Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

bourbon-maple-potatoes

Maple Bourbon Glazed BBQ Pork Chops with Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

Ingredients:
4-6 medium sized “new potatoes”, Red Pontiac, Melody, or Russet, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large pimento-stuffed Manzanilla Olives, sliced in thirds perpendicular to the pit (optional)
4 Scallions, cut in 2-3mm pieces, white separated from the greens
1 Tbsp Green Peppercorns
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the Cumin, paprika, Chipotle, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Black & White Pepper. Use a fork to mix well.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until browned, about 7 minutes–you want a crust on them.
  • Toss in the white portion of the Scallions, Olives, Green Peppercorns, and Spice mixture, and stir while it cooks for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and pour in the Bourbon. Replace the pan to the heat, mindful that the alcohol may flare up. To avoid injury, keep your body away from the pan, and do not have your face near it.
  • Drizzle in the Maple Syrup and adjust the seasonings. Let cook for 1 more minute, allowing the maple syrup to glaze over everything.
  • Plate, and garnish with the green portion of the Scallions.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: I cannot emphasize enough the need for caution when adding the Bourbon to the hot pan. The risk of flare up is decreased by removing the pan from the heat. I recommend you have a lid ready, just in case, and of course a working fire extinguisher. In general, if you remove from the heat to add the alcohol, the likelihood of it flaring up is much reduced, verses if you were to just add it while over the flames, the vapors could ignite like flash paper.

The Olives are optional–but I recommend trying it with them because they offer a flavor contrast to the spicy and sweet bbq glaze.

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

Haricots Verts à l’Orange – Green Beans with Orange

Haricots Verts à l’Orange

Ingredients:
2 cups Green Beans, stems removed
1 red Peperocini Pepper, de-ribbed, de-seeded, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on Medium in a heavy skillet.
  • Add the Garlic and Peppers, and toss for 1 minute.
  • Add the Green Beans and mix well. Toss for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the Orange Juice, and continue to toss until Greenbeans are a bright Green, depending on skillet and heat, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Toss in Salt and Pepper to taste, and garnish with Orange Zest.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This adds a citrus flavor to the Green Beans that is a little sweeter and hotter than the normal Lemon juice that one often sees with a stovetop Green Bean saute.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus with Chestnuts

Ingredients:
2 bunches of Asparagus, trimmed
12 Chestnuts
4 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Trim the Asparagus by removing the lower 1 to 2 inches of hard stem.
  • Cut an X in the side of each Chestnut.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, and then add the Chestnuts and boil for 7 minutes.
  • Strain, and run under cool water.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Peel the hulls from the Chestnuts. Then coarsely chop the Chestnuts.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet.
  • Place the Asparagus on the baking sheet, spreading out as best possible to make an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the Chestnuts, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper over the Asparagus.
  • Drizzle with Olive Oil.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was another whim that had a good payback. The pre-cooked Chestnuts, when chopped and roasted exhibit an outer crispness that gives way to a sweet creamy meat that complements the Asparagus. The Garlic adds a nice bite, but also a contrast to the sweetness of the Chestnuts and Asparagus–not to mention roasted Garlic smells AMAZING.

I also want to comment on boiling vs. roasting the Chestnuts. Boiling allows for a more even cooking, and it is easier to remove the meat from the shells. Whenever making Chestnuts, always make more than needed, in case one is bad, or ends up falling into your mouth. Additionally, if you’re just making Chestnuts for eating, after boiling, and shelling, you can still roast with a little salt. Believe it or not, most street vendors boil their chestnuts before roasting them in their cart…gives them a reliable easy to preserve and serve product.

