Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Power balls (sometimes called energy balls, energy bites, or bliss balls) are a super tasty, portable, and convenient on-the-go snack. They are great for the lunch bags and they are the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.

Made with a blend of carefully selected ingredients, these tasty Prune and Pistachio Power Balls provide a great energy boost, particularly during the mid-afternoon slump when energy typically starts to wane for many.

Apart from the usual pantry staples, I bought all of the ingredients for the balls at my local bulk food store.  It’s an ideal store for recipes like this one that call for small amounts of ingredients, such as green tea matcha powder, that some people might not have in their cupboards.

Green Tea Matcha Powder
Green Tea Matcha Powder

It saves money, too, since you only need to buy what the specific recipe calls for and, in some cases, the ingredients might not be ones the home cook would use up if an entire package or bottle had to be purchased.

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

These power balls freeze well and are great to have in the freezer for on-the-go snacks.  Check out my posting for Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Bites for an explanation of the four main sets of ingredients typically found in these types of balls.    In that posting, you will also find my tips for making energy balls.

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

[Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Ingredients:

6 oz dried prunes, coarsely chopped (apx 1 cup chopped)
½ cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
1/3 cup sunflower butter
½ cup pistachios, shelled and finely ground (apx. 4 oz unshelled)
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp chocolate whey protein powder
1½ tsp green tea matcha powder
pinch fine sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup puffed quinoa cereal
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Additional finely chopped pistachios for rolling balls (optional)

Method:

Pulse prunes in food processor until they become paste-like or clump into a ball. Add the rolled oats, sunflower butter, pistachios, ground chia seeds, cocoa, chocolate whey protein powder, green tea matcha powder, salt, maple syrup coconut oil, and vanilla. Pulse mixture until ingredients are completely blended.

Add the puffed quinoa cereal and coconut and pulse just until combined. If mixture seems too dry, two to three teaspoons of water may be blended into ingredients. Place mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.

Roll mixture by hand into bite-sized balls. For frame of reference, each ball should weigh approximately 27 grams. Roll balls in finely chopped pistachio nuts, if desired. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store balls, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator or freeze up to three months for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 18 balls

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(and you can pin any of the Pinterest-ready photos below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

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Energy Balls

 

 

For other energy ball recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

No-bake Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls
Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Bites

Printable Recipe:

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls make a convenient on-the-go portable snack. These little balls of power are also the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.
Course Snack
Keyword energy balls, energy bites, power balls
Servings 18
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 6 oz dried prunes, coarsely chopped (apx 1 cup chopped)
  • ½ cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower butter
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled and finely ground (apx. 4 oz unshelled)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp chocolate whey protein powder
  • tsp green tea matcha powder
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup puffed quinoa cereal
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Additional finely chopped pistachios for rolling balls (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pulse prunes in food processor until they become paste-like or clump into a ball. Add the rolled oats, sunflower butter, pistachios, ground chia seeds, cocoa, chocolate whey protein powder, green tea matcha powder, salt, maple syrup coconut oil, and vanilla. Pulse mixture until ingredients are completely blended.
  2. Add the puffed quinoa cereal and coconut and pulse just until combined. If mixture seems too dry, two to three teaspoons of water may be blended into ingredients. Place mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.
  3. Roll mixture by hand into bite-sized balls. For frame of reference, each ball should weigh approximately 27 grams. Roll balls in finely chopped pistachio nuts, if desired. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store balls, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator or freeze up to three months for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 18 balls

Fresh Peach Salsa Recipe

Colander of Fresh Peaches
Peaches

I like to use fresh produce when it is in season. It has so much more flavor than buying the same product when it is out of season. There are certain dishes that super fresh produce is essential and Fresh Peach Salsa is one of them. Versatile, this salsa can, of course, be used as a dip for tortilla chips and it can also be used as a topping for cooked fish, pork chops, or chicken breasts and for a number of other uses as well.

