Archive for September, 2012

Look at a Cookbook: Vegetables Revised

Posted on Sep. 30th 2012 No Comments »

Vegetables Revised

For those who love vegetables, this cookbook, Vegetables Revised, is very helpful. It gives great information on buying, storing and preparing vegetables.

The chapters in this cookbook will help you from start to finish on preparing a multitude of vegetables. There are chapters covering:

  • Knife Skills
  • Methods of Cooking
  • Making Salads
  • Making Gratins and Casseroles
  • Making Stews
  • Making Soups
  • Making Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risottos
  • Making Pureed Vegetables

Following these informative chapters are the recipes and tips for every vegetable you can imagine from A to Z. There are many images that show technique and final prepared dishes.

Below is a great Guacamole recipe from the cookbook:


  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled (optional), seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 ripe avocados, preferably Haas
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, rinsed, or 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed to a paste
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the tomatoes with the salt and pour into a strainer. Let the tomatoes drain for 30 minutes.

Peel the avocados and chop them into chunks roughly 1/4 inch on each side. Toss the chopped avocados with the lime juice and the chiles. Stir the garlic, onion, drained tomatoes, and cilantro into the avocados. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at Room temperature.

Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings

Posted by poppa-d | in Avocado, Garlic, Onion, Recipe, Tomato

Tomato Pesto Olive Tart

Posted on Sep. 23rd 2012 No Comments »

Tomato Pesto Olive Tart

This is a quick and easy tart that can be used for an appetizer or main course (great with a salad). It’s from the cookbook Savory Sweet Life.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unfold and roll the puff pastry sheet into a 12inch square on top of the baking sheet. Make a rim by folding the edges of the pastry square in 1/2 inch and pressing them down gently. Using a fork, poke holes all over the pastry.

Spread the pesto evenly over the pastry (avoiding the rim), using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over the entire square, within the rim. Season the tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the chopped olives over them. Then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Sprinkle with the basil before serving.

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Posted by poppa-d | in Basil, Roma tomato

Mushroom, Sweet Onion and Bacon Frittata

Posted on Sep. 16th 2012 No Comments »

Here is a very tasty frittata that is great served with a kale side salad. It’s from the cookbook Eggs.

  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2–inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat.

Add the olive oil to the pan and return it to medium heat. Stir in the onion with a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook until it just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent and the mushrooms are tender, 4-6 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

When the onion and mushrooms are done, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the egg mixture and the bacon and cook, stirring gently, until the eggs begin to set but do not begin to scramble. Cook the eggs, undisturbed, until they begin to set around the edges, 2-3 minutes more. Transfer the frying pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are set around the edges and just firm in the center, about 5 minutes more.

Loosen the sides of the frittata with a spatula and hold a platter over the top of the pan. Holding the sides with hot pads, invert the frittata onto the platter. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Posted by poppa-d | in Egg, Mushrooms, Onion, Recipe

Look at a Cookbook: Ripe

Posted on Sep. 9th 2012 No Comments »

Ripe, by Cheryl Sternman Rule, features recipes for fruits and vegetables sorted by color. This cookbook could be a coffee table book as it is beautiful to look at. The chapters are as follows:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Purple and Blue
  • White

There are recipes of every type for any time of day from breakfast to dessert. For each fruit and vegetable there is a description with tips for prep and storage, along with ideas for different ways of preparing them. This section leaves room for your creativity.

Here is a nice recipe to try:

Polenta-Stuffed Chard with Bubbly Parmesan

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup dry polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup packed grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups your favorite marinara or tomato sauce, divided
  • 8 very large leaves Swiss chard, swished in cool water

Coat a 9 1/2-inch square pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to a gentle gurgle. Cook until thick, 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hours. (After 1 hour, cover with plastic wrap.) Unmold and cut into eight 4 x 2-inch rectangles. Wipe the baking pan dry and spread 1/2 cup of the marinara along the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 400 F and bring a kettle of water to a boil. Have several layers of paper towels on hand.

