The Literate Chef

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Pan-Seared Halibut Elisabetta, En Papillote

In Fish, Recipes on July 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

 

Pan-Seared Halibut Elisabetta

Pan-Seared Halibut Elisabetta

(Preparation time 20 minutes, serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 lb. Halibut, skin removed
Hot Hungarian Paprika
6 Campari Tomatoes, quartered
12 pimento-stuffed green olives, halved
4 tbsp. Capers, drained
1 tbsp. Olive oil
2 squares of Parchment Paper for serving en papillote

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Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Thoroughly pat-dry the fish with paper toweling and divide in half.
3. Sprinkle each side with paprika.
4. Pre-heat cast iron skillet on high for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Add olive oil to the pan and when shimmering, carefully place each piece of fish in the pan.

Pan-searing the Halibut

Pan-searing the Halibut

6. Pan-sear for 1 minute, turn and repeat. Remove seared fish pieces to the middle of each square of parchment paper.

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7. Arrange tomatoes, olives and capers on each piece and wrap into packages.

 

Halibut en Papillote

Halibut en Papillote



8. Place packages on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 10 to 11 minutes.
9. Carefully remove the packages from the oven, place each on a plate and gently open and transfer the contents to the plates.
10. Serve immediately.

Please see: She proposed and I disposed

Pan-Seared Scallops with Spinach, Corn & Chorizo

In Pork, Recipes, Seafood, Vegetables on June 15, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Seafood and pork seem to have a natural affinity, see Shrimp & Grits, Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo, Roasted Halibut with Chouriço & Mushrooms and of course, Paella. This recipe, is for a perfect one-dish meal that serves 2 and can be prepared in about 45 minutes. You’ll need a large non-stick skillet, about 12 inches to give the scallops enough room to properly sear, a large deep pot for the spinach, a strainer and tongs.

scallops r

Ingredients:

3/4 lb. Sea Scallops
2 Ears of corn
1 lb. Baby spinach
1/4 lb. Chorizo or Andouille Sausage
2 tbsps. Unsalted butter
2 tbsps. Light cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
Hot Hungarian Paprika, to taste

Procedure:

1. Rinse the scallops and thoroughly dry them with paper toweling. Sprinkle one side of each scallop with paprika and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 175 for warming.
3. Remove kernels from the ears of corn.
4. Slice and dice the chorizos.
5. Pre-heat skillet on high, add and melt 1 tbsp. of the butter, add the corn and sauté 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly caramelized.
6. In the meantime, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a large pot, add the spinach. When spinach is done, drain well and transfer to oven to keep warm.
7. When the corn is done remove to a blender and process, add the cream and process again until fairly smooth. Transfer corn to a small bowl and keep warm in the oven.
8. Add the chorizo to the skillet and lightly brown. Place in oven to keep warm.
9. Get the skillet very hot and melt the remaining tbsp. of butter. When smoking add the scallops, coated side down, and sprinkle top side with paprika. Pan-sear them for 2 minutes, turn and repeat.
10. In the meantime remove the spinach, corn and chorizo from the oven and begin to assemble each serving: divide the spinach between the two bowls; top with the corn. When the scallops are done divide them between the two bowls and arrange them atop the corn. Sprinkle each bowl with the chorizos.
11. After the scallops are removed from the pan, pour in the wine, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan. Cook the wine down by about half and divide the sauce among the two bowls. Serve at once.

Shrimp & Grits

In Recipes, Shrimp on May 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Having been stationed at Air Force bases in Texas and Mississippi, “when I wore a younger man’s clothes,” I became intimately familiar with Grits, as they were served in the mess hall at every breakfast. I recall them perfectly, white, gummy and tasteless. The only way that they became even slightly edible was drowned in butter, salt and sugar.

Last month, while visiting my cousin outside of Beaufort, South Carolina, I happened to mention that we were stopping in Charleston, as we continued on our drive north. She said to me “you have to try Shrimp and Grits, when you get to Charleston!” Recalling that gooey, bland mess to which I had been subjected while living “Down South” in the service of Uncle Sam, I thought boiled shrimp in boiled grits? Not for me!

Upon arriving in Charleston the following afternoon, we checked into the HarbourView Inn, located right in the heart of the historic district. We asked the concierge to recommend a nearby restaurant for a late lunch, and he suggested Slightly North Of Broad (SNOB), as it is just around the corner from the hotel. Sure enough, Maverick Shrimp & Grits were prominently displayed on the menu. However, the description sounded infinitely superior to the vision that was in my mind, so I thought what the heck, and went ahead and ordered them.

Having cleaned my plate of every last morsel of grits, the waitress commented that I had obviously enjoyed them. I explained my hesitation in ordering them, based on previous association, but that the dish had far exceeded my expectations. She explained that there are a variety of grits, each with differing qualities, and that theirs were stone-ground in small batches.When I inquired if Chef Lee had a cookbook, she said that unfortunately he did not, but she was kind enough to give me a copy of his recipe, which I have adapted herein. She also  recommended that I visit their affiiliate, Charleston Cooks, a delightful gourmet shop next door, where I was sure to find a bag of good quality grits to take back to the north.

I hope that you try these Grits, as they will make a Grits lover out of any darn Yankee.

 

Shrimp & Grits
(Adapted from Slightly North of Broad, Charleston, SC)
Total Time 45 minutes – Serves 2

Shrimp & Grits

Ingredients:

For the Grits:
4 cups water
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsps. Unsalted butter
1 & 1/4 cups stone ground grits
2/3-cup light cream

For the Topping:
4 oz. country ham, julienned
4 oz. Andouille sausage, cut into circles ¼ inch thick
½ fresh tomato, diced
4 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. Creole Seasoning

1 dozen medium sized shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup chicken stock

Procedure:

Prepare the Grits:

1. In a 3 qt. pot with a heavy bottom, bring the water, salt and 1tbsp. of the butter to a boil.
2. Stir in the grits, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thick and creamy (approximately 35 to 40 minutes.)
3. Remove pot from the heat, add 1 tbsp. of the butter and mix well. Add the cream and mix well again. Taste, and adjust the butter and cream to your liking. Keep warm.

While the Grits are Cooking, Prepare the Topping Ingredients:

1. Slice the ham and sausage, slice and dice the vegetables, clean the shrimp and assemble the other ingredients.
2. Heat a non-stick sauté pan and add 1 tbsp. of butter. When melted, add the ham and Andouille sausage and sauté.
3. When the meat is lightly browned, add the tomatoes, scallions and spices, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 3 or 4 minutes until the shrimp are pink.
5. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
6. Add the remaining butter.

To Serve:

Divide the grits equally between two plates. Place 6 shrimp per person on the grits and spoon equal portions of the topping over each.

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

In Clams, Pasta, Pork, Recipes, Seafood on February 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

A few nights ago, Betty made a big platter of her famous Paella Isabella. It served 5 for dinner very nicely. However, not all of the clams and chorizo that we had bought wound up in the paella, which got me thinking about what to do with them the next day.

Having a vague recollection of a pasta dish with clams and pancetta, and thinking about dishes where seafood and pork combine nicely, I decided to experiment with these leftovers. A light tomato sauce, almost a Marechiaro, seemed to be the right approach. Rather than parsley, Betty suggested a little cilantro to finish the dish. It was the right thing to do, and the result was sublime.

(Serves 2, preparation time, 30 minutes)

Ingredients:

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7 cloves of garlic, minced
2 dozen Littleneck Clams, scrubbed and rinsed
¼ lb. Chorizo, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup of dry white wine
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut-up
½ lb. spaghetti
Chopped cilantro, about 3 tablespoons

Procedure:

1. Boil a large pot of water for the spaghetti.
2. Heat olive oil in a separate pot, about 5 qt. sized.
3. Add the garlic to the oil, and sauté lightly; do not let it burn.
4. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
5. Add the clams and cover the pot.
6. After about 2 or 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and chorizo.
7. When clams begin to steam open, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to directions.
8. Once most of the clams have opened, to avoid over-cooking them, remove them to a bowl while the sauce continues to boil and thicken, and until the spaghetti is done.
9. When the spaghetti is al dente to the taste, drain it and add it to the sauce.
10. Transfer the spaghetti and sauce to a large serving bowl, add the clams and garnish with cilantro.
11. Serve immediately.
12. Feel free to add grated pecorino-romano cheese, if so desired.

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Guinness Braised Boneless Short Ribs

In Beef, Meat, Recipes, Stews on February 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Guinness Braised Short Ri

Guinness Braised Boneless Short Ribs

(Active Preparation Time – 1 hour, Marinate Overnight, Cooking Time- 3 hours; Serves 4 to 6)

Recently, we invited  my good friend John, and his brother Pat and sister-in-law Kathleen who were visiting the U.S. from Grange, County Sligo, to dinner.  Pat & Kathleen had hosted us several times on our trips to Ireland and this was a perfect time to reciprocate their hospitality.  In their honor, we prepared these short ribs, in a manner appropriate for the occasion. Happily it was enjoyed by all. The Guinness imparted an earthy flavor to the meaty ribs, and the gravy from the marinade proved to be a perfect dressing for the noodles. Sláinte!

Ingredients:

3 lbs. Boneless Short Ribs, cut into 1 & 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cans of Draft Guinness
½ cup flour
2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion chopped
7 cloves of garlic chopped
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups of low-sodium beef broth
1 lb. package of baby carrots
1 lb. broad noodles
Chopped parsley for garnish

Procedure:

1. Sprinkle ribs with salt & pepper, place in a shallow non-reactive bowl, pour in the Guinness, cover with plastic wrap and marinate refrigerated over night. In the morning turn the pieces and return to the refrigerator.
2. About 4 hours before you plan to eat, pour the marinade into a large pot and reduce by ½.
3. Toss the ribs with the flour in a 1-gallon plastic storage bag. Divide into two equal-sized batches.
4. Heat the olive in a large sauté pan and brown each batch of ribs well.
5. Remove the browned ribs to a bowl and set aside.
6. Deglaze the sauté pan with the onions and garlic.
7. When the marinade is reduced by ½, add the browned ribs, onions and garlic and any scrapings from the sauté pan to the reduced marinade.
8. Add the beef broth and thyme sprigs, cover and bring to a boil.
9. When boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 2 & ½ hours. Stir the meat periodically and check to make sure the liquid does not burn off.
10. Test the meat for doneness, it should separate easily with a fork, add the carrots and cook an additional 30 minutes.
11. Cook the noodles separately.
12. Pick over the meat to remove the thyme sprigs and serve as in the picture above.

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Panis Angelicus

In Baking, Recipes on December 24, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

(Active preparation time about 20 minutes, total time approximately 1 & 1/2 hours, plus time to cool – Makes 2 loaves)

I do not pretend to be much of a baker. Baking is chemistry, and I flunked it in high school. But if a chemistry-challenged person such as I can bake this “heavenly bread” then anyone should be able to master the science. Or is it art? To paraphrase an ancient Chinese (?) proverb, “give a man a loaf of bread and you feed him for a day, but teach him to bake bread and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The recipe for this Irish Brown Bread is adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. I was not taught by the Jesuits. Rather, my grammar school, high school and college education was under the tutelage of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, also known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or in Latin, Fratres Scholarum Christianarum (F.S.C.). The Christian Brothers were also well-known wine-makers, but I don’t make wine, I only drink it.

Ingredients:

4 cups of whole wheat flour
3 cups of unbleached whole-purpose flour
3 tsps. of baking soda
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted
3 cups of buttermilk

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, position the rack about 1/3 from the top of the oven.
  2. With a pastry brush, butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, with the melted butter.
  3. Combine the two flours, then add the baking soda and mix well.*
  4. Add the butter and buttermilk and mix well again, to make the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly and, keeping your hands moist with water, form each half into a tight ball, this reduces the possibility of air holes in the baked bread.
  6. Place the batter in the loaf pans and push down to compact each loaf, then place the loaf pans in the oven.
  7. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a knife in the thickest part of each loaf. If the knife is dry to the touch, the bread is done.
  8. Remove bread from loaf pans (if stuck, use a knife to loosen from the pan), transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.

* Before having an electric mixer, I would do this by hand. I highly recommend using an electric mixer.

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Thick as Fog Pea Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

One has often heard the cliché “The Fog was as Thick as Pea Soup.” Last week, having cooked up a big batch of Pea Soup to warm our innards during this dreary, cold and damp (but not foggy) New England winter, which started just after Thanksgiving, and, according to the calendar, about 3 weeks before the first day of winter, I decided to research the genesis of this old bromide. Growing up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens as my entertaining companions, as well as Frank Sinatra, I was drawn to Google references about Foggy London Town and discovered this gem:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243732/Pea-souper-killed-12-000-So-black-screen-cinemas-So-suffocatingly-lethal-ran-coffins-How-Great-Smog-choked-London-60-years-ago-week.html

Further on, I came across this old nursery rhyme that I hadn’t thought about in ages:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

This pea porridge will not sit in the pot for nine days in our home, but it will help to warm our viscera for a few weeks, and if half of it is frozen, it might last another month, but it’s so good that I highly doubt it.

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

(30 minutes active preparation time, 20 minutes active cooking and 50 minutes unattended cooking)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. green split peas, rinsed well
1 large onion diced, about 2 cups
10 cloves garlic chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
3 carrots diced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 packets of Goya Sabor a Jamón (ham flavored concentrate) *
4 Quarts of water

Procedure:

  1. In an 8 qt. pot, add garlic and onions and sweat over medium- low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots, and sweat for 5 minutes more, stirring periodically.
  3. Mix in the Goya Sabor a Jamón and stir well for 1 minute more.
  4. Remove the pot from heat, add the peas and water, cover and bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir periodically, to prevent peas from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Transfer to a food processor in batches, pulse process until fairly smooth, then add to a clean pot. Continue until all of the soup has been processed.

Just before serving, add some cut-up hot dogs, about 2 per person (cut 3/4 inch thick) and heat thoroughly. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl.

