Chili Pepper Trick

The best trick I learned from a Simply Ming cooking show. When using any kind of chili pepper, trim the ends, slice in half lengthwise. Then. Use a spoon to take out the seeds and veins. It’s easy. Don’t get hot stuff on your fingers. Or later your eyes. And it’s fast. You’re welcome.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

Chop the following into medium-sized chunks: 1 large purple carrot, 1 large red carrot, 2 medium white carrots, 1 medium orange carrot, a few stalks of celery, 1/2 medium red onion. Cut half a small cabbage into shreds. Drain a can of black or white beans. Open a small can tomato paste. 2 boxes Pacific chicken broth.

In a large stock pot, brown the carrots, celery and onions in a little olive oil. In the middle of the pot, brown a small can of tomato paste. Stir into the vegetables. Add 2 boxes chicken broth plus water to cover. Season with garlic, ground black pepper, celery salt to taste. Add the black beans and cabbage. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until all vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Garnish with shredded jack cheese and serve with hard crust bread.

Savory Couscous

In a small casserole dish mix together 1 1/2 cups couscous, 1/3 cup crushed capers and 1 small zucchini peeled and finely chopped. Season with oregano, basil, garlic powder and pepperoncini flakes to taste.

In a small sauce pan, boil 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/4 stick butter. When stock and butter are boiled, pour into the casserole dish over the couscous, zucchini and capers. Swish around and cover the dish. Let sit off heat for at least 10 minutes.

Uncover and fluff with a fork. Serve as a side dish with fish.

Zucchinetti Colitti

In our family, they rhyme.

Clean and pat dry several zucchini squashes. Trim ends. Slice lenghthwise into thin flat pieces. Then slice each piece into long thin strips. Like spaghetti.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and brown a small chopped red onion and a couple rough chopped Crimini mushrooms. Season with garlic powder, oregano to taste. Deglaze with half a cup dry red wine. Add 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes. Chop and stir. Add basil and red pepper flakes. Stir. Reduce sauce by half on low heat. Add the zucchinetti strips and stir until coated with sauce and slightly soft.

Serve with grated cheese and lemon zest.


Can add any chopped meat in the browning process if desired for a heartier meal.

Roasted Corn-on-the-Cob

Got sweet white corn from Krupski’s farm stand in Cutchogue. Then at Harbes family farm in Mattituck, they were serving roasted corn. How did they make that?

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Shuck the corn of husks and silk. Make sheets of aluminum foil big enough to wrap around the corn. Place corn on each sheet. Put unsalted butter pats and kosher salt on each cob. Turn over and put more pats of butter and kosher salt. Wrap loosely in the foil and place on a cookie sheet.

Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand wrapped for another 15 minutes. Better than steamed!

Baked Turnip Casserole

Perfect side with Osso Buco, Braised Oxtails or even the traditional Thanksgiving Day turkey. Smooth. Nutty. Delicious.

Chop a large peeled turnip into small chunks and cover with water in a saucepan.

Cover and boil until chunks are tender. Drain. Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, hand mash with a 1/4 stick butter and 1/4 cup milk. Season with salt  & pepper to taste.

Stir in 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and add a pinch of cayenne. With a hand mixer, blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown on top.

Fresh Pasta Mozzarella

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.

In a non-stick fry pan, heat a little olive oil. Add hot pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley. Add fresh chopped mushrooms. Brown.

Add par-boiled asparagus pieces and brown. Or broccoli.

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. Drain.

Toss in small fresh mozzarella balls.

Serve covered with vegetable sauce.

Top with grated romano/parmesan mix and lemon zest.