For the pastry: ¾ plus 2 tablespoons all purpose white flour ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon white sugar 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and sliced 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ice water For the filling: 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard ¼ pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated ½ cup ricotta cheese 3 – 4 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
To make the dough, place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse to blend. Add the butter, one slice at a time, and mix until crumbly and there are no clumps of butter left. Add the water and mix until a ball forms, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Sprinkle flour on the countertop, place the dough on it and with a rolling pin, roll it out into a 10 inch circle. If you are using a pie pan, crimp the edges about ½ way up the sides: this is a shallow tart. Line the pan with the dough and cover with aluminum foil or wax paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 1- 12 additional minutes.
Increase the temperature to 400 degrees.
Line the dough with the mustard and then with the ricotta. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and place the tomato slices in circular pattern. Drizzle the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil as soon as it comes out of the oven.
A cross between home fries and hash browns, the potatoes are a great breakfast/brunch dish, particularly because they improve by sitting overnight in the refrigerator. You won’t have to be slaving over a hot stove while your guests mingle.
Honestly, I dreamed of these: sweet, tart, and oh-so-lemony, these are soooo good I could eat the whole thing myself.
Serves 8 to 10.
8 sweet potatoes, peeled, if desired, and cut in thick rounds ½ cup unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 1 teaspoon kosher salt Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the sweet potatoes in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Place the butter, sugar, water, salt, and lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the sugar syrup over the sweet potatoes, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the foil and pour all the liquid into a bowl. Pour the liquid back over the sweet potatoes, return the pan to oven, and cook uncovered until the sweet potatoes are caramelized and bubbly, about 30 additional minutes.
Sweet potatoes are one of my most beloved vegetables, and it practically makes me delirious that they are so good for you too. Rich in fiber and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are high in both calcium and potassium.
The sweet potatoes can be prepared up to two days ahead, but don’t add the topping and bake them until prior to serving.
Serves 8 to 12.
8 sweet potatoes, cut in large dice 1⅓ cups pecans, finely chopped 1 cup light brown sugar, spread out on a plate and left overnight to dry ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature ¼ cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons kosher salt ½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are tender and all but 1 inch of the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, place the pecans and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Transfer the sweet potatoes and remaining water to a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process until smooth. Add the butter, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, and mix until combined. Transfer to a 9 x 12-inch baking pan, and top with the pecan and brown sugar mixture. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
This chutney is great for Thanksgiving but it’s also good on a Turkey Burger, as an accompaniment to Roasted Chicken, as a spread for turkey or chicken sandwiches, or even mixed into cream cheese for a dip.
Yield: about 2 cups.
1 12-ounce bag cranberries (3 cups) ¼ cup orange juice 1 to 2 jalapeño or chipotle chiles, minced ½ cup light brown sugar ½ teaspoon kosher salt Grated zest of 1 lime Grated zest of 1 orange ¾ cup lightly toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1. Place the cranberries, orange juice, chiles, and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the cranberries are soft and have absorbed all the liquid, about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.
2. Stir in the salt, lime and orange zests, and nuts. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
This is terrific with Roasted Chicken with Artichokes, Lemon, and Onions, stuffed into bell peppers, or as stuffing in a whole chicken.
For even more flavor, just prior to serving, add grated lemon zest,
Strong flavors make this new twist on roasted potatoes more flavorful, if not quite as versatile – and frankly, hard to stop eating. It’s good with simpler dishes like hamburger, grilled steak, and chicken. Try it instead of hash browns or home fries with eggs.
This classic steakhouse side is a healthy alternative to French fries and a great breakfast accompaniment (without the garlic if you choose). You can substitute 1½ to 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams for the new potatoes, or better yet, cook half each.
I owned a grain pan (a shallow oval enamel pan) for about 10 years before I ever used it. Somehow the pan just begged for a real gratin and this one was just what I dreamed of: creamy and rich with a crusty top. Finally, a gratin worth having a pan for.
Nothing says comfort food like mashed potatoes. Serve them with meatloaf or anything else. Form leftovers into patties and cook them like a burger, or mix them with shredded cheese and bake in a casserole for an easy version of scalloped potatoes.
A simple, versatile last-minute side dish for steak, fish, and chicken, this can also be used as a topping for burgers, as a sauce for pasta (just add Parmesan or feta cheese), or as a filling for an omelet with cheese and fresh herbs.
Originally from France, black olive paste is more commonly known as tapenade, and is a puree of black olives, capers, garlic, anchovies, and olive oil. It is often used as a spread for crackers. Here it infuses a simple tuna salad with the flavors of the South of France.
Nancy’s Aunt Betsy has been making this recipe for many years. Their tradition is that the whole family eats it with cocktails on Thanksgiving and always with Bremmer wafers. At my house, we eat it at dinner.
Somewhat sweet, somewhat nutty, caramelized onions are a versatile and outstanding addition to pasta, hamburgers, sandwiches, pizzas, omelets, and frittatas, and a fine substitute for raw onions in salad.
My daughter, Lauren, who has no interest in potatoes, thinks that eating sweet potatoes, either baked or mashed this way, is about the best dinner she could have. Luckily, I, too, could eat these every night.
When dishes are served on a bed of spinach, they are called Florentine because when Catherine de Medici left her home in Florence in the 1500s to marry the king of France, she brought along her own cooks to prepare spinach, her favorite vegetable. Lacking a wealth of recipe ideas and needing some versatility, they often served the spinach underneath whatever they were making. Nevertheless, this is a great way to serve spinach.
Susan made butternut squash and apples in filo dough and it was superb. Although I am a fan of eating filo, I’m not a fan of cooking with it. The recipe has been simplified but the flavors remain the same.
Although these require more work than simply tossing Brussels sprouts into a pot of steaming water, their taste is nothing less than magnificent. Additionally, I guarantee that if you don not say what they are, even the most ardent Brussels sprout detractor will be impressed.
Native to the Mediterranean, parsnips are similar in texture to turnips and shape to carrots; some people call parsnips white carrots. Both fruitier and nuttier than carrots, parsnips add a touch of earthiness and sweetness to traditional mashed potatoes.
If you haven’t tried broccoli rabe (also known as Italian broccoli or broccoli di rape), this is a good introduction. The bitterness (which I love) overwhelms some people, but is somewhat lessened by the taste of the creamy orzo I can’t convince my husband to eat even this mild rendition, so I often eat it as an entrée when he goes out of town. It is especially good with shaved Parmesan cheese.
I am not a fan of buttering bread, but for this I make an eager exception. In fact I guarantee that people will eat so much, you might want to serve two long baguettes. You must use a really high quality unsalted butter (never salted) and either leave it out to warm to room temperature or whip it in a frenzy in a mixer (but be careful not to overwhip it to heavy cream).
After eating this butter on bread, I was sure that it would be equally delicious on spaghetti, but I was absolutely wrong. The subtle flavor got quite lost.
Strawberries and rhubarb are the most sublime combination. Here they are served unadulterated. If you must, add vanilla or ginger ice cream.
In Latin, rhubarb means “the root of the barbarians,” meaning anything foreign or unknown. What it doesn’t say is that the leaves are toxic, so be sure to use only the stalk. Most cookbooks recommend that you pull off the strings as you do for celery, but I find that using a vegetable peeler works even better.
If you’ve only had steamed or boiled corn on the cob, you’re in for a real treat. Roasting, which is my favorite method, yields a corn that is drier yet both sweeter and crunchier than steaming. I had never really eaten it until my husband, Mark, surprised me by making dinner. I rarely eat it any other way now.
Todd English, with whom I wrote The Olives Table, is without question the most talented chef I know. I have never had better food than that cooked by him and, thankfully, after a year of testing his recipes, I have been hugely influenced. His recipe for roast carrots with feta cheese inspired this recipe.
The avocadoes and hearts of palm should be cut in similar sizes. You can either slice each lengthwise or dice the avocado and slice the Hearts of Palm vertically.
However you cut them, divide them into four parts and place on individual plates. Add oil and vinegar and top with shavings of Pecorino. Add pepper to taste.
Note: Many people think of avocados as esoteric and although used as a vegetable, avocados are actually fruits. Hass avocados are pebbly skinned and available in the summer and California Fuerte’s are darker and smooth skinned and available almost all year long. Most people have a preference for one over the other, but let your own taste be your guide.
Either way, they should be stored in a warm, place until they’re ripe, at which point, it’s fine to refrigerate them. To speed the ripening process, place avocados in a brown paper bag, which will force the maturation process.
¼ cup fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, basil and rosemary (optional)
Place water in a medium size saucepan over a high flame and bring to a boil. Gradually add cornmeal and salt. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 40 minutes or until the cornmeal becomes quite thick. If desired, add cheese and herbs. Serve as is or place in a lightly buttered 9 inch pie pan and refrigerate until ready to use.
How to eat polenta:
1. Eat it as soon as it’s cooked, like mashed potatoes.
2. Put a dollop or two on soup or chili.
3. Let it cool and then make it into croutons and put in on your favorite salad or soup.
4. Let it cool, cut in into sections and saute in a small amount of olive oil, like a big crouton.
5. Let it cool and then grill or broil it for about 2 minutes per side.
6. Place it in a loaf pan, let it cool and then slice it like sandwich bread.
7. Serve it topped with any kind of chili, ratatouille, caponata, sauteed wild mushrooms, roasted vegetables, no- nonsense tomato sauce, roasted bell pepper sauce or spinach with garlic and pine nuts.
1½ - 2 pounds new potatoes, halved or quartered, depending on taste
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic and salt and mix until combined. Place on baking sheet or large baking pan and cook for about 35 - 45 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with rosemary.
