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Stuffed Peppers by Lidia

Stuffed peppers are a comfort food for Russ. He loved them growing up—me, not so much. However, that all changed somewhere along the line decades ago, and we both now look forward to dining on the one-pot meal. Yes, there is a bit of prep to start with, but once the mild chilies are stuffed, it’s hands off.

Since Russ received Lidia Bastianich’s latest cookbook: Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Great Italian Cook, as a Christmas gift, we’ve been trying out quite a few of her recipes and have not been disappointed—until now. Now don’t get me wrong, the taste of the peppers was spot on, we just didn’t care for the watery sauce that accompanied them; the consistency was more like a broth. Even though you squeeze as much water out of the soaking bread as possible, there is still some residual moisture, plus the peppers themselves will release some more wetness.

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So here’s what we would do to remedy our dissatisfaction with the sauce. First, we’d double the amount of canned tomatoes (we like a lot of sauce), then, and most importantly, omit adding any additional water. Next, we’d incorporate some tomato paste to thicken, the amount is up to you but start with two tablespoons and add more to satisfy your preferences. I altered the ingredients list and directions below to reflect our changes.

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The whole peeled canned tomatoes are placed in a bowl and crushed by hand.

Because the bell peppers at the store were gigundo, I only used four instead of six, and selected all green ones. But you can use the red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers too, which tend to be a bit sweeter than the green.

Not noted in the directions below, I cooked ours in a 350 degree oven as opposed to heating on a stove burner. The total cooking time was lengthened by 15 minutes to address the size of our peppers. While mashed potatoes are traditionally served with stuffed peppers, we opted to omit them this time and pair them with a side salad.

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Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 28 oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups crustless day old bread cubes
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 6 medium bell peppers (any color combination)

Directions

  1. Heat a dutch oven large enough to hold the peppers upright in one layer over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Spoon about  half the onion into a large bowl to cool.
  2. To the onion in the pot, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with 2 tsp of the oregano, 1 tsp of the salt, and the red pepper flakes.
  3. Put the bread cubes in a medium bowl with water to cover. Let them soak 5 minutes. Squeeze all of the excess liquid out of the bread, and add the squeezed bread to the cooled onion in the bowl.
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  4. Add the ground pork, grated cheese, eggs, remaining tsp oregano, and remaining tsp salt. Mix with your hands to make a cohesive stuffing.
  5. Cut the tops from the peppers, remove the seeds and ribs and divide the stuffing among them. Nestle the peppers in the sauce, cover and simmer until the filling is cooked through and the peppers are tender, about 1 hour.
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  6. Place each pepper in a shallow bowl, slice in half, and serve topped with sauce. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese if desired.
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Sherry-Infused Baked Sliced Potatoes

A coveted Spanish cookbook, “La Cocina de Mama” by chef author Penelope Casas, has brought us many a mouth-watering meal. So when we decided to prepare week-long dinners based on an International theme, we didn’t hesitate to start with her book.

Along with Penelope’s Chicken with Ham, Olives and Sherry, we paired it with Fernando’s Sherry-Infused Baked Sliced Potatoes—and what a duo they made! She happened across the delicious spud recipe while in Restaurante Bigiote in Sanlucar de Barrameda with a group of American gourmets in tow (wish I had been one of them!)

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They are simple and straightforward enough but with an extraordinary surprise ingredient: the subtle flavor of bone-dry Spanish sherry, such as Manzanilla or Fino. Since Russ likes to have a nip or two of this type of sherry while cooking on Sunday evenings, we always have some on hand. Not my cup of tea (or wine 🙂 ) for imbibing, but I do love sherry in cooking.

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A mandoline makes quick work of slicing uniformly thick potato slices.

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Fernando's Sherry-Infused Baked Sliced Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 -inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves, cut in halves
  • 1/4 medium-large onion, slivered into 1/4 -inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons manzanilla or dry fino sherry
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Coat an 8-by-12-inch baking dish with one-half tablespoon olive oil. Add half the potatoes in a slightly overlapping layer and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.
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  2. Scatter the bay leaves and onion over the potatoes and cover with the remaining potatoes, sprinkling again with salt and pepper. Spoon the remaining oil over the potatoes.
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  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the pan lightly with foil and return it to the oven in a rotated position. Bake 20 minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Sprinkle the sherry over the potatoes, cover again with foil and continue baking until the sherry is absorbed and the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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Oh Sherry, Sherry Baby—Sherry Can You Come Out Tonight?

Arguably the greatest Spanish food is found not in the nation’s restaurants, but in private homes off-limits to tourists, where women still cook the recipes their mothers and grandmothers cooked before them. Penelope Casas takes us into those homes to uncover the secrets of this simple, easily reproduced, and altogether marvelous cuisine. For La Cocina de Mamá, she has collected recipes from great chefs and traditional home cooks in every region of Spain.

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Having been enamored of her recipes and side stories since we bought the book a number of years ago, this Chicken with Ham, Olives and Sherry was one entrée we hadn’t tried yet. But since making it, it has risen to a top-contender spot when poultry becomes the meal of choice. The ingredients list does mention you can substitute prosciutto for the Serrano ham, but if at all possible, use the Spanish version.

About the Serrano Ham: The word Serrano means “from the mountains,” and refers to the cool dry climate necessary to cure hams in the traditional way. Today most moderately priced cured hams are produced in plants that simulate mountain conditions. Top of the line cured hams, called Jamon Iberico (not as yet imported to the United States) are in fact, naturally mountain cured and come from the extraordinary native Iberian pig.

The best cured ham sold in the United States today, according to Penelope (far superior to prosciutto), is the Redondo Iglesias Serrano ham that is imported from Spain and available from Tienda.com. We were able to order a thick slice (shown below) at our local upscale supermarket deli. Beware, the price is nearly $25 per pound, but you only need about a quarter pound.

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The chicken dish paired fabulously with Penelope’s recipe of Sherry-Infused Baked Sliced Potatoes which take a similar amount of time and get cooked in the oven while the chicken simmers on the stovetop.

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IMG_4030To complete the meal, we added a side salad for more veggies and fiber.

Chicken with Ham, Olives and Sherry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2-4 lb. chicken
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced Spanish green olives
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, preferably Vidalia or other sweet type, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup diced Serrano ham (or prosciutto, if you must)
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 6 Tbsp. dry Manzanilla or Fino sherry
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken into small serving pieces, first detaching the wings and legs, then with kitchen shears, cutting the breast into 4 pieces, and each thigh in half crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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  2. In a small saucepan, combine the olives and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve the olives.
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  3. Heat the oil in a shallow casserole, and brown the chicken all over, about 5 minutes per side. Do in batches as necessary, and remove to plate when browned.
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  4. Lower the heat and add garlic and onion and slowly sauté for 5 minutes.
  5. Scatter in the ham, cook for a minutes then stir in the flour.
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  6. Add the sherry, broth, salt and pepper to taste, and thyme. Nestle the chicken pieces back into the pot with the breasts sitting on top of the dark meat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time period.
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  7. Add the reserved olives and simmer for 2 more minutes. Serve.
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Bookmark This Weeknight Duo

“Make It Tonight” is a weekly series from Fine Cooking that we subscribe to and provides quick weeknight recipes. While of course not everyone of them caters to our personal preferences, the vast majority are pretty spot on. Take this simple and satisfying easy main course, Roast Chicken with Chickpeas dinner for instance. Here, crisp-skinned, bone-in chicken thighs braise in a stew of fragrant Indian spices, onion, and chickpeas, each flavoring the other.

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Because it was just the two of us, our package of poultry consisted on only five thighs, weighing in at two pounds instead of three. They all fit into one pan so there was no need to brown two batches, saving about 10 minutes.

And the “Make It Tonight” pairing of a Middle Eastern Savoy Cabbage Salad was a knock out side dish that was a perfect accompaniment to the flavors of the chicken. I mean, who doesn’t love pistachios?! I did cut the veggie ingredients in half for just the two of us, but made the full amount of dressing, and I’m glad I did. Personally, I do not like salads saturated with dressing, but in this case, after I initially added only half, we both agreed, it was so tasty and the vegetables were sturdy enough they could handle the entire amount. Yes, it was that good!

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Even if you’re not overly fond of chickpeas, the treatment in this recipe adds the perfect amount of pungency from both the spices and the thighs as they impart their juices during the roasting process. The end result takes the chickpeas to another level with a subtle crispness and a boat-load of flavor. And you can’t ignore the health benefits of these legumes.

Chickpeas are sometimes known as garbanzo beans. They are particularly high in fiber. The iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K in chickpeas all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Plus, research shows that including chickpeas in the diet lowers the amount of low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, in the blood. Finally, the choline in chickpeas helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.

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Roast Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper; more to taste
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°f.
  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry if wet and season lightly with salt. Working in two batches, brown the chicken on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch, adjusting the heat as necessary. Transfer to a plate.
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  • Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
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  • Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Add the chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Return the thighs to the skillet, skin side up.
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  • Transfer to the oven and roast until the chicken cooks through, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with the cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.

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Middle Eastern Savoy Cabbage Salad

Middle Eastern ingredients like lemon, yogurt, cumin, and coriander flavor a creamy dressing that crinkly Savoy cabbage soaks right up. Use regular yogurt for the dressing; Greek yogurt is too thick. If you have extra dressing, (which I doubt you will) use it as a dip for vegetables or to dress another small salad. This would make a great lunch salad by itself.

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Middle Eastern Savoy Cabbage Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage, halved, cored, and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons (12 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons with the peeler (about 2 lightly packed cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted pistachios
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Soak the onion in cold water to mellow it, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in an 8-inch skillet, heat the oil, cumin, and coriander over medium-low heat until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.
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  • Add the lemon juice and zest, honey, and 1/2 tsp. salt to the spices in the pan and stir to combine. With a silicone spatula, fold in the yogurt until well combined.
  • Put the cabbage, carrots, mint, and onion in a large serving bowl.
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  • Toss the salad with about two-thirds of the dressing. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften the cabbage.
  • Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the salad. Grind some black pepper over the top and then drizzle with more dressing to taste. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and serve.

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In a Nod to Tuscany

In Italy, Tuscans living in rural areas were once referred to as mangiafagioli, or “bean eaters,” a reference to their consumption of economical bean dishes. The most traditional preparation is an ultrasimple wintry one in which dried cannellini beans are simmered with herbs and garlic until tender and then drizzled with olive oil for serving.

This riff on Tuscan-style beans gets a fuller seafood flavor with a quick concentrated stock from the shrimp shells used to simmer the beans. The shrimp also get cooked with the beans rather than separately, and minced anchovies meld with the sautéed aromatics. While the shrimp flavor the beans, the beans also insulate the shrimp from direct heat so that they stay plump and moist.

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To season the shrimp and keep them plump and juicy, brine them briefly, and add them late in the cooking process, cooking them gently. Canned beans and canned tomatoes make this dish fast and doable at any time of year; plus, the liquid from one of the cans of beans lends the stew good body. Plenty of fresh basil and lemon juice and zest provide freshness and nice acidity.

If like us, you have some homemade seafood stock on hand, you can skip Steps 2 through 5 and shave off about 15 minutes. Now that’s a real time saver! And it isn’t yet tomato season, so use canned tomatoes instead of the fresh ones. For ease, and because they maintain their shape due to the addition of calcium chloride, use the diced variety.

We loved how simple, yet tasty this dish was. The final flourish of fresh basil not only adds a nice pop of color, but lends an initial subtle peppery flavor, then evolves into a slightly sweet, aromatic punch. An essential ingredient in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, basil pairs exquisitely with lemon, tomato and garlic, all of which are in this recipe.

Do yourself a favor and make a batch of homemade seafood stock, portioning it out into different sized containers, then freeze them until needed. You’ll thank yourself in the future…

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Tuscan Shrimp and Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound large shell-on shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed, shells reserved (If you have your own seafood stock, buy the shrimp already peeled.)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin
  • 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (1 can drained and rinsed, 1 can left undrained)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

Directions

  1. Dissolve sugar and 1 tablespoon salt in 1 quart cold water in large container. Submerge shrimp in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
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  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn spotty brown and skillet starts to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add 1 cup water. When bubbling subsides, return skillet to medium heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain mixture through colander set over large bowl. Discard shells and reserve liquid (you should have about 1/4 cup). Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, onion, garlic, anchovies, pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in now-empty skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
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  6. Add 1 can drained beans, 1 can beans and their liquid, tomatoes, and shrimp stock and bring to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
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  7. Reduce heat to low, add shrimp, cover, and cook, stirring once during cooking, until shrimp are just opaque, 5 to 7 minutes.
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  8. Remove skillet from heat and stir in basil and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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  9. Transfer to serving dish, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and serve.

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Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Thick, Spicy, Rich, and Dee-lish.

Cutting back on carbs? Who said Italian night has to include pasta? This quick-cooking stew has onions, garlic, and spicy Italian sausage—classic flavors you expect in an Italian meal—and it’s warming and comforting too, the perfect antidote to these frigid temperatures. Of course if you can’t tolerate spicy, use sweet Italian sausage instead.

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This Spicy Sausage, Escarole and White Bean Stew recipe hits all the right buttons. Thick, spicy, rich, and delish. Plus it’s super easy to prepare. If you’re not into escarole or can’t find it, substitute spinach or kale. Just make sure that whatever greens you decide on, wash them real well and spin dry.

The jury is in, we loved it! Of course we used more sausage, escarole, and vinegar than originally called for (reflected in the directions below.) The only other change we’d make next time, is incorporating 2 cups of broth as opposed to one.

And if you don’t care about counting carbs, make some toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil for a nice accompaniment. Or, make your own garlic butter to spread on Italian or rustic bread.

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Spicy Sausage, Escarole and White Bean Stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 head escarole, chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces, washed, and lightly dried
  • 1 cup low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar; more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (we used Grano Padano)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
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  2. Add the sausage, raise the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula until lightly browned and broken into small (1-inch) pieces, 5 to 6 minutes.
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  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the beans.
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  4. Add the escarole to the pot in batches; using tongs, toss with the sausage mixture to wilt the escarole and make room for more.
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  5. When all the escarole is in, add the chicken broth, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are heated through and the escarole is tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with the vinegar and salt. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle each portion with some of the Parmigiano.

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Adapted from a recipe by Joann Smart from Fine Cooking

Ham-ming It Up

While lamb is our usual go-to for Easter dinner, we decided to switch things up and make a ham this year. Part of the reason was the Roasted Ham with Mustard-Herb Crust recipe by Tracey Seaman that caught our attention in the most current issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. You don your Easter outfit, and the ham gets dressed up with a simple sweet-savory topping. Of course, this lovely dinner could be served anytime of the year.

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Not sure why we don’t serve ham more often. It usually makes for an easy meal. Here, the ingredient list is short and the prep minimal, which left us time and energy to concentrate on our other dishes that included a Sriracha Deviled Egg appetizer, a Spring Salad with Strawberries, a Rainbow Chard Casserole with Parmesan Crumb topping, and a Potato, Fennel and Leek Gratin.

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The original recipe said the ham serves 6-8 people. Well, we hosted a small crowd of seven and there was easily a half of ham left—which suited us just fine because we had leftovers for future meals such as ham-fried-rice, frittatas, sandwiches, casseroles, and soups.

So next time you have a craving for ham, and you need to feed a crowd, this recipe may be just the ticket!

Roasted Ham with Mustard-Herb Crust

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 9-lb. spiral-sliced ham (preferably uncured)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. apricot preserves or apple jelly
  • 6 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tsp. dried herbes de Provence
  • 3 large yellow onions, each cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1-1/2 cups unfiltered apple cider or unsweetened apple juice

Directions

  1. Put the ham cut side down in a 9×13-inch roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours before roasting.
  2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 375°F. In a small saucepan or microwavable bowl, warm the preserves. Using a small offset spatula, spread onto the rounded top side of the ham; spoon the mustard over the preserves, then sprinkle the herbs on top. Scatter the onions in the pan, and cover the ham loosely with a sheet of foil to prevent the crust from burning. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
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  3. After 1 hour, brush about 1/2 cup of the cider on top of the ham; pour the remaining 1 cup of cider into the pan with the onions, cover with the foil, and roast 30 minutes more, until the onions are tender.
  4. Transfer the ham and onions to a serving platter and the pan juices to a gravy boat. Let the ham rest for a few minutes before carving.
  5. Arrange slices and cooked onions on a platter and serve.

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The Devil’s in the Details

These Sriracha Deviled Eggs have a tangy filling while remaining silky smooth and luscious. A requirement for deviled eggs is a good amount of tanginess and acid in the mix. You need to add a bite to them to offset the inherently rich egg yolks. Often that would be mustard, but these little “devils” use one of my favorite condiments, Sriracha.

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They are pretty much a staple for Easter Sunday in our house, and most years I’ll try a riff on the old classic. Presentation makes or breaks the recipe, so don’t forget that the devil’s in the details when plating up the eggs. A flourish of slanted scallion slices not only adds a nice pop of spring green color, but also a tangy bite and a bit of texture.

My original intent was to use a star tip with the pastry bag but the mixture was too fluid and the shape wouldn’t have held up, so I used a large circle tip. Russ and I both agreed that the addition of two tablespoons of olive oil was way too much which produced a limp blend. I adjusted the list below to indicate using only one teaspoon oil for a firmer batter.

As a substitute for the pickle juice I incorporated cornichon juice, which is basically the same thing. Enjoy!

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pickle juice (not sweet)
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Greens of 2 scallions, sliced at a slant, as garnish
  • Light dash of paprika, as garnish

Directions

  1. Hard boil the eggs your preferred method. (We use a pressure cooker and they come out perfect.)
  2. Halve the eggs and scoop out the yolks and transfer them to a mixing bowl.
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  3. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, pickle juice, Sriracha and a few pinches of salt. Blend with a hand mixer until creamy. Give it a taste, and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
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  4. Transfer the filling into a piping bag (fitted with a star tip for the fluted effect) and fill the egg whites with the mixture.
  5. Garnish with a sprinkling of some sliced scallions and a dash of paprika.
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One-Pot Braised Cabbage with Bacon

What to do with an almost whole head of leftover cabbage? In cool weather, which we are STILL experiencing in the Northeast, braising is a great option. After a quick Google on the web, Russ came across this simple recipe from thekitchn.com. We had all of the ingredients on hand so it was a perfect side dish for our seared pork chop entrée.

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Cabbage is pretty simple, as vegetables go. It’s a beautiful, firm ball of Spring-colored leaves with a distinct pungent scent and taste. But when chopped up and left to melt and brown in salty, savory bacon fat, cabbage transforms into a pot of soft, mellow vegetable magic that soothes the soul. And trust me, until the weather starts warming up around here, the soul and other body parts need some soothing…

Rooted in the Southern tradition of cooking, fresh cabbage cooks in bacon fat for an easy side dish that delivers pure, vegetable comfort. It starts with cooking thick-cut bacon bits, until they’re crispy. They get set aside and wedges of cabbage go into the pan.

Rather than chopping the cabbage into pieces, keep the cabbage attached to the core, making for soft, tender hunks of cabbage to spoon onto each plate. This creates soft cabbage “fans” on the plate once they are cooked down and ready to eat. The cabbage gets braised in broth until tender, with a titch of apple cider vinegar to finish.

Not a bacon fan? Substitute black pepper pastrami in its place. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

One-Pot Braised Cabbage with Bacon

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 thick-cut slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick pieces
  • Olive oil, if needed
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut through the core into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and most of the fat is rendered, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
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  3. Take the pot off the heat and let cool a few minutes. If you have less than 3 tablespoons of grease in the pot, add olive oil to make up the difference.
  4. Place the Dutch oven back over medium-high heat; add the garlic and stir.
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  5. Place the cabbage wedges cut-side down in the pot (they will not sit in one layer). Cook undisturbed until the cabbage pieces on the bottom begin to slightly brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
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  6. Using a wooden spoon, bring up the cabbage sitting on the bottom to rotate the pieces on the top to the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking until the cabbage slightly wilts and more pieces brown on the edges, 7 to 8 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the broth, bay leaf, and salt. Simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the cabbage is tender and all the liquid is evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes.
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  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Scatter the crispy bacon on top and serve immediately.

IMG_3766We served ours with seared bone-in pork chops and roasted butternut squash.

TIP FOR SLICING SQUASH:

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With a fork, pierce the outer layer along the length of both sides of squash. Microwave on high for three minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice along perforation to cut in half easily. Drizzle with butter or olive oil, sprinkle with spices and finish roasting in a 400 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes until fork tender.

Tso Friggin’ Good!

I have a confession to make. This General Tso’s Shrimp with Broccolini recipe almost didn’t make the cut because of the “fried” shrimp. But Russ convinced me to at least give it a try—and I’m really glad I did because they were delightfully crunchy, but not at all greasy!

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The directions indicate to fry each batch of seven-to-eight shrimp for three minutes, but we found no more than two minutes did the trick. And we covered the wok after adding the water to the broccolini to make sure it got tender enough. Initially the two bunches seemed like overkill for two people (the recipe serves 4), but in the end it was the proper ratio to the other ingredients, and we enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day.

There is a certain fear that exists around cornstarch (um, hello), an assumption that it was created in a lab and is nothing short of some mysterious white powder. No need to fear—it’s a pure starch made from finely ground corn flour. And it makes fried shrimp (or chicken) 10 times better.

Coating small pieces such as shrimp that will be stir-fried in some straight-up cornstarch, gives you a crispy coating after a super short time sizzling in oil. They’re not battered (like fried chicken), but texturally they’re not far off.

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General Tso's Shrimp with Broccolini

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine, mirin or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more for coating (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact)
  • 1/3 cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, plus more for deep-frying
  • 2 bunches broccolini, trimmed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups cooked white rice, for serving

Directions

  1. Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon each rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss; refrigerate until ready to fry.
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  2. Whisk the chili sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons each rice wine and soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 cup water in a bowl; set aside.
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  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini; stir-fry until charred in spots, 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a plate.
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  4. Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until tender, 2 minutes. Add the chili sauce mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 minute. Cover and set aside.
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  5. Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365 degrees F. Working in batches, toss the shrimp in cornstarch to coat, then fry until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
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  6. Return the wok to medium heat and reheat the sauce if needed. Add the broccolini and shrimp and cook, tossing, until warmed through, 2 minutes. (Add up to 1/2 cup water if the sauce is too thick.) Serve with the rice.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

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Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

 

A French BYO Revisited

For over thirty years the Spring Mill Café in Conshohocken, PA (consisting of two buildings located next to the Spring Mill Creek) has prepared dishes using the finest and freshest foods available, buying their ingredients from local farms and farmers. The dishes are designed around the availability of fresh and seasonal ingredients and are artfully plated and presented.

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Our last visit was two-and-a-half years ago with daughter Julia when she was in visiting from LA., and we were seated in the “general store” built in 1831 (above), the site of all our previous dining adventures at Spring Mill. This most recent visit however with the Oldhams, Maria Odilia (MO) and Steve, had us dining in the converted farmhouse (below) across the driveway from the main building. The farmhouse was built in the 1840s as storage and stables for the store and its presiding family; was converted into a living space in the 1950s; and it wasn’t until a few years ago that it also became part of the restaurant.

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We were lucky enough to have a choice of tables before everyone else arrived and we chose a cozy corner banquette that was flanked on two sides with pews and chairs on the outer edges. Thanks to our waiter Nate for taking our group photo.

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Their menu is not extensive but well thought out and includes vegetarian options, along with a few nightly specials. So for starters, both Steve and I settled on the soup du jour, a Creamed Asparagus topped with Crabmeat. It was silky and subtle with small chunks of tender asparagus and a decent dollop of tender sweet crabmeat.

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Russ knew ahead of time that he would be starting his meal off with one of their patés and chose the Truffled Chicken Liver Pâté with a crock of pureed chicken liver, baked with cream, black truffles and brandy, served with sliced baguette, cornichons and whole grain mustard. Maria Odilia decided on the Salade de Betteraves, plated with roasted golden beets with baby kale, Bucheron goat cheese, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. expecting red beets, you was pleased to see the golden variety on her plate.

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By this time, the entire restaurant was filled and conversation scaled up a couple of notches. A topic of discussion became the circular stairway in the center of the room  leading to the second floor and the only bathroom—consisting of a very tiny sink, but large clawfoot blue bathtub—apparently a leftover from it’s days as someone’s living quarters. As the evening wore on, the traffic up and down those winding stairs became quite a side show.

Steve’s initial entrée choice was the mushroom vegetarian option, but quickly made an about-face and chose the Lapin au Pruneaux, a Stony Hill Farm braised rabbit with red wine, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes, garnished with a lardon and prune tapenade served in a large bowl.

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Both MO and myself were on the same wavelength and opted for the Espadon aux Capres, which was a grilled swordfish steak with a caper fennel butter, served over a winter root vegetable puree. Eating with your eyes first, each dish was a feast to behold, but MO complained loudly about the lack of color on our swordfish plates. Being a fellow artist I had to agree. Luckily, we had ordered a side of the vegetable du jour which happened to be haricot verts, so we quickly remedied that faux pas with the addition of some green. Otherwise, totally scrumptious!

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Well, no surprise that Mr. Russ got the Duck Breast Cassoulet, one of his top faves. The duck breast was seared with a pork and duck confit, and accompanied by white beans, sausage, and a tomato sofrito. Let’s just say, it’s still sits in a place of honor near the top of the list.

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Not a dessert eater myself, the others wanted to indulge in at least a “taste” so they decided to split one order of the Mousse au Chocolat, a traditional light and fluffy French chocolate mousse topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream—which came with four spoons…

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All-in-all, a lovely evening that was nearly three hours long. After we finished dinner, we took MO and Steve over to the main building to check out the digs. Nearly 10 p.m., it was already set up for the next day and deserted of patrons (except for the manager who was tending the books). An interesting fact: they cook all of the meals in the main house and have to transport any orders for the farmhouse, outside across the driveway. We wondered aloud how dicey that must get during bad weather… Now time to finally bid each other adieu for our 30-minute, but easy ride home.

The Chicken Zen Zone

This riff on Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Orange is based on a recipe from famed Italian chef/author Lidia Bastianich. It’s infused with scents and flavors that I associate with comfort, family and joyous occasions. My mom used to make a Sunday supper of Orange-Juice Chicken that was my favorite meal growing up. Over the ensuing years, I’ve made many a roasted chicken with a similar flavor profile. Here’s yet one more with the surprising ingredient of orange liqueur.

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As it’s roasting, the fragrance wonderfully perfumes the air both indoors and out. Luckily, dinner is ready in about one hours time, so you won’t have to wait all afternoon to indulge in the memorable feast. Good God almighty, it was fantastic! The skin was sooo crispy, the meat soooo succulent, and the sauce soooo flavorful—you can’t help but enter the “Zen Zone” while savoring every morsel, seriously!

