Pear & Celery Salad
4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced
1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 large leaves butterhead or other lettuce
Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Whisk vinegar, honey, and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese, and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare salad without pecans up to 2 hours ahead. Stir in pecans just before serving.
Tip: To toast chopped pecans, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1 medium cooking pumpkin, about 3 ½ – 4 cups roasted pumpkin flesh
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups whole milk
1-2 teaspoons honey
Chopped chives for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet with sides.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Fill the pumpkin wells halfway with water and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool and then scrape out the pumpkin into a bowl. Set aside,
Pour the olive oil into a Dutch Oven and heat over medium-high heat.
Add leeks, celery, and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the pumpkin, broth, pepper, salt, and spices. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Process with a hand immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. Return all of the pureed mixture to the saucepan.
Stir in the milk and heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the honey to sweeten the mixture to taste.
Serve warm garnished with chopped chives. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.
Twice Baked Potatoes
Make-Ahead Tip: The potatoes can be baked a day before or early in the day.T hey can be filled, covered and refrigerated until close to serving time. Take them out of the refrigerator two hours before you want to serve them. Let the stuffed potatoes come to room temperature for one hour. Then reheat in the oven uncovered, for one hour.
2 large russet potatoes about 14 -16 oz each, scrubbed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Paprika and chopped chives for garnish
Heat oven to 375°F. Gently scrub potatoes, but do not peel. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork to allow steam to escape while the potatoes bake. Wrap in heavy-duty foil.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when lightly squeezed.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise in half; scoop out the inside, leaving a thin shell.
In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes. Add the butter, salt, and pepper; mix until the potatoes are light and fluffy.
Stir in the sour cream , heavy cream, and cheddar cheese. Fill the potato shells and place them in a baking dish.
Sprinkle with paprika and chives. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Take them out of the refrigerator two hours before you want to serve them. Let the stuffed potatoes come to room temperature for one hour.
Then bake in a 375°F. oven uncovered, for one hour.
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
3 firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears
Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12×12 inch rectangle.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I use an attractive baking pan that can also be used for serving.) Prick pastry with a fork.
Build up the sides slightly by folding in about 1/2 inch of the pastry on the edges. Brush edges with egg white.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar with the almond flour and all-purpose flour. Set aside.
Beat together the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the flavored extracts.
Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture just until combined.
Spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell.
Peel, halve and core pears, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange pears decoratively on top of the illing.
Brush the pears with the egg white.
Bake until the pears are golden and the filling is puffed up around the pears and golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Cool tart completely in the baking pan on a rack, then slide the parchment out from under the tart. Leave at room temperature until serving time.
Garnish with frozen yogurt or whipped cream, if desired.
The photos show more than indicated in the recipe because I made this for guests and doubled the ingredients. You may want to do that so you have lots of leftover pot roast.
Pot Roast Italian Style
4-pound rump or chuck beef roast
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large celery stalk, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium red onion, diced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced plus extra for the roast
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups medium-bodied Italian red wine
One 28-ounce can Italian whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)
Preparing the meat
With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 slits in the roast and stuff slits with garlic slices. Pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with the salt and pepper. Tie the meat with kitchen string in several places to keep it from falling apart.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, shimmering but not smoking, add the meat and cook, turning it a few times, until it is brown on all sides, 10-12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a platter.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and sage, and stir until the herbs are lightly colored about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the wine and stir quickly, lifting up the richly browned caramelized vegetables that stick to the bottom of the pan. When the wine is almost all evaporated and thickly coats the vegetables, return the meat to the pan and turn it over a few times to coat it with the savory base.
Preheat the oven 350°F.
Raise the heat to high, adding the remaining wine, beef broth. the bay leaf, and the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven.
Roast for one hour and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Turning and baste the meat every hour until the meat is very tender and flakes away when pierced with a fork, 3-4 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil. If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a hard boil and reduce it until it has a medium-thick consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove the strings and cut the meat into thick slices (it will probably fall apart), and place on a warm serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve hot.
This method I learned for cooking thick pork chops and put into practice makes delicious tender and juicy thick cut pork chops.
Make a simple brine:
I adapted a recipe from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells.
The recipe makes enough for 4 regular pork chops or 2 thick ribeye chops.
4 cups ice-cold water
1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Place pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.
Ribeye Pork Chops
4 servings: One 16 oz chop was enough for my husband and me for one dinner. I made both with the recipe below and saved the other for a second dinner. See below.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 thick bone-in pork ribeye chops (2 ribs on each chop; 16 oz ounces each), brined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs sage
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high. Season pork chops all over (including the fat cap) with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until the bottom sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Don’t forget the sides of the chops.
Repeat this process, turning every minute until chops are deep golden brown on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 138°F, about 8–10 minutes (total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops).
Remove the pan from the heat and add the sage, garlic, and butter, smashing garlic into butter. Return pan to the heat, tilt skillet and spoon foaming butter and drippings over the pork chops several rimes, making sure to baste the fat cap as well as the rib. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes (or until the pork registers 145°F).
Thinly slice the meat and transfer to a serving platter or cut the pork between the ribs and serve whole with any juices from the cutting board spooned over the top.
Serve with your favorite sides. The first night I cut one pork rib in half and served Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Spinach with the chop. I wrapped the second chop in foil and refrigerated it for later in the week.
