Butterfly Shrimp in Lime and Ginger

July 8, 2007

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Here’s another, quick holiday grill you can do almost at the last minute. SAM

Juice of 1 lime (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 ounce ginger root, peeled and minced (1 teaspoon)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stemmed
1 pound large fresh shrimp, shelled and de-veined with tails intact

Combine the lime juice, tamari, oil, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Cut the shrimp almost in half, open, slightly flatten, and place in the lime marinade, stirring gently to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Thread the shrimp on skewers or place in an oiled, hinged basket. Grill over moderately hot coals for 3 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade. Shrimp are done when pink in color and lightly browned on the edges.
Makes 2 servings.

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Steak Grilled with Bay Leaves and Garlic

July 7, 2007

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‘Got any charcoal left over from the Fourth? Fire it up! SAM

PS Stuff some of yesterday’s Potato Biscuits with the leftovers and you’ll have breakfast in the bag!

2 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered, plus 3 pressed garlic cloves, divided
4 pounds (2-inch) sirloin or porterhouse steak
1/3 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves, crumbled, plus 8 bay leaves whole, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut small gashes in the steak and insert the slivered garlic. Wrap the steak in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. In a small jar, combine the pressed garlic, crumbled bay leaves, and olive oil. Cover tightly and shake well. Grill the steak 4 to 6 inches above the coals, turning once, about 15 minutes on each side. Baste frequently with the garlic mixture, from time to time scattering the remaining bay leaves on the grill. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.


Potato Biscuits

July 6, 2007

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This recipe calls for biscuit mix, and some people will tell you they never use biscuit mix. ‘Chacun à son goût,’ as the French like to say, which in Iowa farm country translates to ‘”Everybody to his own taste,” said the old woman as she kissed the cow.’ I can be as much a purist as the next person, but, I’ll tell you this: they’re missing out on some fine biscuits! SAM

1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup cold milk
3 cups biscuit mix
1 to 2 tablespoons cold water (if necessary)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the potato flakes, sugar, butter, and hot water, mixing well with a fork. Add the cold water and biscuit mix, stirring until just blended. Add small amounts of cold water, if necessary, to form a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 10 times and roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits with a 2-inch cutter and place closely together on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 2 dozen biscuits.


Zucchini Sole

July 5, 2007

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So, ‘still have friends and family hanging around from the Fourth? Serve them this easy fish casserole. Zucchini are in farmers’ markets now. Buy long, dark green ones as small as possible or use the new, light green round ones—they’re very mellow. There’s no need to press either kind. You’ll want all the juices. SAM

1 pound small zucchini, coarsely grated and divided in half
2 medium sweet onions, finely grated and divided in half
2 pounds sole fillets
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated and divided in half
1/2 cup dry, seasoned breadcrumbs

In a greased 2-quart casserole, layer half the zucchini, then half the onion. Fold the sole fillets in half end to end and layer on top of the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Top with half the cheese, then the remaining zucchini and onion. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.


Folded Berry Tart

July 4, 2007

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Here’s a red-white-and-blue way to celebrate the land we love. If you’re lucky enough to pick your own berries, you’ll have double the fun. I like a tart that’s, well, tart. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. This is a very forgiving recipe. Since it has no raw eggs, you can taste the juice till you get it right. If you don’t have enough berries, add sliced peaches. Happy Fourth! SAM

PS No, the Parmesan is not a misprint. You won’t be able to tell it’s there except for a rich, nuttiness that goes great with berries. And here’s another cheesy tip: instead of cream or ice cream, top each serving with a little melted Brie. It’s a great combination.

For the filling:
5 cups berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
3 tablespoons peach jam, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons cognac
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons ice water
6 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the filling:
In a mixing bowl, combine the berries, 2 tablespoons jam, lemon juice, cognac, Parmesan, and sugar or honey.

For the pastry:
In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the center. Into a small glass or measuring cup, pour the ice water and oil. Beat with a fork or small whisk to form an emulsion and pour into the flour well. Stir with a fork just until the dough forms a ball. Place in the center of an ungreased 9- or 10-inch inch pie plate and spread with your knuckles until 1/2 inch hangs over the rim, leaving the sides loose.

For the tart:
Pile the fruit mixture in the center of the pastry and fold in the sides, leaving a two-inch center opening. Pour the cream into the opening. Brush the crust with the remaining 1 tablespoon jam. Bake for 1 hour or until browned and bubbly. Top with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, crème frâiche, or melted Brie [See note above].
Makes 8 servings.


Banana Pudding

July 3, 2007

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For a lot of us, Banana Pudding is summer and picnics and Fourth of July, all rolled into one creamy, pale yellow bowl of gooey delight. I like this recipe because it’s like a lemony banana cheesecake. And if it makes you nostalgic for shade trees with rope swings and old friends you haven’t seen in years, so much the better. SAM

1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafers
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
5 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, divided

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with vanilla wafers and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the milk and blend thoroughly. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and the vanilla and beat until thickened. Slice 3 bananas and layer them over the vanilla wafers in the pan. Pour in the filling, cover with plastic wrap, and chill 2 to 3 hours. Slice the remaining banana, dip into the remaining lemon juice, and place on top of the pudding.
Makes 8 servings.


Guacamole

July 2, 2007

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Here’s a health tip you’ll love: avocados are jam packed with potassium, B vitamins, vitamins E and K, and folate. Ergo—drum roll!—it’s your duty to eat as many as you can. This tart, peppery Guacamole is a great start. Unfortunately, it will be only as good as the avocados you put into it. The thin-skinned, light green variety tend to be weak and watery. Look for dark green, gnarly avocados and buy them hard so they won’t be bruised. They’ll ripen in your kitchen in a couple of days. And they are so-o-o-o- good! SAM

2 large ripe, gnarly avocados
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 canned green chili peppers, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (3 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste

Peel and seed the avocados. Mash one in a medium bowl; finely chop the other and set aside. To the mashed avocado, add the mayonnaise, chili peppers, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, pepper and salt, stirring until smooth. Add the chopped avocado and stir until mixed. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
Makes 2 cups.