Zucchini with Basil and Tomatoes

Serves 8

3 tablespoons olive oil
7 zucchini, peeled and chopped in ½ inch pieces
2 large fresh cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook on medium high heat until softened and a little bit browned about 12-15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix until it coats the zucchini. Mix in the basil, and kosher salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be made 2 days in advance of serving.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Chickpea Salad

chickpea-salad

Healthy and fresh. I love to serve this at a day time meal. It keeps well for days.

Serves 6 to 8

1 large English cucumber
3 medium tomatoes
¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. If the cucumber is very fat, cut it in half lengthwise again. Cut the cucumber crosswise into ½ inch wide half-moons and put in a large bowl.

Core the tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges, and add to the bowl along with the onion, chickpeas, herbs, vinegar, and olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to combine thoroughly. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed.

Easy Chili Curry Roasted Chicken

Lolas Lechen Style Marinated Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce. A121002_FW_BillKim_4thJuly_July2013

Serves 10

CHICKEN
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
9 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup oregano leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
Kosher salt
Three 3-1/2-pound chickens

PREPARE THE CHICKEN
In a bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, paprika, chile powder, curry and 2 tablespoons of salt. Arrange the chickens in a dish and pour the marinade over the chickens, rubbing it all over the birds. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Remove the chickens from the marinade, scraping off any excess.

Roast the chickens for about 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reaches 160, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Transfer the chickens to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Sweet and Smoky Ribs

sweet-smoky-ribs
Serves 4

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 (4-1/2 pounds) beef ribs, in racks,
Prepared barbecue sauce

Whisk garlic powder, salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, pepper, cumin, onion powder, cinnamon, and coriander in a small bowl to blend. Preheat oven to 300°. Rub ribs all over with spice blend and wrap each rack individually in foil, crimping seams to seal tightly. Place both racks on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake ribs until fork-tender, about 3 hours. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut racks between bones into individual ribs. Divide ribs between 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets and bake until heated through and golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Layer ribs on plates in alternating directions, 3 ribs per layer. Serve ribs, with barbeque sauce.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

summer-corntomato-salad

A great and easy summer side dish!

Serves 6 to 8

Kosher salt
3 large ears corn
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, more as needed
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium bell pepper, finely diced
½ small red onion, finely diced
½ medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch chunks
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cut the kernels from the corn, add the kernels to the pot and cook for 1 ½ minutes (they should be a little crunchy). Pour into a colander and run cool water over the corn to stop the cooking. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and whisk to combine. Combine the corn, tomatoes, pepper, onion, cucumber, and cilantro in a medium bowl, drizzle with about half of the dressing, and toss gently with your hands. Add more dressing as needed to coat the vegetables lightly and toss again. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed.

Mango Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

mango-crunch-salad
I’m feeling kinda crazy for mangos these days. They are just so reliably good this summer that I’m buying them by the case. My family may be getting tired of mango sorbet (how could they, its just so good) so I’m adding them to everything from Panzanella salad, salsa, and these two great recipes below. They add a sweetness to anything so don’t be shy to try them in anything you like.

Serves 4 – 6

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
Salt
8 large radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
6 cups mixed baby greens, washed and dried
1 large or 2 small mangoes, peeled, fruit cut off the seed and cubed
2 cups peeled and cubed jicama (cut into about 1/2-inch cubes)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk the peanut butter and lime juice until smooth. Add the brown sugar, vegetable oil and some salt and whisk until combined. Add enough water to thin the sauce and give it a dressing-like consistency, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. 

Place the radishes, greens, mangoes, jicama and cilantro in a large bowl and toss together. 

Drizzle with the dressing, toss and serve.

Snow Peas Tossed with Ginger & Almonds

snowpeas-ginger-almond

1 pound snow peas
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chile paste or chile sauce
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil plus 4 whole sprigs
Soy sauce
½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped, optional

Pinch off the stem ends of the snow peas and remove any strings, if any. Heat the oil in a wok or high-sided large sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté over high heat until fragrant.

Add the snow peas and toss, stir frying for about 2 minutes, add the chile paste, honey and the 2 teaspoons of basil and cook until the snow peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with the soy sauce, add the almonds, and toss well.

To serve, transfer the snow peas to a serving platter. Garnish with the basil sprigs and serve immediately.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Ginger Crumb Topping

strawberry-rhubarb-pie

I get tons of requests for strawberry rhubarb recipes. It’s rhubarb season so here you go!

