30 December 2006

roasted green beans

1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off
1 T olive oil
salt and black pepper

adjust oven rack to middle position, heat oven to 450 degrees. line rimmed baking sheet with foil, spread beans on baking sheet. drizzle with oil and toss to coat evenly. sprinkle with 1/2 t salt, toss again and distribute in even layer. roast 10 minutes. (if called for, add 1/2" thick wedges of red onion.)

remove baking sheet from oven. using tongs, coat beans evenly with seasoning mixture (see below), redistribute in even layer. continue roasting until dark golden brown in spots and starting to shrivel, 8 to 12 minutes longer. adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and any additional topping, and serve.

seasoning #1: combine 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t honey, 1 t minced fresh thyme, 2 medium thin-sliced garlic cloves in a bowl and set aside. after 10 minutes of roasting, toss beans with seasoning mixture, coating them evenly, and redistribute in even layer. continue roasting. after transferring to a serving dish, sprinkle with 1/3 c toasted and chopped walnuts.

seasoning #2: combine 1 T minced garlic, 1 t minced fresh ginger, 2 t honey, 1/2 t toasted sesame oil, and 1/4 t hot red pepper flakes and set aside. after 10 minutes of roasting, toss beans with seasoning mixture, coating them evenly, and redistribute in even layer. continue roasting. after transferrng to a serving dish, sprinkle with 4 t toasted sesame seeds.

seasoning #3: combine 1 t olive oil, 1 T lemon juice, 1/2 c drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped), 1/2 c pitted kalamata olives (quartered), and 2 t minced fresh oregano leaves in medium bowl. after beans are completely done roasting, add to bowl and toss well. adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. transfer to serving dish, top with 1/2 c crumbled goat cheese and serve.

combine all ingredients, set aside.

28 December 2006

orange-cranberry pudding

adapted from Nigella Lawson

For the fruit:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 1/2 c cranberries
3 T sugar

For the batter:
1 1/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
few drops orange oil
flaked almonds
turbinado sugar, to sprinkle over
cream or orange juice, if extra liquid is needed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a wide saucepan, then add the cranberries and sugar. Cook over a fairly high heat until the fruit begins to pop. This will take hardly anytime if the cranberries are fresh, and about 10 minutes if they're frozen. Remove the pan from the heat.

Combine the flour, baking powder, soda and sugar in a large bowl and add the eggs, melted butter and orange oil. Mix until smooth. It may need a tablespoon or two of extra liquid here. I use orange juice or cream, whatever's to hand. Pour half of the batter into a deep casserole. Cover with the cranberries, then top with the remaining batter; don't worry if the cranberries are not covered completely.

Sprinkle flaked almonds and turbinado sugar over the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and set.

24 December 2006

stove-top mac & cheese (from ab)

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 T butter
2 eggs
6 oz evaporated milk
1/2 t hot sauce
1 t kosher salt
black pepper
3/4 t dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente and drain. return to the pot and melt in the butter. toss to coat.

whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. stir into the pasta and add the cheese. over low heat, continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

20 December 2006

ginger spice cookies

2 c all purpose flour (do not use high protein flour like King Arthur)
2 1/2 t ground ginger
2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
3/4 t salt
3/4 c chopped crystallized ginger
1 c (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses
turbinado sugar

ombine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 3/4-1" balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 10 minutes. Cook slightly longer for crisp cookies, less for chewy cookies. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Makes about 30.

rosemary butter cookies

2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c) unsalted butter, softened
2 T mild honey
1/2 c confectioners sugar
coarse white sugar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl.

Mix together butter, honey, and confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed, then add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times.

Roll out into logs, wrap in parchment paper or foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Unwrap and cut into 1/4" slices. Arrange on parchment paper on heavy cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake cookies in middle of oven until just beginning to turn golden brown, around 10 minutes. Slide cookies on parchment to a rack and cool.

Basque Bonito del Norte Tuna Dip

Versatile, hard to categorize but with a distinctive Basque identity, this is somewhere between a snack, starter, dip, spread, stick-your-spoon-in-as-you-pass-the-bowl and good to eat any time of day.

Servings: 6-8 as a starter


1 large onion, finely chopped
3 yellow and/or red sweet peppers, coarsely chopped
2-4 fat garlic cloves, minced or pressed
olive oil
6 oz mixed green and black olives, pitted and chopped
1-2 oz capers, drained
1 14-oz can tomatoes in rich juice
10-15 oz piquillo peppers, drained and cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon sherry or white wine vinegar
8-12 oz of bonito del norte tuna in olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Toasted country bread (to serve)


Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a deep saucepan for about 10 minutes, add peppers and cook until onions are soft.

Add the olives, capers, tomatoes (plus juice) and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the piquillo peppers and cook for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, followed by the bonito del norte. Check the seasoning, (it will probably need no extra salt but quite a bit of pepper), simmer a little longer and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge, preferably leaving overnight for the flavors to settle, before serving with slices of toasted country bread.

