Skillet-Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Rosemary
Serves 4-6

1 whole chicken cut into pieces, patted dry with paper towel
Olive oil
1 medium onion sliced ( I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red)
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 small hot pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper
6-8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4  cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350.

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place small amount of olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and brown on all sides.

Remove chicken from pan and add some more oil. Add garlic, onion, hot pepper and saute until vegetables are soft.

Add stock and wine to the pan. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until liquid is slightly reduced and. Place chicken back in the pan; Add artichoke hearts and rosemary; allow to cook for a few minutes.

Place pan in oven for 10 minutes. check chicken for doneness and baste with juices. Return the pan to the oven for approximately 10 more minutes or until done (165 on an instant-read thermometer.

Serve chicken with vegetables and juices over the top.



Swordfish with Spinach, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Maine Shrimp
Serves 4

1 1/4 # swordfish (or any other fish), cut into four portions
3 Tablespoons olive oil + some for lightly brushing fish
2- 8.5 oz. cans artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
10 oz. baby spinach
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, slivered or roughly chopped
1/2 – 3/4 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup Maine shrimp (or any other small shrimp), cooked and cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Note: You can cook the fish ahead of time; just be sure not to cook it all the way through as it will continue to cook while it rests and gets reheated at end.

Rub both sides of the swordfish with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

You can cook the fish in the broiler, grill, or saute pan depending on your preference.  Place the fish aside while you prepare the vegetable mixture.

In a large saute pan over medium  heat the olive oil and add the tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger and cook until they start to soften and ever so slightly start to brown. Add half the white wine and allow to cook another few minutes. As the tomatoes soften, press down on them to lightly crush them.

Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the artichokes; cover the plan and cook for 3 or 4 minutes while they heat.  Add the Maine shrimp and spinach. Add the remaining white wine, the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper,  stirring the spinach to keep it cooking down evenly, until it is just wilted. If you cooked the fish ahead of time, when the spinach mixture is halfway done, place the fish on top and cover the pan to allow the spinach to cook down and the fish to warm.

Serve immediately.



Roasted Tomato and Onion Soup
Serves 6

4 pounds ripe (but not super ripe) tomatoes (plum tomatoes work well)
1 Vidalia onion, cut into chunks
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons turmeric
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup milk (whole or 2 percent)

Preheat oven to 375.

Quarter the tomatoes and remove seeds and pulp from half of them. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with the onions, garlic and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are softened and lightly browned.

Tip vegetables from the baking sheet into a soup pot over medium heat, being sure to include all the juices. Add smoked paprika, turmeric and tomato paste, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.

Puree using an immersion blender, or, in batches in a food processor, leaving soup slightly chunky. Stir in milk and heat on medium-low until hot.


Braised Pheasant

2 1/2 – 3 lb. pheasant

5-6 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

3 1/2 ounces ventreche (or pancetta)

5 tablespoons minced onion

5 large cloves garlic, sliced thin

3 tablespoons dried oregano

4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish

6 tablespoons fresh minced basil leaves

3 tablespoons brandy

1/2 cup chicken stock

3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup water

3 ounces duck bacon

Rinse the pheasant and pat dry before cutting it into parts. First, use kitchen shears to cut out the back bone; spread the bird out flat. Remove the legs, leaving each leg and thigh in one piece. Remove each wing in one piece. Flip the bird over and use kitchen shears to cut the breast into two pieces. This should leave you with six pieces of pheasant.

Heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add duck bacon and cook until crisp. Dice and set aside.

Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the pheasant pieces, skin-side down, and cook, about 5 minutes, or until the skin side is brown. Turn the pieces over and add the ventreche (or pancetta) and onion. Cook until the ventreche and onion are browned.

Add the garlic and herbs, and stir in brandy and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all the good bits. Cook uncovered, over medium heat, 4-5 minutes, turning the pheasant pieces once. Turn the pieces skin side up again, reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the wine and water, cover and cook for 12 more minutes.

To serve: garnish with the diced duck bacon and chopped parsley, with the pan juices poured over the pheasant.


Ted’s Gingerific Cold-Cure Soup

Artist and instinctual cook that he is, Ted has trouble with exact measurements. I’ve done my best to interpret his “recipe,” so feel free to tinker with this as you like.

Serves about 6, depending on how many of them have colds

1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 bag baby spinach (5 oz.)

8 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems removed, quartered

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup cooked white rice (optional)

3 good pinches kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

Place ginger and carrots in a blender (or food processor) with 1/2 chicken broth. Blend until pureed but keeping some texture.

Put the ginger/carrot mixture in a medium size pot with the rest of the chicken broth.  Add mushrooms, beans, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer over medium heat-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed; add rice and cook for 5 minutes to warm the rice. Add spinach; stirring until spinach is wilted.


Soft Shell Crabs with brown butter and capers

Ted’s Soft Shell Crabs

Serves 4

8 soft shell crabs, cleaned

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (more if needed)

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoon capers

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, gently shaking off the excess, and transfer them to a wire rack.

Heat one large or two small cast-iron skillets over medium-high heat. Chop the garlic roughly. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan or pans and saute briefly until garlic softens. Add the crabs, shell side down, and cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn red, then turn them over and saute for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Add the wine and the lemon juice and allow to simmer for another minute or so.

Remove the crabs to a wire rack. Turn the heat to low and add the butter and capers, stirring until the butter is slightly browned.

Serve 2 crabs per person with the sauce poured over the top.


Fresh flounder sandwich

Mama Joan’s Fish Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches

About 1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh flounder or fluke (1 large piece per sandwich)

2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced, (adjust the amount to your taste)

olive oil

salt and pepper

half a lemon

4 fresh hard rolls (for those who do not live on the East Coast, this is a kaiser roll)

ripe tomatoes

leaf lettuce like Boston or red bibb

tartar sauce

Sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet or other heavy saute pan, heat olive oil and add the garlic. Just before the garlic starts to brown add fish. Cook over medium-high heat without moving the fish for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. Turn the fish over, squeeze juice of half a lemon over it and and cook on the other side until it starts to flake apart.

Serve the fish on the hard rolls with tomato slices, lettuce and plenty of tartar sauce. Don’t forget the pieces of browned garlic!


A whole, bone-in leg of lamb, butterflied, either by you or the butcher – save the bone.

Be sure to “trim out” the lamb so you have it uniform in thickness and in final shape.  Save the scraps for kabobs or stew.

Note: All amounts of the following ingredients are approximate.  Adjust according to taste, and size of leg of lamb.

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, coarsely chopped

3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

3 tbsp. fresh rosemary

Place butterflied lamb fat-side down on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts as evenly as possible over the meat, then add 2 tbsp. rosemary.

Starting at a short side, roll as tightly as possible and tie in several places with butcher’s twine.  Be sure to finish with the fat side exposed so that the juice from the fat will drip during cooking. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a roasting pan and place the tied lamb in the pan, with the saved bone(s) alongside, but not touching. Roast at 375 for about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 130-135. Let rest 10 minutes while you make a sauce.

Sauce with leg of lamb
Remove the roasted bones and the stuffed leg of lamb from the roasting pan.
Deglaze the pan over a medium heat with 1/2 cup of red wine, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock
Add one large sprig of rosemary along with 2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots.
Add one healthy squeeze of lemon juice
Strain liquid through fine strainer to remove shallots and rosemary.
Serve on the side.


Breakfast Buttercups

Makes 10

10 medium eggs (this is important – large eggs are too big)

10 slices hearty white sandwich bread (don’t try to use “better” bread, the Arnold white bread labeled “hearty white” is what’s called for here)

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

10 thin slices deli Swiss or cheddar cheese – about 5 ounces

5 thin slices deli Black Forest ham – about 5 ounces – halved crosswise

salt and pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggs in large bowl and cover with very hot tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll bread slices as thin as possible with rolling pin and press into 10 perimeter cups of 12-cup muffin tip, leaving 2 center cups empty. Brush bread cups with melted butter and bake until light golden brown, 5-7 minutes.

Top each cheese slice with a ham slice. Make cut from center to 1 side of each stack and fold to make a cone. Press into toasted bread cup. Crack 1 egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper.

