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Tamales are a great way to get the entire family in the kitchen to spend time together! This super simple recipe is a great introduction to the classical hispanic dish of Tamales! To begin you’ll need: -12 corn husks soaked … Continue reading

Big-Batch Cocktail Recipe: Spiced Eggnog

By Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics

Be sure to shake or stir well before serving. You can see how the milk and light cream separate.

Be sure to shake or stir well before serving. You can see how the milk and light cream separate.

I will have to admit, I’m not an eggnog lover.  Yet, I know there are many of you out there so I wanted to make sure to find a great-tasting recipe that was flavorful and easy to make ahead of time.

This eggnog recipe requires a little more time than the Hot Buttered Rum Apple Cider recipe, but, it’s just as delicious. It not only makes a great holiday party cocktail but add it to a mason jar with a bow and you have a great hostess gift for any eggnog fan.

Note:  If you’re in a pinch, buy some ready-made eggnog and add a teaspoon or two of your favorite spices and a cup of rum in your pitcher and you’re set!

Spiced Eggnog Cocktail*

Serves: 12-20
 
Time: 20 minutes plus chilling time (4-24 hours)
 
Ingredients
4 cups 2% milk
5-7 whole cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks (save the egg whites for your breakfast omelet)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups light rum
4 cups light cream or half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 
The nutmeg adds beautiful speckles to the cocktail. If you're in a pinch, buy some ready-made eggnog and add a few pinches of your favorite spices and a cup of rum in your pitcher and you're set!

The nutmeg adds beautiful speckles to the cocktail.

Directions

Step 1: Combine milk, cloves, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and cinnamon in pot and very slowly heat to a boil, stirring at all times. (Start the burner on low for about 5 minutes and then gradually bring to a medium or medium-high heat.) When mixture boils, remove from heat.
 
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Then, slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs, stirring constantly and making sure not to cook the eggs.  Pour mixture back into large pot and heat, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick.  Don’t let the mixture boil!
 
Step 3: Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, removing cloves. Let cool for about 1 hour.
 
Step 4: Add rum, cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and nutmeg to the milk and egg mixture and refrigerate overnight or for about 4-6 hours before serving.
 
*Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com
 
 
 

Gingerbread Biscotti with Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting

By Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

Biscotti FinalI’ve been wanting to make homemade biscotti for some time but just never had the time or reason to make them.  Well, I was heading home to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and wanted to take something that would travel well. I came across this recipe for Gingerbread Biscotti and thought it was perfect – my dad loves ginger or molasses cookies at Christmas so I thought this recipe would be a fun surprise for him and an unexpected treat to dip into his morning coffee. The result; a resounding success! (They were gone in record time, devoured by many in the family.)

Below is an adaptation of the Land O Lakes recipe. These are perfect for traveling, hostess gifts, holiday gift-giving and more. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Biscotti with Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting

Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make these biscotti wonderfully flavorful.

Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make these biscotti wonderfully flavorful.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
3 tablespoons mild molases
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
 
Frosting
6 ounces white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Step 2: Combine butter, sugars and spices in medium bowl and beat until well combined.
 
Step 3: Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
 
Step 4: Add molasses and beat until blended.
 
Step 5: Add flour and baking powder and mix on low until just combined.
 
Biscotti dough log.

Biscotti dough log.

Step 6: Divide dough in half and shape into 12-inch logs on floured surface. Transfer to greased cookie sheet, placing each log about three inches apart.

 
Step 7: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops of logs are cracked and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
 
Step 8: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
 
Biscotti after first baking step.

Biscotti after first baking step.

Step 9: Cut logs 1/2 inch thick on a diagonal with a serrated knife. Place back on the cookie sheets, cut side up.

 
Step 10: Bake for about 5-10 minutes. Turn biscotti and bake another 5-10 minutes or until they look dry and crisp. Remove from oven and completely cool.
 
Frosting Step 1: Place white chocolate in microwavable bowl and heat on high for one minute.  Continue heating for 15 second increments until chocolate is melted.
 
Frosting Step 2: Add vanilla and cinnamon and stir until well combined.
 
Frosting biscotti with a ziplock bag and on cooling racks that are on baking sheets makes the job and clean-up really easy.

Frosting biscotti with a ziplock bag and on cooling racks that are on baking sheets makes the job and clean-up really easy.

Frosting Step 3: Place white chocolate mixture in a small ziplock bag. Cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle white chocolate over biscotti. 

 
Allow biscotti to sit at room temperature until chocolate sets.  Then, store in air-tight container for up to five days. Or, freeze for up to one month.
 
 
 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

2013_11_Pumpkin CupcakesThis time of year, I can’t consume enough pumpkin! Pumpkin has indeed become more popular over the years. While apple used to be the flavor of fall, pumpkin has taken over with a vengeance.  In fact, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, a report that tracts new menu introductions in major restaurants across the country, there were 105 pumpkin-themed, limited-time food offerings introduced in 2012 and only 45 apple-themed.* So, if you’re on the pumpkin bandwagon like I am, these cupcakes may be just the trick for your weekly fix. The cream cheese frosting looks extra decadent after it’s piped onto the cupcakes with a large piping tip specifically meant for cupcake decorating. Despite there being a lot of ingredients, the recipe is really easy to make. A simple addition to any Thanksgiving Day celebration.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcake IngredientsCupcake Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
 
Frosting Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and walnuts, if using.) Set aside.

Step 3: Cream butter and sugar.

Step 4: Slowly eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture.

Step 5: Add pumpkin puree to the butter mixture.

Step 6: Add the flour mixture and whole milk, a little bit of each at a time, alternating between the two, as you gently mix the batter.

Step 7: Line a mini cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Step 8: Fill each cupcake mold about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.

Step 9: Bake for 8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.

Step 10: To make the frosting, simply blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Then, add the confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Frost and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from About.com.

*Source: Wong, Vanessa. “Pumpkin Officially Trumps Apple as Fall’s Signature Flavor.” Bloomberg Businessweek. September 17, 2013. Web. November 7, 2013. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-17/pumpkin-officially-trumps-apple-as-falls-signature-flavor
 

2013_4_12 AngieCincoMonterreyAngela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics, puts her 11 years of food and agriculture marketing and public relations experience to work leading HQO’s marketing efforts. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and obtaining at degree in animal science and international agribusiness from Cornell University, Angela is thrilled to be able to put her passions and expertise to work in her career.  When she’s not working, you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails, running, biking, cooking or traveling with her three-year-old son and husband.

Super Simple (and Healthy) Butternut Squash Soup

By: Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing

Butternut Squash Soup

As soon as the weather starts getting cold, my mind goes to food.  I immediately start to mentally tally all the fall comfort classics I want to start making (and freezing) for the upcoming winter months.  Inevitably, one of the first items on my list is this Butternut Squash Soup.  I originally came across the recipe in a Prevention Magazine several years ago. However, for the life of me, I can’t find the original recipe online. (Good thing I wrote it out on a recipe card!)  Oh, and this recipe can easily be vegan by swapping out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Enjoy!

Healthy Butternut Squash Soup*

Seven simple ingredients make this a recipe you can make quickly. Tip: Looking for frozen butternut squash in your freezer section to save even more time!

Seven simple ingredients make this a recipe you can make quickly. Tip: Looking for frozen butternut squash in your freezer section to save even more time!

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Leeks, Trimmed of Greens and White Parts Chopped and Cleaned
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Pounds Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded and Cubed
4 Large Carrots, Grated
6 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
 
Step 1: Coat large stock pot with olive oil over medium heat.  Add cleaned and chopped leeks, sautéing until soft and translucent, about 6-7 minutes.
 
Step 2: Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
 
Step 3: Add cubed squash, grated carrot and broth and bring to a boil.
 
Step 4: Bring to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender. 
 
Step 5: Puree the soup in small batches in your food processor or use an immersion blender.
 
*Recipe adapted from Prevention Magazine.
 

2013_4_12 AngieCincoMonterreyAngela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics, puts her 11 years of food and agriculture marketing and public relations experience to work leading HQO’s marketing efforts. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and obtaining at degree in animal science and international agribusiness from Cornell University, Angela is thrilled to be able to put her passions and expertise to work in her career.  When she’s not working, you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails, running, biking, cooking or traveling with her three-year-old son and husband.

Organic Cajun Pumpkin Seeds

Since we are all carving pumpkins, and most of us just throw away the pumpkin “guts”, we thought this recipe would be a great way to use those pumpkin seeds.

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You’ll need:1 tsp organic paprika, 1 tsp cajun seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp butter

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Step 1: Carve a hole in the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds a flesh. A spoon works well for this.

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Step 2: Using your hands, separate the flesh from the seeds. This doesn’t have to be perfect, a little pumpkin flesh will add flavor!

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Step 3: Melt you butter in the microwave and add your seasonings and worcestershire sauce .

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Step 4: Coat your seeds in your seasoning sauce.

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Step 5: Place your seeds on a foil-lined baking tray and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes. This healthy and flavorful snack is great to much on through out your day or even for Halloween parties! Enjoy.

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon

By: Angela Keyser, Marketing Manager

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes FINAL

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? I love having an excuse to make them and, I must say, my son doesn’t mind either! Of course, he always thinks it’s someones birthday when there are cupcakes around so he sang “Happy Birthday” to me while we whipped these up. (Hey, I’ll turn 21 again any day!)

Chai Cupcakes Step 1

My baking assistant signing “Happy Birthday” as he lines the cupcake tins. This is a great way to have even the smallest hands help in the kitchen.

Chocolate and chai are one of those combinations made in heaven. So, when I found this recipe I had to give it a try. (I also like it because, unlike most chai cupcake recipes, this one uses real chai tea and not an instant blend that is oftentimes loaded with sugar….not that we’re counting calories with this recipe!) I tweaked a few things but must give credit to the original author Land O Lakes. (The midwestern dairy cooperative my family farm was a part of for over 25 years.)

For some of you, this recipe may be a little overkill on the dairy. If that’s the case, I’d omit the cream cheese filling.  The chocolate batter is sufficiently rich enough and your cupcakes will be adequate size. Make sure you give the frosting a try, though.  I found it highlighted the beautiful balance chocolate and chai have. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Filling
1/3 cup sugar
8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
 
Chocolate Batter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
10 teaspoons loose leaf Organic Masala Chai Tea
1 package chocolate or fudge cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
3 eggs
 
Frosting
3 tablespoons reserved chai tea
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Have your assistant fill 24 cupcake tins with paper liners

Step 3: Blend filling ingredients (sugar, cream cheese & egg) and set aside.

If you don't have loose leaf chai tea, you can use 5-8 tea bags. Or, you can make your own chai tea. It's simply a combination of black tea and spices.  Google "Chai Tea Recipes" for some ideas.

If you don’t have loose leaf chai tea, you can use 5-8 chai tea bags. Or, you can make your own chai tea. It’s simply a combination of black tea and spices. Google “Chai Tea Recipes” for some ideas.

Step 4: Steep 10 teaspoons of loose leaf Organic Masala Chai Tea in 1 1/2 cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Then strain to remove tea and add enough water to the tea to equal 1 1/2 cups.  Set aside 3 tablespoons of tea for the frosting.

Step 5: Combine tea, chocolate cake mix, melted butter and eggs in a large bowl and mix until well blended, a minute or two.

Step 6: Fill all cupcake liners with approximately 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate batter.

Step 7:  Add 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling to each cupcake.

Step 8: Top cupcakes with remaining chocolate batter making sure to not fill more than 2/3-3/4 of the cupcake liner.  If you fill them too full, the cupcakes will overflow and they won’t look like the cute ones on Cupcake Wars. ;0)

Step 9: Bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool.

Step 10: Combine tea, milk, flour and cocoa in a saucepan and whisk until well incorporated.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become thick.  Let cool for 15 minutes.

NOTE: Be careful to pay close attention to keeping the heat under control (not boiling) and stirring often.  Leaving the pot unattended will result in a curdled mess!

Step 11: Mix sugar, butter and cinnamon together. Slowly add cocoa mixture and mix until sugar is dissolved.

Step 12: Frost your cupcakes. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on if you’d like and devour!

Step 5: