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cooking cove

Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

By Barbara Beltrami

From William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” Act IV, Scene IV, comes a quote: “For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep seeming and savor all the winter long.” Rosemary is an herb that gives its best aromatic and savory gifts in the cold weather. It’s a strong herb; you need only brush it with your fingertips or sleeve to keep its pungent scent a good while after. An evergreen plant in the mint family along with thyme, basil, oregano and lavender, it has many medicinal as well as culinary uses. Try roasting a chicken and poking rosemary sprigs in the cavity or under the skin. Put rosemary leaves in a bean and cabbage soup or use it with pears in a cake. Fresh rosemary is best, but it freezes well. Grow some on your window sill and savor it all winter long.

Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

YIELD: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS: 

One 3- to 3½-pound roasting chicken, cleaned, rinsed and dried

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 whole lemon, quartered

1 medium onion quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise

4 to 6 rosemary sprigs + more for garnish

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Rub cavity of chicken with salt and pepper and juice from lemon quarters; place onion quarters inside cavity. Tuck wings under neck and tie legs together; tuck garlic and rosemary sprigs under skin; rub outside of chicken with juiced lemon wedges, then smear all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast chicken until it is just done, about one hour. Remove from oven and let rest; remove from roasting pan and transfer to warm platter. Set roasting pan over medium heat on stove top; add wine to pan juices and scrape bits and pieces from bottom of pan; add water, boil liquid, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and reduced by half. Serve chicken with pan juices and roasted potatoes. 

Chick Pea and Veggie Soup with Rosemary

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

¼ cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups finely shredded fresh cabbage

2 cups diced zucchini

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

One 28-ounce can chick peas

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oil in a large heavy sauce pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until garlic starts to brown and onion is transparent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and discard garlic; add rosemary, tomatoes and their juice, cabbage, zucchini, stock, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 20 to 25 minutes, until cabbage and zucchini are tender. Add chick peas, stir and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until they are heated through. Serve hot with fried bread cubes and a spinach salad.

Pear-Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Pear-Rosemary Upside Down Cake

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

Nonstick cooking spray

4 large pears, peeled and cored

1½ cups sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

2 large eggs

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

1½ cups flour

¾ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal

½ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray inside and bottom of 9-inch springform pan, then wrap outside bottom and sides with heavy duty aluminum foil. In large bowl gently toss pear slices with two tablespoons of the sugar and all the rosemary; arrange pear slices in bottom of pan. In large bowl with mixer on medium speed beat eggs with remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add oil, orange juice and zest; continue beating just until blended. Add flour, cornmeal and salt; beat on low speed until blended. Pour batter over pears in pan; bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1¼ hours. Cool completely in pan; run knife around edges of cake, invert cake plate over cake and turn cake plate and pan over; carefully remove ring. Serve with creme fraiche and pear brandy.

 

Traditional Apple Pie. Stock photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Election Day is next Tuesday and it brings with it political polarity the likes of which we’ve never seen until recently. Nobody seems to agree about anything anymore, and most people dare not bring up the subject of politics, lest it bring a shouting match, a détente among friends or family members or worse, the end of a formerly close relationship. Red or blue, Democrat or Republican, we are fortunate enough to have Election Day, an institution as American as, well, apple pie. In its honor I’ve decided to present three different apple pie candidates. You choose the one you think will be best.

Basic Pie Crust 

YIELD: Makes two 8- or 9-inch pie crusts.

INGREDIENTS: 

21/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup solid shortening

4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the flour and salt. With two table knives or a pastry cutter, work the shortening into the flour mixture until flour-coated particles are the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into mixture until it is completely moistened and all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a disc; lay between two large sheets of waxed paper on a floured surface, and with a rolling pin, roll out a crust approximately 10 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer to pie plate by inverting waxed paper and peeling it off. Use any torn parts to patch irregularities in crust.

Traditional Apple Pie

Traditional Apple Pie

YIELD: Makes one 9-inch pie.

INGREDIENTS: 

Two 9-inch pie crusts, each crust rolled out to 10-12 inches

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

7 cups pared sliced firm tart apples such as Granny Smith, Winesap or Jonathan

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

2 to 3 tablespoons milk 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch; add apples and toss to coat evenly with dry mixture. Letting edge drape over rim of 9-inch pie plate, line it with one crust. Heap apple mixture evenly over crust; dot with butter. Top with second crust; seal crusts by pinching edges of both crusts together and pressing them down on pie plate rim with fingers or a fork; flute edge. Cut slits in top crust, then brush with milk. Bake until crust is golden and apples are soft, about 50 to 60 minutes. If edge of crust starts to get too brown, cover with strips of aluminum foil. 

