Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Risotto Primavera

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium-size yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • mushrooms
  • 4 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, zucchini, and crookneck squash and mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Set vegetables aside.

Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan over low heat. Cover and keep warm. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and minced carrot. Sauté until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add rice; stir until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup warm broth. Simmer until broth is almost absorbed, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups more broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Mix in sautéed vegetables and 1 cup broth. Simmer until broth is just absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups cheese, peas, butter, and 1/2 cup broth. Simmer until butter melts, rice and vegetables are just tender, and risotto is creamy, stirring often and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if risotto is dry, about 3 minutes longer. Mix in basil; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer risotto to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve, passing additional cheese separately.

Bon Appétit, April 2003

Serve 6-8

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ham, Fontina, and Spinach Bread Pudding

  • 1 large baguette (about 3/4 lb)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 cups spinach leaves (about 1 bunch), coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 lb Fontina cheese, grated or swiss cheese and smoked gouda

Preheat broiler.

Diagonally cut baguette crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices and brush both sides with butter. Cut into crouton-sized chunks. Toast on a baking sheet under broiler 3 inches from heat until golden, about 30 seconds on each side. (Buttering and toasting bread step can be omitted if short on time.)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Saute onions in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add ham and saute, stirring occasionally, until ham is lightly browned.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl and whisk in milk, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Add toasted bread and toss gently. Transfer bread as saturated to a shallow, buttered 3-quart casserole. Add any remaining egg mixture.

Tuck spinach, ham, and cheese amidst bread. Bake in middle of oven 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until puffed and edges of bread are golden and custard is set in middle.

Cook's note: Bread pudding can be assembled 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Increase baking time to 1 hour and 10 minutes if bread pudding is cold when put in oven, and cover top with foil after 45 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Serve with a sliced fennel bulb and apple, minced shallots with celery and roasted walnut salad.

Makes 6 servings

Farmers' Market Pasta with Chevre

  • 1 1/2 pounds of a mixture of any of the following vegetables: asparagus, yellow or green summer squash, bell peppers (any color), broccoli, small eggplant, portabella mushooms
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces penne
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 4 oz. chevre
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • half of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated peccorino Romano cheese

1. Slice or chop the vegetables into manageable sizes for grilling. Toss with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and enclose in a grill basket. Grill over moderately high heat until somewhat softened and blackened in spots. (Or spread out on a baking sheet and roast at 450 to a similar degree of doneness.)

2. Cook the pasta until al dente. Ladle out and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta.

3. Return the pasta to the still-warm cooking pot and add the cream, chevre, and reserved cooking water. Toss until the cheese begins to melt. Add the tomatoes, onion, basil, and vegetables and toss gently until heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

4. Pass the peccorino Romano at the table.

from Dishing Up Maine

4 servings

Seafood Lasagna with Tomato and Bechamel


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups seeded and diced plum tomatoes (7-8 tomatoes) or drained chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound bay scallops or quartered sea scallops
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 pound haddock or other white fish such as cod or pollock fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup reserved seafood cooking juices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound fresh pasta sheets or 9 ounces dried "no-boil" lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)

1. To make the fresh tomato sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes give off their liquid and the sauce begins to reduce, about 10 minutes. Stir in the scallions, basil, tarragon, sugar, salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. If the consistency is too thick -- it should be pourable-- add 1/2 cup water.

2. To make the seafood filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallops and shrimp and cook, stirring often, until the shrimp begin to turn pink, about 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Add the fish, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring gently, just until the seafood is opaque, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the seafood witha slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Reserve the liquid remaining to use in the bechamel. You should have about 1/2 cup; add water, if necessary, to make up the difference.

3. To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cream, bring to a boil, and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the reserved seafood juices and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

4. Grease a 3- to 4-quart baking dish, such as a 14x10-inch lasagna pan, with butter, Preheat the oven to 375.

5. Spoon about one-third of the tomato sauce into the prepared dish, spreading to coat the bottom. Make a layer of one-third of the pasta sheets, then half the seafood, then one-third of the bechamel, spreading each layer evenly. Make a second layer of each, then finish with the last third of the pasta and bechamel. Spread the remaining tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan.

6. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden and the filling is bubbling and tender, 35 to 40 minutes. If the lasagna has been refrigerated, bake covered with foil, for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serve with Lamb Sausage Hors d'Oeuvres with Cranberry Chutney, a spinach salad, seeded Italian bread, Orange Creme Brulee

from Dishing Up Maine

8 servings

Shrimp Linguine

  • 6 T. butter
  • 6. T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 T. minced shallots
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 t. angostura bitters
  • 2 t. grated lemon zest
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 t. dried red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 lb. shelled Maine shrimp or other small to medium shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minutes. Add the clam juice and wine, raise the heat to high and boil briskly until reduced by about one third, about 5 minutes. Add the bitters, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes.

3. Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the shrimp just turn pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsely and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Drain the pasta, spoon the shrimp and sauce over it, and serve.