Fresh Peach Salsa
Peach Salsa

There are two types of salsa – Fresh and processed (bottled). Fresh salsa is meant to be used shortly after it has been mixed up. Ingredients in a fresh salsa are raw and the juices that emanate from the fruit and vegetables will be water thin. The ingredients will have vibrant flavor and the vegetables and fruits will hold their shape and be crisp, never soggy or dull. This is in contrast to a processed salsa where the ingredients will be cooked and the salsa will have a thicker consistency, almost sauce-like in texture. A cooked salsa will have a longer shelf life than the fresh salsa.

This colorful fresh Peach Salsa is super showy and very tasty.

Small glass filled with fresh peach salsa
Fresh Peach Salsa

The great thing about the salsa is that the seasonings can be adjusted according to one’s personal taste. For my recipe, I have purposely gone gentle on the amount of Jalapeño pepper used as well as the garlic and ginger. My recommendation is, as always, to initially make the recipe the way the recipe developer has intended. Then, taste the salsa and, if it does not have sufficient “heat” for your taste, add a bit more seasoning – but just add a bit at a time, tasting as you go. As the old saying goes, you can always add more seasoning but, once it’s in the dish, you can’t remove it.

Bowl of Fresh Peach Salsa
Peach Salsa

Peaches

Use ripe but still firm fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped into ¼” pieces. If the peaches are too ripe, they’ll break down too much in the salsa and add too much liquid. You want the peaches to hold their shape.

Peaches
Peaches

Tomato

Use plum tomatoes (aka the Roma variety) for this salsa. Plum tomatoes are a firm variety with fewer seeds and less juice than most other varieties. Plum tomatoes will hold their shape when diced and won’t add unnecessary juice to the salsa. There will still be some seeds in plum tomatoes so be sure to remove them and the juicy sac that surrounds the seeds then cut the tomato into ¼” pieces. Fresh Peach Salsa is meant to be a clean salsa, free of seeds.

Plum Tomatoes
Fresh Plum Tomatoes

Peppers

Adding a bit of sweet red pepper to Peach Salsa adds color and flavor. Of course, there has to be some Jalapeño pepper added, too. This is a hot chile pepper so, unless you like really hot and spicy food, I recommend the “less is more” practice. I add between 1½ – 2 teaspoons of very finely chopped Jalapeño pepper to this salsa. This, of course, can be varied with more or less according to personal taste preference.

Onion

Red or green onion may be used in the Peach Salsa. The red onion will add a more pungent flavor than will the more subtle green onion. I also think its burgundy/eggplant color adds an interesting hue to the salsa. With fresh salsa, color, vibrancy, and texture are key.

Cilantro

Fresh cilantro is a must for this salsa. I generally use between ¼ and 1/3 cup of the chopped herb. More, or less, may be used according to taste.

Cilantro Leaf
Fresh Cilantro

I grow Cilantro in my backyard chef’s garden every year. It’s a great addition to salads and fresh salsa. Cilantro will resemble flat-leaf parsley in appearance but it has a distinctively different flavor. Cilantro’s unique taste is often described as having a citrus undertone. It will add a burst of flavor and is a common ingredient in salsa.

Garden-fresh Cilantro
Cilantro

Lime Juice

Always use freshly squeezed lime juice in a fresh salsa – it’s just so much fresher and better tasting than the commercially bottled version.

The lime juice performs double duty in the Peach Salsa. First, the acid in the juice helps to keep the peaches from turning brown quickly. Second, it gives wonderful citrus flavor to this fresh salsa.

Seasonings

Some garlic salt and ground ginger are sufficient to season this salsa since the primary ingredients take care of generating the flavor. Adding ½ teaspoon of sugar adds just a touch of sweetness to balance the Jalapeño pepper and lime juice.

Add some fresh chopped parsley for additional color and subtle flavoring.

Making the Salsa

Easy-peasy describes the method for making fresh Peach Salsa. Once all the ingredients are chopped they, and the seasonings, are simply mixed together in a bowl. Letting the salsa sit for about 15 minutes or so at room temperature allows the flavors to “mix and mingle” and deepen their relationship 🙂 Refrigerate the salsa, covered, for about 15 minutes to chill slightly before serving.

Ways to Enjoy Fresh Peach Salsa

The traditional way to serve this salsa is to simply surround the bowl of salsa with tortilla chips for dipping.

A work-around for those concerned about the sanitation of guests “double dipping” (and there is always at least one who dips the tortilla chip more than once into the salsa) at a gathering is to serve the salsa in individual serving dishes like the small glass ones in the photo below. Guests simply pick up a personal-sized dish of salsa and double-dip the tortilla chips into the salsa to their heart’s content.

This fresh Peach Salsa is also a lovely addition spooned over cooked fish, pork chops or, as I have done here,  oven-roasted chicken breasts served on a bed of rice.

Peach Salsa tops roasted chicken breast served on a bed of steamed rice
Peach Salsa on Chicken Breast

The colorful salsa dresses up, or completes, a plain piece of meat, fish, or poultry and adds a burst of flavor and texture along with eye appeal.

Fresh Peach Salsa tops Roasted Chicken Breast served on a bed of rice
Peach Salsa tops Roasted Chicken Breast

This mild salsa can also be spread over tortilla chips, topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, and placed in the oven at 400°F just until the cheese is melted. A perfectly delightful treat served hot with a dob of sour cream.

Peach Salsa on Tortilla Chips
Fresh Peach Salsa on Tortilla Chips

Some other ways you might use this salsa:
• Topping for tacos
• Spooned over scrambled eggs or an omelette
• Added as a condiment on burgers
• Added to a grilled cheese sandwich
• Mixed with sour cream as a topping for baked potatoes
• Stirred into tuna or chicken salad
• Served over rice as a side dish
• Mixed with sour cream and use as a chip dip
• Mixed with cold cooked quinoa for a side dish to meat, fish, or poultry

Small individual glasses filled with Fresh Peach Salsa
Fresh Peach Salsa

You will find a multitude of uses for this versatile, colorful, and flavorful Peach Salsa.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Fresh Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced small
1 medium-sized plum tomato, cored and seeds removed, diced
1/3 cup sweet red pepper, diced
2½ tbsp red onion, diced small (or green onion sliced thin)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 – 2 tsp Jalapeño pepper, stem and ribs removed, seeded, and minced)
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Fine sea salt, to taste

Tortilla chips for serving (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for apx. 15 minutes before serving.

Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or spoon over fish, chicken, or pork.

Yield: Apx. 2½ – 3 cups Salsa (depending on size of peaches and tomato)

Printable Recipe

Fresh Peach Salsa

This easy-to-make Fresh Peach Salsa is the perfect summer condiment to serve with tortilla chips or as a topping to cooked chicken, pork, or fish.
Course Condiment
Keyword peach salsa, peaches, salsa
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced small
  • 1 medium-sized plum tomato, cored and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/3 cup sweet red pepper, diced
  • tbsp red onion, diced small (or green onion sliced thin)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp Jalapeño pepper, stem and ribs removed, seeded, and minced
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Tortilla chips for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for apx. 15 minutes before serving.
  2. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or spoon over fish, chicken, or pork.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2½ - 3 cups Salsa (depending on size of peaches and tomato)

 

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Summer Salsa

Sweet Marie Bars Recipe

Plate of Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

Everybody loves an easy square or bar to make that does not require careful watching as it bakes in the oven and that does not have to be frosted.  Sweet Marie Bars fit nicely in that category.  Taking only a few very basic ingredients, the result is one delectable treat that often finds its way on to sweet trays, particularly at Christmas.

Sweet Marie Bars have made their way into my picnic basket on more than one occasion since they are more like candy, in my opinion, than what we traditionally think of as squares or cookie bars.