Deep Dish Apple Pie

Deep Dish Apple Pie

YIELD: Makes one pie.

INGREDIENTS: 

Nonstick cooking spray

6 cups tart, firm apples such as Granny Smith, Greening, Winesap or Jonathan

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Small pinch of salt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pie crusts for 9-inch pie, rolled out 1⁄₈ inch thick

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray sides and bottom of 10×6×2-inch baking dish. In large bowl thoroughly combine all ingredients except butter. Transfer to baking dish; spread evenly. Dot with butter and top with pastry crust; with small sharp knife, make a few slits in crust, then brush with milk. Bake until crust is golden and apples are soft, about 40 minutes. 

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

YIELD: Makes one pie.

INGREDIENTS: 

Pie crust for 9-inch pie

Filling for traditional apple pie, above

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line pie plate with crust and seal edges against rim. Put apple mixture into crust. In medium bowl combine butter, sugar and flour and salt; mix until crumbly. Spread evenly over apple mixture. Bake 50 minutes, until topping starts to crisp and apples are soft.

Pumpkin Risotto

By Barbara Beltrami

Most of us think of pumpkins as the main ingredient in pies, but they’re far more versatile than you might think. I’m not talking about pumpkin martinis or lattes or dishes made with canned pumpkin puree. I’m talking about savory familiar dishes that feature fresh pumpkin instead of their usual main ingredients … dishes such as curry or risotto or even oven fries. Yes, I know it’s a lot of work to cut up a pumpkin, but the taste and texture of what you get from doing it are worth the trouble. If you really think you can’t be bothered, then wait till Halloween and use the pumpkin flesh that’s carved out of the jack-o’-lanterns.

Thai Curried Pumpkin 

YIELD: Makes 3 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One 1½- to 2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size cubes

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon red curry paste

One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

Freshly squeezed juice of one lime

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ cup peanut oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

DIRECTIONS:

To a large pot of boiling salted water add pumpkin; cook 5 to 8 minutes, until barely tender. With slotted spoon remove from water and set aside. In a blender or food processor, puree shallots, garlic and curry paste with two tablespoons water; add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and pulse a few times to combine with curry paste mixture. Put oil in a wok and warm over medium heat; add curry mixture and stir constantly just until it releases its fragrance, about 10 to 15 seconds. Stir in coconut milk mixture, bring to boil, add pumpkin and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring once or twice until pumpkin is very tender but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with basil and serve immediately with rice.

Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One 2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1½ quarts chicken broth

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup minced onion

½ cup minced celery

1½ cups arborio rice

¾ cup dry white wine

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper in shallow baking pan; bake until they are tender but not mushy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat warm chicken broth and leave on low heat to simmer. In a large heavy pot or saucepan over medium heat melt butter, then reduce heat to medium, add onion and celery and, stirring frequently, cook until onion is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add rice, stir, add wine, and stir for another one and a half minutes. Add one or two ladlefuls of broth and stir frequently until broth is absorbed. Repeat procedure, always stirring frequently, until all broth has been absorbed and rice is al dente, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the baked pumpkin and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with a sauteed leafy green vegetable.

Pumpkin Oven Fries

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One 2- to 3-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch sticks

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl toss all ingredients together until pumpkin is thoroughly coated. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pumpkin sticks around so that there is space between them. Place in oven and bake 20 to 30 minutes, until crispy and golden brown on outside and tender on inside. Place in a serving bowl and toss with cheese. Serve hot or warm with poultry or meat and a green salad.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

By Barbara Beltrami

Pasta sauces are just as seasonal as other foods. Summer’s over. No more basil pestos or fresh tomatoes, zucchinis and eggplants. Now it’s time for hearty sauces featuring cold weather veggies like broccoli rabe, cauliflower and winter squash paired with beans, nuts and sausage. These are not your traditional tomato-based sauces, but they are full of flavor and texture and protein. They’re the kinds of sauces you usually find only in upscale Italian restaurants and are a whole lot easier to put together than you would think, so give them a try.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini

YIELD: Makes 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 large bunch broccoli rabe

½ cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

One 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 pound orecchiette pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse and trim broccoli rabe. Remove coarse outer leaves and tough parts of stems, then chop into bite-size pieces, taking care to leave florets intact. In a large skillet over moderate heat combine oil, garlic and broccoli rabe; saute garlic and broccoli rabe until garlic is light golden. Add broth, pepper flakes and salt and pepper, partially cover and cook over moderate heat, about 5 minutes. Add beans and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until broccoli rabe is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook orecchiette according to package directions, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl, toss with broccoli rabe mixture, then sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve immediately with a dry robust white wine.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and separated into bite-size florets 

½ cup olive oil

1 pound Italian sweet sausage, crumbled

2 garlic cloves, minced

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes

½ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound rigatoni, cooked according to package directions

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle cauliflower with salt and steam until just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat; add sausage and cook until browned; add garlic, tomatoes with their juice, pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until mixture is thickened and juice is evaporated. In a large pasta bowl combine sauce and pasta; toss thoroughly and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with a Caesar salad.

Penne with Butternut Squash, Hazelnuts and Sage

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded

1 pound penne pasta

½ pound unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1/3 cup coarsely ground toasted hazelnuts

8 fresh sage leaves, cut into narrow strips

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place squash on a baking sheet and roast until flesh is very soft, about 45 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile put a pot of salted water on to boil; cook pasta according to package directions; set aside to keep warm. With a serrated spoon scrape out flesh from squash skin; puree in food processor with half the butter until very smooth. Add salt and pepper and stir to thoroughly work in; set aside to keep warm. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt remaining butter; continue cooking until foam subsides and butter starts to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in hazelnuts and sage strips. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the squash puree and brown butter mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with a spinach and mushroom salad.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

By Barbara Beltrami

I think carrots may well be one of the top unsung heroes of the American pantry. Could it be because when we were kids we were admonished to eat our carrots so we could see in the dark? Or because they were accompaniments to the peas that we had to eat or we wouldn’t get dessert? Even cookbooks don’t give much attention to carrots. OK, so they’re not one of those veggies that have come into popularity after prior obscurity. But for me, the carrots are the best part of a pot roast gravy. They’re great with fresh herbs, lemon and butter. Never mind carrot-ginger soup; try cream of carrot soup. And who doesn’t like carrot cake? They’re the golden veggie.

Carrots with Fresh Dill, Lemon and Butter

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pound fresh carrots, trimmed and peeled

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

½ stick unsalted butter

Freshly squeezed juice of half a small lemon

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

DIRECTIONS:

Cut carrots into half-inch diagonal slices; sprinkle with salt and pepper; steam until tender, but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Melt butter; in small bowl combine with lemon juice and dill. Place carrots in a serving dish and toss with butter mixture. Serve with meat, poultry or fish.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

YIELD: Makes 10 to 12 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

3 cups flour

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1½ cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

11/3 cups chopped walnuts

1½ cups shredded zucchini

2 cups pureed cooked carrots

½ pound softened cream cheese

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Dash vanilla extract

Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS:

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round layer cake pans with waxed paper, then grease with butter. In a large bowl sift dry ingredients; add oil and eggs; beat well; then stir in walnuts, zucchini and carrots. Pour into prepared pans; place on middle rack of oven and bake about half an hour, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks; when cool, transfer to cake plate and frost.

For the frosting: In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter; sift in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice. Spread between layers, on sides and top of cake. Serve with coffee, tea or milk.

Cream of Carrot Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 pound carrots, cleaned and peeled

½ cup half-and-half

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot melt the butter in the olive oil. Add onion, cover and cook, stirring halfway through, until onion is transparent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth, water and carrots, and over high heat bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. In bowl of food processor, puree carrots in small batches, if necessary; return them to liquid, stir to combine thoroughly and transfer back to pot; stir in half-and-half and salt and pepper over low heat until mixture is just hot but not boiling; ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately with a well-chilled sauvignon blanc.

Meatball Heroes

By Barbara Beltrami

No matter who your team is, a tailgate picnic before the game heightens the anticipation and feeds the spirit. First you need to pack lots of crisp juicy apples and several kinds of munchies. You’ll want thermoses of hot tea and coffee as well as coolers of ice cold drinks. And then hefty sandwiches accompanied by cole slaw or a mixed green salad and something decadent, sweet and salty for dessert. Personally, I think nothing lends itself to that challenge like meatball heroes. Served up with some cheese-stuffed jalapenos to start and some pretzel brownies to finish, it’s a winner of a tailgate meal. 

Cheese-stuffed Jalapenos

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

¼ pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

¼ pound cream cheese at room temperature

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne

12 jalapeno peppers washed

3 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl thoroughly combine the cheeses, sour cream, cilantro, chives, salt and pepper and cayenne. Wearing disposable food prep gloves split the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs; rub both sides with olive oil and place in baking dish. With a table fork, press the cheese mixture into each half of the jalapenos. Bake until mixture just starts to bubble and brown and peppers are tender, about 15 minutes.

Meatball Heroes

Meatball Heroes

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Nonstick olive oil cooking spray

1½ pounds ground beef

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

1 small onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup unflavored breadcrumbs

2 slices white bread, soaked in water until soggy, then torn into one-inch pieces

½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Pinch baking soda

¼ cup olive oil

1½ crusty baguettes, cut into 6 sections

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. In large bowl thoroughly combine the beef, cheese, eggs, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, bread, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Roll mixture into two-inch balls and place evenly on baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes, turning once, until both sides are brown. Meanwhile, in large saucepan heat tomatoes, baking soda and olive oil over medium heat until gently bubbling; place meatballs in tomato sauce, cover and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, one and a half hours or until sauce is reduced and thickened; add salt and pepper to taste. Horizontally split the six sections of baguette, distribute the meatballs and sauce evenly on bottom halves, cover with top halves and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. 

Pretzel Brownies

YIELD: Makes 1 dozen large brownies.

INGREDIENTS:

2 sticks + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

¼ cup sweetened cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1¼ cups flour

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups salted pretzel sticks, broken up

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium-large saucepan over low heat, melt the two sticks butter with the bittersweet chocolate, whisking occasionally until smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder; add sugar and vanilla extract; stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour until partially incorporated, then add chocolate chips and stir just until everything is thoroughly combined. Grease bottom and sides of 9×13-inch baking pan with the remaining tablespoon butter. Spread half the pretzels evenly in bottom of pan, then carefully spread batter (which will be stiff) evenly over pretzels, finally sprinkle remaining pretzels evenly over batter. Bake about 40 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Apple Nut Loaf

By Barbara Beltrami

Veggies and fruits and flowers piled in pyramids and spilling out of bushel baskets, their perfumes rewarding summer’s work and heralding its end, holding on to summer and portending autumn turn me into a kid in a candy shop.

I know that when I talk about farm stands I tend to wax rhapsodic. I can’t help it. When I am anywhere that I can pick up the scent of ripe tomatoes ready for slicing or saucing; anywhere that I can indulge myself in bright bouquets of zinnias, asters, mums, Montauk daisies, statice and sunflowers; anywhere I can grab bunches of beets, kohlrabi, broccoli, eggplants, beans, squash, cucumbers, corn and peppers for pickling; anywhere I can get pears, peaches,plums, apples and quinces for pies and preserves, I get out of control.

I bring them home, arrange them in bowls and baskets because I love to look at them and also because refrigeration steals much of their flavor and texture. So I use them up quickly while they’re at their peak. Some I just wash and eat raw; others get sauteed, steamed, grilled or baked; and still others become soups, stews, sauces and relishes, chutneys, cakes and compotes to freeze or preserve and savor while Mother Earth sleeps and we dream our winter dreams.

Eggplant Caviar

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds eggplant

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Coarse salt and black pepper to taste

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

10 fresh plum tomatoes; peeled, seeded and juiced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise; score their cut surfaces with a sharp knife; place on cookie sheet, cut side up, 25 minutes or until pulp is very soft; set aside to cool. With a spoon scoop out pulp and drain in a mesh drainer 15 minutes. Reserve half of eggplant skin, then cut into large pieces; puree with garlic and basil in food processor; add drained eggplant pulp, salt and pepper and half the oil; pulse a few times to combine and form a coarse puree; transfer to serving bowl and chill well. Puree tomato pulp and juice with remaining one-quarter cup oil and salt and pepper to taste; place in small bowl as accompaniment to eggplant. Serve the same day with toasted Italian bread and extra virgin olive oil.

Apple Nut Loaf

Apple Nut Loaf

 

YIELD: Makes one loaf.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups peeled, cored chopped apples

2 tablespoons boiling water

1 teaspoon plus one small pinch of salt

2 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place apple slices in a small heavy saucepan with the water and pinch of salt; simmer until apples are tender but not mushy; puree and set aside to cool. In a large bowl thoroughly combine the remaining teaspoon salt, flour, the ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; stir in walnuts. In medium bowl combine pureed apples with oil and egg; stir into dry mixture just enough to moisten. Turn into a greased 9- × 5- × 3-inch loaf pan, sprinkle top surface with the tablespoon sugar and bake one hour or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve slightly warm with butter or apple butter.

Lizzie’s Corn Relish

Corn Relish

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 pints.

INGREDIENTS:

12 ears fresh corn

10 cups chopped green cabbage

3 yellow or red bell peppers, chopped

3 onions, chopped

8 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons salt

1/4 cup mustard seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Remove kernels from ears of corn; separate any that stick together. In a very large nonreactive pot combine all ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into hot sterilized pint jars and seal. Process in boiling water bath for 15 to 20  minutes. With rubber-tipped tongs remove jars from bath and set aside to cool. Check that all jars have sealed; refrigerate any that have not sealed within 12 hours and use as soon as possible. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark dry place until ready to serve with meat, poultry or fish.

Classic Cole Slaw

By Barbara Beltrami

Ever wonder where the name coleslaw comes from? I did; so I Googled it and here’s what I found. In the 18th century it arose as a partial translation of the Dutch “koolsalade,” which became “koolsla,” meaning cabbage salad. In England it originally was called cold slaw, but in the 1860s the cole meaning cabbage came back into use. Like so many popular dishes, the classic version comprised of shredded cabbage and carrots has as many versions as people who make it. And in recent years as our veggie horizons have expanded, it’s not just cabbage. Slaw can now be made from jicama, broccoli, kohlrabi, zucchini, beets and fennel … and that’s mentioning just a few of the versions I’ve tasted or seen. Truth be told, I still prefer the classic coleslaw but the other three recipes below run a close second.

Classic Coleslaw

Classic Cole Slaw

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

1 teaspoon celery seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ head green cabbage, very thinly sliced or coarsely shredded

½ head red cabbage very thinly sliced or coarsely shredded

3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

1 to 2 tablespoons grated onion

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds and salt and pepper. Add cabbage, carrots and onion and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 6 hours until ready to serve.

Beet Slaw

Beet Slaw

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 medium beets, peeled and grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

2 cups red cabbage, very thinly sliced

1 small onion, grated

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegars, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, salt and pepper. Add the beets, carrot, cabbage, onion and thyme; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.

Jicama Slaw

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons honey or sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

1 large jicama, peeled and finely shredded

½ head green cabbage, trimmed and thinly sliced or shredded

2 carrots, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

In large bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, chili power, honey, oil, coriander, salt and pepper and garlic clove; let sit one hour; remove and discard garlic clove. Add cilantro, jicama, cabbage and carrots; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.

Zucchini Slaw

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons honey or sugar

½ cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

5 small zucchini, shredded

1 yellow or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and julienned

1 celery rib, minced

Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn

2 medium fresh tomatoes, diced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, honey, basil, oregano and salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, celery and corn; toss to coat thoroughly. Just before serving add tomatoes and toss again.

Shrimp Dumpling Soup with Greens

By Barbara Beltrami

You may be wondering why I seldom write about Asian cuisine. It’s simple; I don’t know very much about it and have cooked it infrequently. However, with the spate of Asian restaurants springing up everywhere, I’ve had more occasion to dine on that cuisine. In turn, with the help of cookbooks and the internet I’ve tried to duplicate or at least imitate some of my favorite dishes, especially the soups, so rich in umami flavor. I have developed a yen (pardon the pun) for Japanese ramen, Chinese dumpling soup and my longtime favorite, hot and spicy soup.

The recipes I’ve developed may not be, by Asian standards, very authentic, but to me they taste pretty much like the genuine thing.

Shrimp Dumpling Soup with Greens

Shrimp Dumpling Soup with Greens

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

¾ pound fresh shrimp in shells, peeled and deveined

1½ tablespoons peeled very finely minced fresh ginger

4 tablespoons minced scallions

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup finely minced canned water chestnuts

50 wonton wrappers

3½ cups minced, trimmed fresh baby bok choy

8 cups chicken stock or broth

DIRECTIONS:

In food processor bowl blend shrimp, ginger, scallions, salt, pepper, sherry and oil to a smooth paste.; stir in water chestnuts. In large pot, bring unsalted water to steady simmer. Lightly brush edges of wonton wrapper with water; place half a teaspoon of filling in center, then pinch corners shut to form a little pouch.