VARIATION: substitute chopped or bably clams or bay scallops for the shrimp

from Dishing Up Maine

Frites de Carottes aux Epices

  • 1 kg (2 lbl.) carrots
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • cumin, ginger
  • salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 450*F.

Wash, srub and peel the carrots. Trim the top and bottom of each carrot, and cut in fries. Put the carrots in a baking dish, spoon in the honey, and pour a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss with a wooden spoon to coat. Add more oil and vinegar if necessary. Sprinkle cumin, ginger, salt and pepper generously, and toss again.

Put the dish in the oven to bake for roughly an hour, checking on the progress regularly after the first half hour, tossing the carrots from time to time for an even browning. The carrot fries are ready when they are thoroughly cooked, and start to get a little crisp at the edges.

Creamy Seafood Casserole with Lemon Crumbs

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup sherry, dry or medium-dry
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound wild or cultivated mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops (or sea scallops, quartered)
  • 1 cup cooked crabmeat, picked over (1/2 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1. To make the sauce, melt 3 T. butter in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the clam juice, half and half, and sherry. Bring to a boil, whisking, and cook until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter.

3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they soften and begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and scallops and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the crabmeat and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the seafood, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Scrape into the prepared baking dish.

4. To make Lemon Crumbs, melt the butter in a medium-skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toss until barely colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon zest.

5. Sprinkle the crumbs over the seafood mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly and the crumbs are golden.

menu: Trio of Autumn Greens and/or Winter Salad of Oranges, Radishes, and Basil, buttery dinner roles, and Walnut Pie for dessert

from Dishing Up Maine

6-8 servings

La Matta Cena Sangria

  • chardonnay
  • port
  • vanilla syrup
  • cloves
  • cinnamon stick
  • oranges
  • lemons
  • lime juice

Classic Lemonade

  • 10-12 medium lemons, scrubbed well, halved pole to pole, all halves sliced thin
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 5 cups cold water
  • fresh mint leaves (optional)

Mash lemons and sugar (and salt, if using) in large, deep bowl or saucepan with potato masher or wooden spoon until lemon slices give up their juice, sugar is dissolved, and juice is thickened to syrup consistency, about 4 minutes. Pour half the lemon slices and syrup through large sieve over bowl or saucepan; press on solids with masher or back of wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Discard solids; transfer liquid to serving pitcher. Repeat process with remaining lemon slices. Stir in water until blended. Chill well and stir to blend before serving, over ice if desired.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.


  • 1 1/4 pounds 100 percent ground chuck
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ketchup
  • Muenster or American cheese, sliced
  • Buns and desired toppings

4 servings

Beef Kebabs

  • top blade or top sirloin steak
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, or a combination
  • red onion
  • cherry tomatoes

Hearty Beef Stew

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken-flavored broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 6 small boiling potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup frozen peas (6 ounces), thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Make this stew in a large, heavy-bottomed soup kettle measuring at least ten inches in diameter. If the kettle is any smaller, you may need to cook the meat in three batches rather than two.

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in large nonreactive soup kettle; add beef to kettle in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside. Add onions to now empty kettle; saute until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to saute about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to kettle. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer about 1 hour.

2. Remove kettle from oven, add potatoes and carrots, cover, and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove stew from oven. (Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.)

3. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.



Rather than the portions of liquid in Hearty Beef Stew, use equal portions of red wine and stock (one and one-half cups of each). Instead of the frozen pearl onions called for here, you can use an equal amount of fresh pearl onions that have been blanched, peeled, and steamed.

1. Follow recipe for Hearty Beef Stew, making the following changes: Before preparing beef, fry 4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into small dice, in bottom of kettle until brown and crisp. Drain bacon, reserving bits and drippings. Substitute drippings for oil when browning meat. Return bacon to kettle with stock, bay leaves, and thyme.

2. Omit potatoes, carrots, and peas. Heat 2 tablespoons of reserved drippings in large skillet until hot and add 1 pound white mushrooms, quartered; saute over high heat until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from skillet, then add 1 cup (8 ounces) frozen pearl onions, cooked according to package directions. Saute until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. When meat is almost tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, add mushrooms and pearl onions to stew. Cover and return to oven. Cook until meat and pearl onions are tender, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.


1. Follow recipe for Hearty Beef Stew, making the following changes: Substitute 1 cup chopped tomatoes with their juice for 1 cup of the stock. Add two strips orange zest when adding stock. Substitute equal portion herbes de Provence for the thyme.

2. Omit potatoes, carrots, and peas. Stir in 1 cup black olives such as Kalamata to fully cooked stew. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.


1. Follow recipe for Hearty Beef Stew, making the following changes: Stir in 1 tablespoon tomato paste after flour has colored. Substitute 1 cup tomatoes for 1 cup of the stock and add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves along with stock, bay leaves, and thyme.

2. Omit potatoes, carrots, and peas. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet; add 1 cup frozen pearl onions, cooked according to package directions, and sauté until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. When meat is almost tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, add pearl onions and 1/3 cup currants to stew. Cover and return to oven. Cook until meat and pearl onions are tender, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.

