JANUARY: Bourbon Bread Pudding

I was defrosting my  freezer the other day and discovered that I had a lot of French bread around. Time to make bread pudding I thought, I have enough bread crumbs.  So here it is. A great dessert for a winter dinner, or just for tea time with friends.

BREAD PUDDING

Ingredients:

2 cups of light cream
2 cups of whole milk
8 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of bourbon
1 cup of sugar  (extra sugar for topping)
1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cups of currents
2 french baguettes, trim crusts, cut lengthwise, spread generously with butter and cube.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs , milk and cream. Add the flavorings , spices , currents and bourbon.  Toss in the cubed bread.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Stir after 2 hours to be certain that all of the bread is soaking.

Using a large low casserole and fill with the soaked bread, currents  and custard.  Sprinkle with a little sugar on top.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50 minutes.  Serve warm with bourbon sauce (see recipe below).

BOURBON SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
10 T. bourbon
1 stick of butter
Place water in the bottom of a double boiler. Bring to a simmer. IN the top put the eggs yolks and sugar. Stir with a whish until smooth and light in color.  Whisk in the bourbon and place over the simmering water.  Cook, whisking , until the mixture is hot and has begun to thicken, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the water and slowly stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Serve warm with the pudding.

 

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FEBRUARY: Cassoulet

I had the opportunity to make Cassoulet several times over the past holiday season. Though it was considered a peasant dish it is now a specialty since none of us just happen to have ducks, geese, lamb etc in our freezers from an abundant stock in the farmyard. So here’s my version –it got rave reviews.

Ingredients:

1.5  lb dried Great Northern white beans
1 onion stuck with two cloves
1 bouquet garni packet
1/4 lb salt pork
1/4 lb smoked slab bacon
1 duck or half a goose
Rendered duck or goose fat
1 large onion , chopped
2 lbs of lamb shoulder or breast boned, large cubes
1 lb lamb bones
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bottle of Red Rhone wine
1 quart of  beef stock
salt and pepper
1/2 lb sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 lb Chorizos
2 -3 cups of French Bread Cubed
chopped parsley
Goose or duck fat for topping.

Soak the beans overnight.  The next morning drain, rinse and  put beans in a pot.  Cover with enough water, add the onion with the 2 cloves, a bouquet garni, a little salt and simmer for 1.5 hours or until 3/4 ths done. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.

Cut the salt pork and slab bacon into small pieces. Boil for 10 minutes, and drain.

In a dutch oven sear the lamb meat in the duck or goose fat, remove from the pan. Add the lamb bones and sear them on all sides. Remove the bones and saute the onion in the remaining fat. Return the meats to the pot, add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, red wine and beef broth, s & p . Simmer on top of the stove for 1.5 hours  . Remove the bones. Correct seasoning

Using duck or goose fat, sear the salt pork and slab bacon, add sliced sausage and chorizo,
remove to a platter.

Cut the duck or goose into pieces. Sear in more fat until brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate and when cool,remove the meat from the bones. Cut into large pieces.  Save.the bones to make stock

Cube the french bread and toss with chopped parsley.

Final Assembly:

Layer the beans, pork, sausage, lamb stew, and duck in a dutch oven or oven proof casserole with a lid. Repeat ending with a layer of beans on top. If there is not enough liquid from the stew, add the bean water so that it is well covered. Top with the french bread and spoon 4-5 tablespoons of duck or goose fat on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 1.5 hours.  Serve immediately with more red wine, french bread and a simple salad.

 

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MARCH: Orange Fennel Salad

Ingredients:

2 heads of fennel plus fronds
1 small red onion
8 clementines

Dressing:
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Purple Chef Orange Marmalade  ( finely chop the rind)
1 and 1/4 cups of oil, a mixture of vegetable and olive
fennel fronds
salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice the fennel with a mandolin. Chop the fennel fronds for the dressing.

Slice the red onion in the mandolin.

Peel and section the clementines, or slice crosswise.

Layer these sliced fennel, red onion, and clementines in a glass salad bowl.

Whisk orange juice and vinegar together, mix in orange marmalade and fronds.  Slowly whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the salad just before serving.

 

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APRIL: Roasted Turkey Thighs with Pomegranate Molasses Marinade

Ingredients:

Two turkey thighs, rinsed and dried

Marinade:
1 T. Pomegranate Molasses
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp Port or Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, garam marsala
salt and pepper

Mix the marinade, brush on the turkey thighs and marinate 1 hour.