*This is a quick and easy recipe and the Goya Sabor a Jamón adds a nice smoked pork flavor to the soup. However, the ingredients listed in order of highest concentration are salt & MSG. So if you have an aversion to them, then take the time and expense to substitute them with Smoked Ham Hocks (2), a Ham Bone, or a Prosciutto End. That is how we usually make our pea soup, but in this case the Goya Sabor a Jamón worked just as well, and we didn’t have to go out to the market on a cold and dreary  day.

Pea Soup as thick as fog, enjoyed by the fire place, that says winter on Cape Cod!

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Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on December 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Preparation Time 40 Minutes, Serve 4

A few weeks ago, while taking stock of the items in our larder, I discovered, hidden away on a back shelf, 3 cans of Goya Garbanzos, which were due to reach their expiration date in a few months. Whether or not an expiration date imprinted on a can should be believed is irrelevant; as in this case, the serendipitous discovery of this legume pretty much determined that they would be consumed long before then.

As I wrote several years ago, Grandma Loved Ceci Beans, or Chick Peas, or Garbanzos, as they are also known, depending upon your ethnicity. I never appreciated them until on a visit to Tuscany some years back I devoured a sublime Ceci Bean Soup in a little restaurant in the hill town of Vagliagli, where we had rented a villa with two other couples. This soup has been on my mind ever since. Now was the time to act.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cans Garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika (note)
2 cups of chopped Kale (add 4 cups of Kale, leaves only, to food processor in batches and chop)
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)

Procedure:

1. In a three-quart pot, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and lightly sauté until translucent.
2. Add Garbanzos and mix well.
3. Add salt.
4. Add chicken broth and bring to boil.
5. Boil on medium high for 15 minutes.
6. Remove 3 cups of the beans, purée in food processor and add back to pot.
7. Add paprika and tomato paste
8. Add Kale and cook on med-low for 15 minutes

Note: If you are unable to locate Hot Hungarian Paprika, you can get close to it by using Regular Paprika and Cayenne Pepper in a 3:1 ratio.

Serve with grated Parmigiano – Reggiano and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Roasted Figs with Tallegio and Prosciutto*

In Appetizers, Recipes on November 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Roasted Figs with Tallegio & Prosciutto

Roasted Figs with Tallegio & Prosciutto

We discovered some beautiful fresh figs in the supermarket a few weeks ago and I had the desire to make an appetizer that I hadn’t made in almost a decade. I basically remembered what to do, but to insure that I didn’t leave out any vital ingredient, I searched high and low for my recipe. I found it and was amazed to see that it was dated June 2004. How the time flies when you aren’t paying attention. So don’t let this opportunity escape you, run out now and hunt down some fresh figs, before they disappear for about 7 or 8 months, and treat yourself and your guests to this delicious combination.

Preparation time about 45 minutes, Serves 6)

Ingredients:

18 fresh figs at room temperature, (preferably the black variety)
1 lb. of ripened Tallegio, softened at room temperature
1 lb. of Prosciutto di Parma
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Glaze for drizzling

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash & dry the figs.
3. Remove stems and slice each fig in half lengthwise.

Halved Figs

Halved Figs

4. Slice the cheese into 36 pieces, each about the same size as the fig halves.
5. Wrap a slice of Prosciutto around each fig half and cheese.
6. Place the wrapped fig halves on a cookie sheet, and lightly drizzle olive oil on each.
7. Place cookie sheet in the middle of the oven and roast for between 6 to 8 minutes.

Serve with Balsamic Glaze for drizzling for who desire it.

*Adapted from at an appetizer served at Jarnac Restaurant (now sadly closed) in Greenwich Village, with compliments to Chef Maryann Terillo.

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Chicken with Eight Flavors

In Chicken, Meat, Recipes on October 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Chicken with Eight Flavors

Chicken with Eight Flavors

Yesterday it was time to start cleaning out the freezer, before we once again lose power in a winter storm. Halfway into the freezer, we found a package of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs. It was to be chicken for dinner again, but I craved something different and didn’t feel like standing over a stove, so it would be baked or broiled.  In the mood for flavor and  crunch, I opted for marinated and broiled.  A perusal of the refrigerator and pantry revealed eight standby items with which to prepare a marinade. The result, accompanied by sautéed spinachwas excellent.

Active preparation – 20 minutes. Total time – 1 hour & 45 minutes.

Ingredients for the marinade:

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp hot chili sesame oil
1/2 tbsp white rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely minced ginger
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed

1.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 6 thighs.

Procedure:

1. Prepare the marinade: add the first 4 ingredients to a small bowl and whisk briskly, then add the next four and whisk again.
2. Place the defrosted chicken pieces in a mid-sized bowl.
3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and mix well.
4. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for one hour, stir several times.
5. Place chicken thighs on a rack on a broiler pan, add few tablespoons of marinade to each piece.
6. Place pan about 6 inches from broiler element and cook 25 minutes turning once halfway through. Add remaining marinade after chicken has been turned.
7. Remove broiled chicken to serving platter and pour all of the pan drippings and juices over them.

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French Onion Soup

In Recipes, Soups on October 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

(Serves 2 or 3 – Active preparation time about 1 hour)

We found these great oven-proof soup bowls with handles at  Williams-Sonoma a while back, and they have been sitting fallow in our cabinet ever since. But yesterday, with the weather turning to full Autumn here on Cape Cod, the bowls cried out to be used. Since they resemble those soup bowls one would see in un petit bistrot somewhere on La Rive Gauche, what better soup to christen them with than a hearty Soupe à l’Oignon.

Betty whipped this up last night for a light supper, and with the lights turned down low, a candle on the dinner table, and Edith Piaf warbling in the background on the stereo, we enjoyed a 30 minute flight of fantasy to The City of Light.

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices French bread, about 1″ thick
4 large onions, sliced thin
4 sprigs of thyme
4 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup of sherry (Amontillado)
6 cups of College Inn, Fat-Free, Low-Sodium Beef Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb. Gruyere, sliced thin – sufficient to cover the top of each soup bowl

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large heavy pot, on medium heat, sauté the garlic in 4 tbsp of the butter.
3. Brush bread slices on both sides with the garlic butter mixture.
4. On a cookie sheet, bake the garlic bread in the oven for 6 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
5. While the garlic bread is baking, add the remaining butter to the pot and melt, add onions and thyme sprigs, cook over medium heat until onions are well caramelized.
6. Remove the thyme sprigs, sift flour over the onions, mix well and cook over low heat for 8 minutes. Add sherry and continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes more.
7. Add beef broth, salt and paper, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until thickened as desired.
8. Place toasted garlic bread in soup bowls, add onion soup to the brim.
9. Cover bowls with layered Gruyere slices and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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Linguine with Swordfish (Pasta con Spada)

In Fish, Pasta, Recipes on September 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Linguine with Swordfish

Linguine with Swordfish

Preparation time 30 minutes plus 30 minutes marinating – serves 2, no leftovers!

A few weeks ago, the Travel Section of the Sunday’s New York Times, contained a wonderful article by Russell Shorto (Sciotto), on discovering his Sicilian roots. In it he mentioned having a dish of macaroni, swordfish and mint in a Sicilian restaurant. Intrigued by this combination of ingredients and remembering a dish of Pasta con Sarde that I once had in a now defunct New York City Sicilian restaurant, I decided to try and make Linguine with Swordfish. My interest was also piqued, as fresh Harpooned Swordfish is readily available from our local fishmonger.

I thought long and hard about how to go about this and ultimately decided to marinate the fish then pan grill it, de-glaze the pan with wine, toss in some tomatoes and capers, the latter for their saltiness, some fish stock or clam juice for liquid, and instead of mint, chopped parsley. It was easy to make and delicious. Next time I think I will try the mint.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Linguine
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 lemons. about 1/3 cup
1 lb. fresh Swordfish
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 lb. Campari Tomatoes, quartered
6 Tbsps. Capers, drained

1/2 cup of Clam juice

1/4 cup, flat leaf parsley, chopped

Procedure:

  1. In a non-reactive dish, remove the skin and marinate the Swordfish in Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper for 30 minutes, turn once.
  2. Set a pot of water to boil for the linguine.
  3. Pre-heat a cast iron skilletadd the Swordfish and grill it on high heat for 5 minutes on each side, slowly add the marinade to the skillet throughout the grilling.
  4. Remove the fish, set aside and keep warm.
  5. Deglaze the skillet with white wine.
  6. Add tomatoes and capers. Cook on high for 8 mins or so, stirring regularly until the tomatoes begin to break down and the sauce thickens.
  7. Cook the linguine according to directions on the box, usually 8 or 9 minutes for al dente.
  8. Add the Clam Juice and when it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.
  9. In the meantime, cut swordfish fish into 1 inch cubes, return the fish to the sauce to and heat thoroughly.
  10. When the linguine is done, strain it in a colander, transfer it to a large bowl, add the sauce and mix well.
  11. Add the parsley and toss well again.

Serve with grated Locatelli-Romano cheese if that is your preference. Do not be cowed by those who dictate that it is anathema to add cheese to pasta with seafood.

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Dorothea’s Broiled Chicken with Lemon Gravy

In Chicken, Recipes on August 12, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Dorothea's Chicken with Lemon Gravy

Dorothea’s Chicken with Lemon Gravy

Eating the Ersatz Moroccan Chicken, which I concocted a few weeks ago, triggered a memory of one of my best-loved childhood meals, my mother’s Chicken with Lemon Gravy. It was my favorite comfort food (a term which admittedly was non-existent 60 years ago). Not only was the chicken juicy and tender, even the breast meat, but the skin was crispy and delicious. The lemon gravy was redolent of oregano and garlic; and, as a reward if I ate all of my chicken, I could pour some of the extra gravy onto my plate and sop it up with Italian bread.

So last night in memory of mom, I cooked up a batch of her Chicken with Lemon Gravy and after eating all of my portion, 1/2 of a split-breast and a thigh, I sopped up the extra gravy with several chunks of Italian bread. It was a great trip down memory lane and I felt very comforted. With a nod toward more contemporary cuisine, the chicken was accompanied by Grilled Summer Vegetables and roasted sweet potato slices drizzled with balsamic glaze; the latter, an idea introduced to us by a friend.

Dorothea 1943

Dorothea 1943

Ingredients:

5 lbs. of chicken pieces with skin on (we used 5 thighs and two split breasts, each cleaved in half*)
Juice of 8 lemons, approximately 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic, about 16 cloves.
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Procedure:

1. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken piece with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, water, oregano and garlic to make a marinade.
3. Place chicken skin side down in a non-reactive pan and add marinade.
4. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature turning once after 30 minutes. If you have the time, marinate overnight in the refrigerator and turn pieces periodically.
5. Position oven rack about 6 inches below broiler element, remove chicken from marinade, place skin side up on a broiler pan and baste before placing under heat.
6. Add marinade to a small pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer while chicken is broiling.
7. Broil chicken for about 22 minutes, basting frequently with the marinade. Turn pieces and broil 22 minutes more, basting frequently.
8. Raise rack one level, turn chicken pieces skin side up, baste with marinade and broil for about 4 minutes to crisp the skin.
9. When chicken is done, remove to a plate and keep warm.
10. Add pan juices to the boiled marinade, skim the fat and serve with chicken.

*Note: This recipe provided a main course for two, with enough leftovers for another meal.

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Ersatz Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

In Chicken, Meat, Recipes on August 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Ersatz Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

Ersatz Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

The jar of Preserved Lemons was hanging around in the pantry for several years and would soon reach its expiration date. The pantry also contained a box of Trader Joe’s Couscous, as well as a jar of Zatar, the latter thanks to a Penzey’s gift certificate from my daughter. A quick perusal of the freezer revealed four chicken legs, both thighs and drumsticks; so it seemed to me that I had the basics for a Moroccan dinner.

While I had eaten a chicken tagine on more than one occasion in New York, which pretty much has a restaurant for every type of ethnic food, I had never prepared a Moroccan meal. As luck would have it, the pantry also disclosed a jar of Harissa Spices, compliments of Williams-Sonoma and the refrigerator gave up a jar of Kalamata olives, as well as some green olives, albeit with pits. Good enough for me to give it a go.

Improvising as I went along, I browned the chicken pieces in olive oil, tossed in Zatar, then Harissa, added a dash of powdered ginger on a whim, deglazed the pan with the preserved lemon liquid, then added the preserved lemons and olives, covered the pan and cooked the concoction for 10 minutes. In the meantime, following Trader Joe’s directions, I made a batch of couscous.

When the chicken was done and I tasted the sauce, I knew I had a winner! There were no leftovers worth worrying about, and whether it was real or ersatz Moroccan, neither I nor my wife gave a fig.

Ingredients:

4 whole chicken legs split
3 tbsps. Extra virgin olive oil
1 & 1/2 tsps. Zatar
2 tbsps. Harissa spices
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
12 oz. jar preserved lemons, about 8 lemons
2/3 cup green olives
1/3 cup Kalamata olives

Procedure:

1. In a sauté pan with a cover, and large enough to comfortably hold the chicken, heat the olive oil on medium, then add the chicken pieces. Reduce the heat to medium – low and brown the chicken for 20 minutes, turning frequently, about every 3 or 4 minutes. After the first complete turn slowly sprinkle the Zatar all over the chicken and after the second complete turn do the same with the Harissa Spices. Then sprinkle the powdered ginger all over the chicken.
2. After 20 minutes remove the chicken, add the liquid from the preserved lemon jar, but not the lemons, and de-glaze the pan.
3. Add back the chicken, toss in the lemon and olives, raise heat to medium, cover and cook  for 10 minutes turning the pieces once or twice to make sure they are well coated.
4. In the meantime cook the couscous according to the directions on the box.
5. When the chicken is done, transfer the cooked couscous to a serving platter, remove the chicken and place over the couscous. Raise the heat to thicken the sauce, then pour it over the chicken and couscous. Serve immediately.

