Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).

ARTICHOKE RISOTTO

ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH ROASTED

ASPARAGUS SOUP

BACON WRAPPED TROUT

BARBECUE SAUCE

BARBECUED BEEF BRISKET

BIERACKS

BLOSSOMS DRESS UP TABLE AND YOUR PLATE

BOUCHEES AU BEURRE

BRAISED DUCK LEGS

BRAISED RED CABBAGE

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

BROILED PINEAPPLE

CAFE LATTE CHEESECAKE

CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTI

CHEESE FRIED PIQUILLO TOASTS

CHICKPEA SOUP

COOK LIKE A VENETIAN

COOKIE PRESS JELLO COOKIES

COOKIE PRESS SHORT BREAD

CUMIN POTATO CAKES

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER NOODLE SOUP

DREAMY OREO CREAM PIE

EGGS JALAPENO

FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR AND FIG CRACKERS

FOCACCIA STUFFED ARTICHOKES

FONTINA TALEGGIO FONDUTA

FRESH VEGGIES AND BEEF SUKIYAKI

FRIED APPLE PIES

FRUIT DIP

GHIVETCH

GRILLED VEGETABLES

HASH BROWN CASSEROLE

HAZELNUT SEMIFREDDO

HEARTY ITALIAN MEAT SAUCE

HERB CRUSTED LEG OF LAMB

ITALIAN COUNTRY FRITTATA

JAPANESE STUFF

JIMMY DEAN BREAKFAST SAUSAGE

JOHNNY MATHIS SPARERIBS AND DUMPLING

LATINO SHRIMP CHOWDER

LEMON PUDDING CAKES

LINGUINI WITH FRESH TUNA

MEDITERRANEAN GRILLED ARTICHOKES

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ARTICHOKES

OLIVE OIL AND RED WINE BISCOTTI

ONE EGG MAYONNAISE

ORANGE CUSTARD TART

PANDA EXPRESS ORANGE CHICKEN

PEACH POUND CAKE

PECAN LOG ROLL

PIGS IN A BLANKET

PIPERADE PIZZA

PIQUILLO TUNA BUTTER

POLLO TONNATO

POTATO SFORMATO WITH MORTADELLA

RAW ARTICHOKE AND LETTUCE SALAD

REAL POTATO SALAD

RISI E BISI

ROASTED LEG OF LAMB

SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN

SUZANNE'S FOCACCIA

SWEET TART PASTRY

TAPIOCA AND RHUBARB PARFAIT

VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICHOKE RISOTTO

 

6 or 7 artichokes

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cups arborio rice

6 cups boiling water or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

4 tablespoons Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

 

Clean the artichokes by removing the stalks and tough outer leaves. Trim off and discard the tops. Cut the artichokes in half and remove the fuzzy inner chokes with a sharp knife. Place artichokes in a bowl of cold water with the lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and sauté over a medium flame for several minutes, or until onions become just translucent.

 

Drain and chop the artichokes; add to the onion. Sauté for five more minutes. Add the rice and stir for two minutes. Increase the heat slightly and begin adding the water or stock, a little at a time, until the rice is cooked. This should take 15 to 18 minutes.

 

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, add the parsley and cheese and mix well to create a creamy sauce. Serve hot. Serves four.

 

ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH ROASTED

PEPPERS AND GOAT CHEESE

2 pounds medium asparagus, tough ends removed

2 red bell peppers

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp capers, drained

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp chopped tarragon or dill

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 oz soft mild goat cheese

12 Nicoise or Calamata olives, pitted and chopped

shavings of parmigiano-reggiano cheese (optional)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes; transfer to a colander and refresh under cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Roast the peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel the peppers and cut them into 1/4 inch thick strips.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vinegar, capers, mustard, tarragon, garlic, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.

Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter. Lay the roasted pepper strips over the asparagus and drizzle with half of the vinaigrette. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Garnish with the chopped olives and the parmigiano shavings and serve, passing the remaining vinaigrette at the table. from Food and Wine

ASPARAGUS SOUP

Makes 8 generous servings

 

This is a simple, elegant soup, tasting purely of asparagus. But toppings can be added. It is also very pretty, especially in a white or black soup bowl. It can be served hot or cold.

 

5 tablespoons butter

5 cups chopped onions (about 5 small to medium)

2 large leeks, white part only, chopped

2 pounds asparagus

8 cups chicken broth or stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup whipping cream (or buttermilk is good for cold soup)

 

Melt the butter in a large stockpot and add onions and leeks. Cover and cook on low heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 20 minutes.

 

Break off woody bottoms of asparagus spears and discard. Cut off about 1 inch of the tips and reserve. Cut remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.

 

Add broth to onions and bring to boil. Add asparagus spears, reduce heat and cover. Simmer about an hour, until spears are very tender. Force broth and spears through a food mill and return to pot. Add reserved tips and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

If serving hot, add whipping cream; if serving cold, refrigerate until cold and then add the buttermilk or cream before serving.

 

BACON WRAPPED TROUT

WITH LEMON RELISH

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 large lemon, peeled, pith removed, seeded, and finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

12 strips of thick cut smokehouse bacon (this will cost $12.00 per pound)

four 6-oz trout or fresh herring fillets, skinned

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the sliced garlic and cook over low heat until golden, about 1 minutes. Add the chopped lemon and cook over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Scrape the lemon relish into a small glass or stainless steel bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Wrap 3 slices of bacon around each trout or herring fillet. Secure the bacon with toothpicks.

Heat a large skillet over moderately high heat. Add the bacon wrapped trout fillets and cook until the bacon is browned and crisped and the fish is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates, spoon the lemon relish on top and serve. from Food and Wine

BARBECUE SAUCE

Makes 5 cups

 

4 cups ketchup

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup or other cane syrup

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Creole or other whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced jalapeños

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Emeril's Red Pepper Sauce or other hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

 

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

BARBECUED BEEF BRISKET

Makes 10 servings

One brisket, 5 to 6 pounds, trimmed

3 tablespoons Emeril's Original Essence

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 quart Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

2 cups veal stock or canned low-sodium beef broth

2 teaspoons salt

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Season the brisket on both sides with the Essence and the salt. Heat a large, heavy skillet or large roasting pan over high heat. Add the oil and sear the meat until evenly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large roasting pan and set aside.

 

Combine the barbecue sauce, veal stock, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture over the brisket and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, then turn the meat over and continue cooking for another 2 1/2 hours.

 

Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Spoon the pan juices over the meat before serving.

 

BARBECUE SAUCE

Makes 5 cups

 

4 cups ketchup

1 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup or other cane syrup

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Creole or other whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced jalapeños

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Emeril's Red Pepper Sauce or other hot sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

 

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

 

BIERACKS

[] Spike says: These are also known as "beerocks;" It is an Armenian treat.

I learned about them when I was living in Fresno, California - that is the

location of the largest Armenian population in the world. []

Dough:

3/4 c. milk

2 pkg. yeast

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. salt

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. warm water

3 1/2 c. flour

1 egg

Scald together milk, sugar, salt and butter. Let cool. Dissolve yeast in

water. Add to lukewarm milk. Add egg, 2 c. flour, and rise until double.

Divide dough in half. Roll out 1/4 in. thick. Cut into 4 x 4 in. squares.

Place several tablespoons of filling in center. Fold opposite corners

together. You may have to moisten corner with water to make them stick.

Place folded side down on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 min. at 400.

Makes approximately 1 dozen.

Filling:

2 lb. ground beef

2 lb. shredded cabbage

2/3 c. chopped onions

2 t. salt

2 t. pepper

2 T. mustard

1/4 c. shredded American cheese

Brown hamburger and onion until done. Add salt, pepper, mustard and cabbage

and cook 5 min. Add cheese last and stir until cheese melts. Cool before

placing in dough.

BLOSSOMS DRESS UP TABLE AND YOUR PLATE

April 10, 2002 Posted: 05:45:08 AM PDT

By APRIL ADAMSON, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

 

"Here's flowers for you:

 

"Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram,

 

"The marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun,

 

"And with him rises, weeping."

 

-- William Shakespeare,

 

"The Winter's Tale"

 

Imagine a luncheon where elegant daylilies are filled with cream-cheese dip, geraniums flavor the cake frosting and colorful pansies float in the wine glasses.

 

This fairy-tale meal would begin with a salad whose "leaves" are really yellow and purple petals, and end with iced tea chilled with blossom-filled cubes.

 

Flowers can take food to poetic heights. The culinary use of edible blooms dates back thousands of years, with the first recorded mention in 140 B.C.

 

Asian cooks still use daylily buds and rose petals, and stuffed squash blossoms are a popular dish in Italian and Hispanic cuisines.

 

Edible flowers can grow anywhere -- from city to suburb -- easily rooting in wood barrels or window boxes for the home chef.

 

"Most people can have edible flowers seven months out of the year," said edible-flower expert Lorraine Keifer.

 

She said raising these blooms makes garnishing food an artistic and vitamin-packed experience.

 

Edible flowers can be planted in the garden, but should be raised organically. Never spray them with pesticides, and be wary of using fertilizers.

 

Experts say cooks should never purchase flowers for consumption at flower shops or in supermarket floral sections.

 

While there are dozens of varieties, Keifer offers expertise on these 10 flowers, which are readily available and versatile in dinners, appetizers and desserts:

 

Nasturtium: This hardy flower is great for beginners and comes in sunset colors. Nasturtium have a peppery flavor perfect for salads and cheese trays.