Substitute 1 1/2 -2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, for the new potatoes.
In the oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the potatoes all over with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes on a rack in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until it feels soft when pricked with a fork.
In the microwave: Pierce the potatoes with a fork and place on floor of oven, 1 inch apart in a circular arrangement. Cook on high for 12- 16 minutes (4- 6 minutes per potato). If potatoes feel firm when done, let stand to soften.
Serve immediately with one or more of the following:
Cream cheese, sour cream, goat cheese, yogurt, bleu cheese or cheddar cheese, creme fraiche
Smoked salmon. sour cream and dill
Caviar and sour cream
Herbs, like chives, basil, cilantro, mint
Sour cream and chili
Bacon and cheese
Cherry Tomatoes with Garlic, Olive Oil and Rosemary
Author: Sally Sampson
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 - 2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large non stick skillet over low heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until just begin to turn golden. Raise heat to medium, add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Add rosemary and cook for one minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Use half red cherry tomatoes and half yellow.
Substitute basil or oregano for the rosemary.
1½ - 2 pounds fresh spinach, ends trimmed and discarded
2 - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 - 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
Wash the spinach well and shake out the water. Heat a large saucepan over a high flame and add the spinach. Cook for about 5 - 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the spinach to a colander and set aside.
Heat the saucepan over a medium flame and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pine nuts and garlic and cook until golden, about 3 - 5 minutes. Return the spinach to the saucepan, toss to combine and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4 - 6 red, orange, green or yellow bell peppers, or a combination
½ cup currants, raisins or sundried cherries
3 scallions, root and 1 inch of green part trimmed and discarded, remainder chopped
3 - 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 - 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place the water or stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add couscous, cover and remove pan from heat. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Cut tops off of peppers and coarsely chop. Scoop out insides and discard. Place peppers in a baking pan so that they are snug.
Remove couscous from pan and place in mixing bowl. Add chopped peppers and remaining ingredients and mix well. Divide the couscous evenly between the peppers and place in the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the peppers are soft.
1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil (do not use regular sesame oil)
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 - 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, root and 1 inch of green part trimmed and discarded, remainder cut diagonally into one inch pieces
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup red wine vinegar (if serving cold)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a roasting or baking pan.
Place the garlic, sherry, olive oil, sesame oil, curry powder and salt in a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until it forms a thin paste. Coat the eggplant cubes and place in the oven. Cook for about 45 - 60 minutes or until the eggplant is lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro, scallions and pepper.
If you wish to serve this as a salad, add the vinegar.
¼ cup black olives, pitted and chopped, or more to taste
½ red onion, chopped (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a nonstick skillet over a medium flame and add oil. When the oil is hot, add eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Lower heat, cover and cook about 20 minutes or until soft. Raise heat to high, add tomatoes and cook for bout 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
Great on grilled fish, sandwiches, pizza, cold pasta.
On buying eggplant-
Eggplants are extremely perishable; buy shiny, heavy, dark, smooth eggplants and use them within a day or two. If you can’t find them in absolutely perfect condition, leave them in the market: dented, withered or discolored eggplants will be bitter.
On salting eggplant:
It’s not necessary to salt eggplant. as many recipes recommend: it gets rid of very little liquid, almost no bitterness and adds unnecessary salt to the dish.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
Heat a skillet over a medium flame and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onion, bell pepper and curry and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add corn and water or broth and cook until corn is heated through and liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add herb of choice and serve.
To make this into soup: Add 4 cups chicken stock when you add the corn, bring to a boil, lower and cook for about 20 minutes more. Puree if desired.
To remove corn from the cob, stand it on its stem and cut from top to bottom. For this recipe, remove the corn before cooking.
2 bunches beets, trimmed, greens discarded or saved for another use
3 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If the beets are very small, leave them whole. If they are large, quarter them and lightly rub with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place them in the oven on a roasting pan and cook for about 1 hour, or until they can be pierced with a fork.
Just prior to taking the beets out of the oven, combine the orange juice, vinegar, remaining olive oil and mustard and place in a small pan and bring to a boil. Gently peel the beets and pour this mixture over them. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove beet stains by rubbing your hands with salt and then washing with soap and water. Bleach will get it out of cutting boards and utensils.
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
1 - 2 teaspoons honey
Place squash and stock or water in a large saucepan or skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Push squash to one side to make room for the butter. Add butter and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle squash with remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, if desired, and diced
1 cornbread, day old, homemade or store bought, about 7 - 8 cups crumbled
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup vermouth
2 large eggs
½ - 1 cup apple juice
Trim the root off the leeks and remove all but 2 inches of the green part. Dice and wash the remaining portion in several changes of hot water, being sure to get rid of any sand; drain well in a colander.
Heat a medium size skillet over low heat and add oil. Add leeks, celery and apples and cook for about 15 - 20 minutes or until soft.
Add remaining ingredients and place in turkey cavity or in oven proof bowl and cook for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.