Makes One 9-inch Pie

Crust
1 cup flour, more for rolling
7 tablespoons cold unsalted margarine, cut into ½ inch cubes
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ice-cold water, more as needed
1 ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling
2 ½ cups (about 3 large stalks) rhubarb, sliced ¼ inch thick on the diagonal
2 ½ cups hulled and halved strawberries (quarter any very large ones)
2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping
2/3 cup flour
5 tablespoons cold unsalted margarine, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the crust:
Put the flour, margarine, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and put in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove the bowl from the freezer and put it on the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 2 minutes. Combine the ice water and vinegar in a small measuring cup. With the mixer running, slowly add it to the flour mixture. Add just enough for the mixture to come together into shaggy clumps; if you use all the liquid and it is still not holding together, add cold water 1 teaspoon at a time until it does. Be careful not to overmix the dough, or it will become tough.

Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a 5 inch disk, and wrap in the plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to a few days.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 ½ inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.

Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish by either folding the dough into quarters and unfolding it in the dish or rolling the dough around a rolling pin and unrolling it into the dish. Tuck the excess dough under the edges to create a double thickness and a smooth edge. Then pinch the dough every 2 inches to form a decorative border. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and crumb topping (at least 20 minutes).


To make the filling:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the filling ingredients and toss gently to combine.

To make the crumb topping:
In another medium bowl, combine the crumb topping ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two table knives, cut the mixture until the biggest pieces of butter are about the size of small peas. The mixture will still be very dry and floury looking.

To assemble and bake:
Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the piecrust, then top with the crumb mixture. Place the pie on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust is dark golden brown, the filling is bubbling, and some juices are spilling over the edge, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Tip: if the dough has been in the fridge overnight or longer, let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes prior to rolling. (It needs to have a bit of give). If it has been refrigerated for only a couple of hours, you can roll it out immediately.

Heirloom Carrot Ribbons with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

IMG_1114

Gorgeous orange ribbons with nuts and sweet raisins. Lovely to look at and terrific to eat.

Serves 6 to 8

1/3 cup golden raisins
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar, more as needed
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15 small carrots (about 1 ¼ pounds)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Put the raisins in a small bowl and add about ½ cup very hot boiling water. Set aside to soften for about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds pepper. Set aside.

With a vegetable peeler or mandoline, peel the carrots into thin ribbons and put in a large bowl along with the pine nuts and parsley. Drain the raisins, pat dry, and add them to the bowl as well.

Drizzle the dressing over the carrots and mix well with your hands. Taste and season with more salt or vinegar as needed. Serve right away.

Fennel, Orange, and Avocado Salad

Super refreshing for the summer. I love the combination of fennel and orange. The avocado just mellows it all out.

Serves 4

4 medium oranges, segmented into pieces
1 large or 2 small heads fennel, with fronds
1 small shallot, minced
Juice from ½ medium lemon
1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium avocados

Arrange orange slices on 4 salad plates, leaving room in the center of each for the fennel salad. Set aside.

Trim off all but about ½ inch of the fennel stalks, reserving the bulb and fronds. Remove the first outer layer of fennel and discard. Rinse the remaining bulb and set aside.

Chop 1 tablespoon fennel fronds and put them in a small bowl along with the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk to blend, then drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to whisk. Taste for salt.

Halve the fennel bulb, cutting lengthwise through the narrow side of the bulb (this will make it easier to shave thinly.) using a sharp knife (or mandoline or food processor), slice the fennel crosswise as thinly as you can- about 1/16 inch is ideal. (Too thick and it will dominate the salad; too thin and it will wilt and loose its texture.) Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with half the dressing. Toss, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Divide the fennel among the 4 plates, mounding in the center of the orange slices.

Halve the avocado lengthwise, remove the pit, and cut 1/4-inch slices into the flesh. Using a large spoon, scoop the slices out and nestle them on and around the mounds of fennel. Sprinkle a little salt over the avocado then drizzle the remaining vinaigrette all over the salad. Finish with a bit of pepper.

Grilled Chicken with Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

by Lois Held

Southerners love their barbecue sauce on the sweet side. This version also has a slight “kick”.

Ingredients:
Sauce:
2 medium peaches (about 1 pound total), peeled and diced*
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 – 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup catsup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons peach preserves
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 (3-1/2 – 4 pound) chicken, cut into eights, washed and dried **
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Directions:
Make the sauce: Peel (see below) and dice the peaches and set aside.

In a sauce pan (4-qt), heat the oil. Over medium heat, cook the onion about 3 minutes; stirring so they do not brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, stir and reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the peaches are very soft. When adding the cayenne pepper, start with a little and increase according to the amount of heat you like. Stir occasionally so the sauce does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.

When the peaches are soft, remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender. The sauce does not have to be totally smooth. Can also use a blender but be careful when blending hot liquids. Set aside.

While the sauce is cooking, preheat the grill. I usually preheat my gas grill for 20 – 30 minutes. When the grill is ready, carefully oil the grids. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin side down, and close the grill lid. Lower the heat so that the outside of the chicken does not cook faster than the inside. Depending on your grill, cook for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown. Watch for flair-ups from the drippings. Turn the chicken; now it is skin side up. Continue cooking for about 10 – 12 minutes.

After about 5 – 6 minutes, baste the top of the chicken with the Peach Sauce. Continue grilling with the lid closed. After a few minutes, baste again. When the chicken is almost done, give it a final basting and turn over, skin side down. Baste the top of the chicken. Watch it carefully as the sauce burns because of the sugar. Turn the chicken over again and baste. Continue turning and basting for a few minutes or until the chicken is nicely browned and done. Do not allow it to burn. Internal temperature of cooked chicken is 180 degrees.

Remove to platter. Give it a final basting with the sauce. Heat the remaining sauce so that it is hot and serve with the chicken.

This makes about 2 cups of barbecue sauce. The sauce can be made in advance; cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

*To peel fresh peaches: make an “X” on the bottom of the peach, bringing the “X” up part of the sides. Place peaches into a pot of boiling water for about 20 – 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove from boiling water and place on a plate. Using a small knife, pull the skins away from the peach.

**Wash and dry the chicken with paper towels. Place pieces on a cookie sheet and season both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I leave the skin on as it adds flavor to the chicken. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.

Tuna Tartare with Pears and Scallions

tuna-tartare
This is a great twist on traditional tuna tartare. The combination of pears, raw tuna, scallions, pine nuts, and sesame oil are totally unique and incredible together. This is a great light appetizer.

Serves 4

1 pound sushi grade tuna, finely diced
1 small crisp pear, such as Asian or Anjou, peeled, cored, and cut into very small dice
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon Asian Chile sauce, such as sambal
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 to 16 thin slices baguette toasted, for serving

Directions
Put the tuna, pear, ginger, garlic, scallions, pine nuts, sesame oil, and chile sauce in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour until ready to serve.

To serve, divide the tartare among four salad plates and press it with the back of a spoon into a thin, even layer. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Grilled Pineapple

Pineapple 3

1 ripe pineapple
1 stick (8 tablespoons) non-dairy margarine, melted
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Non-dairy vanilla ice cream
Dark rum, optional

Directions:
Scrape the grids clean.

Cut the top off the pineapple, cut off the rind and slice into 8 or 10 even round slices. With a paring knife, remove the core from each slice leaving the rounds whole.

Place the sugar in a large bowl and mix in the cinnamon. Put the melted margarine into another bowl. Put the pineapple into another bowl.

Bring the bowls to the grill and place beside the grill. Dip each slice of pineapple first into the melted margarine and then into the sugar mixture, shaking off any excess sugar. Place immediately on the hot grill. Working quickly, dip the remaining pineapple rounds and place on grill.

Turn with tongs, when the cooked side becomes browned and caramelized. Continue cooking until the second side is browned , sizzling, and caramelized. This should only take a few minutes per side. Do not allow it to burn. Remove to platter as each one is finished grilling. Slice each round into chunks.

Place a large scoop − or two − of ice cream into a bowl, top with the grilled pineapple chunks. Drizzle with the rum, if using.

Serves 8 to 10

Adapted from The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen

Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Mash

coconut-sweetpotato-mashed

Yum, great mash-up. Coconut, curry and sweet potatoes are balanced so well here.

2 ½ pounds sweet potato (3 or 4 large), scrubbed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted margarine
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¾ cup coconut milk
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more as needed
6 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened (see note)

Fit a steamer basket into a large pot, add water just to the bottom of the basket, and arrange the sweet potatoes in a snug layer in the basket. Bring the water t a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pot, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a skewer, 15 to 20 minutes. (Keep an eye on the water level during cooking, and add ore if it threatens to boil off.) Remove from the heat, carefully remove the potatoes from the basket, and set aside.