 

Calendula: Also called pot marigolds, they come in golden orange colors and look like daisies. Their petals are great for soups, rices, pastas and salads and are often used as substitutes for saffron in recipes.

 

Sweet pea flowers: The sweet, crunchy blooms taken from vegetable pea plants are perfect for garnishing salads and tea sandwiches.

 

Scented geraniums: Incredibly romantic and a favorite of the Victorians. They are fragrant, used ranging in scent from floral to citrus to fruits like apricot or strawberry. Their petals can be freely in desserts such as Keifer's rose-scented geranium frosted cake, which incorporates petals into the batter.

 

Johnny jump-ups: Also called pansies, these hardy purple, yellow or violet flowers are fantastic for salads because they are soft, fully edible and colorful. Plus, they can be flattened to decorate cakes or float in wine or punch.

 

Miniature roses: Use the whole bloom to garnish cake tops. Miniature varieties can be planted in wooden barrels and don't grow more than 2 feet high, making them excellent and manageable starter edibles for a beginner. They also can be used beautifully in ice cubes, in fruit punches or on salads.

 

Daylilies: These gorgeous blooms are grown outdoors in spring and summer and can make an exotic garnish at summer parties. Keifer whips cream cheese with herbs such as chives or basil, then stuffs the dip into a daylily and places the special bloom on a plate.

 

Anise hyssop: A blue flower derived from the mint family, it's used in desserts because of its intense anise, or licorice, flavor. Cookies are well complemented with anise hyssop.

 

Rosemary: An evergreen that grows 4 to 6 feet high outdoors and produces flowers in shades of blue, violet and blush. While its fragrant, pointy leaves are a common addition to roasts, chickens and breads, the flowers themselves are aromatic and can be used to garnish salads or mix with fruits for a refreshing dessert.

 

Lavender: Makes a fabulous addition to salads. Cooks often use lavender in recipes where rosemary is called for, such as breads. Use lavender spikes -- stems with the leaves removed -- as kebobs to skewer chicken or shrimp on the grill.

 

 

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Safety is important when cooking with flowers, because not all of them are edible. Here are author Cathy Barash's guidelines from "Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate," (Fulcrum Publishing, $18).

 

Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible.

 

Just because it is served with food does not mean a flower is edible.

 

Eat only flowers that have been grown organically.

 

Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers.

 

If you have hay fever, asthma or allergies, do not eat flowers.

 

Do not eat flowers picked from the side of the road. They are contaminated with car emissions.

 

Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the petals.

 

Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous.

 

There are many varieties of any one flower. Flowers also taste different when grown in different locations.

 

Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby -- one at a time in small quantities.

BOUCHEES AU BEURRE

Separate biscuits into 3 - 4 layers and brush with melted butter. Now, you

can flavor with anything that appeals to you. Some suggestions:

1. Garlic salt and Parmesan cheese, roll up

2. 1/2 teaspoon of grated flavorful cheese, fold in half, crimp edges and

sprinkle tops with cayenne pepper.

3. My favorite: spread with anchovy paste, sprinkle with chopped olives and

capers, roll up

The combinations are only limited by your imagination.

Bake at whatever temperature and whatever length of time indicated on

package. It's usually 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, but you can watch

them.

 

 

 

 

 

BRAISED DUCK LEGS

Serves 6

 

2 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic

Leaves only from 3 thyme sprigs

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of red chili flakes

6 duck legs

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 slices peeled fresh ginger ( 1/4-inch thick)

2 to 3 cups dry red wine

1 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes OR same amount of canned

1/2 bunch parsley

1/2 bunch thyme

3 to 4 cups chicken stock or water

Salt

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

 

Crush salt, garlic, thyme, pepper and chili together with mortar and pestle. Rub each duck leg on meat side with spice mixture and combine with bay leaf in a covered container. Marinate in refrigerator overnight.

 

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over high heat. Add duck legs skin side down and sear until nicely browned. Turn duck legs over and sear on other side until browned. This should take 10-20 minutes total. Transfer duck legs to a platter. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons fat. Add onion, carrot and ginger, and cook over high heat 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and tender. Add red wine, tomatoes, parsley and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Return duck legs to pot and add stock to cover. Bring to a boil; skim off any visible fat from surface, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes, until very tender.

 

Remove duck legs again. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve, and return liquid to pot. Bring liquid to a boil, skimming off excess fat and reduce to desired consistency for a sauce. Taste and salt as needed. Add butter to taste to finish sauce. Put duck legs on individual plates or all on a platter. Spoon sauce over and pass rest at table.

BRAISED RED CABBAGE

Serves 6

 

1 large head red cabbage (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 large red onion, julienned

1/2 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Cut cabbage in half lengthwise and cut out core. Cut each piece in half again lengthwise, then cut each quarter crosswise into 3/4-to 1/2-inch cubes.

 

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes, until soft and golden brown. Add cabbage and sauté, stirring now and then, for 25 minutes or so, until tender. Add vinegar, sugar and cumin. Mix well, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 20 minutes, until juices are syrupy and cabbage appears shiny. Cabbage should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. You can make this ahead and reheat when needed. It goes well with pork chops, smoked duck and grilled squabs.

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

WITH A BONUS OF STEAMED BROCCOLI AND BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES

 

Makes 10 1/2 cups soup, plus 2 cups mashed potatoes and 3 cups steamed broccoli

 

6 cups chicken broth (one 49-ounce can), divided use

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (about 8 medium potatoes)

3 tablespoons butter, divided use (more if desired)

1 large onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups chopped)

1/2 cup diced celery (2 medium stalks)

2 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into serving-size pieces if necessary

Freshly ground pepper

Salt, if needed

1 3/4 to 2 cups low-fat buttermilk, divided use

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

 

In a large pot, place 4 cups chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 10-20 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, in a separate large pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring, until onion and celery soften, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups chicken broth and broccoli. Raise heat to high and cook, covered, until broccoli is tender, about 7-10 minutes.

 

When potatoes are tender, use a slotted spoon to remove about 2 cups potatoes from cooking liquid. (Leave remaining potatoes in pot with heat turned off.) Mash potatoes with 1/2 cup buttermilk and remaining 1 tablespoon butter, more if desired. Add pepper to taste and salt. Serve mashed potatoes hot.

 

When broccoli is tender, remove about 3 cups to serve immediately. (Leave remaining broccoli in pot, uncovered with heat off.)

 

After dinner, finish making soup. Working in batches if necessary, use a food processor or blender to puree potatoes, broccoli with onions and celery, and their cooking liquids. Return puree to large pot and heat gently over medium-heat. Stir in 1 1/4 cups buttermilk. Do not allow soup to boil. Add grated cheddar to hot soup, stirring until melted. Season to taste with pepper and salt. For a thinner soup, add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk.

 

Let soup cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat on the stove or microwave just to serving temperature. Do not allow to boil.

 

Additional bonuses:

 

Cook extra broccoli. Refrigerate cooked broccoli and serve cold with dip, or toss with vinaigrette to form basis of pasta salad.

 

Cook extra potatoes. Drain, chill and make into potato salad.

 

Make extra mashed potatoes. Chill, then sauté spoonfuls for mashed potato pancakes.

BROILED PINEAPPLE

WITH SPICY CINNAMON CREME ANGLAISE SAUCE

Makes 6 servings

 

Fresh pineapple slices quickly broiled with a light seasoning of brown sugar make a sweet but slightly acidic partner for the sauce. The incredible concert of flavors -- spicy cinnamon tea played against Cointreau and rum -- will tantalize your tongue.

 

Sauce:

1 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons cinnamon spice-scented tea leaves

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange-based liqueur

1/4 cup light rum

Pineapple:

6 slices fresh pineapple, about 3/4 inch thick

3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

 

To make sauce: Combine the cream and tea in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer then set aside to steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler and beat with a wooden spoon until pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the Cointreau, rum and infused cream. Bring water in the bottom of the double boiler to a boil, adjust the heat so the water just simmers, and insert the top into the bottom. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickly coats the back of the spoon, about 8 minutes.

 

Remove the top part from the heat and continue stirring the sauce for about 2 minutes more to cool slightly. Strain again, if desired, into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate the sauce until cool.

 

To make pineapple: Adjust the broiler rack to about 4 inches from heat. Turn on the broiler.

 

Lay the pineapple slices on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and broil until the sugar is bubbling and the pineapple is warmed through, about 3 minutes.

 

Ladle a generous pool of creme Anglaise onto 6 dessert plates or drizzle over the pineapple. Add a slice of pineapple, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.

CAFE LATTE CHEESECAKE

8 servings

 

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup brewed double-strength coffee at room temperature

1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust (6 ounces or 9 inches)

Whipped cream garnish, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and coffee and mix until well blended. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. Cut into slices to serve.

 

Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

CHEESE FRIED PIQUILLO TOASTS

Eight 1/2-inch thick slices crusty Italian bread, crusts removed

extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

1 large garlic clove, halved

1/4 cup milk goat cheese, softened

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 ounces Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

8 medium piquillo peppers (this will cost $10.00 per jar)

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. Arrange the bread on a large baking sheet, brush with olive oil and bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Rub the hot toasts with the garlic.

In a small bowl, season the goat cheese with salt and pepper and mix until creamy. Spread a thin layer of the goat cheese over each toast.

Spread the grated Manchego in a shallow bowl. Dredge the peppers in the cheese to coat generously. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the peppers over moderate heat, turning once with a spatula, until richly browned and crusty, about 2 minutes per side. Using a spatula, scrape the peppers from the pan, transfer to the toasts and serve. from Food and Wine

CHICKPEA SOUP

WITH SEARED MONKFISH AND THYME

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 rosemary sprig

1 sage sprig

1/2 cup finely chopped pancetta (2 oz)

1/2 pound dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight and drained

1/2 cup dry white wine

5 cups fish stock, water, or 2 1/2 cups of bottle clam juice plus 2 1/2 cups water

2 canned Italian plum tomatoes, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound trimmed monkfish fillet, cut into 1/3 inch medallions

1 tsp thyme leaves

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, sage, and half of the pancetta, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the fish stock and tomatoes, cover partially and simmer over low heat until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours.

Discard the rosemary and sage sprigs. Transfer 1 cup of the chicipeas with some of the liquid to a food processor and puree; stir the puree into the soup and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped pancetta and cook over low heat, stirring often, until all the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Remove the pancetta and save for another use. Season the monkfish medallions with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the thyme. Add half of the medallions to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining monkfish. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls. Arrange 3 or 5 monkfish medallions in each bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

from Food and Wine

COOK LIKE A VENETIAN -- IN THE MOMENT

By Carolyn Allen, Special to the Mercury News

 

My many journeys to Italy over the past 20 years could be characterized as pilgrimages rather than simply as vacations or business trips. While I always incorporate excursions to previously unexplored cities and villages, some experiences have become rituals. Among these is a walk through the Rialto market, a high-style food theater that only Venice can provide, where slender barges overflow with goods from the prolific waters and gardens in anticipation of the day.

 

Food writer Elizabeth David described it this way: ``The light of a Venetian dawn in early summer -- you must be about at 4 o'clock in the morning to see the market coming to life -- is so limpid and so still that it makes every separate vegetable and fruit and fish luminous with a life of its own, with unnaturally heightened colors and clear stenciled outlines.

 

``Here the cabbages are cobalt blue, the beetroots deep rose, the lettuces clear pure green, sharp as glass. . . In other markets, on other shores, the unfamiliar fishes may be vivid, mysterious, repellent, fascinating and bright with splendid color, only in Venice do they look good enough to eat.''

 

In this rarefied atmosphere, I instantly regretted not leasing a flat last spring so I would have a kitchen in which to concoct culinary experiments. How glorious it would be to stroll the food stalls every morning, impulsively buying whatever caught my eye only to return to a flat and transform the incredible raw ingredients, just as those who live here have done for centuries.

 

Venetian cuisine is based on immediacy -- the purest and freshest products that the surrounding land and sea can provide, prepared with straightforward methods and carried steaming or sizzling to the table for instantaneous enjoyment.

 

On my last stroll through the Rialto market, I spotted a display of a half-dozen types of asparagus: from plump white and slender, purple-tipped to fat and tender deep emerald stalks and a vibrant sea green variety as thin and delicate and long as wild grass. An enormous bouquet of variegated chartreuse and saffron-orange-tinged fiori di zucca, zucchini blossoms, was artfully placed next to a spray of long-stemmed purple artichokes the size of plums and accompanying heads of crimson-tongued radicchio from Treviso. Mountains of spring peas just plucked from the Chioggia fields were heaped against a wooden crate brimming with funghettini di bosco.

 

The pageant of seafood under the ancient arched stone porticoes was no less spectacular. Bianchetti, tiny albino anchovies, still wiggled with so much vigor that they shimmered in the Venetian light like whitecaps on the Adriatic. Flats of exotic, rosy creatures called cannocchie, two-headed (fore and aft) shrimp, were laid out head to head in identical rows. Granseola, spider crab, with their vermilion bodies and spindly legs, slow danced in the sea-scented air while jewel-like scallops edged with brilliant coral roe rested, luminescent, on beds of ice.

 

Venice has become synonymous with the extravagant, the dramatic, the exotic and the refined, from art and architecture to the pleasures of the table. Tables are set with ornate linens and delicate hand-blown glass from Murano. But as a city of merchants, there is something solid here, too. The cuisine is simple and uncomplicated, yet subtle, imaginative and varied in its purity.

 

A typical Venetian meal starts with cuttlefish, clams the size of a thumbnail, cannocchie, sea snails, crawfish, octopus, miniature scallops and other shellfish whose identities are not familiar outside the Adriatic, all caught that morning, lightly steamed and drizzled with olive oil, a hint of lemon and a sprinkle of minced parsley. Fish -- from mullet and John Dory to monkfish and eel -- is treated as simply as possible, often grilled whole or baked and served with a wedge of lemon or in saor, sauteed and then marinated with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, vinegar and dry white wine and served cold.

 

Pasta usually takes a back seat to sophisticated incarnations of risotto. Superfine white polenta is more often used than the yellow variety eaten elsewhere in Italy, and both polenta and rice are sometimes cooked with cuttlefish ink, which adds little taste but turns the dishes black and adds dramatic impact. Rice is combined with everything and anything from the sea or the garden, but the most famous Venetian risotto is risi e bisi, or rice and peas. While it may not sound enticing to those raised on the canned and frozen peas so common in the United States, the dish is a fabulous first course when made with young, tender fresh spring peas.

 

Fiori di zucca are eaten as much for their vibrant and seductive color as for their delicate flavor and can be found throughout the city served fried, stuffed, used as a shell for assorted fillings as well as candied. Even acacia blossoms, at their peak for only a few short weeks, are turned into fragrant fritters.

 

Two of the best first courses I ate during my last trip were an incredible salad of paper-thin slices of raw purple artichoke heart and the sweetest, barely steamed tiny shrimp dressed simply with fruity olive oil and lemon, and an equally fabulous salad of similarly dressed succulent crabmeat, finely minced celery, parsley and chives sitting atop a featherweight, crunchy shell of fried fiori de zucca.

 

The lesson I take away every time I visit Venice and its magical market is to live and cook in the moment. Let the market's offerings inspire your daily menu. Be discriminating. Expect -- and insist on -- the best products from your grocer.

 

You may not be able to find baby shrimp netted that morning, purple artichokes delicate enough to eat raw, or newborn zucchini blossoms at your local grocery, but if you keep suggesting and encouraging, eventually your grocer may expand his or her buying habits. In the meantime, seek out the freshest, most pristine seasonal ingredients you can find. Buon appetito!

COOKIE PRESS JELL-O COOKIES

Makes 5 servings

4 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 c. margarine

1 c. white sugar

1 (3 oz.) package fruit flavored gelatin mix

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 (1 oz.) package fruit flavored gelatin mix

Preheat oven to 400°. Sift flour with baking powder. Cream margarine.

Gradually add sugar and 3 oz. gelatin and cream well. Add egg and vanilla;

beat well. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until smooth. Force dough

through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with remaining

gelatin. Bake for about 12 - 13 minutes or until golden brown at the edges.

 

 

COOKIE PRESS SHORT BREAD

Makes 2 dozen

1 c. butter

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c. confectioners sugar

1/2 c. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter,

sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in flour and

cornstarch. Pop dough into your cookie press and away you go! Bake for 8 -

10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

CUMIN POTATO CAKES

If you want to be luxurious, serve these with roasted quail and top with a poached quail egg.

4 lbs baking potatoes

2 tsp cumin seeds

4 large eggs, lightly beaten (that would probably be about a dozen quail eggs)

2 bunches chives, snipped (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. Prick the potatoes and bake for 50 minutes, or until tender. When cook enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a bowl and coarsely mash; let cool slightly. Lower the oven temperature to 250 deg.

In a small skillet, toast the cumin seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; transfer to a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the chives, cornstarch, baking powder, ground cumin, toasted cumin seeds, and salt. Add the potatoes and mash just until chunky and blended. Divide the potato mixture into 16 portions, then form into

2 1/2 inch patties

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tbsp of the butter in 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add 8 patties to the skillet, and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining patties. Transfer the hot potato cakes to a platter and serve.

from Food and Wine

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER NOODLE SOUP

Serves 6

 

2 tablespoons peanut oil OR extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, sliced

8 cloves garlic, sliced

3 serrano or jalapeño chilies, seeded if you don't want the heat, and minced

1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into half-moons

8 pieces crystallized ginger OR 1/3 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger

3 to 4 tablespoons curry powder

1 cup dry white wine

2 sweet potatoes OR white potatoes, peeled and julienned

1 small head cauliflower, sliced

8 cups vegetable stock OR chicken stock

1 cup egg noodles

1 cup coconut milk (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Minced fresh chives (optional)

 

To make soup, heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté several minutes, until translucent. Add chilies, carrot, ginger and curry, and cook, stirring, several minutes more or until flavors are aromatic. Add wine and cook until it is reduced by half. Add potatoes, cauliflower and stock; bring to a boil, skimming off any froth. Lower heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not falling apart.

 

If serving when soup is finished, add noodles about 10 minutes before vegetables are done. If you are not serving right away, cook noodles separately in boiling salted water and add when reheating. When vegetables are done, stir in coconut milk and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro, almonds and chives.

DREAMY OREO CREAM PIE

Makes 8 servings

 

40 Oreo cookies (divided)

1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)

24 large marshmallows

1/2 cup milk

11/2 cups whipping cream

In a small bowl, coarsely chop 10 cookies; set aside.

