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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler

For low carb or gluten-free use almond flour

Filling
4 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch or 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (to thicken)
3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Topping
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the blueberries, thickener, sugar, and lemon juice and mix well until the blueberries are coated.
Pour the blueberry mixture into a greased 9-inch pie pan.
Melt the butter in the microwave in a glass bowl. Stir in the almond flour, sugar, and lemon zest until a crumbly dough forms.
Using your hands, crumble the dough over the blueberries in pea-sized clumps.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Serve warm or cold.

Small-Batch Fresh Blueberry Jam

Two cups of berries will make a half cup of jam.

With this recipe, I was able to fill two pint-sized freezer jelly jars three-fourths of the way to the top. This recipe can be doubled but you will need a longer cooking time.

Ingredients
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and reduced by about half, about 30 minutes.

Using a potato masher crush the berries several times during the cooking process.

Pour the jam into clean freezer jars. Store the jam in the freezer.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 – 15 muffins depending on the size of your muffin pan.

Ingredients

Batter
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute for baking
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) fresh blueberries

Topping
2/3 cup packed brown sugar or brown sugar substitute for baking
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F and either butter a 12-15 muffin cup pan or use paper liners.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held or stand mixer, until light and fluffy and almost white in color.

Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is incorporated, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low-speed just until the batter is smooth. Fold in the berries by hand.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using 1/4-cup for each muffin.

To make the topping:

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center, comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.

 

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Summer by Alexander Andreev

Summer by Alexander Andreev

Summer is a great time to entertain and if you can do it outdoors, it is even better. Casual get-togethers call for easy to do recipes using foods that can stand up to the outdoor elements. If you are hosting or attending such a party, thoughts usually run along the “what should I make” category. Since I live where it is quite hot six months of the year, I tend not to serve or take mayonnaise flavored dishes. Here are some ideas for each menu course of what to make or bring to an outdoor party. These have all been stamped with approval from my family and friends.

Appetizer Course: Crostini with Mushrooms

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Ingredients

  • 3 lb mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 3 oz. dried mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish

Directions

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Slice fresh mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Soak dried mushrooms in a bowl of hot water until tender — about 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze to dry.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet until very hot. Add olive oil and fresh mushrooms. Cook, while stirring frequently, over high heat until the mushrooms release their liquid — about 10 minutes.

Add the shallots, garlic, rehydrated mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add broth, cognac, butter, salt, pepper, rosemary and the thyme.

Transfer skillet to the oven and roast, stirring twice, for 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Serve warm with grilled bread.

Salad Course: Grilled Shrimp Tomato Salad

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This is a popular dish, so I often divide the salad onto smaller serving dishes, so I can have them available in several areas.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for the grill
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, mint, and/or chives
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined large raw shrimp
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds tomatoes,  quartered
  • Parsley sprigs for garnish

Directions

Oil the grill grates and preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Whisk together the ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Arrange tomatoes on a large serving platter or in a large bowl, and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

Mix the shrimp with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Grill the shrimp, covered with the grill lid, 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink.

Mix the grilled shrimp with the remaining vinaigrette and arrange over tomatoes. Garnish with the parsley sprigs. Serve at room temperature.

Main Dish: Italian Sausage and Peppers

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This dish is always a big hit with everyone.

Serves 6

For the sausage:

  • 1 ½ lb. Italian sausage

Directions

Prepare an outdoor grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Keep a third of the grill indirect heat. On a charcoal grill, this means spreading the coals over two-thirds of the firebox and leaving one-third coal-free.

On a gas grill, leave one burner off. Sausages should be grilled over indirect heat.

Lightly brush or rub the sausage with olive oil. This prevents sticking and makes them extra crisp. Use tongs and don’t break the sausage skin when turning.

Grill the sausages over the indirect part of the grill until crusty and golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes.

The safe internal temperature for ground meats—sausages included—is 160 degrees F.

Cut the sausages into two-inch lengths and set aside.

For the peppers and onions:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 sweet bell peppers or 20 Italian frying peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips
  • 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To finish the dish:

  • 2 cups Marinara (tomato) sauce

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, the peppers, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until crisp tender.

Add the tomato sauce and heat.

Add the grilled sausage links to the skillet with the peppers and onions. Heat until the sausage is warm. Serve with lots of crusty Italian bread.

Side Dish: Corn Pudding

cornpudding

Ingredients

  • Butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh (about 4 ears) or frozen corn kernels, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Heat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or another shallow baking dish of about the same size.

In a mixing bowl combine the onion, bell pepper, 1 cup of the corn and the salt and black pepper; Set aside.

Combine the remaining 1 cup of corn and half-and-half in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the eggs and cayenne. Blend thoroughly.

Spoon the corn/pepper mixture into the prepared baking dish and then sprinkle the Monterey Jack over the top. Pour the egg mixture over all.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean, about 40 minutes.Garnish with chopped parsley.

Dessert Course: Peach Cobbler

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Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 to 6 medium (4 cups) peaches, peeled and sliced

Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Combine all the filling ingredients except the peaches in a mixing bowl.

Stir in peaches. Pour into an ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan.

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Make the topping:

Combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in the egg and cream just until moistened. Spread the topping over the peach filling; sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of remaining sugar.

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Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around edges. Serve warm or chilled.

 


springproducecover
Soft, woodsy flavors and aromas are the hallmarks of spring’s earliest produce that include an assortment of mushrooms, bright green asparagus and artichokes.

Savor the peak of asparagus season by roasting fresh, green spears to enhance their flavor and provide for a more tender texture.

Step away from the strong flavors of winter, like garlic and onions, and explore some milder flavoring ingredients, such as shallots and green onions (spring onions).

Leafy herbs become widely available in spring and are great on everything.

Radishes are root vegetables with a distinctive flavor that range from mild to sharp, depending on the variety. To choose the best, pick radishes that are deep in color with solid roots.

All types of leafy greens and lettuces begin to bloom in the spring. With temperatures warming, it is time to replace stews and casseroles with salads at the dinner table.

Although rhubarb is often used as a fruit in sweet pies and jams, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. You can find rhubarb in a range of colors, from green to bright pink and everything in between (color doesn’t indicate ripeness) in the market until June.

Strawberries are at their peak in the spring. Be sure to purchase firm red berries with no soft or mushy spots. Store in the refrigerator, but keep them dry. Don’t wash until ready to eat and serve at room temperature.

springproduce3

Grilled Artichokes with Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 medium artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce or chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1  teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Cut 1/2 inch off the top of each artichoke. Cut each in half vertically and, using scissors, trim the pointy ends off the leaves. Carefully cut out the fuzzy choke in the center and discard.

Rub the artichokes all over with lemon. Fill a large pot with water and fit with a steaming rack. Place the artichokes on a rack and steam until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to high heat.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, hot sauce and  honey. Sir well. Set aside.

Brush the cut side of each artichoke with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill artichokes, cut side down, until evenly charred, 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

springproduce5

Vegetable and Fruit Spring Salad

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 4 ounces radishes, sliced in thin rounds (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup sliced or quartered strawberries

Directions

For the dressing: Combine vinegar, oil, chopped strawberries, sugar, tarragon, salt and pepper in a screw top jar. Cover; shake until combined. Set aside.

In a large pot cook green beans and peas in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss cooked beans and peas with dressing. Cover; chill for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Stir in radishes and sliced strawberries before serving.

springproduce2

Roasted Asparagus and Wild Mushrooms

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, chanterelles, morels, stemmed shiitakes), sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium thick asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic, sauté until mushrooms are brown and just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add lemon juice and parsley, toss to coat. Set aside.

Arrange asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast asparagus until just tender, about 10 minutes. Arrange asparagus on a serving platter and top with mushrooms.

springproduce1

Penne Primavera with Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces salmon, cut into 2 portions
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush both sides of the salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on a small baking sheet and roast until salmon is just lightly pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook until al dente, about 13 minutes, adding asparagus and peas in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot. Place over low heat and stir in tomatoes, crème fraîche, Parmesan and shallot. Remove and discard salmon skin; flake salmon into chunks with a fork and toss into pasta along with dill.

springproduce4

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

For the filling:

  • 6 to 8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries

For the topping:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

To make filling: 

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the rhubarb, sugar and orange zest until the rhubarb begins to soften and exude juices, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and flour and bring to a boil while stirring. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the sliced strawberries. Remove from heat and pour the fruit mixture into a deep 10-inch pie dish.

To make topping: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and blend. Slowly add the half-and-half with a fork. Spoon the dough over the fruit mixture in the pie dish. Mix together the 2 tablespoons sugar and the orange zest, and sprinkle it over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly and serve with or without whipped cream. Serves 6.


fallmarket

Look for these fall fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and in produce departments for the best flavor (and greatest value) in season. Specific crops and harvest dates of fall produce will depend, of course, on your region’s climate.

Apples are one of those fruits people have forgotten have a season. But they do, and in the Northern Hemisphere they’re harvested late summer through fall.

Artichokes produce a second, smaller crop in the fall that tends to produce small to medium artichokes.

