If you know me in real life, you probably know that I LOVE to cook. There is something very satisfying for me to know that I have helped meet one of the most basic needs of my loved ones AND have made it a pleasurable experience to boot. I find cooking to be relaxing and therapeutic; in fact, my hubby and kids know that when I utter the phrase "I don't feel like cooking," there MUST be something wrong with me.
As I've turned my attention to my health, fitness, and diet, I'm learning to examine my recipes more fully. I've learned to make smart replacements and incorporate new ingredients in order to expand my culinary repertoire. One of my discoveries has been Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and their line of high quality pure flavors. They are great for adding sophisticated flavor and pizzazz to any dish.
About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.
Try these tips from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for adding elegance and garden tastes to your dishes,whether you're entertaining guests or trying to impress your family with your mid week dinner presentation:
• Create a cocktail favorite with a unique garden twist like Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Sangria, which features Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract and Rose Water - infusing the drink with light floral flavors.
• Use fresh cut flowers or bunches of herbs tied with a simple ribbon for centerpieces with natural garden fragrance.
• Enhance ripe tomato flavors in a savory appetizer like Nielsen-Massey’s Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes with Pure Lemon Extract.
• Float votive candles in water to add light. Add flower petals and a drop of Nielsen-Massey Rose Water to the water for an authentic garden aroma.
• Intensify summer flavors by mixing Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water with fruit-flavored yogurt as a light citrus topping for a dessert of freshly picked fruit.
Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Sangria Serves 4-6
1 apple, peeled and quartered
10 whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced rounds
1 lime, thinly sliced rounds
1 orange, thinly sliced rounds
⅓ cup Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar
½ cup brandy, chilled
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine, chilled
1 ½ cups pulp free orange juice, chilled
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Rose Water
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Stud apple by pushing the clove stems into the prepared apple quarters. In a large glass pitcher, place the clove-studded apple quarters with the citrus fruit slices. Sprinkle Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar over the fruit, pour brandy over the sugared fruit and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours to infuse the flavors. Before serving, remove the clove-studded apple and discard, crush the infused citrus fruits slightly with a wooden spoon. Stir in the wine, orange juice, Nielsen-Massey Rose Water and Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint.
Note: Add additional Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, orange juice or soda
water for taste variation. Use a garden staple like freshly picked tomatoes for a delicious appetizer, like this Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes recipe, which complements the hint of lemon and vanilla in the Rose Sangria. The Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon extract in the dish adds a hint of summer citrus and brightens the flavor of the tomatoes.
Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes
2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
2 pints cherry tomatoes (approximately 48)
Combine the wine and shallots in a small bowl. Let stand.
Combine the cream cheese, garlic, lemon extract, white pepper, cayenne pepper and shallot mixture in a mixing bowl. Beat until well blended using an electric mixer. Fold in the bleu cheese with a wooden spoon. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator.
Rinse the cherry tomatoes. Remove the tops by slicing a small amount off each tomato. Scoop out the seeds with a small measuring spoon. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each tomato so it will stand upright when plated. Fill each tomato with ½ tablespoon of the chilled Lemon-Bleu Stuffing using a pastry bag or spoon.
Note: Use the Lemon-Bleu stuffing as a gourmet appetizer. Spread it on toasted slices of a French baguette then top with small cooked shrimp.
Makes 24 Tablespoons of Stuffing for 48 Tomatoes
French Almond Macaroons
For the macaroons:
10 ounces confectioner’s sugar
10 ounces finely ground almonds
5 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated or superfine baker’s sugar
Red and yellow food coloring (any spring time color can be used)
For the filling:
9 ounces unsalted butter, softened
5 ounces confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water
1/2 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Rose Water
1. For macaroons: Using a fine sieve, sift confectioners' sugar and finely ground almonds, pushing through with a wooden spoon.
2. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until dissolved. Stir meringue mixture into almond mixture (mixture will be stiff), then halve. Tint one half pink, the other half orange.
3. Spoon 1 mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe walnut sized rounds onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, then repeat with other mixture. Set meringues aside, uncovered, on baking sheets for 1 hour (this will help minimize cracking).
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C and bake macaroons, 2 baking sheets at a time, swapping sheets halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets. Slide a knife under each macaroon to release from paper, then store in an airtight container until ready to fill.
5. For filling: Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until combined. Transfer half the mixture from the bowl to another bowl and add orange zest and orange blossom water. Stir to combine. Add raspberries and rose water to remaining mixture in mixing bowl and, using the electric mixer, beat until well combined. Sandwich pink macaroons with raspberry filling and orange macaroons with orange filling.
Makes 50 sandwiched macaroons.
Tip: To create a perfectly smooth top on your macaroons, dip a finger into a bowl of water and gently smooth out any peak
Duck Breast with Tahitian Pomegranate Chutney
Tahitian Pomegranate Chutney
1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tart apple, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 bosc pear, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
4 duck breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the chutney, combine the juice, sugar, vanilla extract and vinegar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Add the apple, pear, walnuts and raisins. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the fruit is tender, stirring frequently.
For the duck, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Score the skin of each duck breast at a 45-degree angle approximately four times. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place the duck breasts skin side down in the pan. Sear for 4 minutes. Turn and sear for an additional 2 minutes.
Place a wire rack in a 9 x 13 inch roasting pan and coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place the duck on the rack. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or to the designed degree of doneness. Plate with the Tahitian Pomegranate Chutney and wild rice.
Lemon and Rosemary Risotto
4 cups (or more) organic chicken stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Heat the chicken stock in a large microwave-safe measuring cup for 4 minutes on High. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the rice and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 4 cups of the stock a little at a time, stirring constantly and cooking until the stock is absorbed for each addition. This will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes. The risotto will be creamy and yield to a gently bite when done.
Stir in the parsley, rosemary, lemon extract, Parmesan cheese and enough of the remaining stock to maintain a creamy consistency.
So there you have it! The makings of a delicious meal from start to finish-cocktails, appetizers, a main dish, side dish, and even dessert! Add your favorite vegetables or a salad to balance the whole thing out and you're sure to please anyone's palate and appetite. Will you be trying out any of these delightful recipes using Nielsen-Massey Vanilla's Pure Flavors? What's your favorite dish to prepare for company? What's your favorite dish to eat? My inquiring mind wants to know! Leave a comment below and let me know. Until next time...
PS-Products were sent for consideration by the company of PR. I was not paid for this post. All opinions stated are 100% honest and my own. The recipes listed are not of my own creation, but were supplied to me my a representative of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas :)