Month: September 2014

Farro Tabbouleh with Shrimp

 (serves 6-8)

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1 ¾ C farro

2 ½ C water

1 ½ t salt

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1 pint cherub tomatoes, quartered

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2 small English cucumbers, quartered, skin on

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

1 bunch curly parsley, finely chopped

1 C feta cheese, crumbled

¼ C fresh mint, coarsely chopped

12-15 large shrimp, boiled and chopped

Zest of one small lemon

Juice from 2 lemons

1/3 C EVOO

S & P

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In a large sauce pan, place farro, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for an additional 10-12 minutes. There may be some water remaining. That’s fine. Just taste the farro. It should be “toothy” not “gooey”. Drain in a colander and spread cooked farro onto a cookie sheet for cooling. In a large bowl, add cooled farro and remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. I like lots of mint. Don’t be shy on that one.


Rosemary Vinaigrette

(recipe makes 1 ¼ C)

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Sherry vinegar gives this dressing an earthy, more complex flavor.

¼ C sherry vinegar

2 t Dijon

½ t salt

¼ t black pepper

1 T honey

1 ½ T fresh rosemary leaves

1 C olive oil

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This is my favorite stick blender. It separates for easy cleaning. Very useful gadget.

Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a pitcher. Use an immersion blender to mix well. Make sure rosemary leaves are finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while machine is running and continue to blend until a smooth emulsification forms.

Rosemary Roasted Potato Salad

(serves 6-8)

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2 pounds new potatoes, quartered and washed

1 small red onion, sliced thin and rinsed

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1/3 C Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

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1 small package French green beans, blanched

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Add green beans to salted boiling water. Once the color becomes vibrant green, remove them to an ice bath to set the color. Once completely cooled, remove beans to a paper towel lined plate for thorough drying.

Several sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped

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Make sure potatoes are fully drained. Place them into a mixing bowl. Add 2 T olive oil and mix well to evenly coat. Place potatoes, skin side down, onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Evenly salt and pepper the potatoes. Place them into a preheated 450 degree oven for 30 minutes or so until they are beginning to brown. (see pic) Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. This first “baking” can be prepared ahead. Once you are closer to serving, place the potatoes back into a 450 degree oven with the addition of fresh rosemary sprinkled over. (see pic) Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant with rosemary. Place hot potatoes into a mixing bowl and add red onion, green beans, Kalamata olives and rosemary vinaigrette. These are delicious served warm.

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Orange Tarragon Vinaigrette

(recipe makes 1 ¼ C)

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¼ C apple cider vinegar

2 t Dijon

½ t salt

¼ t black pepper

1 T honey

2 t orange zest

1 T fresh tarragon leaves

1 C olive oil

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This container works well for making salad dressing with the immersion blender.

Place all ingredients, except oil, into a pitcher. Using an immersion blender, blend ingredients until well combined and tarragon is finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blender is running. Continue to blend until a smooth emulsification forms. Careful to keep blender below the service while it is on.

Haystack Salad

(serves 4-6)

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1 large head of iceberg lettuce, quartered and thinly sliced

½ of a red onion, thinly sliced and rinsed

1 pink lady apple, sliced into matchsticks

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¾ cup of Maytag blue cheese roughly chopped

1 C toasted seed mix (see pic)

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Roast seed/nut mix (sunflower, almonds, pumpkin, and sesame) in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

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4-6 slices of slab bacon, cooked crisp and roughly chopped

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Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and lightly dress with orange tarragon vinaigrette. Cracked pepper on top. Dress just before serving for the full on “crunch effect”.

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BLAT Sandwich

Just a classic BLT with the addition of chipotle mayo and sliced avocado. Like so many “classic” menu items, the success is based on attention to detail, primo ingredients and careful execution. For this version, we will lightly grilled some rustic white bread with a little EVOO. Crisp up the bread lightly for texture. But not the “chip a tooth texture”. Mix 1 T of chipotle puree with 1 C of good mayo for your spread. Fry up some thick sliced applewood smoked bacon. Use butter lettuce and thick slices of ripe tomato along with wedges of avocado. A spritz of Kosher salt and cracked pepper on the tomatoes and you have an over the top Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato sandwich.

