Paleo-Friendly Easy Mashed Cauliflower

By Chef Kyle Boesen

Mashed cauliflower is a great addition or substitute to your classic mashed potato side dish.

Mashed cauliflower is a great addition or substitute to your classic mashed potato side dish.

As the Paleo diet – a diet that encourages one to eat like our ancestors and limit processed foods, dairy, many grains and sugar – becomes more popular, we’re seeing a lot more people searching for recipes that meet the diet’s criteria.  (In fact, even Whole Foods is opening a new store in San Francisco with a Paleo Bar! Read about it here.)

In leu of this food trend, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with a great-tasting recipe that could easily be swapped for mashed potatoes at your Thanksgiving meal.

NOTE: If your party isn’t on the Paleo diet and you’d still like to try this, I’d encourage using 50% cauliflower and 50% mashed potatoes (non-Paleo ingredients and directions are below the Paleo version).  For some people, the taste of cauliflower can be quite strong so this softens the cauliflower flavor a bit and makes the dish all the more nutritious…and an excellent way to get children to eat cauliflower!

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower is essentially like making mashed potatoes - just swap the cauliflower for potatoes.

Mashed Cauliflower is essentially like making mashed potatoes – just swap the cauliflower for potatoes.

Ingredients – Paleo Diet Version
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of any of the following: ground sage, rosemary or thyme
1 tablespoon chopped chives, reserving half for garnish on top)
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Step 1: Wash and chop cauliflower. Place in a microwavable bowl with 1-2 tablespoons water, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 5-8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender (you can easily put a fork through the spears).
 
Step 2: Drain the cauliflower
 
Step 3: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. 
 
Ingredients – Non-Paleo Version
4 cups chopped cauliflower
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (keep the skins on for added fiber and nutrition)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup 2% milk
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives, reserving half for garnish
 
Step 1: Wash and chop cauliflower and potatoes.  Add the cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons water and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes or until they are tender and you can easily stick a fork through them.  Then, do the same with the potatoes. (Don’t combine them as the potatoes have more starch and will take longer to cook.) NOTE: You can also steam these on the stove.  Just put a cup of water at the bottom of a very large pot, place a heat-proof colander over and place the vegetables in the colander. Cover bring the water to a boil. Stir the vegetables on occasion to ensure they’re cooked evenly. 
 
Step 2: Combine butter and milk in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds or until butter is melted.
 
Step 3: Drain the vegetables and place in a large bowl. Mash by hand or use a hand mixer while slowly adding the melted milk and butter mixture and sour cream, little amounts at a time until the consistency you desire is reached. 
 
Step 4: Season with chives, salt and pepper and serve.
 

 Do you have a healthy spin on mashed potatoes? If so, we’d love to hear it. Or, if you have a “secret ingredient” for yours, please share.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Chef Dawn’s Super Simple Flavored Whipped Creams

By Chef Dawn Wykoff

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can sometimes make you want to pull out your hair!  Not to worry. There are many simple tricks you can pull out of your sleeve to make your holidays special and less stressful.

These flavored whipped creams are a standard go-to for me. The ingredients are so simple and it takes about 5-10 minutes to “whip” them up.  The result is a super flavorful whipped cream that is sure to impress your guests.

Caramel Flavored Whipped Cream = 1 Cup Cream + 1/2 Jar Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Caramel Flavored Whipped Cream = 1 Cup Cream + 1/2 Jar Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Pineapple Lemon Flavored Whipped Cream = 1 Cup Cream + 1/2 Jar Pineapple Chutney + 1/4 Jar Lemon Curd

Pineapple Lemon Flavored Whipped Cream = 1 Cup Cream + 1/2 Jar Pineapple Ice Cream Topping + 1/4 Jar Lemon Curd

Simply whip cream in a very cold bowl with cold beaters until soft peaks appear.  Gently fold in your flavorings. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

Simply whip cream in a very cold bowl with cold beaters until soft peaks appear. Gently fold in your flavorings. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

Serving suggestions:

Pumpkin Pie Topping: The caramel flavored whipped cream is OUTSTANDING on anything pumpkin or apple.

Cookie Dunking Dip: Make the kids table extra fun with a little cookie tray of gingersnap, pumpkin or other fall-flavored cookies and let them dunk their cookies into a small bowl of the caramel flavored whipped cream.  According to our “little testers” the results were two thumbs up!

Fruit Salad: Make a double batch of the pineapple lemon whipped cream and throw together a last-minute fruit salad.

Have more serving suggestions or flavor combinations? Tell us about them. We’d love to hear from you!

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.

Trick With a Treat: Chili Chocolate Pretzel Sticks

By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director

Chili Chocolate Pretzel SticksHalloween is here! Let the parading of the costumes begin, right? If you’re anything like me, you kinda wish you were still young enough to run around the neighborhood and get free candy once a year.  Well, surprise the adults that show up to your door with these fun homemade treats. They’re a fun spin on the traditional chocolate covered pretzels most people love.  But, there’s a little trick to these treats, the chocolate is infused with just a touch of chili! (Herb, spice and tea-infused chocolate is a trend we’re starting to see more of online and in specialty food lines. If you don’t like chilies, experiment with things like cardamom, lavender or chia tea.) Enjoy!

5 Simple Ingredients + 1 Optional Ingredient

5 Simple Ingredients + 1 Optional Ingredient

Ingredients

1 bag of salted pretzel sticks
12 oz of dark chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
Holiday Sprinkles (optional)
 
Step 1: Combine chocolate chips and spices in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% power for one to one-and-a-half minutes.  Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted.
 
Step 2: Pour melted chocolate into a cup and dip each pretzel in the chocolate.
 
A simple little tip: put the melted chocolate in a glass. It makes dipping the pretzels so much easier.

A simple little tip: put the melted chocolate in a glass. It makes dipping the pretzels so much easier.

Step 3: Lay the chocolate-covered pretzels on wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with holiday-appropriate sprinkles.

 
Step 4: Allow the chocolate to set for 30 minutes to one hour or place in the refrigerator for faster setting time.
 
Recipe Source: Adapted from Aztec Chocolate Bark recipe found here

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.

Homemade Organic Apple Cider

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As the weather begins to cool and there is a nip in the crisp autumn air, this homemade spiced Apple Cider will make you reminiscent of pumpkin picking and hay rides when you were a child.

To Begin you’ll need:

6 organic Granny Smith apples, 6 organic Red Delicious Apples, 1 organic orange, 1 cup brown sugar

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1 whole nutmeg, 4 whole cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp cloves, stock pot, strainer, potato masher and cheesecloth.

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Step 1: Wash you fruit and cut it into quarters

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Step 2: Add all your fruit to the pot with the sugar.

Step 3: Prepare your spice bouquet: lay out the cheesecloth and add the cloves, cinnamon and diced nutmeg. Wrap up tightly and place in the pot.

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Step 4: Cover everything with water and bring to a boil, covered for 1 hour. After 1 hour, mash your fruit, reduce your heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.

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Step 5: Allow the cider to cool, remove your spice bouquet and using your strainer and cheesecloth, ladle your cider into a bowl.

You can serve your cider hot or cold, but I prefer mine hot with a cinnamon stick! I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe on how to make homemade Apple Cider and perhaps now you can start your own family tradition!