GOAT CHEESE PANNA COTTA WITH RHUBARB SOUP

We have a great crop of rhubarb and I started thinking of the perfect dessert using rhubarb. Strawberry Rhubarb pie is the default dessert, of course.  But I wanted to try something different.

This panna cotta is my invention since I found nothing close to what I had in mind.  The creaminess and slightly sweet and tangy flavor of the panna cotta works perfectly with the sourness of the rhubarb.  Play around with the amount of sugar and spices you want with the rhubarb.

 I used Goya Guava juice because we always have it around.  It’s great for smoothies!  But you can try this with another juice as well.  Or just use more wine..  Keep an eye on the rhubarb so it isn’t overcooked.  It should keep some of it’s texture.

 

This is an elegant and refreshing summer dessert.  It has met with rave reviews every time I’ve served it.

 

 

 

 

 

GOAT CHEESE PANNA COTTA WITH RHUBARB SOUP

 

 

 

Rhubarb soup

 

1 pound rhubarb cut into ½  inch pieces

½ cup sugar

1 cup white wine

1 2 inch cinnamon stick

1 cup guava juice

1 star anise (optional)

Strawberries washed and cut into small dice for garnish

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

In a pot, combine rhubarb and sugar.  Bake, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until softened but still holding its shape.  

 

Meanwhile, boil wine, juice, cinnamon stick and star anise for 5 minutes and then let it sit.  Pour over the baked rhubarb and chill in refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

PANNA COTTA

 

 

1 cup heavy cream (or if you want to cut down on the cream, use 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1  1/2 cups of buttermilk.)

1 cup buttermilk cup 

1/3 sugar

8 ounces  creamy goat cheese such as Chevrie

1 packet gelatin

1 vanilla bean or 1  tsp. vanilla extract

 

1.       Bring heavy cream, ½ cup buttermilk and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Split bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the simmering cream mixture.

2.      Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over two tablespoons water in a medium sized bowl and leave for 10 minutes.

3.      When the cream has just started to simmer add to the gelatin and mix until the gelatin has dissolved. 

4.      Add remaining buttermilk and goat cheese and mix until creamy.

5.      Divide the panna cotta into 6-6 ounce custard cups and chill for several hours or overnight until set.

 

 

TO ASSEMBLE:

 

 

When ready to serve discard the cinnamon and star anise and divide the soup into 6 bowls.   Run a thin knife around the edge of the ramekins and release them gently unto the soup. 

 

Garnish with the diced strawberry.

 

The black specks in the panna cotta are from the vanilla bean.

 

 

TAPAS PARTY

 TAPAS

 

Tapas is a great culinary tradition of Spain.  I love serving tapas at parties because it gives me a chance to cook lots of things that wouldn’t ordinarily go together in a traditional meal.  The way it works in Spain is that most bars serve a variety of little plates of food to accompany your beer or glass of wine or sherry.   Some of the typical tapas are tortillas (a potato and onion much like a frittata), garlic shrimp, a few slices of Spanish serrano ham, fried potatoes or potato salad with tuna fish…and the possibilities are endless. Seville is the capital of the Tapas bar and since I just came back from Seville I was quite excited to try some of the interesting tapas I tasted there.

 

The idea for a tapas party is that you have some dishes prepared ahead of time and some, like the shrimp cooked last minute.  You serve a few good wines and sherries to accompany the little platters of the tasty treats that come forth from your kitchen.

 

Here are some of the wonderful tapas I’ve served at my recent dinner parties:

 

 


Spanish tortillas:  Start with a nonstick 12 inch skillet heated up and coated with olive oil. Fry coarsely chopped sweet onions until soft and beginning to brown, remove to a large bowl.  Peel and cube 3-4 medium potatoes into ¼- 1/2    inch dice and fry them in olive oil until beginning to brown and almost cooked through.  Add to the onions.  Beat 5-6 eggs until well combined and add to the potato and onion mixture stirring well to distribute the onions and potato.  Salt to your taste.  Coat the skillet again with olive oil and add the egg mixture.  When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Carefully take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan – approximately 1.5 tsp. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet (which is probably still a bit runny), into the frying pan, using a spatula to catch any egg mixture that runs out. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tortilla is set and beginning to brown. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.


Carefully slide the omelet onto a plate! To serve as a main course, slice it into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve sliced French bread on the side.


 


 


 


Chickpeas and spinach: Fry a small chopped onion d in a skillet or pot that has been coated with olive oil. When the onions are beginning to brown,  Add a 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and   1 teaspoon of Spanish smoked paprika. Fry together for 1-2 minutes and  then add ½ cup of chicken or vegetable broth. Meanwhile cook a pound of spinach and drain off the water.  When the chicken broth has been reduced by about half, add the spinach and salt to your taste and cook together for 5-10 minutes.  You can serve right away or refrigerate and heat up the next day. Before serving add a dash of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.  Chickpeas are a very commonly served tapa in Spain

 


Shrimp with garlic and sherry:  Start with a pot or frying pan and add olive oil covering the bottom with about an inch.  Slice 3-4 peeled garlic into thin slices.  Add them to the pot of olive oil and heat.  Watch the garlic closely and wait  till it is fragrant but not brown.  Add 1 pound of peeled shrimp and let them cook together adjusting the temperature so that the garlic does not brown. Add salt to taste.  When the shrimp are just pink, add ¼ cup sherry ( I use Amontillado)  and boil together.  If you want an extra garlic kick (and I always do)  chop up or use a garlic press and add another couple cloves of garlic at the last minute.  Serve this right away, bubbling hot with some good bread to sop of every drop of the wonderful sauce.  Once you’ve tried this, you may not want to have shrimp cooked any other way.

 

 


Scallop, shrimp and asparagus terrine:  Starting with Julia Child’s fish terrine, I came up with this simpler and  show stopping version.  If you love scallops this is one of the greatest way to enjoy essence of scallop, but you need to use the best scallops you can find.


Start by heating up your oven to 350 degrees ?. Place a large oven proof dish in the oven which is big enough to hold your terrine and ½ filled with hot water. I used a lasagna pan.


Take a pound of scallops (minus 2 large scallops that you’ve set aside) and an egg and puree them together in a food processor for several minutes until very smooth.  Meanwhile chop up the scallops and 5 large shrimp into a coarse 1/4 inch dice.  Blanch ½ pound of asparagus and slice them in half if they are thick. 


Back to the food processor:  add ½ cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2 and  a small pinch of saffron that you’ve soaked in ¼ cup of hot cognac.  Blend this together for a couple of minutes and then add 1/3 cup of bread crumbs, and blend until the mixture is very smooth.  Stir in the scallop and shrimp pieces..  Add salt to your liking.  Use a 6 cup terrine (or loaf plan) that has been lined on the bottom with buttered parchment cut to fit.  Pour in half the scallop mousse and thump the pan a little to distribute evenly.  Then distribute the asparagus over the top, salt the asparagus and add the second batch of mousse.  Cover with another piece of parchment and either the top of the terrine or another piece of aluminum foil placed over the top.  Put your terrine carefully into the pan with water that has been heating in the oven.  Cook for 60 minutes and check for doneness.  The internal temperature should be 160 degrees?. This terrine can be served hot or cold.  It is very rich so keep the tapas servings to one slice per person.


 


Polenta with morels:  Yesterday we found some beautiful morels and I came up with this recipe to showcase them. 


Mushroom mixture: Start with finely chopped onions that have been gently browned in a combination of butter and olive oil.  Set aside when soft and beginning to brown.  Set the onions aside. Fry the morels (that have been sliced in half or if larger, sliced in quarters and cleaned).  If you need more mushrooms, add some regular baby belas or any combination of wild or domestic sliced mushrooms, enough to feed your guests or family.  Cook the morels separately and set aside with the onions. The morels need to be cooked medium high so they get a little crispy.  Fry the rest of the mushrooms until cooked and then bring back the morels and onions to the frying pan.  Cook and mix together, taste for saltiness and add ¼ cup of Marsala wine and ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth and cook together for 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.  Set aside and make the polenta.


Creamy polenta; Put one cup water and one cup corn meal in a saucepan and stir until mixed.  Then add two cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock and cook over medium heat until it thickens into a creamy texture (like a thin mashed potato). You need to be stirring pretty constantly so it doesn’t develop lumps. Add ¼ cup of parmesan or Romano cheese or a mix of the two and another1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese and stir until melted and incorporated into the polenta.  Add salt to taste.


To serve, use a small plate and mound about a 1/3 cup of polenta covered by a big spoonful of mushrooms.  Sprinkle with parsley for garnish if desired.


 


To round out your tapas meal you can serve nice crusty bread, lots of good olive oil for bread dipping or to drizzle over your tapas,  along with olives and salad.


 


 


 

 

EVIE’s BEER CARAWAY AND ONION BREAD

 

 

 

 

 

[recipe difficulty=”medium”]

EVIE’S BEER CARAWAY AND RAISIN BREAD:  Makes two loaves

 

This recipe is for experienced bread makers.  You need to know how to gauge the texture of bread and how long to knead.  I like my dough to be a little on the wet side because it makes a moist bread.  But then it tends to be harder to work with.  I also like to spritz the hot oven with water to give the bread a nice crunchy crust.

  For this recipe you need to play around with the wet and dry ingredients to get the right consistency.  If you   use the liquid from the soaked raisins,  you will need to add a little more flour.  I also like to add walnuts.  This is very complex tasting bread which lasts a few days.  It always gets rave reviews.  I also make the dough in a bread maker and then remove the dough before the final rise and shape it into loaves. 

 

1.      Mix the above ingredients until bubbly:

 

1 package fresh yeast

¾ cup warm water

¼ cup orange juice

1/3 cup sulphured  molasses

¾ cup dark beer (such as Ubu Ale)

 

2.      Meanwhile soak 2 cup raisins in 1/8 cup warm coffee and 1/8 cup cider vinegar

3.      Sauté:  ½ cup chopped onions in butter or olive oil until soft

 

4.      Add the following dry ingredients to yeast mixture:

 

4 teaspoons wheat gluten

2 cups white all purpose or bread flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 Tbs. oat bran

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground caraway seed

 

5.      Knead  in mixer with dough hook for  5 minutes (or by hand)

6.      Add onions and raisins

7.      Continue to mix in mixer or knead by hand adding more flour if necessary.

8.      Cover with olive oil and rise in warm place, covered until doubled (at least an hour)

9.      Punch down and form into two long loaves or put in two bread pans

10.  Rise for another 45 minutes

11.  Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30  minutes

[/recipe]

 

CHEESES OF THE FINGER LAKES

 FINGER LAKES CHEESE

 

 

With our abundance of sheep, goat and cow dairy farms, talented entrepreneurs have created some wonderful and unique cheeses.  Some of the cheese producers of the Finger Lakes have come together to form an alliance known as Finger lakes Cheese trail.  They offer special events and promote themselves in order to put out the word that great cheeses are made right here in the Finger Lakes.

 

A great way to visit a couple of cheese farms and  wineries on Cayuga Lake is to take an excursion with EXPERIENCE! THE FINGERLAKES.  Their newest tour is called, “WINE, CHEESE AND “MOO”, A FARM to BARREL EXPERIENCE”.  Laura Falk, the co-owner and our guide provided the intimate group of 8 of us with an informative, fun and delicious afternoon. 

 

 

 

                                                              Keeley’s aging racks

 

At the first stop we met Keeley McGarr owner of Keeley’s Cheese Company.  Keeley decided to branch off from  the family dairy business in King Ferry by pursuing a career in cheese making.  As part of her training she travelled to Ireland to learn the technique of washed-rind cheese production.  The basement of the family farmhouse was converted to into her cheese production plant and she was off and running.   I was first introduced to Keeley’s cheeses this past summer and was immediately impressed with her Pondhopper Cheese.  This is an aged cheese with considerable depth and character and a great snacking cheese. 

 

Keeley provided an excellent overview of cheese making and allowed us to tour her facilities before we headed up to the living area of the farmhouse for some cheese tasting.  

