Fall is here and comfort foods are perfect for dinner. This meal is high on the list of favorites in my family. Years ago, I got the idea of combining potatoes with greens for more nutrition and who would have thought the children loved mashed potatoes prepared this way.
Tip: set aside one cup of the diced cooked potatoes and one cup of the roasted carrots to use in a beef pot pie later in the week. There is plenty of braised steak for leftovers.
- 2 pounds sirloin or round steak
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Olive oil
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a shallow bowl.
Cut the steak into serving-size portions about 1/4 inch thick. Press the flour into the steak pieces with your hand. Reserve any flour that is left.
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet.
Brown the steak pieces thoroughly on all sides and set aside the browned pieces on a plate.
Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms to the same skillet and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Stir in any remaining flour and mix until thoroughly absorbed.
Add the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Return the browned steak to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet.
Simmer on low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Mashed Potatoes With Spinach or Kale
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 pound (1 large bunch) spinach or kale
- 1 cup milk
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cover the potatoes with water in a saucepan. Add the garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan partially and cook the potatoes until very tender, about 30 minutes.
Drain off the water, return the potatoes and garlic to the pan, cover tightly and let steam over very low heat for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a food mill. Add the olive oil.
While the potatoes are cooking bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the spinach or kale.
Cook the spinach for 4 minutes, kale for 6 minutes (after the water returns to the boil), until the leaves are tender but still bright green. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Chop fine.
Set the pan with the potatoes over low heat. Stir the chopped spinach into the hot mashed potatoes, add the milk and gently stir. Add salt to taste and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.
- 1 pound carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated orange peel
- Sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange carrots in single layer in a baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and orange peel; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss.
Cover the dish tightly with foil. Roast until crisp-tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer carrots and any juices to a serving platter. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- 2 cups unbleached self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold milk or buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the flour in a bowl. Work in the butter just until crumbs are the size of large peas.
Add the milk and stir until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl.
Scoop the dough onto a well-floured surface and fold it over on itself several times, using more flour if needed to prevent sticking.
Roll or pat the dough into an 8 inch rectangle about ½ inch thick.
Cut biscuits with a sharp knife into 2 inch squares.
Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.
Bake the biscuits for 10 to 14 minutes or until they’re a light golden brown.
Remove them from the oven and serve hot.
At times, it is just the thing to slow down and have a nice leisurely dinner with your partner. No TV, no phone – just a nice glass of wine, conversation and a delicious dinner to relax after a busy work week.
Stuffed Chicken Rolls
- 2 thin chicken cutlets, pounded thin
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup cooked spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine the Italian breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese in one bowl and the egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water in another.
Combine the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, the shredded mozzarella, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry) and ricotta cheese in a small bowl.
Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread half of the spinach cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and place seam side down on the work surface.
Dip chicken rolls in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet. Brown chicken on all sides and place the skillet in the oven.
Bake the chicken rolls for about 15 minutes or until an instant read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven and the chicken rolls from the pan to a serving plate.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 6 ounces spaghetti
Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Drain.
Cook shallot in the olive oil in a small pot over medium high heat until soft, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes, pepper and salt to taste. Stir to mix.
Tomatoes should get warm, but not cooked, about 2-3 minutes.Add basil and oregano.
Mix the tomatoes with the cooked spaghetti and serve under the chicken rolls.
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/4 of a medium red onion, cut into rings
- 10 Italian olives
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Divide the lettuce between two salad plates and top each plate with rings of red onion and 5 olives.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over the greens and serve.
Toasted Coconut Custard Pie
- 1/3 cup honey, agave nectar, pure maple syrup or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toasted finely shredded coconut, divided
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 prebaked Pie Crust, cooled
In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the honey, butter, vanilla and 2 cups of the almond milk.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of almond milk with the cornstarch. Slowly add this mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly over medium high heat.
Continue whisking until the custard begins to thicken.
The custard will need to come to a full boil in order to thicken properly. You’ll know when the custard is ready because it will become the consistency of pudding.
Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the salt, 3/4 cup of the shredded coconut and the coconut extract into the vanilla custard.
Allow the custard to cool to room temperature before spooning into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted coconut.
Refrigerate until chilled, about 2-3 hours.
The holidays will be here soon and these veggies will be just right for entertaining. Pickled vegetables are a great accompaniment to a cheeseboard.
Just about any vegetable — and some fruits — can be pickled. All you need is vinegar, water, sugar, salt and some dry seasonings and herbs.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Even unusual veggie choices — like Brussels sprouts, green beans, fennel, pearl onions and okra — are surprisingly good pickled.
You can enjoy them as an appetizer, a light snack or as a side to an entrée. But if you’re looking for different ways to use them, here are some suggestions:
- In Bloody Marys
- On pizza
- As a bed for grilled fish
- For an omelet side
- On a sandwich
- In a salad
What is your favorite way to serve pickles and relish?
Pickled Mixed Vegetables
I prefer to use firm vegetables for pickling.
- Cauliflower, cut into florets
- Bell Pepper (all colors), cut into chunks
- Carrots, cut into diagonal slices
- Celery, cut into diagonal slices
- Fennel, cut into small chunks
- Green Beans, trimmed but left whole
- Radishes, cut into thick slices
To Make 2 Quarts
Fresh raw vegetables from the list above to fill 2 quart size mason jars (about 6-7 cups). For this batch, I used carrots, cauliflower, fennel, green beans and celery.
- 4 cups vinegar (White Distilled or Apple Cider)
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons mustard seed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced thickly
Prep the vegetables.
Bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil in a small pot.
Divide the garlic and whole spices among the jars and then add the vegetables, packing them in. Leave about an inch of space at the top of the jar.
Using a funnel, carefully pour the hot liquid into the jars, making sure to submerge all the vegetables, pressing down on them with the end of a wooden spoon.
You may be able to add a few more veggies at this point, just make sure the liquid completely covers the vegetables by at least a half-inch.
Cover and turn the jars over on the counter covered with a kitchen towel for about 30 minutes to seal the lids. Turn the jars upright and let sit on the counter to cool for an hour or two.
Place the jars in the refrigerator. These will taste good after 6-8 hours, but much better after a couple of days. Keeps for several months.
Cucumber Pickle Relish
Makes 2 cups
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 6 small cucumbers (about 2 pounds total), peeled, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, chili flakes and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cucumbers and onion and return to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer the relish to jars and refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or freeze for future use.
Padua is a province in the Veneto region of Italy. It is home to some of the masterpieces from the Medieval and Renaissance art and architecture period and the towns of Cittadella and Montagnana are famous for their well-preserved Medieval city walls. There are also many ancient and historic villas in the countryside. The hills offer a relaxing naturalistic site often covered with woods, while the eastern slopes offer ancient spa sites, such as Terme Euganee, Abano Terme, Montegrotto Terme, Galzignano Terme and Battaglia Terme. There is a small part of the Venetian Lagoon lying inside the province, the Valle Millecampi (“one-thousand-fields valley”) that includes naturalistic routes for cycling or horse-riding.
The University of Padua was founded in 1222 and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second oldest in Italy. In 2010 the university had approximately 65,000 students and in 2013 was ranked “best university” among Italian institutions of higher education with more than 40,000 students.
From the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, the university was renowned for its research, particularly in the areas of medicine, astronomy, philosophy and law. During this time, the university adopted the Latin motto: Universa universis patavina libertas (Paduan Freedom is Universal for Everyone). Nevertheless, the university had a turbulent history, and there was no teaching in 1237–61, 1509–17 and 1848–50.
The Botanical Garden of Padova, established by the university in 1545, was one of the oldest gardens of its kind in the world (after the Hanging Gardens of Babylon). In addition to the garden, the university also manages nine museums, including a History of Physics Museum.
The University began teaching medicine from the day it was founded and played a leading role in the identification and treatment of diseases and ailments, specializing in autopsies and the inner workings of the body. The university houses the oldest surviving permanent anatomical theatre in Europe, dating from 1595.
Since 1595, Padua’s famous anatomical theater drew artists and scientists studying the human body during public dissections. Anatomist Andreas Vesalius held the chair of Surgery and Anatomy and in 1543 published his anatomical discoveries in De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The book triggered great public interest in dissections and caused many other European cities to establish anatomical theatres.
The university became one of the universities of the Kingdom of Italy in 1873 and, ever since, has been one of the most prestigious in the country for its contributions to scientific and scholarly research. In the field of mathematics alone, its professors have included such figures, as Gregorio Ricci Curbastro, Giuseppe Veronese, Francesco Severi and Tullio Levi Civita. On 25 June 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, a Venetian noblewoman and mathematician, became the first woman to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Padua’s cuisine has its simple roots in the vegetable garden, the farmyard and the vineyard, Farmyard products include: the well-known Paduan hen, Polverara hen, goose, guinea-hen and capon.
All varieties of chicory are cultivated in the countryside of Padua and include the Variegated Castelfranco, Early and Late Red Treviso, Red Chioggia or Red Verona varieties, are always present in the cooking proposals of the restaurants of Padua. Their soft and slightly bitter taste is particularly appetising in risotto dishes.
Padua is a producer of both the white and of the green species of asparagus. Boiled eggs and asparagus or risotto with asparagus are part of the springtime cuisine.
Like the rest of the Veneto region, Padua is a land of well-known vineyards. DOC wines are produced in five areas of the province.Wines events and exhibitions are usually organized for spring and autumn.
Since Pre-Roman times olive trees have been cultivated in the Euganean Hills. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced in the area is under the protection of the Association of the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills. The color of the oil is typically golden green, obtained by using cold-pressing techniques and bottling after careful decanting without filtering.
Montagnana is renowned for its ham, a tradition rooted in the rural population, called, prosciutto crudo dolce di Montagnana, by the locals. The sweet taste, the tenderness, the pink color and the unmistakable smell guarantee the identity of this product, so much so, that these properties were granted by the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) seal and are now safeguarded by the Consortium of the Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo, based in Montagnana. On the third Sunday of May, Montagnana organizes Piacere Montagnana, the festival of sweet ham.
In summer Padua produces its excellent cheeses in the northern grazing areas and among them are Grana Padano, Montasio and Asiago.
The cooking traditions of Padua are passed on to the generations that follow with only slight changes to adjust to more modern tastes and likes, while preserving the old recipes.
Tramezzini are very common in Padua. They are stuffed triangular sandwiches made of chewy white bread and usually served with a glass of Prosecco.
- 1 can mushrooms
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Slices of Prosciutto crudo dolce di Montagnana
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 slices bread
Remove the crust from the bread.
Chop the mushrooms.
In a bowl, stir together the mushrooms, cream cheese, parsley, lemon juice and pepper until creamy. Spread a layer of mushrooms on each slice of bread.
Top four pieces of bread with some ham. Turn the other four slices upside down on top of the other one. Press and cut diagonally.
Risotto con gli Asparagi
- 5-6 cups homemade or purchased low sodium broth
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rice: Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Grana Padano grated cheese, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
Pour the broth into a pot and heat. Keep at a simmer.
Trim and discard the tough woody stems of the asparagus (usually about an inch). Slice the spears crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces. Leave the tips intact.
Place 1 tablespoon of butter and the extra-virgin olive oil into a heavy-bottomed 5-quart pot.
Add the onions and cook over med-high heat for a couple of minutes, until transparent.
Add the sliced asparagus (reserve the tips for later use) and salt.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until the asparagus are soft and slightly golden in color.
Add the rice and “toast”, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes, until the rice acquires a light golden color.
Add the white wine and stir for one minute, letting it evaporate. Add a couple of ladles of hot broth to the rice and lower the heat to medium. Add the asparagus tips.
Stir every 30 seconds or so. Keep adding broth, ladle by ladle, as soon as the liquid is absorbed, slightly covering the rice each time, until the rice is cooked.
You will need approximately 5 cups of broth, but it depends on the rice variety, so be prepared to add more or less.
Cooking time for the rice will be 14 to 18 minutes, depending on the rice variety used. The final consistency of the risotto should be creamy.
Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup cheese and heavy cream.
Rest for one minute and serve with freshly ground black pepper and the reserved cheese.
Paduan Chicken Cacciatore
Authentic Chicken Cacciatore doesn’t use tomatoes. It was a traditional Italian dish that hunters could easily make in the field if they needed to cook a meal.
- 1 Padua chicken
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 20 mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup Prosciutto crudo dolce di Montagnana, diced
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 sage branch
- 1 thyme sprig
- Dash red wine vinegar
- Chianti red wine
- Chopped parsley for garnish
Cut the chicken up into smaller pieces.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Brown in a hot skillet with some olive oil. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and brown gently. Add the diced prosciutto and place the chicken back in the pan.
Add the herbs and vinegar and allow it to evaporate.
Add enough red wine to cover the chicken. Simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone.
Serve with either polenta or slices of bread and with steamed or roasted vegetables on the side. Garnish with chopped parsley.
A quick dinner isn’t so quick, if you’re stuck washing a dozen pots and pans when you’re through. To me, nothing is worse than facing a mountain of dishes in the sink when dinner is over.
However, here is one solution – cook everything on a foiled-covered baking pan. This method ensures you won’t get stuck in the kitchen and it produces a great tasting dinner.
Orange Flavored Baked Chicken, Onions and Potatoes
The recipe is easily doubled or tripled depending on how many diners are at your table.
- 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon. dried chili flakes
- 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- One large sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves minced
- 4 boneless chicken thighs (about 6 oz. each), trimmed of excess fat and skin removed
- 3/4 to 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Heat the oven to 425°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Finely grate 1 teaspoon orange zest and squeeze 1 tablespoon of orange juice from the orange. Stir together the juice, zest, oil, salt and the chili flakes in a small bowl.
Place the potatoes and onions on the baking sheet and brush them, on all sides, with some of the orange mixture.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl and pour the remaining oil mixture over the chicken thighs. Turn to coat well. Dredge the chicken in the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken.
Place the chicken on the foiled-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the thighs and vegetables lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables and chicken with the minced rosemary.
Note: The recipe can be prepared ahead up to this point and refrigerated until time to cook dinner.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes and onions over. Continue to roast about for 20 minutes more, until the chicken is crisp and golden and the potatoes are lightly browned in spots.
When the chicken is done, remove the potatoes and onions to serving plates and top with the chicken.
Remove the foil from the pan, carefully, and guess what……no pan to wash tonight.
Cucumbers in Sour Cream Dressing
Note: Salting the cucumbers draws out excess moisture and helps keep the salad from getting watery.
Makes 2 servings
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Scoop out the seeds from the halved cucumbers with a spoon and slice into ¼ inch thick half-moons.
Place cucumber and scallion slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber and scallion slices and toss to coat.
Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill in the refrigerator until serving time.
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
- 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
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
This is a popular dish, so I often divide the salad onto smaller serving dishes, so I can have them available in several areas.
- 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
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
This dish is always a big hit with everyone.
For the sausage:
- 1 ½ lb. Italian sausage
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
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around edges. Serve warm or chilled.
The ingredients listed above are all at their best, so make the most of August’s seasonal foods by turning them into delicious summer recipes. Pair some of summer’s ripe tomatoes with some delicious crab. Create a salad with ripe peaches and Parma Ham. Cook up some pasta and add chopped August veggies and chill. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. Below are some ideas to inspire you to create some recipes from August’s bounty.
New York Deli Style Pickled Green Tomatoes
For each quart jar:
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups distilled water or purified tap water
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 pound firm full-sized green tomatoes
- 1 stalk celery, cut in pieces
- 1/2 Serrano chili, stem removed or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons dill seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
Notes on the ingredients:
The tomatoes must be all green and cut into quarters.
You can usually find distilled water in the grocery or drug store. Distilled water is best because it has impurities removed and impurities can impart off flavors. Purified tap water is perfectly fine to use also.
Use Kosher salt not table salt. Kosher salt has larger flake shaped grains and also has small amounts of anti-caking additives but no iodine.
The recipe needs a little heat. Half a serrano works perfectly. If fresh peppers are not available, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
You must use distilled vinegar. Any other vinegar imparts too many odd flavors.
Use really clean bottles and lids. Sterilize them by submerging them in a boiling water bath or on a setting for sanitizing in your dishwasher.
Add the garlic, dill seeds, celery, hot pepper or red pepper flakes and peppercorns to the jar.
Thoroughly wash the tomatoes, remove the stem and cut them into quarters. Cram them in the jar leaving about ½ inch of space at the top.
Make the brine by combining the vinegar, water and salt in a non-reactive sauce pan or pot. Bring to a boil and stir until all the salt is dissolved.
Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes to within 1/4″ of the top. Wipe the jar top, put the lids on and tighten. Turn the jars over and let sit for a couple of hours.
Return the jars to the upright position and leave on the kitchen counter overnight. Refrigerate the pickled tomatoes for two weeks before serving.
The pickled tomatoes will keep for months in the refrigerator.
Easy Chilled Summer Melon Soup
This soup makes a great summer appetizer or serve it for lunch.
Serves 4 – 6
- 4 cups Crenshaw or cantaloupe melon, skin and seeds removed
- 4 cups yellow watermelon, skin and seeds removed
- One 15 ounce can coconut milk
- Grated zest of one large lime
- 1 large scallion (green onion) light green section finely diced and the top chopped and reserved for garnish
- 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Basil or mint leaves for garnish
Dice the melon and set aside 4 cups of each kind of melon. Puree the melon in a food processor. You will probably need to do this in batches. Pour the processed melon into a storage bowl.
To the last batch of puree add the lime zest, jalapeno, ginger,1 teaspoon of basil, the 1 teaspoon mint, diced light green scallion and the salt to the melon puree in the processor.
Pulse a few times and pour in the storage bowl with the first batch of pureed melon. Pour in the coconut milk and stir well.
Chill the soup overnight. Garnish with scallion tops, fresh mint leaves or basil when serving.
Breaded Eggplant Salad
For the eggplant
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup dried Italian flavored bread crumbs
- Olive oil
For the salad
- Half a large yellow or red tomato, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup diced pickled peppers (spicy peppers are great here if you like them)
- 4 cups salad greens, chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
Combine the salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the eggplant into 1 x 2 inch pieces.
Combine the beaten egg and milk in one shallow dish and the bread crumbs in another.
Dip the eggplant into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Place the coated eggplant on the baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake the eggplant until crispy and brown, turning them over when one side is golden, about 20 minutes.
Place the chopped pickled peppers on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture.
While the eggplant bakes, arrange the salad ingredients on individual salad serving plates. Top with the cooked eggplant and drizzle with some of the dressing.
Mix well; serve immediately with additional dressing on the side.
Need a quick side dish, full of flavor and certainly seasonal, try these quick broiled tomatoes.
For each 2 person serving
- 1 large beefsteak tomato
- 2 teaspoons prepared basil pesto
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
Heat the broiler to high.
Cut the tomato in half and place in a baking dish, cut sides up.
Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto over each tomato.
Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs and then the grated cheese.
Drizzle each with a little olive oil.
Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the topping is nicely browned.