While this would be equally good with garlicky mashed potatoes or creamy polenta, we paired it with our favorite Baked Rice, recipe below. If you don’t have a double-oven, allowing you to cook both the chicken and the rice at the same time, lower the temp to 400° once you remove the chicken. Make sure to have completed steps 1 through 3 at this point. As the covered chicken rests on a platter and you make the sauce, the rice can cook for the allotted 15 minutes.

IMG_3659Using kitchen shears, cut out the back bone. Save it, the neck, and wing tips for the freezer body bag for the next time you make homemade chicken stock.

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End up with two wings (minus the tips), two thighs, two legs, and four breast quarters.

Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Orange

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: relatively easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2-pound chicken, (with neck, optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
  • Juice of 1 small fresh orange
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken Stock, preferably homemade

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a roasting pan on the middle rack to heat up.
  2. Cut the chicken into pieces. Season the chicken all over with salt and some pepper.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, brown the chicken pieces on both sides in batches, about 2-3 minutes per side, removing to a plate as they are done.
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  4.  Put all of the dark  meat (not the breast pieces) in the roasting pan, skin side down, and roast 20 minutes.
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  5. Turn the dark meat and add the breast pieces, skin side up, and roast until the skin is very brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Turn the breast pieces skin side down and roast 10 minutes more.
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  6. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. Heat the roasting pan on the stove-top over medium-high heat; and add the butter to the pan juices. As soon as it melts, add the rosemary.
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  7. Once the rosemary is sizzling, add the Grand Marnier and orange juice. Bring to a boil and add the chicken stock.
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  8. Boil and whisk to bring the sauce together and thicken it slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Strain the sauce and spoon over the chicken and serve. (We didn’t bother to strain the sauce as it didn’t seem necessary.)

http://www.lynnandruss.com

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Baked Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Baked Rice (Arroz al Horno)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 cup Valencian (or Arborio) short-grain rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 11/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • A few strands of saffron, crumbled
  • Kosher or sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep casserole, and then add the onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice coating it with the oil.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and 1 cup water, stir in the parsley, thyme, saffron, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from the flame, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

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Spicy Jerk Pork Chops

Want to spice things up? Add some heat to tonight’s pork chop dinner. This Spicy Jerk Pork Chops recipe is based on the fiery Jamaican seasoning known as jerk, made of Scotch bonnet chiles, ground spices, garlic, and herbs. Right up my alley…

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We like things on the spicy side so I included two habaneros. Of course you can adjust the heat by reducing the amount, and/or type, of chiles you add. And while I only cooked two chops, I still made the same amount of seasoning, saving any leftovers for a future use.

Our broiler, usually a bone of contention with me, worked fine for this dinner, go figure! Although I would have preferred the pork a bit less done and so you might want to broil for only 6 minutes each side and check the temp, adding an extra minute if needed.

NOTES: I lined our broiler pan with tinfoil for easy clean-up. Spread the jerk mixture only on the top side and place on preheated grill pan; then when you flip the chops, spread more seasoning on the second side. This helps insure a lot of the mixture doesn’t fall off.

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This dinner was so easy and so quick, and made even more so with the frozen side dish of all natural, Alexia Cauliflower Risotto seasoned with parmesan cheese and sea salt. You simply dump the contents of the bag into a microwave-safe bowl, cover and zap on high for 4 minutes, stir, and zap an additional 1 1/2 minutes. Can’t get more easy than that! Low in calories, fat and cholesterol, it was surprisingly good.

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The frozen cauliflower risotto is poured directly into a microwave safe bowl.
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Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir, and heat for another 1 1/2 minutes, done!

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Spicy Jerk Pork Chops

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the pan
  • 4 bone-in center-cut pork chops (3/4 inch thick, about 2-1/2 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium scallions (white and green parts), coarsely chopped
  • 2 small Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped (wear gloves)
  • 2 small limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Lightly oil a broiler pan or a rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Season the pork all over with 1 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper.
  3. In a food processor, purée the oil, scallions, chiles, lime juice, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt.
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  4. Coat the chops on all sides with the mixture and set on the broiler pan or rack. Broil until the pork begins to brown, about 7 minutes.
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  5. Flip and cook until browned, the meat is firm to the touch, and an instant-read thermometer inserted close to (but not touching) the bone registers 145°F, about 7 minutes more.
  6. Serve with the lime wedges.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

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Chicken Thighs in Tomato-Ginger Sauce

Another quick weeknight meal, Chicken Thighs in Tomato-Ginger Sauce brings a wonderful change of pace to the hum-drum monotony of getting something on the table quickly. Seasoned with warm spices, this Indian-inspired chicken dish is savory and comforting. The small amount of butter swirled into the sauce may seem like an unusual addition, but it adds richness and flavor, and softens the tomatoes’ acidity.

