Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mushroom and Leek Galette

This is another example of the happy result of data-mining old cooking magazines. In this case, Dec. 1999 Vegetarian Times. This publication rarely disappoints. We followed the recipe and were pleasantly surprised. The filling was delish and the crust was amazingly moist but not soggy. We served along with the Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad also found on this blog.

This can be made up to two days ahead, refrigerated and reheated. A great contribution to a party! Use a pizza box to transport. To reheat, place galette on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil and heat in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Reheat leftovers in a dry non-stick skillet. This is how we also reheat leftover pizza. It works really well.

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
* 1/4 cup low fat milk
* 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
* 1 large egg white for glaze

* 1 Tbs. olive oil
* 4 medium leeks (white and light green parts only) sliced (2 cups)
* 12 oz. cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced (6 cups)
* 1 large egg
* 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream ( I think we used "fat" sour cream)
* 3/4 tsp. salt (highly subjective)
* 1/4 tsp pepper (again, highly subjective)
* 1 bunch scallion ( again with the white and green parts), sliced (1/3 cup)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley ( the only kind for cooking!)

Prepare crust: In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In food processor, process cottage cheese until pureed. Add oil, milk and sugar and process until smooth. Add flour mixture and pulse 4 to 5 time, just until dough clumps together.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead several times; do not overwork. Press dough into a disk, dust lightly with flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to prevent scorching. Add mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, whisk together whole egg, sour cream, salt and pepper. Add scallions, parsley and cooled leek mixture; mix well.

On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 15-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Roll dough back over rolling pin and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread leek mixture over dough, leaving 2" border around edges. Fold dough border up and over filling, pleating as necessary.

In small bowl, combine egg white with 1 tablespoon water; stir briskly with fork. Brush over rim of crust.

Bake until crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully slide galette onto platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rhode Island (Clear Broth) Clam Chowder

1 lB. chopped clams and juice,
1/4 pound salt pork, chopped
1 diced onion,
1-2 pound red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 8 oz bottle clam juice
1 cup water
1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 anchovy, 1 bay leaf

Place quahog juice into a stock pot and bring to a simmer.

Cook down salt pork in skillet, when fat is rendered, remove the pork and set aside, add in onions and sweat til translucent, (no browning) Add the onions to the stockpot, simmer 10 minutes, add potatoes and simmer til fork tender. Finally add the salt pork you set aside earlier and the rest of the spice seasonings. Dump in the chopped quahogs and bring back to a simmer. Now for the real Rhode Island deal you would put a hard biscuit on top of the thing. But you can use chowder crackers instead. Depending on the salt pork and white pepper you are using, you will have to adjust the pepper and salt to taste during the final simmer.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Baked Ginger-Apple Crumble

2 lb cooking apples (such as combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious), pared cored and sliced 1/4" thick
3 Tb. granulated sugar
1 Tb. chopped crystalline ginger
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Walnuts pieces
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter cut into 10 pieces
whipped cream or ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 375 and butter 9 inch square baking pan
Toss apples with granulated sugar and both gingers add lemon juice and zest and toss again. Spread apples evenly in buttered pan./
Coarsely chop nuts and mix with brown sugar cinnamon and salt in mixing bowl.. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles very course crumbs. (Or, coursely chop nuts in food processor, and dry ingredients and pulse several time to mix. Place butter on top and pulse several times to mix until mixture resembles very course crumbs). Srinkle topping over apples
Bake until apples are tender and topping is browned, 45-50 minutes. Serve warm with with whipped cream or ice cream.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mary-Lou's Famous Apricot Cake Cookies

Use 18 oz of apricots + ¼ of a 7 oz pkg (pkgs come in 7 or 8 ozs)

1.Chop apricots into small pieces --Place in sauce pot— add water to cover and sugar to taste (approx 1/8 cup ) Simmer slowly until water pretty much absorbed to spreading consistency (will still have a little water still visible). Set aside to cool.

Grind 1# of walnuts and add ½ cup sugar. Blend well with a fork. Set aside.
Grease a large cookie sheet with raised sides. (approx 17 x 12)
Soften ½# margarine to room temp.

Heat oven 350

Mix in large bowl:
5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder

Work-in margarine in above dry ingredients with a pastry blender as you would when making pie crust. It will appear a little lumpy.

Mix with a fork or hand-stirrer blender:
1/2 pt of sour cream
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Mix with above dry ingredients. Make sure you get all the flour mixture mixed from the bottom of the bowl. I use my hands. The dough will not be real moist but moist enough to knead into three balls. One ball can be smaller- this will be for the lattice work strips for top of cookie.

1. Roll one ball between wax paper (makes it easier to roll) to size of cookie sheet. This will be a little thin but not too thin to work with. After in cookie sheet press dough to sides having a little dough going up sides of pan to keep nuts on dough. You have to work with dough so that cookie sheet is completely covered. The dough is flexible enough to spread or press with fingers. You can patch holes by pressing pieces of dough on them & spreading with fingers.

2. Add nut mixture on top of dough. Pat nuts down slightly.

3. Roll next ball same way as above. Place on top of nuts. Can be difficult to get entire nuts covered but just roll thin pieces to piece dough together. It won’t show on the finished cookie but just make sure all nuts are covered. Raise sides slightly to hold apricots .

4. Spread apricot mixture on top

5. Roll 3rd ball out - cut in strips –place strips on top of apricot to form lattice work, I put strips length wise, then from side to side and lastly place strips along all sides to cover all strips. If strips break, just cut small piece or as long as needed & press together.

Bake 350 for 25 min. (Seem like it stays moister if frozen. Can freeze up to 1 year. Enjoy

Mary-Lou's Famous Nut Roll

A perennial holiday favorite, and one of those recipes that we just couldn't allow to vanish from the family history. From Mary-Lou (the Tiger Woods of nut roll) herself.


For every 2 cups of nuts use : 1 cup sugar & ½ cup water
Boil water & sugar 1 min. – add nuts – bring to boil – stir – let cool

Use big old-fashioned coffee cups for all dry ingredients

6 heaping cups unsifted flour
½ lb margarine (room temp)
¾ cup sugar heaping (coffee mug)
½ tsp salt
1 pt milk
1 heaping tlbs crisco
¼ pt sour cream
3 eggs
½ cake yeast (not dry yeast)

Sift flour, sugar & salt in a big pot (like one you make soup in) or huge bowl. Add butter and Crisco & work in with a pastry blender or 2 knifes, if no pastry blender, like pie dough. 
Warm ½ cup of the pint of milk slightly. Add 2 tsps of sugar in warmed milk to dissolve yeast. Don’t make milk hot or it will Kill yeast. Press yeast with fork in milk mixture until completely dissolved. 
Beat eggs slightly – add sour cream & remaining ingredients to dough. Mix together with your hand until all flour & ingredients are thoroughly mixed together & form a big ball. Let raise in pot or bowl in a very warm place. I put afghans on pot & open my gas oven door & let pilot light heat dough – or you can put it near a register, but not too close. (good to cover with afghan) It should raise to almost double it’s size.
Let raise for 2 hrs.

After 2 hrs, knead- sprinkle with little flour if needed to make dough smooth. It should not stick to hands. Make six balls out of dough. Roll one ball on a floured board or your table – fairly thin because it is going to raise again but not so thin that it will tear when putting on nuts. 
Spread nuts thinly with a spatula on dough just to cover dough blending or thinning out to ends of dough. Roll up dough jelly roll fashion and crimp edges so that nuts don’t come out when baking. 
Place folded side down on cookie sheet Puncture roll with a fork down to cookie sheet several times down roll approx 1” apart. Brush with melted butter. Repeat You can fit two rolls on a cookie sheet. Try not to let rolls touch each other. If they are wide & look like they might touch when baking, put a strip of foil between o that they don’t touch. Do same with all rolls. 
Put wax paper over rolls & cover with afghan to keep warm until you are done making rolls and ready to bake. Or if you want to make bread or kolach with one of the rolls, you can take the ball & twist it to form a round kolach & place it on the cookie sheet- puncture, brush with melted butter & bake.

Bake at 350 for 40 min or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter when done – after cooling for a while, turn roll over to complete cooling.

Sounds complicated but once you do it you will see it’s not that bad. Let me know if you want to make them & I will come over to help. (<- now that's the kind of loving mom-advice that it's just hard to replicate on the web...)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mushroom and Seitan Noodle Stroganoff

1 Tbsp Oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
2 cups broth
2 Tbps Tahini
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1 tomato, peeled seeded diced
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1/2 lb. dried shiitake mushrooms
12 oz. Seitan, cut into strips
8 oz fettucini or egg noodles

Saute onions, garlic and seitan until onions are soft. add mushrooms until they soften. Add lemon juice and spices and mix well. Mix broth and tahini and add to mushroom mixture and cook until it thickens adding a splash of red wine as the sauce thickens. Add tomato and remove from heat and season to taste with pepper. Spoon over mushrooms.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mrs. Ralph Izard's 'Awendaw'

In this vintage recipe credited to "Miss Emma Gaillard Witsell," grits are called "hominy." Reprinted from Charleston Receipts: Collected by the Junior League of Charleston.

1-1/2 cups hominy, cooked
1 heaping tablespoon butter
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt

While hominy is still hot, add butter and eggs beaten very light. Then gradually add milk and when well mixed, add corn meal and salt. The batter should be like thick custard. Pour in deep greased pan, bake in moderate over (375 degrees).
Serves 6-8.

Basic Grits

Reprinted from Falls Mill Stone-Ground White Corn Grits Recipes.

1 cup grits
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt

Place grits in a bowl, cover with water and stir. Skim off the chaff that rises to the top. Stir and skim again. Pour off water and light bran. Add water and salt to a heavy-bottom saucepan and bring to boil. Stir in grits. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grits are thick and creamy.

If too thick, add either water, milk or whipping cream. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, if desired, and serve.
Serves 6.

Nassau Grits

Reprinted via NPR from Side Orders, Small Helpings of Southern Cookery & Culture, by John Egerton (Peachtree Publishers).

4 strips of bacon
1 small bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 16oz can of tomatoes
½ to 1 cup cooked ham, chopped
1 cup grits
1 quart water

Fry the strips of bacon until crisp; drain, crumble and set aside. Leaving about 2 tablespoons of drippings in the skillet, sauté the pepper, onion, and garlic, all finely chopped, for about 5 minutes, or until somewhat softened. Then add the can of cut-up tomatoes, reserving the juice, and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Next, add the chopped ham and simmer for about 10 minutes more. If too dry, add some or all of the tomato juice.

While this mixture is cooking, boil the water and add the grits, cooking as directed on the package. When the grits are done, stir the vegetable mixture in with them and simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavors mingle. Ladle into a serving bowl, sprinkle the bacon on top, and rush to the table, there to join the biscuits, eggs, and coffee already prepared.
Serve 6 generously.

Garlic Cheese Grits Casserole

Reprinted via NPR from Miss Mary Bobo's Board House Cookbook, by Pat Mitchamore, recipes edited by Lynne Tolley (Rutledge Hill Press).

4 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup quick-cooking grits
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 ½ cups grated white cheddar or other processed cheese, divided
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk

In a large saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the grits. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and 1 cup of cheese until melted. In a small bowl mix the eggs with the milk. Stir the mixture into the grits. Pour the grits into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Serves 6.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sauteed Calamari Salad (Ming Sai-style)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
3 each Thai bird chiles, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint
1/4 cup thinly sliced Thai basil
2 pounds fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch rings, slice head in half lengthwise
2 large, ripe tomatoes, medium dice
2 pounds washed arugula in a large salad bowl
Baguette croutons for garnish

In a bowl, mix together juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, chiles, mint and basil. Add the calamari and marinate for only 30 seconds.
Take the calamari out of the marinade and add to a very hot skillet, lightly oiled. Toss calamari quickly around and cook only 2-3 minutes until done. Cook in two batches.
Remove calamari and place on top of the arugula. In the same hot skillet, add the tomatoes and 1/3 cup of the marinade. Bring to a boil then add to salad and mix well. Check for seasoning and serve.

Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole (Bayless)


3 large ripe avocados, preferably the pebbly-skin Hass variety
1 cup roasted tomatillo salsa (see recipe below)
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Remove the little nub of stem that is sometimes lodged at the top of each avocado. Cut each avocado in half by slicing straight down through the spot where the stem was attached, until you reach the pit, then rotating the knife all the way around the pit. Twist the two halves apart, then scoop out the pits. With a spoon, scoop out the soft flesh from the skin, collecting it in a large bowl as you go. Coarsely mash with the spoon (or you can use an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork).

Gently stir the salsa into the avocado. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. (Not only will the guacamole improve if made half an hour or so before serving, but it also will maintain its fresh look longer if served cold.) Scoop into a decorative bowl, garnish with cilantro sprigs and you're ready to set it out for your guests to enjoy.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa


4 medium (about 8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Hot green chilies to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed and roughly chopped
About 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
Salt, October 4, 2008 · Makes 1 1/2 cups

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned, 3 or 4 minutes, turn everything and brown the other side. (The tomatillos should be completely soft.)

Scrape the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor, and let cool to room temperature. Add the chili and cilantro, and blend to a coarse puree. Pour into a salsa dish.

Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water, shaking off the excess water. Stir into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. You'll need 1 cup of this salsa to flavor the guacamole. Refrigerate the leftover salsa for another use.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Greek Village Salad with Cabbage

From the Frugal Gourmet.

Use any amount of the following according to your taste (now that's why we love Jeff Smith).
White or Yellow Onions peeled and sliced thin
Green Sweet Bell Peppers, cored and sliced thin
Feta Cheese, cut into tiny pieces
Greek Olives
Oregano, whole and crushed by hand
Cabbage, cut as for coleslaw
Cherry tomatoes or very ripe regular tomatoes cut or sliced to salad size
Cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
Salt andGroungPepper to taste.

3/4 cup good greek olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon
Salt and Pepper (and fresh oregano if you have it)
(mix, or immersion blend, baby).

Place the onions, feta cheese, greek olives and green peppers in a bowl with enough of the greek dressing, and enough oregano to taste for the entire salad, and marinate for 1 hour.
Toss all remaining salad ingredients with the marinated vegetables and the rest of the dressing. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thai Spiced Barbecue Shrimp

Cook Time: 6 Minutes Ready In: 1 Hour 6 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings
"This is the best recipe ever for barbecue shrimp, very tasty with a little kick! You will never try another marinade again for shrimp."
3 tablespoons fresh lemon
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry paste
1 pound medium shrimp -
peeled and deveined
1. In a shallow dish or resealable bag, mix together the lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, brown sugar and curry paste. Add shrimp, and seal or cover. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grate. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, or place in a grill basket for easy handling. Transfer the marinade to a saucepan, and boil for a few minutes.
3. Grill shrimp for 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Baste occasionally with the marinade.

Som Tam (Spicy Carrot Salad)

1 T Raw unsalted peanuts
1/4 c Fresh lime juice
2 T Nam pla (fish sauce)
1 t Light brown sugar
1 lg Clove garlic, peeled
2 Bird or other fresh hot
-chiles, seeded and finely
1 t Dried shrimp powder (opt)
2 Ripe plum tomatoes, seeded
-and chopped
4 c Grated carrots
1 Head leaf lettuce, washed
-dried & torn into approx
-2″ pieces
1/2 sm Head green cabbage, cut into
-thin wedges

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add peanuts and dry roast, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet, cool slightly and chop.
Combine lime juice, nam pla and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Place the peanuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. With the processor blade spinning, add garlic, chiles and dried shrimp powder, if using. Add the lime-juice mixture and process until smooth.
Transfer the dressing to a bowl; add tomatoes and a handful of the carrots. Use a large flat spoon to press and mash the tomatoes and carrots into the dressing. Gradually add the remaining carrots until the salad is fully blended. (The salad can be prepared ahead to this point and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.) Line a platter with lettuce, place cabbage wedges around the edge, mound the carrot salad in the center and serve.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tempeh- solved.

Have you tried Tempeh? We have. It's usually in the "special" refrigerator section with the tofu and numerous attempts at meat substitution. It looks interesting, more body than tofu, and more conventional than Seitan (about which we'll have much to say soon). So of course, we tried it. What is it? Well the answer, like the answer to most questions, can be found on the Wikipedia. But for us, the bigger questions has always been, what to do with it.
The problem: Tempeh is much more dense than Tofu, and so seems perfect for grilling/frying. The problem is that it is so dense that it will reject any type of marinade or grilling sauce that comes its way. You end up with a cooked piece of bare Tempeh, which can be OK, but somehow, you feel like you must be missing soething. After all, it's in the supermarket, people must be able to do something with it, right.
The answer to this less than earth-shattering mystery comes from our new bible, the Veganomicon. Simple. Bring a put of water to a boil. Cut the Tempeh in half lengthwise (to give two squares) and then cut each square on the diagonal to creat a total of four triangles. Boil the triangles for 10 minutes. They'll puff up slightly, and be ready to absorb whatever marinade you have or prefer (we make a soy-based smokey marinade from the Veganomicon, but you'll have to buy it to get that one (and you should definitely buy it). Try it with regular barbecue sauce and grill the Tempeh squares (brown them good). It will finally make sense, tasty, with lots of body, and a nice "protein course" to match with other tasty sides.

Easy. Boil it for 10 minutes first!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Paneer Cheese with Herbs

Summer Antipasto

From Lydia Wlshin's The Perfect Pantry website.
Antipasto isn't an exact science; the more people you have, the more food you pile on the platter. Use your imagination and your painter's eye; combine colors and textures, and have plenty of good crusty bread on hand. Add meat and cheese, if you wish. This recipe -- more a method than a recipe -- is a pantry lover's dream. Serves 8-10.

Arrange on a platter, any way you wish, in a design or scattered as the base of the antipasto:

1 cup mesclun salad mix, or romaine lettuce
1-2 blood oranges or other seedless oranges, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 large red (sweet) pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large plum tomatoes (or other tomatoes, in season), cut into large chunks
1 large cucumber or English cuke, peeled, cut lengthwise,
then into half-rounds
3-4 radishes, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces1 sweet white onion, sliced into half-rounds
1 fennel bulb (anise), sliced thin (save the leafy tops for garnish)

Make piles here and there of:

1 16-oz can black pitted olives (large or colossal)
6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 3-3/8 oz jar green Spanish olives with red pimientos
1 8-1/4 oz can whole beets
1 3-oz can Italian tuna in oil
1 small can cannellini beans, drained

Make vinaigrette by placing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid:

1/4 cup vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Shake the dressing until well-mixed, and pour over the antipasto.


From Lydia Walshin's Perfect Pantry website. As Julia Child would have said, proportions are not terribly important in this recipe. The best time to make this is during tomato season, which here in Rhode Island is right now. This isn't a completely traditional gazpacho, but it is a delicious version. Top with cold poached shrimp or chunks of avocado (or both) if you wish, for a hearty main course soup. Serves 8-10.

2 slices white or wheat bread (any size, any type)
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 English (seedless) cucumber, roughly chopped (do not peel)
6-8 large tomatoes, cut in half, seeded, roughly chopped
24 oz V-8 juice, or more to achieve desired consistency (depends on how juicy your tomatoes are)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste
Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Place bread and garlic in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Empty into a very large (nonreactive) bowl.

In a small frying pan, sauté red onion with olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add onion to the food processor along with as many of the bell pepper pieces as will fit. Pulse until finely chopped, and add to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Process remaining bell peppers with the cucumber, and add to the bowl. Process the tomatoes until finely chopped, and add to the bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove half of the mixture and return it to the food processor, and pulse until almost, but not totally, liquid (or use an immersion blender right in the mixing bowl). Add this back into the bowl, and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavors to marry. Serve cold.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grilled Bluefish and Roast Potato Dinner Salad with Fish-Skin Crispies

Fish-Skin Crispies? That's right. This recipe comes from that large category of happy accidents, as you'll understand as you read on. DRI readers will already know our devotion to Bluefish. The basic idea for the recipe is to make a large dinner salad and top it with chunks of grilled bluefish and roasted potatoes. If you follow the link above you'll see that we grill the bluefish skin-side first, and then flip it. This time (as usual I have to admit) when I slid the spatula under the fish, I kind of crumpled all the skin to one side of the fillet. So, after I flipped it, I had the bare cooked side of the fish, and a sort of rolled-up blackened strip of skin. I finished grilling on the other side and brought the fish inside. Then it dawned on me. That crispy-crunchy burnt fish-skin would make a great little topping for the salad. I chopped it up into little chunks and sprinkled over the top. Man-o-Man, that is another DRI-special, easy, fun and totally tasty. If you need a formal recipe after all of that, it would go something like this.

1) Follow the recipe at Bluefish to make the fish, remembering to mess up when you're flipping the fish from the skin side.
2) Make a large dinner salad with your favorite greens (we used an arugula mix, some thinly sliced red cabbage and added some olives)
3) Slice potatoes into wedges and mix in a bowl with olive oil, garlic salt, pepper and paprika, bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
4) Chop the burnt skin and sprinkle over top.

Eat, enter the recipe into your food blog, Repeat.

Zucchini Pancakes with quick Basil Pesto.

Another recipe shamelessly stolen from Beyond Salmon. I love Helen Rennie's cooking style, and she is completely correct, this is a great way of using the glut of zucchini we all seem to get at around this time of year. It is a new core recipe and totally DR. We made a quick pesto for over top, and it was great (the instructions incude a slight variation that makes it a little easier to get right). Helen says...
What do you do with a zucchini that doesn't require any other ingredients, yet isn't totally boring? That was the dilemma facing me a few days ago. I didn't want to grill since it was raining, and I didn't feel like sautéing since I find sautéed zucchini kind of boring. Roasting could be a good idea, but it's much more interesting when zucchini are mixed with some other veggies, which I didn't have. That's when it dawned on me -- how about zucchini pancakes! I've never made them and was dying to try this dish I remember my Mom making. It's common in Russia to make oladyi (pancakes) with all kinds of vegetables and zucchini were one of our favorites.

I didn't have a recipe, but the one I improvised seemed to work incredibly well. The only extra ingredients necessary to make this dish are flour, eggs, salt, and oil (all of which are staples). I threw in some scallions since I found them lying forgotten in a drawer of my fridge, and then fried my pancakes in sunflower seed oil (the olive oil of Russian cooking). It's perfect for frying since it doesn't burn and imparts a great aroma to your dish (at least if you buy the real stuff from a Russian store). But if you don't have sunflower seed oil handy, canola oil will work just fine.

Serves 4 as a side dish

3/4 Lb zucchini (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (optional)
Salt and pepper
Sunflower seed or canola oil for frying

Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (or using a food processor).

Add flour, egg, scallions, and a generous amount of salt and pepper (and whatever other spices strike your fancy) in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to form a thick pancake-lie batter. Transfer zucchini to the bowl. Helen recommends squeezing the excess liquid out of the zucchini at this stage, which I think I forgot to do. Mine weren't overly wet, and the pancakes had a nice moisture to them, when done, so it's your call.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add enough oil to lightly coat. When oil is hot (moves as easily as water when you tilt a pan), add the batter a spoonful at a time (each spoonful makes one pancake). Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and repeat with the rest of the batter adding more oil as necessary. Serve immediately with sour cream, yogurt, or plain.

We added a quick pesto by combining

A large handful of fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
olive oil to the desired consistency.
juice from a lemon wedge
touch of salt

we threw these in the bowl of the little chopper attachment that came with our immersion blender. zip, zip, zip, and we had enough for a nice dollop on each pancake. I could see a variety of different toppings working well here, and that's what makes this recipe a keeper, easy and lots of variations. We served alongside a nice big dinner salad.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sauteed Zucchini with Feta

As the zucchini turns, and the summer onslaught begins, something yummy to do with them.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large zucchini, thinly sliced in rounds
2 large garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil, or both
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled feta

In a 12 inch skillet, heat oil on low. Slowly saute zucchini and garlic with a little salt until golden and slightly carmelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley or basil, cilantro and feta.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why did that take so long part2: Immersion Blender.

I met a new foodie friend, and when I told her, "OK, you have to get a pressure cooker, really it will change your life" She said to me, "OK, but do you have an immersion blender? No? Well you have to get one, because it will change you life." In Part 2 of, Why Did That Take So Long? Scott and Linda get an immersion blender. The immersion blender is one of those hand-held "stalk" blenders that look a little like the paint mixer that professional painters use. So far we've discovered three main uses, and they are big.

1) Many soups need to be blended or pureed at the end. Often the recipe says, puree in batches in a blender or food processor. We've done this several times, and after a while we just gave up unless the recipe looked too good to pass up. The problem is that you're ladling hot soup into the food processor, which doesn't hold that much before the soup goes above the blade shaft and starts to ooze out underneath the bowl. There are always spills and it takes many batches to get a good Puree. The Blender holds more and doesn't ooze, but instead, it can blow the lid off and spew hot soup (usually in some intense color) in all directions. Drum-roll..... enter the immersion blender. Right in the cooking pot you insert the blender to the bottom and turn it on. Because of the way the blades rotate, the blender pulls itself to the bottom, where it purees. If there are chunky ingredients you can slowly raise and lower the blender to get the bigger chunks. There is so much more control that you can do the thing where you puree say 1/3 or 1/2 the soup, to leave the integrity of the ingredients, while building a rich broth with the puree. Now we're talking, and a whole new set of great recipes are open to us.   This post will be followed by the cooking gadget 1-2 punch "Saturday Morning Black Bean Soup" cooked in the pressure cooker, and then 1/3 pureed with the immersion blender. Awesome.

2) Vinaigrettes: Many sound great, but to get a really nice emulsification you want to blend in the food processor or blender. Overkill for just a little vinaigrette. Most immersion blenders come with a beaker shaped cup that works perfectly for making vinaigrettes and dressings/marinades. Clean-up is simple and the results are excellent.

3) Smoothies. The beaker for ours (we got the red KitchenAid pictured here) is large enough to make smoothies for two. We usually make them out of frozen fruit, yogurt, milk and sometimes some protein shake powder. The ability to raise and lower the blender blades in the tumbler makes the process much more predictable than in a blender. My only caveat is that the blades are rather thin, so if I'm going to use ice in the smoothy, I think I'll crack it a little bit, rather than smashing the blades down on an intact ice-cube.

The stalk clicks off of the motor assembly and can be dishwasher washed, or easily hand cleaned (much easier than either a food processor bowl and blade, or the blender). Ours came with a food processor bowl that is allegedly good for small batches of salsa etc and I bet that's true, we just haven't tried it.

DRI-Moment: get an immersion blender!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cauliflower Gratin

1 large cauliflower head

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
2 anchovy fillets
3 green onions, white and green parts (these add color but could also use chopped leek or shallot)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
We added Kale that had been steamed in the pressure cooker, and then thinly sliced. Excellent.

3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup with a Microplane ribbon grater)
Salt & pepper to taste

STEAM CAULIFLOWER: Put steamer onto boil. Trim cauliflower (remove the leaves, cut a deep V into the core and remove it) and cut into small florets (bite-size is good). Add to steamer and cover, cook about 7 minutes or until a knife inserted into a thick stem releases easily. (The cauliflower won't really 'cook' any more, just reheat, so make sure it's the texture you like.) Remove from heat and uncover to cool a bit. Transfer to a baking dish.

SAUCE: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmery on MEDIUM. Add garlic and anchovy, use a spatula to mash the anchovy into small bits, then let cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the green onion, stir well to coat with fat, cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, adjust heat to create a fast simmer and cook down a bit. Add the cream and cook down a bit, watching temperature carefully to avoid scorching. Pour hot sauce over cauliflower. (Or ... combine the cauliflower and sauce in a separate large bowl before transferring to the baking dish, it might help coat the florets with sauce.)

TOPPING: Mix the topping ingredients, spread evenly over cauliflower just before serving.

BAKE: Bake at 400F for 20 - 25 minutes if done right away, while cauliflower is still hot. If baking from room temperature, I'd allow 30 - 40 minutes.

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER GRATIN Steam lg cauliflower, in florets. Sauce, 1T olive oil, 1T garlic, 2 anchovies, 3 green onions; add 1c broth, cook down, 1c cream, cook down, pour over cauliflower. Top w ¾ c whole wheat crumbs, 2oz Parmesan, 1T butter, S&P. WW10=2 VV06

Food & Wine, November 2001

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crab Pepper Pot

This is another excellent recipe from Cuisine at Home, a monthly recipe magazine that has simple, and very well spiced meals that are fresh and very enjoyable.  Unpretentious, and one of our current favorites (which is saying something, since we tend to be snobs about this kind of thing).

1/4 lb. Bacon, diced
2 Cups Tomato, chopped
1 cup Onion, diced
1 cup Russet Potato, peeled and diced
1 T Jalapeno 
1 T Garlic, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 dried thyme leaves
3 cups Chicken broth (we only had 2, and added 1 cup veggie broth)
4 cups fresh Spinach, chopped
1 cup canned coconut milk (missed this the first time, but was still excellent)
8 oz (2 cups) Crab Meat
Fresh Lime, Reserved Bacon, chopped Scallions

Saute diced bacon in soup pot (used large sauce pan).  Remove and reserve 1T drippings
Stir in Tomatoes, Onion, Potatoes, Jalapeno, Garlic and Spices.  Cook over medium heat until onion begins to soften (5 minutes).
Add Broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer soup for 10 minutes.
gently stir in Spinach and Coconut Milk, simmer 3-4 minutes
Add crab meat just to heat through (stir as little as possible).
Serve with juice from a lime wedge, scallions and bacon sprinkled on top.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Scott and Linda get a pressure cooker.

So why did that take so long? We invited Shilesh and Nupur over to teach us how to make Southern Indian food (more on that later, honest) and Nupur brought her pressure cooker to make the Dahl for Sahmbar. Very cool if you're a foody. The thing builds up pressure, and releases it in aloud rush. More than that, the Dahl is cooked perfectly in 10 or so minutes. Now if you've cooked Dahl (a cross between beans and lentils) before you know that it's impossible to cook it that quickly, and if you do cook it in a hurry, it is always grainy and disappointing. Not so with a pressure cooker. So we got this one (more to come).

It is a Kuhn Rikon 3.75Qt. model (Kuhn Rikon is the stylish pressure cooker that gadget geeks like me have to get, and I'm sure that just about any pressure cooker will have similar benefits. But, it is beautiful, no? (And it does not shoot loud burst of steam like Nupur's!)

The Second picture show the pressure cooker open, with a black-eyed pea recipe that we made (and cooked to perfection in 15 minutes).

Why are pressure cookers so great?
1) They use lots less energy. You bring the water up to a boil and put the lid on. The pressure builds (a little indicator in the top rises to tell you that its up to pressure) in about a minute, and then you turn the pot to the lowest setting to maintain that pressure. Now, you are in fact boiling the bejeezus out of what's inside but you have the burner set so low that it wouldn't even make a conventional pot simmer.
2) By cooking under pressure, you force the flavor into whatever you're cooking, so not only is the food done more quickly, but it is more tasty.
3) And this is counterintuitive, while you are cooking under hight heat, with pressure that forces flavor into the food, the cooking is much more gently than a full boil would be. Because of this ingredients maintain their integrity much better than they would under conventional boiling/simmering. This made a huge difference in the Back-Eyed pea recipe, where we added some Veggie-chipotle "sausage." Veggie sausages don't have a casing, so veggie sausage can just disintegrate in chilis, and other dishes that we cook by slow simmering. Not so in the pressure cooker. When we took off the lid, the beans were soft throughout, but still had a nice snap to the skin, and the veggie sausages were completely intact. Their chipotle flavor had been forced into the beans in a way that usually only happens after you've put a dish like this away over night, and reheated the following day.

Here's the DRI moment... GET A PRESSURE COOKER!!

If you are a Vegetarian or Eco Conscious, it is a no-brainer. If you eat meat, all I can say is, most of the recipes in the cookbook that comes with the cooker are for some really tasty looking chicken and beef dishes where you are either quick roasting, or making a stew. My guess is that the meat is cooked, and juicy, and absorbs the flavors just like beans and lentils.

We continue to experiment, and every time we need to boil potatoes, or beats (as we did the other night) we do it in far less time than boiling by PCing it. If you've ever wondered, just do it. I can't belive it took us this long.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Better Than Boullion

Master ingredient. Better Than Boullion Organic Vegetable broth base is a master ingredient for making stocks and sauces. It is not just salt, which most bullion is. It is a smooth paste in a jar, so it can be stored in the fridge, and you can spoon out as much or as little as you want to make a sauce. A good example of this is to dissolve 1/2 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of white wine, to add to foil wrapped fish.  It adds some moisture and a really nice flavor. If you've got a saute that's a little dry and not as tasty as it could be, just put a little in a tea cup with a little water, or wine, and add to the pan.  We use it all the time. Get some, put it in the fridge, and add a dash here and there for flavor. It's great!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lobster Risotto with Scallops + Shiitakes

The best use so far for the lobster stock we made and froze after a big steamed lobster and clam dinner.

4 Cups Lobster Stock
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 half onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
EVOO + 1-2 Tbls butter in small pats

10 large Sea Scallops (do I need to say fresh?)
3/4 cup thin sliced shiitake mushrooms

Sprinkle both sides of scallops with salt and pepper and let stand. While heating stock, prepare all other ingredients. Because everything comes together at the very end, you'll want everything ready-to-go.
Make Risotto. OK, so let me take you through it once, because Risotto is one of those Master recipes; and once you learn to make one version you know how to make them all (there are lots and lots of variations which is what makes it great, but the basic technique is always the same). The key is that you will saute a bunch of ingredients (onions and garlic at the least). You will keep the heat high and actually saute the rice before adding hot stock. Because the heat is relatively high, you'll need to keep things moving in the pan to keep it from scorching. I use a high edged teflon sauce pan (not a skillet) because in the end you are making rice. When you add the hots stock to the hot rice, it will boil instantly and get absorbed into the rice quickly, but you've got to keep stirring, and adding stock as it gets absorbed or boils off. As you get to the end of the stock it will stay moist longer. Once it's Al-dente, you'll take it off the heat and do the manticare step (folding in cheese and butter to give that final beautiful coating to the risotto.
1) Make sure the stock is hot/simmering
2) saute the onions and garlic in a couple of Tbps EVOO until just soft over medium high heat.
3) add the Arborio rice (this is the Risotto rice, no substitutions), and saute for a minute or two.
4) add one cup of white wine and then hot stock one ladle-full at a time as the stock gets absorbed and boils off. It will rapidly simmer/boil and be absorbed. Keep the rice moving, turning it over on itself, without mashing it.
5) Keeping the heat up to medium high/medium, keep adding ladles of stock once the rice thickens. Keep going until the stock begin to absorbed more slowly.
6) Once the rice is just tender and a nice, slightly moist consistency, remove from heat and add butter pats and cheese. Fold in the cheese and butter, and serve.

Now, for the scallops (I hope you read ahead, because you want to have these ready to go between steps 4 or five above. Heat a skillet over medium/high heat. When the risotto is beginning to slow down in absorbing the stock, add a little EVOO to the skillet, and place the scallops in, do not move them once you place then. Cook 2 to 2:30 per side depending on how think they are (less is better, because they will finish cooking on the plate). Once you turn the scallops, add the shiitakes to the pan and mix around and between the scallops. In the final 2 minutes, the risotto should be finishing and you should be doing the manticare step (Step 6 above). Plate the Scallops and Risotto leaving shiitakes in skillet and skillet on heat drizzle just a small amount of EVOO in the skillet, move Shiitakes around a few times to coat, and then deglaze with some white wine. Serves shiitakes over scallops and risotto.

Now, the DRI version.
1) Get lobster stock out of freezer.
2) make risotto with 1 cup white wine first, and then lobster stock, using Asiago cheese for the manticare (instead of the more usual parmesan)
3) Just before rice is finished, pan sear sea scallops with shiitakes, deglazing the pan at the end.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup also makes a great meal in itself with the addition of peas, corn, carrots, cabbage and meaty shiitake mushrooms.

Yield: 4 servings

6 cups (1.4L) vegetable or chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (2g) gingerroot, minced
1/2 tsp (2g) black pepper + pinch white pepper
2 Tbs (30mL) tamari
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
1/2 lb (230g) firm tofu, sliced into 1/4x1-inch (0.5x2.5cm) strips
1 cup (300g) Napa cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, thinly julienned
1/3 cup (70g) frozen peas
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, julienned
2 Tbs (30mL) rice vinegar
1 Tbs (15mL) mirin (Chinese cooking wine)
1 Tbs (8g) cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp (45mL) cold water
1 egg, well-beaten
1/2 cup (90g) green onions, chopped
1/4 cup (9g) cilantro, chopped

Bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat in a 21/2- to 3-quart (1.9 to 2.9L) saucepan. Add garlic, ginger, black pepper, and tamari. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute.

Add mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, carrots, peas and corn. Stir and let simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in vinegar, mirin and cornstarch mixture. Continue cooking until soup is thickened, about 1 minute.

Remove soup from heat. Slowly pour in beaten egg and stir. Garnish with green onions or cilantro and serve immediately

Monday, March 31, 2008

Leeks and Sautéed Greens

Taken from a new DRI Fav. World's Healthiest Foods because leeks were the "Food of the Week." This recipe is a great tasting way of receiving the many health benefits of the super food kale. The leeks are a delicious complement, and this dish can be made very easily, so you can have it often. Adding the oil at the end gives it a rich taste without heating it, making this even healthier than most sautéed greens.
We've added WHFoods to our food blog list because they are a constant source of inspiration, they have have food of the week, and recipes throughout the week that use that ingredient. They are into whole, healthy, real food, but they're not didactic about it (like us!).

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 cup sliced leeks, about 1 leek
4 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
soy sauce to taste (optional)

Heat 1 TBS broth in a 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy (which means to sauté in broth) sliced leeks in broth over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add kale, ¼ cup broth, cover and simmer on low heat for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Toss with pressed garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Serves 2

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Honey-Lime Dressing

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper (use canned for less heat)

Cilantro Salad Dressing

Cilantro adds a fresh citrus flavor to this dressing. Use it over your regular side salad or drizzle on carne asada tacos for an authentic taste.

1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of Mexican oregano
pinch cumin
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on low speed until almost smooth.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cha Jang Mein (Noodles with Black Bean Sauce)

1/4 pound pork (or the protein of your choice)
1/4 pound raw shrimp -- optional
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 medium onions -- chopped
2 medium zucchini -- chopped
3/4 cup oyster, shiitake, or straw mushrooms -- chopped
1 cup cha jang (black bean paste, not sauce!)*
oil or shortening
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water
fresh chinese noodles -- cooked

*Look for this at a Chinese or a Korean Market. No substitutes!
1. Cut the pork into small pieces. Mariate in soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, and garlic. Set aside. If using shrimp, shell, devein and salt lightly. Set aside.

2. In a wok, over high heat, stir fry the onion and zucchini. Depending on the size of the wok, you might have to do it in batches. Remove and set aside.

3. Heat the shortening or oil in the wok. The amount varies, depending upon the amount of the black bean paste, but don't be too stingy with the oil. Dump the paste in the wok, stirring quickly to avoid burning. Stir for approximately 2 -3 minutes.

4. Add the pork and stir fry till it is cooked, approximately 1 - 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables and mix.
5. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
6. Add the shrimp, if using, and mix.
7. Mix the corn starch and water. Add it to the wok and stir til thickened and bubbly..
8. Serve immediately over cooked noodles.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Salade Nicoise

From Epicurious, scaled down in volume. (This recipe need to be DRI-ized, that is, simplified to keep the best aspects and to forget the fussing, we'll do that shortly). This salad was inspired by a classic Salade Niçoise with its fresh anchovies, potatoes and green beans, and one offered to me by Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, who comes to France every year to avail herself of, among other things, the fine green beans of summer.
Serves 4-5
Susan Herrmann Loomis

For the vinaigrette:
1 1/2 tablespoons best quality cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium new white onion, sliced paper-thin
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup mixture of tarragon and fresh chervil leaves, loosely packed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Salad:
1 pounds fresh tuna
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing on the tuna
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 anchovy fillets (preferably packed in oil)
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound yellow beans, trimmed
1 pounds of tiny new potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 each red and yellow bell peppers, cut in thin (1/4-inch) strips
3 medium red and yellow tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
3 farm eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
1/2 cup nicoise olives
Sprigs of parsley and chervil, for garnish

Make the vinaigrette:
In a large bowl make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar and the mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil in a thin stream to emulsify the mixture. Stir in the garlic and the onions.
Mince the parsley and add it, with the tarragon and chervil, to the dressing, mixing well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the Salad:
Rinse the tuna, pat it dry and refrigerate it until just before cooking.

Build a small fire in a barbecue.
When the coals are red and dusted with ash, spread them out, and lay the rosemary atop them. Set the grill atop the coals. Rub the tuna on all sides lightly with olive oil, and place on the grill. Cover the grill, leaving the vents open, so the tuna grills and smokes at the same time. Grill until the tuna is lightly golden and almost cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully turn the tuna and cook until it is golden on the other side and opaque through, an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the fire, so check it carefully. Transfer the tuna to a plate, season it lightly all over with salt and pepper, and let it cool to room temperature. When it is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the skin and any bones. Drizzle it on both sides with about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, then reserve at room temperature.
Drain the anchovies of oil and pat them dry.

Steam until beans are tender firm, about 6 minutes. Remove from the steamer and let cool on a wire rack covered with a cotton tea towel.

Transfer one-third of the dressing to a medium sized bowl.
Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil, and add the potatoes.
Cook just until they are tender through, about 15 minutes. Drain. If you want to peel them, do so as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Add them, still warm, to the one-third of the vinaigrette. Toss, and reserve.