Later, at the wineries, we were able to pair the wines with the cheeses, and discover how nicely, with proper pairing,cheese can enhance the wine and vice versa.  Laura had done her homework and the pairings worked very well. 

 

We also visited Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery which produces farmstead kefir cheese cultured with living kefir grains and handcrafted with raw milk from their grass fed Irish Dexter cows.  Rose Marie Belforti, the owner allowed us to meet and schmooze with her special Dexter cows which provided some wonderful photo opportunities.

From Rose Marie, we learned that Dexter Creamery is the first and only producer in the western hemisphere to offer an authentic, probiotic kefir cheese.  Kefir grains are friendly symbiotic micro-organisms that culture and flavor the cheese. Somewhat like a “sourdough starter” the kefir culture has been handed down for generations and was thought to have originated centuries ago in the Caucasus Mountains .

Because they contain this special probiotic bacteria, kefir is considered to be very beneficial to the digestive system.  For more information about Kefir, visit: Dom’s website

I particularly liked their blue variety which was strong enough to pack a real spicy kick: this is not a cheese for the faint of heart.

 

Terry Kristensen, fellow tour guest, with Dexter calf

 

The two wineries we visited on our tour were LONG POINT WINERY and KING FERRY WINERY which produces TRELEAVEN WINES.   

Included in Long Point’s offerings are Zinfandel wines which aren’t typically produced in this area. Gary Barletta, the winemaker and owner, has a passion for Zinfandel, but must transport his grapes from California, since Zinfandel grapes don’t grow in the Finger Lakes. His AmaZin’ 2007 is a Port style Zinfandel:  a rich and wonderful wine that I highly recommend. It pairs beautifully with blue cheese.  Gary also offered us a barrel tasking of his Cabernet Sauvignon which allowed us to compare the wine at various stages of its aging process.  If you are interested in trying some of Gary’s wines, Long Point Winery is collaborating with the Clarence Hotel in Seneca Falls to offer a wine pairing dinner on Saturday, the 12th of February.  

 

Treleaven has long produced one of our favorite dry Rieslings as well as one of our  favorite local un-oaked  Chardonnay called Silver Lining. The semi-dry Riesling is also excellent and one of the best values in the region.

The Falks offer other wine and food pairing tours and I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several, all of which are  fun and a great way to learn about the wine industry of the Finger Lakes.

Following are some of the other cheeses in the area that I can recommend.

 

The two area goat cheese farms are Lively Run and Side Acres Dairy Goat Farm. They both  offer a variety of goat cheeses and all are mild and delicious.  I usually have a log of the plain in my fridge to use whenever I need to fix up a salad, or add a special topping to a pizza, or make a special appetizer with sundried tomato or pesto with goat cheese.  They both offer logs covered in a spice blend such as dill or pepper/garlic or herbs de Provence.  Lively Run also makes a wonderful blue goat cheese.  Both have feta varieties and Side Acres also makes a goat cheese fudge which is creamy and delicious.  I’ve had a great time bringing groups of students to tour these farms, pet the goats, learn about cheese making and sample their many varieties.

Both Lively Run and Side Acre goat cheeses can be found at GreenStar Natural Food Market in Ithaca, and Lively Run cheeses can be found also at Wegmans.

 

 

NORTHLAND SHEEP DAIRY CHEESE AT THE FARMERS MARKET

 

Northland Sheep Dairy Farm sells lamb meat, sheep fur products and cheese at the Ithaca Farmers Market.  My favorite of their many excellent cheeses is their blue cheese:  Bergère Bleue which has been aged 4-12 months.  This slightly crumbly blue Roquefort style blue cheese rivals many of the best European varieties.  All of their cheeses are made from raw ewes milk which has been aged a minimum of 4 months.  Folie Bergère is a firm, nutty washed curd sheep cheese with a natural rind which has been aged 12-15 months and Tomme Bergèr is a rustic, Alpine-style sharp cheese with a natural rind which has been aged 4-12 months. I strongly recommend a visit to their booth at the Farmers Market, or you can visit their farm by appointment.  Their herd is 100% grass fed and they use sustainable farming practices They use draft horses and mules for the majority of their work to cut down on fossil fuels.

