About Elaine Broughton

As a child I grew up eating a traditional American diet that was heavy on meat and potatoes(mostly fried). After three heart attacks I became acutely aware of the need to actively use my diet to heal the damage done to my body, which means eating a healthy, mostly plant based diet. I’ve always loved to cook and to garden, so I approached this change as a kind of culinary adventure in learning new ways to prepare foods that I was already familiar with, as well as trying new and different fruits and vegetables. As I used more and more fresh produce in season, I discovered that foods not only tasted better, but my grocery budget slimmed down along with my waistline. In addition, I noticed that the character of my kitchen changes with the seasons as I try to enjoy the foods that are freshest and most affordable. I’ve included traditional recipes (using meat, dairy and eggs) along with the vegetarian recipes. Hopefully, this will appeal to others hoping to bring a healthier way of eating to their family table. Please let me know what you think of the recipes and feel free to share your own versions of how to use the main ingredients.

Elaine…in the Kitchen.

Elderberry Syrup

Cold and flu season has arrived and one way to fortify your immune system is elderberry syrup. Elderberry (sambucus nigra) is one of the oldest remedies known to man. And the great thing is that it works. You can find numerous research studies on the effectiveness of elderberry in treating colds and flu. Let’s hear it for old wives. They knew what they were talking about.

Making elderberry syrup is very easy. I order dried elderberries online because I’m not a knowledgeable forager, and better safe than sorry. 

Here is my recipe for making elderberry syrup.

  • 2/3 cup dried black elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons dried or fresh ginger root
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves (2-3 whole)
  • 1 cup raw honey

In a saucepan, combine water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half (about 45 minutes). I like to use the crockpot. When the liquid has reduced, allow it to cool to lukewarm. Carefully mash the berries and pour the liquid into a glass container, then discard the berries. They have done their work.

Add the raw honey (you could also use sugar, or maple syrup) and stir to dissolve. Store in the refrigerator.

The standard dose is 1/2 teaspoon for children, or 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon for adults daily. If you do get sick, take the the standard dose 2-3 times daily. Elderberry syrup can shorten the duration of your illness by up to four days or more, and is useful in reducing mucus, cough, sore throat and more.

As with any medication, don’t exceed the recommended dosage especially with children. However, it does taste a lot better than cough medicine, and it’s great on pancakes.

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Balsamic and Pomegranate Reductions

It’s been some time since I posted. For those of you who have so patiently visited, thank you. During the summer I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, it was small and only required surgery, but it took a little while to recover (typing was difficult). However, now I’m back and feeling great.

Sometimes the thing that elevates a dish is the sauce or dressing. I love using balsamic reduction on everything from salads to roasted vegetables, but face it, the stuff is very expensive to buy so I thought I would try making it myself. As it turns out, it’s really easy. I’m going to start with balsamic reduction first, and then move on to my next favorite and even more expensive pomegranate reduction.

Balsamic Reduction

All you really need is a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Some people add sugar, but I think the balsamic vinegar is sweet enough by itself.

and a pan.     

 

 

Pour 2 cups of balsamic vinegar into the pan. Bring it to a boil, and reduce the temperature to a low simmer.  Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Don’t let it burn or scorch. Continue to simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by about half. The result should be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

 

The reduction will continue to thicken as it cools. Pour into a glass jar, and store in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat it with a spoon. It’s wonderful on salad, vegetables like asparagus, roasted beets and, of course, strawberries.

Now that we’ve got that cooling in the fridge, let’s try another and slightly more exotic reduction. You may have run across recipes that include “pomegranate molasses.” It’s the same thing.

Pomegranate Reduction

Don’t bother squeezing your own pomegranates. I’ve done it and believe me it’s a real pain in the neck. A bottle of pomegranate juice from the supermarket will work just fine.

In a sauce pan, add 4 cups of pomegranate juice and, 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar), and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You can add your favorite spices if desired.

Heat the juice and sugar over a medium heat to boiling. Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat and simmer until it is reduced to 1 3/4 cup (50-60 minutes). Allow to cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

Pomegranate molasses is used in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.  It’s also great on ice cream.

Be sure to label the jar because it looks a lot like balsamic reduction.

I’ll be back next week with another post. Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Mushroom Risotto

Life has been really hectic lately. I’m working on a second Pantry Magic cookbook, expanding my line of fruit and vegetable powders on Etsy, and it feels like forever since I’ve posted anything. But honestly, I’m having one of those days when I just want something simple and warm and nourishing. Creamy mushroom risotto is the perfect answer. I know, you’re thinking that’s too much work, all that stirring. But there’s nothing complicated about risotto, and as a matter of fact, I find the stirring kind of soothing. Besides, it doesn’t really take that long, so let’s get started.

Here is what we’ll need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice (you could also use a short grain brown rice)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, any kind, sliced and quartered, plus 1 tablespoon of my Gourmet Mushroom Powder (you can find it for sale at ElaineintheKitchen on Etsy)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 have onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour the rice into a heavy bottom sauce pan with no oil or water.

Let the rice toast lightly, stirring to keep it from burning. When the rice becomes slightly fragrant, pour in the wine.  Let the wine cook down and then add 1 cup of vegetable broth.

Let the rice simmer on a medium low heat, stirring frequently. When the broth has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Continue slowly adding the broth until it has been absorbed.

In the meantime, in a preheated sauce pan, add the onions and garlic along with two tablespoons of broth.

Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Sauté,stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked (10-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and cover.

When the rice is cooked and has absorbed most of the broth, add in the mushrooms and onions, along with the parsley. Stir to blend completely.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Cover, and let rest.

 

Served with a simple side dish of steamed carrots, tossed with maple syrup and dill.

A Plate of Creamy Goodness

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Elaine in the Kitchen has Lots of News!

Sometimes you have to celebrate your own accomplishments, so I’m proud to announce that my book,Pantry Magic – Making and Using Fruit and Vegetable Powders is now available in paperback on Amazon and I hope to have the Kindle edition up soon. (See the Amazon Icon on the sidebar).I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that all of you will check it out and, of course, buy a copy. (How’s that for blatant self promotion)!  Seriously, I’d love to get your feedback.

But there’s more. Last summer I opened an online store at Etsy.com, and I’m happy to say that I’m getting lots of interest in my Fruit and Vegetable Powders. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElaineintheKitchen?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Sales have been particularly good since the Holidays and I’m looking forward to adding some new items: Meyer Lemon Zest, Roasted Red Bell Pepper, and Sweet Orange Zest.

I’m sure some of you have noticed that I’ve been doing some rehab work on Elaine in the Kitchen’s Facebook page as well as the website.  I’ve also got some great recipe ideas for future posts and I should have a new one starting next week.  Thanks to all of you who have been checking in on Elaine in the Kitchen in the meantime.

Whew!  I think I’ll have some tea and lemon cookies.