Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices


Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels,) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

http://truthfeed.com/owner-of-penzeys-spice-co-trashes-trump-supporters-calling-them-racist-and-saying-they-must-be-punished/39315/

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/11/21/penzeys-ceo-comments-ignite-backlash-praise-and.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/23/bill-penzey-ceo-trump-voters-just-committed-the-bi/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bill-penzey-spices-trump/

http://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/penzeys-spices-condemns-trump-attracts-rage/

https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/?fref=ts

 

You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
https://twitter.com/SheriffClarke/status/800088603422380033
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com

#boycottpenzeys

 

In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

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Tuscan Chicken with Classic Alfredo Sauce


A variation of two classic, time-tested Italian recipes – the chicken should be seared on the grill over real wood charcoal – anything else is setting yourself up for an inferior presentation.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:

FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE:
2-4 large skinless chicken breasts
5 garlic cloves – minced
1/4 cup XV olive oil
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs. premium Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. fresh-minced garden oregano
2 tbs. fresh-minced garden basil
Crushed black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste

FOR THE ALFREDO SAUCE:
3 tbs. XV olive oil
3 large cloves peeled garlic – minced
1 stick salted butter
1 cup shredded hard Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper to taste
DO NOT add salt until you taste after simmering

12-16 oz. Penne pasta, cooked al dente

 

Directions:

Six hours before serving time, pound the chicken breasts flat on both sides using a meat mallet – this will ensure even cooking on the grill. Season each side of the breast lightly with Kosher salt.

Place in a locked storage bowl or a Zip-lock bag with the marinade ingredients, prepared as follows:
Mince five garlic cloves and whisk with 1/4 cup XV olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, the Balsamic vinegar, minced fresh oregano, basil and crushed black pepper.

Chill until an hour before you are ready to grill – rotate the chicken occasionally in the marinade.

Prepare a heavy stock pot with enough water to boil the pasta. Heat on medium-high with a dash of salt.

Prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with enough wood charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When white-hot, level the coals and place the chicken breasts directly on the center of the grill grate.

Char and turn after four minutes. Turn again and check for doneness when the juices run clear. The breast should be firm with an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove from heat and let rest in a heavy covered dish.

While the breasts are grilling, heat a heavy, cast-iron pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and minced garlic. Saute for four minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to scorch the garlic.  Add the butter. Stir until melted. Increase heat slightly and slowly add the cream, grated Parmesan and white pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and stir constantly until thickened, about six to ten minutes. Shut off the heat and cover.

While the breasts are grilling, bring the pasta water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta, calculating the finished serving time, and cook according to box directions, stirring occasionally – about six to nine minutes, until al dente. Drain and keep covered.

When the alfredo sauce is done, add to the drained pasta. Mix lightly. Slice the chicken breasts and serve on top of the pasta/sauce.

Serve with a garden spinach salad and Italian bread.

Serves 2-4

Pasta Puttanesca with Pan-Fried Chicken Breast


This is a recipe reputedly served by ladies of Italian bordellos. They would place a large bowl in the window of their room, tempting hungry patrons to pay a visit.  I fell in love with it (um — instead at a local restaurant…) because of the contrasting salty/briny flavor imparted by the signature minced anchovies and green olives.

It is fantastic paired with pan-fried or grilled chicken breast – sliced and then gently tossed in with the sauce and pasta.  It’s only a bit of extra work.

Serve with a side of thinly sliced Italian or French bread, good quality XV olive oil and a green salad.

Ingredients:
2-3 tbs. XV olive oil
1 pound pasta – spaghetti or angel hair – cooked al dente according to package directions
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 tin King Oscar whole anchovies – removed from brine and finely minced
6 large cloves garlic – peeled and minced
20-30 brined green and/or Kalamata olives, removed from pits and roughly chopped
3 tbs. capers, drained
5 Crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion – thinly sliced
1/2 cup rinsed and trimmed flat-leaf parsley – finely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 28-oz. can whole or crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
Dash of red cayenne pepper flakes, to taste
Dash of kosher salt, to taste
Dash of red wine
Freshly shredded hard Parmesan cheese

For the Marinade~
3 large cloves garlic – peeled and minced
Bottled Italian salad dressing; about 3/4 cup

 

Directions:

Marinate the chicken breasts at least 3-6 hours prior to cooking in a ziplock bag, coated in Italian salad dressing and three minced garlic cloves. Rotate occasionally.

Remove the breasts and transfer to a dinner plate. Sprinkle each breast generously on both sides with shredded hard Parmesan cheese. Allow to warm to room temperature.

Prepare the remaining 6 cloves of minced garlic, the anchovies, onion, Crimini mushroom, flat-leaf parsley, olives, oregano and capers. Set aside.

Coat a cast-iron Panini pan with cooking spray and preheat until medium hot. While the pan is heating, place the tomatoes in a heavy cooking pot and heat until just simmering, stirring occasionally.

In a large cast-iron flat bottom skillet, heat 2-3 tbs. of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, mushrooms, onion, olives, oregano and capers. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan. Transfer contents to the sauce pot with the tomato sauce. Season with red pepper, kosher salt to taste. Stir.

While cooking the above ingredients, place the chicken breasts in the Panini pan and cook about three minutes per side until golden with some char marks. Remove, set aside for five minutes and then slice in 1/2″ strips. Don’t fret if the chicken isn’t cooked all of the way through – you will simmer it with the sauce.

Prepare the pasta and cook al dente. Do not overcook. Drain and keep warm.

After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, add the chicken and cook until heated through. Add the flat-leaf parsley.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss until just mixed through. Serve immediately garnished with grated hard Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Grilled Italian Sausage with Marinara Sauce over Penne Pasta


Grilled Italian sausage with marinara sauce over penne pasta

Who’s up for making a made-from-scratch marinara sauce with fresh summer garden herbs?  Sounds like a lot of work?  It’s easier than you think.
This is a classic spicy red sauce prepared in the old world Italian tradition. We’ll serve it with grilled Italian sausage and Crimini mushrooms over a bed of penne pasta.

The sausage takes center stage — made locally in Johnsonville, a town in Eastern Wisconsin (their brats are legendary!)  Many large retail grocers will carry it.

My family loves this recipe. I’m trusting yours will too.

For another version of homemade marinara using garden tomatoes, click here.


Ingredients:

1 package Johnsonville® mild Italian sausage (5 links)
2 28-oz. cans Red Gold® tomatoes (one crushed and one diced)
4 large cloves fresh garlic; peeled and minced
6 large Crimini mushrooms; washed, stemmed and sliced
1 small onion; peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4″ strips
1/2 cup fresh Italian oregano leaves; minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves; minced
1 green bell pepper; cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper; cored and sliced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. beef boullion granules
Sea salt, to taste
Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions (about 11-12 minutes)
XV olive oil
Grated fresh hard Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat an outdoor charcoal grill with enough coals for a medium-hot fire. Mound the briquettes and fire until white hot; about twenty minutes. Cook the sausage links covered over indirect heat with the top vent partially choked down.
Turn every 5 minutes until firm and evenly browned. Remove and set aside.

In a 3-quart heavy enameled cast-iron sauce pot, heat 1/4 cup XV olive oil until shimmering, then add the minced garlic. Stir constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for three minutes. Add the sliced Crimini mushrooms and cook for an additional three minutes, then add the sliced onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the two cans of tomatoes, the oregano and basil and stir. Add the sugar, red pepper flakes and beef boullion. Simmer on low, partially covered, stirring occasionally for at least two hours. You cannot rush a good marinara sauce! After the first hour, add the sliced red and green bell pepper. Cut the Italian sausage at a bias in 1/2″ chunks and add to the pot. The sauce can be left to simmer for at least six hours with great results. Just make sure to keep the heat at an absolute minimum.

