dish with polenta. (In our case, locally grown and processed at Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA. We’re sharing the recipe today – enjoy!

Chicken Marsala with Polenta

Chicken Marsala is a classic dish that can be traced back to Sicily, which is where the iconic Marsala wine is produced. This recipe blends the northern and southern regions of Italy by using corn polenta, a northern staple, as the base for this southern Italian dish.

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Serves 4
30 Minutes
689 Calories

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lb chicken breast
1 1/2 cup polenta
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup flour/gluten free flour
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup marsala wine
1 sm bunch fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

1. Get Started
Bring 6 cups of water with 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, add the polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Whisk the the polenta for 2 minutes straight (it will be worth it!) Then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the polenta gets too thick.

2. Prepare the Mushrooms
Use a damp towel to wipe any dirt or grit off the mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and set aside for later.

3. Pound the Chicken
Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or in a large plastic bag. Using a heavy skillet or rolling pin flatten the chicken breasts to a 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Spread 1/2 cup flour into an even layer on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge the flattened chicken in the flour until fully coated.

4. Cook the Chicken
Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Knock any excess flour off of the chicken breasts and add to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Move to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. You may need to complete this step in batches.

5. Make the Marsala Sauce
Return the skillet to medium heat and melt 2 tbsp butter. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned. Add the marsala wine and cook for another 2 minutes until slightly reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the remaining butter and gently simmer for another 2 minutes as the sauce thickens.

6. Plate the Dish
Finely chop the parsley. Add 1/2 the parsley to the marsala sauce and stir to incorporate. Adjust the polenta seasoning to taste, then divide between 4 plates. Add the chicken on top of the polenta and spoon the marsala and mushroom sauce on top. Garnish with the remaining parsley. Enjoy!

Think this looks delicious? Get recipes and all the New England ingredients you need to enjoy them delivered right to your door each week. Visit www.justaddcooking.com for more information.

Chef Jody Adams Cooking Tips PLUS Bonus Recipe!

chef jody adams

Chef Jody Adams

This week, we are honored and excited to welcome legendary Boston chef Jody Adams to Just Add Cooking for a series of celebrity chef recipes that will be released in upcoming boxes. First up: the James Beard Award-winner and chef at the helm of TRADE, Porto and Saloniki here in Boston is giving us the recipe for her Roasted Chicken with Muhammara, a hot pepper dip originally from Syria, out in this week’s box!

We checked in with Chef Jody Adams to get her inside tips for making this dish as tasty as possible. Here’s what she had to say: “Seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper overnight allows the seasonings to penetrate the bird. When cooking, I put a little water in the roasted pan so the sugar in the pomegranate molasses doesn’t burn.”

jody adams roasted chicken with muhammara

Keep an eye out for future recipes from Jody Adams in September boxes, and we’ll be partnering with other fantastic Boston chefs throughout the fall, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you’re itching to get cooking like a world-class chef at home, check out this BONUS recipe from Jody Adams, Spaghetti with Maine Crab Meat, Toasted Breadcrumbs and Garlic. A perfect end-of-summer meal!

Spaghetti with Maine Crab Meat, Toasted Breadcrumbs and Garlic

From In The Hands of a Chef

Makes 4 entrée servings

The Ingredients

Kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups coarse slightly dry breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 pound high-quality dried spaghetti
1 pound Maine crab meat (fresh, or frozen and thawed—it’s broken up in the coarse of the recipe so either will do), picked through to remove any shell
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

The Recipe

1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

2. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, stirring until they’re toasted and golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the garlic. Cook the garlic over medium heat until golden. Add the tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (more if you prefer), season with salt and cook until the tomatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 3 minutes. Set aside until the pasta is cooked.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stirring so the individual strands remain separate. If the pot isn’t large enough for all of the spaghetti to lie flat, either break the strands in half or hold one end of the pasta bundle while the other end softens in the boiling water. As soon as the end softens release the pasta into the water. Cover, if necessary, to bring the water back to a boil Wait 1 minute, then stir again. Check periodically to make sure the strands aren’t sticking together. Cook until the spaghetti is tender, but still offers a little bit of resistance as you bite into it. Begin checking for doneness after 8 minutes. Before removing the pasta, take a measuring cup and scoop out ¼ cup pasta water. Set it aside for use with the sauce. While the pasta is cooking warm a large bowl.