17 December 2006

mocha nut balls

1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1 - 1.5 T strongly brewed coffee (preferably French pressed)
1/2 c cocoa
1 3/4 c sifted flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c nuts, finely chopped

shape in marble sized balls. place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 325 for 15 minutes. cool and roll in powdered sugar.

makes 6 dozen

04 December 2006

Brown Sugar Cakes

6 servings

Brown sugar topping/filling:
2 oz butter
2 oz heavy cream
1 c brown sugar

8 oz unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
3/4 t vanilla
3 eggs
2/3 c almond flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder

For topping:
Bring butter and heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour it over the brown sugar and whisk until there are no lumps. Chill. Cover the bottom of 6 (4 ounce) ramekins with brown sugar topping, and reserve the rest for filling the cakes. Place in freezer until ready to fill.

For cake:
Cream the softened butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and mix well. Take the bowl off of the mixer and fold in the sifted dry ingredients with a spatula. Divide the batter (it will be thick) between the six ramekins. Bake at 325°F for 12 minutes, until the cakes begin to bake around the edges. Remove from the oven and take a small spoon of the brown sugar topping and sink it into the center of each cake. Return ramekins to the oven until cakes are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 7 more minutes. Serve right away, or reheat directly before serving.

24 November 2006

tipsy pineapple

large pineapple
rum, preferably aged or dark
brown sugar

Peel and core the pineapple. Cut into chunks. Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the pineapple and toss gently. After a minute or so, when the pineapple begins to give off some liquid, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top. Cook a few minutes like this, then stir gently to turn the chunks over. Sprinkle this side with brown sugar, and add a splash or two of rum. Stir and continue to cook until desired softness has been reached, adding more rum and/or sugar if needed. It's not a very scientific recipe--the point is to have the pineapple warm and soft and fragrant, to use the rum and sugar to enhance the pineapple, not to overpower it, so depending on how ripe your pineapple is, you may not need much.

chicken in garlic and shallots

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces or 10 chicken thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c plus 2 T olive oil
10 peeled cloves of garlic
10 shallots, peeled and split in half from stem to root
several springs parsley, sage, thyme

large ovenproof straight sided saute pan with tight fitting lid

preheat oven to 350 F. season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. toss with 2 T olive oil and brown on both sides in wide frying pan or skillet over high heat. remove from heat, add garlic, shallots, whole herbs, and remainder of the olive oil. cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

29 October 2006

vichyssoise (from ab)

1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
3 T unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
14 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 quart organic vegetable broth
1 c heavy cream
1 c buttermilk
1/2 t white pepper

Chop the leeks into small pieces. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Be careful that the leeks do not brown at all during this time. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir the cream and buttermilk together, and add to soup. Stir in white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve hot or cold.

25 October 2006

quick cassoulet

2 T olive oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 lb kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch coins
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3/4 lb) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 c dry red wine
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper

In a large heavy-bottom pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides for about 4 minutes. Remove pork to a plate and reserve. Add kielbasa and cook for 4 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until nicely browned. Remove to another plate and reserve.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pot and cook chicken for 4 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Break up tomatoes and add along with garlic, cook for 3 minutes, stirring to loosen up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add wine, simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

Add in beans, salt, cayenne and reserved kielbasa. Simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir pork back in pot and heat through.

panna cotta

buttermilk panna cotta [with blood orange spread]

1 envelope gelatin
1/4 c cold water
1 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
2 c buttermilk
1 T vanilla
[1 jar Blood Orange Spread]
[2-3 T Grand Marnier, Tuaca, or other liqueur for flavoring]

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water until dissolved. Let stand for 3 minutes. In a saucepan, heat cream and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir the gelatin mixture, vanilla and buttermilk into the cream until well-combined and smooth in texture. Brush the sides of 8 6oz. shallow deep cups with oil. Pour into the prepared cups and let chill for 4 hours or overnight, until set.

When ready to serve, unmold by running a warm knife around the edges of the panna cotta, and unmold onto a plate. [Whisk Blood Orange Spread until smooth. Top each panna cotta with a dollop and garnish with sprigs of mint leaves.]

If using Grand Marnier or other liqueur, decrease the amount of cream or buttermilk by an equivalent amount.

lemon panna cotta with blackberry sauce

Vegetable oil
1 c whole milk
1 c whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

5 T fresh lemon juice
2 t unflavored gelatin
1/2 c sugar
1 c crème fraîche
2 T grated lemon peel

3 c frozen blackberries (about 12 ounces), thawed, drained, juices reserved
3 T light brown sugar, packed
3 T crème de cassis (black-currant-flavored liqueur; optional)

Lightly oil six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Mix milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover; let steep 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.

Pour lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Stir sugar and gelatin mixture into milk mixture. Stir over low heat just until sugar and gelatin dissolve, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in crème fraîche and lemon peel. Divide among ramekins. Cover; chill until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For sauce:
Puree 2/3 of blackberries and all reserved juices, brown sugar, and crème de cassis, if desired, in blender. Strain mixture into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer. Stir remaining blackberries into sauce. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Run small knife around each panna cotta. Place bottoms of ramekins, 1 at a time, in bowl of hot water 45 seconds. Place plate atop ramekin. Hold plate and ramekin together; invert, shaking gently, to turn out panna cotta. Serve with sauce.


2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 T finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground black peppre
1/2 t ground allspice
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar, packed firmly
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
1/2 c granulated sugar (for coating)

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, both gingers, cinnamon, black pepper, and allspice. Set aside mixer, cream butter until fluffy and lightened in color. Add brown sugar and beat until well-blended. Add egg and molasses. Beat until thoroughly combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degress. Shape dough into balls 1 1/2" in diameter. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared side up, about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 12 to 16 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and the edges are beginning to brown. Let stand 1 minute. Remove from baking sheets to rack.

Makes about 48 cookies.

02 October 2006

ab's chewy chocolate chip cookies

8 oz butter
1/4 c white sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 T milk
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/4 c bread or high-protein all-purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda

melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan. meanwhile, sift together 2 1/4 cups bread flour with kosher salt and baking soda.

combine melted butter and sugars in mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and combine well. slowly add the flour and beat until thoroughly combined, then add the chips.

chill the batter, then scoop onto parchment paper, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, remove parchment/cookies immediately and finish cooling on a rack. store in ziploc bags for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.

12 September 2006

goulash (Hartig family recipe)

3 big Spanish onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs sirloin tip roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 large can stewed tomatoes, optional
red wine vinegar, optional
2-3 t sweet paprika
1-2 t hot paprika
olive oil

In a large heavy stewpot, cook onions in a little olive oil on medium high, adding garlic after a few minutes. Meanwhile rinse the meat, and cut it into medium-large cubes, add it to the onions once they begin to brown. Add salt and pepper (to taste?) and cook on high until meat begins to give off juices. Add tomatoes (not drained), then paprika and enough water to cover the meat. You may want to add a couple splashes of red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender. Uncover as needed to reach desired consistency.

smothered beef ribs

1/2 c olive oil
4 pounds beef short ribs (or flanken)
salt and pepper to taste
1 c all-purpose flour
2 c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped carrots
2 T minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 T dried thyme
1 c red wine
8 c beef stock
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste and dredge them in flour. Fry the ribs in the oil in small batches, adding oil as needed, to sear the meat. This should take 2-3 minutes per batch. Set ribs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and cook for 1 more minute.

Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping up all the bits on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Add the ribs and continue to simmer for 2 hours, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley and serve.

white bean and asparagus salad

1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 (15-19oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed well (3 - 3 1/2 cups)
4 slices country bread
1/2 c shaved parmesan
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1 garlic clove, halved crosswise

Cut asparagus on a diagonal into 1/8-inch thick slices. Bring oil, lemon zest, juice, salt, and pepper to a simmer in a 4-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in beans and asparagus. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. While beans stand, toast bread until golden. Add cheese shavings to beans along with parsley, then toss.

Spread hot toast with butter and rub buttered side of each with cut side of garlic clove, then season with salt and halve. Serve bean salad with toasts.

lemon olive-oil cake

3/4 c olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 c cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 c sugar plus extra for the top

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350øF. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Beat together yolks and 1/2 c sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 c) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 c sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gently fold one third of the whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gentle rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with about a tablespoon and a half of sugar (preferably coarse-grained).

Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes, and then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

Cake can be made 1 day ahead and wrapped well or stored in a cake keeper at room temperature.

04 August 2006

cherry apricot cobbler

2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted, or two 1-pound bags frozen sweet cherries, thawed, drained
2 pounds fresh apricots, halved, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
1-2 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla or almond extract
2 T Tuaca or other liquer (optional)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cup chilled buttermilk
zest of one lemon

to make
preheat oven to 400°F. toss all ingredients in large bowl to blend. add cornstarch if you prefer a thicker sauce--we like to leave it out because the juice is fabulous. transfer to a lightly buttered 13x9x2" glass baking dish. bake until filling is hot and begins to bubble at edges, about 35 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

while fruit is baking, prepare topping: whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another large bowl to blend. add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. slowly add buttermilk, a quarter cup at a time, tossing with fork until dough comes together. drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls over hot filling to cover. sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. put cobbler back in the oven until topping is golden and tester inserted into center of topping comes out clean, about 40 minutes. cool 15 minutes. serve cobbler warm with whipped cream or ice cream. also excellent the next day for breakfast.

31 July 2006

one bowl southwestern style salad

Chop into similarly sized pieces:

turkey breast
corn (I microwave it first and cut it off the cob, but frozen would work too)
green onion
bell pepper, green or red

Throw into a bowl with a can or two of drained black beans. If desired, add cooked rice (white, brown, spanish, yellow, whatever). Chop some fresh cilantro and mix everything together. Dress with a mixture of:

lime juice
wine vinegar (white or red or even sherry)
olive oil
celery seed
red pepper flakes

Should keep in the fridge for a day or two. Might be good with shrimp, will try that next.

25 July 2006

White Almond Gazpacho

(Bartolomé's Málaga-style White Gazpacho)

from "La Cocina de Mamá " by Penelope Casas

Serves 4

Penelope writes -

"A gazpacho typical of Malaga that relies on blanched almonds for its pure white color and creamy consistency. Sweet green grapes are the essential counterpoint to the soup's tang of garlic and vinegar.