This bar recipe has been around for a long time and is known by names other than Sweet Marie Bars.  The core ingredients do not tend to change though the quantities may and, sometimes, the bars are iced with traditional frosting.  I have seen them called Peanut Krispie Bars and a variation called Scotheroos that call for some butterscotch chips. There are probably other names for these bars and their variation(s). Regardless what they are called, they are one delectable treat any time of the year!

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

[Printable recipe follows]

Sweet Marie Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups crispy rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
¾ cup salted peanuts

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup golden corn syrup
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp butter

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces or squares
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tsp butter

Method:

Line a 9”x9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray (or grease with butter).

Stir the crispy rice cereal and salted peanuts together in a large heat-proof bowl (e.g., glass or stainless steel). Set aside.

In medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over low heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter. Stir until mixture is blended and heated. Do not boil.

Remove saucepan from heat and pour mixture over the cereal and peanut mixture. Stir to mix. Press mixture into prepared baking pan.

For topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, a few seconds at a time. When chocolate is about half melted, stir in the peanut butter and butter. Continue to microwave in short bursts of seconds until chocolate is melted. Pour the topping over the square in pan and smooth with a knife or small flat metal spatula. Let cool completely to room temperature before lifting square from pan and cutting it into squares or bars of desired size. Square may cut out better if cooled square has been placed in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Yield: One (1) 9” pan of squares/bars

Sweet Marie Bars

Easy-to-make no-bake bars that combine peanut butter and crispy rice cereal into a base topped with melted chocolate and peanut butter.
Course Snack
Keyword bars, nobake bars, nobake squares, Sweet Marie Bars
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
  • ¾ cup salted peanuts
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup golden corn syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces or squares
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tsp butter

Instructions

  1. Line a 9”x9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray (or grease with butter).
  2. Stir the crispy rice cereal and salted peanuts together in a large heat-proof bowl (e.g., glass or stainless steel). Set aside.
  3. In medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over low heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter. Stir until mixture is blended and heated. Do not boil.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and pour mixture over the cereal and peanut mixture. Stir to mix. Press mixture into prepared baking pan.
  5. For topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, a few seconds at a time. When chocolate is about half melted, stir in the peanut butter and butter. Continue to microwave in short bursts of seconds until chocolate is melted. Pour the topping over the square in pan and smooth with a knife or small flat metal spatula. Let cool completely to room temperature before lifting square from pan and cutting it into squares or bars of desired size. Square may cut out better if cooled square has been placed in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Yield: One (1) 9” pan of squares/bars

 

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Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

 

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

 

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

Homemade Chive Vinegar Recipe

Chives, a perennial plant related to onions, are one of the season’s earliest gems. I generally cut back part of the patch to keep the chives producing all season long.  But, letting some of the chives reach the flower blossom stage has its perks, too.

Patch of Chives
Chives

As they mature, chives will produce long stems that become somewhat hard and tough. Those stems produce fabulous lavender-hued edible blossoms.  Those are the blossoms that I harvest to make chive vinegar.  It just seems so wasteful not to make good use of them. And, when you see the color of the vinegar, you’ll understand why this is a prized commodity in my pantry.

Chive Patch
Chive Blossoms

Chive vinegar is super easy to make and it will have a subtle onion essence.  All that is required is about 80-100 chive blossoms that are pesticide free and 1½ cups of a good quality colorless, neutral, unflavored vinegar such as white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. No special equipment and no special skillsets are required.

Snip the chive blossoms just below their heads.  I generally leave about a 1” stem on just a few of the blossoms for a little extra flavor.  Swish and wash the blossoms in a bowl of cool water then dry them in a salad spinner.

Chive Blossoms in Salad Spinner
Chive Blossoms

Lay the blossoms, single layer, on a tea towel and let them air dry for about an hour or so. Use a meat pounder mallet to slightly crush the blossoms to hasten the release of their flavor.

Stuff the blossoms into a 2-cup glass jar and add the vinegar.  Use the end of a wooden spoon to reposition the blossoms, if necessary, to make room for all of the vinegar.

