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This recipe speaks to the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention” in that this is a recipe emerged from the limited budget of graduate school days in a Camden Town flat in London when rice and dal (stewed lentils) were one of the few affordable dishes for a student. When combined, rice and dal, or any bean, result in protein and are ingredients that feed the masses in many parts of the world from Asia to Latin America and the Caribbean. Sometimes there was leftover rice or dal and I would make a kind of patty out of it and serve it on toast as a kind of veggie burger making me very popular among my roommates. This patty can be elevated with dressed greens and a spicy salsa which is how I eat it nowadays!
It is easier to make this with leftover rice but use this or your favorite rice recipe to make your own.
5 cups water, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 or 4 Saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt plus a pinch for rice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place lentils in a large bowl.
Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan with saffron threads with a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, cumin seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles or 4 larger ones for burger size; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and rice mixture. Serve on bread as a burger or on a salad — both with spicy green salsa.
Tags:basmati rice·black pepper·breadcrumbs·egg whites·fennel seeds·fresh basil·garlic·Meatless Monday·Mozzarella·Olive oil·red bell pepper·red lentils·red onion·salt·water
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For years I couldn’t get my tomato planting right and would either plant too early, resulting in frost bite from a rogue chill or too late and fall the victim to an early Fall chill. Finally my dear friend Phil Goldman, whose 70+ years of gardening advice I cherish, gave me the tip to plant on Mother’s Day weekend. Since then that is my gauge and my tiny tomato garden thrives with bunches of tomatoes every year — so much that I found myself giving away tomatoes in August because the vines are busting with fruit.
My solution for taming the tomato garden became to eat some of them green earlier in the season. Fried green tomatoes, green tomato bisque and green tomato salsa are all perfect for this. Chunky and blended with poblano pepper, garden stock and vinegar along with your favorite seasonings, this sauce will enhance any dish from grilled fish or veggie burgers to crispy chips.
4 Green tomatoes, blanched and peeled
1 poblano pepper, roasted and deveined
1 clove of garlic
1 small white onion
1/4 teaspoon of toasted cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of agave syrup
1 tablespoon of de-stemed, chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of EVOO
1/4 cup of Seasonedfork Garden Stock
First, place tomatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes and remove. Place in bowl and cover with plastic to sweat. Once cooled, peel the skin and remove the top of the core. Set aside.
Then roast your fresh poblano pepper or hydrate a dry one known as chile Ancho
If fresh, place whole on a grill or directly on stove-top and safely supervise while charring and turning. Then place in bowl and cover with plastic to sweat. Once it has cooled, devein by removing seeds and veins and set aside. If dry, place 1 large one or 2 small ones in water in the morning until they have softened. Remove from water for use in blending. You may save the water for more heat in processing.
In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for one tomato and pulse until desired texture is achieved. Pulse more for smoother salsa and less for chunky. If too thick, drizzle in more garden stock, if too thin, add the other tomatoe(s).
Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
Serve in a decorative bowl at the dinner table and use as a garnish for burgers, fish or steak too.
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Since I saw Just Eat it, documentary by Grant Baldwin of Peg Leg Films, I have been thinking a lot about food waste and how to plan shopping trips in order to avoid impulse buying.
Like many, I am trying to keep down my bread consumption but whatever bread I do have, I don’t want to waste it so I love recipes that allow me to use homemade breadcrumbs. My other money saving and earth saving tool is to buy vegetables on the “reduced” shelf at the supermarket. They are placed there because they have a blemish or because they are over ripened.
Because the next stop is the dumpster, supermarkets mark imperfect down to a dollar. This weekend I found a large eggplant on the rack for 99 cents and I bought it to make eggplant cutlets for Meatless Monday. Between using the otherwise discarded bread for breadcrumbs and the 99 cent eggplant, I think I will be making money while eating dinner tomorrow.
Serve with an arugula salad with saved Parmesan like a Milanese or Parmesan-style with melted Mozzarella and pasta pomodoro and you can probably settle this meal for under $10 for at least two people and still have leftovers. Enjoy with a rich red like Laurel Lake’s Merlot. Happy Meatless Monday!
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup homemade bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
4 eggs, beaten
Your favorite tomato sauce
In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Dip each slice of eggplant in the eggs and then in the bread-crumb mixture, coating well. In a large frying pan, heat about half an inch of olive oil. Fry the eggplant in batches, until golden (1 to 2 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels.
Arrange half of the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put a slice of your favorite cheese (goat cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella, etc.) on top of each. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Put the sauce on plates and top with the eggplant. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice.
Tags:bread crumbs·eggplant·Eggs·goat cheese·ground pepper·Meatless Monday·Mozzarella·Olive oil·Parmesan cheese·salt·tomato sauce
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dry assorted stale bread
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tsp of assorted dried herbs
Process the stale bread in a food processor. Toss with the grated Parmesan and the assorted dried herbs.
Tags:breadcrumbs·dried herbs·homemade breadcrumbs·Parmesan cheese·stale bread
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Credit: Doug Young
When you live in the countryside or spend any time gardening or on the water fishing or clamming, you often think about the earth as it is before you at all times. It is the proximity to nature that gives us the the opportunity to harvest and maintain its bounty and the result of this existence lends the opportunity to bring nature into our lives as a whole. How often we shop for groceries, how we stock our pantry and even how we clean our kitchens. However, many of us live in larger cities and are separated from food sources by distance and hectic schedules. As a result, grocery shopping needs to be infrequent and cooking is done without a plan which often culminates in bad choices, wasted food and diminished health (physically and financially).
Credit: Doug Young Photography
So I am hoping that today, April 22nd, Earth Day, we can all reflect on what we can do to nurture the earth by thinking about sourcing better food in a way that is kinder to the environment as well as not wasting any of it. We can all do what Chef Tom Colicchio does at the end of every week — use everything in the fridge to make a soup or a pasta before shopping for more; or you can use all of your leftover produce from the week to create a vegetarian dish for Meatless Monday!
A great base for a soup is my garden stock recipe that I always use as the base for any soup recipe in my restaurant including our vegetarian French Onion Soup. It is made from garden trimmings, peels and scraps that may otherwise have ended up in the garbage. So when you think about Earth Day and how you can contribute, you can start by reducing food waste in your own home by just eating it! Tune in tonight for “Just Eat It”, a documentary that examines the ways that rigid commercial standards lead to food waste, on MSNBC followed by a panel discussion featuring Chef Tom Colicchio, and Happy Earth Day!
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Tags:bay leaves·carrot peels·Celebrating Earth Day with Garden Stock·celery·Earth Day·garden·Garden Stock·garden vegetable stock·Just Eat It·leftovers·MSNBC·Olive oil·onion·parsley·peppercorns·Soup·soups·Tom Colicchio·tomato·trimmings·water
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Making gnocchi is one of my favorite stress relievers. It is a great family project for a Sunday afternoon over tea or wine, or in the company of good friends who are comfortable with the silence and focus of this culinary exercise. The repetitive function of rolling the dough into the logs and then cutting them into small pieces is actually relaxing.
As you run the dozens of little pillows of dough one by one across a fork or gnocchi paddle you focus on the present. Think of it like gardening or knitting and the relaxation that the repetitive motion brings us.
The addition of spinach and a garnish of your favorite garden herbs adds a bright garden hue to this dish and makes for a lighter, healthier dumpling to enjoy for the perfect spring dinner or Meatless Monday.
Recipe adapted from Marc Vetri’s contribution in Food and Wine Magazine
2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese (1 ounce)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain, dry, fine bread crumbs
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Grana Padano or shaved ricotta salata, for serving
In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the spinach until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Cool the spinach in a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze dry. Wipe out the pot, fill with water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, transfer the spinach to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and puree until very smooth; add a bit more cooking liquid if needed.
Scrape 1 cup of the spinach puree into a large bowl. (Reserve any remaining puree for another use.) Mix in the grated Grana Padano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup of the flour to form a soft dough.
Spread the remaining 1 cup of flour in a pie plate and dust a large rimmed baking sheet with flour. Gently roll the gnocchi dough into 1-inch balls. Carefully roll the gnocchi in the flour, shake off the excess and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Add salt to the simmering water. Add half of the gnocchi to the pot and cook until they rise to the surface, then simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes (about 5 minutes total cooking time). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a platter. Cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
In a skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Spoon the herbed olive oil over the gnocchi. Top with the grated Grana Padano or shaved ricotta salata and serve. It makes for a great main dish and a perfect match with a glass of 2013 Riesling from Influence Wines. This dish preceded or proceeded by a salad course and some bruschetta leave have your guests impressed as well as well-fed.
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Easter and Passover are perfect holidays to feature egg dishes. For Easter we have hard boiled eggs to dye and offer in colorful baskets or to bake in bread and display on the dinner table. For Passover, boiled eggs are featured on the Seder plate and also used to make the fluffiest matzoh balls and other baked treats. In either case, those of us fortunate enough to live in farm country have plenty of access to the freshest eggs. On the North Fork of Long Island you can visit with the farmers who raise their free-range hens and pick up a dozen or two. Some of our favorites are Browder’s Birds, Eight Hands and North Fork Egg Farm.
There are so many deviled egg recipes, but I will share with you a very basic one that you can personalize with any topping such as smoked fish like trout, herring or sturgeon or your seafood of choice like shrimp or crab meat.
A tray of these deviled eggs placed next to a few glasses of North Fork sparkling like the salmon-colored Imperial Topaz $38 from Sparkling Pointe Vineyard will be the centerpiece of your Easter table all on its own. For those of you observing Passover, a great kosher Prosecco, Sciarpa from the Veneto region, will be a welcomed opener for a special evening for under $20.
5 large pickled eggs
1/2 cup light mayonnaise or Mayo with olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced spring onion
1/4 teaspoon of Sriracha
2 tablespoons of finely minced herbs (milder herbs like parsley, chervil, chives or marjoram as opposed to Rosemary or Sage which will be too strong)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup of Smoked fish of choice or crab meat for garnish
Boiling the eggs:
Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them. Set aside.
Add cooked, peeled eggs into a quart size container with 1 part water, 1 part vinegar, 1 part beet juice plus a tablespoon of horseradish, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. Keep overnight.
Mixing the filling:
Mix together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, shallot, fresh herbs and Sriracha.
Preparing the eggs:
Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise; remove yolks carefully without breaking the egg whites. Transfer yolks to bowl with mayonnaise mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth.
Filling the whites:
Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture into the cavity of the egg white.
Adding a topping:
Top with crumbled or sliced smoked fish or crab meat just before serving, or make the night before and keep covered to serve the following day.
Tags:chervil·Crab Meat·Deviled Eggs·dijon mustard·Easter·Easter eggs·Eggs·leftover Easter eggs·leftovers·marjoram·mayonnaise·parsley·Passover·pepper·salt·smoked fish·spring onion·Sriracha·white wine vinegar
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Spring is a time for renewal and with Easter and Passover upon us, it is a time to reflect on the importance of friends and family. Making time for family meals and celebrations is essential but times have changed. Not only do we have to factor in everyone’s schedule but we also have to manage our guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions from vegetarian to vegan to gluten or dairy free. This is why it is exciting when you can find a dish that covers all bases without being bland or medicinal and this creamless polenta certainly covers all bases with its rich texture and earthy, meat-like flavor.
This dish can serve as a main course for your vegetarian/vegan guests or as a side dish with spring lamb, brisket or ham and be the ultimate crowd pleaser for any celebration.
Ingredients For the Polenta:
4 oz polenta
1 cup seasonedfork garden stock
1 cup soy creamer
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp of chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp of Chives or scallions
1 tsp of fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp of finely chopped celery leaves
Ingredients for the Fricassee of Mushrooms:
¼ lb. chopped fresh East End Shiitake mushrooms, or any other local mushroom
½ shallot, sliced
1 cup seasonedfork Garden Stock
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Truffle Oil or other seasoned oil to taste
For the polenta: Add the garden stock and soy creamer together in a medium sauce pan and heat to scald. Add salt to taste, and, off the flame, add polenta slowly while stirring. Lower heat, return pan to stove, stir regularly for 45 minutes and then add the chopped herbs and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Keep covered.
For the mushrooms: Add olive oil to sauté pan, heat until almost smoking, then add shallots. When the shallots start to caramelize, add sliced Shiitake or other local mushrooms. When the Shiitake begin to exude their juices add the cup of garden stock and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by 2/3.
To finish: Set sautéed mushrooms on top of polenta and pour juice from pan over the top. Garnish with snipped fresh herbs. Have serving dishes of freshly grated parmesan cheese on the tables so that your friends who are not vegan can enjoy some along with this flavorful polenta.
Tags:celery leaves·chives·East End Mushroom Company·Easter·EVOO·Fricassee·Garden Stock·mushrooms·parsley·Passover·polenta·salt·scallions·shallot·Shiitake mushrooms·soy creamer·thyme·Truffle Oil·Vegan·Vegetarian
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Making vegan risotto with barley, vegetables and cauliflower cream at Charnews Farm. Photos by Shannon Voelkel
Meatless Mondays is one thing but another thing is one without cheese or other dairy products. So last year I developed this recipe for a Vegan Risotto for a customer who said she missed eating risotto but that she was vegan and didn’t think she would enjoy it without the cream or cheese. The most challenging part was substituting the cream which I ended up resolving with something I call “cauliflower cream”. It is a creamy liquid made with garden stock and puréed cauliflower. I add it at the end to create that creamy finish and sprinkle the top with homemade breadcrumbs or finely-ground nuts. We are serving this tonight at Cuvée so come join us!
Not only is this recipe hearty and fresh, but it is also low in calories and on the glycemic index, as well as fresh from the farm! If you are gluten-free, you may substitute the barley for brown organic Arborio rice.
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Tags:asparagus·barley·cauliflower·cooking for diabetics·diabetes·English peas·events at Charnews Farm·extra virgin olive oil·food·Gardening·mushroom·North Fork Foodie Tour·Peconic Land Trust·risotto·Shiitake mushrooms
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Photo by Holland Koehler, Assistant Creative Director, SeasonedFork.com
A bowl of savory noodles is always comfort food regardless of the cultural rendition. From the ubiquitous mac and cheese to the platter of Sunday spaghetti and meatballs, most of us feel loved when in the presence of “macaroni”.
Asian noodles score high on my list of comfort foods and Soba are my favorite. Japanese Soba noodles are made from Buckwheat and are a flavorful alternative to wheat flour because of the hearty flavor and dense texture. Buckwheat flour is what gives Soba noodles that additional layer of flavor and bite which marries perfectly with the earthy flavor of Tahini and the tang of soy and ginger in this dish.
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Tags:Canola Oil·chili flakes·Garden Stock·Ginger·pasta·picnic·rice vinegar·salt·scallions·seasonedfork·sesame seeds·Soba Noodles·soy sauce·Tahini·Zucchini