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Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

In Guest Chefs, Mussels, Pasta, Recipes, Seafood on July 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Ingredients for Mussels Marinara

(Preparation Time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes – Serves 2)

Ingredients:

2 dozen mussels, rinsed and de-bearded if necessary
2 28 oz. cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Cut up and drained
1/2 cup cognac
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsps. unsalted butter
I Jalapeño pepper, sliced
1 &1/2 tbsps. garlic, minced. About 4 good sized cloves.
Fresh basil chopped., about 1 cup
1 cube of Knorr Caldo con Sabor de Camarón (Shrimp Flavor Bouillon)*

* omit, if desired

Procedure:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti.  When the water comes to a boil, add a bit of salt and cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to instructions on the package
2. In the meantime heat the oil in in a large sauté pan, add garlic and jalapeño and cook briefly until garlic is translucent, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Melt butter in a 3 qt. pot with a cover. When melted, add cognac and bring to a boil. Add the Shrimp Bouillon cube and stir well.
4. When the cube has disintegrated, add the mussels, cover and steam until all are opened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
5. When the mussels are all open, transfer them and all of the liquid to the pan with the marinara, lower the heat and continue cooking until the spaghetti is ready.
6. Drain spaghetti, add it to the mussels in marinara, add basil stir mix well serve.

Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

Please see: Luigi the Barber

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Vegging Out & Vegging In

In General Articles, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian Meals on July 24, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Summer Vegetables on the Grill

Summer Vegetables on the Grill

Growing up, mixed vegetables frequently meant boiled peas and carrots, compliments of Birds-Eye®.  Open the box of frozen “mixed vegetables”, place the contents in water, boil them to remove all flavor and nutrients, then smother them in butter and salt to make them somewhat palatable. I must admit however, that Birds-Eye®  have come a long way since the 1950’s!

With summer in full swing and Farmers Markets popping up everywhere, “mixed vegetables” takes on a new meaning. Pick up some eggplants, preferably the small Italian variety, some red peppers and a couple of zucchinis. And, if you are so inclined, add a red onion and a summer squash, but its your call.

Following is a simple recipe for grilled mixed summer vegetables:

Ingredients:

3 Italian Eggplants, cut into 1&1/2 inch cubes (leave the skin on for added flavor and crunch).
3 Red Peppers, cored, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch squares.
2 Zucchinis, sliced into thin circles (1/4 inch or less).
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Procedure:

1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to very hot, a covered grill is best in order to concentrate the heat.
2. Place the cut-up vegetables in a very large bowl.
3. Pour in the olive oil and toss well.
4. Add salt, pepper and basil and toss well again.
5. Place vegetables on a grill pan and roast with the grill cover closed for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked to your liking.

Serve as a side dish or main course.

As an added plus, place the leftovers in a gallon-sized Ziploc® bag and refrigerate for two or three days. Get some Italian bread with a good crust and a fresh mozzarella; slice the bread in half lengthwise, add the cold vegetables to the bottom half, cover with several slices of mozzarella add the top half and you are in veggie heaven.

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Piscatorial Perfection – Blackened Swordfish with Lime – Cilantro Marinade

In Appetizers, Fish, Recipes, Seafood on July 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Swordfish hors d'oeuvres

Swordfish hors d’oeuvres

The local fishmonger was featuring freshly harpooned swordfish yesterday, and I decided to serve it as an appetizer for family and friends. Having grilled swordfish before, both blackened and not, marinated and not, I thought I would try a combination of both techniques, but with the marinade at the end rather than before grilling. This recipe produced about 14 pieces, which were artfully  served with spiky toothpicks in homage to the lost sword (?). It was a big hit with all of the fish lovers; next time 2 lbs. and double the recipe. Other thoughts: Sliced and served on pumpernickel with a piece of red onion? Shredded and mixed with farfalle in a macaroni salad?

Ingredients:

1 lb. piece of Swordfish Steak, about 1 inch thick
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
Blackening Powder a/k/a Cajun Seasoning
Juice of two freshly squeezed limes
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Heat gas grill on high.
  2. While the grill is heating, coat one side of the swordfish with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil, sprinkle liberally with blackening powder, turn fish and repeat.
  3. Place fish on pre-heated grill and cook for 9 minutes, turn and cook an additional 8 minutes.
  4. Remove fish from grill and let cool for about 15 minutes
  5. When cooled, gently cut into 1 inch cubes with a very sharp knife.
  6. Pour lime juice over the cubes and mix well.
  7. Add cilantro and mix well again
  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

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The Red, The White, The Green and The Yellow

In General Articles, Recipes, Seafood, Vegetables on July 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Quick, Colorful, Delicious and Healthful

Quick, Colorful, Delicious and Healthful

A quick summer meal in vibrant colors of green, white and yellow and red – Sautéed Scallops, Sautéed Asparagus and Corn on the Cob. What could be wrong with that combination? Absolutely nothing. It is delicious, nutritious, easy to prepare, cooks quickly and looks beautiful. That was dinner for two, one blisteringly hot and humid night last week. But with double the ingredients, it could easily become an elegant meal for guests, as long as they don’t have a shellfish allergy.