 

In a large resealable plastic bag, finely roll 26 cookies into crumbs. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate.

 

Stir marshmallows and milk in 2-quart saucepan on medium heat until melted and smooth; remove from heat and cool completely.

 

Meanwhile, whip the cream. Gently fold 2 cups whipped cream into cooled marshmallow mixture; fold in chopped cookies. Spoon into prepared pie crust; refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Coarsely chop remaining 4 cookies for topping. Top pie with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle on cookies.

DREAMY OREO CREAM PIE

Makes 8 servings

 

40 Oreo cookies (divided

1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)

24 large marshmallows

1/2 cup milk

11/2 cups whipping cream

In a small bowl, coarsely chop 10 cookies; set aside.

 

In a large resealable plastic bag, finely roll 26 cookies into crumbs. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate.

 

Stir marshmallows and milk in 2-quart saucepan on medium heat until melted and smooth; remove from heat and cool completely.

 

Meanwhile, whip the cream. Gently fold 2 cups whipped cream into cooled marshmallow mixture; fold in chopped cookies. Spoon into prepared pie crust; refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Coarsely chop remaining 4 cookies for topping. Top pie with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle on cookies.

) EGGS JALAPENO

3 medium Jalapeno Peppers, canned -- sliced and diced

1 ounce Cheddar Cheese -- grated

4 medium Eggs -- slightly beaten

Non-stick Cooking Spray

Arrange peppers in a 10-inch pie plate which has been prepared with

non-stick cooking spray. Cover peppers with cheese. Pour slightly beaten

eggs over cheese. Bake at 275 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until set. Cut

into 10 wedges. Serve hot. RF4RP ok for diabetics, it says.

FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR

AND FIG CRACKERS

3 large dried figs, preferably Calimyrna

boiling water

1 3/4 cups flour

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

1/4 pound extra sharp farmhouse Cheddar cheese, preferably from

England, Canada, or Vermont, grated (1 1/4 cups) (This will cost $14.00.)

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a small heatproof bowl, soak the figs in boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the figs and pat dry. Slice off the tough stems, then cut the figs into 1/2 inch dice.

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, Cheddar cheese, Kosher salt, and pepper, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add the figs and egg. Using your hands, work the dough until it comes together.

Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and pat it into a 12- by 2 inch rectangular log. Wrap the log tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 deg. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Slice the log of dough crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the slices at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the Cheddar crackers for about 12 minutes, or until they are golden brown and slightly firm. Carefully transfer the crackers to a wire rack to cool. from Food and Wine

FOCACCIA STUFFED ARTICHOKES

 

4 large artichokes

2 cups focaccia or herbed bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Wash artichokes under cold running water. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Cut off top quarter of artichokes; discard. Spread leaves, remove center leaves and fuzzy centers with a spoon; discard.

 

Toss bread crumbs with cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stuff bread crumb mixture between leaves of artichokes and fill centers. Place stuffed artichokes in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 cups boiling water around the artichokes. Cover with lid or foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until artichokes are tender.

 

Remove artichokes from baking dish and place on rack; cool to room temperature. Makes four servings.

FONTINA TALEGGIO FONDUTA

WITH BAKED POTATO CHIPS

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

5 oz Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)

5 oz Taleggio cheese, shredded (1 cup)

white truffle oil, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 deg. Soak the potato slices in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain the slices and pat dry with paper towels.

Transfer the potatoes to 2 large, rimmed baking sheets and toss each batch with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Arrange the slices on the sheets side by side without overlapping, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown; as they brown, transfer the potato chips to a rack with a spatula.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 deg. In a bowl, mix the shredded cheeses, then divide among individual gratin dishes. Bake the cheese for about 7 minutes, or until bubbling. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve at once with the potato chips.

from Food and Wine

FRESH VEGGIES AND BEEF SUKIYAKI

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup beef broth

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sake wine or cooking sherry, (optional)

1 1/2 cups each sliced carrots and celery

1 cup julienne-sliced green onions, including some green tops

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

5-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained

1 package leafy greens blend

Hot, cooked rice

 

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok on medium high heat. Add beef and stir-fry quickly, until lightly browned and no longer pink. Sprinkle with sugar. Combine broth, soy sauce and sake; pour over meat. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.

 

Increase heat to high, add carrots, celery and green onion, stir-frying approximately 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add 1/2 package of greens and 1/2 of meat mixture. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add remaining greens and meat and stir-fry until mixture is heated through. Serve immediately over hot rice.

FRIED APPLE PIES

24 small pies

 

1/2 pound dried apples

Sugar to taste

Cinnamon to taste

Nutmeg to taste

Peanut oil for frying

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup shortening

3/4 to 1 cup cold water

 

Place apples in a saucepan; cover with water. Cook apples until tender, 2 to 3 hours.

 

When apples are soft and fairly dry, place in a medium bowl; add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg as desired.

 

Pour peanut oil into deep kettle or skillet at least 3 inches deep. Heat over low heat, watching not to overheat.

 

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour mixture until particles are the size of peas.

 

Gradually sprinkle with cold water, mixing very lightly with fork until flour is moistened. Pinch off portions of dough and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/8-inch thick. Spoon about 1 tablespoon fruit mixture onto each round.

 

Moisten edges with water, fold to form a semicircle and press edges together with a fork.

 

When oil reaches 365 degrees, add 1 or 2 pies; cook until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

FRUIT DIP

Makes 3 cups, enough to fill and frost two 8- or 9-inch cake layers

 

1 cup Marshmallow Fluff or other marshmallow cream

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

In double-boiler top over hot -- not boiling -- water, combine fluff, egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt and water. With electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and continue beating until stiff. Beat in vanilla.

GHIVETCH

WITH A BONUS OF HEARTY SALAD AND SQUASH BOATS

 

Makes 8 servings ghivetch, plus 6 servings salad and 6 servings squash boats

 

4 small yellow crookneck squash, divided use

4 small zucchini, divided use

3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced, divided use

1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, sliced into 1/2-inch diagonals, divided use

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 stalks celery, sliced about 1/4-inch thick, on the diagonal, divided use

4 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges, divided use

1 medium mild red onion, peeled and thinly sliced, divided use

1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets, divided use

1 small red bell pepper, cut in thin strips, divided use

1 small yellow bell pepper, cut in thin strips, divided use

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1 cup beef stock

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

4 cloves garlic, divided use

1/2 bay leaf, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dried savory

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 bag (5 to 6 ounces) spring mix salad greens or 1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed and dried

1/4 of a large English cucumber, sliced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim ends from yellow squash and zucchini; thinly slice 1 squash and 1 zucchini.

 

In ungreased shallow baking dish (about 13-by-9-by-2 inches), combine sliced squash and zucchini; 1 cup carrots; 1 cup green beans; sweet potato; 1/2 cup celery; 2 tomatoes; most of the onion; about 2/3 of cauliflower; 1/4 cup red pepper; 1/4 cup yellow pepper; and peas. Gently toss.

 

In a small saucepan, combine stock; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; bay leaf, savory, tarragon and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil; pour over vegetables. Cover with tight lid or double layer of foil. Bake 45 to 75 minutes, stirring once or twice. Vegetables should be just tender and still colorful.

 

To prepare squash boats: Halve lengthwise the remaining squash and zucchini. Cut off skinny necks of yellow squash and reserve. With small spoon, carefully scoop out insides from both types of squash, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell. Finely chop squash insides and reserved necks. In a small bowl, combine chopped squash with salt and pepper to taste and grated cheese. Spoon mixture into shells. Arrange in shallow baking dish. Refrigerate, covered tightly with plastic wrap, until ready to cook. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until squash shells are tender and cheese is lightly browned, about 25-35 minutes.

 

For the salad: Place lettuce in bowl. Top with remaining carrots, green beans, tomatoes, celery, cauliflower and peppers. Add cucumber slices and remaining onion. Cover salad and refrigerate.

 

For dressing: Mince or press remaining garlic clove. In a small jar, combine garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, a few twists of pepper, Dijon mustard and vinegars. Shake well. Add remaining oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Additional bonuses:

 

Steam extra green beans. Toss with soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. Serve cold, topped with toasted walnuts.

 

Roast remaining cauliflower half. Cut into florets, toss with salt and flavorful olive oil; place on a cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees until tender and slightly browned.

 

Oven-fry extra sweet potatoes. Peel and cut extra sweet potatoes into wedges. Toss with olive oil and salt; roast at 400 degrees until browned and crisp.

 

Broil extra tomatoes. Halve tomatoes, top with bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil if desired. Broil until browned and a bit soft.

GRILLED VEGETABLES

WITH BONUSES OF RATATOUILLE AND VEGETABLE LASAGNA

 

Makes 6 servings grilled vegetables, 6 to 8 cups ratatouille and 12 servings vegetable lasagna

 

4 large eggplants, divided use

6 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 teaspoon, divided use

6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, divided use

3 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 head garlic, unpeeled

4 red bell peppers

2 large onions, chopped

1 pound tomatoes, peeled, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided use

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided use

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried

15- 16 ounces ricotta

1 egg

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1 tablespoon, divided use

Non-stick spray

1 pound mozzarella, sliced or grated

12 no-boil lasagna noodles

 

Light a grill. Peel about half skin from eggplants. Cut 2 into 1-inch thick rounds, slice others lengthwise, 1 inch thick. Mix 4 tablespoons olive oil with 4 tablespoons water. Brush onto eggplant slices, zucchini halves and mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Remove outer papery layers from garlic, leaving cloves attached. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil on garlic and wrap tightly in double layer of foil. Place garlic in cooler spot on grill. Grill eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers over direct heat, turning as needed. Allow skin of peppers to blacken, then place them in plastic bag. Remove garlic when softened. Serve eggplant rounds, half the zucchini and the mushrooms, halved, as grilled vegetables. If not making ratatouille that day, refrigerate remaining grilled vegetables.