6 servings

Simplified Cassoulet with Pork and Kielbasa

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds), skin removed
  • 6 slices good-quality white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 slices bacon (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 pound dried flageolet or great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and left whole, plus 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, 2 peeled and left whole, 2 peeled and minced
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless blade-end pork loin roast, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound Kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices

1. Brining the chicken: In gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag, dissolve salt and sugar in 1 quart cold water. Add chicken, pressing out as much air as possible; seal and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine, rinse thoroughly under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Preparing the topping: While chicken is brining, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix bread crumbs and butter in small baking dish. Bake, tossing occasionally, until light golden brown and crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature; set aside.

3. In heavy-bottomed, 8-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon slices over medium heat until just beginning to crisp and most fat has rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Leaving bacon slices in pan, pour off bacon grease into heatproof measuring cup and reserve. Return pan to heat; add beans, 10 cups water, whole onion, and whole garlic cloves to pan with bacon. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are partially cooked and almost tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Reserving 1¬Ω cups cooking liquid, drain beans. Discard onion, garlic, and bacon.

3. Add vegetable oil to reserved bacon grease to equal ¼ cup. In now-empty Dutch oven, heat bacon grease and vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of chicken thighs, fleshy-side down; cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate; repeat with remaining thighs and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Return pot to medium heat; add pork pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper to taste; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock, wine, and 1 cup of reserved bean cooking liquid; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits off bottom of pot with wooden spoon. Add chicken and beans; if liquid does not fully cover chicken and beans, add remaining ½ cup reserved bean cooking liquid. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and beans are tender, about 40 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Off heat, gently stir in Kielbasa and sprinkle surface with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered until topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

8 servings

Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

  • 9 large fresh black Mission figs, stemmed, halved
  • 18 1x5-inch thin strips proscuitto (about 3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese
  • 18 large walnut pieces, toasted

Preheat broiler. Cover large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wrap each fig half with 1 proscuitto strip; place on prepared sheet. Broil until proscuitto chars slightly on edges, about 11/2 minutes. Turn figs; broil about 11/2 minutes longer, watching closely to prevent burning. Place 1/2 teaspoon Gorgonzola atop each fig half. Top each with walnut piece. Serve warm or at room temperature.

VARIATION: warm balsamic reduction drizzled over the top of the figs: melt sugar, add butter, chicken stock and balsamic vinegar; reduce. Delicious!

If fresh figs aren't available, dried black Mission figs can be substituted here; look for ones that are soft and moist.

Serve with Pinot Grigio.

18 hors d'oeuvres servings

Reisling-Braised Sauerkraut and Apples

  • 4 cups drained sauerkraut from 2 lb. packaged sauerkraut (not canned)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 McIntosh apple
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallot (3 large)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 (1/2-oz) piece slab bacon, rind discarded
  • 1 cup dry Riesling
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1/2 Turkish or 1/4 California bay leaf
  • 2 cups heavy cream (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons apple schnapps
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cover sauerkraut with cold water by 1 inch in a large bowl and soak 5 minutes, then drain in a colander. Repeat soaking and draining once more, pressing on sauerkraut.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Peel and core apples and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Cook shallot and onion in butter in a 4- to 5-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add apples, bacon, wine, broth, thyme, juniper berries, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, then stir in sauerkraut. Cover pot with foil, then lid, and braise in middle of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile, simmer cream and schnapps in a 2-quart saucepan until reduced to about 1 cup, about 40 minutes.

Add cream mixture, salt, and pepper to sauerkraut and stir well.

Makes 6 side-dish servings servings

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pasta Salad with Pears, Chicken, and Asparagus

  • asparagus
  • red onion
  • cooked white meat chicken, shredded
  • ripe pear, sliced
  • blue cheese
  • sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
  • whole-wheat pasta, such as penne
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Steam asparagus, shock, and cut into 2-inch lengths.

Cook pasta. Toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Toss all salad ingredients. Dress with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Grilled Sausage Sandwiches with Caramelized Onion

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3 fully cooked smoked sausages (such as white bratwurst or chicken-apple)
  • 4 large slices rye or pumpernickel bread or 2 rolls
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, sugar and caraway seeds. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until onions are deep brown and very tender, about 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat before using.)

Preheat broiler. Brush 11x7-inch metal baking pan with oil. Place sausages in pan. Broil until sausages are brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer sausages to work surface and cut lengthwise in half.

Arrange 3 sausage halves on each of 2 bread slices. Spread 2 teaspoons mustard over sausages on each. Top sausages with caramelized onions, dividing equally. Top with Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese slices, dividing equally. Cover with remaining 2 bread slices. Spread half of butter over upper bread slices.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Carefully invert sandwiches, buttered side down, into skillet. Cover and cook until bottoms are brown, about 5 minutes. Spread remaining butter over upper bread slices. Turn sandwiches, cover and cook until bottoms are brown, about 4 minutes longer.

variation: add fennel with onions

serve with cold beer

2 servings

Poached Pear and Raspberry Trifle

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 4 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, halved
  • 2 cups heavy cream, plus 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Prepared pound cake, about 12 ounces, crusts trimmed
  • 3/4 cup Ruby Port or Marsala wine
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate shavings

To poach the pears, in a medium saucepan, combine the water, honey, seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the honey dissolves. Add the pear halves, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the pears are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 12 minutes. Transfer the pears with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut into thin slices.