Pantzaria Salata – Παντζάρια Σαλάτα – Beetroot Salad

Παντζάρια Σαλάτα

Ingredients:
4-6 Fresh Beets (more if they are small)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh and chopped
1/2 Tbsp Mint, fresh and chopped
Salt to taste
Water for boiling

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash the Beets, removing the stems and any long taproots. Place in the boiling water and cook for 45 minutes to an hour–longer if the Beets are large. Beets are done when they are not only fork-tender, but the outer skin easily rubs off.
  • Remove from the heat, and run under cool water, rubbing off the outer skin. Let cool.
  • Chop the Beets into bite-size pieces. I prefer slicing them and then cutting the slices in half.
  • Toss with all the other ingredients, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: This is a traditional Greek recipe for Beets. Some folks will also suggest parboiling the Beet greens and chopping them up and mixing them in the salad, but I am not a fan of that. This recipe is a recipe for folks who don’t normally like Beets–like me. I have never been a big fan of beets, finding them too–I don’t know what the word is…. beety? Anyway, this recipe cuts the flavor of the Beets with the Vinegar, Garlic, and fresh Parsley. I highly recommend you use high-quality Vinegar and Olive Oil for this recipe–not the cheap one on sale–you’ll be much happier. Also, never ever, ever use canned Beets–seriously, do you like your food tasting like salt and tin?

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Ingredients:
2 cups Black Beans, drained
1 cup Snap Peas, in pod
1 Shallot, chopped
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Ginger powder
1 tsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Sweat the Shallot in the Olive Oil with the Salt and Pepper in a Skillet on medium heat.
  • When the Shallots start to become translucent, add the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often so that the Black Beans do not stick.

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: This was a quick and easy dish that I came up with this Spring. The sweetness of the Peas is a good contrast to the Black Beans which seem to absorb the flavors of the Cumin and Shallots. You don’t want to overcook this, as you do want the Snap Peas to be crunchy still.

Caribbean Chickpeas

Caribbean Chickpeas

Ingredients
4 cups reconstituted Chickpeas
1/2 cup Black Olives, sliced
2-4 cloves Garlic
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers
4 Green Onions, diced (just the lower 2 inches), reserve the Green part
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

  • Heat a Sauce Pan on medium heat, and add the Olive Oil, Garlic, Scallion, Jalapenos, and Salt. Sweat the mixture for 1 minute, not browning anything.
  • Add the Chickpeas, and mix well. Heat thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • While it is cooking, take the reserved Green part of the Green Onion, and dice for garnish.
  • Plate the Chickpeas, and garnish with the fresh Green Onion.

Makes 4 servings.

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp minced Ginger
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Soy Sauce

Directions:

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes a little over 1 cup

NOTES: If not served immediately, the dressing will separate. Just whisk together when ready to serve. To add an extra kick, you may choose to add some Wasabi to it…just be careful.

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Steak Spice Rub
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
Water for Steaming

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Place the Sprouts in a steamer, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until the Sprouts start to turn bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Toss the Sprouts in a bowl with the Olive oil, Steak Spice Rub, and Salt.
  • Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Turn on the Broiler.
  • Move the baking sheet under the Broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until a desired brown is on the top.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables–looking at the various recipes on this blog can show you that. I loved them from a young age…probably due to the Jolly Green Giant’s buttery version. This, so far, has been Michael’s favorite version of Brussels Sprouts, as they are extremely healthy, but also very flavorful.

Though in general, I use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, I have to really push the Sea Salt for this, because of its coarse nature–roasts amazingly.

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Tabbouleh – تبولة

Ingredients:
1 cup Bulgur Wheat
2 cups Boiling Water
3 Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 Green Onions, diced fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh Mint, chopped
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, soak the Bulgur Wheat and Boiling Water for 30 minutes.
  • Using a cheese cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid from the Bulgur Wheat.
  • Return to a bowl and combine all ingredients. Mix well.

NOTES: Tabbouleh was another New York discovery for me – not having ever experienced it in Georgia or Ohio. I fell in love with it. It is light and fluffy and highly flavorful. Thanks to my love Michael for introducing it to me.

Sangria

Ingredients:
1 bottle Malbec
2 1/2 cups Apple Juice
1/2 cup Brandy
1/4 cup Gin
1/4 cup Vodka
Juice of 1 Orange
Juice of 1 Lemon
4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Orange, diced
1 Lemon, diced
1 Apple, diced

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.
  • Stir well and refrigerate

Makes about 8 cups.

NOTES: This Sangria is a strong Sangria with lots of flavor. The first time I had Sangria was oddly in Germany in High School when I was an exchange student. I prefer a good Argentine Malbec wine, though you can use whatever dry red wine you prefer.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro – Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:
1 Baguette
1/4 cup Parmesan
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 cloves Garlic, whole
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stove. There should be enough room for the tomatoes, but they should not yet be put in the pot.
  • Remove from the heat, and place the tomatoes in the hot water for 1 minute.
  • Using tongs, remove the tomatoes.
  • Carefully remove the skin with a knife; and then cut in half and remove the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the Tomatoes and set to the side in a large bowl.
  • Add the minced Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste; Stir well, and leave to marinate.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Slice the Baguette into 1/4″ thick rounds, on a diagonal.
  • Using a pastry Brush, liberally brush on the 1/2 cup of Olive Oil. You may need more or less, depending on the baguettes.
  • Place in the oven and toast for about 5 minutes, or until the the bread begins to turn golden.
  • Remove the croutes from the oven, and while warm, rub the whole garlic over the tops of them.
  • Sprinkle liberally with the Parmesan. You may use less or more, depending on the size of the croutes.
  • When ready to serve, spoon the Tomato topping onto the croutes.

Serves about 10 as an appetizer.

NOTES: You can use bigger bread pieces and serve this as a salad or meal. With regards to serving as an appetizer, you can also choose to leave the tomatoes in a bowl with a spoon, and arrange the Parmesan croutes on a tray, and allow the guests to top their own. Bruschetta is a central Italian food, that consists of grilled bread with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and other toppings like Prosciutto or grilled vegetables. I prefer the traditional tomato-basil relish, myself. This used to be my favorite appetizer when we would go to Italian restaurants–a special occasion as they were always expensive in Georgia. Who knew the food was so inexpensive and EASY to make!

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan bread and omit the Parmesan.

Chimichurri

Dedicated to my friend Anahi G. who educated me about Salmuera

Chimichurri-Marinated Skirt Steak and Chicken,
Grilled with Onions and Chimicurri Sauce on the side

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Oregano
8 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup warm Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 wedge of Lemon
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk the Salt and warm water together to dissolve. In Spanish, this is called salmuera which acts like a brine.
  • Combine the Herbs, Garlic, Cumin, Crushed Red Pepper into a Food Processor and pules a couple times.
  • Squeeze in the Juice from the wedge of Lemon, and drizzle in the Salmuera and Red Wine Vinegar, pulsing.
  • Remove to a bowl, and stir in the Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper.

NOTES: This is a very simple Argentinian marinade and sauce. The first time I ever had it was in Jackson Heights, NY at one of their many tasty Argentine places. It should be chunky and not a paste like an Adobo or Pesto. Some Recipes will include Onion and sweet Red Peppers. I prefer to keep those out. If you are able, instead of the American variety of Crushed Red Pepper, try to get Aji Molido also known as Aji Triturado–a more authentic Argentine variety of Crushed Red Pepper. You can vary the amounts of spice and garlic based on your tastes. This marinade is great on Steaks and Chicken, but can also be used with Fish. Serve it as a sauce on the side of Steak or drizzled over Roasted Potatoes as well–you can’t go wrong!

Trying to find an etymology for the word has proved interesting.   Various sources say it was either created by an English soldier or butcher named Jimmy Curry or Jimmy McCurry, who created the sauce–and folks unable to say his name morphed it into chimichurri.  It seems far-fetched to me.  Similarly, one origins story says that it was introduced about the time England was trying to invade Argentina, and captured soldiers would ask for a sauce with their meat “Give me a curry” that somehow morphed into chimichurri by natives trying to mimic them.  It just seems strange to me that there would be any English involvement in the creation of this dish–but hey, I wasn’t there.

Summer Pudding

Whole-Wheat Summer Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups Raspberries
2 cups Strawberries, quartered
2 cups Blueberries
1 loaf White Bread, sliced, crusts removed
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Port
Mint to Garnish

Directions:

  • Line a Pudding Mold, or Large Bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Line the plastic wrap with the slices of bread, overlapping the edges slightly.
  • Place the Berries, Sugar, Zest, Water, and Port in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread bowl.
  • Cover with more slices of bread, sealing the fruit mixture inside.
  • Place a sheet of Wax Paper over this bread lid, and then cover it in plastic wrap.
  • Place a plate that is slightly smaller than the opening of the bowl on top, and place a 5 lb weight on it, pressing the bread top into the berry mixture.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, as well as the wax paper. Place an inverted serving plate on top of the bowl, and then holding them tightly together, invert so the bowl is on top of the plate.
  • Carefully remove the bowl and the plastic wrap from the molded Pudding.

Serves 8.

NOTES: This English Summer Pudding is super simple to make. You can use any variety of berries you are able to get. If you want it less tart, add a little more sweetener. You can use Whole-Wheat bread instead of White bread, however the bread will not change color as evenly.  This goes very well with Whipped Cream.

Variations:
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar and Water for the Port.

Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan White bread.

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Peaches, Strawberries, and Cream

Ingredients:
2 Peaches, washed
8 Strawberries, cold
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp ground Cloves
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 tsp Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Water for Boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Peaches in a Pot, and fill with water enough that they float. Remove the Peaches and set them aside.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Using tongs, drop the peaches into the water, and roll them around for about a minute.
  • Remove the Peaches with tongs, and run them under cold water.
  • The skin of the Peach should easily peal at this point, so peal them, and then chop them into bite-size chunks and place in a large bowl or in serving dishes.
  • Slice the Strawberries in quarters and mix with the Peaches.
  • Sprinkle the Strawberries and Peaches with the Granulated Sugar and Cloves, and refrigerate.
  • In a separate bowl, whip together the Heavy Cream, Confectioners Sugar, and Vanilla until stiff peeks form.
  • Remove the fruit, and cover with the whipped cream and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This is a very simple summer desert, that is set off by the addition of cloves. If you are not going to serve right away, hold off on making the whipped cream until before serving.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Non-Dairy Whipped Topping instead of making your own Whipped Cream.
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar on the Fruit, and omit it from the Whipped Cream–there will not be a noticeable difference with the Whipped Cream.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic in a Nest

Ingredients:
1 head of Garlic
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Take a 12″ x 12″ square of Aluminum foil and crinkle into a nest or bowl, big enough to support the heard of Garlic.
  • Using a chopping knife, cut off the top of the Garlic head, exposing the tops of the cloves.
  • Place the Head in the nest, and drizzle the Olive Oil over the exposed Garlic cloves.
  • Sprinkle with Salt
  • Place nest on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until the Garlic is tender to the touch.

NOTES: This is a very aromatic ingredient. If you like garlic, you’ll go crazy for this smell. If you hate garlic…why are you even on this page??? This can be used in dips, sauces, spread over toast, or devilishly eaten with a spoon.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 10:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Roasted Peppers

Roasted Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, skinned

Ingredients:
Peppers, any variety.
Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Using a basting brush, lightly coat the Peppers in Olive Oil.
  • Roasting:
    • Open Flame – Stove Top or Grill:
      • Using tongs, clasp the Pepper and slowly rotate over the flame, allowing the skin to blacken. As a side blackens, rotate to a non-blackened area.
    • Broiler:
      • Remove Stems and Seeds, and break down the Peppers into “flat” pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet, skin-side up, and broil for 5-7 minutes, or until the skin blisters and blackens.
  • Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, leaving to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Peel the burnt skin off and remove any remaining stems or seeds with a paring knife.

NOTES: This is more of an ingredient supplement than a dish.  You can pretty much roast any pepper you like. The bigger the pepper, the longer it takes, and the more likely you need to break down for broiling. You can store Roasted Peppers in Olive Oil in Jars for quite a while, though I doubt they’ll not get eaten before then.  Keep in mind while roasting over an open flame, the pepper skin can pop.  Additionally, uninsulated tongs can become VERY hot. Be Careful.