Return muffin tin to oven and bake until whites are barely set and still appear slightly moist, 14-18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let sit for 5 minutes (the eggs will continue to cook). Serve immediately.

Of course, if you don’t want to make as many as 10 eggs, you can reduce the number to prepare as many as you wish. Just be sure to use the perimeter cups of your muffin tin; the testers found that eggs baked in the center cups did not cook thoroughly.

Recipe from Cook’s Country, March 2011


The kid’s Orange-Tarragon Chicken Salad

Orange-Tarragon Chicken Salad

Serves 2

2 cups pulled or cut-up roast chicken, warmed

1 cup broccoli florets, blanched and shocked (chilled in a bowl of ice and water or under cold running water)

1 navel orange

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon honey mustard

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoons chopped tarragon

salt and pepper to taste

salad greens

Cut away the peel and pith of the orange; cut out the sections into a small bowl and squeeze the juice from the “carcass” into a another bowl.

Combine the chicken, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and orange sections in a medium bowl; toss gently.

In a jar with a lid or in a bowl, combine the orange juice, honey mustard, sherry vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise and tarragon. Shake or whisk to blend thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over the chicken mixture, tossing gently to blend.

Serve chicken over salad greens.


Ramen-SPAM Salad

Ramen-SPAM Salad

Serves 6

1 small head cabbage, finely shredded

2 stalks green onion, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

½ cup sliced radishes

1 can SPAM, sliced and fried until crisp on the edges

1 (3-ounce) packaged ramen (Oriental flavor)

1 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Chopped cilantro (the recipe says optional, but as a lover of cilantro I think it’s a must)


½ packet ramen seasoning

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Shred and chop all vegetables and place in large bowl. Cut fried SPAM into logs and toss together with vegetables. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar or whisk in a bowl. Crush ramen, using rolling pin or bottom of pan. Add to SPAM-vegetable mixture and toss with dressing. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.


Lamb Ragout with Chestnuts and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ragout of Lamb Chops with Chestnuts

From James Beard’s American Cookery, 2010 edition

10-12 lamb chops (2 per person) cut from the shoulder, fat removed

Salt and fresh ground pepper


2 onions cut in thin slices

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups peeled chestnuts (canned whole chestnuts may be used

1 1/2 to 2 cups liquid (broth or half broth and half wine or water)

Chopped parsley

Butter a rather deep baking dish or casserole equipped with a cover. In it arrange half of the chops. Salt and pepper them and add a touch of thyme. Add a layer of half of the onion rings and dot with butter. Add a layer of half of the chestnuts, a layer of chops, a layer of onions and finally, a layer of chestnuts. Add broth to barely cover the dish. Dot with butter and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cover and baked at 350 degrees for an hour. Test the chops for doneness by cutting a slit near the bone. If not done, return to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Served with braised Brussels sprouts. Garnish with chopped parsley. Note: The addition of a couple of cloves of garlic to the recipe enhances it considerably.

That is typical of Beard – the garlic note at the end! For two of us, I used four chops with the outside fat trimmed off, 1 small onion and 2 small cloves of garlic, which I smashed and chopped roughly.  My grocery store was out of jarred chestnuts, but we had some fresh ones, which we roasted and peeled – some went into the pot whole, some in pieces. The liquid was a combination of chicken broth and white wine. The chops were about 3/4 inch thick, so they were easily done in an hour. I roasted the Brussels sprouts instead of braising them.


Photo by Susan

New-Fangled Turkey Tetrazzini

Serves 3-4

2 tbsp. butter

3 scallions, sliced

1/2 red pepper, diced

2 tbsp. flour

1.2 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water (you could certainly use fresh, I just didn’t have them)

2 cups milk

1/2 pkg. Boursin cheese (this is really optional, but if you don’t use it, you might want to add a little chopped garlic to the sauteed scallions and red pepper)

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 lb. spaghetti or linguini

1 cup broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey

grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add scallions and red pepper, saute until slightly softened. Add flour and stir well.

Drain dried mushrooms, reserving liquid, and roughly chop. Add mushrooms to the skillet along with about 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add milk, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in Boursin cheese until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente, adding broccoli to the water for the last minute or so to cook until just tender. Drain pasta and broccoli in colander.

Stir pasta, broccoli and turkey into sauce, mixing well.

Transfer mixture to a glass baking dish and top with grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.


Soup supper: Paprika and Red Pepper Soup with cheese toasts and salad. (photo by Susan)

Paprika and Red Pepper Soup

Serves 4

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 small onion, diced

2 large red peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed, seeded and diced

1-2 fresh green Thai or Serrano chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped (He used some of the last hot peppers from our garden – I can’t remember what variety they were – this is where you can adjust the heat by using milder chiles or omitting the seeds.)

2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika (This is key; if you use regular paprika the soup will not have the same flavor.)

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 cup nonfat buttermilk

2 tbsp. whipping cream

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or basil

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and chilies. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables release some of their juices and the onion is lightly brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the paprika, salt and cardamom and cook, stirring, until the spices are very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add pistachios and broth or water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (in batches if necessary) and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pan.

Whisk buttermilk and cream together in a bowl; stir into the soup. Gently warm over low heat. Serve sprinkled with cilantro or basil.

Recipe from Eating Well, December 2010


Two of America’s favorite snack foods in one – Buffalo chicken pizza (Photo by Susan)

The Kid’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare pizza crust or use a pre-made one. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle the crust with olive oil.

In a small saute pan heat 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce with 1/2 stick butter until butter is melted and mixture is combined and hot. (Use more or less hot sauce to taste.) Add 1 cup cooked chicken, stir well.

Top crust with a layer of sliced or shredded fresh mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover the cheeses with the chicken in hot sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until toppings are bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.

Drizzle chunky blue cheese dressing over the top of the pizza before serving. Note: we used fresh crumbled blue cheese for the pizza pictured above, but he says he prefers the dressing.


A perfect roast chicken (if I do say so myself!)

Susan’s Roast Chicken

First, it’s important to start with a quality chicken.  In the supermarket, I always choose kosher chickens, generally Murray’s; if you can’t locate a kosher chicken buy the best, free-range, vegetarian-fed bird you can find. Since these tend to be smaller than the big, weirdly yellow “oven-stuffer roasters,” you may want to roast two chickens to feed more than 2-3 people and have leftovers.

Take the package of giblets out of the cavity; rinse the chicken and dry it with paper towels. Place it in a roasting pan big enough to hold it with a little extra room so you can get in there and baste it with the juices that will accumulate.

Preheat your oven to 400. If you have convection, use it. Squeeze a half a lemon over the chicken, then stuff it into the cavity. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Now for the herbs; if I have fresh herbs I use them, if not, dried are fine. I like a mixture of thyme, rosemary and tarragon – distributed in generous amounts inside of the chicken and out. Place 1 tbsp. of butter inside the chicken, distribute another 2 tbsp. cut in bits tucked into the crevices of the bird and strewn over the skin.  Finally, pour about a 1/2 inch of dry white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Take the pan out, turn the oven down to 350 and baste the chicken with the juices, tilting the pan if needed. Put the chicken back into the oven and roast – basting about every 15 minutes – until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 when stuck into the thickest part of the thigh.

I can’t tell you exactly how long your chicken will take, but in my oven, with the convection on, a 3-4 lb. chicken roasted this way is done in a total of about 1  1/2 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes – pass the chicken juices in a gravy boat if you wish – and your favorite vegetables and you have the perfect Sunday dinner.


Lamb curry and rice

Peter’s Lamb Curry

Adapted from “The Naked Chef Takes Off” by Jamie Oliver

Serves 8

Dry spices

2 tbsp. fennel seeds

2 tbsp. cumin seeds (I used ground


2 tbsp. coriander seeds

1/2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds (This I did not have, so I have no idea how the flavor of the curry would have been affected.)

1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns

1 clove

1/2 a cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods


Lightly toast all ingredients in a pan over a gentle heat. Crush into a fine powder. ( I got out the mortar and pestle, thinking this would be and ideal time to put it to use, but found that crushing the mixture that way would have taken a half a day. So, I cleaned out my coffee grinder and gave it a whir in there – perfect!)