Mason Jar Filled with Chive Blossoms and Vinegar
Steeping Chive Blossoms in Vinegar

Do not use a metal lid to cover the jar as it can react with the vinegar.  Instead, use a double layer of plastic wrap to cover the jar and secure the wrap with an elastic band.  Store the jar in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to let the chives infuse the vinegar with flavor and for the vinegar to turn the most stunning shade imaginable.

Every couple of days, give the jar a gentle shake or two to move the vinegar in and around the chive blossoms. The color of the vinegar will develop very quickly but, like its flavor, will deepen the longer you let the chive blossoms steep in the vinegar.

Once the infusion period is up, strain the vinegar from the blossoms.  You can use either a wet cheesecloth lined fine wire mesh sieve or you can line the sieve with a paper coffee filter.  Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper (as shown in the photo below) or a cork. Store away from light.

Bottle of Homemade Chive Vinegar
Homemade Chive Vinegar

Use chive vinegar in any way or recipe you would use any vinegar.

For example, it makes a fantastic vinaigrette, especially for those main meal summer salads.

Plate of Salad with Bottle of Chive Vinegar and Small Jug of Vinaigrette in background
Vinaigrette Made with Homemade Chive Vinegar

A light drizzle of the chive vinegar over a potato salad adds an extra punch of flavor.

Bowl of Potato Salad with Bottle of Chive Vinegar in Background
Homemade Potato Salad Drizzled with Chive Vinegar

The vinegar can also be used in marinades, tossed with roasted veggies or over French fries, or for quick pickling of cucumber or red onion.  This vinegar also makes a lovely host/hostess gift from your kitchen. Just look at the fabulous color of the vinegar and it’s all natural from the chive blossoms. No artificial coloring has been used.

Bottle of Chive Vinegar
Chive Vinegar as a Host or Hostess Gift

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Chive Vinegar

Ingredients:

Apx. 80-100 chive blossoms, including a few buds
1½ cups white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Method:

Snip blossoms from chive plants, just beneath the blossom heads. If desired, leave about 1” stem on a few of the blossoms for extra flavor. Wash blossoms in large bowl of cold water and spin dry in salad spinner. Transfer blossoms to tea towel to air dry for about an hour or so.

Use a meat pounder mallet to lightly crush the blossoms and buds to release their flavor.

Transfer blossoms and buds to a 2-cup glass jar. Fill with vinegar. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push down and redistribute the  blossoms to make room for the vinegar.

Cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Do not use a metal lid which can react with the vinegar. Place the jar in a dark, cool location and let it steep for 2 weeks to allow the flavor and color of the chive vinegar to develop. Over the two weeks, periodically give the bottle a gentle shake or two to redistribute contents.

Strain the steeped vinegar through a wet cheesecloth-lined fine wire mesh sieve (or line the sieve with a paper coffee filter). Discard the old blossoms and buds. Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper or cork.

Yield: Apx. 1 1/3 cups

Did you Know?

You can join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

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Chive Vinegar

Chive-infused vinegar is easy to make and is a wonderful addition to the cook's pantry. Use it just as you would any vinegar. Especially good in vinaigrettes and marinades and tossed with French fries and roasted vegetables.
Course Condiment
Keyword chives, homemade chive vinegar
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • Apx. 80-100 chive blossoms, including a few buds
  • cups white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Instructions

  1. Snip blossoms from chive plants, just beneath the blossom heads. If desired, leave about 1” stem on a few of the blossoms for extra flavor. Wash blossoms in large bowl of cold water and spin dry in salad spinner. Transfer blossoms to tea towel to air dry for about an hour or so.
  2. Use a meat pounder mallet to lightly crush the blossoms and buds to release their flavor.
  3. Transfer blossoms and buds to a 2-cup glass jar. Fill with vinegar. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push down and redistribute the blossoms to make room for the vinegar.
  4. Cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Do not use a metal lid which can react with the vinegar. Place the jar in a dark, cool location and let it steep for 2 weeks to allow the flavor and color of the chive vinegar to develop. Over the two weeks, periodically give the bottle a gentle shake or two to redistribute contents.
  5. Strain the steeped vinegar through a wet cheesecloth-lined fine wire mesh sieve (or line the sieve with a paper coffee filter). Discard the old blossoms and buds. Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper or cork.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 1 1/3 cups