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Mix 1 cup of mayo with 1 T of chipotle puree. More if you like spice.

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Don’t you want to eat the screen?

Corn Chowder

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(serves 8-10, recipe can be cut in half)

½ stick butter

¼ C olive oil

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7-8 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper, diced small

2 small yellow onions, diced small

5 stalks celery, diced small

3 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

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1/3 C flour

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12 ears fresh corn, kernels removed

5 medium red potatoes, diced

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2 – 14.75 ounce cans of cream style corn

1 T cumin

1 T dried thyme

½ t red pepper flakes

5-7 bay leaves

1 t salt

8 C boxed chicken stock

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In a preheated soup pot, add butter and olive oil. Once butter has melted, add garlic, bell peppers, onion, celery and jalapenos. Sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add a pinch of salt and cracked pepper. Add flour and thoroughly mix in. Stir until a smooth “paste forms.” The flour may start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour in a small amount of chicken stock and scrape up bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add corn, potatoes, cream style corn, remaining stock and seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Guess what? Allow the soup to cool and store overnight in the fridge. This step is not absolutely necessary but flavors will be fuller from an overnight stay. For serving, heat up soup and add heavy cream. For this portion of soup, add 2-3 cups. Adjust seasoning with salt and cracked pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sharp cheddar, croutons and parsley. This would make a great Sunday soup for friends. The soup can freeze (without cream) if you make the larger amount.

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For croutons: brush slices of sourdough bread with olive oil on both sides. Tear into pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

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Cinnamon Oat Crisps

(makes 24 crisps, can be cut in half)

5 T butter, melted

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½ C dark brown sugar

¼ C sugar

¼ C dark corn syrup

¼ t cinnamon

Pinch of salt

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 2 C old-fashioned oats

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Perfectly delicious just like this. Or you can gild the lily. And when it comes to sweets, who puts the brakes on?

In a microwavable bowl, add butter and melt on 50% power. Add dark brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and salt to melted butter and mix in well. Add oats and fold in making sure the oats are evenly coated with sugar mix. No lumps of sugar. Portion mix, using a small ice cream scoop, into a muffin top pan that has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Dampen your fingers with water and press down on the oat mix. Place into a preheated 325 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. Open oven and press down any remaining lumps in the crisps…flattening them. Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and let crisps cool for about 5 minutes before carefully removing them to a cooling rack. These are very susceptible to humidity. They can store for about 2/3 days. Layer them with paper towels for storage. These are delicious alone or serve them layered with Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Great brunch item. Let folks make their own creation.

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I used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Drizzle orange blossom honey over fruit.

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Add orange zest and a squeeze of orange blossom honey to Greek yogurt to create this layered dessert or breakfast (?).

Poblano and Smoked Turkey Chili

Serves 8-10

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1 – 13 ounce package of smoked turkey sausage, sliced

¼ C olive oil

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 2 small yellow onions, diced

3 poblano peppers, diced

8 cloves of garlic, minced

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 2 T tomato paste

¼ C flour

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 1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and juice

1 large can of kidney beans, rinsed

1 large can of white hominy, rinsed

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 2 T chili powder

1 T dried oregano

1 ½ T cumin

1 T chipotle puree

5 bay leaves

Juice from 2-3 limes

8 C chicken stock (or vegetable)

½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped

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In a preheated soup pot, add olive oil and smoked turkey. You will need to cook turkey in two batches. Don’t crowd the pot. Too much moisture will be created which will hinder browning. Brown turkey pieces well and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off oil and add additional olive oil for sautéing of onions, poblanos and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add tomato paste and continue to sauté until paste develops a deeper almost brown color. Careful to monitor the heat. Slow is better here. Take the time to develop this very important flavor component. Add flour and mix in well. Stir to remove all lumps. Thoroughly coat the flour in the oil/onion mix.

Add tomatoes/juice, kidney beans and hominy. Stir to combine. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, chipotle, bay leaves, lime juice, stock and cilantro. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add reserved turkey pieces. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Again, this soup will really shine after a day of vacation in your chiller. Plan ahead. Serve with slivers of radish, green onions, and a dollop of crème fraiche. I like to serve this over cous cous. The addition of that really makes this a hearty bowl of goodness.