Chef Bartolomé Rodrigo Lucena, a native of Andalucia whose love of cooking began at his mother's side, is today the chef at Malaga's Parador de Gibralfaro, a government-sponsored hotel spectacularly set on a hilltop with extraordinary views of the city's port and the Mediterranean sea.

The shrimp that Bartolomé adds to this traditional gazpacho are unorthodox, to be sure, but give a lovely flavor counterpoint. "


One 6-inch piece cut from firm-textured French-style bread, crusts removed

1/2 pound (about 1 1/2 cups) blanched almonds

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup mild extra virgin olive oil

4 cups ice water

16 to 24 skinned seedless green grapes, or 16 small balls of green melon or apple

12 small cooked and shelled shrimp, optional


  • - Soak the bread in water and squeeze dry. Place it in a food processor, add the almonds and garlic, and blend until very smooth.
  • - Add the vinegar and salt, and with the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until fully incorporated.
  • - Gradually pour in the ice water.
  • - Transfer to a covered bowl and chill for several hours or overnight.
  • - Before serving, taste for salt and vinegar and adjust if necessary.
  • - Serve in small soup bowls and garnish each serving with 4 to 6 grapes or melon or apple balls and 3 shrimp.

20 July 2006

buttermilk waffles

adapted from Alton Brown

2 c flour
1 T cornmeal
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
3 T sugar
2 eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
4 T unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 3/4 c buttermilk

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, soda, sugar) together in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk the egg yolks and butter together; add buttermilk. In a third bowl (chilled, if you think of it in time) beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Carefully fold in egg whites.

Cook as directed by your waffle iron manufacturer.

27 June 2006

barley and corn salad

2/3 c pearl barley
8-12 oz green beans -- trimmed
8-12 oz smallish asparagus
1 c fresh corn kernels, barely cooked
4 oz baby arugula, washed and dried
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
3 T minced shallots
2 T minced fresh thyme (do not substitute dried)
2 t dijon mustard
3 1/2 oz soft fresh goat cheese -- crumbled

Cook barley in medium saucepan of boiling lightly salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Transfer to large bowl.

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer beans to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. Repeat with asparagus. Pat vegetables dry with paper towels. Cut beans and asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to bowl with barley. Mix in corn kernels. If necessary, coarsely chop the arugula; add to bowl with barley mixture.

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, shallots, thyme and Dijon mustard in small bowl to blend. Pour enough dressing over barley mixture to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

You can make this the day before, which will only help the flavors meld. The arugula will wilt somewhat, but it's still good.

26 June 2006

AB's crab fritters

1 c lump crab meat (may be called jumbo, imperial, or colassal)
1 c regular crab meat (may be called regular, special, or backfin)
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 t fresh pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 c panko

2-3 qt canola oil

heat your oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. meanwhile, combine the other ingredients in a bowl. put the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. scoop with a 1 oz (no. 24) ice cream scoop and roll in the breadcrumbs until covered. fry, a few at a time, 5-7 minutes in the 375 degree oil.

11 June 2006

AB cheese soup

32 oz chicken broth
2 T butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 T all-purpose flour
bay leaf
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c cream
10 oz fontina cheese, shredded
1 T marsala wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
a few dashes hot sauce to taste
white pepper to taste

Heat up 32 oz chicken broth in an electric kettle or a saucepan.

Melt butter in a heavy soup pot; add onions, carrots, and celery, along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir for 5-10 minutes until veggies are soft. Use a sifter to add all purpose flour evenly on top of vegetables; stir in, cook until flour disappears. Add broth slowly, stirring constantly. Add a bay leaf and minced garlic.

Cover, lower heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and add cream. Mix with an immersion blender to make everything nice and creamy.

Add shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stirring each handful in completely before adding more. Finish with marsala wine, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and white pepper.

Serve immediately. Use a double-boiler to reheat any leftovers.

22 May 2006

dips to try

california dip

1 1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c mayo
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 c diced onion
kosher salt
1/4 t white pepper
1/4 t garlic powder

cook onions in olive oil with about 1/2 t salt over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until onions are a rich brown color. transfer to bowl, making sure you get all the oil. add 1/2 t more salt, white pepper, and garlic powder. combine well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

chicken liver mousse

defrost frozen chicken livers in milk in the fridge overnight. in large saucepan, over medium heat, melt 2 T unsalted butter. add 2 c coarsely chopped onions, 1 coarsely chopped granny smith apple, 1 t fresh chopped thyme, and a heavy pinch of kosher salt. cover and cook until soft and golden brown. add a pound of chicken livers, cleaned and drained. stir the livers into the heat gently, and cook for about three minutes. when livers are done, the outside will look sandy gray, and the insides will still be pink. add a quarter cup of brandy, and simmer for another minute. let cool for five minutes.

transfer to a food processor and puree into a smooth paste. in a chilled bowl, whip a cup of heavy cream to soft peaks. fold half the cream carefully into the liver mixture until it is smooth and mostly combined. add the rest of the cream and fold until completely combined. serve immediately or cover and chill for up to two days.

