Calabacitas Con Crema

This recipe comes from Diana Kennedy’s “The Cuisines of Mexico”. Diana writes: “There are hundreds of ways of cooking squash in Mexico, and every cook has her own method and seasoning. This was our maid Godileva’s way of preparing them, and the dish frequently appeared on our dinner table. It has an exotic flavor, and is quite unlike any other squash dish I have come across.”

1 ½ lb. diced zucchini

2 medium tomatoes, diced
6 whole peppercorns

4 sprigs fresh coriander
2 sprigs fresh mint
1/2″ stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
2 whole chiles serranos
1/2 cup light cream
Salt to taste

 

Combine everything in a pot and cook over a very low flame, stirring occasionally so it does not stick. Add a little water if it looks like it is getting too dry. It will take about 30 minutes to cook, the zucchini should be very soft, the milk or cream should be absorbed with no liquid remaining in the pan. The chilies should remain whole and just flavor the squash — it should not be picante. It is even better reheated the next day.

BEET, TOMATO AND COCONUT CURRY

BEET, TOMATO AND COCONUT CURRY

1 large onion

5 small vine-ripened tomatoes (14 to 16 ounces total)

2 large cloves garlic

One 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root

4 small raw beets (10 to 11 ounces total, trimmed)

1 small jalapeño or serrano chile pepper (see headnote)

1 heaping teaspoon solid coconut oil

Handful cilantro stems

1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch ground cinnamon

2 cardamom pods

3 whole cloves

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup low-fat coconut milk 

Cut the onion in half, then into very thin half-moon slices. Cut the tomato into small dice. Mince the garlic. Peel and grate enough ginger to yield 2 teaspoons. Scrub the beets well (or peel them), then cut them into small dice. Stem and seed the chili pepper, then cut it lengthwise into very thin strips.  Melt the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Stir in the onion to coat; cook for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until golden and softened.  Meanwhile, coarsely chop the cilantro (tender leaves and stems). Squeeze juice from the lemon half into a small bowl (at least 2 tablespoons).  Reduce the heat to medium; stir in the garlic and fresh ginger; cook for 2 minutes, then add the jalapeño or serrano chili pepper, ground ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, plus the tomatoes and the water. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, add the beets, stirring to incorporate. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the beets are fork-tender. Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, cilantro and lemon juice; cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes (for the flavors to meld). Fish out and discard the whole spices before serving, if desired, or at least tell your fellow diners to be on the lookout for them.

Curry Roasted Root Vegetables with Lime Leaves and Juice

3 large carrots

2 parsnips

1 rutabaga

¼ cup olive oil

3 Tbs. lime juice

2 tsp. curry powder

6 Kaffir lime leaves, shredded

2 stems fresh curry leaves

6 scallions

3 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper

Cut all the veggies into batons (approx. ¼ in. wide by 2 ½ in.) and place them in a large roasting pan.  Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and sprinkle half the lime juice, the curry powder, 1 ¼ tsp. of salt and a healthy dose of black pepper.  Mix well and roast at 4750 for 30 minutes turning the veggies once or twice during cooking.  Add the lime leaves, curry leaves, and scallions and roast for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove the veggies from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining lime juice and cilantro.  This dish can be served warm or at room temperature.  Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

SQUASH AND BLACK-EYED PEA COCONUT CURRY

SQUASH AND BLACK-EYED PEA COCONUT CURRY

2 ½ lb. winter squash, cut into ¾ in. wedges

2 Tbsp avocado oil

1 Tbsp. garam masala

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

½ tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 serrano chile, halved

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 15 oz can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

2 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 15 oz can coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine squash, avocado oil, garam masala, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Toss to coat; arrange in a single layer on a foil lined baking tray. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, add onion and serrano (or 1/8 tsp cayenne). Cook, stirring, until onion is softened and golden. Add garlic and cook about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in black-eyed peas and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are jammy around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in turmeric, then coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper. Add roasted squash and fold to coat with curry. Cover and let simmer 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6. From Food and Wine March 2018.

Utica Greens

FOR THE OREGANATO:

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

 

FOR THE GREENS:

1 1/4 pound greens mix

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 slices prosciutto cut roughly

4 to 6 hot cherry peppers (pickled or fresh), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup + 2 Tbs Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, prepare the oreganato: Mix the oil, bread crumbs and cheese until well blended. It should have the texture of moist beach sand. Set aside.  When the water is boiling, blanch the greens until they are nearly limp but still a little firm, about 1 to 2 minutes. Plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove and drain them well in a colander or salad spinner, allowing them to remain moist but not dripping wet. Squeeze just a little of the moisture from them, then chop them into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.  Heat the broiler. Coat a large pan with the olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté the prosciutto, cherry peppers and garlic until the prosciutto is browned and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. (Lower heat slightly if garlic begins to brown too quickly.) Add the chopped greens to the pan, season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well.  Add 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1/2 cup of the oreganato. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently to blend, scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the oreganato from burning. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup oreganato atop the greens. (Save leftover oreganato for use in another greens dish, or add it to baked chicken or shrimp.) Place the pan under the broiler and broil until the top browns, about 2 minutes. Remove from the broiler and sprinkle a bit more cheese on the dish. Serve immediately.

 

Potato, Endive, and Country Ham Soup

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

1 leek, white and light green portions, minced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken broth

2 potatoes thinly sliced

1 sprig thyme

2 cups endive chopped

1 cup diced country ham

½ tsp. salt or to taste

¼ tsp. black pepper or to taste

Heat butter in a soup pot over love heat; add the onion leek, celery and garlic; stir until they are evenly coated with butter.  Cover the pot and cook until tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the broth, potatoes and thyme.  Simmer the sopu until the potatoes are beginning to disintegrate, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the endive and diced ham and simmer the soup for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the ingredients are tender.  Add salt and generous amounts of pepper to taste.  From An American Bounty by the Culinary Institute of America.

Easy Pesto

2 cups greens

½ cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, filberts or pine nuts)

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tsp. salt

2 cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor.  As it processes, slowly add the oil.  Continue to process until smooth. Serve over pasta or as a dip.

Roasted Sardines with Green Garlic and Mint

12 (2-ounce) fresh sardines, scaled and gutted

Kosher salt

Extra virgin olive oil

4 stalks green garlic, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted

1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, soaked and minced

1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn by hand

1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 500ºF.  Working with one fish at a time, remove the head. Gently pry open the belly to reveal the backbone. Place the fish, skin side up, on a work surface and run the palm of your hand along the spine to loosen it, then trim off the back fin. Turn the sardine over. Starting at the head end, pull the backbone towards the tail in a single motion. (Part of the tail may come off with the backbone.) Rinse the sardine under cold running water, checking for any loose bones, and then pat dry. Repeat with the remaining sardines.  Arrange the butterflied sardines on a baking sheet, skin side up. Season both sides with salt, and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Roast the sardines, skin side up, for about 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the skin begins to sizzle.  Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, heat a few tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the green garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, or until softened. With a slotted spoon, remove the green garlic and set aside. Over medium-low heat, replenish the sauté pan with a few additional tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle in the bread crumbs. Sauté for about 2 minutes, or until they crisp up and darken slightly. Remove from the heat, add the green garlic, stir in the capers and mint, and set aside until serving. Transfer the sardines to a serving platter or divide among individual plates, and squeeze the lemon half.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 lettuce leaves

1 pound lean ground beef

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)

1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!

Rosemary Eggplant

2 Lbs eggplant peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

Coarse salt

3-Tbs. rosemary leaves

4 garlic cloves, peeled

salt and freshly ground pepper

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

20 sprigs parsley leaves

10-12 slices of toasted crusty Italian bread

Place the eggplant cubes on a serving platter, sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of coarse salt over them, then place a second platter over the eggplant cubes as a weight, but do not crush them.  Let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, finely chop the rosemary and garlic together on a cutting board.  Transfer the garlic mixture to a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Rinse the eggplant cubes many times under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is moderately hot, about 300 degrees, add the eggplant cubes, preferably in a single layer, and cook, covered for 3 to 4 minutes.  By that time the lower part of the eggplant should have a thin golden crust.  Turn the eggplant cubes over, cover the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes more.  Sprinkle the garlic mixture and a little slat and pepper over the eggplant and mix very well with a wooden spoon.  Some cubes may fall apart; this is all right.  Keep cooking until all the cubes are soft.  With a skimmer, transfer the eggplant to a crockery or glass bowl.  Add the parsley leaves to the eggplant and mix again.  Immediately place the eggplant mixture over the slices of bread and serve.  This dish can be served as an appetizer or a vegetable, but should always be warm.  From Bugialli’s Italy.