Curry paste

2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled

1 large red onion, peeled

10 cloves garlic, peeled

2 fresh red chilies, with seeds (I used chilies from our garden and because I had no idea how hot they were, took out the seeds. Next time I’d leave ‘em in for a little more heat.)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

Chop all the above ingredients roughly and put in a food processor with the dry spice powder. Process until well pureed.

The rest of the process

2 tbsp. butter

1- 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice

1 cup stock or water

3 1/2 lbs. lamb meat, cut in cubes (see note above about leftovers lamb)

1 handful each chopped mint and cilantro

1 cup plain yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325. In a large casserole, fry the curry paste mixture in butter until it goes golden (mine never did “go golden” – it ended up kind of a gray-brown after about 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick.

Add the tomatoes and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, cover with foil and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and continue to simmer on the stove until it thickens.

If using fresh meat, brown in olive oil and add to sauce. Simmer for about an hour or until tender. If using leftovers, stir in and heat until hot. Stir in the yogurt and serve sprinkled with cilantro and mint. Jamie also recommends a squeeze of lime juice.

Jamie also suggests adding any of the following: Swiss chard, spinach, peas, cauliflower, fried eggplant, okra, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, lentils.


Dijon-basil marinade

3 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 tsp. salt

freshly ground black pepper

Whisk first four ingredients together to blend well. Stir in basil, salt and pepper. Place four chicken breasts (or equivalent amount of cut-up, chicken parts) in a glass dish. Pour marinade over and turn chicken pieces to coat well. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking chicken on the grill or in the oven, basting once with the marinade. If you’d like a sauce, bring remaining marinade to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour over cooked chicken.


My new favorite summer pasta

Capellini with Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, Corn and Herbs

1 large head of garlic, 1/2 inch cut off

6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 ears of fresh corn, in the husks (I did snip off the excess silk protruding from the top)

6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

8 oz. capellini, broken in half (I used thin spaghetti, but I wouldn’t try anything more substantial in the way of pasta)

2 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens

2 cups torn radicchio leaves

1 cup fresh ricotta (I used regular supermarket ricotta, which was fine, but a bit thicker than the fresh variety – next time I’d try to find the fresh stuff)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus shaved Parmesan for garnish

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup each chopped fresh dill and chives

Preheat oven to 400. Place head of garlic on sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, wrap foil around garlic and pinch to seal tightly. Place on baking sheet with corn. Roast until corn is tender and garlic soft – 25 mins for corn and 40 for garlic. Cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic out of skins into large bowl. (This is so much fun and the garlic is now gloriously caramelized). Add any leftover oil from the foil. Add lemon juice, zest, and 3 tbsp. olive oil, mash garlic and whisk together. Shuck corn kernels from cobs and add to bowl with garlic.

Meanwhile, cook capellini in large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and add to bowl along with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add greens, radicchio, ricotta, grated Parmesan and herbs, mix well (I got frustrated trying to use a wooden spoon and tongs, so resorted to mixing with my hands). Season with salt and pepper to taste and served topped with shredded Parmesan.

Adapted from a recipe published in Bon Appetit


Baked seafood casserole and peas vinaigrette

Baked Seafood Casserole

1 lb. crabmeat

1 lb. lobster meat

1 lb. small cooked shrimp

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup minced onion

1 3/4 cups finely chopped celery

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

2 cups crushed potato chips

paprika (which I did not have)

Mix ingredients together as if making a seafood salad. Fill shallow baking pan with mixture and completely cover with crushed potato chips. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. (A note about serving size – the recipe says “serves 12-15″ so I cut it in half, which was enough for six small portions – plenty after we filled up on the cheese and ham puffs. But bear in mind people ate less in the 50s!)

Peas Vinaigrette

2 10-oz. packages frozen petite peas, defrosted

1/2 cup salad oil

3 tbsp. vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

2 tbsp. finely chopped scallions

2 tbsp. finely chopped sweet pickles

1 tbsp. minced parsley

1 tbsp. diced pimento

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Run hot water over peas and drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over peas. Let stand in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving. (I served this right away and the flavors were fine.)


Fabulous, fresh, fish tacos!