 

To make ratatouille: Peel, seed and chop peppers. Cut eggplant slices and zucchini into 1-inch cubes. Halve garlic chunk; squeeze out cloves. Chop. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven. Add onion, cook over low heat until soft, about 15 minutes. Add 6 to 8 cloves roasted garlic and fresh tomatoes. Turn heat to medium-high; cook until tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add peppers, eggplant and zucchini and cook about 5 minutes. Add half parsley, half basil and all thyme. Add salt and pepper if needed. Reserve 4 cups ratatouille for lasagna. Serve remainder hot, warm or cold.

 

To make lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make sauce, roughly chop any large vegetable pieces in reserved ratatouille. Combine canned tomatoes, wine, remaining basil and oregano. Add salt and pepper if needed. Separately, combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan, remaining parsley and few twists pepper. Grease a 9-by-13 pan. Assemble lasagna in layers as follows: 1 cup sauce, 4 noodles, 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/3 remaining sauce, 1/3 mozzarella. Then, 4 noodles, rest of ricotta, 1/2 remaining sauce, 1/2 remaining mozzarella. Then, 4 noodles, rest of mozzarella, rest of sauce, 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate or bake, 50 minutes to 1 hour (longer if lasagna was refrigerated), until noodles are tender and lasagna is bubbly. Uncover, bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

 

Additional bonuses:

 

Grill extra peppers: Use on pizza or in pastas, or puree for soup.

 

Grill an extra eggplant until soft: Scoop out flesh and puree with garlic, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice for baba ghanouj.

 

Grill extra zucchini and peppers: Tuck into quesadillas.

HASH BROWN CASSEROLE

5 cups Potatoes -- cooked & shredded

12 strips Bacon -- raw

1/2 cup Milk

1/3 cup Onion -- chopped

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 tablespoon Butter or Margarine

1/2 teaspoon Paprika

topping:

2 cups Cheddar Cheese -- shredded

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except bacon. Toss to mix well. In a

9 x 13 inch baking pan, arrange bacon strips to cover bottom of pan. Turn

potato mixture into pan on top of bacon strips. Top with shredded cheese.

Cover baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.

This dish can be served as a side dish, or for breakfast.

HAZELNUT SEMIFREDDO

WITH GIANDUJA SAUCE

3/4 cup hazelnuts (1/4 lb)

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp water

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

3 large egg whites

2 oz gianduja or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Oil a baking sheet and line 3 1/2 cup ramekins or custard cups with plastic wrap, leaving 3 inches of overhang. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Put the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until richly browned. Transfer to a kitchen towel and let cool. Rub the nuts together in the towel to remove the skins; finely chop the hazelnuts.

Put 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Stir the water into the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Simmer this sugar syrup, brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush, until a deep brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the hazelnuts. Immediately scrape the caramel-and hazelnut mixture onto the oiled baking sheet and let cool until hard.

Break this praline into small pieces and transfer to a food processor. Grind to a coarse powder.

In a medium stainless steel bowl, whip 1 cup of the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks and refrigerate. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold firm and glossy peaks, gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Using a large rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold in the ground praline, followed by the whipped cream. Spoon the semifreddo into the prepared ramekins, pressing with the spoon to remove any air pockets. Cover with the overhanging plastic and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1/3 cup of heavy cream to a voil over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, and let cool slightly.

Refrigerate the chocolate sauce until thick, about 1 hour.

Unwrap the semifreddo and unmold onto dessert plates. Drizzle the sauce around the plates, and serve.

HEARTY ITALIAN MEAT SAUCE

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 large Onion -- diced

4 cloves Garlic -- minced

1 large Carrot -- finely diced

1/4 pound Prosciutto -- diced

1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef, extra lean

1 pound Italian Sausage -- with fennel

2 cups Beef Broth, ready to eat

29 ounces Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons Marsala Wine

1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper -- diced

1/2 cup Italian Parsley -- minced

2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Salt

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 tablespoon Oregano -- dried

2 teaspoons Basil -- dried

1 tablespoon Rosemary -- dried

2 Bay Leaves

Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and prosciutto and

sauté in hot oil 3 minutes., stirring well. Add beef and cook 2 minutes.,

stirring to break up meat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Secure lid. Over

high heat, develop steam to high pressure. Reduce heat to maintain pressure

and cook 10 minutes. Release pressure according. to manufacturer's directions.

Remove lid. Stir sauce well. Discard bay leaves. Cook over med-high heat,

uncovered, 5 minutes. to reduce liquid and intensify flavor. Let stand 5 minutes.,

then skim fat from surface. from Real Food for Real People

Refrigerate for up to 5 days before using, or freeze for 3 - 6 months.

HERB CRUSTED LEG OF LAMB

1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

3/4 tsp dried lavender (optional)

one 4-lb boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat

salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and lavender. Spread the lamb on a work surface, boned side up, and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread half of the herb mixture over the lamb and roll it into a roast. Tie the lamb with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Spread the remaining herb mixture all over the outside of the roast and season with salt and pepper. Let the roast stand at room temperature for one hours.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, boil the stock over moderately high heat until reduced to 1 cup - about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 deg. Set the lamb in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 deg. Cook the lamb for 45 minutes longer, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125 deg for medium-rare or 140 deg for medium.

Transfer the lamb to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the fennel seeds to the roasting pan and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, add the reduced stock, and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan; season with salt and pepper.

Discard the string. Carve the lamb into thick slices and arrange on a platter. Pour any carving juices into the sauce, spoon it over the lamb, and serve.

from Food and Wine

ITALIAN COUNTRY FRITTATA

Makes 4 servings

 

This recipe is great for Sunday brunch or dinner when time is at a premium. Serve with thick slices of toasted bread.

2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 celery rib, diced

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

6 eggs

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

 

Garnishes: additional grated parmesan cheese, mint sprigs or basil leaves

In a medium (about 10-inch) ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat. Add the zucchini and celery; cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

 

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the parmesan cheese and basil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat 1 minute on low heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook 4 minutes. Carefully flip the frittata and cook 4 minutes longer. Alternately, place under the broiler 5 minutes or until the top is set and golden.

 

Cut into quarters and sprinkle with the additional parmesan cheese. Garnish with mint or basil and serve.

RED MISO SOUP

3 1/2 cups dashi (see recipe below)

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp red miso paste

1/2 pound silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cremini mushrooms

2 tbsp chervil or cilantro leaves

In a medium saucepan, bring the Dashi to a boil over moderately high heat. Whisk in the miso paste, then add the tofu and mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the chervil and serve.

 

DASHI

(This is available at Asian markets; it is often called bonito soup stock.)

6 cups water

1 oz bonito flakes (2 cups)

1/2 ounce kombu (dried seaweed) (optional)

Combine all these ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Strain the dashi into a large bowl.

 

JAPANESE STEAMED COD WITH DAIKON

1 1/2 cups Dashi (see recipe above)

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water

four 5-oz cod fillets, skinned

salt

1/2 cup finely grated daikon

thin strips of lemon zest, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, mix the dashi with the mirin and soy sauce. Whisk in the diluted cornstarch and simmer over low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes.

Season the cod with salt. Top each fillet with 2 tbsp of the grated daikon. Place the fillets in a steamer set over simmering water and steam over moderate heat until the fish is just cooked through, about 5 minutes

Transfer the cod to plates. Spoon the sauce around the fillets, garnish with lemon zest, and serve. from Food and Wine

JIMMY DEAN BREAKFAST SAUSAGE

(r)

by Todd Wilbur

 

Before he became America's sausage king, Jimmy Dean was known for crooning the country hit "Big Bad John." That song came out in 1962 and sold over 8 million copies. His singing success launched a television career on ABC with "The Jimmy Dean Show" where Roy Clark, Patsy Cline and Roger Miller got their big breaks. The TV exposure led to acting roles for Jimmy, as a regular on "Daniel Boone" and in feature films including his debut in the James Bond flick "Diamonds are Forever." Knowing that a show business career is an unpredictable one, Jimmy socked his money away in hog-farming investments. In 1968, the Jimmy Dean Meat Company developed a special recipe to transform those piggies into the sausage that is now a household name. Today the company is part of the Sara Lee Corporation, but Jimmy is still chairman of the board of his division, and he still appears on TV in commercials for the brand, even at the age of 70.

This clone recipe recreates three varieties of the famous roll sausage that you form into patties and cook in a skillet. Use ground pork found at the supermarket (make it lean pork, if you like), or grind some up yourself if you have a meat grinder laying around for some good old-fashioned fun.

 

From Top Secret Recipes:

Sage

16 ounces ground pork

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon MSG (such as Accent flavor enhancer)

 

Hot

16 ounces ground pork

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon MSG (such as Accent)

Maple

16 ounces ground pork

3 tablespoons maple flavored syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon MSG (such as Accent)

1/4 teaspoon coriander

 

Combine all ingredients for the flavor of your choice in a medium bowl. Form the sausage into patties and cook in a skillet over medium heat until brown. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)

 

Makes 1 pound of sausage.