Roast covered for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, uncover and roast another 20 minutes or until cooked through, depending on the size.

Serve with rice pilaf and green vegetable of your choice.

Great the next day in a sandwich or cubed in a green salad.

 

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MAY: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

MANGO CHEDDAR

Ingredients:

Amy’s White or Red Hen Peasant Bread Sliced
2 T. Mayo with 1/2 tsp curry powder.
2 T Purple Chef Mango Chutney, more if slices are larger
1/4 avocado, mashed for spreading
Grated cheese.  either  Grafton Cheddar 3-4 year or a Taylor Farm Gouda
Butter

Spread soft butter on two slices of bread.  Grill these face down until toasted.  Remove from  the pan.

Spread both sides with curried mayonnaise. On one side build your sandwich.  Spread the avocado, add the Purple Chef Mango Chutney. Sprinkle generously with the grated cheese.

Put the sandwich together.  spread the outsides with soft butter.  Grill on both sides, using a weight to keep together, until golden brown and melted through.

CHEDDAR – LAVA

Ingredients:

Bread:  A  Vermont White or Sour dough  Artisan  Bread, Sliced
Purple Chef Fire Roasted Marma-Lava, several tablespoons
Grafton Cheddar or Cabot Extra Sharp
Fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed
Butter

Butter two sides of bread.  Grill face down until golden.  Remove from pan.

Spread browned sides with  Marma-Lava,  a layer of Cilantro Leaves, and a generous layer of grated cheese. Put the top slice on .

Butter both outsides.  Grill in the pan, using a weight , until both sides are golden brown.

 

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JUNE: Cheese Blintzes

These are great for brunch,  breakfast or Sunday dinner. Once they are made they can be frozen.  Do not defrost for frying.  They can also be baked to save on the calories of frying

Crepes:

1 c. flour
2/3 c. milk
2/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Place the flour in a bowl and pour in the water and milk. Whisk till smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients beating until smooth. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour before using.

To make the crepes heat an 8 inch nonstick frying pan or a crepe pan till hot. Brush with a little oil and pour in about 3 T. batter.  Tilt the pan to cover evenly and make a thin crepe.

Cook for about 30 seconds, flip and repeat for 20 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. stack with waxed paper between.  The first one never works so don’t despair.  No need to oil the pan after the first crepe.

Cheese Filling:

2 cups Farmers Cheese or drained cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2- 4 T. sugar,  to taste
1 T. butter melted
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

Mash the cheese.  Add the rest of the ingredients

Place crepe on a flat surface.  Fill with 1 T. filling.  Fold over until sealed.  Fry in butter until golden.

Serve with cinnamon sugar, sour cream, blueberry sauce or your favorite JAM.

Blueberry Sauce:

Heat fresh or frozen blueberries in a sauce pan with sugar to taste.

 

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JULY: Seasonal Baked Salmon

Always one to use what I  have in the house, I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds salmon filet
1 large spanish onion
1 bunch scallions
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp butter
Your choice of fresh herbs, about a handful, or packaged “fish herb mix”
1 zucchini
1 summer squah
Salt and pepper
2 tomatoes

Thinly slice one large spanish onion. Chop the scallions. Slice or chop the garlic. Mince the herbs.

Saute the chopped onions and garlic in butter with the minced herbs. I used dried dill, thyme, basil along with salt and pepper

Lay the sauted ingredients in a glass baking dish.

Thinly slice the zucchini and summer squash and lay on top of the onions. Season with salt and pepper or a smoked sea salt if you have it.

Cut the salmon filets into four six-ounce servings and layer into the baking dish.

Top with two thinly sliced tomatoes.

Drizzle more herb butter and sea salt on top.

Bake for 40 minutes, basting throughout.

 

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AUGUST: Greek Feta Torta

I found this recipe one day in the N.Y. Times and have been making it ever since. I serve it for lunch or as an appetizer at dinner with a Fresh Tomato Sauce.  Here’s my version.

Ingredients:

1 lb of Greek or domestic feta cheese
(if using the Greek be certain to crumble and rinse first)
3 cups of cottage cheese
3 large eggs
1/3 cup of chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup or grated parmesan – divided
1/2 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1  box of phyllo dough defrosted, one lb.
1 1/2 lbs of butter, 3 sticks, melted

Heat the oven to 375 degrees

Melt the 3 sticks of butter in a small pan. Reserve.

Butter lightly and sprinkle a Bundt Pan with 2 T. of the parmesan cheese.

