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Pear-Rosemary Upside Down Cake

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


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


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


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


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


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


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.