When all wrappers are filled poach them for one and a half minutes in simmering water, remove with slotted spoon, drain well and spread on large platter. Blanch bok choy in dumpling water 10 to 15 seconds, drain, then immerse in ice water, drain again and press gently to remove excess water.

In a large pot, bring chicken stock to steady simmer, gently add dumplings and cook for a minute or so to heat them through. Serve soup hot with fried noodles or spring rolls.

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom and Ramen Noodle Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

10 cups water

1 pound chicken tenders, diced

1 tablespoon fresh chopped peeled ginger

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 bunch scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and diced

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons light (not too salty) miso

3 ounces dried brown rice ramen noodles

½ pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1/3 pound green beans, cleaned and sliced

10 ounces tofu, diced

2 cups broccoli florets and peeled stems, thinly sliced

¾ pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot, simmer together the water, chicken, ginger, pepper and soy sauce for 15 minutes; discard ginger but retain liquid. In a large skillet over medium heat saute scallions, onion, carrot and garlic in sesame oil for 5 minutes, until onion is transparent and carrot is somewhat tender; toss with soy sauce. Transfer to pot with liquid; add miso, stir and bring to a boil. Add ramen noodles, mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, tofu and broccoli; return to boil and cook 5 minutes; add spinach and simmer one or two minutes. Serve immediately with a dry white wine or saki.

Spicy Hot Northern Chinese Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons finely minced garlic

2 to 2½ teaspoons finely minced hot peppers (serrano or other)

1 tablespoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

7 cups chicken stock

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, peppers and ginger and saute until soft but not browned. Add breadcrumbs and stir well to combine with garlic mixture; add cayenne and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes; add lime juice, salt and pepper. When ready to serve, being very careful not to let soup boil, very slowly and gently stir in beaten eggs and cilantro. Serve immediately with fried rice, green tea and lots of ice cold water!

Oven-Fried Chicken

By Barbara Beltrami

You’re probably wondering why I hardly ever write about chicken. In fact, several people have asked me that, and I can answer only that there are so many chicken recipes in magazines and cookbooks and on the internet that it’s seemed superfluous. However, a recent menu planning experience has convinced me otherwise.

At my wit’s end to accommodate those who didn’t eat red meat or were allergic to fish, I found myself scouring my files for recipes and realized that there’s always such a good old standby whose myriad ways of preparation have rescued many a cook, tantalized many a guest and certainly saved the day for me.

There are three recipes here: one for the cook top, one for the grill and one for the oven, so depending on the weather, your mood and what else you have on hand, you can choose your preparation. That’s the great thing about chicken; there are so many ways to prepare it that you can’t go wrong. In fact, I think I’m going to do a column on chicken more often.

Summer Chicken Stew

YIELD: Makes 3 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

One 3½-pound chicken cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Flour for dredging

½ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 small eggplant, diced

1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil

2 large fresh tomatoes, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup dry white wine

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge it in flour. In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Fry chicken, turning pieces once, until both sides are golden; remove to large saucepan. Discard oil and add remaining ¼ cup oil to pan; add onion, eggplant, bell pepper and herbs and saute stirring frequently, over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to saucepan with chicken, add tomatoes, garlic and wine and mix thoroughly. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally and adding ½ cup water at a time, if needed, until chicken and veggies are done, about 45 minutes. Serve with orzo and a summer lettuce salad.

Pesto Grilled Chicken

YIELD: Makes 3 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves

½ cup olive oil

½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

½ cup pignoli nuts

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

One 3½-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

DIRECTIONS:

Place basil, garlic, oil, grated cheese, pignoli nuts and salt and pepper in bowl of electric food processor and puree, scraping bowl often, until smooth and medium green in color. Heat grill to medium-hot. In large bowl toss chicken pieces with pesto until evenly coated. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Let sit and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is crispy and slightly charred and juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a knife, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and corn on the cob.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken

YIELD: Makes 3 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

One 3½-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

3 cups buttermilk

1½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or oregano

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Place chicken in a large bowl and pour buttermilk over it; let sit to marinate at room temperature 30 minutes. In a wide shallow bowl or pan, thoroughly combine breadcrumbs, herbs and salt and pepper. Dip chicken pieces in breadcrumb mixture to thoroughly coat on both sides; place on greased baking sheet and let sit 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 F. Bake chicken until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a sharp knife, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with cole slaw and mashed potatoes.