Lay out the Phyllo dough and cut an X in the middle. One sheet at a time lay the dough into the pan, overlapping and turning as you go. Push it down into the pan, letting the sides drape over as you work.

Place the Feta, Cottage Cheese, Eggs, Dill, 2 T. of Parmesan, nutmeg and pepper in a food processor.  Pulse just to combine. Turn out into the lined bundt pan.  Fold in the phyllo layers.

Using a small sharp knife punch many holes into the dough. At-least 30.  Go down to the bottom. Now slowly pour the melted butter over the top.  Some will seep down and some will sit on the top.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until puffed and golden on the top.

Let cool on a rack and sit 1 – 2 hours before inverting onto a plate.

Fresh Tomato Sauce:

1 lb each assorted plum and red tomatoes
Onions
Dill
Salt & Pepper
2 star anise

Boil a pot of water.  Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water.  As soon as the skin starts to split remove and put into cool water. Peel and chop

Saute the onions in olive oil, when they are soft and golden add the tomatoes, dill, s & P and the star anise. Cook until everything is soft.

Remove the star anise and puree. Serve warm with the warmed torta.

 

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SEPTEMBER: Almond Macaroon Cake

Just in case anyone is in the mood to make me a cake for my birthday this month, this would be the one. I first tasted it in 1979 when I was cooking with my friend Pam at the Morning Glory Cafe in Nantucket. And as you can tell it has stood the test of time.

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs separated
1 T. almond extract
1/4 cup Amaretto Liqueur
3 cups flour, sifted
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded coconut
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees .
Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan

Using an electric mixer cream the shortening, butter and sugar.

Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract and liqueur.

On low speed, add flour and milk alternately until well combined. Gently mix in the coconut

Using a copper bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy and then add the pinch of salt. Continue beating until stiff.

Lighten the cake batter with one third of the egg whites and then gently fold in the remainder. Be careful not to deflate the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Cool in a pan 10 minutes, then turn out.

 

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OCTOBER: Early Autumn Cooked Salsa

Here’s a simple and great recipe that I came up with this evening.  It being tomato and corn season, that is. No proportions, just a great way to use up the abundance in your garden and the extra corn that you cooked.

Ingredients:

Cooked corn cut from the cob – about 6 ears
Several handfuls of golden cherry tomatoes
One small red onion diced.
Olive oil
Fresh herbs from the garden.  Tonight I used Summer Savory and Basil, roughly chopped.
Salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the diced red onion and stir until it starts to soften.

Add the corn and stir to coat.  Cook several minutes.

Add the tomatoes and chopped herbs.

Stir and cook until the tomatoes start to soften.

Season with salt and pepper.

A great accompaniment to meat or fish.

 

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NOVEMBER: Diana’s Meat Loaf A La Silver Palate

We were doing a dinner for a family the other night that wanted homey meals like meat loaf .  I was discussing which recipe to use with my friend Diana, when she informed me that she had the best recipe, but it was in her head.   She offered to come over and make it for me and I diligently wrote it all down.  Luckily it turned out to be a cool evening and it was a great success.

Ingredients:

4 lbs ground beef
1.6 lbs ground lamb
1.5 lbs ground pork
1 lb Italian sausage

7 large eggs, beaten
2 cups toasted bread crumbs
8 T. dijon mustard
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 boxes frozen spinach, defrosted, drained and squeezed
salt and pepper to taste

1.5 lbs bacon
28 ounces tomato sauce

Mix everything together except the bacon and tomato sauce.  Test for seasoning.

Shape into three freeform meat loafs.
Cover with bacon slices.
Pour tomato sauce over the tops.

Bake for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.

 

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DECEMBER: Leslie’s Butter Almond Cookies

My college friend Leslie shared these with me many moons ago.  I go for years without making them and then suddenly I can’t get enough.

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter
A scant cup of sugar
1 egg separated
2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz. slivered almonds lightly toasted

Mix the butter, sugar and egg yolk.

Blend the flour and cinnamon, stir into the butter mixture.

Add the vanilla and beat.

Pat thinly onto a cookie sheet trying to keep it square for easy cutting.  (Otherwise you will have too many odd ends to eat)

Beat the egg white until frothy and spread over the dough. Sprinkle with the almonds.

Bake at 275 for 1 hour. Cut immediately after baking into squares, diamonds, or whatever shapes you would like.

Makes approximately 48 2×2 squares.

 

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