07 May 2006

Andalusian Beef Stew (Estofado de Buey a la Andaluza)

I'm on a bit of an Iberian kick lately, which is both good (it's tasty and mostly good for you) and not helpful (most of my recipes are for dishes more suited for colder weather). This stew was excellent last Friday night when it was rainy and damp.

We had it with homemade herb bread, recipe to follow, and a Spanish red (duh). It makes quite a bit; I'll have lunch for a few days.

Adapted from
My Kitchen in Spain, by Janet Mendel

2-3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1" cubes
1 onion, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 T olive oil
1 c water
2 t better-than-bouillon concentrate (or substitute beef broth for the water + concentrate)
1/2 c dry sherry or vermouth
2 large bay leaves
a pinch of cloves
1/4 t cinnamon
a generous pinch of saffron threads, crushed
2 t salt
1 whole head garlic, roasted and peeled
2 carrots, sliced
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced

In a stew pot, combine the beef, onion, tomato, oil, sherry/vermouth, water, bouillon. Bring to a boil and add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, saffron, and salt. Add roasted garlic. Cover and simmer very slowly until the meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.

Add the sliced carrots and the potatoes. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary, until the meat and potatoes are very tender. Note: my liquid did not quite cover all the solid ingredients and it worked out fine. Add salt and white pepper to taste before you're done simmering.

Remove the bay leaves. The liquid will not thicken, so serve in soup bowls.

12 April 2006

veal paprika

makes around three servings

1 lb boneless veal, trimmed of as much fat as possible and cut in 1" cubes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
white pepper
olive oil
3-4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 onion, sliced into strips or rings
2 cloves garlic
8 oz mushrooms, cut into thick slices

Mix salt and pepper with flour and lightly dredge the veal cubes in it. Meanwhile, heat a large deep saute pan over medium high heat, and add bacon. When pan is ready, the veal cubes, making sure to brown them on all sides as quickly as possible. If bacon does not give off enough fat, use a little olive oil to prevent burning or sticking. Add the onion and garlic; cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.

Turn heat to low, add broth, about a quarter of a teaspoon of white pepper, and around a tablespoon of paprika, stir well. Cover and cook until veal is tender, at least twenty minutes, probably closer to forty, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it cooks because of the flour on the veal, but if you want it thicker, cook it uncovered for a bit, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms around five minutes before it's finished. Some people like sour cream mixed in right before serving, but it's very good without that too. Serve over egg noodles.

08 April 2006

everyday bread pudding

This is based on the low-fat bread pudding recipe in my new edition of the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It's good made with a dense Italian or French style bread--the Cuban bread we get around here is perfect. If your bread isn't stale, you can dry the cubes out in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes.

6 beaten eggs
3 c milk
1/2 c sugar
2 T vanilla
2-3 t finely grated orange peel
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cinnamon
6-8 c dry bread cubes (around 3/4" square)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, cardamom, and cinnamon. Put bread cubes in an ungreased baking dish. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. You want the liquid mixture to come at least halfway up the bread but not to cover the top of the cubes. If you need to mix a little more liquid, use 2 eggs to a cup of milk, adding flavoring at your discretion.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly. If desired, serve warm with Whiskey Sauce or whipped cream or both (this will alter the low-fat attribute somewhat).

If you want, you can put a streusel-style topping on it before cooking: combine 1/3 c all-purpose flour, 1/3 c packed brown sugar, and 3 T softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle over pudding before baking.

gingered sugar cookies

For once, I didn't change this recipe at all (except to add a little more ginger). According to the folks at Cooks Illustrated, from whence it came, it's best to use flour with a protein of around 10.5 percent (Pillsbury or Gold Medal) rather than something (like King Arthur at 11.7 percent). The higher protein will result in drier, cakier cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 c sugar, for rolling dough
1 t grated fresh ginger (I use this stuff and press the liquid out in paper towels)
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t table salt
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm (60 to 65 degrees F)
1 c granulated sugar
1 T light brown sugar
1 large egg
2-4 T minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

In food processor or spice grinder, process 1/2 c sugar and fresh ginger until just combined; set aside for rolling.

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

With mixer, beat butter, 1 c sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg, crystallized ginger, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Place ginger sugar for rolling in shallow bowl. Fill medium bowl with cold tap water. Dip hands in water and shake off the excess (this prevents dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that sugar sticks to dough). Roll heaping tablespoon dough into 1 1/2" ball between moistened palms; roll ball in ginger sugar, then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, moistening hands frequently and spacing balls about 2" apart. Butter the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass; dip bottom of glass in remaining ginger sugar and flatten dough balls with bottom of glass until dough is 1/2-3/4" thick.

Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and just set and very lightly colored in center, 15 to 18 minutes, reversing position of cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet about 3 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

12 March 2006

Potato Soup

from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

2-4 servrings
1 1/2 lbs baking potatoes (Yukon Gold)
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c slivered almonds (blanched whole)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper
4-5 cups homemade or good boxed chicken stock
a pinch of saffron, pulverized in mortar
2 t sherry vinegar
crisp bacon for garnish (shredded serrano ham or proscuitto)

Peel and cut the potatoes into irregular chunks this way: Insert the tip of a small sharp knife into each potato, and twist it, until a chunk 1 1/2" pops out. Continue until you have reduced all your potatoes to chunky rubble. Heat the olive oil in a heay pot, at least 3 qt size. Add the almonds and garlic, and cook them over a medium heat, until they are golden-about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Remove to a coffee grinder or mini processor and pulverize.

Add the potatoes to the pan, and stir them around for a minute or two. Add the broth, and all but 2 tsps of the pulverized almond mix. Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Dissolve the saffron in about 2 tbsps of the soup, and let it sit for a minute or two. Add it to the soup, with salt and pepper. Cook for about 25 minutes, at which point you should be able to crush about half of the potatoes with the back of a big spoon. Do so.

Mix the vinegar with the remaining almond mix, and stir into the soup. Garnish each bowl with the chopped parsley and bacon (ham). Consume with a coarse thick country type bread.

06 March 2006

blood orange glazed salmon

fresh squeezed blood orange juice, 1/2 to 3/4 c
fresh chopped ginger, around 1 t
honey or raw sugar, to taste
rice wine vinegar, around 1 T
white wine or vermouth, around 2 T

combine the above ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until mixture thickens to the desired consistency. this could take up to 30 minutes.

salmon filets, about 6 oz each
sesame oil, 2 T
soy sauce, 2 T
white wine or vermouth, 1/4 to 1/2 c

meanwhile, preheat the oven 400 F. rinse the salmon filets and pat them dry. dress with kosher salt and pepper if desired. heat a large heavy skillet until very hot. sear the fillets in a tablespoon or two of sesame oil for a minute on each side.

transfer filets to a glass baking dish, drizzle the soy sauce and wine over them. bake for around 10 minutes or until done. transfer filets to a plate and spoon the glaze over the top.

20 February 2006

Blood Orange Curd

Zest from 6 blood oranges (if blood oranges are unavailable, use any type of tangerines or clementines)
8 ounces blood orange juice, strained (6-8 oranges or tangerines)
6 eggs
6 yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
8 ounces butter

Bring a pot of water to a simmer. In a bowl fitted atop the pot, combine eggs, sugar, yolks, zest and vanilla. Whisk well until mixture starts to warm. Add orange juice and allow to thicken, whisking occasionally. When mixture coats the back of a spoon thickly, it is ready.

Take off the heat and purée it well with an immersion blender and pass it through a fine-meshed strainer. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add butter in pieces and whisk or blend with the immersion blender until smooth.

06 February 2006

saffron mussel soup

4 lb mussels
3 cups water
3 cups dry white wine
1/4 - 1/2 stick butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
3-5 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, finely shredded
1 t fenugreek, finely crushed
3 T flour
4 grams saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 c boiling water
3 cups chicken stock
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 T whipping cream

scrub mussels clean in several changes of fresh water and pull off beards. discard any mussels that are cracked or do not close tightly when tapped.

put mussels into a deep saucepan with wine and water. cover and cook over high heat, shaking pan frequently, 6-7 minutes or until shells open. remove mussels, discarding any which remain closed. strain liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.

heat butter and oil in a saucepan. add onion, garlic, leek and fenugreek and cook gently 5 minutes. stir in flour and cook 1 minute. add saffron mixture, 1/2 gal. of reserved cooking liquid and chicken stock. bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently 15 minutes.

meanwhile, remove mussels from shells. add all mussels to soup and stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper and cream. heat through 2-3 minutes.

garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired, and serve hot.

guacamole our way

avocados, two medium to large
red bell pepper, one small or half a large
two to three scallions,
garlic, one or two cloves
cilantro, around a quarter cup, lightly packed
red pepper flakes
lime juice

cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and use whatever method you want to remove the flesh. cut into small chunks and immediately squeeze half a lime on top. mash lightly together with a fork.

finely dice the bell pepper. split the scallions all the way up the white part to the light green part and finely chop. either mince the garlic by hand, or use a garlic press. add garlic, pepper, and scallions to avocado. sprinkle lightly with salt and red pepper flakes. finely chop the cilantro and add half of it. mix with a fork, continuing to mash to desired consistency.

here's the tricky part--adding seasoning--salt, lime juice, pepper flakes, cilantro, and even more garlic to suit your taste. we usually end up using a teaspoon of salt, about a lime and a half, at least half a teaspoon of pepper flakes, a tablespoon of cilantro and two cloves of garlic for two good sized avocados.

yogurt blue cheese dip

plain yogurt, preferably made with whole milk, 3/4-1 c
mayonnaise, regular or light, 2-3 T
crumbled gorgonzola, stilton, or other blue cheese, 2 oz or to taste
fresh garlic, 1 clove
scallions, white and green parts of 2-3, roughly chopped
fresh ground black pepper to taste

combine all in food processer and whiz around til combined. if you do not use whole milk yogurt, this will be really runny (hey, whole milk yogurt is still better for you than sour cream). cottage cheese would also work for some of the dairy, and would probably result in a thicker dip. this has a very strong garlic/scallion bite to it, so you might not want to add all of them until you've mixed and tasted a couple times.

you could deliberately make this on the runny side and it would make fine salad dressing.

great with crudite, might be good with fries, but probably not so good with potato chips.

braised short ribs in a coffee-ancho chili sauce

based closely on this from Epicurious.

this looks complicated, but it's really not, and there isn't as much prep time as you'd think. mostly you want to start it enough ahead of time to let the ribs get to falling-off-the-bone-tenderness.

4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
guajillo and/or pasilla chiles, to taste, stemmed and seeded**
2 c boiling-hot water
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 T pure maple syrup
3 T fresh lime juice
3 T tomato paste
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground coriander
3-4 lb beef short ribs or flanken
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1/2 c strongly brewed coffee, preferably latin american
1/2 c red wine (optional-substitute water if not using)
2 cubes lamb bouillon

put chiles in heat proof bowl and pour hot water over them. steep for 20 minutes. meanwhile, combine onion, garlic, maple syrup, lime juice, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and coriander in a blender or food processor. drain chiles in colander over a bowl. reserve a cup of the soaking liquid and taste (carefully--it will be very spicy!). if liquid is unpleasantly bitter, discard it. if not, and you want these to be spicy, reserve for braising. add softened chiles to food processor and puree. this will not taste good yet, but you may want to taste for salt and adjust.

preheat oven to 350º­. pat ribs dry, season both sides with salt and pepper. in a heavy skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot but not smoking. brown ribs in batches, turning occasionally, around 5 minutes a batch. transfer to a roasting pan just big enough to hold ribs in 1 layer.

turn the heat down to medium-low and carefully add puree. cook for a few minutes, and add bouillon cubes to a cup and a half of hot water, or to the chile-soaking-water. stir bouillon, coffee and wine (if using) into puree, and bring to a boil. stir well and then pour over meat. liquid should come at least halfway up sides of the meat. if it doesn't, add water or bouillon until it does.

cover pan tightly with foil and braise ribs in the middle of the oven until very tender; this will probably take at least three hours. using a heavy casserole dish may speed this up considerably, but I used a regular lightweight nonstick roasting/lasagna pan. important: check the ribs a couple times to make sure you don't need to add more liquid--they will burn if the liquid cooks down too much.

skim fat from pan juices and serve juices with ribs. ribs improve in flavor if braised a day or two ahead. cool, uncovered, then chill, surface covered with parchment paper or wax paper and roasting pan covered with foil. remove any solidified fat before reheating.

serves 3-4(?) (depends on how thick the ribs are). was excellent served over polenta, but would also be good with garlic potatoes.

**chile notes:
  • ancho - dried poblano chile, ranging in color from green to red. sweet, yet moderately hot.
  • chipotle - dried jalapeno pepper that has been smoked. usually very hot, it is also sweet, and chocolatey.
  • guajillo - a dried deep red chile with a tough skin, actually a Mirasol chile variety. medium heat; it has an earthy flavor with plum and raisin tones.
  • pasilla - a dried fresh Chilaca chile. medium to hot with berry and tobacco flavor tones.

29 January 2006

perfect lemon bars

The lemon filling must be added to a warm crust. The 30-minute chilling and 20-minute baking of the crust should allow plenty of time to prepare the filling. If not, make the filling first and stir to blend just before pouring it into the crust. Any leftover bars can be sealed in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days.

Makes about two dozen 1 1/2- to 2-inch squares

1 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 c confectioner's sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
3/4 t slat
12 T unsalted butter, at very cool room temperature, cut into 1" pieces

4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 c sugar
3 T unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t grated lemon zest
2/3 c lemon juice, strained
1/3 c whole milk
1/8 t salt

1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.

2. Pulse flour, confectioners sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. (To do this by hand, mix flour, confectioners sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, following illustration 2, press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

3. For the filling: Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon juice, zest, milk, and salt to blend well.

4. To finish the bars: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Following illustrations 3 and 4, below, transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into serving-size bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts, as necessary. Sieve confectioners sugar over bars, if desired.

27 January 2006

Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing

[originally lifted completely from 101 Cookbooks, who copied it from The Real Food Daily Cookbook; then I tweaked it]

Ann's head notes: The name of this salad is an homage to the ancient Chinese philosophy that all things in the universe contain elements of both yin and yang. Within each is the seed of the other, and when yin and yang work in harmony, all is good in the world. All is good in this salad, too. The crunchiness of the vegetables is the perfect counterpoint to the rich and creamy peanut dressing.

4 cups shredded napa cabbage
3 cups shredded red cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 (2 1/2-inch) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned
10 green onions (white and green parts), julienned
1 cup Peanut-Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes chilled ginger tofu (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Toss the cabbage, carrots, radish, and green onions in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Mound the salad into 4 wide, shallow bowls or onto plates. Arrange the tofu around the salad. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4.

Peanut-Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup (brown) rice vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (maybe add some basil)

Ann's header notes: If you'd like a spicier dressing, just add more crushed red pepper flakes. This thickens up once it's refrigerated, so you can either add few tablespoons of water to thin it or leave it thick to use as a sauce on grains and other cooked dishes.

Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the cilantro and blend just until it's finely chopped. The dressing will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Makes abaut 1 1/4 cups.

Gingered Tofu

Ann's header notes: This basic tofu recipe is versatile and easy to make. It's important to drain the liquid from the tofu before marinating, so give yourself enough time to properly prepare.

2 (12-ounce) containers water-packed extra-firm tofu
2/3 cup tamari (for less salty tofu, use less tamari and make up the difference with water, half and half should work well if your tamari is really strong)
1/3 cup (brown) rice vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
I tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
I tablespoon canola oil

Drain the tofu and save the containers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large baking sheet with more dry paper towels. Place the tofu in a single layer over the towels on the baking sheet and let drain for at least 2 hours, changing the paper towels after 1 hour and turning the tofu at least once.

Whisk the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a bowl to blend. Pour half of the marinade into the reserved tofu containers. Return the tofu slices to the containers, and pour the remaining marinade over. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400'F. Oil a heavy, rimmcd baking sheet with the canola oil. Drain the tofu and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through. Serve warm or cold, or at room temperature. The tofu will keep for 1 day, covered and refrigerated.

Serves 4 to 6.

26 January 2006

rigatoni with lentil ragu

olive oil
garlic, 3 cloves, minced
finely chopped onion, about half a cup (food processed is fine)
finely chopped carrot, about half a cup (food processed is fine)
finely chopped fennel and/or celery, about half a cup (food processed is fine)
fresh (or dried) rosemary
red pepper flakes
flat leaf parsley
brown lentils, 2 c
canned tomatoes, pureed (not tomato puree), at least a cup

olive oil in hot pot, add chopped garlic, saute, stir frequently as garlic begins to brown, add onion, carrot, fennel. cook for a few minutes, then add a tablespoon or so of chopped fresh rosemary, some red pepper flakes, and some chopped flat leaf parsley. cook around twenty minutes until veggies soften.

add two cups of brown lentils, a cup or two of pureed canned or fresh tomatoes, and four cups of water. cook until water is mostly absorbed and lentils are soft but not mushy. add salt and pepper to taste (do not add salt before lentils are cooked, as salt in the water will make the skins tough).

cook 8 ounces of tubular pasta such as rigatoni, drain and set aside. when lentils are ready, mix with pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.

25 January 2006

pecan encrusted pork tenderloin

plain yogurt, 3/4 - 1 c
garlic, 2 - 4 cloves
olive oil, 2 T
freshly ground black pepper
juice of a lemon or two
ground mustard, 1-2 T

chopped pecans,1 c
panko, 1 1/2 c
mustard seeds, 1/4 - 1/2 c

one pork tenderloin, at least 2 1/2 pounds, patted

mix yogurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, black pepper and ground mustard. put tenderloin in glass or ceramic baking dish. coat tenderloin on all sides with yogurt mixture. cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, can sit for up to 36 hours without a problem.

when ready to cook, preheat oven to 450° F. scrape most of the yogurt mixture off the pork. mix together pecans, panko, mustard seeds and spread on wax paper or a shallow pan. roll the tenderloin in the pecan mixture, coating all over.

bake on a broiler pan for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 250° F. bake another 45-60 minutes until interior reaches 150-155° F. take out of oven and let sit for another 15 minutes, interior temp will climb probably another 5°.

this produces a very juicy roast, with lots of flavor with hardly any added fat or salt. ours was almost four pounds, so I had to turn the heat up to 300° and cook for another 45 minutes, but it will still be very tender and moist.

15 January 2006

green curry with chicken and avocados

based loosely on the recipe on the back of the Blue Dragon Green Curry Paste jar. the paste itself is a blend of lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, shrimp paste, chilies, etc, and saves me from making an extra trip to the farmers market just for galangal.

onion, 1 medium, cut into strips
garlic, 2 cloves, minced or pressed
fresh ginger, 1 T, minced or very finely grated
dried red chilies, 1-3, or red pepper flakes
boneless skinless chicken, 1 lb, cut into small strips (I use breast meat only, but I'm lazy)
green curry paste, 1-2 T
coconut milk, 1 can, light works fine
red bell pepper, 1 large, cut into chunks or small strips
avocado, 2 small, diced
fresh cilantro
toasted cashews

in a deep frying pan, saute the onion in sesame oil for a couple minutes, then add garlic, ginger, and chicken. cook for five minutes or so, then add curry paste and chilies. cook for another two to three minutes and add at least half of a can of coconut milk. cook three minutes or so, and add the bell pepper. when heated through, add the avocado. garnish with cilantro and toasted cashews, if desired. serve with (jasmine?) rice.

09 January 2006

coconut sweet potatoes

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
3/4 c lite coconut milk
1 T minced fresh ginger
1/2 t salt

prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. microwave on high until tender all the way to the center, 10 to 15 minutes (or bake at 425 until tender, about an hour)

when cool, peel off and discard skin. transfer to a medium microwaveable bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. add coconut milk, ginger, and salt, stir well. reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. serve warm.

makes 4 servings, generous 1/2 c each.

to make ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, reheat in the microwave or oven just before serving.