Arugula is a cool weather peppery green harvested at different times in different places (winter in warm climates, summer in cool ones) but grows in many places during autumn.

Beets are in season in temperate climates fall through spring. Fresh beets are often sold with their greens still attached.

Broccoli can be grown year-round but is more sweet, less bitter and sharp when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall in most climates.

Broccoli rabe, rapini is a more bitter, a leafier vegetable than its cousin, broccoli, but likes similar cool growing conditions.

Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk and, if you see them for sale that way, snap them up – they’ll last quite a bit longer than once they’re cut.

Cabbage – the cooler the weather when it’s harvested, the sweeter it tends to taste.

Carrots are harvested year-round in temperate areas. Unusual varieties are harvested during the carrot’s natural season, which is late summer and fall.

Cauliflower may be grown, harvested and sold year-round, but it is by nature a cool weather crop and at its best in fall and winter.

Chard like all greens, turns bitter when it gets too hot. Chard is best harvested in late summer or early fall in colder areas, and fall through spring in warmer regions.

Fennel’s natural season is from fall through early spring.

Figs have a short second season in late fall (the first harvest comes in summer) just in time for Thanksgiving.

Grapes (early fall) ripen towards the end of summer and the harvest continues into fall.

Green beans tend to be sweetest and most tender during their natural season, from mid-summer into fall in most regions.

Kohlrabi (late fall) comes into season by the end of fall, but stays at its sweet best into winter.

Mushrooms, other than morels, are in-season in summer through fall.

Okra (early fall) needs heat to grow, so a nice long, hot summer in warmer climates brings out its best. Look for firm, plump pods in late summer and early fall.

Onions come from storage all year round but most onions are harvested in late summer through the fall.

Parsnips look like white carrots and have a great nutty flavor. Look for thinner parsnips, since fatter ones tend to have a thick, woody core you need to cut out.

Pears have a season that runs from mid-summer well into winter, depending on the variety and region.

Peppers (early fall) – both sweet and spicy- are harvested in late summer and early fall.

Persimmons are available for a short window in the fall and early winter – look for bright, heavy-feeling fruits.

Pomegranates only ripen in warmer climates. They are in season starting in October and are usually available fresh through December.

Pumpkins are the most common winter squash and come into season in September in most areas.

Quinces are an under-appreciated fruit. Bright and tart, quince jellies and desserts are a fall and early winter favorite.

Radicchio, like all chicories, is more sweet and less bitter when the weather is cool.

Sweet potatoes are often sold as “yams.” They are available from local sources year-round in warmer areas; from late summer through winter other places.

Turnips have a sharp but bright and sweet flavor. Look for turnips that feel heavy for their size.

Winter squash come into season in early fall and usually last well into winter.

Zucchini have a harvest season from summer into fall in most climates.

Cooking From The Fall Market

fallmarket2

Roasted Fennel Soup with Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white onion (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 – 14 1/2 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup half-and-half, light cream or evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Ground white pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 recipe Homemade Croutons (optional), recipe below

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut off and discard fennel stalks, reserving some of the feathery tops. Remove any wilted outer layers from the bulb; cut a thin slice from the  base of bulb. Cut bulb into 1/2-inch slices, removing the core. Snip feathery tops; set aside.

In a 13x9x2-inch baking pan combine fennel slices and onion. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast, uncovered, about 25 minutes or just until vegetables are tender.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large saucepan. Stir in broth and potato. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Cool slightly.

Transfer vegetable mixture, one-third at a time, to a blender, food processor or use a hand immersion blender. Process until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir in half-and-half, lemon juice, and cumin. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with white pepper and additional salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet cook fennel seeds over medium-high heat about 3 minutes or until light brown and fragrant, stirring frequently.

Top each serving with fennel tops, toasted fennel seeds and, if desired, Homemade Croutons.

To Make Ahead:

Prepare as directed and cool soup slightly. Transfer soup to an airtight container. Cover and chill for up to 2 days. Place fennel tops and toasted fennel seeds in separate resealable plastic bags. Chill fennel tops for up to 2 days and store fennel seeds at room temperature for up to 2 days. To serve, transfer soup to a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve as directed above.

