Food & Drink

Pear-Custard Pie

By Barbara Beltrami

When in doubt about what to say about something, I always go to good old Ralph Waldo Emerson, my favorite quotable person (except for my grandmother). And, sure enough, he has come through for me again. He writes, “There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” And that’s the truth. 

Not ripe and it is flavorless and resistant to the bite. Overripe and it’s a sloppy, juicy mess. And how quickly it morphs from one to the other. That’s if you’re going to eat a pear au naturel. But suppose you miss that 10-minute window, then what? Here are some recipes to save the day and the pear.

Pear and Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 generous handfuls fresh arugula

4 firm ripe pears, pared, cored, halved and cut into ¼-inch slices

8 slices prosciutto

Four 1-inch-thick slices herbed goat cheese

4 to 6 ounces raspberry vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS:

Place one handful arugula on each of four salad plates. Arrange pear slices in a petal formation over arugula; lay prosciutto slices attractively over pears; top with goat cheese. Drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette and serve at room temperature with toasted baguette slices and dry white wine.

Pear-Custard Pie

Pear-Custard Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 prebaked 8- or 9-inch pie crust

3 not quite or just ripe pears, pared, cored, halved and sliced thin

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup flour

¾ cup milk

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line pie crust with pear slices in a slightly overlapping pattern. In a blender or food processor combine the sugar, flour, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt. Pour mixture over pears. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean, top is golden and custard is firm to touch. Let sit 30 minutes before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature with coffee, tea, a dessert wine or milk.

Pears Poached in Red Wine

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

½ 750-ml bottle of dry red wine

2 to 2½ cups water

11/3 cups sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

4 to 6 cloves

3 orange slices with rind

4 slightly underripe pears, pared, cored and stem left on

DIRECTIONS:

Combine wine with all ingredients except pears in 3-quart or similar size saucepan. Place pears in liquid. Cover and simmer over low flame, turning frequently and basting so fruit becomes evenly stained by wine, until it is tender but firm, about 45 minutes depending on size of fruit. Remove pears and set aside; continue cooking poaching liquid over medium heat until it is thickened and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Return pears to hot liquid and turn to coat evenly. Remove pan from heat. Serve warm drizzled with thickened liquid and accompanied by Gorgonzola cheese and biscotti.

Stock photo

By Bob Lipinski

There is little in the world more alluring than a glass of red Bordeaux wine. In Bordeaux, centuries of blending mastery combined with a unique terrain and climate give birth to refinement and equilibrium of a highly enticing nature. Within the region of Bordeaux there are many districts that make red, white, rosé, sweet white and even sparkling wines.

I recently attended a tasting of the wines of Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Julien, Margaux and Sauternes with representatives from each estate pouring and discussing the wines. Here is a list of the recommended wines I tasted including some tasting notes.

Château Latour-Martillac (Pessac-Léognan): The winery makes both red and white AOC wines.

2015 Château Latour-Martillac Blanc (spectacular bouquet of melon, pear and citrus. Mouth-filling with an excellent balance and great aftertaste)

2011 and 2013 Château Latour-Martillac Blanc

2015 Château Latour-Martillac Rouge (dark cherry color; bouquet of black currants, smoke, black raspberry; tannic with a smooth finish and lingering aftertaste)

2010 Château Latour-Martillac Rouge

Château Beychevelle (Fourth Growth Saint-Julien): The winery makes only red AOC wine. On the label of Château Beychevelle is a “Nordic Ship,” with grape clusters on its sails.

2015 Château Beychevelle (dark, almost purple color; bouquet of black currants, oak, black cherries; powerful wine with plenty of tannin and a fruity aftertaste)

2005, 2009 and 2014 Château Beychevelle

2015 Amiral de Beychevelle (second label of Château Beychevelle)

Château Kirwan (Third Growth Margaux): The winery makes only red AOC wine.

2009 Château Kirwan (ruby color with an aromatic bouquet of spicy cherry, menthol and blueberry; medium-bodied, beginning to soften with a smooth refined finish)

2008, 2010 and 2015 Château Kirwan

Château Guiraud (First Growth Sauternes): The winery makes both dry and sweet AOC white wines. The wines are a blend of Sémillon and sauvignon blanc grapes.

2009 Château Guiraud (gold-amber in color; bouquet and flavor of coconut, honey, orange, pineapple, peach, apricot and spice; luscious and sweet finish …Wow! What a delicious wine)

2010 and 2015 Château Guiraud

2015 Petit Guiraud (second label of Château Guiraud)

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

Sausage, Peppers, Onion and Tomato Hero

By Barbara Beltrami

Ever since one of my favorite readers suggested I do recipes on sausages, I’ve been combing my files for my favorite and most successful ones. Surely pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage is a staple in my repertoire of easy hearty meals, and kielbasa with potatoes, sauerkraut and apples is another. And for an ever popular sandwich, especially when I’ve got the grill going, there’s the sausage, pepper, onion and tomato hero. None of these recipes is particularly exotic, delicate or light, but each one is a delicious interruption to a string of ho-hum meals.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound orecchiette pasta

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

2 bunches broccoli rabe, washed and stems removed

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon or more, or more, if desired, crushed red pepper flakes

6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin

Coarse salt to taste

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve cooking water in pot. Set pasta aside to keep warm. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, cook sausages until brown on all sides; remove from skillet and when cool enough to handle cut into half-inch slices. Set aside to keep warm. Drain all but one tablespoon sausage fat.  In reserved pasta water cook broccoli rabe until bright green and tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to skillet, add olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and sliced sausage; stir and cook over medium heat 5 minutes until garlic is cooked through but not brown. Place pasta in a large bowl, add sausage and broccoli rabe mixture, toss, then sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with a tomato and mozzarella salad and warm, crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil for dipping.

Kielbasa with Sauerkraut, Potatoes and Apples

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound sauerkraut, drained

3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks and boiled in salted water 5 minutes

2 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

½ cup flat beer

¼ teaspoon caraway seeds

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound kielbasa, cut into 1-inch slices

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a two-quart casserole. In a large bowl, toss together the sauerkraut, potatoes, apples, beer, caraway seeds and black pepper. Top with kielbasa slices; cover and bake for 10 minutes; uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until kielbasa is brown and other ingredients are heated through and tender. Serve hot with pumpernickel bread and butter, pickled beets and beer.

Sausage, Peppers, Onion and Tomato Hero

Sausage, Peppers, Onion and Tomato Hero

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

8 sweet or hot Italian sausages, cut into 4 pieces each 

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled, mashed and minced

5 red or yellow bell peppers, washed, cleaned and seeded, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

3 green bell peppers, washed, cleaned and seeded, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

1 pound fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 large onions, peeled and sliced

1 handful parsley, washed and chopped

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage pieces on all sides; leave in pan. In same skillet heat the oil and garlic; remove garlic as soon as it starts to brown. Add peppers, cover pan and cook over low heat until they are slightly limp, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, onions, parsley and salt. Toss all ingredients together. Return cover to pan, but leave it slightly askew. Cook 30 minutes, until all veggies are soft. Serve hot on crusty Italian bread accompanied by marinated artichokes, olives, eggplant caponata and provolone cheese.

Photo by Heidi Sutton

Back by popular demand, the Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church, 38 Mayflower Ave., Smithtown will host its annual Slavic Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 3 with two seatings: 4 and 6:30 p.m. accompanied by a performance by the Resurrection Ukrainian Folk Heritage Dancers, a cash bar, raffles and traditional ethnic boutique with handmade Pysanky eggs, crafts, gifts and more. $22 per person includes a Troika platter dinner of cucumber salad, kielbasa,  pirogi, stuffed cabbage, homemade desserts, coffee and tea. For reservations, call Lisa at 631-265-6701. Walk-ins welcome.

Pumpkin-Butterscotch Muffins

By Barbara Beltrami

When the kids were little, we used to carve pumpkins and then use the insides to make all kinds of pumpkin goodies: pumpkin bread, which we froze for Thanksgiving; pumpkin soup and pie and pudding; and cookies and cakes. Each year we would try a new recipe for the jack-o’-lantern’s innards; sometimes it was great like the pumpkin-butterscotch muffins and sometimes it was awful like the pumpkin tapioca. But we always had fun looking up recipes and concocting something new. Here are two of our success stories.

Pumpkin-Butterscotch Muffins

Pumpkin-Butterscotch Muffins

YIELD: Makes 10 to 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

¾ cup pureed cooked fresh pumpkin, drained

¼ cup water

1¼ cups flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2/3 cup butterscotch morsels

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin pan or insert paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, oil and eggs. Stir in pumpkin and water. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add the pumpkin mixture and butterscotch morsels; stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crusty on top and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese, butter or apple butter and hot coffee, tea or chocolate.

Pumpkin Crumble

Pumpkin Crumble

YIELD: Makes 10 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 stick unsalted butter

4 cups pureed cooked fresh pumpkin, drained 

2 cups light cream or half and half

1½ cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled oats (not quick cook or instant)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

¾ cup flour

½ cup finely chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. With one tablespoon of the butter, grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9×5-inch baking dish. In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, cream, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and half the salt until well blended. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, pecans and remaining half teaspoon salt. Melt remaining butter, add to oat mixture and toss well. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly over bottom of prepared dish; sprinkle oat mixture on top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until pumpkin mixture is set but a little wobbly in the middle if dish is moved back and forth and oat mixture is golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and hot apple cider.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

By Barbara Beltrami

Come October it was always there. The peaches and plums and cherries in the big yellow bowl on the kitchen table gave way to apples and pears and walnuts accompanied by an ancient slightly rusty nutcracker and mother of pearl-handled fruit knives thrust among them. When we came home from school, we would grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts on our way upstairs to do our homework. Inevitably we would be chastened later for having left a trail of nutshell shards behind us and not putting the nutcracker back in the bowl. If you like walnuts as much as I did and still do, here are some recipes you’ll love.

Pasta with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

YIELD: Makes 1½ to 2 cups sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound pasta

1¼ cups chopped shelled walnuts

1 garlic clove

¹/3 cup light cream

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a food processor combine walnuts and garlic; pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add cream, oil, thyme, salt and pepper and process to a coarse paste with pieces still remaining. Add 4 tablespoons pasta water and Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times (sauce should be chunky, not smooth). If desired, place sauce in a small skillet over medium heat to warm. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and pour sauce over it. Serve with a light salad or green vegetable on the side.

Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts

YIELD: Makes 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg white at room temperature

1/2 pound shelled walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, salt, cinnamon and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white till frothy; add one tablespoon room temperature water and whisk in. Add walnuts and stir to coat; add sugar mixture and stir again. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and spread nuts on it. Bake 15 minutes, stir the nuts, then bake another 15 minutes until nuts are toasted and sugar coating is caramelized. Serve alone as a snack or with salad or cheese.

Walnut–Arugula Pesto

Walnut Arugula Pesto

 

YIELD: Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 garlic clove

2 cups tightly packed arugula

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in an electric food processor and, stopping to scrape sides of bowl frequently, process until smooth and light green. Serve with pasta, crostini, crackers, chips, chicken or fish, as a sandwich spread or dip.

This year's event will feature samplings from Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak

Save the date! The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Dan’s Papers, will host its 11th annual The Taste @ Port Jefferson at the Village Center, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson overlooking the Harborfront Park and harbor on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 10 p.m.

This year’s event will feature  samplings from Kilwins. 

In celebration, the chamber has reached out to the greater Port Jefferson restaurant community and will highlight over 20 restaurants and purveyors offering top-quality food tastings and desserts as well as samples of premium liquors, wines and beers. The event, for ages 21 and over, will feature musical entertainment by the popular band 1 Step Ahead. 

As of press time, participating businesses include Barito’s, Bliss Restaurant, C’est Cheese, Costco, Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak, Dos MexiCuban Cantina, Kilwins, Flying Pig Cafe, Haikara Sake, Twin Stills Moonshine, L.I. Pour House Bar & Grill, Locals Cafe, Manhattan Beer, MELTology Mount Sinai, PJ Brewing Co., Port Jefferson Frigate, PJ Lobster House, Slurp Ramen, Starbucks, The Steam Room, St. Charles Hospital, Tuscany Gourmet Market, Uncle Giuseppe’s and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

Sponsors this year include St. Charles Hospital, Paraco Gas, Harbor Hot Tubs, Haikara, TGIF Rentals and Fenelon Landscapes. BNB Bank is this year’s VIP Lounge Sponsor Dan’s Papers is the media sponsor.

Tickets, which may be purchased online at www.tasteatportjeff.com, are $70 per person for general admission starting at 7 p.m. and $99 for VIP guests at 6 p.m., which includes early access by one hour, a special VIP lounge with a private seating area, speciality spirits, dishes, wine pours and more. For further details, call 631-473-1414.

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Shallots and Mushrooms

By Barbara Beltrami

A recent trip to a farm stand out east provided more than I had bargained for. I had stopped to pick up winter squash as an accompaniment to a flavorful main dish. But when I beheld the cornucopia of varieties gorgeous and green and gold, earthy and tawny, tumbling from crates and mounded in baskets, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I wanted to buy them all. However, I showed remarkable restraint and took home just a couple of spaghetti and acorn squashes. Then I couldn’t decide between the following two recipes so I made them both! 

Stuffed Winter Squash

YIELD: Makes 4 to 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large, 2 medium or 4 small winter squash, any variety

3/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs

¹/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped leaves from one handful Italian flat-leaf parsley

2/3 cup pignoli nuts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, thyme or sage

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash, halve and seed the squash. With a sharp spoon scrape out flesh until only half an inch is left inside the shell. Place flesh in a food processor and puree until as smooth as possible. Transfer to a medium bowl; add breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, nuts, pepper and herbs; and mix thoroughly. Scoop mixture into hollowed-out shells; dot with butter. Fill a shallow baking pan with one to two inches of water; then place the filled shells in the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, until tops begin to turn golden brown. Serve immediately with Italian sausages, pork or poultry and couscous or wild rice.

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Shallots and Mushrooms

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Shallots and Mushrooms

YIELD: Makes 4 to 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

2 small spaghetti squashes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 small shallots, minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, basil or thyme leaves, minced

5 to 6 large fresh Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

4 to 6 ounces fresh white mushrooms, diced

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and quarter the squash. With a spoon, scoop out seeds. Place wedges skin side down in a large skillet and fill it with two inches of water or just enough to touch bottoms of wedges. Cover and cook over low-medium heat 20 minutes or until very tender. Check occasionally to be sure water hasn’t boiled away. Remove squash from heat and when it is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh into a medium bowl. Add two tablespoons butter, salt and pepper; mash and mix thoroughly. Set aside to keep warm.  

In a medium skillet melt two tablespoons butter; add shallots and herbs. Sauté until barely tender; add tomatoes; sauté five minutes more until they are barely cooked. Add mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes. Place squash mixture in a large serving bowl and top with shallot-tomato mixture and serve immediately as a main or side dish with poultry, beef, lamb or pork.

‘What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.’ 

William Sokolin

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Zinfandel is a classic all-American grape variety, planted in virtually all of California’s grape-growing areas. It is a thin-skinned, medium-acid red grape with a mysterious past and has been grown throughout California for over 150 years. For decades it was believed that zinfandel came to the United States from Hungary in the mid-1860s. However, some 30 years earlier it was already growing in a nursery owned by William Robert Prince, now known as the Botanical Gardens in Flushing, Queens, New York.

In 1967, a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant pathologist first discovered the similarity of the Italian grape known as primitivo and zinfandel while in Bari, Italy. Italian researchers determined the primitivo grape had been grown in Apulia since the late 1700s. In 1976 a University of California scientist tested both grape varieties and determined them to be the same. That led researchers to Croatia where growers were convinced that zinfandel was the same grape variety as the local Plavac Mali. After further DNA testing it was revealed that Plavac Mali was not related to zinfandel. However, while the researchers were in Croatia, they heard stories about another indigenous grape that may in fact be the key to unlock zinfandel’s mystery.