 

JOHNNY MATHIS SPARERIBS AND DUMPLINGS

4 servings

 

1 rack spareribs (8 ribs)

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cold water

3/4 cup flour

Few drops Tabasco

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Kitchen Bouquet Dumplings

2 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick)

1/2 cup cold water, approximately

 

Have butcher cut rack of spareribs into two-rib portions. Wash ribs thoroughly in cold water.

 

Place ribs in decorative Dutch oven or large kettle suitable for both cooking and serving. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to boil, cook gently until tender, about 45 minutes. Lower heat to simmer. Do not pour off any fat. Simmer 15 minutes.

 

Drop dumplings on top of ribs. Return to boil and cook 10 minutes. Cover. Cook 10 minutes longer. Remove dumplings and spareribs.

 

Measure liquid, return 6 cups to kettle. Blend 3/4 cup flour with equal amount of cold water to smooth thin paste. Pour slowly into kettle, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until gravy is thickened and smooth. Add more salt if necessary.

 

Add Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and enough Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce to give the gravy an attractive color. Return ribs and dumplings to kettle, heat to serving temperature.

 

For dumplings: Combine biscuit mix with enough cold water to make a soft dough. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured board. Shape into square or oblong. Cut into 12 squares with sharp, floured knife.

LATINO SHRIMP CHOWDER

4 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

 

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pasilla chili, or 1 green bell pepper, chopped (see note)

1 to 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper

1 quart low-fat milk

3 cups 1/2-inch cubes of hearty-textured bread

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained

1/2 pound (50 to 60) small shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat; add onion, pasilla and jalapeno. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about eight minutes.

 

Stir in milk; bring to a low boil. Remove from heat.

 

Place bread cubes in blender along with 2 cups of the milk mixture; puree until smooth.

 

Return puree to remaining milk mixture in saucepan and re-warm over medium-high heat.

 

Stir in corn, shrimp and cilantro. Cook until shrimp are pink and soup is hot, about five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Note: Use either pasilla or milder green bell pepper, according to what is easily available and what suits your own preference in flavor.

LEMON PUDDING CAKES

WITH APRICOT SAUCE

The unusual thing about these lemony cakes is that while they are baking, the batter splits, creating a creamy pudding-like top and soufflé-like bottom.

Cake: 1 1/4 cups whole milk

zest of two lemons

5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

5 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

Sauce: one 8 1/2 oz jar apricot halves in syrup, drained

1/2 cup apricot preserves

3 tbsp water

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

salt

Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 325 deg. Lightly spray eight 6 oz ramekins with vegetable cooking spray and arrange them in a small roasting pan.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk with the lemon zest and bring just to a simmer. Strain the milk through a sieve into a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with 6 tbsp of the sugar at moderately high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, until incorporated. Using a spoon, stir in the flour, lemon juice and infused milk until combined.

In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until the egg whites are firm and glossy. Working in batches, gently fold the meringue into the batter just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35

minutes, or until small cracks appear on top of each cake. Using tongs, transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool.

Make the sauce: In a food processor or blender, puree the apricots with the preserves, water, lemon juice, and salt until smooth.

Run a blunt knife around each cake and invert onto a dessert plate. Spoon the apricot sauce around the cakes and serve. from Food and Wine

LINGUINI WITH FRESH TUNA

TOMATOES, AND LEMON

2 tbsp pine nuts

1 pound tuna steak, cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fennel fronds

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 pound linguini

salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tuna, wine, and lemon zest, 1/2 cup of the cherry tomatoes, and 2 tbsp each of the olive oil and fennel fronds. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the crushed red pepper and the remaining cherry tomatoes and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the linguini in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the linguini.

Add the tuna mixture and the remaining 2 tbsp of fennel fronds to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring just until the tuna starts to whiten, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the linguini and the reserved pasta cooking water and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, and serve at once. from Food and Wine

MEDITERRANEAN GRILLED ARTICHOKES

 

1/2 cup favorite marinade

1 medium or large artichoke per person

 

Clean and trim artichokes one at a time to remove the tough lower leaves and spiny tips. Leave stems on, but trim and peel. Cut the artichokes in half. Remove fuzzy choke. Put each cleaned and trimmed artichoke in marinade. Make sure the marinade contains a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. You can make your own marinade with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice and flavor it with garlic and seasonal herbs.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ARTICHOKES

Make a global statement with artichokes

For the next four weeks, it's the peak of the season for this spring delicacy.

 

Castroville will harvest about 60 percent of the year's supply of chokes over the next month or so. And growers are plenty excited about the quality of this year's crop.

 

Look for bright-green artichokes that are heavy for their size.

 

Heavy means there is a lot of meat on the leaves and a large heart.

 

Depending on size, you will start seeing retail pricing around a dollar for the jumbos and 39 to 49 cents for the smaller ones.

 

Don't forget the babies, usually sold by the pound. Peel the outer leaves, cut in half from top to bottom, saute with garlic, onions and olive oil, then toss them into your pasta.

 

And, once you've had your fill of the simple, standard way, start thinking Old World artichoke recipes.

 

Artichokes first were grown in Italy and Sicily.

 

Ancient Romans considered artichokes a delicacy and preserved them in vinegar or brine so they could be served at feasts throughout the year.

 

In fact, in Italy and Greece, no one has the patience for our dainty pluck-and-dip ritual.

 

They go right for the heart -- whacking off the leaves, scooping out the choke, trimming the stem, then deciding what to do. Maybe they'll stuff them or braise them. Throw them in a roasting pan under a fat-dripping leg of lamb. Or maybe they'll just eat them raw.

 

In Mediterranean countries, early spring vegetables -- asparagus, peas, cardoons (A Mediterranean plant (Cynara cardunculus) closely related to the artichoke, cultivated for its edible leafstalks and roots ) -- often are eaten raw. Artichokes are no exception.

 

In Italy, slivers of raw artichoke often are combined with chips of Parmesan cheese, and it's a natural match.

Grill the artichoke halves over a low to medium flame, turning frequently and basting as needed with the marinade. Allow the leaves to blacken a little. Test for doneness by poking a knife or skewer into the base. Whole baby artichokes, which can be threaded on skewers, will cook completely in about 15 minutes. Allow 30 to 40 minutes over a low flame for larger artichokes. Serve plain or with a butter or olive oil sauce for dipping.

OLIVE OIL AND RED WINE BISCOTTI

About 60 cookies (each 1-by-21/2 inches)

 

1 egg

1 cup pure olive oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups whole-wheat flour

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup dry red wine

1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped, optional

 

Beat egg until it is creamy. Add olive oil, beat it with the egg until the mixture becomes just slightly foamy, then add the sugar and vanilla. Combine the ingredients well and set aside.

 

In separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt. Add one-fourth of dry mixture to the egg-oil mixture, then add one-fourth of the wine.

 

Continue alternating portions of dry mixture and wine to egg-oil mixture. Mix until the final addition is well-blended and the dough is stiff. If you are using walnuts, work them in with your hands in a quick kneading motion.

 

Divide the dough into quarters and work each piece into a rope about 10 inches long and 11/2 inches in diameter.

 

Place ropes of dough at least two inches apart on greased baking sheet and flatten them just slightly with fingers. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool slightly on wire racks. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

 

Cut the warm loaves into diagonal slices about › inch thick and place them, cut side up, on the baking sheet.

 

Return to oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until biscotti are very dry.

 

Remove from oven and let biscotti dry on wire racks until they are completely cool. Store in a glass jar or tin.

ONE EGG MAYONNAISE

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

 

1 large egg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup olive oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

In a food processor or blender, blend the egg and lemon juice for 10 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil through the feed tube. Mixture will thicken. Add the pepper and salt and pulse once or twice to blend. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Best used within 24 hours because of the raw egg.

ORANGE CUSTARD TART

Makes 6 to 8 servings

 

This ethereal creation should be started one day before you plan to serve it.

1 unbaked 91/2-inch Sweet Tart Pastry shell (see accompanying recipe)

2 or 3 small seedless oranges

1 cup water

3/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (see note)

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Bake pastry shell.

 

Slice oranges crosswise 1/8 inch thick. In large saucepan, combine water and 3/4 cup sugar; bring to a boil. Add orange slices; simmer over very low heat until translucent (45 minutes). Remove from heat; let stand overnight.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove tart pan lined with Sweet Tart Pastry from refrigerator. Over the pastry fit a circle of aluminum foil or parchment paper 2 inches larger than diameter of tart pan, allowing foil to project above rim of pan. Fill foil with dried beans (or aluminum pie weights) to support the sides of the pastry shell and keep it from puffing as it bakes.

 

Bake until pastry starts to firm up, 10 to 15 minutes. Gently remove foil and beans. Cover rim of pastry with foil strips to prevent overbrowning; then bake until pastry is still pale, not yet golden, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven.

 

Lower oven to 350 degrees.

 

In mixing bowl, combine eggs, the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, orange juice and zest; whisk until well-mixed. Whisk in melted butter. Pour into the partially baked pastry; bake until custard is set and a knife inserted into center comes out clean (20 to 25 minutes). Set on wire rack to cool.