To make the creme anglaise, in a small saucepan, bring 2 cups cream to a bare boil with the remaining vanilla bean and scraped seeds over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until ribbons form. Gradually add 1 cup of the warm cream, and mix well. Add back to the pot with the remaining cream and stirring constantly cook over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla bean. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whip the remaining 2 cups cream with the sugar.

To assemble the trifle, cut the cake into 1/2-inch thick slices to fit tightly into the bottom of a trifle bowl (or a 1 1/2-quart decorative glass bowl), and slightly up the sides about 1-inch.

Drizzle the cake with Port. In a mixing bowl toss the berries with 2 tablespoons Port, stirring to bruise the berries slightly. Layer 1/3 of the pears over the top of the cake, then top with 1/3 of the creme anglaise, followed by 1/3 of the raspberries. Repeat the process, layering the remaining ingredients, finishing with the whipped cream on top. Decorate with chocolate shavings.

Emerill Lagasse recipe; Mary made at Christmas 2004

from the Food Network

8 servings

Chewy, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies

  • 5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Fold two 12-inch pieces of foil lengthwise so that they measure 7 inches wide. Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; overhang will help in removal of baked brownies. Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days.)

Makes 64 1-inch brownie servings

Apple Upside-Down Gingerbread

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light unsulphured molasses
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tart baking apples (Granny Smith or Jonathan)

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cocoa in medium bowl.

3. Beat butter, molasses, sugar, buttermilk, milk, and egg in large bowl of an electric mixer on low speed.

4. Add dry ingredients to liquid; beat on medium speed until batter is smooth and thick, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Do not overmix. (If using the fresh ginger, batter will be lumpy.)

5. For the apple topping: Grease sides of 11-by-7-by-1 1/2-inch metal pan. Pour 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter into pan; spread 3/4 cup light brown sugar evenly over pan bottom. Peel, halve, core, and slice thin three tart baking apples (Granny Smith or Jonathan). Arrange slices, overlapping slightly upon brown sugar mixture.

6. Working quickly, pour batter over apples.

7. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched, and edges have pulled away from the pan sides, about 50 to 60 minutes.

7. Set pan on wire cake rack and let cool 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate, cut into squares, and serve. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Gingerbread can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)

  • For stronger ginger flavor, replace the dried ginger with three tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger root and three tablespoons minced crystallized ginger.

  • 8 servings

    Orange Sauce for Gingerbread

    • 1 1/3 cups juice plus 1 teaspoon zest from 4 large oranges
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon juice from a small lemon

    1. In small sauce pan bring orange juice, sugar, cornstarch, and salt to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until sauce is thick and clear, about 1 minute.

    2. Remove from heat, then stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature over gingerbread squares.

    Big Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

    • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)

    1. Adjust oven racks to low and middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.

    2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together, then stir them into butter-sugar mixture with wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Stir in oats and optional raisins.

    3. Form dough into sixteen to twenty 2-inch balls, placing each dough round onto one of two parchment paper-covered, large cookie sheets. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. (Halfway during baking, turn cookie sheets from front to back and also switch them from top to bottom.) Slide cookies on parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

    If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown but the rest of the cookie should still be very light in color. Parchment makes for easy cookie removal and cleanup, but it's not a necessity. If you don't use parchment, let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

    Makes 16 to 20 large cookies.

    Saag Panir (Curried Spinach Soup with Cheese and Bell Pepper)

    • 6 cups whole milk
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup oil (peanut, vegetable, or coconut -- not olive oil) or ghee
    • flour, for dredging
    • 2 tablespoons oil (peanut, vegetable, or coconut -- not olive oil) or ghee
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • Kosher salt
    • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
    • 1 to 3 jalapeno, serrano, or Thai peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons garam masala
    • 1/2 cup rice, toasted and ground
    • 4 cups whey, saved from cheese-making process
    • 2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
    • 14-ounce can coconut milk
    • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    1. To make the cheese, pour the milk into a stockpot. Turn the heat to high and leave uncovered. While waiting for the milk to reach a boil (about 30 minutes), place 3 layers of cheesecloth in a wire-mesh strainer and tape the cheesecloth around the edges so the hot cheese cannot pull it away from the mesh. Place the strainer over a storage container in order to save the whey for the stock.

    2. When the milk begins to boil, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and stir. In a few seconds the milk should begin to separate. The color will change from opaque white to a cloudy greenish-yellowish color. You should begin to find clumps of thick white stuff floating around in the pot. This is good! Take the pot off the burner and slowly pour the liquid through the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Once the soup pot is empty, wash it. Allow the whey to drip through the mech until most of it has dripped. Pull up the cheesecloth around the cheese. Keep the strainer over the storage container. Carefully squeeze the cheesecloth-wrapped curds to get the rest of the water out. This will be very hot! Keep a bowl of ice water nearby to cool your fingers. Continue squeezing the curds until you have removed most of the exess water.

    3. Place a large, heavy, flat object on top of the cheesecloth-wrapped cheese and let it sit for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible. If you have room in your refrigerator, place the cheese with its weight there to cool down. (I like to turn a pie tin upside down, place the cheesecloth-wrapped cheese on top of it, place another pie tin right-side-up on top of it, and then place the weight in the top pie tin.)

    4. When the cheese is very firm remove it from the pie tins. Pull off the cheesecloth and discard.

    5. Cut the cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Dredge the cubes in flour so they will not stick together. Heat the oil in a small pot until hot enough for frying. In batches, carefully place the cubes in the oil and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess grease. Set aside.

    6. To make the soup, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic and saute until golden. Add the onion and stir well. Add 1 tablespoon salt and stir again. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the ginger and the peppers and mix well. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

    7. Add the garam masala and ground rie and mix well. Add 1 cup of the reserved whey or water. Mix well, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes.

    8. Add the spinach in four batches. After each batch stir to mix well, cover, and let the spinach reduce.

    9. Once all the spinach has decreased in size, add 3 more cups of whey and stir well. Cover and let reach a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 20 minutes.

    10. Puree the soup in batches. Press through a strainer into a storage container. Discard any lumps left in the strainer.

    11. Wash out the soup pot. Place the soup back in the pot. Add the coconut milk, red bell peppers, and the fried cheese. Place back on the stove, cover, and let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

    12. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately.

    Serve with naan or chapati. You may substitute tofu for fresh cheese -- just fry half a pound of it as you would the cheese.

    from S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle's Own Undeniably Perfect Soups 10 servings 3 hours prep time + overnight

    Cream of Asparagus Soup

    • 1 large potato
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 yellow onion, finely sliced
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
    • 2 pounds asparagus, 2-inch tops set aside and stems chopped
    • 1/4 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, whole
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
    • Grated zest of 1 orange, plus more for garnish
    • White pepper, ground

    1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

    2. Bake the potato until it is easily pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to one hour. Remove it from the oven and set aside to cool.

    3. Melt the butter in a stockpot. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and stir well. Cover and let simmer until golden. Add the bay leaves, asparagus stems, and another teaspoon of salt.

    4. Add the parsley and peppercorns, mix well, and add the wine and half of the stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus begins to fall apart.

    5. The baked potato should have cooled sufficiently to handle. Scrape the potato from the skin and place in a food processor. Purée the potato until it is creamy and thin, adding a little vegetable stock as necessary. Remove from the food processor and set aside.

    6. When the asparagus is ready, purée it in batches. Press it through a strainer. Discard any stringy fiber that may remain.

    7. Pour the asparagus purée, the potato purée, the remaining vegetable stock, the grated nutmeg, and the orange zest into the stockpot. Whisk until everything is well incorporated. Set aside while you steam the asparagus tips.

    8. Fill a saucepan with 4 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the asparagus tips. Stir, cover, and blanch for about 2 minutes. Strain the asparagus tips.

    9. Add the tips to the soup. Stir well, cover, and let it reach a simmer.

    10. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste.

    11. To serve, garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and grated orange zest.

    from S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle's Own Undeniably Perfect Soups 8 servings 1 1/2 hours prep time

    Cream of Artichoke Soup with Roasted Garlic and Nutmeg

    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
    • 2 yellow onions, sliced
    • 3 ribs celery, sliced, leaves included
    • Kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons flour
    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • 3 15-oz. cans artichoke hearts (not marinated), coarsely chopped, in two equal piles
    • 1 head garlic, roasted
    • White peppercorns, ground
    • 2 cups cream
    • 1/4 cup cream sherry
    • 1/4 nutmeg seed, ground, plus more for garnish
    • Parmesan cheese, grated

    1. Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté until translucent.

    2. Add the flour, stir well to coat onions and celery, then add the sock in 1-cup increments. Stir well after each addition to keep the flour from lumping up.

    3. Add 1 pile of artichoke hearts, the roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir well, cover, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 25 minutes.

    4. Purée this in batches and strain into a storage container. Discard anything remaining in the strainer.

    5. Wash out the stockpot. Pour the puréed soup back into it. Add the cream, sherry, nutmeg, and the second batch of chopped artichoke hearts. Stir well. Cover and let simmer over medium-low until heated completely through.

    6. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan and a little nutmeg if you desire.

    from S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle's Own Undeniably Perfect Soups 8 servings 1 hour prep time

    French Onion Soup

    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
    • 2 pounds yellow onions, finely sliced
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine or burgundy
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • Croutons
    • Swiss or Gyuyere cheese, grated

    1. Melt the butter in a pot over high heat. Add the onions and mix well to coat. Cover and let cook for 15 to 30 minutes.