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Chive Vinegar

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

Preparing for Setting Day
Eve of Setting Day in the Fishing Village of North Rustico, PEI, Canada

Living where we do, here in PEI, we have access to fresh local lobster and we make the most of it! The lobster fishery plays a major part in PEI’s economy and many people work in one of the many facets of this industry.

PEI Lobsters
Fresh Catch of the Day – PEI Lobsters

We are blessed on the Island with great food from the waters that surround our Island and from the rich red soil of our fertile land.

PEI Potatoes
PEI Potatoes

Combining foods from the sea and land, my recipe for Lobster Chowder features fresh lobster and potatoes, both foods for which PEI is known.  Some creamed corn, milk, cream, and a flavorful lobster stock make this a rich, decadent, and delectable chowder. Follow the step-by-step preparation and cooking directions to create a lobster chowder feast.

Bowl of chowder made with PEI Lobster and Potatoes
PEI Lobster Chowder

Lobster

A cooked lobster, about 1½ pounds, is required for this recipe.  This should yield about 7 – 8 oz of lobster meat needed for the chowder. However, that said, it is always hard to gauge exactly how well filled lobsters will be with meat. To be certain of having enough lobster meat, you may wish to buy a 2-pound lobster (or two one-pounders, about the size of the one shown in the photo below).

Steamed Lobster
Lobster in the Shell

Use lobster fresh from the shell for this chowder because the shells will be needed to make the lobster stock which is the flavorful base for the chowder. The cleaned out shells still have great flavor to them and that flavor is infused into the stock.

When cracking open the lobster, capture any juice that flows as this will enhance the flavor of the lobster stock.

How to Eat Lobster, PEI Style
Cracking Open the Lobster

Refrigerate the lobster meat immediately in a tightly covered container as it will not be used until the latter stage of the chowder making.

Making the Lobster Stock

Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach) (behind the eyes) from the lobster body along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a clean folded over towel.  Using a hammer or rolling pin, give the shells a few good whacks to break them up somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

Heat olive oil in a stock pot, then add the lobster shells along with the legs.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add the remainder of the ingredients.  Cover and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour or so to let the flavor of the stock develop.  Cooking the lobster shells in poultry stock (either chicken or turkey stock) will add a layer of flavor to the stock, more so than just simmering the shells in water. Strain mixture through a very fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Using lobster stock (as opposed to clam juice, for example) maintains the authenticity of the lobster chowder and does not introduce another seafood flavour. Besides, why buy a seafood broth or stock when it is quite easy to use the lobster shells you already have to make homemade stock.

Lobster, Potato, and Corn Chowder
PEI Lobster Chowder

Bouquet Garni

A good chowder benefits from some gentle seasoning.  For whole spices like star anise, peppercorns, and allspice, it’s best to contain them in a small sachet.  It beats having to fish around in the chowder to find small peppercorns and allspice or broken bits of star anise or bay leaf.

To make the bouquet garni, use a double layer piece of cheesecloth, about 6” square.  Place spices in center of cheesecloth, gather up the edges to form a little sack or sachet, and secure it with heavy thread.

This sachet will stay in the chowder during its entire cooking time and then will get removed and discarded before serving.

Making the Chowder

Sweating the aromatics (onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and red pepper) in butter draws out their moisture content and releases their flavor, developing a background flavour base for the chowder.  While the whipping cream and creamed corn called for in this recipe will help to thicken the chowder, sprinkling a bit of flour over the vegetables and then stirring in the lobster stock will also help to thicken the chowder.

Use waxy potatoes for chowder.  These would be potatoes like the red-skinned Norland variety, for example. Waxy potatoes are low in starch and will hold their shape better when cooked than will potatoes that have a high starch content. The goal here is to see small chunks of identifiable potato in the chowder.

A blend of whipping cream (35%MF) and whole milk makes this a rich and luxurious chowder.  The whipping cream helps to thicken the chowder meaning less flour is needed. The less flour that is used, the less likely the chowder will have a pasty, starchy taste. A small amount of dry white wine is added to the liquid base of the chowder to complement the lobster’s natural saltiness. It’s all about subtly layering in flavor.

The addition of 10oz of canned creamed corn imparts an element of subtle sweetness to the chowder and also helps to thicken it. If the chowder, however, is still not sufficiently thick for your liking, an additional small amount of flour may be added at this stage.  Be sure to mix it with some water or extra lobster stock and add some of the hot chowder to it to temper it before stirring it into the pot.  This will prevent the chowder from curdling or going lumpy.

One of my go-to seasonings in many dishes is dried summer savory.  Most commonly associated with poultry dishes, this herb is surprisingly versatile and can enhance seafood dishes, like this chowder, as well.

My fresh herbs of choice for this chowder are chives, thyme, dillweed, and parsley.  Not a lot of any of the herbs is needed but small amounts of each do impart an extra layer of flavor depth to the chowder. The key is not to add too much to overpower the dish.

As always, taste the chowder and add any salt and freshly cracked pepper to suit your taste.  Lastly, add the lobster meat and heat the chowder gently over low heat. The lobster is already cooked so it just needs to be heated.  If it was added earlier or cooked too long, it will break apart and lose its lobster flavor.

Tasty Lobster, Potato, and Corn Chowder in Bowl
Lobster Chowder

Serving and Garnishing the Chowder

Ladle the chowder into warm soup bowls.  Garnish with fresh herbs or, to be really luxurious, add a lobster claw to the center of each bowl of chowder.  Serve fresh rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread with this chowder and delight your favorite lobster lovers.

Lobster Chowder Served with Artisan Bread
Lobster Chowder

This chowder can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days. In fact, I think it is always better a day or two after it is made as the flavors have had a chance to mix and mingle to create a really flavorful chowder. To reheat, heat the chowder in the microwave or, alternatively, return chowder to a stockpot and reheat gently over medium-low heat.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

Ingredients:

1½ – 2 lb cooked lobster to yield apx. 7 – 8 oz meat (reserve shells and any juice from the lobster)

Lobster Stock:
Cleaned-out shells, juice, and the legs from cooked lobster
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3” chunk of celery, chopped
2” chunk of carrot, chopped
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 – 4 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley
3 cups poultry stock (chicken or turkey)
1/3 cup dry white wine

Bouquet Garni:
1 star anise pod
1 bay leaf
2 pepper corns
1 whole allspice

Chowder:
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots, finely diced
2 tbsp red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tbsp flour

2½ cups strained lobster stock (retain any excess stock to thin chowder if it becomes too thick)
1/3 cup dry white wine

1¼ cups waxy potatoes, such as the red-skinned Norland variety, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
½ – ¾ tsp dried summer savory
¾ cup whipping cream (35%MF)
¾ cup whole milk
1 – 10oz can creamed corn
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

2½ tsp fresh chives, chopped
1 – 1½ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
¾ tsp fresh dillweed, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 – 2 tbsp butter
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Method:

Lobster Stock:
Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach) (located behind the eyes) from the lobster body, along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a folded over clean towel. Using a hammer or rolling pin, break up the shells somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

To make the lobster stock, heat the olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add the lobster shells along with the legs. Cook for about 2 minutes then add any juice from the lobster along with the minced garlic, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, and sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley. Add the poultry stock and white wine. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour. Strain through a fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Bouquet Garni:
To make the bouquet garni, use a small piece (apx. 6” square) of double-layer cheesecloth. Place spices in centre of sachet. Gather up corners and tie with heavy thread.

Chowder:
Heat the butter in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to blend. Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. Gradually add 2½ cups of the lobster stock along with the white wine, stirring constantly to work out any lumps. Add the potatoes, the bouquet garni, and dried summer savory. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until potatoes are almost, but not quite, fork tender.

Combine the whipping cream and milk. Remove about 1/3 – ½ cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir into the milk to temper it. Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the creamed corn, and Parmesan cheese. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until mixture is heated. If mixture is not as thick as desired, mix an additional tablespoon of flour in 2½ tablespoons of water or some leftover lobster stock (if any). Add a tablespoon of the hot chowder to temper it and then stir into the chowder in the pot.

Add the lobster meat to the chowder along with the fresh herbs, and butter. Heat for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sprig of parsley and/or chopped chives. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, if desired. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread.

Yield: Apx. 4-6 servings

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PEI Lobster Chowder

Printable Recipe:

PEI Lobster Chowder Recipe

This made-from-scratch Lobster Chowder, filled with rich flavours combined with light seasonings, is sure to be a hit with lobster lovers.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword chowder, creamed corn, lobster, lobster chowder, potato
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1½ - 2 lb cooked lobster to yield apx. 7 – 8 oz meat (reserve shells and any juice from the lobster)

Lobster Stock:

  • Cleaned-out shells, juice, and the legs from cooked lobster
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 ” chunk of celery, chopped
  • 2 ” chunk of carrot, chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 – 4 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley
  • 3 cups poultry stock (chicken or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Bouquet Garni:

  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pepper corns
  • 1 whole allspice

Chowder:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • tbsp flour
  • cups strained lobster stock (retain any excess stock to thin chowder if it becomes too thick)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups waxy potatoes, such as the red-skinned Norland variety, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
  • ½ - ¾ tsp dried summer savory
  • ¾ cup whipping cream (35%MF)
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 – 10oz can creamed corn
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 – 1½ tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp fresh dillweed, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 - 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

Lobster Stock:

  1. Remove and discard the head sac (aka grain sac or stomach (located behind the eyes) from the lobster body, along with any red roe and green tomally. Enclose the shells inside a clean folded over towel. Using a hammer or rolling pin, break up the shells somewhat. Cut the lobster legs into 2-3 pieces.

  2. To make the lobster stock, heat the olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add the lobster shells along with the legs. Cook for about 2 minutes then add any juice from the lobster along with the minced garlic, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, and sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley. Add the poultry stock and white wine. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour. Strain through a fine wire-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

Bouquet Garni:

  1. e To make the bouquet garni, use a small piece (apx. 6” square of double-layer cheesecloth. Place spices in centre of sachet. Gather up corners and tie with heavy thread.

Chowder:

  1. Heat the butter in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to blend. Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. Gradually add 2½ cups of the lobster stock along with the white wine, stirring constantly to work out any lumps. Add the potatoes, the bouquet garni, and dried summer savory. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture just to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until potatoes are almost, but not quite, fork tender.
  3. Combine the whipping cream and milk. Remove about 1/3 – ½ cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir into the milk to temper it. Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the creamed corn, and Parmesan cheese. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until mixture is heated. If mixture is not as thick as desired, mix an additional tablespoon of flour in 2½ tablespoons of water or some leftover lobster stock (if any). Add a tablespoon of the hot chowder to temper it and then stir into the chowder in the pot.
  4. Add the lobster meat to the chowder along with the fresh herbs, and butter. Heat for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sprig of parsley and/or chopped chives. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, if desired. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan bread.

Recipe Notes

Yield:  Apx. 4-6 servings

Note 1:  Chowder may be refrigerated up to two days.

Note 2:  Be sure to ready the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it contains additional details,  explanation, and tips for making this chowder.

Note 3:  Any leftover lobster stock can be labelled and frozen for a future use.

 

If you like lobster, you may also enjoy these other lobster recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Lobster and Asparagus Crepes
Lobster Frittata
Lobster Club Sandwich
Lobster Eggs Benedict
Lobster-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Lobster Croissants
Lobster Cakes