To assemble the salad, just before serving toss the beans and the peppers with enough vinaigrette to fully moisten them, and arrange them in the center of a serving platter.
Top them with the anchovy fillets, arranging them attractively on top. Quarter the eggs, and place them, with the tomatoes, around the beans and peppers. Drizzle them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.
Place the potatoes on another platter.
Break the tuna apart into large pieces, and arrange the pieces attractively atop the potatoes. Sprinkle with the olives. Drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette, and garnish with several sprigs of parsley and chervil. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Roasted Whole Branzini

Keep the head on, and the tail on, don't scale, keeps heat in better.
Clean cavity, pat dry, fill with mixed fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary etc), Salt and pepper.
Drizzle lightly with Olive Oil.
Place on tray in middle rack of preheated 375 oven for 25-35 minutes (1-2 lb fish). (Can also grill wrapped in foil for 20 minutes).
Let cool slightly, run knife along top edge of fish, and using tablespoon lift fillet up and way from bones, which should largely remain attached to spine. Spoon some of herbs over fillet and serve w/lemon.

Greek Artichoke Salad

Jerry Stratton
Monday, October 17, 2005

Feta cheese and lemon combine with black olives and artichokes for a very interesting salad.
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

1 red bell pepper
1 can black olives, pitted
1 can artichoke hearts
1/3 cup chopped onion
juice of 2 lemons
1 tblsp olive oil
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Chop red bell pepper into small pieces
Chop artichoke hearts into chunks
Slice black olives
Mix everything together
Feta cheese and lemon is a great start for any salad, but combining tender artichokes with black olives and red bell makes this Mediterranean-style salad stand out.

The lemon will mellow the sharpness of the onion, and develop the other flavors, if you let it sit for about half an hour before serving.

Like most good salads, this needs a good bread to accompany it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Roasted Asparagus with Herbes de Provence

From Allrecipes

1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Herbes de Provence
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Spread the asparagus onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
3. Roast in preheated oven until tender and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mushroom Ragu with Soft Polenta

For the Ragù—
1/4 cup shallots, sliced
1 lb. assorted mushrooms, sliced or quartered (4 cups)
2 t. olive oil

Add; Finish with:
3/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry sherry or Madeira
2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 t. tomato paste
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 t. minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Polenta—
Bring to a Boil; Whisk in:
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup water
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 T. light cream cheese, cubed (1 1/2 oz.)
3 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Saute shallots for the ragù in a large saute pan coated with nonstick spray over medium heat until soft. Increase heat to high, add half the mushrooms, and saute until browned; remove from pan. Add olive oil and saute remaining mushrooms. Resist stirring them too much—the longer the contact with the pan, the better the browning.

Add tomatoes, broth, sherry, vinegar, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with herbs and seasonings.

Bring milk, water, and seasonings to a boil for the polenta in a saucepan. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Fold in cheeses before serving.

Monday, February 18, 2008

White Beans with Tomato, Basil and Parmesan

1T olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
24oz. can white beans, drained
1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh parsely
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In non-stick skillet saute garlic in O.O. on medium heat, 3 minutess. Stir in beans, chopped tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook about 7 minutes or longer. Mix in parmesan just before serving. Add spinach, mushrooms or whatever else seems good at the time.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lentil Soup

A standard version, simple, and tasty. This is the way to make "that" lentil soup.

1 meaty ham bone or 1 large ham hock (<- yes, ham hock, no soy substitutes)
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
2 cups sliced carrots, about 3 to 4 medium carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
In a stock pot or large kettle, combine ham bone, water, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, salt, sugar, pepper and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until lentils are tender.
Take out ham bone or hock and remove meat. Chop meat and return to lentil soup. Remove bay leaf. Lentil soup serves 6.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tip: Keeping Mashed Potatoes Warm

I love this tip, it allows me to make the mashed potatoes early, and keep them warm, without having keep such close eye so they don't scorch. It also doesn't make an extra dish to wash. You'll need two saucepans, one that will fit inside the other. Then, once you've made the mashers (in the smaller saucepan) to your preferred consistency, simply make an ad-hoc double boiler, by filling the larger saucepan with hot water, placing the smaller into it until the water comes up the sides, and bringing it to a boil, leaving the lid on the smaller pot (it have the lid off in the picture because it looks better, I put it back on later). It works great, keeping the potatoes at a nice temperature, and when you're done, just dump out the water, and put the larger saucepan back! Simple, why did it take so long to learn this one..

Earth and Sea Salad

2 cups dried Arame
1 cup dried Hijiki
1/2 cup julienned Red Pepper
1/2 cup chopped Scallions
1/2 cup julienned Carrots
1/2 cup Cucumbers, peele, seeded and sliced
1/2 pound teriyaki or similar marinated Tofu
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
3/4 cup thawed frozen Corn

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Rice Vinegar
1/2 cup Mirin
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp. fresh grated Ginger

Soak the arame and hijiki for 30 minutes. Squeeze out water and pick out any foreign matter. Simmer in boiling water for 30 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, mix Dressing and set aside. Thaw corn and chop vegetables. Cut tofu into strips. Cool seaweed and combine with vegetables, sesame seeds, tofu and dressing. Let rest 30 minutes and toss before serving.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Olive Oil

Stolen from WholeFoods web-page. Say what you like about WholeFoods, I feel great when I shop there! Broccoli rabe (pronounced "robb") is a non-heading variety of broccoli with long, thin leafy stalks topped with small florets. Sometimes referred to as rapini, broccoli raab, or broccoli di rape, this Italian staple will fit right at home in your holiday kitchen. Here we quickly boil and then sauté the hearty winter green in a little garlic infused olive oil, top it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve with lemon wedge and optionally some grated parmesan. The taste is fresh, simple and let's the spiciness of the rabe come through. we love it, but you may want to serve with a starch that will mellow it out (like mashed potatoes).

Serves 6

2 bunches broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges
grated parmesan (optional)
sea salt, to taste
Boil several quarts of water to boiling. Remove any tough or damaged outer leaves of broccoli rabe. Peel the thick, lower stems from the broccoli rabe. Tear the broccoli rabe into large pieces. Clean the broccoli rabe in a large amount of cold water until all dirt is removed.

When water is boiling, place broccoli rabe pieces in colander and pour boiling water over them to scald. Drain the broccoli rabe well and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté the garlic until browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and toss to coat with the garlic/pepper mixture and heat through, around 2–3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Eggs With Cream, Spinach, And Country Ham

Shamelessly stolen from Epicurious.  We made this for brunch and it is a total hit. We used stoneware soup crocks instead of ramekins (because we don't have ramekins) and put two eggs in each (it takes a little longer to cook completely this way). You'll return again and again to this recipe since it can be assembled in advance and delivers serious flavor. The scent of ham gently permeates the eggs, whose yolks can be broken into the rest of the dish or dipped into with biscuits, while the mineral notes of the creamed spinach proclaim its freshness.