    2. Combine the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and red wine, and set aside.

    3. When the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, have turned a dark golden brown, and begin to smell sweeter, add the bay leaves and the soy mixture. Scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Mix well. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 more minutes.

    4. Add the stock to the onion mixture, mix well, cover, and bring to a simmer.

    5. To serve, ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and cover them with croutons and a nice layer of cheese. Place bowls under the broiler and broil until the cheese forms a nice golden-brown crust.

    from S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle's Own Undeniably Perfect Soups
    1 hour prep time
    8 servings

    Golden Northern Cornbread

    • 1 cup yellow or white stone-ground or water-ground cornmeal
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2/3 cup buttermilk
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra softened butter for greasing pan

    1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-by-2-inch metal pan.

    2. Stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Push dry ingredients up side of bowl to make a well.

    3. Crack eggs into well and stir lightly with wooden spoon, then add buttermilk and milk. Stir wet and dry ingredients quickly until almost combined. Add melted butter; stir until ingredients are just combined.

    4. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake until top is golden brown and lightly cracked and edges have pulled away from side of pan, about 25 minutes.

    5. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Cut cornbread into squares and serve warm. (Pan can be wrapped in foil up to 1 day. Reheat cornbread in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

    variation: Omit sugar. After adding butter, quickly fold in 1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.

    9 servings

    Rich Bread Pudding

    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 3 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 12 ounces (about 1/2 loaf) good quality American-style white bread
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan

    Slice bread 3/8-inch thick and cut into 1 1/2-inch square pieces (about 8 cups).

    Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

    Whisk eggs, yolk, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk in milk, cream, bourbon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in 6 cups prepared bread; mix thoroughly to moisten. Let stand 20 minutes.

    Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Scatter remaining 2 cups bread pieces on top, pushing down gently to partially submerge. Bake until pudding is deep golden brown, is beginning to rise up sides of baking dish, and jiggles very slightly at the center when shaken, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool until set but still warm, about 45 minutes. Serve.

    A firm white American-style bakery loaf bread gives the best texture to this pudding. In a pinch, however, use Pepperidge Farm Hearty White Bread. Avoid chewy, crusty European-style breads because they do not soften properly in the custard. For an extra-creamy bread pudding with a sauce beneath a crisp top layer, remove about 1 cup of soaked bread and 1 cup of soaking liquid to a food processor or blender and purée them until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the purée back to the rest of the mixture and stir to combine before transferring it to the baking dish. If desired, serve this pudding with softly whipped cream.

    8 servings

    Thai-Style Curried Chicken Fried Rice

    • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 small (about 8 ounces) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
    • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1 large onion, sliced thin
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 5 Thai green or 3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
    • 6 cups cold cooked white rice, large clumps broken up with fingers
    • 5 medium scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
    • Lime wedges for serving

    1. Dissolve sugar in fish and soy sauces in small bowl; set aside. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.

    2. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add eggs and cook without stirring, until they just begin to set, about 20 seconds, then scramble and break into small pieces with wooden spoon; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are cooked through but not browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer eggs to small bowl and set aside.

    3. Return skillet to burner, increase heat to high and heat skillet until hot, about 1 minute; add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add 1 teaspoon curry and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with eggs and set aside.

    4. Return skillet to high heat and heat until hot, about 1 minute; add remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add onion and 1 tablespoon curry and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and chiles; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and fish sauce mixture; cook, stirring constantly and breaking up rice clumps until mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and chicken, scallions, and cilantro; cook, stirring constantly until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

    4 servings

    Fried Rice with Shrimp, Pork, and Peas

    • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
    • 8 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1 cup frozen peas, preferably baby peas, thawed
    • 1/2 ounce (5 to 6 medium) dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 Chinese sausages (lop cheong) (about 4 ounces), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 -inch pieces, or 8 ounces sliced smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
    • 4 ounces Chinese roast pork, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 T. ginger, minced
    • 5 cups cold cooked white rice, large clumps broken up with fingers
    • 5 medium scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)

    Rehydrate shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup hot water until softened, about 15 minutes, then drain, trim of stems, and slice into 1/4-inch strips.

    Combine oyster sauce and soy sauce in small bowl; set aside.

    Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add eggs and cook without stirring, until they just begin to set, about 20 seconds, then scramble and break into small pieces with wooden spoon; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are cooked through but not browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer eggs to small bowl and set aside.

    Return skillet to medium heat and heat until hot, about 1 minute; add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque and just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with eggs and set aside.

    Return skillet to burner, increase heat to high and heat skillet until hot, about 2 minutes; add remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add peas, mushrooms, sausage or ham, and pork; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and oyster sauce mixture; cook, stirring constantly and breaking up rice clumps, until mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, shrimp, and scallions; cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately

    Yield: 4 servings

    Chunky Guacamole with Bacon and Tomato

    • 3 medium-sized, ripe Haas avocados
    • 3 large scallions, sliced thin
    • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
    • 1 small jalapeno chile, minced
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
    • 6 slices cooked, drained, and crumbled bacon
    • half a medium tomato, seeded and diced small

    To minimize the risk of discoloration, prepare the minced ingredients first so they are ready to mix with the avocados as soon as they are cut.