Lemon-Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts
1-2 Lemons, sliced horizontally thinly
1 tsp Black Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Trim the dark bottoms off the Brussels Sprouts
  • In the Steamer, place a layer of the Lemon slices, and sprinkle with the Black Pepper
  • Add the Brussels Sprouts and Garlic, and liberally sprinkle the Salt.
  • Steam until the Brussels Sprouts turn bright Green, and are fork-tender–about five minutes.

Serves 2-3.

NOTES: Overcooking the Brussels Sprouts turns them a nasty color green. They are still edible, just not as visually appealing. You can also add herbs on top of the Lemons as well, when steaming.

Steak Spice Rub

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp dried minced Garlic
1 Tbsp dried mined Onion
1 Tbsp Salt (Sea Salt or Kosher)
1 Tbsp coarse ground Black Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp dried Thyme, crushed
1 tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Caraway Seeds (optional)

Directions:

  • In a mortar and pestle, combine the Salt, Pepper, Fennel, Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary, and Caraway; grind to release the oils.
  • Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: This is a great spice rub for Grilling and Broiling. I also use it over roast or steamed vegetables. You can utilize it with Butter and give a kick to baked potatoes. I’ve even sprinkled it on steamed shrimp.

The benefit of making your own Steak Rub is that you can control the Salt–and you may choose to omit the salt altogether, and still have plenty of flavor. The important part of releasing the flavor is the Mortar and Pestle which release the oils.

To store this, keep it in an air-tight container that does not allow light, and store in a cool dark place. It will keep for a while… but not years! (Old spices do get bland).

Black Bean & Pineapple Salsa

Black bean & Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
3 cups Black Beans, drained
1 Pineapple, skinned, diced
1 medium White Onion, diced fine
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Jalapeños, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 cup Lime Juice
1/8 cup Pineapple Juice
1 cup Cilantro, chopped fine
1 cup Mint, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, in order listed, and mix well.

Mango & Tomatillo Salsa

Mango & Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:
10-12 Tomatillos, diced
2-3 Mangoes, diced
1 medium White Onion, diced fine
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Jalapeños, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Lime Juice
1 cup Cilantro, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, in order listed, and mix well.

Fennel Salad

Ingredients:
2 medium Fennel Bulbs
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
Shaved Parmesan Cheese to taste

Directions:

  • Trim the Fennel of any Stalks, and Fronds; trim any fibrous material with a peeler. Reserve Fronds for garnish.
  • Cut Fennel Bulbs in half vertically and remove the fibrous cores.
  • Laying each side flat, cut the Fennel horizontally into thin crescents.
  • In a large bowl, toss the Fennel crescents with the Olive Oil, Lemon, Salt & Pepper
  • Move to serving dish(es).
  • Chop of the Fronds.
  • Garnish the Fennel with the Sesame Seeds, Fronds, and some shaved Parmesan slices.

NOTES: Fennel has a nice strong anise flavor that is complemented by the Sesame seeds and salty Parmesan Cheese. This salad is a great salad for a Spring day.

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Omit the Parmesan.

Arrabbiata Sauce – Fra Diavolo Sauce

Ingredients:
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
2 tsp Oregano, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cups Tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a Saucepan with the Garlic, Parsley and Oregano on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Onion and sauté until near translucent, stirring continually.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the Bay Leaf before serving.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

NOTES: The best pasta to use for this is Penne Rigate because it absorbs the sauce well. Arrabbiata is a red sauce that is spiced with Crushed Red Pepper flakes meaning roughly “Angry Sauce” though I’ve been told it has the connotation of “Pissed-Off Sauce”. It is often called Fra Diavolo meaning “Brother of the Devil” in America, though when so called, a protein like Seafood or Chicken is added.

I grew up with Arrabbiata Sauce as my main pasta sauce but it was called Marinara and it was spicy. In reality we were eating Arrabbiata Sauce instead and just didn’t know the name difference. My Italian side of the family is from the Molise region of Italy, in the town of Campobasso.