 

Another area cheese producer that I have come to appreciate is Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese located two miles West of Mecklenburg towards Watkins Glen. They produce several varieties of raw milk cheese.  My favorite is the Bier Meck, a Gouda like cheese.  The cheese is soaked in a brine made from Ithaca Beer Company’s Smoked Porter Ale. 

 

There’s an upcoming event planned for the Cayuga Wine Trail called, “Say Cheese” :

 March 26 & 27 10:00 am -5pm
"Say Cheese" along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
Savor the spectacular tastes of artisan cheese and fine wines along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. Receive a special gift token at your first starting point winery and travel along the way for an experience of creamy milky sensations paired specifically with the wines from our wineries. 

www.cayugawinetrail.com

Advance tickets: $ 15.00 per person. 
Tickets at the door: $ 20.00 per person. 
Designated Driver: $ 10.00 per person. 

 

 

MARZIPAN CAKE

 

 

 

 This is one of the best cakes you’ll ever make if you love marzipan.  It’s very easy and “wows” people every time I make it.  This cake remains moist and delicious for several days.

[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

MARZIPAN CAKE  serves 10

 

1- 8-ounce can almond paste (I use Solo):  DON’T BUY ALMOND FILLING!

¾  cup sugar

1 stick  unsalted butter (room temperature): (I microwave until almost melted)

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder (sifted )

¼ teaspoon salt

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ? F.  Butter and flour 9 inch diameter cake pan with 2-inch sides.  Line bottom with waxed paper. 
  2. Break almond paste into 4 equal pieces.  Take one teaspoon or so to taste! Place in food processor with sugar and blend until paste is ground to size of sugar granules, about a minute.
  3.  Add butter and process until soft paste forms.  Beat eggs  into marzipan mixture one at a time and then add vanilla.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt and pulse 8-10 times u until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake cake until brown and tester comes out clean (about 35-40 minutes).  Cool 10 minutes, turn over unto rack.  Peel off paper and cool completely
  6. I either sprinkle with confectioners sugar or glaze with a chocolate ganache.

 

For Ganache: 

 

6 ounces dark chocolate (I use Giradelli chocolate chips 60% or Lindt bars 70%)

¼ cup heavy cream or 2 TBS butter

1 TBS light corn syrup

Whole almonds for garnish

 

  1. Melt chocolate, cream and corn syrup together in microwave.  Stop microwaving before the chocolate is entirely melted and then stir it until the last pieces melt.
  2. Wait until it is thick enough to spread and pour it carefully in rounds over the top of the cooled cake.  Spread it gently to cover the top and sides of the cake.
  3. Garnish with whole almonds.
  4. [/recipe]

 

VENISON HASH

 VENISON HASH

 

 

 

My friends Evie and Dave presented me with venison the other day.  Rather than worry about the cut of meat being too tough to eat as a steak, I decided to feature it in a hash with lovely local root vegetables.

No recipe needed here.  I cut all the vegetables and meat in roughly the same size small cubes, maybe ¼ inch.  I cooked each vegetable separately and used what I had on hand from my local CSA share.  The only thing I bought was a sweet potato but it certainly wasn’t necessary.

This is what I used:  onion, carrot, celeriac, potato, and sweet potato.  I could have added squash, parsnip,and turnip.  Everything should be cooked in olive oil in a hot frying pan.  I like to brown everything because it caramelizes and adds flavor and sweetness.  But stay right there and flip the frying food over as it browns…and don’t overcook or everything will be mushy or burned.

The only seasoning needed is salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  When everything has been cooked separately, add it together and heat up again. 

The only necessary  addition is an egg fried in the middle of the hash.  One per person. 

Now of course this sounds like a brunch dish.  But  I usually don’t eat a heavy brunch.  So we have this for dinner.  It's real comfort food.  And it looks beautiful and tastes wonderful.

