Monday, September 10, 2012

Asian Slaw with Ginger-Peanut Dressing

Have left over cabbage? Here is a great recipe to use up your cabbage plus many more great fresh vegetables.  One of many good recipes adapted from Once Upon a Chef.


For the Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce - optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced

For the Slaw
4 cups prepared shredded coleslaw
2 cups prepared shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts (or you can leave them whole)
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until the peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside.
Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Let sit at least ten minutes so vegetables have a chance to soak up the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a bit more salt.) Serve cold.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

All ingredients are approximate depending on your taste.
  • 4 cups of fresh homegrown tomatoes cut in wedges and quartered (this could include cherry and yellow pear sliced in half)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives sliced in half
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves torn or cut in strips
  • 2 T crumbled blue, gorgonzola or feta cheese (optional)
  • 2 to 3 cups homemade croutons (recipe to follow)

  • 2 T balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove pressed garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In small bowl or jar combine the vinegar, lemon juice, pressed garlic, salt, pepper .  Wisk in the olive oil until well combine.
  2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onion, olives, crumbled cheese and basil leaves. This can be done several hours ahead - cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the croutons and the balsamic/olive oil dressing.  Toss until well combined allowing the croutons to soak up some of the dressing.  Additional salt and pepper may to added to taste.
Homemade Croutons

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F

About 4 cups artisan bread torn into approximately 1 inch pieces.
     Ciabatta, sourdough or pugliese work well. 
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed
1 tsp. salt

  1. In a large frying pan, add olive oil and garlic. 
  2. When olive oil is hot add croutons and quickly toss. 
  3. Lower heat and continue to toss the bread until olive oil has been equally distributed into the bread. 
  4. When the bread begins to turn a golden brown remove frying pan from heat and put into the 200 degree oven. 
  5. Turn off heat and let croutons dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Croutons should be crunchy but not completely dried.
  6. Store unused croutons in air tight container.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Basil, Creamy Blue Cheese and Aged Balsamic

An easy, delicious appetizer, this recipe was adapted from a recipe contributed by Stuart Brioza in Food and Wine Magazine. Nectarines can also be used in place of peaches. Also would also be a delightful addition to a summer spinach salad.

16 thin slices of pancetta
2 medium freestone peaches— halved, pitted, cut into 8 wedges each
8 tsp. creamy blue cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
16 basil leaves 
1 tablespoon olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


1.  Spread a small amount of blue cheese (approximately 1/4 - 1/2 tsp) on wedge of peach.

2.  Lay the prsociutto slices out on a work surface. Set a peach wedge at the edge of each slice, season with salt and pepper and top with a basil leaf. Roll up the pancetta to enclose the peaches.

3. Arrange on broiler pan, brush with a little olive oil and broil for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add half of the wrapped peaches and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the prosciutto is browned about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining peaches.

4. Lightly drizzle the peaches with aged balsamic vinegar and serve.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basil Salt

You can use this method with any herb - rosemary, oregano, chives, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, summer savory, sage, parsley – and it would be fun to experiment with a combination of herbs.  And a great kitchen gift for any basil lover!

Alternately layer even measures of unblemished fresh basil, bits of leaves, and blossoms with sea salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Start and end with a salt layer about ¼ inch thick, then make the remaining layers even (evenness isn’t crucial). 

Cover tightly and ignore until the leaves have dried – usually a few weeks. 
Then stir the jar, mixing the dried leaves with the salt.  They will have darkened, but they’re quite delicious. 

ADDENDUM: 8/10/2012
I found that during the drying process the lid should be removed from the jar occasionally because the salt does absorb moisture from the basil.  When the basil has dried, maybe a week or two, you should vigorously shake the jar (with the lid on) to break up any clumps.  I've found that the salt actually absorbs the basil flavor and is quite good.  I also followed the recipe using rosemary and I liked the results very much.

Pesto with Fettuccine, Fingerling Potatoes, and Green Beans

A classic dish from the Liguria Region of Italy, know for their pesto.  This recipe will provide 4 servings.  Ingredient portions are approximate depending on your taste.


1 cup pesto approximately
8 ounces green beans, trimmed, halved
8 ounces white potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
9 ounces fresh fettuccine
salt and pepper to taste

  • Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using 4- to 5-inch-diameter strainer, transfer beans to large bowl.
  • Return cooking water to boil. Add fingerling potatoes and boil until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Remove potatoes with same strainer and transfer to bowl with beans.
  • Return cooking water to boil. Add fettuccine to same pot. Boil until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
  • Return green beans, white potatoes and cooked pasta to pot. Add pesto and toss to coat. Gradually add enough reserved cooking water to coat pasta with moist sauce.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Basil Pesto


1 cup moderately packed fresh basil leaves
2 ½ tsp pine nuts
2 tsp walnuts
2 moderately sized garlic cloves (pressed)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt or to taste
6  T parmesan cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • In a food processor fitted with a metal lade, puree the basil, pine nuts, walnuts. salt, and garlic, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Add the cheese and blend well.
  • With the processor on, pour in the oil in a steady stream until thick, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Refrigerate or freeze until used.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

German Apple Pancakes

This pancake is more like a Yorkshire pudding than a griddle cake.  Baked at high temperatures the pancake puffs up dramatically.


  • 2             apples - peeled, cored and moderately sliced
  • 1 T          fresh lemon juice                                             
  • 1 tsp       ground cinnamon, plus cinnamon for dusting                                             
  • 1/4 tsp   ground nutmeg (optional)                                              
  • 3-6 T      confectioner's sugar, plus sugar for dusting                                             
  • 5 T          butter                                              
  • 3             eggs                                              
  • 1/2 C      milk                                              
  • 1/2 C      all-purpose flour                                              
  • 1/4 tsp   salt
  • Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) 
  • In a bowl, toss together the apple, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and 3 tablespoons of sugar (more depending on tartness of apples). 
  • In a heavy ovenproof 10-12 inch skillet, preferably cast iron, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then add the apple mixture.  Saute the apples until tender but not misshapen, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  • In the microwave or in a small pan on the stove, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.  Reserve.
  • In a bowl, using a whisk, combine eggs and milk until well blended.
  • Combine flour and salt and slowly pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Add the reserved melted butter and mix well.
  • Arrange apple slices evenly in bottom of skillet used to fry them. 
  • Evenly pour the batter on top of the apples and bake until golden and puffy for 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not open oven until close to the end of the baking period.
  • Remove from oven when done, turn upside down onto a platter, apple side up.  Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon over top and serve.