A visit that day to our local fishmonger revealed beautiful sea scallops, not the little bay scallops, which shouldn’t be sautéed because they don’t stand up very well to high heat. These scallops were fresh, sweet and had no off-putting odor. Sprinkled with paprika and quickly sautéed in butter and served with a light sauce of pan juices, deglazed with white wine, they were heavenly. The asparagus were first steamed, then quickly sautéed in garlic and oil. All while the corn cobs rested quietly in a pot of previously boiled and lightly salted water.

Dinner was ready in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

For the scallops:
1 lb. sea scallops
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine and 3 Tbsps. heavy cream

For the asparagus:
1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 Tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the corn:
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 Tsp. Kosher salt

Procedure:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it begins to boil, stir in the salt, add the corn, shut the heat and let the corn sit in the boiled water until ready to serve. This technique cooks the corn, but does not overcook it.
2. Dry the scallops with paper toweling and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the paprika.
3. Quickly steam the asparagus, when they turn bright green remove from the pot and set aside.
4. Heat a non-stick pan on high, gently add the olive oil, when shimmering add the garlic and stir. Add the asparagus and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes retaining their bright green color. Keep warm.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet large enough to hold the scallops without overcrowding. When hot, add the butter. Just before the butter begins to brown, add the scallops, paprika-coated side down and sprinkle the tops with the remaining paprika.
6. Sauté the scallops for about two minutes, until lightly browned, turn and repeat. When cooked to your liking, (I prefer them slightly undercooked) add the wine, bring to a boil and let scallops cook  for 30 seconds more. Remove the scallops and set aside. Reduce the pan juices until by half, stir in the cream, let heat for 15 seconds.
7. Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve all immediately.

Serve with a chilled crisp Albariño or a Rosé and beat the heat.

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Prosciutto and Peas Frittata with Herbs

In Brunch, Egg Dishes, Recipes on July 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Frittata Ready to Eat

Frittata Ready to Eat

Ingredients:

3/4 lb. prosciutto end, diced, about 2 cups.
12 ounces frozen peas, about 2&1/2 cups.
5 leaves of fresh mint, chopped coarse.
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 dozen eggs
Turmeric, couple of dashes
Pinch each of dried thyme and dried tarragon
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
4 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat 2 tbsps. of the olive oil in a well-seasoned cast iron pan. Add the prosciutto and brown lightly for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove and set aside.
3. Add butter to the pan. When melted, add the peas, heat on low for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until fully defrosted. Add the mint. Remove and set aside.
4. Whisk the eggs in medium sized bowl, blend in the ricotta 1 or 2 tbsps. at a time, continue whisking until completely distributed. Add the turmeric, thyme and tarragon.
5. Add prosciutto, peas and basil and mix well again.
6. Heat the remaining olive oil on medium low, add the egg mixture and cook until eggs set firmly, except for the top. About 15 Minutes
7. Transfer pan to preheated oven and let firm up for about 3 minutes then place under broiler to brown for 2 minutes.

Let sit 30 minutes and then place a serving plate on top top and flip. If the frittata does not fall, trying tapping the bottom of the pan. If that fails, as it did for me, simply slice into 8 pieces in the pan, carefully remove the pieces and place on a serving plate.

We served this Frittata for brunch, along with a Strata (prepared by Grammy), Smoked Salmon with Bagels and Cream Cheese, Mimosas and Bloody Marys. 

Please see: This Little Piggy Came from the Market

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Summer Penne

In Pasta, Recipes on July 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Summer Penne

Summer Penne

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. prosciutto end, trimmed of fat, about 2 cups diced, save some of the fat for rendering.
2 cups diced fresh mozzarella (see Note 1)
1 & 1/2 cups marinated roasted peppers, julienned
2 pints grape tomatoes, 4 cups halved (see Note 2)
Basil, 1/4 cup sliced
Penne, 1 lb.
2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Procedure:

1. Bring large pot of water to boil for the penne.
2. Render a couple of strips of prosciutto fat and lightly brown the diced prosciutto. Set aside the browned prosciutto and remaining rendered fat.
3. Cook the penne according to directions. When al dente, drain it and add the olive oil and stir, add the mozzarella and mix well. (see Note 1).
4. Add the prosciutto with the rendered fat as well as the roasted peppers and mix well.
5. Add tomatoes and basil, mix and serve immediately with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Note 1: When it was mixed with the penne, the diced mozzarella did not melt as planned . Instead, it reformed into a mass that had the be pulled apart. Try using ricotta left at room temperature rather than mozzarella.
Note 2: Quarter the tomatoes instead of halving them and blanch them before mixing with the penne.

If you prepare this meal with the revisions, let us know what you think.

Please see This Little Piggy Came from the Market

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