Fish Tacos with Black Bean Salsa (serves 4)

One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup olive oil

1 jalapeno, minced (and seeded, if you prefer, for a milder salsa)

1 tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 lbs. skinless firm fish fillets, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup cornmeal

8  6-inch flour tortillas

shredded romaine lettuce

cilantro leaves

lime wedges

sour cream

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 cup olive oil, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Set aside.

Season the fish evenly with the remaining 1 tsp. salt and black pepper. Dredge quickly in the cornmeal, shaking to remove any excess, and set aside.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over high heat. Toast each of the tortillas for 30 seconds on one side in the hot pan. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the fish and saute on both sides until just cooked through – about 2 minutes per side. Transfer them to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining fish.

To assemble the tacos, place 2 tortillas on each plate and divide the shredded lettuce among them. Spoon the black been mixture onto the lettuce and divide the fish among the tortillas. Top with the cilantro. Squeeze lime over the tacos and dollop with sour cream. (I leave everything separate and let everyone make their own tacos. The addition of fresh tomato salsa is nice too.)

Recipe from 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast by Emeril Lagasse


Carnitas Tacos

Makes about 3 cups or 12 tacos

Don’t be turned off by the lard – during the long, slow cooking process it pulls the fat out of the pork, resulting in soft, tender meat that gets a flavor kick from the salsa.

2 lbs. lard

2 1/2 lbs. pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes (you want 2 1/2 lbs. after the bone has been removed)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chile de arbol salsa (recipe follows)

Melt the lard in a large, deep saucepan over moderate heat. Add the pork, salt and pepper and simmer until tender, being careful not to crisp the meat, about 1 hour and 10 mins. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle, shred the meat by hand or with a fork. Remove and discard any remaining fat. Transfer to a medium saucepan, add the arbol salsa and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, 5 -8 minutes.

Serve with warm corn tortillas, fresh salsa, chopped cilantro and avocado.

Chile de Arbol Salsa

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1/2 lb. plum tomatoes

3/4 lb. tomatillos, husked and washed

1 cup (30-40) arbol chiles (I can usually only find these dried – they are very spicy so don’t overdo it!)

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes and tomatillos on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until charred all over – about 10-12 mins. Transfer to a saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook until the onions are soft – about 12-15 mins. Transfer to a food processor or blender; puree and then strain.

Recipes from Mesa Mexicano by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger


Ted’s Seared Sea Scallops with Wild Mushroom Risotto (no photo)

Serves 4

1 3/4 lbs. fresh sea scallops

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan until quite hot. Add scallops and garlic; saute until scallops browned on one side (just a few minutes, be careful not to overcook them) then turn them over and saute on the other side, stirring the garlic at the same time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Just before scallops are done, add lemon juice and stir to combine flavors. (Add white wine if you want more of a sauce.) Remove from heat and serve on top of risotto, drizzled with a little of the juices in the bottom of the pan.

Wild Mushroom Risotto (adapted from a recipe by our friend Fortunato Nicotra, chef at Felidia in Manhattan)

Serves 4

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup sliced onion or leek

2 cups Canaroli or Arborio rice

6 cups hot chicken stock

1 oz. dried porcini or mixed dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water to cover (I do this in a 1 cup glass measuring cup, filling the cup with the hot water)

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tbs. butter, cut into pieces

1 tsp. espresso coffee

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot (Le Cruset or similar pot is idea).  Add onions or leeks and saute until softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Add 1/2 the stock and cook for about 5 mins, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove the mushrooms from the water and chop, add them and the water to the pot, along with the rest of the stock. Cover the pan and cook over low until until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in butter and cheese. Serve topped with scallops.