Pour the water out of the pot and return to medium heat. Add the margarine, curry, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until the margarine is melted and the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 1 ½ teaspoons salt, bring to a simmer, and cook for an additional minute to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Carefully peel off and discard the potato skins. Add the potatoes to the pot and mash until smooth and all ingredients are blended. (At this point you can adjust the consistency of the potatoes by adding up to ½ cup of water.) Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. If necessary, rewarm over low heat, stirring constantly.

To serve, transfer to a serving dish and top with the coconut.

You can make these potatoes up to a day ahead. Reheat in a covered ovenproof dish in a 350 degree oven until heated thorough, about 40 minutes. Garnish just before serving.

Note: to toast coconut, spread it in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally, until golden.

Couscous with Lemon and Golden Raisins

Serves 6

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup water
1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (10-oz) box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
½ cup golden raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cook onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add water and broth and bring to a boil.

Stir in couscous and raisins, then cover and remove from heat. Let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir in parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add remaining tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry-Pretzel Trifles

strawberry-pretzel-trifle

This is a refreshing twist on a regular trifle. The salted pretzels make a delicious candy crunch topping. It tastes like a dairy dessert!

Makes 6 to 8

For The Strawberries:
2 pints strawberries, halved (about 6 cups)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For The Crumble:
1 stick unsalted margarine melted plus more for the pan
3 ½ cups small pretzel twists
1 large egg white
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt

For The Cream:
2 (8 ounce) packages pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups pareve whipping cream

Prepare the strawberries: Combine 4 cups strawberries and the granulated sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until bubbling, then increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups strawberries and the lemon juice. Let cool, then transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the crumble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch-round cake pan. Combine 3 cups pretzels, the melted margarine, egg white, granulated sugar, flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until a wet dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Break the remaining 1/2 cup pretzels into pieces and press into the dough. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan, then break into bite-size pieces.

Make the cream: Just before serving, beat the pareve cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat the pareve cream in another bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold half of the pareve whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the rest.

Layer the pareve whipped cream, crumble and strawberry mixtures in individual glasses or bowls. Cover and chill, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Red Beet, Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad

Serves 4

Weird combination that is terrific together. Sweet beets and cantaloupe with creamy avocados. The dressing is both sweet and savory and makes a very creative salad.

6 small red beets (about 1 pound), tops removed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ large ripe cantaloupe, seeded and rind removed
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn (optional)

Put the beets in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar, cover, and cook until a knife inserted into the center of a beet meets no resistance, about 45 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a bowl.

When they are cool enough to handle (use gloves to prevent the beets from staining your hands), use a paper towel to rub the skin off the beets. Quarter the beets lengthwise, return to the bowl, and, while warm, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon, white wine vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger, and garlic together until combined. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.

Cut the cantaloupe into pieces the size of the beets and add to the beets. Drizzle one-quarter of the dressing over and toss gently.

Divide the beets and cantaloupe evenly among four salad plates. Using a small melon baller, scoop balls of the avocado and scatter over the plates. Drizzle more dressing over each plate and season each salad with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and mint, if using, evenly over the salads and serve immediately.

Mixed Greens with Grapefruit and Pomegranate Salad

pomegreen-salad

Serves 4

This salad doubles easily. The dressing is great, sweet and citrusy. I serve it all winter long.

4 cups mixed greens
1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented; squeeze remaining membrane and save juice for dressing
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Put greens, grapefruit segments, onion, and pomegranate seeds in a bowl. Mix grapefruit juice, mustard, honey, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour as much dressing as desired over salad and toss gently to combine.

Seared Balsamic – Glazed Carrots

balsamic-glazed-carrot

I am always looking for a good way to bring the symbolic foods into the meal. This is a delicious side dish that also warrants a special bracha.

Serves 4

4 peeled carrots, cut thinly on the diagonal
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring about 1 quart of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, blanch for about 2 minutes, and drain. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until smoking hot. Add the carrots and allow them to sit in the pan to sear, 2 to 5 minutes or until brown. Toss the carrots and sear again. Add the garlic and shallots and briefly sauté. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce over high heat until thick and carrots are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the marjoram and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot.

Lemon and Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Honey Frosting

Lemon-Honey-Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Cupcakes
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tofutti sour cream or sour cream
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, soy milk, or milk
1-1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Lemon-Honey Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk tofutti sour cream, soymilk, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl until well mixed.

Beat margarine, honey and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

With mixer on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just combined.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: beat margarine, honey and lemon zest in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamed, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in confectioners’ sugar until blended. Beat in lemon juice until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.

Spoon into a large zip lock freezer bag, snip off one corner and pipe onto cupcakes, or just spread frosting onto cupcakes.