Homemade Croutons

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cubed Italian  bread
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt

Directions

Spread cubed bread in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Stir together olive oil, black pepper and kosher salt; pour over bread cubes, tossing to coat. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Stir; bake for 8 to 10 minutes more or until crisp and brown. Makes 2 cups.

fallmarket4

Beet and Apple Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large beets (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup salted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets and thyme with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into thin slices.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified. Add the horseradish and season with salt and pepper; toss with the beets and pistachios. Transfer the beets to a platter, top with the apple and serve.

fallmarket5

Healthy Chicken and Mushroom Fricassee

Serve with the roasted carrots below.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 oz white button mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 cup leeks, split into quarters, then sliced into small squares and rinsed well
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup celery, rinsed and diced
  • 1 cup pearl onions, raw or frozen
  • 3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb skinless chicken legs or thighs (4 whole legs, split, or 8 thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons each fresh herbs (such as parsley and chives), rinsed, dried and minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lowfat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 º F.

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed roasting or braising pan (a large sauté pan with a metal handle).

Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3–5 minutes. Add leeks, potatoes, celery and pearl onions and continue to cook until the vegetables become soft, about 3–5 additional minutes. Add chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.

Add chicken to the pan, cover, and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender when pierced with a fork (or a meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 165 ºF).

When the chicken is cooked, remove them from the pan to serving bowl and keep warm. Return the pan to the stove top and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in the lemon juice.

In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the sour cream and add to the pan. Bring back to a boil, stir until mixed and then remove from the heat.

Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs and serve.

fallmarket1

Spice & Honey Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds regular or rainbow carrots, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Trim carrots and peel. Halve any large carrots lengthwise.

Line a shallow roasting pan with foil. Evenly spread carrots in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast carrots, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the seasoning mix, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add hazelnuts; cook and stir 3 minutes or until fragrant and toasted. Transfer to a small bowl.

Add coriander, sesame and cumin seed to the hot skillet. Cook on medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant and toasted. Remove spices from heat and transfer to another bowl; cool for 10 minutes.

Using a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle, grind or crush toasted spices until coarsely ground. Add the hazelnuts and salt and pepper, crushing nuts slightly.

Remove carrots from the oven. Drizzle with honey; toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle carrots with the seasoning mixture. Return to the oven; roast 5 to 10 minutes more.

Serve carrots with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

fallmarket3

Fig and Pear Cobbler with Cornmeal-Amaretti Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole amaretti cookies
  • 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups dried Mission figs, halved
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh pears, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Juice and finely shredded peel from 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups port wine or cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place amaretti cookies in a food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add flour, cornmeal, the 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and salt; cover and pulse with on/off turns to combine. Add butter; cover and pulse with on/off turns until pieces are the size of small peas.

In a large bowl combine butter mixture and the 1-1/4 cups whipping cream, stirring with a fork until the dough comes together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead gently two or three times until it holds together. Press dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into eight rectangles

In a 3-quart rectangular baking dish combine figs and pears. Place the 3/4 cup sugar in a small bowl; add the finely shredded orange peel and use your fingers to rub the peel into the sugar. Stir in cinnamon, coriander and kosher salt. Pour sugar mixture over the fig mixture; gently toss with your hands to combine.

In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the cornstarch, stirring until smooth. Stir in the port and the remaining orange juice; pour evenly over the fruit mixture in the baking dish.

Place dough rectangles on top of the fruit mixture; brush with the 2 tablespoons whipping cream and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is browned and juices are bubbly around the edges of the pan. If necessary to prevent over browning, cover loosely with foil for the last 10 to 20 minutes of baking. Remove foil, if using, and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.


Crumbles, Crisps and Cobblers are simple old-fashioned desserts that offer the comfort of fruit pies but without the work of making a pie crust. Cobblers have a softer biscuit-like topping and texture, while crumbles and crisps have a crunchy, streusel-like topping that provides a contrast to the soft fruit in the filling.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their favorite recipes with them, such as English steamed pudding. Not finding their favorite ingredients, they used whatever was available. That’s how all these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names. Early colonists were so fond of these fruit dishes that they often served them as the main course or even for breakfast. It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.

Cobblers originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet pudding due to a lack of ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead, they covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings. The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”.

In the United States, varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grump, the Slump, the Dump, the Buckle and the Sonker. Grunts, Pandowdy and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stovetop in an iron skillet with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings.

The Sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler. In the South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, blackberry, blueberry or peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Some of these terms are more universal than others, but here are the most generally accepted definitions:

Crisp : baked fruit topped with a mixture of some combination of flour, nuts, cereal (especially oatmeal), butter and sugar. The topping ranges in texture from streusel to granola and usually completely covers the fruit. It is sometimes called a crumble.

Cobbler : baked fruit topped with a batter or biscuit crust. The topping is often “cobbled” rather than smooth; the topping is generally dropped or spooned in small clumps over the fruit, allowing bits of the filling to show through.