In 2001, it was confirmed through DNA testing that zinfandel and an indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak Kastelanski are the same. Additional research determined that Tribidrag is the oldest known Croatian name for the Crljenak Kastelanski grape variety, which appears in print as early as 1518.

George West from Massachusetts made California’s first white zinfandel at the El Pinal Winery near Stockton, California, in 1869; the first varietally labeled zinfandel was made in 1944 by the Parducci Winery; and the first rosé zinfandel was introduced in 1955 by Pedroncelli Winery. Sutter Home was the winery that defined and popularized the white zinfandel category and craze in the early 1970s.

The zinfandel grape’s history is not only fascinating but ponder this … winemakers can produce a white zinfandel, rosé zinfandel, red zinfandel, sparkling zinfandel, late-harvest zinfandel and port wine zinfandel.

A few recommended zinfandel wines I recently tasted are:

2015 Ravenswood “Dickerson,” Napa Valley

2015 Pedroncelli “Bushnell Vineyards,” Dry Creek

2014 Pedroncelli “Mother Clone,” Dry Creek

2017 Pedroncelli “Dry Rosé of Zinfandel,” Dry Creek

2016 Kreck “Teldeschi Vineyards,” Dry Creek

2016 Kreck “Del Barba Vineyard,” Contra Costa

2015 Kunde Estate Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley

2015 Kunde Reserve Century Vines, Sonoma Valley

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

Chicken Salad with Chopped Gherkins and Walnuts on a Croissant

By Barbara Beltrami

When John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, purportedly commanded that a servant bring him some slabs of roast meat between two slices of bread during a gambling session, he unwittingly changed the lunch habits of the English people. 

While the story’s veracity lies on shaky foundations, its subject, the sandwich, lies on foundations that are unquestionably the staff of life. Although this versatile commodity undoubtedly takes its name from England, it had been the custom in France long before that to give field workers or travelers a meal of stewed or roasted meat between slices of bread. 

In fact, fish, sliced fowl and egg sandwiches were a recognized preparation in French cuisine long before the British invented, or at least, discovered them. Whether a wrap, petit pain, panino or pita pocket, the sandwich is certainly the greatest invention since sliced bread. On a baguette, bagel bialy, bun or brioche, on rye, pumpernickel, whole wheat, white or multigrain, the sandwich filled with just about anything is the staple and star of any self-respecting lunch box or lunch menu. 

And in case I’ve left any out, here are a few of my favorites that make ham and cheese ho-hum and peanut butter and jelly pedestrian. Each recipe is for one sandwich but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.

Curried Egg Salad with Sliced Heirloom Tomato and Green Bell Pepper on Multigrain English Muffin

Combine 1½ tablespoons mayonnaise with ½ teaspoon of curry powder. Mix with one chopped hard-boiled egg. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Spread on a toasted multigrain English muffin; top with sliced tomato and thinly sliced pepper rings. Season again with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Chicken Salad with Chopped Gherkins and Walnuts on a Croissant

Poach or broil half a chicken breast.  When cool, cut into ½-inch cubes, then mix with 2 tablespoons diced celery, 1 tablespoon chopped gherkin, 1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Pile mixture onto croissant halves.

Italian Tuna with Cannellini Beans, Red Onion, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Wine Vinegar on Sliced Tuscan Bread

Cut bread into two slices; toast lightly. Drain a 3-ounce can of Italian oil-packed tuna, flake it with a fork and then set it aside. Rinse and drain ⅓ to ½ cup cannellini beans. In a small bowl, mash slightly. Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons wine vinegar, then season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle each bread slice with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, top with bean mixture, tuna and 1 tablespoon chopped red onion.

Smoked Nova Scotia Salmon with Sliced Radish and Scallion Cream Cheese on an Everything Bagel

Mix ¼ to ⅓ cup whipped cream cheese with two sliced radishes and one sliced scallion. Spread evenly on two bagel halves. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Place a slice or two of smoked salmon on each half.

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