    1. Halve one avocado, remove pit, and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Mash flesh lightly with scallions, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and cumin (if using) with tines of a fork until just combined.

    2. Halve and pit remaining two avocados, and cut into 1/2-in grid in the skins. Gently scoop out avocado into bowl with mashed avocado mixture.

    3. Sprinkle lime juice over diced avocado and add bacon and tomato. Mix entire contents of bowl lightly with fork until combined but still chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. (Can be covered with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto surface of mixture, and refrigerated up to one day. Return guacamole to room temperature, removing plastic wrap at the last moment, before serving)

    Yield: 2 1/2 - 3 cups

    Charcoal-Grilled Steak Tips with Garlic, Ginger and Soy Marinade

    Tastes like Orange Beef

    4 servings

    • 2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat
    • Orange wedges for serving
    • Garlic, Ginger and Soy Marinade
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 medium scallion, sliced thin

    1. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl.

    2. Combine marinade and meat in gallon-size zipper-lock bag; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate 1 hour, flipping bag after 30 minutes to ensure that meat marinates evenly.

    3. About halfway through marinating time, ignite about 6 quarts (1 large chimney) charcoal briquettes and burn until covered with thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Create two-level fire by spreading single layer of coals over half of grill bottom and arranging remaining coals in layer several briquettes high over other half. Position grill rack over coals, cover grill, and heat rack until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grill rack clean with wire brush. Grill is ready when thicker layer of coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack for 3 to 4 seconds).

    4. Remove steak tips from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill, uncovered, until well seared and dark brown on first side, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip steak and grill until second side is well seared and thickest part of meat is slightly less done than desired, 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (about 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 6 to 8 minutes for medium (about 135 degrees); if exterior of meat is browned but steak is not yet cooked through, move steak to cooler side of grill and continue to grill to desired doneness.

    5. Transfer steaks to cutting board; tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Slice steak very thinly on the bias; serve immediately with lime or orange wedges.

    Sunday, April 1, 2007

    Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    • 3 ounces cheese, sliced thin (cheddar, Swiss types, provolone, muenster)
    • 4 slices bread
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

    Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over low to medium-low heat. Meanwhile, divide cheese over two bread slices. Top each with a remaining bread slice, pressing down gently to set.

    Brush sandwich tops completely with half the butter; place each sandwich, buttered side down, in skillet. Brush remaining side of each sandwich completely with remaining butter. Cook until crisp and deep golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes per side, flipping sandwiches back to first side to reheat and crisp, about 15 seconds. Serve.

    Extras are best sandwiched between the cheese. Try a few very thin slices of baked ham, prosciutto, bacon, turkey breast, ripe, in-season tomato, or two or three tablespoons of caramelized onions.

    2 servings

    Blueberry Pancakes

    • 2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice)
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
    • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, preferably wild, rinsed and dried

    Whisk lemon juice and milk in medium bowl or large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine.

    Whisk egg and melted butter into milk until combined. Make well in center of dry ingredients in bowl; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not over mix.

    Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes; add 1 teaspoon oil and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto 3 spots on skillet; sprinkle 1 tablespoon blueberries over each pancake. Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Serve immediately, and repeat with remaining batter, using remaining vegetable oil only if necessary.

    4-6 servings

    White Chicken Chili

    • 1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 3/4 cups milk
    • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
    • 4-ounce can mild green chilies, drained and chopped
    • 4-ounce can jalapenos, drained and chopped
    • 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • Garnish: fresh coriander sprigs
    • Accompaniment: tomato salsa

    In a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour, and drain in colander.

    In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.

    In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and milk, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.

    Garnish chili with coriander and serve with salsa.

    4 servings

    Rice Pudding with Pistachios, Raisins, and Saffron (Payasam)

    • 2 quarts whole milk
    • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
    • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
    • 2 tablespoons ghee
    • 1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios
    • 1/2 cup golden raisins

    Simmer milk with rice, sugar, cardamom, and saffron in 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, stirring often, until reduced by half, 45 to 50 minutes. Discard cardamom.

    Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over moderate heat until melted, then cook pistachios and raisins, stirring, until nuts are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir half of pistachio mixture into payasam and sprinkle remainder on top.

    Serve warm or chilled.

    You can make payasam, without pistachio mixture, 1 day ahead and chill, covered. Cook nut mixture just before serving.

    6 servings

    Spicy Peanut Dip

    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 large shallot, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon (packed) brown sugar

    Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, ginger and garlic; sauté until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Add curry powder and crushed red pepper. Stir until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Stir in 1 cup broth, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar; whisk to blend.

    Simmer until mixture thickens, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and cool, whisking occasionally. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Thin dip with more broth by tablespoonfuls if needed.

