Monday, June 30, 2008

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Watermelon and tomato are two fruits that complement each another in an unusual way. When you cut up and combine them, their distinctions become a little blurry and each masquerades as the other. The tomato’s acidity becomes tamed, as does the melon’s sweetness; their juices mingle, and even their flesh seems to meld.

Yield 4 servings

Time 15 minutes

Mark Bittman

There’s crunch in this salad, from an unusual source: the seeds, in limited quantities at least, are not only tolerable but an asset.


* 2 1/2 cups seedless watermelon, in 1-inch cubes or balls (cut over a bowl to catch the juice and reserve it)
* 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
* 1/2 cup finely diced or crumbled Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Maytag blue cheese
* 1/2 cup minced scallions
* Salt
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
* Pinch cayenne
* 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped


* 1. Combine the watermelon, tomato, cheese, scallions and salt in a bowl.
* 2. Whisk or blend together about 2 tablespoons of the watermelon juice, oil, vinegar and cayenne. To serve, dress the salad with this mixture and garnish with cilantro. Do not refrigerate and serve within 30 minutes.

Source: The New York Times

Dan's note: feta cheese works, as does balsamic vinegar instead of sherry. It'll make a pretty watery, soupy salad- people might not want to eat it. Maybe you can drain it or something. It's very tasty, though!

Orzo soup

Orzo Soup Recipe

For some added flavor, or to take this soup in another direction, toss the tomatoes with somewhere between a teaspoon + of adobo sauce (from can of chipotles)....more or less depending on how spicy you like your food.

7 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo (or other small pasta i.e. pastina)
2 cups chard or spinach, chopped
1 14-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
good quality extra virgin olive oil
3 egg whites
fine grain sea salt

some grated Parmesan cheese (to finish)

Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until just tender - about ten minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach.

In the meantime, heat the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a splash of extra virgin olive oil in a separate saucepan. Taste, and salt a bit if needed.

Just before serving, Slowly pour the egg whites into the soup, stirring quickly with a whisk. The whites should take on a raggy appearance. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup in individual bowls, with each serving topped with a generous spoonful of tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and dusting of cheese.

Makes 4-6 servings.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic

A bunch of potatoes
Some garlic
Salt and pepper

Roast garlic at 350 for 20 minutes.
Start potatoes in cool salted water, boil them, drain water well. Put through food mill, meat grinder, ricer, masher, or mixer with roasted garlic. Don't over-whip or they'll get gluey and shiny. Mix them as little as possible. Add butter and milk or cream, ratio 1:3. Salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Thanksgiving ideas

Roast turkey
Mixed field greens with cranberry-walnut vinaigrette, pecans, blue cheese
Cranberry sauce
Sage sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic
Sweet potatoes
Roast cauliflower (cauliflower + seasoned salt + olive oil, roast 20-30 min, turning once)
Brussels sprouts (boil until tender, put in ice water, cut in half, saute with bacon and onions)
Carrots with dill (boil carrots, put in bowl, add butter and dill)
Green beans almondine (parboil beans, saute almonds in butter on low, remove almonds and saute beans, then add almonds)
Spaghetti squash (roast in water 30 min, then cook like pasta)
Broccoli (put in boiling salted water for 1 minute, dip in ice water)
Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Pumpkin Pie filling

10 oz. sugar (about 1 1/4 c.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
6 oz. evaporated milk
5 oz. heavy cream
1 lb. pumpkin puree

Combine all ingredients except pumpkin puree, mix until smooth, strain. Add pumpkin, mix until smooth. Fill two pie shells 1/4" from the top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then at 350 until set.
Variations: substitute cooked and sieved sweet potatoes for pumpkin puree, or substitute half brown sugar for the sugar, or omit cloves, or use just evaporated milk instead of cream.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Pecan pie filling

About 1/4 cup pastry flour
About 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
20 oz. light corn syrup (like karo)
10 fl. oz. eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 oz. salt
4 oz. melted butter (1 stick)
8 oz. pecans

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Pour pecans evenly over two unbaked pie crusts. Pour filling until 1/4" from top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then 325 until set. Can add 2 oz. chocolate chips or 1 oz. coconut per pie.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Cheese sauce

2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
3 tbsp flour
22oz-3 cups milk
1/2 bay leaf
4 oz. American cheese, grated
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
few drops tabasco sauce
salt to taste

Combine flour and butter in small saucepan, melt, make a "white roux" (shorter cooking time than a blond or brown roux). Add half the milk, turn up heat to low simmer, stir frequently, make sure roux mixes evenly and doesn't stick in corners. After it thickens a bit, add the rest of the milk, simmer 15-20 minutes.

Turn sauce to low, start sprinkling American cheese in, constantly stirring, until it's all incorporated. Turn off burner and do the same with cheddar. Stir in seasonings, adjust to taste.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06
Dan's notes: You can tinker with the cheese choice. American is very soft and processed, so you can add it with the sauce on low; cheddar is a little harder, so add it bit by bit. If the sauce is too hot, it'll all coagulate.

Sage sausage stuffing

2 lb dry bread, as dry as possible, in 1 inch cubes. Can add a little pumpernickel or rye, but not too much.
8 oz. sausage (best quality possible)
1 c. onion, small diced
3/4 c. celery, small diced
1 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/2 tbsp sage, dried
1 tsp fresh thyme
fresh rosemary (not dried), optional
2-3 c. chicken stock (ideally organic. well, ideally homemade.)