Makes 8 servings (Scott Peacock)

1/4 cup thinly sliced country ham, finely chopped
Scant 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
10 ounces spinach, coarse stems discarded 
8 large eggs

Equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or ovenproof teacups

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Bring ham and cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then remove from heat. Let steep, uncovered, about 10 minutes.
Cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and season lightly with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook, turning with tongs, until spinach is wilted.

Drain spinach in a colander, pressing to remove excess liquid, then coarsely chop. Divide spinach, then ham, among ramekins, spooning 1 tablespoon cream into each serving. Crack eggs into ramekins and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 teaspoon cream over each egg. Cut remaining tablespoon butter into 8 small pieces and dot each egg with butter.

Put ramekins in a shallow baking pan and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 15 to 20 minutes, removing from oven as cooked.

Cooks' note: The eggs in this recipe will not be fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area. (<- I'm not sure what's up with that)

Salsa Verde

>Another scarf from Beyond Salmon, where it's featured both in Helen's excellent Swordfish recipe, as well as a Bluefish Fajita recipe that we'll definitely have to make.  
8 medium tomatillos, with paper-like husks removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced (use less if you prefer it less spicy)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter tomatillos. In a bowl of a food processor, combine tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice. Process until chopped into tiny pieces. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Move to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kale and Potato Soup (Caldo Verde)

This is a great, simple, hearth and heart-warming dish that we make again and again. We tend to add a little extra kale because one bunch seems not enough, and two may be a little much, but not for us (your call).

2 Pounds maine or other large boiling potatoes
3/4 cup olive oil (just do it, it's less than originally called for)
2 bunches Kale with the thickest stems removed

Peel potatoes and slice thin. Put in soup pot w/6 Cups water and the olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer gently, stirring with a whisk occasionally to help break up the potatoes. cook until potatoes are completely dissolved lightly thickening the broth, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wash kale thoroughly, trim out thickest stems, and shred as thinly as possible. add to the broth and simmer 2 minutes more. Serve at once with crusty bread.

Tradition allows adding a side order of grilled Portuguese sausage (and who's going to argue with tradition?).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fresh ground white pepper?

The Crab and Hearts of Palm Salad recipe calls for fresh ground white pepper. Fresh ground WHITE pepper? Of course, as a foodie we have pepper grinders with both black and green pepper. But for white pepper, which is a key ingredient in my home-fry recipe, I've always used that same old dusty can of Durkee white pepper. The 28 grams has lasted me a long time. So when this recipe called for fresh ground white pepper, and we didn't have another grinder to dedicate to a new kind of peppercorn, I just told Linda, "get me a fresh can, I must almost be out."
And then Linda came home with this. From Frontier Ppices, a bottle of organic white peppercorns, with a built-in grinder. The grinder even has two settings, fine and course. The fine is not as fine as the Durkee variety, but it's fresh and we don't have to buy a third pepper grinder. Now THAT is an excellent idea.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hearts Of Palm Salad With Ruby Red Grapefruit And Dungeness Crab

Chef Kerry Simon (celebrity fans at his showy Las Vegas restaurant, Simon Kitchen and Bar, include Kate Hudson and Lucy Liu) is bringing his simple, organic American cuisine closer to the stars with the planned opening of Simon LA at the Sofitel Hotel this month. This succulent salad provides vitamins, including A, C and folate, among others, plus some zinc from the hearts of palm and juicy ruby red grapefruit.
Makes 2 servings.
Kerry Simon
Simon Kitchen and Bar

1 cup hearts of palm, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bunch organic watercress
6 ounces precooked Dungeness crabmeat
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoons julienned basil
1 tablespoons julienned mint
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
2 ruby red grapefruit, peel and pith removed, segmented, segments cut into 4 pieces each

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper

Dressing Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Marinate hearts of palm in 3/4 cup dressing in another bowl for at least 1 hour. Divide watercress between 2 plates; top each pile with hearts of palm. In another bowl, mix crabmeat, herbs and 1 tsp dressing; season with salt and pepper; toss until thoroughly mixed. Divide seasoned crab between 2 plates of watercress. Top with grapefruit pieces.

This was an amazing eating experience. I had first thought that one grapefruit per salad was going to be too much. It was most certainly not. The grapefruit, greens, herbs and crab meat were a beautiful marriage.
A tip for those with OCD tendencies(and you know who you are), in addition to peeling and removing pith, take the time to remove the skin from each grapefruit segment. It is not as hard as it might sound, and is definitely worth it in providing intense grapefruit flavor. (OK, I've revealed my tendencies)
Also, Dungeness crab may be hard to find in the Northeast. I ran into a guy from Seattle who said after doing considerable research, Jonah Crab (available at Whole Foods) is the next best thing.
I can attest that it was sumptuous.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Foil Barbecued (or baked) Steelhead Trout with Wine

Brother Tom caught one of these, vacuum-bagged and froze it for us to bring back from Christmas. What a wonderful gift. (Go Tom, go!)
2 trout, cleaned and head
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp bullion

Preheat a grill for medium-high heat. (Or heat oven to 400)
On a flat surface, lay out two sheets of aluminum foil about 18 inches long so that they overlap to make one long wide sheet. Rinse the trout and pat dry.
Lay the fish in the center of the foil about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with white wine, and lemon juice. Season with parsley, salt and pepper.

Fold the foil up loosely around the fish and crimp the seams to seal.

Place the packet on the grill (or in the oven) and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. (We cooked it in a 400 oven for 15-20, and let it rest before serving)

Glazed Salmon with Dijon Mustard Sauce

Taken in its entirety from, one of my favorite food blogs, and always to the rescue when we've got a new fish to cook. 

Fish substitutions: steelhead trout, arctic char, or any pink fish

Serves 4

For the fish:
4 salmon fillets with skin (6 oz each)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apricot preserve, honey, or maple syrup
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream
2 Tbsp mayo (Hellmann's "Real" please, not low-fat)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp cognac, whiskey, or white wine (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped mint, cilantro, parsley, or dill (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

To make salmon:

  1. Preheat the broiler and wrap a broiler pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Rub the salmon with salt, pepper, and olive oil on both sides. Place in the broiling pan skin side down.
  3. If using apricot preserve try to avoid the chunks as they will burn under the broiler. Spread your preserve, honey, or maple syrup on the flesh side of salmon that’s facing up (I used the preserve, but I am sure the other sticky sweet things will work too).
  4. Cook salmon for 6 minutes per inch of thickness for medium doneness (8 minutes for well-done). Start it under the broiler (4 inches away from the flame) and check it every couple of minutes. As soon as the top browns, turn down the oven to 400F, and move the salmon to the middle of the oven to finish cooking.
  5. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part of the fish with a fork and peek inside. Salmon is cooked to medium when you can separate the flakes at the surface, but get a good bit of resistance in the center of the fillet; the flesh will look very translucent. After salmon rests for 5 minutes it will flake, but still be a little translucent in the center. If you prefer your salmon well done, cook it until only a trace of translucency remains in the center. After 5 minute rest, it will be completely opaque.
To make the sauce:
  1. While salmon is cooking and resting, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Thin out the sauce with 1-2 Tbsp of water until it’s barely thicker than heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place salmon on serving plates (if the salmon skin sticks to aluminum foil, just leave it there), pour the sauce on top and serve.