Later in the week, I cut the second rib chop in half and brushed it with Chili-Ginger Sauce/Marinade. I placed the cut chop under the broiler to glaze the pork on both sides. Use storebought of my recipe below:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or hot pepper sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
I served the glazed pork over my recipe for Asian Stir Fry Vegetables and Noodles. See recipe.
Italian Sausage Eggplant Bolognese Sauce
Serve this sauce over your favorite pasta. I used pappardelle because the wide noodles hold the sauce.
1 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 (26-ounce) container Pomi finely chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
12 ounces uncooked pappardelle, rigatoni, bucatini or spaghetti
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add crumbled sausage and diced eggplant; cook until lightly browned.
Add onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 20 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef broth, tomatoes,1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and cream. Heat until warm.
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, adding 1 tablespoon kosher salt to the cooking water. Drain and add the pasta to the pot of sauce. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Place pasta in individual pasta serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
I used a leftover cooked steak. If you do not have any on hand, cook a small steak and slice it to use in this recipe.
1 large green bell pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 large onion, sliced
4 ounces of packaged sliced mushrooms
6 ounces cooked steak, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 slices provolone cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place pepper halves on a rimmed baking sheet or in individual ramekins. Bake until tender but still able to hold their shape, about 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they’re softened and release their juices, about 5 minutes more. Add steak, Italian seasoning, pepper and salt; cook, stirring, until the steak is hot through, 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in Worcestershire.
Preheat broiler to high. Divide the filling between the pepper halves and top each with a folded slice of cheese. Broil 5 inches from the heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned 2 to 3 minutes.
Oven Sweet Potato Fries
1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz), peeled and cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons of olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss sweet potato wedges with oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a ziplock bag. Spread the wedges out on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until browned and tender about 20 minutes total.
Sugo di Pomodoro
Half a medium sweet onion
1 celery stalk
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Two 26 oz containers finely chopped Italian tomatoes (Pomi)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
4 small eggplants (each about 6-7 oz)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
¾ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh herbs )parsley and basil)
16 oz mozzarella, sliced thin
For the soffritto
With a sharp knife, finely chop or mince the onions, carrots, and celery. Try to cut the vegetables with uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and the soffritto. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the vegetables, stirring often, until they have absorbed most of the olive oil and are tender. Stir in the garlic and stir.
For the sauce
Add in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot partially with the lid. Bring the tomato sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring often.
For the eggplant
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the eggplants and slice into very thin slices. Place all the sliced eggplants in a ziplock plastic bag. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and shake the bag. Coat 3 sheet pans with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices on the pan. Sprinkle eggplant on each pan with ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ cup of seasoned panko crumbs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant on all three pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the eggplant slices are lightly brown. Switch pans around in the oven after 15 minutes.
For the cheese layer
In a large mixing bowl combine the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and herbs. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to assemble the casserole.
Slice the mozzarella cheese.
To assemble the Eggplant Lasagna
Spray a 13×9 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add ⅓ of the eggplant slices. Place ⅓ of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant slices and then spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the mozzarella/eggplant layer. Add another ⅓ layer of eggplant slices and spread 1 cup of tomato sauce over the eggplant/ Add ⅓ of the mozzarella slices and the remaining ricotta mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices topped with 1 cup of the tomato sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.
Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad
Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.
For 2 servings
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced
To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.
To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.
To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.
Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.
2 lbs whole small unpeeled red skinned potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/4 cup minced bread and butter pickles
1/2 a large sweet onion finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a large pot with a lid. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook the potatoes with the lid ajar until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes into a storage bowl. Add the pickle juice and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so.
Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and taste to see if the salad needs salt. Add black pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator until serving time.
Basic Barbecue Sauce
This is a delicious sauce to have on hand during the summer grilling season. Use it to baste chicken or to top hamburgers and hotdogs right off the grill.
Yield: about 1-1/3 cups.
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Few drops hot pepper sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Prepare the rub and marinate the ribs one day ahead.
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 St. Louis-cut spare rib racks
BBQ Sauce, recipe above or your favorite sauce
Combine the rub ingredients in a small dish.
Prepare the ribs by removing the silver skin or scoring it between the bones on the underside of the ribs.
Place the ribs in a baking dish and coat the sides of the ribs with the rub.
Allow the ribs to sit for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Roast the ribs, meat side up, covered with foil, in the oven for 3 hours.
To finish on an outdoor grill
When the ribs are done baking, heat the grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack.
Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce and place them on the grill. Grill the ribs, basting with more BBQ sauce and turning occasionally until they begin to char about 5 to 6 minutes.
Cut into serving pieces and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping.
To finish indoors
Remove the ribs from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Slather the tops of the ribs with the BBQ sauce.
Return the ribs, uncovered, to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes.
For every 2 servings
1 small zucchini
1 small green bell pepper
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian salad vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cut the zucchini into 6 diagonal slices
Cut the bell pepper into 8 pieces
Place the cut vegetables and cherry tomatoes in a mixing bowl, Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate at room temperature for several hours.
Thread the vegetables on one skewer and the tomatoes on another, Place the skewers on the grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving plate.
The kabobs can also be grilled on a stovetop grill pan.