Cook sausage, break into small pieces, remove from pan. Cook vegetables in remaining rendered fat. Add seasonings, cook 3 more minutes. Add to bread cubes. Add a little stock, mix completely, check consistency, and keep adding stock in small amounts until achieving desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put in buttered baking dish, pressing into edges. Cover with foil, bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. (if you want a crust, remove foil for the last 5-10 minutes)

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

2 - 2 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes/yams (the orange ones)
8 oz. canned pineapple, small diced
2 oz. lemon juice
8 oz. brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 oz. butter

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes, boil in salted water until 3/4 cooked. Combine the other ingredients in small stainless steel pan, bring to simmer and turn off. Pour mixture over sweet potatoes in wide stainless steel saucepan, gently simmer while turning potatoes until thick syrup forms.
Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06
Dan's notes: can use crushed pineapple instead.

Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1/2 orange peel
1 orange's juice

Combine ingredients in small saucepan. Simmer until most cranberries split, about 4 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Cranberry-walnut Vinaigrette

2 oz. white balsamic vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar for part of it)
2 oz. cranberry juice
2 oz. walnut oil
2 oz. olive oil
1 tbsp. shallots, minced
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt as needed

Combine and blend. Makes 1 cup.

Source: Thanksgiving Dinner class, PA Culinary Institute, Chef Don Hutchins, 11/12/06

Aunt Vi Bitonti's Tomato Sauce

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can, 29oz. sauce (preferably Delallos, Dei Fratelli, or Red Pack)
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cans water
Garlic powder, a couple shakes
Dried parsley, 3-4 shakes
Fresh basil, a couple leaves, break up and throw in
Dried sweet basil, a couple shakes
Olive oil

Cut onion into fourths, break apart, do not chop. Saute in a sauce pan with olive oil until glassy, add garlic. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat, simmer 45 minutes. Pick out the onion and serve.

Source: Aunt Vi c/o Aunt Jill and Uncle Marc

Pumpkin Pie Pinwheel Cookies

From Emeril Live TV show, Food Network, c/o Alisha Payton, Louisville, KY, c/o Lawrenceville "Joy of Cookies" cookie tour, 2007

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c. plus 1 c. brown sugar
whipped cream and ground nutmeg for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 375.

Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together twice. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Combine egg, vanilla, and almond extract, and add to creamed mixture. Mix on medium until combined. Add sifted ingredients and mix only until combined; dough should be stiff.

Roll dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to a 12"x9" rectangle, using 1 long sheet of parchment paper folded in half. Make sure you roll out the dough evenly. Cut the edges off neatly with a bench scraper to even them. Place dough in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

Mix together the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 c. brown sugar for filling.

Remove dough from freezer, peel back the top parchment paper. Thinly spread the pumpkin filling evenly over the dough. Don't spread too thickly; you should still be able to see the dough slightly through the pumpkin. If you don't use all the filling, it's okay.

Starting at one end, roll up the ends in the same manner as a caker oll. Make sure to keep it tight and even. If the dough cracks slightly, rub it together with your fingers. Wrap the roll in the parchment paper, seam side down, and place back in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.

Slice cookies 1/4" thick, and place onto a cookie sheet at least 1" apart. Sprinkle brown sugar on the tops of the cookies and rub it in with your fingers. Bake 8-10 minutes, just until the edges are turning brown.

Serve cookies on a platter with a small bowl of whipped cream and nutmeg so guests can make pumpkin pie pinwheel sandwiches.

White chocolate-coconut cookies

White chocolate-coconut cookies
From Paula's Home Cooking TV show, Food Network, courtesy Paula Deen, 2007, c/o Lawrenceville "Joy of Cookies" tour, December 2007

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. quick oats
3/4 c. shredded coconut flakes

8 oz. white chocolate, melted
3/4 c. toasted, shredded coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together baking powder, soda, flour, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy with a hand-held electric mixer. Beat in the egg. Add the dry ingredients, beat until just combined. Fold in the oats, vanilla, and 3/4 c. shredded coconut flakes.

Form walnut-sized balls of the mixture and drop 2" apart onto parchment paper-lined sheet pans. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.

When the cookies are cool, dip halfway into the melted white chocolate and then into toasted shredded coconut flakes. Set them on parchment-lined sheet pans to dry completely.

Mocha Viennese Swirls

Mocha Viennese Swirls
From International Cookie Cookbook, by Nancy Baggett, c/o Lawrenceville "Joy of Cookies" tour, December 2007

9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. unsalted butter ("scant 1 c." so maybe just less than 1 c.)
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp strong black coffee
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
about 20 blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease two large baking sheets. Melt 4 oz of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Cream the butter with the confectioner's sugar in a bowl until smooth and pale. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the strong black coffee.

Sift the flour and cornstarch over the mixture. Fold in lightly and evenly to make a soft mixture.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe 20 swirls on the prepared baking sheets, allowing room for spreading during baking. (if it's too stiff to pipe, add a little more coffee) Bake about 15 minutes, until the cookies are firm and just beginning to brown. Cool about 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then lift carefully on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the rest of the chocolate, dip each swirl, place on a sheet of baking parchment, and set. Makes 20 cookies.

Dan's note: we skipped the piping stuff.