5. Pour the pasta into a colander. While it’s draining, return the tomatoes to high heat. Add the crabmeat and parsley and heat through. Empty the spaghetti into the warm bowl. Pour the tomatoes and crab over it and toss well. If the sauce is too thick to coat the spaghetti, add the pasta water to thin it, then toss again. Toss with the breadcrumbs and serve.

New Year’s Appetizer Recipe: Salmon Tartar

Look for something special to prepare for New Year’s Eve? Whether you’re hosting a cocktail party or cuddling up at home, this festive and elegant recipe is sure to fancy up your evening. It’s a family tradition for us to serve this on New Year’s Eve, and we hope you’ll try it at your celebration too!

Salmon Tartar

Serves 4 as an appetizer

salmon tartar

Ingredients

  • 2 oz smoked salmon
  • 4 oz raw salmon
  • 1 tbsb freshly grounded horse radish
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • salmon roe (this is optional)
  • 1 small baguette

Instructions

  1. Toast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat until they start to get some color. Remove from pan and let cool.
  2. Cut smoked and raw salmon into tiny pieces.
  3. Slice the chives.
  4. Slice and toast baguette in a toaster or oven.
  5. In a bowl mix salmon, horse radish, chives, pine nuts and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve in glasses or on top of the baguette and top with salmon roe.

Happy New Year!

A Fresh Take On Thanksgiving Sides

Photo credit: Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Photo credit: Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

While we all love grandma’s secret family mashed potato recipe, it’s no lie that Thanksgiving sides can get a little old. Seriously, how many different versions of stuffing can one really make? It’s time to give the traditional Turkey Day sides a little makeover, with these innovative dishes from around the web! Check out our top 10 Thanksgiving side ideas for 2015.

  1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots with Balsamic Vinegar: In-season brussels are the star of this easy 4-ingredient dish. We love the touch of sweetness from the balsamic vinegar to balance out the flavors!
  1. Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoky Breadcrumbs: Enjoy one of our favorite seasonal root veggies without the usual loads of marshmallows and added sugar. This sweet & savory side is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
  1. Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots & Sage: Pumpkins aren’t just for carving or table centerpieces! Roast in the oven for a crisp, flavorful dish – complete with fresh sage.
  1. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary & Garlic: This vegan side has all the flavor without the added butter. Fresh rosemary and minced garlic marry together perfectly in this heart-warming autumnal favorite.
  1. Creamy Farro Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms: Add some hearty grains to your feast lineup with this wild take on rice pilaf! We love the rich, creamy texture the Parmesan and white wine brings.
  1. Florentine Fennel Gratin: Move over, potatoes! Fennel – a member of the carrot family – gets all the spotlight in this twist on a French favorite. Be sure to make extra…it’s bound to go quickly!
  1. Harvest Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing: Enjoy the flavors of the season in this go-to Thanksgiving salad. Kabocha squash, kale, and pomegranate seeds come together for a colorful dish that’s both delicious and good for you. Did we mention the maple balsamic dressing is absolutely to-die-for?
  1. Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese: It’s time to give your traditional mashed potato recipe a bit of a makeover! Creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic totally do the trick.
  1. Sautéed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter: We’d be remiss not to tell you to eat your greens, even on Thanksgiving! But when they’re topped with toasted garlic butter, do we really have to tell you twice?
  2. Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives: Add some pizzazz to your bland cornbread recipe! These melt-in-your-mouth savory biscuits have just a touch of honey for sweetness, and are great for soaking up extra gravy. Win, win.

Now we want to hear from you! What are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, both traditional and new to the family?

Make Gelato at Home with Morgan Morano

A few weeks ago, our subscribers got a tasty little treat in their weekly Just Add Cooking delivery: a coupon for a free gelato at Morano Gelato’s newest shop at the Mall at Chestnut Hill. If you’ve never had gelato before, it’s quite a bit different from ice cream. When made properly, it’s creamier and smoother than American ice cream, and naturally lighter on the cream (and thereby the fat contents) than ice cream.