Make a narrow, upside down V-shaped cut about halfway down each chard leaf to remove the thick central steam. Place the leaves in a large bowel and cover with boiling water. Let soften for 6 minutes. Remove to the paper towels and pat very dry.

To form the rolls, lay 1 chard leaf on a cutting board. Lay 1 polenta rectangle horizontally along the bottom of the leaf and spoon 1 teaspoon of marinara on top. Roll the leaf upwards burritolike, encasing the polenta, and transfer to the baking pan seam side down. Repeat, nestling the rolls next to one other. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, then slip under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve hot.

Serves 4

Posted by poppa-d | in Chard, Recipe

Julia Child: La Tarte Tatin

Posted on Sep. 2nd 2012 No Comments »

Fall apples are on their way. Watch out for some golden delicious beauties and make one of the most delicious desserts you’ve ever had. Julia Child would have been 100 on August 15, and to celebrate I made her famous upside-down apple tart. Here is the recipe from Julia Child The Way to Cook.

For apples:

  • 5 to 6 apples, Golden Delicious recommended
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For pastry:

  • 3/4  cup all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
(scooped and leveled)
  • 1/4  cup plain bleached cake flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 ounces chilled unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 1/8 cup (1 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Begin with the pastry.

Blending flour and butter. Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to use. Put the flour, salt, sugar, and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half-second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/4 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times. Remove the cover and feel the dough – it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together. (It’s important not to over mix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If too dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on, work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.

Final Blending. Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel
(not the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in a 6-inch smear.

Resting and Chilling. Form the dough into a cake; it should be fairly smooth and pliable. Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax the gluten.

Now the apples:

Preparing the apples. Quarter, core, and peel the apples; cut the quarters in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the lemon and 1/2 cup of sugar, and let steep 20 minutes so they will exude their juices. Drain them.

The caramel. Set the frying pan (highly recommend a 9” cast iron with straight sides of 2”) over moderately high heat with the butter, and when melted blend in the remaining [1 cup] sugar. Stir about with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the syrup turns a bubbly caramel brown – it will smooth out later, when the apples juices dissolve the sugar.

Arranging the apples in the pan. Remove from heat and arrange a layer of apple slices nicely in the bottom of the pan to make an attractive design, circling the apples slices around the circumference of the pan and then filling in the middle. Arrange the rest of the apples on top, close packed and only reasonably neat. Add enough so that they heap up 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan – they sink down as they cook.

Preliminary stove-top cooking – 20 to 25 minutes. (Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for the next step, placing the rack in the lower middle level.) Set the pan again over moderately high heat, pressing the apples down as they soften, and drawing the accumulated juices up over them with a bulb
baster – basting gives the whole apple mass a deliciously buttery caramel flavor. In several minutes, when the apples begin to soften, cover the pan and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes, checking and basting frequently until the juices are thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly while you roll out the dough.

The dough cover. Roll the chilled dough into a circle 3/16 inch thick and
1 inch larger than the top of your pan. Cut 4 steam holes, 1/4-inch size,
1 1/2 inches from around the center of the dough. Working rapidly, fold the dough in half, then in quarters; center the point over the apples. Unfold the dough over the apples. Press the edges of the dough down between the apples and the inside of the pan.

Baking – about 20 to 25 minutes at 425 degrees F. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped. Being careful of the red-hot pan handle, remove from the oven.

Verification. Tilt the pan, and if the juices are runny rather than a thick syrup, boil down rapidly on top on the stove, but be sure not to evaporate them completely or the apples will stick to the pan.

Serving. Still remembering that the pan is red-hot, turn the serving dish upside down over the apples and reverse the two to unmold the tart. If not quite neat in design – which does happen – rearrange slices as necessary. Serve hot, warm, or cold, with the optional cream or ice cream.

Makes an 8 inch tart, serving 6-8

Posted by poppa-d | in Uncategorized


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