    Serve dip chilled or at room temperature with crudités: carrots, celery, jicama, red bell pepper or apples and pears.

    makes 1 1/3 cups

    Kerala Boatman's Crab Curry

    • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
    • 1 medium onion
    • 3 large garlic cloves
    • 1-inch piece fresh ginger root
    • 2 dried hot red chiles such as cayennes or chiles de arbol
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, or to taste
    • cooked white or brown basmati rice
    • Garnish: sliced scallion greens

    Pick over crab meat to remove any bits of shell and cartilage. Chop onion and mince garlic. Peel ginger root and mince. Wearing protective gloves, break chiles into 1-inch pieces and reserve, along with any seeds.

    In a 4- to 5-quart kettle heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop. Stir in onion, garlic, ginger root, reserved chiles with seeds, and peppercorns and cook, stirring, until chiles are just browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in other spices until combined well. Add crab and cook mixture, gently stirring occasionally (avoid breaking up crab), about 4 minutes.

    While crab mixture is cooking, chop cilantro. Stir cilantro into crab mixture with coconut milk and salt and simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Spoon curry over rice and garnish with scallion greens.

    6 servings

    Javanese Roasted Salmon and Wilted Spinach

    • 1/4 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
    • 4 7-ounce salmon fillets
    • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

    Preheat oven to 400F. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar; whisk until mixture is melted and smooth and begins to bubble, about 4 minutes. Whisk in lime juice and soy sauce. Increase heat and boil until reduced to 3/4 cups, about 2 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and boil until thick, about 3 minutes. Set sauce aside.

    Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, cook salmon until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet. Spoon 1 tablespoon sauce over each fillet. Roast until fish is opaque in center, about 5 minutes.

    Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach and toss until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using tongs, divide spinach among 4 plates. Top each with salmon fillet; drizzle with remaining sauce and serve.

    amounts reflect halved recipe sauce very good - unusual flavor; be sure to add enough brown sugar

    4 servings

    Greek Salad

    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • fresh lemon juice to taste
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
    • 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 large tomato, diced
    • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

    For the dressing: Whisk the first 6 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Allow to rest a few hours if possible.

    Combine remaining ingredients in large salad bowl. Sprinkle with feta. Pour dressing over salad. Toss well.

    To accompany kebabs, or with canned tuna mixed in.

    modified from Epicurious

    8 servings

    Irish Coffee

      For each drink:
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
    • 2/3 cup freshly brewed strong black coffee
    • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

    Combine the sugar whiskey, and coffee in an Irish coffee glass. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the cream until slightly frothy. Gently pour the cream onto the back of a spoon resting on the surface of the coffee, so that it floats on top of the coffee. Serve without stirring.

    Hot hint: Getting the cream to float on top of an Irish coffee may require a little luck of the Irish. To ensure success, don’t omit the sugar, even if you don’t typically take it in your coffee, and remember not to stir in the cream, as the secret to experiencing the true flavor of an Irish coffee is sipping through the floating cream.

    Serves 1.

    via 101 Cookbooks

    Whole-Grain Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

    • 1 (6-ounce) basket blueberries, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar (evaporated cane sugar)
    • 1/4 cup real-deal, PURE, maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar (evaporated cane sugar)
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    • 2 1/4 cups organic buttermilk
    • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (melt in the pan skillet you are going to use)
    • butter, to serve (and for pan)

    To make the blueberry maple syrup put 1/2 of the blueberries, the sugar, maple syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 5 or 6 minutes or until the blueberries begin to split. Remove from heat and press the blueberry mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl. Mash the fruit to get all the juiciness extracted. Throw out the solids. Stir the remaining blueberries into the warm syrup and set aside.

    To make the pancakes combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. Don’t worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don't want to over mix.

    Heat your skillet, pan, or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test for the right temperature. If a drop of water dropped onto the pan starts to dance, you are in the ballpark. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet. Wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter.

    Serve with a golden pat of butter and plenty of blueberries and syrup. Makes about 12 large pancakes, or dozens of silver-dollars--enough to feed a small crowd.

    via 101 Cookbooks

    Savory Asparagus Bread Pudding

    • One 1-pound loaf sourdough or other crusty bread
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
    • 1 pound asparagus
    • 3 to 4 ounces oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan or casserole with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

    Using a serrated knife, cut the bread into 3/4-inch slices, then stack 4 or 5 slices of bread. Cut them into 3/4-inch cubes. Repeat with the remaining bread and put all of the cubes in a large bowl.

    In medium bowl, whisk together the milk, broth, eggs, salt, pepper, and dill until combined. Pour the mixture over the bread.

    Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the bread along with the mushrooms and shallots. Fold everything together well to combine the ingredients. Spoon them into the prepared pan and pat down the top to compact the ingredients. Sprinkle the cheese evenly ever the top.

    Bake the pudding for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and crisp and there is no liquid in the center. Let sit fo10 minutes before cutting into portions.

    Serves 6-8

    from Hands'-Off Cooking via 101 Cookbooks