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While it is traditionally served with basmati rice or naan, we took a shortcut and tried Alexia’s brand of frozen Butternut Squash Risotto. Not usually into processed side dishes, it’s not a bad idea to stock pile a few good ones because they certainly come in handy when you’re in a hurry or don’t have any fresh produce around. A few weeks ago we tried the same brand of Cauliflower Risotto and prefer that over the butternut mix—perhaps because it visually more resembles real risotto.

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As far as the canned tomatoes, we had a 28-ounce crushed tomato in the pantry and figured that was a good enough substitute for a smaller quantity of thighs (we only cooked six) even though they weren’t “fire roasted.” Overall, we thought the flavors were very well-balanced and the garam masala and cayenne added just the right amount of heat.

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Chicken Thighs in Tomato-Ginger Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 8 small, boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 15-oz. cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Brown half of the chicken, flipping once, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate. If necessary, repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if the pan looks dry.
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  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until golden-brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, increase the heat to medium high, and simmer vigorously until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
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  6. Add the chicken and any accumulated juice. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, reduce the heat, and simmer until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
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  7. Transfer the chicken to plates or a platter. Stir the butter into the sauce until incorporated and season to taste with salt.
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  8. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.

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By Dabney Gough from Fine Cooking

Soups On!

Sometimes a robust and nourishing soup is just what you need to soothe the soul and calm the day-to-day frenzy of modern life. Hearty Spanish-Style Lentil and Chorizo Soup with Kale might be just the ticket. And we know just how healthy lentils and kale are, so we can feel good about eating this soup.

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A long cooking develops a certain amount of sweetness in the chopped onion, carrot, and parsley, as well as removes any trace of unpleasant sulfuric compounds in the onion. These sweated aromatics offer a pure, sweet background taste that not only allows the soup’s primary ingredients (smoked paprika, chorizo, lentils, and sherry vinegar) to come to the fore but also seemed to fortify their individual flavors. Three quintessential ingredients provide this soup with authentic Spanish flavor.

SMOKED PAPRIKA: Pimentón, made by drying red peppers over an oak fire, offers a distinctive rich and smoky taste.

SHERRY VINEGAR: Lightly sweet sherry vinegar boasts assertive yet balanced acidity.

SPANISH CHORIZO: This heady sausage combines coarsely ground, dry-cured pork with a hit of pimentón.

French green lentils, or lentilles du Puy, are preferred, but it will work with any type of lentil except red or yellow. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater. If Spanish-style chorizo is not available, kielbasa sausage can be used. Since we already made this once with chorizo, we decided to switch things up and use kielbasa this time.

IMG_3383Rinse the kale, then de-stem the tough stalks and discard. Chop leaves into 1/2″ pieces.

Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Smoked paprika comes in three varieties: sweet (dulce), bittersweet or medium hot (agridulce), and hot (picante). For this recipe, the sweet kind is best.

To ensure creamy, well-seasoned lentils with intact skins, soak them in a warm brine for 30 minutes before cooking. For a rich, vegetal flavor, sweat onion, carrot, and parsley in a covered pot to provide a background taste to the main ingredients: heady smoked paprika, meaty chorizo, earthy lentils, and tart sherry vinegar. To finish the soup, garnish it with an Indian preparation called a tarka, a mixture of spices and aromatics bloomed in oil, shown below.

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Hearty Spanish-Style Lentil and Chorizo Soup with Kale

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (2 1/4 cups) lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds Spanish-style chorizo sausage, pricked with fork several times
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 7 cups water, plus extra as needed
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 12 ounces kale, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Place lentils and 2 teaspoons salt in heatproof container. Cover with 4 cups boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop three-quarters of onion (you should have about 1 cup) and grate remaining quarter (you should have about 3 tablespoons).
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chorizo to large plate.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add chopped onion, carrots, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft but not brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown, add 1 tablespoon water to pot.
  5. Add lentils and sherry vinegar to vegetables; increase heat to medium-high; and cook, stirring frequently, until vinegar starts to evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add 7 cups water, chorizo, bay leaves, and cloves; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
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  7. Stir in kale, cover, and continue to cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes longer.
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  8. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add paprika, grated onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 minutes (tarka).
  9. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
  10. Remove chorizo and bay leaves from lentils. Stir paprika mixture (tarka) into lentils and continue to cook until flavors have blended and soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
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  11. When chorizo is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half into ¼-inch-thick slices. Return chorizo to soup along with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and heat through, about 1 minute.
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  12. Season with salt, pepper, and up to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar to taste, and serve. (Soup can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

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