 

Remove orange slices from syrup; drain well. Cut half the slices into halves and the rest into quarters. Place a row of overlapping quarters around perimeter of tart, then place overlapping halves so they just cover tips of first row. Continue, alternating rows of overlapping quarters with halves, ending with a half slice in the center.

 

Melt preserves over low heat; strain out solids. Mix in liqueur. Brush mixture over orange slices. Remove sides of tart pan and serve at once.

 

Note: Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.

PANDA EXPRESS ORANGE CHICKEN

2 lbs boneless chicken pieces -- skinned

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp salt

white pepper

oil (for frying)

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1 Tbsp minced ginger root

1 tsp minced garlic

1 dash crushed hot red chilies

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 T rice wine

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp sesame oil -- (1/2 to 1)

Orange Sauce For Stir Fry:

2 tsp Minced zest

1/4 cup Juice from1 large Orange

1/2 tsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Chicken stock

1 Tbsp Light soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Cut chicken pieces in

2" squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp oil

and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces,

stirring to coat. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375. Add

chicken pieces, a small batch at time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until

golden and crisp. (Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.) Remove chicken

from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil. Add ginger and garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 Tbsp

cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thick. Stir

in 1 tsp. sesame oil. Serve at once.

PEACH POUND CAKE

 

3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup margarine

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

2 cups fresh or frozen peaches, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch tube pan.

 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts. In a large bowl, cream margarine and sugar, add eggs, beating well after each addition.

 

Add sour cream mixture; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well; stir in peaches. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake 75 to 80 minutes.

PECAN LOG ROLL

1 (6-ounce) package butterscotch flavored chips

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 egg white, slightly beaten (see Food Safety) maybe use "egg beaters"

Additional chopped pecans

1. Melt morsels in double boiler over simmering water. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and pecans. Chill until firm

enough to handle.

3. Roll tightly on waxed paper to form a 12-inch roll.

4. Brush with egg whites; roll in additional chopped pecans. Wrap tightly

in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill until firm. Slice to serve.

Makes about 3/4 pound candy.

PIGS-IN-A-BLANKET

 

1 medium head cabbage

2 pounds ground beef

1/3 cup uncooked rice

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup sugar

28 ounces sauerkraut

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

28 ounces tomato juice

 

Boil a large pot of water.

 

Remove core of cabbage; discard. Place cabbage in boiling water; cook 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and cool. When cool, carefully remove 1 leaf at a time from head; set aside.

 

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, eggs, salt, pepper, paprika and sugar. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons meat mixture on each leaf; roll leaf around meat.

 

Layer ingredients in a large casserole or roasting pan in this order: A layer of sauerkraut, half the onions and garlic, then the cabbage rolls. Cover rolls with remaining sauerkraut, onion and garlic.

 

Pour tomato juice over top. Cover; bake 2 to 21/2 hours at 325 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIPERADE PIZZA

For this pizza I turned piperade, the Basque pepper stew that I learned to make in France, into a delicious, bright red topping. Students in my pizza classes enjoy it because the peppers develop a deeper flavor than those that are simply sliced and strewn raw over pizza dough.

 

To cut the preparation time, I make a quick pizza dough with quick-rising yeast. Note that this yeast makes use of warmer water than regular yeast. I like to make my dough in a mixer, which is great for mixing wet doughs, but you can also easily make this simple dough in a food processor or by hand in a bowl.

Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (divided)

2 envelopes quick-rising active dry yeast

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, heated until very warm to the touch (about 125 degrees F)

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

Topping:

4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil (divided)

1 large onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 pound)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno chili, seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped WEAR GLOVES

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juice

Salt, freshly ground pepper

 

To make dough in mixer with dough hook: In bowl, mix 11/2 cups flour with yeast and 11/2 teaspoons salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add water and oil. Add remaining 11/2 cups flour and mix 2 minutes to blend. Continue mixing at medium speed, adding more flour if dough is too wet, until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl, about 3 minutes.

 

To make dough in food processor or by hand, see below.

 

Place dough in lightly oiled medium bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover with damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in volume.

 

To make topping: Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet. Add onion and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add bell peppers, garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until mixture is thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Coat 2 baking sheets with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Knead dough briefly, divide in two, and place each on baking sheet. With oiled hands, pat dough into two 10-inch rounds, making rims slightly higher than centers.

 

Spread half of topping over each pizza, leaving 1/2-inch border at edges. Brush edges of dough with oil.

 

Bake 18 minutes or until dough is golden brown and firm but not hard. Serve hot.

 

To make dough in food processor: Briefly process 11/2 cups flour with yeast and 11/2 teaspoons salt. With machine on, pour in water and oil. Add remaining flour and process until blended. If dough is too dry to hold together, add 1 tablespoon water and process again 1 minute.

 

To make dough by hand: In bowl, mix 11/2 cups flour with yeast and 11/2 teaspoons salt. Stir in water and oil with wooden spoon. Stir in remaining flour until dough is smooth. Work dough by holding it with fingertips and slapping it several times on work surface until smooth and elastic, lightly flouring dough if it is too sticky.

PIQUILLO TUNA BUTTER

4 oz unsalted European style butter, softened (this will cost $12.00 per pound.)

6 oz imported jarred tuna fillet packed in olive oil, drained (this will cost $10.00)

8 medium piquillo peppers ($10.00 per jar)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice (you'll have to steal the lemon!!!)

salt and freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, combine the butter, tuna, piquillo peppers and lemon juice; process until creamy. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with toast, spread on sandwiches, or use as a dip. from Food and Wine

POLLO TONNATO

Serves 2

This is an easy, scaled-down version of the traditional Italian recipe vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce) using sautéed chicken instead of veal.

 

The accompanying mayonnaise sauce has tangy flavors of capers, anchovies and tuna. The original recipe calls for fresh mayonnaise, which must be made in advance. This shortcut uses bottled mayonnaise, and the sauce is so quick and easy, you can double the recipe and use the leftovers the next day over pasta or rice.

 

The chicken and sauce are served on a bed of red peppers and beans, making this a quick one-pot dinner. It is a perfect dish to serve hot or cold. Just warm a loaf of Italian bread -- plain or with garlic and butter -- and toss a salad to complete the meal. This rich dish would go nicely with a rich, dry, white semillon, or, for contrast a crisp, red Chianti.

 

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided use

2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium red pepper, thinly sliced (2 cups)

1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or navy beans)

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

2 anchovy fillets

1/4 cup water-packed white meat tuna, drained

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed

4 pitted black olives, cut in half

 

Heat a large non-stick skillet on high. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add chicken breasts. Brown 2 minutes, turn and brown other side 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Lower heat to medium high. Push chicken to one side and add 2 remaining teaspoons olive oil. Add red pepper, beans and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes, tossing beans and peppers together.

 

While chicken cooks, rinse anchovy fillets and place in bowl of a food processor with tuna, mayonnaise and yogurt. Process until smooth. Add water and process to blend.

 

To serve, spoon beans and peppers on individual plates and place chicken on top. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle capers and olives on top.

 

POTATO SFORMATO WITH MORTADELLA

AND BUFFALO MOZZARELLA

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

salt

3/4 cup warmed milk

freshly ground pepper

3 oz mortadella, cut into 1/4 inch dice

5 oz fresh mozzarella, preferably buffalo, cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 425 deg. Butter a 7 x 11 inch baking dish. In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes; drain. Shake the potatoes over moderately high heat until very dry. Remove from the heat.

Mash the potatoes, stirring in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the mortadella and mozzarella, then spread the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Dot the top with the butter and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until bubbling. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, or until crusty and browned on top. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

from Food and Wine

RAW ARTICHOKE AND LETTUCE SALAD

 

3 large artichokes

1 lemon, cut in half

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and shredded

3 green onions or 1 to 2 Vidalia spring onions, white and tender green parts,

thinly sliced

1 small bunch fresh dill, snipped, 1/3 to 1/2 cup

Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichokes, revealing the choke.

 

With a paring knife, trim the leaves around the edges of the heart, then slice out the hairy choke. (It will stick more than it does after the artichoke is cooked.)

 

Cut the stem, leaving a half-inch nub. Pare the rough skin on the surface. Immediately rub the surface with a cut lemon to prevent discoloration.

 

Cut the artichoke into very thin slivers, preferably with a mandoline or a slicer, but a sharp knife will work.

 

Place the slivers in a non-reactive bowl and squeeze a half lemon over them and toss.

 

And taste: If they are too fibrous, then blanch them for 20 seconds in boiling water and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. When cool, drain and pat dry.

 

Combine lettuce, green onions and dill in a serving bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss with the salad. Serve immediately. Makes six servings

REAL POTATO SALAD

Makes about 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds medium red potatoes, scrubbed

4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped green onions (scallions)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 recipe of One-Egg Mayonnaise (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons Creole or other whole-grain mustard

 

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and cool.

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Put the potatoes in a salad bowl. Add the eggs, salt, cayenne, black pepper, celery, green onions, and parsley. Combine the mayonnaise and the mustard and add to the bowl. Toss to mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until slightly chilled.

ONE EGG MAYONNAISE

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

 

1 large egg

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup olive oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

In a food processor or blender, blend the egg and lemon juice for 10 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil through the feed tube. Mixture will thicken. Add the pepper and salt and pulse once or twice to blend. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Best used within 24 hours because of the raw egg.

RISI E BISI

Serves 4

 

1 1/2 cups shelled English peas, pods reserved

4 cups water

1 cup chicken stock (see Note)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup minced yellow onion

1/3 cup minced celery

1 cup vialone nano or arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Wash and drain pea pods well. Combine water and chicken stock in small pot. Salt lightly to taste, and bring to boil. Add pea pods, simmer 30 minutes. Strain, discarding pods and reserving broth on stove over low heat.

 

In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, melt butter. Sauté onion and celery over low heat until soft and translucent. Add rice and stir until grains are coated with butter. Stir and cook 5 minutes more on medium low heat. Add wine, stirring constantly until liquid evaporates. Add vegetable stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting liquid evaporate before adding more. After 6-8 minutes, add peas and continue to stir. Add stock as needed. Rice should be ready in 18-20 minutes.

 

Add cheese, salt and pepper 2 minutes before risotto is done. This risotto should be a bit soupier than usual and cooked a bit more than al dente. (If you are not comfortable timing cooking of peas, blanch peas ahead in vegetable stock and add just before cheese in final minutes. Ice peas after blanching to stop cooking and retain color.)

 

Note: Ratio of chicken stock to water can be reversed if you are not using a vegetable-infused water.

ROASTED LEG OF LAMB

Makes about 12 servings

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves plus 1 tablespoon chopped

1 cup chopped yellow onions

15 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (reserve the lemon shells)

3 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 cup olive oil

1 leg of lamb, about 9 1/2 pounds, trimmed of excess fat

2 cups beef broth

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup minced shallots

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 pounds assorted vegetables, such as asparagus, baby carrots, green beans, cauliflower florets, and broccoli florets, blanched in boiling salted water until tender, and shocked in cold water

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

 

Put the mint, parsley, onions, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse several times to blend. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the feed tube. Mixture should thicken.

In the top of the leg where the meat is exposed, make about 15 holes using your index finger. Insert the garlic cloves into the holes. Season the leg evenly with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper.

 

Put the lamb into a large storage bag or large shallow dish. Add the reserved lemon halves and pour in the marinade, spreading it evenly all over the lamb, rubbing it into the meat with your hands.

 

Secure the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Remove the lamb from the marinade. Put the lamb in a roasting pan and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake until the internal temperature of the lamb reaches 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer for a delicate pink center, about 1 hour. If you prefer the lamb to be medium-rare, bake until the internal temperature reaches 140 to 145 degrees F, about 45 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Pour off excess oil from the pan and place the pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Whisk in 2 cups beef stock. Continue whisking to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.

 

To prepare the vegetables, heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and season with the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat. Remove from heat.

 

To serve, carve the meat and serve with the vegetables and Roasted Potatoes (recipe follows).

 

ROASTED POTATOES

Makes about 12 servings

 

24 new or small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), washed and halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt, and stir to mix. Sprinkle the potatoes with the mixture and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the potatoes on the prepared pan and roast for 1 hour. Serve hot.

SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN

WITH ARTICHOKE AND FENNEL GRATIN

 

4 large artichokes

2 cups heavy whipping cream

8 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed of outer leaves and sliced thin; reserve tender greens for

garnish

1/4 cup bulgur wheat or couscous

2 tablespoons ground fennel seed

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground mild paprika

2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and connective tissue

 

Prepare the artichokes: In a large pot of boiling water, cook the artichokes until tender, about 45 minutes. They are done when a skewer inserted into the base of the heart meets little resistance. Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature.

 

Remove the coarse outer leaves and the fibrous outer skin of the heart, trim the inner leaves and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices; reserve.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

To make the gratin: In a large, shallow skillet, place the heavy whipping cream, garlic, rosemary leaves, sea salt and black pepper.

 

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cooking until the garlic cloves are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the sliced fennel and cracked bulgur wheat and cook until the fennel begins to become tender, about 10 minutes. Add the prepared artichokes and spoon some of the liquid over them. Cook until the liquid is thickened over the vegetables, about 10 minutes.

 

To prepare the pork: In a small bowl, combine the fennel seed, black pepper and paprika. Season with the spice blend. Sear on all sides in a heavy skillet over high heat. Transfer to the oven and cook until done, about 10 minutes depending on size. Remove from the oven and allow to rest about five minutes before slicing.

 

To serve: Spoon the artichoke and fennel gratin in the center of the plate. Slice the pork tenderloin and fan across the top of the gratin. Sprinkle with the reserved fennel greens and serve.

SUZANNE'S FOCACCIA

This recipe is from "No Need to Knead" (Hyperion, 1999), in which Suzanne Dunaway writes, "This user-friendly dough is about as basic as you can get. . . . With it you can make loaves of bread, flatbreads, crisp breads, little sandwich buns (focaccette), the French ladder bread fougasse, exotic hamburger buns, bread sticks and more. You can also forget it in the refrigerator or leave it to rise a little too long and it will bounce back very easily."

 

If you let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator, it will acquire flavor from the slower yeast action. Dunaway notes that the shaped focaccia does not need to rise, but if you forget it for a few minutes, don't worry.

 

2 cups lukewarm water (85 to 95 degrees F)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

4 cups bread flour (divided)

2 to 3 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

 

Measure water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. Stir in 2 cups flour and 2 to 3 teaspoons salt and stir briskly until smooth, about 2 minutes. With strong wooden spoon, stir in remaining 2 cups flour for 2 minutes longer, or until flour is incorporated.

 

Dough will be fairly wet and sticky, but when it pulls away from sides of bowl and forms a loose ball, you'll know it has been stirred sufficiently. If it seems too sticky, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour.

 

For same-day rising method: Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm place until doubled in volume, 30 to 40 minutes.

 

For overnight-rising method: Cover bowl of dough and refrigerate overnight. Remove dough 2 hours before shaping and let stand, covered, in warm place. Dough will rise a second time.

 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Oil 1 or 2 nonstick 13-by-18-inch baking sheets. Transfer dough to sheet(s), carefully scraping it from sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Brush dough with 2 teaspoons olive oil. To make traditional focaccia with indentations, dip your fingers into cold water or olive oil and press them straight down into the dough. Make holes in the dough by pulling it to the sides about 1 inch at a time. Pull the holes at random to form little craters all over, with pan showing through where you have put your fingers. As you work, stretch dough into a 1-inch-thick oval. (If using just 1 baking sheet, focaccia will cover almost the entire sheet.) Brush loaf (or loaves) with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.

Place pan(s) in oven and reduce temperature to 450 degrees. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until focaccia has a nice, golden-brown color mixed with a little darker brown around indented area. Cool on wire rack. Cut focaccia into wedges or rectangles and serve warm.

SWEET TART PASTRY

Makes one 91/2-inch pastry shell

This recipe makes a rich, sweet, tender crust suitable for tarts.

11/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 extra-large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (see note)

By hand: Heap flour onto work surface; make a well in the center. Place salt, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in center; mix with fork to dissolve sugar in yolks. Pound butter with rolling pin to soften; add to yolk mixture and mix butter with yolk mixture, using fingertips or fork. Using a dough scraper or pastry blender, gradually work flour into yolk mixture with a cutting motion to make coarse crumbs.

 

In food processor: Place all ingredients except flour in work bowl of food processor; process using four 1-second pulses. Add flour and process with six to eight 1-second pulses, just until dough begins to clump (but doesn't form a ball).

 

Gather dough into a rough mound. Work small portions of the dough against the work surface with the heel of your hand (pushing away from you). When dough is pliable and peels away from surface in one piece, shape into a ball. Wrap well; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

 

Remove dough from refrigerator; allow to soften slightly before rolling. Place on lightly floured surface; sprinkle a little flour over dough or rolling pin. Roll out dough from center toward edge to form a circle 1/8 inch thick and 11/2 inches larger than tart pan. Carefully lift dough and give a quarter turn after each rolling, reflouring surfaces as necessary. If dough cracks or tears, brush a small, flat piece of dough with water and apply as a patch; do not reroll dough.

 

Transfer dough to tart pan; carefully ease into place, molding dough to sides of pan with fingertips. Trim dough even with edge of tart pan. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before blind baking.

 

Note: Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.

TAPIOCA AND RHUBARB PARFAIT

compote:

1 pound medium rhubarb stalks without leaves, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

tapioca:

3 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca

2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

5 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup crème fraiche

8 thin slices crystallized ginger, for garnish

Make the compote: In a medium saucepan, mix the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and ground ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Transfer the rhubarb to a small bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until thick, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Make the tapioca: In a saucepan, whisk the tapioca, milk, eggs, sugar, and salt. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the tapioca begins to swell.

Bring the tapioca to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to moderately low, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set the saucepan in a bowl of ice water and stir often until cool and thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crème fraiche.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the rhubarb compote into 4 parfait glasses and top with half the tapioca. Repeat with the remaining compote and tapioca. Garnish each parfait with 2 slices of crystallized ginger and serve. from Food and Wine

VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES

Makes 4 servings

 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 zucchini, finely diced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned no-salt-added tomato puree

1/2 cup barbecue sauce (see note)

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

4 hamburger rolls

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and carrots and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, paprika, basil, chili powder and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.

 

Stir the tomato puree, barbecue sauce, beans and vinegar into the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

 

Open the hamburger rolls and divide among 4 plates. Spoon the vegetable mixture onto the hamburger rolls and serve.

 

Note: For the "beefiest" taste, use a barbecue sauce with a smoky flavor.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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