Boil 3 quarts of water in a separate stock pot. Add 1 tsp. of sea salt. Cook the penne pasta until just al dente. Drain well and serve with the sauce, topped with shredded hard Parmesan cheese.

Serves six comfortably
Total cooking/prep time: 4-6 hours

fresh garden basil blossoms

Fresh basil with flowering blossoms

 

Classic Italian Meatballs


This is my version of a classic Italian meatball recipe. The key is to use equal parts of ground beef and pork sausage, which imparts a really great, rich flavor.
If you have a fresh herb garden with the ingredients shown below, you’re in luck. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with using storebought “fresh” or dry spices.

Use the cayenne pepper to make them as spicy as you like, and combine with your choice of pasta sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground chuck
1 pound mild ground Italian Sausage
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 stick salted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

6 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/4 cup loose, fresh oregano leaves, minced
Handful of fresh celery leaves, minced
1/4 cup loose, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tbs. beef base powder
2 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 tsp. salt, to taste
2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper flakes to taste

 

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef and Italian sausage. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold together using your hands until mixed well.

Working in batches, form into 1″ to 1.5″ diameter meatballs and fry in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until nicely browned. Remove and transfer the meatballs to a heavy, covered stock pot, kept warm in the oven at 180-F.

Prepare your choice of red sauce and add the meatballs during the last two hours of cooking.
Stir occasionally using care so you don’t break them.

Makes about 30 meatballs.

Mike’s Greek Pasta Salad


Mike's Greek Pasta Salad | Culinary Compost RecipesHere’s a great pasta salad that can be prepared in very little time. For this recipe, I cheated on the dressing; using a storebought vinaigrette instead of making it from scratch.

Over the years through experimentation, I’ve learned two secrets: First, adding just a bit of finely-grated hard parmesan to the dressing results in a richer base – it sets up better when chilled, and adds a depth of flavor and texture that’s lacking without it. Secondly, the brine from the Greek Kalamata olives adds a bit of “zing” that cannot be duplicated by just using salt. You’ll miss it if you don’t include it.

Exact proportions of the main ingredients can be adjusted to your preference — Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

12oz. bowtie pasta, cooked al dente in salted water
Fresh, small grape tomatoes – about 1.5 cups
1/2 pound pitted Greek Kalamata olives – with 3 tbs. brine reserved
1 diced sweet red bell pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced in fine rings and then quartered
7 brined pepperoncini peppers, or to taste
1/2 cup finely-grated hard Parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cup Kraft® Greek vinaigrette dressing, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 tbs. minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
Kosher or Lawrey’s® seasoned salt, to taste
Dash of garlic powder, to taste
Fresh garden oregano and basil, minced, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

Boil the bowtie pasta in salted water (al dente) according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Ensure that it is drained thoroughly and then place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the Kalamata olives to the pasta and reserve 3 tbs. of the brine. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and red onion. Add the dry spices, Italian parsley, oregano and basil slowly while folding the contents to ensure even distribution. Next add the brine, fine-grated hard Parmesan and the dressing. Mix gently.

Add the pepperoncinis and fold gently to incorporate, taste and correct the seasoning if needed. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

Chill for at least three hours before serving, so the flavors have time to set up.

Serves 6-8

Buttered Fettuccini Noodles with Parmesan Cheese


This is a super-simple side dish that my family really enjoys. You can make the pasta as shown, or dress it up with steamed spinach or sauteed vegetables, parsley, red pepper flakes and garlic.

It is also a fantastic compliment to a variety of main course Italian favorites like grilled swordfish or broiled shrimp.

Ingredients:

1 pound fettuccini noodles
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shredded hard parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil the noodles al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and add back to the pot. Melt the butter and add to the noodles. Add the sour cream, salt and pepper. Cover to heat through and stir lightly to incorporate. Add the cheese and stir one last time. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6