Today, Morano Gelato founder and chef Morgan Morano is back to share one of her favorite gelato recipes with us. Making gelato at home can be a bit of a complex process – but it’s absolutely delicious! If you’re not yet ready to make your own, you can always visit Morano Gelato for a taste of authentic Italian gelato.

homemade stracciatella gelato morano

Stracciatella Gelato
(Chocolate Chip)

Courtesy of Race Point Publishing, 2015

Named for the straccia, “strips” or “shreds” of chocolate,
in the gelato, Italy’s version of chocolate chip is much more decorative in appearance than its American ice cream counterpart. The pieces of chocolate that speckle this gelato have been previously melted, causing them to dissolve more quickly in the mouth. Additional spoonfuls of melted chocolate drizzled all over the top combine with the milky flavor and creamy texture of the base to create a much-favored flavor. Stracciatella is one of the few flavors that almost always sells out daily at Morano Gelato, and it’s easy to understand why.
Any dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao) will work for the chocolate-chip base, but my preference is 60 percent cacao. Although the base is simple, an extra step is required to melt and add the chocolate after the gelato has finished freezing. Don’t be tempted to add more chocolate to the recipe because it will change the consistency of the gelato. A little extra chocolate on top enhances the presentation as well as the flavor of the gelato, and this is how it is served in Italy. Stracciatella gelato goes with just about any dessert or gelato flavor, but when blended with Menta gelato (see page 90), it creates an irresistible frappé (see page 51).

Ingredients

2 ounces / 56 grams milk powder
6.35 ounces / 180 grams granulated sugar
0.7 ounce / 20 grams tapioca starch
6.75 ounces / 192 grams heavy cream
24.15 ounces / 685 grams whole milk
0.95 ounce / 27 grams light corn syrup
5.3 ounces / 150 grams 60% to 70% dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Yield: About 1 quart / 950 milliliters

Prepare

  1. Mix the milk powder, sugar, and tapioca starch in a bowl.
  2. Add the heavy cream and whole milk and whisk well to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the liquid.
  3. Whisk in the corn syrup.

Cook

  1. Pour the mixture into a 2.5-quart / 1.42-liter saucepan, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously to prevent any burning or clumping. Whisk slowly in the beginning and increase speed as the mixture gets warmer and begins to steam and thicken. It should thicken without boiling after 8 to 10 minutes on the heat; watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Once the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, continue cooking 15 seconds longer, whisking vigorously. Then immediately remove from the heat.

Freeze

  1. Pour the mixture into a clean glass or stainless-steel bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top. Allow the mixture to sit 30 to 45 minutes until no longer hot. Then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 4 hours. If the mixture needs to be used right away, submerge most of the bowl in an ice bath and let it sit 30 to 40 minutes, refreshing the ice as necessary.
  2. Once the mixture has cooled completely and thickened further, pour it into the bowl of the gelato machine and churn the gelato according to the manufacturer’s directions. The gelato will expand and should spin until it’s thick and creamy but still soft enough to scoop into a storage container, about 30 to 55 minutes.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the gelato into a storage container. Place the uncovered container immediately in the freezer and begin prepping the chocolate chip base.

Prepare the Chocolate

  1. Fill a small saucepan a quarter of the way with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The water should remain at a simmer. Place the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl over the saucepan to create a double boiler. The bowl should fit snugly on top of the saucepan, but the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. The steam from the simmering water will melt the chocolate. Using a heatproof spatula, 
stir the chocolate from time to time to ensure even melting.
  2. Once the chocolate is fully melted and liquid, turn off the heat and carefully remove the bowl from the saucepan. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly for 2 minutes. Remove the gelato from the freezer. It’s important to work very quickly as the gelato should not melt much during this process. Using a tablespoon, begin drizzling the melted chocolate into the gelato and gently swirl it in with a spatula. Save a small amount of chocolate to drizzle on top before serving. The chocolate should freeze upon contact with the gelato. Make sure to incorporate the chocolate into the gelato at the bottom of the container so that little pieces of chocolate can be seen throughout the gelato. Do not take more than 3 minutes to add in the chocolate or the gelato will begin to melt.
  3. Press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on the surface of the gelato, seal the storage container with an airtight lid, and put it in the freezer.
  4. Freeze at least 4 to 6 hours. When ready, the gelato should be firm enough to scoop but soft and creamy in texture. Remove the gelato from the freezer a few minutes before serving.

Serve

12. Reheat the chocolate set aside for garnish either over the pot of simmering water used before or in the microwave on low, being careful that it doesn’t burn. Drizzle chocolate decoratively on top of the gelato. Put the gelato back in the freezer for 5 more minutes to allow the chocolate to harden before serving.

13. Enjoy the fresh gelato as soon as possible. If using after 2 days, allow 8 to 10 minutes for the gelato to soften outside of the freezer before eating.

A Delicious Frozen Yogurt You Can Make at Home

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Frozen yogurt: it’s smooth, cool and creamy, and the perfect way to usher in summer. Today marks National Frozen Yogurt Day, and we’re happy to have Chef Holly Pierce of The Soul Chef with us at Just Add Cooking to give us some tips on making easy, delicious, tangy frozen yogurt at home.

Making frozen yogurt uses the same process as making ice cream with a few tweaks in the technique. And, as with all things, there are several different “camps” in the “what makes the best frozen yogurt” world. I’ll go over those and give you some options to try out for yourself. For me, the most important thing is to start with the best ingredients. Buy local when and if you can, and make sure that whatever you are using in your frozen yogurt is fresh and flavorful. This, by the way, is one of the advantages to making your own frozen yogurt. You get to decide what does (or doesn’t) go into it. Read any label on a commercial frozen yogurt and at some point you’ll either come across an ingredient you can’t pronounce or have never heard of before.

Choosing a Yogurt Base

Let’s start with the yogurt. It is best to use plain, unflavored and unsweetened. I prefer to use full-fat yogurt. You can absolutely use whatever type of yogurt you prefer; the difference will be in the consistency of the finished product. A reduced or non-fat yogurt, because it lacks a larger percentage of fat, will tend to contain more ice crystals and be harder once frozen. A full-fat yogurt will produce a frozen product with a richer, creamier consistency and a smooth mouth feel.

Another option is Greek yogurt, which has more fat and protein and less water than regular yogurt, so it stands to reason that it would make a rich, creamy frozen yogurt. Some sources claim that it is too creamy and dense and is best used in combination with regular yogurt or even added liquid flavoring (think orange juice or flavored syrups). Again, it’s all up to you and what you like.

Preparing the Yogurt

Many recipes call for straining or allowing the yogurt to drain in a cheesecloth-lined strainer overnight to eliminate the excess liquid, thus making it thick and dense like Greek yogurt. I’ve used Greek yogurt, strained and unstrained regular yogurt and had success with all of them. Your decision here will boil down to personal preference in texture and ease of preparation.

Recipes

Ready to whip up some fro yo? I’ve got a couple of recipes to get you started. One is a basic, plain frozen yogurt to which you can add whatever mix-ins you like (chocolate chips, m&ms, peanut butter cups…you get the picture) and one is for a fruit frozen yogurt. This is a chance to play around and experiment with the choices we’ve discussed above. No matter your decision, the result will be delicious! The joy is in the experimenting… and the eating, of course!

Basic Frozen Yogurt (yield about 1 quart)

6 cups plain yogurt, strained to equal 3 cups (or use 3 cups Greek yogurt)
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla (optional)
pinch of salt
Add-ins*

To strain the yogurt: place the yogurt in a fine, mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Set the strainer over a large bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Mix the strained yogurt with the sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Place in the container of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Generally for soft serve consistency it takes about 25 minutes.

*If you are using add-ins (chocolate chips, etc), add them during the last 5-7 minutes of churning time.

Remove the frozen yogurt to a container and place in the freezer.

Honey & Fruit Frozen Yogurt (yield about 1 quart)

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, blueberries, etc)
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into the container of your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Happy Frozen Yogurt Day Everyone!