Wild-mushroom papparadelle with chicken sausage, mushrooms and spinach

Wild-mushroom papparadelle with chicken sausage, mushrooms and spinach

(Serves 4)

1 pkg. fresh, wild mushroom papparadelle (of course you can substitute another kind of pasta – if you’re using dried, about 2/3 lb.)

extra virgin olive oil

2 chicken sausages, sliced (any of the “flavors” are good – I used sundried tomato/basil)

2 cups sliced Baby Bella mushrooms

1/2 cup slivered sundried tomatoes (the oil-packed kind)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

1  5 oz. package baby spinach

chicken broth as needed

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add sausage slices and saute over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan and saute until they have released their juices and are softened. Add sundried tomatoes and cannellini beans, cook for about another minute, adding a bit of chicken broth if the mixture is too dry. Add spinach and stir until wilted. There should be a few tablespoons of liquid in the bottom of the pan at this point – if not, add a little chicken broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until done. (If you are using the fresh papparadelle – or any fresh pasta – be sure to stir it as it cooks so that the noodles don’t stick together.) Drain the pasta, return to the pot and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Divide the pasta between four bowls or plates, top with the vegetable mixture, then the crispy sausage slices. Drizzle each portion with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately!


Spaghetti with Shrimp, Pesto and Tomatoes (no photo)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

1 /2 lb. large shrimp, deveined and sliced in half lengthwise

1  6 oz. container fresh prepared pesto (if you’re one of those people who has homemade pesto on hand, you probably don’t need this recipe)

3/4 lb. thin spaghetti

grated Parmesan cheese

This is one of those make-the-sauce-while-you-boil-the-water pasta recipes.The trick is, don’t overcook the shrimp!

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the tomatoes and smush them lightly to release their juices. Cook over low heat for 5-8 minutes until softened. When the water boils, add the pasta. Add pesto and 1/2-3/4 cup hot pasta water to the tomatoes, cook and stir over medium-high heat for a few minutes until bubbling and well combined. Right before the pasta is done, add the shrimp to the pesto-tomato mixture and cook just until shrimp turns pink – being careful not to overcook. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese.


Ted’s fabulous stuffed leg of lamb

Ted Axelrod’s Stuffed Leg of Lamb

A whole (4-5 lb), bone-in leg of lamb, butterflied, either by you or the butcher – save the bone (you can use a boneless leg, but these are usually smaller)

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, coarsely chopped

3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

3 tbsp. fresh rosemary

Place butterflied lamb fat-side down on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts as evenly as possible over the meat, then add 2 tbsp. rosemary.

Starting at a short side, roll as tightly as possible and tie in several places with butcher’s twine. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper and additional rosemary.

Lightly oil a roasting pan and place the tied lamb in the pan, with the saved bone alongside, but not touching. Roast at 375 for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 130-135. Let rest 10 minutes while you make a sauce. Remove bone from pan and discard. Set over medium heat; stir in 1/4 – 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter and remove from heat. Slice lamb and serve with sauce.


Seafood Pasta Provencal

Serves 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic

5 -6 anchovies, finely chopped ( I can’t stand anchovies, when I can detect them … here they melt into the sauce and add a layer of salty richness that you will miss if you don’t use them!)

5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup each capers and chopped pitted gaeta olives

3 doz. little neck clams, shells scrubbed

3/4 lb. sea scallops, cut in half

1/2 lb. each salmon and cod filet, cut in cubes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 lbs. linguini or spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet or pot.  Add garlic and anchovies and saute until garlic is softened but not brown, pressing on the anchovies so they melt into the oil. Add tomatoes and saute 5 minutes until beginning to break down. Add white wine, capers, olives and all seafood, stirring gently to coat fish with the sauce without breaking it apart. Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until clams open.

Meanwhile, cook pasta, drain, and return to the pot, coated with olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.

Just before serving, stir the basil into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle sauce over the pasta, distributing the fish and shellfish evenly among the plates.


Lamb chops with fruited Israeli cous-cous and mint chimichurri

Lamb chops with fruited Israeli cous-cous and mint chimichurri

Prepare Israeli cous-cous (sometimes called “toasted cous-cous”) according to package directions. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and minced dried apricots. Set aside.

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked to your liking.

Mint chimichurri:

1/4 cup each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp. minced shallots

1 tsp. dried hot pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit at least 15 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Now I have a confession to make. I could not find fresh mint at two grocery stores, so used 1/2 cup parsley and replaced the lemon juice with Crosse & Blackwell mint sauce. It was just as delicious!

To serve: place a serving of cous-cous on each plate. Arrange lamb chops around and top with chimichurri sauce.