Fresh Pasta Redux

Access to fresh pasta has rekindled a preference for it when possible. It is different, lighter and a bit stickier which makes sauces adhere better. It cooks much faster 2-3 minutes. No. I won’t go as far as to make it from scratch. But. When available, it’s great.

Last night made it with a veggie cheese mix. In a non-stick fry pan, poured oil from fresh mozzarella balls which contained hot pepper flakes, fresh parsley. Heat oil and add fresh chopped mushrooms, brown. Add par-boiled asparagus pieces and brown. Or broccoli will do. Season with dried oregano, basil to taste. Add a couple pats of butter and heat to finish.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil water and cook fresh pasta, 2-3 minutes. Serve pasta covered with the sauce. Toss in small fresh mozzarella balls. Top with grated romano/parmesan mix and lemon zest.

Radicchio Anchovy Braise

Best dish I’ve made in a while. In a non-stick fry pan, heat oil from jar of Sicilian anchovies. Add wedges of a fresh radicchio and brown. Add 6-7 of the Sicilian anchovy fillets from the jar, minced. Pour in 1/2 cup chicken broth, bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Add another cup chicken broth and 1 cup fresh pasta. Cover. Stir to make sure pasta is separated. When pasta is cooked and tender, about 2-3 minutes, uncover and heat for another 2 minutes. Serve pasta and braised radicchio and broth in large bowls. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Garnish with anchovy fillets to taste and grated parmesan/romano cheese. Should be brothy and anchovy taste subtle.

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Into a large bowl add~ 6 peeled sliced pickle cukes. 1 small sliced red onion. Generous amounts of dried oregano, cracked black pepper, fresh basil chiffonade. Sprinkle celery salt to taste. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar. Toss. Taste. Add more vinegar as desired. Toss. Chill until ready to eat. Remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. Add 1-2 sliced native tomatoes. Toss. Serve with grilled meat.

Note: Do not put tomatoes in until ready to serve. They get tough if chilled in the vinegar.

Watermelon Laced Gazpacho

It’s that time of year again. Chilled sipping soups. Watermelon and cucumbers balance the acid for this twist on a classic.

6-8 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put equal parts bread and above ingredients in stages into a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance. Adjust as needed. Pour each stage into a pitcher. Serve either in small glasses to sip or in bowls with chunks of veggies, onions and parsley to garnish.

 

Hadley Grass 2016

Sweet out of the fertile Connecticut River Valley earth. Asparagus. From Hadley, Massachusetts. Finally here! There is nothing like it. Will they have it at UWS Farmer’s Market? We’ll find out next year.

Steam it until tender but still crunchy. Quick cold water bath. Pat dry. Oregano. Ground black pepper. Balsamic vinaigrette. That’s it.

 

October Veg Terrine

Cut 2 large eggplants into 1/4″ lengthwise slices. Place in one layer on a colander. Sprinkle kosher salt liberally over both sides. Place a bowl on top and put 2 full cans of something to weight down the bowl so eggplant slices will release bitterness and moisture. Thanks Lidia B. After at least 20 minutes, rinse the slices and place on paper towels and dry both sides. Slice 4 zucchini into same thickness as eggplant, lengthwise. All slices should be flat on both sides. Season with garlic powder, ground black pepper, pepperoncini to taste.

Dredge both eggplant and zucchini slices in panko crumbs. In a large skillet, add a little olive oil and brown all slices on both sides in stages and set aside on a paper towel. Slice 2 large heirloom tomatoes. Slice your favorite combination of cheeses. Fontina. Parmesan. Asiago. Whatever you have in the fridge that complements the vegetables and each other.

In a small baking dish, drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom. Add half the slices of zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, cheese. Repeat another layer. End with tomatoes on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Drizzle olive oil on top.

In a preheated 400 degree oven, bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven off. Keep dish in for another 30 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool. Refrigerate. Best next day.

StuffingtonPost 2014- Cornbread Celery Apple

My favorite. Make 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Cornbread stuffing as directed. Separately, in a large skillet, in a little olive oil, brown one sweet onion, coarsely chopped. Add 2 cups peeled, cored, chopped tart green apples, 2 cups thickly sliced celery stalks until lightly browned. Add ground black pepper, garlic powder to taste. Blend into cornbread stuffing. Put in a baking dish in 375 degree oven covered until heated through, uncover ’til crispy on top.

Stuffed Pepper Halves

Stuffed bell peppers are comfort food. This method of cutting the peppers lengthwise in half is easy and cooks more evenly. For the stuffing, it’s from whatever leftovers in the fridge. All veggie or with meat. Tonight I did it this way:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bell peppers of whatever color in half. Lengthwise, not across. Core and de-seed. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of roasting pan. Place pepper halves in pan, open side up.

For the stuffing: Mix together leftover cooked hamburgers crumbled, veal chop cut into small pieces, crumbled croutons, small onion chopped, large zucchini peeled and chopped, chunky salsa, barbecue sauce and egg to bind. Blend well and scoop into pepper halves so loose and in a mound. Top with a little barbecue or tomato sauce, garlic powder, drizzled olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Stuffing browned, peppers soft and sweet.

Potages d’Octobre

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These soups are rich and fragrant, meant for sipping from a small glass.

Potato Turnip Leek Soup

Peel and cut into small chunks: 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 medium turnip. Put into large saucepan, cover with water and season with cracked black pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer until tender. Drain in a colander and bring to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim and clean 3 leeks. Cut lengthwise and put on cookie sheet, cut side down. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool to room temperature. Chop into small pieces.

When everything is cool, put half the potatoes, turnips, leeks into a blender with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon horseradish. Pulse until smooth. Pour into a refrigerator container. Blend the other half of the potatoes, turnips, another cup broth and teaspoon horseradish until smooth. Pour into same container. Add the other half of the leeks (not blended, just chopped) and stir. Refrigerate until ready to heat and eat. Garnish with chives.


Red Cabbage Apple Soup

Shred one medium red cabbage with tender pieces only. Chop one sweet yellow onion. Julienne one small orange bell pepper. In a stock pot, heat 1 tbs. each canola oil and butter and add chopped onion. Cook until translucent. Season with 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 2 tbs. sesame seeds, 1 tbs. garlic powder. Stir and blend. Add the shredded cabbage and bell pepper and cook until wilted, tender. Season with salt to taste and add 1 tbs. maple syrup. Stir. Add 4 cups water. Bring to boil. Cover. Simmer 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, peel, core and slice 4 tart apples. Add to the stock. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover for 15 minutes or longer for thicker. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt.