Potato Gnocchi

January 22, 2009

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Potato dough is surprisingly easy to stir together … and gnocchi are the perfect cold weather comfort food. Serve these with everything from marinara sauce to pesto to fine olive oil and feta.

1 pound new potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (2 ounces/50 grams)
1 tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato-basil sauce
grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

In a saucepan or stockpot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel the potatoes and put through a ricer on the smallest disk. Add the egg, flour, cornmeal, and oil and stir with a pastry fork until mixture forms a ball. Turn onto a floured surface and with a bench knife cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into a snake 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into half-inch disks. In a large stockpot or chef’s pan, bring to a boil 3 quarts of salted water. One by one, drop the gnocchi into the water. When all rise to the top, skim them off and place in a warm bowl. Toss immediately with tomato sauce and serve sprinkled with Parmesan and parsley.
Makes 2 to 3 servings.


Potato Cabbage Gratin

January 2, 2009

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Here’s a great way to warm your family on a cold winter’s night … It’s also easy to make. You can steam the cabbage while you simmer the potatoes. Buy a firm, fresh head and sprinkle it with lemon juice before you steam it to avoid the cabbage smell.

1 pound waxy potatoes (4 medium)
1 1/2 pounds cabbage (1 1/2 head)
juice of 1 lemon
1 pound onions (2 medium large)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces log chèvre
4 ounces water
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
grated whole nutmeg to taste
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In the bottom of a 3- or 4-quart steamer pan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Slice the cabbage into 2-inch wedges, place in the steamer basket and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes for the cabbage, 20 to 25 minutes for the potatoes. Drain, cool, and roughly chop each and set aside.

Slice the onions, thinly. In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart gratin and set aside.

In a small saucier over extremely low heat, combine the chèvre, water, and bay leaf. Stir with a whisk until melted.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Fold in the chèvre mixture and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Turn into the prepared gratin and top with the remaining breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.


Twenty-Four-Hour Salad

April 27, 2008

This is one salad you have to make the day before … which frees you up for all kinds of dinner-party fun. SAM

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups stemmed and chopped fresh spinach
1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups mayonnaise
Sea salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch cake pan. In the pan, layer the lettuce, celery, bell pepper, onion, spinach, and peas. Do not stir. Spread the mayonnaise over the salad, then the salt, pepper, Parmesan, and bacon. Cover tightly and chill in the fridge for 24 hours. Cut into squares to serve.
Makes 16 servings.


Blond Brownies

April 17, 2008

No chocolate? That’s right. With these ‘blondies,’ you may never crave chocolate again! SAM

1/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or English walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, mix the flour baking powder, and salt and add to the egg mixture. Add the pecans. Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan before cutting into squares.
Makes 16 brownies.


Easy Spinach Casserole

April 10, 2008


The only caveat with this recipe is to wring the spinach dry. If you thaw it slightly in a microwave, wringing out the water is easy. SAM

1 (10-ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry by hand
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a small casserole dish. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, and pepper. Spoon into the casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, paprika, and remaining butter. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 servings.


Real Lemon Pie

April 5, 2008

Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not great! And, yes, you use the whole lemon, rind and all. SAM

3 eggs
1 large lemon, unpeeled, seeded, and quartered
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 9-inch prepared pastry shell,, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, lemon, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until smooth. Add the butter and process 5 seconds longer. Pour into the prepared pastry shell and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Makes 8 servings.

Adapted from Emily’s cookbook All-American Comfort Food.


Layered Dinner Salad

April 2, 2008
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A great do-ahead recipe is a cook’s best friend. SAM

PS Substitute ham or turkey for the chicken, if you like. Shrimp would also be good.

1 cup uncooked macaroni
4 carrots, pared and finely shredded
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 (10-ounce) package tiny frozen green peas, thawed but uncooked
1 medium red onion, cut into very thin rings
1 cup diced celery
1/2 pound roast chicken, diced
1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
2 tablespoons capers
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 hard-cooked eggs, crumbled

Cook the macaroni until al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Drain. In a small bowl, combine the carrots, lemon juice, and honey. In a 3-quart bowl, layer the lettuce, macaroni, carrots, peas, onion, celery, turkey, and cheese. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard, dill, capers, pepper, and egg. Mound the mayonnaise mixture in the center of the salad, cover tightly, and chill for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, toss well.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.