Wednesday, May 30, 2007


  • 3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded

In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.

Serves 4 to 6.

Gourmet, August 1993

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Penne with Ricotta and Asparagus

  • sea salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds thick asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • clove garlic, peeled
  • 15 ounces whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with enough salt that the water tastes salty. Add the asparagus and cook until tender but still firm, about 4 minutes. Lift out the asparagus with tongs and transfer to an ice bath. Cut into 1/8-inch slices, leaving tips intact.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the penne.

Meanwhile, rub a large serving bowl with the garlic. Add the ricotta, olive oil, and 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water; blend. When the pasta is done, drain it (reserving some water) and add it to the ricotta mixture. Top with the asparagus and half the Parmesan cheese, then fold everything together. Season to taste, adding some reserved pasta water if needed. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Serves 4

from The New York Times magazine

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Mild Grains with Ginger and Curry

  • onion
  • garlic
  • rice
  • curry powder
  • fresh ginger
  • saffron
  • chicken broth

Super Slaw

This colorful Asian-inspired salad is great with grilled ribs, chicken or pork chops.

Serves 4 to 6.

  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 8 large green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

from Bon App├ętit, July 1998

Orange Salad

  • romaine lettuce
  • orange
  • cucumber
  • almonds
  • avocado (optional)
  • olive oil
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

My own creation.

Grill Roasted Beer Can Chicken with Citrus-Cilantro Wet Rub

  • 1 cup kosher salt or 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced very fine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 3-inch wood chunks
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer

Dissolve the salt in 2 quarts cold water in a large container. Immerse the chicken in the salted water and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Soak the wood chunks in cold water to cover for 1 hour and drain.

Combine ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.

Remove chicken from the brine and rinse inside and out with cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Massage the rub all over the chicken, inside and out. Lift up the sin over the breast and rub the spice mixture directly onto the meat.

Light a large chimney starter filled a little more than halfway with charcoal briquettes and allow to burn until covered with a thin layer of gray ash. Empty the coals into the grill. Divide the coals in half to form two piles on either side of the grill; use long-handled tongs to move any stray coals into the piles. Nestle 2 soaked wood chunks on top of each pile. Position the grill rack over the coals and cover the grill. Heat the rack for 5 minutes, then scrape it clean with a wire brush.

Open the beer can and pour out (or drink) about 1/4 cup. With a church key can opener, punch two more large holes in the top of the can (for a total of three). Slice the chicken over the can so that the drumsticks reach down to the bottom of the can and the chicken stands upright.

Place the chicken and beer can on the cool part of the grill. Cover and grill-roast, rotating the bird and can 180 degrees at the halfway mark to ensure even cooking, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 70 to 90 minutes.

With a large wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer the chicken and can to a platter or tray, making sure to keep the can upright. Let rest for 15 minutes. Using wads of paper towel, carefully lift the chicken off the can and onto a platter or cutting board. Discard the remaining beer and can. Carve the chicken and serve.

Fatush - Middle Eastern Bread Salad

Sumac comes from the berries of a bush that grows wild in Mediterranean areas, especially Sicily and southern Italy, and parts of the Middle East. It can be used in the same way as lemon juice.

  • 1 loaf crisp local bread
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped very small
  • 5-6 cucumbers, chopped very small
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lettuce heart, shredded
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste

Cut up the bread into small pieces 1 to 1 1/2 inches square. Sprinkle with cold water, and place in a salad bowl. Pile all the vegetables and the mint leaves over the bread.

Mix lemon juice, sumac, salt and oil. Pour over fatush and toss.

Serves: 4

Recipe from In Mama's Kitchen