Grunt or Slump: as the biscuit-topped fruit cooks on the stove, it supposedly makes a grunting noise‚ likely the result of the steam from simmering fruit escaping through the vents between the biscuits.

A Buckle is made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the fruit mixed in with the batter.

Betty consists of fruit, usually apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French Apple Charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Pandowdy is a deep-dish dessert that can be made with a variety of fruit, but is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit, except the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the desert is inverted before serving. The exact origin of the name Pandowdy is unknown, but it is thought to refer to the deserts plain or dowdy appearance.

These desserts are such a simple way to use the abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits found on farm stands and in produce aisles. Unlike pies, crisps and cobblers are forgiving with exact measurements. Butter alternatives, such as Smart Balance, are an easy substitute that can reduce calories and saturated fat in the nutrition content of these dessert. It is easy to scale up for large picnics or down for dinner for two. Crisps and cobblers are at their best when highlighting the colors and flavors of summer fruit. With two basic recipes, buttermilk biscuit dough or a crisp topping, you can transform the fruits of summer into dozens of fantastic fresh-baked desserts. The processor can also make quick work of mixing the topping ingredients.

Juicy cherries, berries, sliced peaches, nectarines or plums are piled into a buttered baking dish, tossed with a bit of sugar and sprinkled liberally with streusel topping to become a Summer Fruit Crumble. Those same fruits can be placed in the same buttered baking dish and topped with sweet biscuit dough, then cooked until bubbly and brown. Now you’ve made cobbler.

A crisp or cobbler can be cooked in any type of oven proof baking dish. Ramekins, pie pans, Pyrex casseroles or  decorative gratin dishes are all fine choices. Plan for about a cup of uncooked fruit per serving and room for a topping or base. Make extra topping to keep in the freezer and you can have a fruit crisp or crumble oven-ready quicker than it takes to preheat your oven.

The art of perfecting a crisp and cobbler requires consideration of fruit size, flavor, texture and juiciness. Balance sweet and tart, crunchy with soft. Fresh, frozen and dried fruit are all possible sources for the fillings. A few dried cherries mixed in with fresh or frozen berries will absorb juices and thicken the mixture. Tart rhubarb is well paired with chewy dried apricots for a more toothsome filling than rhubarb can offer on its own. When cutting fruit:  large strawberries are best halved or quartered and stone fruits (peaches, etc.) cut into chunks rather than thick slices.

Most fruits need some sweetening in addition to the topping. Tart fruits such as sour cherries, rhubarb and raspberries always need some added brown or white sugar or honey in the fruit layer. In all of the recipes below sugar alternatives, such as Truvia for Baking, will work perfectly. A deep layer of juicy fruits can be thickened during baking with a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour mixed in with the sugar in the fruit layer. For textural variety mix soft berries with stone-fruit chunks, such as, strawberry-apricot or blueberry-peach. Or plan for color. A blush-hued cobbler with red plums, raspberries and rhubarb will evoke an evening sunset.

Nuts, spices, herbs and zests are also welcome additions to expand the basic ingredients. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds in with the topping or add some minced orange zest to the fruit. Blueberry crisp can be enhanced with a few chopped walnuts in the topping and some lemon zest in the filling. Culinary herbs more familiar in savory preparations are sophisticated additions to these homespun desserts. Try a few leaves of thin-sliced fresh basil as garnish on a peach crisp or add a little rosemary and black pepper to the sweetened whipped cream served with the cobbler. A scant teaspoon of cardamom in the biscuit dough is an unexpected flavor that blends nicely with most fruit.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

To ensure that the filling is thickened and fully cooked, bake the cobbler until it bubbles in the center.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 teaspoon zest, squeezed to yield 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1/2 cup mild honey (such as clover)
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or sugar alternative equivalent
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 oz. (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or butter alternative, such as Smart Balance)
  • 2/3 cup canned evaporated whole milk or regular whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sugar to sprinkle on the top, optional

Directions:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all of the filling ingredients; set aside.

Make the topping:

In another large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add the milk and stir just until the mixture comes together.

Prepare the cobbler:

Butter a shallow 2-quart dish. Transfer the filling to the dish.

With a tablespoon drop tablespoons of dough on top of the filling. Sprinkle the dough lightly with sugar, if desired.

Bake until the topping is deep golden-brown on top and the filling is bubbling in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. If the dough browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Pear Crisp with Amaretti Topping

Look for Italian Amaretti cookies at specialty stores or gourmet grocers. And choose slightly under-ripe, firm pears.

Ingredients:

  • 6 peeled Anjou or Bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 amaretti cookies (Italian almond macaroons)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pears in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and salt; toss well to coat.

Transfer mixture to an 11×7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place cookies in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine remaining flour, cookie crumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in nuts.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over pear mixture. Bake for 50 minutes or until pears are tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Peach Blueberry Crumble

Bake the crumble on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any fruit juices that may bubble over.

Ingredients:

  • 7 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into small squares

Directions:

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon mixture into a greased 8 1/2- x 11-inch baking dish.

Stir together dark brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture forms pea-size pieces.

Spoon topping evenly over filling, and bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and top is golden.

Blueberry Crisp

Fresh blueberries are best for this crisp recipe, though frozen berries will also work. Keep them frozen and bake the blueberry crisp 10 or 15 minutes longer. Thawed berries are too fragile to use and give off too much liquid.

8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Coat an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cornstarch evenly in the dish.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, vanilla and blueberries in a large bowl; toss. Place in prepared baking dish.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon) in the bowl of a food processor; pulse twice to combine. Add butter; pulse 5 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon topping evenly over blueberries, packing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

Plum Cobbler

This low calorie dessert can be prepared as one large cobbler or in individual ramekins.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds plums, peeled, pitted, and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 6 ounces chilled 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour; toss. Arrange mixture in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine remaining flour, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 3 times. Add butter, lemon rind and cream cheese; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; pulse until blended.

Drop dough by spoonfuls over plum mixture; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden.

Grilled Peach Crisps

A perfect finish to a summer barbecue.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 small to medium peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat granola

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cut sides of the peaches. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat grill to medium. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.

Place peaches cut side down on the grill grates. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until peaches are tender and begin to caramelize.

Place 2 peach halves in each of four dessert bowls. Top each with 1/2 cup ice cream and 2 tablespoons of granola.

 


Hit the market and it sure seems like everyone is cooking for a crowd. Everything seems to be in such large packages.

In reality, there are a lot more folks cooking for one or two than you might think. There are, of course, those seniors and empty nesters but there are also the newlyweds, the college kids, the single parent and child and other young professionals.

It does take a bit of organization to make cooking for two a pleasurable experience. With some organization, you won’t find yourself eating goulash leftovers for an entire week.

Here are some organizing ideas for cooking for just two.

  1. Purchase a supply of freezer bags, plastic wrap, foil, freezer dishes, freezer labels and a permanent marker. This way you can be prepared for those too-large-for-you portions.
  2. Sure you think you’ll remember but, once frozen, it is often hard to tell which dish is which. Use your marker to write on the foil or bag or use stick on labels. Adding the cooking temperature and time will save you from looking it up later.
  3. Perhaps your recipe needs only half of a can. Place the remaining half of the can in a small freezer bag or container, label and freeze for another day or use.
  4. Most recipes seem to serve four, six or eight. However, you don’t need to divide the recipe in two. This often results in less than satisfactory results. Instead, prepare the dish but divide it in two. Have half for dinner and place half in the freezer.
  5. Individual casserole dishes are a great gift for you. Dishes, such as lasagna, chicken tetrazzini and tuna casserole, can be prepared and divided among small casseroles. Freeze the extras and pull out one or two, as needed, on a busy night.
  6. Shop in smaller quantities. When cooking for two, the big box discount stores are probably not your friend. You’ll surely tire of the five pounds of anything before it is consumed. You might think you are saving money but, if you end up wasting some of what you bought, then you haven’t saved anything.
  7. Continue to buy the meat you enjoy but divide the package into smaller portions and place some in the freezer. When buying something larger, like a roast, you can ask at the meat counter for them to split into two pieces for you.
  8. Purchase frozen vegetables in plastic bags. This allows you to pour out just the right serving for two and reseal the bag to preserve the rest.
  9. For dry goods, such as pastas, beans and rice, use what you need and then reseal the container. Sometimes, you can just place the entire box in a quart or gallon plastic bag and zip it shut to keep it fresh.
  10. Desserts for two pose a special challenge. While you can make a whole cake or pie, you might not want to be tempted by having the entire cake on that kitchen counter.  Turn that cake recipe into cupcakes, freezing some of them. Turn the pie recipe into tarts. Look for dessert mixes that make an 8 x 8-inch size pan rather than a 9 x 13-inch pan. When making desserts, such as brownies or cookies, divide them into individual portions and wrap them separately. 
  11. When making a casserole that calls for half-cup of green pepper or a few ribs of celery, head to the salad bar. Instead of an entire head of celery going bad in the refrigerator drawer, you can scoop up just the portion you need.
  12. If you have trouble using fresh produce before it can go bad, try some of the fresh produce bags, sometimes marketed as “green” bags. These extend the life of produce.

Here are some menus to get you started and these recipes are designed for two.

Menu One

 

Seared Scallops with Mint Pesto

2 Servings

Serving Size: 3 scallops, 1/4 cup pesto, 1/2 cup spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 sea scallops (8 to 10 ounces total)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Directions:

For pesto::

In a food processor, combine mint, parsley, almonds, Parmesan cheese, the water, lemon juice, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Cover and process until nearly smooth. Set aside.

Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops; cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning once halfway through cooking.

Serve scallops and pesto over spinach.

Roasted Beets and Shallots

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces trimmed red and/or yellow small beets, quartered
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or tarragon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange beets and shallots in a single layer in a 2-quart square baking dish. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Uncover and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more or until beets are tender. Cool completely. Peel the beets. Drizzle beets and shallots with lemon juice; sprinkle with sage.

Apple-Cranberry Cobbler

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 small apples (such as Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Honeycrisp), cored, quartered, and thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat granola without raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 6-ounce custard cups or other 6-ounce oven-safe dishes with nonstick spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together apple slices, cranberries, honey, the water, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Divide mixture between prepared custard cups. Cover cups with foil.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove foil and top with granola. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until granola is lightly browned.

Menu Two

Grilled Fish with Pepper Salsa

2 Servings

Serving Size: 1 fish steak and 2/3 cup salsa each

Ingredients:

  • 2-5 ounce fresh or frozen fish steaks, cut 3/4- to 1-inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped, seeded tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh mint
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish.

In a small bowl, combine crushed fennel seeds, the lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, 1/8 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper and the salt. Pour over fish in bag; turn to coat fish. Seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Meanwhile, for salsa:

In a small bowl, combine tomato, bell pepper, green onion, mint, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Set aside.

Drain fish, discarding marinade. For a charcoal grill, grill fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 6 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, gently turning once halfway through grilling.

For a gas grill, preheat grill . Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.

You can also use a preheated stove top grill or grill pan; follow directions above.

Serve fish topped with salsa mixture and lemon wedges.

Quinoa

2 Servings

Serving Size 2/3 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped seeded cucumber
  • 1 large green onion, thinly sliced, or 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil

Directions:

In a small nonstick saucepan, cook quinoa and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cucumber, green onion, and snipped basil.

 

Berry Cheesecake Dessert

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel 
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries
  • 2 gingersnaps or chocolate wafers, broken

Directions:

In a blender container or food processor bowl combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, orange peel and orange juice. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.

To serve, spoon the fruit into two dessert dishes. Top with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle with the broken cookies

Menu Three

 

Wine-Glazed Steak

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (8 to 10 ounces total)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions:

Trim fat from steak; cut steak into two equal portions. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add steaks. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 10 to 13 minutes or until desired temperature (145 degrees F for medium-rare or 160 degrees F. for medium), turning steaks occasionally. If steaks brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low. Transfer steaks two dinner plates; keep warm.

Add mushrooms, garlic, and crushed red pepper to skillet; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine. Return to heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and honey; return to simmering. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon over steaks.

Roasted Carrots

2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 slender carrots, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange carrots in single layer in a small baking pan. Add olive oil and orange peel; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Pour orange juice over; cover tightly with foil. Roast until crisp-tender, about 20 minutes. Remove foil. Increase oven to 450°F. Drizzle honey over carrots. Roast uncovered until carrots are tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes longer. Divide carrots and transfer them and any juices to the dinner plates with the steak.

 

Cucumber Radish Slaw

2 Servings

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 1/4 of a medium English cucumber, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of a medium red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Add cucumber, radishes, sweet pepper, and green onion. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours.

Roasted Mangoes with Brown Sugar Topping

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe mango, halved lengthwise and pitted
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

Directions:

Place mango halves in a small baking dish. Combine brown sugar, coconut, orange peel, and crystallized ginger in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle over mango halves.

Bake in a 425 degree F. oven about 10 minutes or until mangoes are hot, and topping just begins to brown.

Vegetarian Entree Option

Substitute this entree for any of the entrees above.

 black bean burger - saveur.com

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons plus extra salsa, recipe below
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 2 whole wheat hamburger buns, optional

Directions:

Using a fork, mash half of the beans in medium bowl. Mix the remaining beans, onion, carrot, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons salsa, oregano and hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Using moistened hands, shape bean mixture into two 3- to 4-inch-diameter patties.

Preheat broiler. Brush broiler rack or pan with oil. Broil burgers until heated through, about 3 minutes per side.. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa over each. Serve in a hamburger bun, if desired.

Homemade Tomato Salsa

Makes 3 cups

 Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/4 lb), stems removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • 1 serano chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Chop 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the chilies. Be very careful while handling these hot peppers. If you can, avoid touching them with your hands. Use surgical gloves or a paper towel to protect your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn’t hot enough, you can add a few for heat.

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies and the oregano

Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.


Labor Day was first celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882. Two years later, in 1884, it was celebrated on the now-traditional first Monday in September. Originally celebrated in New York, by 1885, it had spread to many industrial centers of the country. This holiday originated in other countries first, then in Canada in the 1870s. In the aftermath of many deaths from the hands of the US military during the 1894 Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland made reconciling with labor a priority and the holiday in the US emerged.

There is some dispute as to who first proposed the Labor Day holiday. Some records show that it was Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a holiday to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold”. But McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Recent research shows that the originator of Labor Day may have been Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ. Maguire may have proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted the proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. By 1894, 23 states had adopted Labor Day legislation and in June of that year, Congress passed Federal legislation recognizing the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882

Over the years, many traditions have been added to the US holiday including parades, festivities for the family, BBQs, water sports, fireworks, and public events. Many people also view Labor Day as the end of summer. It has become a day of rest, relaxation, and spending time with the family. Labor Day weekend is also the start of football season for the US. So, as you take your final trip to the beach or fire up the grill for your Labor Day picnic, take a moment to commemorate the founders of Labor Day, both of them!  (Source: US Department of Labor)

Menu For Your Get Together

Rosemary-Lemon White Bean Dip                             

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage, extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Two 19-ounce cans low sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pita chips and Cut Up Vegetables, for serving

Directions:

In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant and the garlic is just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the beans and toss to coat.

Transfer the cannellini beans to a food processor. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and cayenne and process to a fairly smooth puree. Transfer the dip to a small serving bowl, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with pita chips and veggies.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Basil and Tomato

Before grilling, soak the toothpicks or wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Butterflying the chicken — splitting each piece in half and fanning it open like a book — creates two layers to contain the stuffing.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For The Stuffing:

  • 12 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Butterfly chicken breasts: Put halves on a cutting board, smooth sides down, with the pointed ends facing you.

Pound Chicken Cutlets Lightly

Starting on one long side, cut breasts almost in half horizontally (stop about 1/2 inch before reaching the opposite side). Open cut breasts like a book. Place each breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly to even out the thickness of the cutlets.

Sprinkle each piece all over with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate, and coat both sides with garlic and oil. Let stand 30 minutes.

Heat a grill or grill pan until medium-hot.

Place 3 basil leaves on the bottom half of each opened chicken breast; top each with 2 slices tomato and one slice of cheese. Fold over other half of chicken breast, and secure with two toothpicks or short skewers.

Stuff Chicken with Basil, Tomato Slices and Mozzarella Cheese

Grill chicken breasts, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Place on a clean serving platter; garnish with basil.

Cook Stuffed Cutlets on the Grill

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Cutlets

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

It is always a good idea to offer a vegetarian option for your friends. This salad can serve as a side to the chicken entree or a main dish option for vegetarians. If they are vegan, then leave the parmesan cheese out of the dressing and serve it in a bowl to sprinkle on top of the salad.

Salad:

  • 1 pound fusilli or pasta of your choice
  • 2 medium eggplant
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Parmesan Vinaigrette:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the eggplant, zucchini and summer squash lengthwise into 3/4-in.-thick slices. Brush the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, red onion and red pepper with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender. When cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.

Add the tomatoes, olives, parsley and grilled vegetables to the pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Serving size 3/4 cup.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 8 ears corn
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

 Directions:

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Combine oil, minced garlic, minced chives and hot sauce in a small bowl.

Brush husked corn with oil mixture. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until some kernels char a little and others are light brown, 6 to 10 minutes.

Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans—halved on the diagonal
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Set aside.

Cook the green beans in rapidly boiling water for 6 minutes, then refresh under cold water and drain.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except pine nuts, to a screw top jar and shake to combine.

Place the green beans in a serving bowl, pour over the dressing mixture and stir to combine thoroughly.

Let stand at room temperature. Stir in the pine nuts just before serving.

Berry Cobbler

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup light sugar alternative, such as Truvia for Baking or Light Domino Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 /4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour or Eagle Ultra Grain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in berries. Transfer to an 11 x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

For topping, in a small bowl, beat sugar and butter until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture just until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls over fruit mixture.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean. Serve warm.



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