Chilled Mango – Curry Soup

mango-curry-soup

This is a super flavorful and delicious cold soup. The mangos make sit super sweet and the curry and ginger make it super savory.

Serves 6

6 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon curry powder, toasted
2 tablespoons sweet, hot chile sauce plus additonal, as needed
Soy sauce
2 scallions, minced

Put the mangoes, ginger, garlic, and onion in a blender and puree (or puree with a handheld blender). Add the stock, vinegar, curry, and chile sauce and blend just to combine. Season to taste with soy sauce and pour into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate until cold, 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls and garnish with some of the scallions, sour cream, and chile sauce. Serve cold.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Roasted Shallots and Dried Cherries

braised-lamb-shank-cherry

Dried sweet fruit pairs perfectly with lamb. The mellow shallots add depth of flavor. This is a great main dish for Rosh Hashannah.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 shallots, peeled
6 whole cloves garlic
6 (10-12 ounce) lamb shanks
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup flour
1 cup red wine
2 ½ cups lamb or veal stock or beef stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the olive oil, shallots, and garlic in a large roasting pan, cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the shallots and garlic are soft to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stovetop over high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Place the flour on a large plate and dredge the lamb in it. Place the shanks in the pan and sear both sides well, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the wine and reduce over high heat by about half. Add the stock, vinegar, cherries, and thyme, cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Cook until tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and season the broth to taste with the salt and pepper. Place the lamb on a serving platter. Slice and serve hot with the sauce spooned over.

Apple Cranberry Turnovers

apple-cranberry-turnover
Makes 8 large turnovers

1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted margarine, at room temperature
6 ounces pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) flour, more for rolling
Kosher salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 medium apples (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced ¼ inch thick
¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
About ¼ cup turbinado sugar (or granulated) for sprinkling

Put 1 cup (2 sticks) of the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the pareve cream cheese, and mix on medium to blend, 30 seconds longer.

Scrape the bowl again, add the flour and ½ teaspoon salt, and mix on low speed just until it comes together in a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a square slab. Wrap the plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Meanwhile, put the remaining ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, the light brown sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. When the margarine is melted, add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix the cranberries and lemon juice and cool completely.

When you’re ready to roll the dough, position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment or nonstick liner.

Transfer one half of the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into 12 inch square about 1/8 thick. You won’t have much excess dough, so trim and reposition pieces of the edge to make a straight-sided square, pressing seams firmly to seal. Cut the dough into four 6 inch squares and set aside. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Divide the apple filling among the dough squares, leaving at least a ½ inch border around the edge. Brush the borders lightly with the beaten egg and fold each square in half to make a triangle. Use a fork to crimp the edges and ensure a good seal.

Transfer the 2 baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg and sprinkle generously with the turbinado sugar. Cut 3 small slits into the top of each turnover.

Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue to bake until golden brown and you can see the filling bubbling through the sits, about 15 minutes longer.

Let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: these turnovers can easily be assembled and then frozen. Freeze them on the lined baking sheet; when solid, transfer to a zip-top bag and seal. They’ll keep for up to 2 months this way. When ready to bake, arrange on a baking sheet and bake as directed- they’ll just take an extra 10 minutes or so in the oven.

Pear Skillet Cake

pear-skillet-cake

Serves 8

6 medium Bosc pears (about 3 1/3 pounds)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted margarine
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/3 cups (6 ounces) flour
2/3 granulated sugar
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.

Peel, quarter, and core 4 of the pears and set aside. Peel and grate the other 2 and set them aside separately.

In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, melt the margarine over low heat. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the brown sugar over the margarine. Arrange the quartered pears on the sugar; if necessary, trim a few pieces to fit and fill center.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange zest until blended. Stir in the grated pears. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter over the pears and smooth to the top. Bake until the cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the skillet for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Asian Spiced and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

spiced-butternutsquash-soup

Serves 6

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
½ cup mirin
½ cup sherry or red wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons chile sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder, toasted
½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
Soy sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash and garlic in a roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a stockpot over high heat until hot. Add the onion and ginger and saute until fragrant. Add the mirin and either sherry or white wine and reduce to about ½ cup, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, cooked squash, and gsrlic and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chile, curry, and cumin and puree with a handheld blender or in batches in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Season to taste with soy sauce. Taste for spiciness and adjust, adding more chile sauce if you like it hotter. Or use Tofutti sour cream to mellow it out.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with a dallop of tofutti sour cream and serve hot.