 

 

TOMATOES

 TOMATOES IN ABUNDANCE:

WAYS  TO ENJOY TOMATOES WITHOUT A RECIPE

 

 

 

This year we have the greatest crop of tomatoes:  cherries and heirloom.  This is what I believe about homegrown tomatoes: the less done with them, the better since their flavor and texture is just perfect right now. 

 

Some of the ways I enjoy tomatoes right now….and  no recipes are necessary!

 

·         BLTs:  don’t get better than right now!  Everyone knows how to make a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. 

·         Tomato sauce:  Cook down all your tomatoes:  they don’t have to be plum tomatoes,  but only use the nice ripe ones and cut off blemishes.  Then put them through a food mill.  If you don’t have one,  I suggest you invest in one.  I use mine for applesauce, tomato sauce, and raspberry sauce.  After you’ve put them through the mill, cook the sauce down some more until it is the consistency that you like. Be careful not to burn your sauce! Watch and stir.

         At this point you have three choices: 1) freeze as is, 2) add fried peppers and onions and cook together a while longer and eat right away or 3) freeze the version with peppers and onions.  You also need to add crushed garlic at the last minute so the taste of garlic stands out, and you add salt and pepper.  But I advise not using other spices if you really want the tomato taste to shine through.  Tonight we had a perfect meal with fresh pasta (linguini) served with the sauce I described above  and some fresh parmesan. 

·         Tomato soup.  Same as above, without the peppers, blended in a blender and with cream added if you’d like.   A pinch of allspice is a little secret that enhances the flavor without overpowering the tomato flavor.

 

Tomato salad done several ways:

 

·         Cherry tomatoes  halved with fried pine nuts, basil, olive oil and salt to taste.

·         Tomato and Cucumber salad: tomatoes peeled and cubed, and added to cucumbers peeled and cubed about the same size.  Dress with good olive oil and salt.  And if you’d like, add some balsamic vinegar.

·         Dried cherry tomatoes.  If you have a dehydrator you can cut the tomatoes in half and dry them as is…or add some salt. You can just pop them in your mouth.  They're like candy.

·         Tomato omelet;   Peel the tomato, dice and fry in olive oil until just beginning to brown.  Set aside,  Then chop up some sweet onion and fry slowly until caramelized.  Mix together, set aside and use as a filling for an omelet.  If you want to make it “over the top” you can add some gruyere cheese to the omelet. 

·         Tomatoes on a platter with  mozzarella, basil, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

·         A wonderful “sub” using fresh tomatoes, goat cheese and pesto.  I used to make these for picnics with the kids.  I would take a baguette and half it lengthwise.  I’d then spread the goat cheese on one side and the pesto on the other and the tomatoes went in the middle. I’d wrap it up and when we got to the picnic, I’d slice it into portions.  If it was going to be a while before we ate, I’d add the tomatoes at the last minute.

·      Oven dried plum tomatoes Preheat oven to 225°F. Halve each cherry or grape tomato crosswise or Roma tomato lengthwise and arrange on a silipat or  parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper, though go easily on these.Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about three hours. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside–this could take more or less time depending on the size of your tomatoes. Check them often.  You can eat them as is or served on toasted slices of baguette with goat cheese.

·         And of course:  gazpacho.  If you have some extra tomatoes from one of the tomato or tomato and cucumber salads this is the start of your gazpacho.  All you do is peel tomatoes, add some cucumber and only peel them if you need to.  Add a little onion,( not too much) and some garlic:  not too much of this either.  I you like bell peppers, add some as well.  Cut up some stale (or not stale) bread into cubes.  Blend together in food process and add some red wine vinegar and some good olive oil.  Add some salt and taste.  You may need to balance with some more vinegar.  When it tastes right, refrigerate overnight until it’s well chilled.  Before serving taste again and adjust the for taste.  Gazpacho can be served in shot glasses for an elegant presentation.

ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD

 

 
ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD
 
2 medium sized eggplants
2 medium or one large onion
¼ to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (my husband prefers cider vinegar)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
 
  1. Slice unpeeled eggplants into 1/4  inch slices.
  2. Fry them a few at a time in a fair amount of olive oil on both sizes until lightly browned and cooked through. Set the cooked eggplant aside in a bowl and as oil collects in bottom of the bowl, add it back to the frying pan. The eggplant soaks up lots of oil, so more oil has to be frequently added.
  3. When all the eggplant has been browned, add vinegar and salt.
  4. Thinly slice the onions and either add them raw if they are sweet or fry them quickly over high heat in the olive oil and then add them to the eggplant. Check for seasoning and for best results marinate the salad overnight in the fridge.
 

BAKED RATATOUILLE

NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE RATATOUILLE WITH ALL LOCALLY GROWN  INGREDIENTS!!

 

 

 

Ingredients for the RATATOUILLE

 

The bell peppers were from our garden, the zucchini and onions were grown by Full Plate CSA and the plum tomatoes and baby eggplant were bought from Mandville Farm at the Farmer’s Market.

 

I decided to do something new with the ratatouille that would allow people to pick and choose their vegetables.  I sliced and fried the onions in olive oil until they were well cooked, brown and caramelized.  The onions were then evenly spread in an ovenproof 8X12 or so dish.

I then cut the peppers into 4 or 5 strips lengthwise and cooked them also until they were slighly charred and well cooked.  They were then spread over the onions in a neat row. 

Next I cut the eggplant in half lengthwise(no need to peel or salt or anything fussy) and fried them also until they were almost cooked and slightly brown. They were also attractively laid over the onions in a neat row.

 I cut the zucchini into think slices widthwise and made nice rows of with my two medium sized eggplants.  I didn’t precook them since I like them to be a little crunchy.

Finally, I skinned the tomatoes by putting them briefly in boiling water and then removing them and skinning them.  I cut them in half lenthwise and arranged them attractively on or around the vegetables.  Make sure all the vegetables are properly salted.

I used dry bread to make breadcrumbs and mixed about 1/2 cup with 1 TBS of dijon mustard, 1 or 2 crushed large garlic  clove and 2-3 TBS olive oil.  I did this in my mini food processor but you can also do it by hand.  Spread this over the vegetables and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until beginning to brown. 

This is best made the day before, refrigerated and reheated.  You can serve this room temperature or bring it to room temperature and then warm it up briefly under a broiler. 

The beauty of this presentation is that the eggplant haters or those of us that can’t eat peppers can partake only of their favored parts of the ratatouille. 

 

 

INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

 

(adapted from KASHI™ recipe)

I happened upon this recipe when browsing through magazines at Hairy Canary getting my hair cut.  It looked really enticing and prompted me to go and buy the ingredients on my way home.  Since then, a couple weeks have passed and I’ve already made this salad three times with great reviews from family and friends.  I’ve simplified it so this is a modified version still made with Kashi™ Whole Grain Pilaf which comes in a box and can be found in Wegman’s health foods section  The box holds three packets each with about a cup of pilaf.  It’s a chewy flavorful blend of whole grain oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds.  In case you don’t know what Triticale is, (and I didn’t) the Kashi folks explain that it is “a natural cross between durum wheat and rye with higher protein than both.  A ½ cup serving contains 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

 

 

 

 [recipe difficulty=”easy”]

Indonesian Pilaf Salad

Created by Kashi™  and  Adapted by Celia Clement

For original recipe go to: http://www.kashi.com/recipes/8

Ingredients

  • 1 packets of Kashi™ 7 Whole Grain Pilaf
  • 1 cup whole roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4  teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 3 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup organic red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or other sweetener such as honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes (I omit this but add it if you like it spicy)
  •  

Directions

  1. Cook Kashi Pilaf according to directions on the package and set aside. The directions are: for each packet which holds 1 cup, boil two cups water and then add the pilaf.  
  2.  Add the cumin and coriander and salt to the rice mixture as it cooks.
  3. Add the carrots for the last 10 minutes of the pilaf cooking time.
  4. Cover and cook about 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cabbage, scallions, currants, cilantro,  and peanuts with cooked Pilaf mixture,  and mix well.
  6. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root, vinegar and cilantro, whisk together, add to pilaf mixture, stir well and taste to adjust the seasoning. Enjoy.
  7. This is best made ahead of time to let the flavors harmonize.  

[/recipe]