Pizza Rustica

by Jennifer

This recipe comes from Cooking Light, and I changed very little, but next time I will increase the crust by half;  I did substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour, which may have made the dough slightly harder to roll thin enough, but I rolled it pretty thin and it barely covered the pie plate or the top.  Still quite good, though!  Serves 6 – 8.

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Pour in the olive oil and water and stir to combine.  Knead in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for just a couple minutes, then divide the dough in two and wrap each in a piece of plastic wrap.  Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out on a lightly floured surface.

Filling:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb Swiss chard, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
  • 8 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz shredded fontina cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Place red peppers on a tray a few inches from the broiler and broil, turning occasionally, until all sides are blackened and blistered.

Transfer peppers to a ziplock bag and seal the bag, letting the steam loosen the skins.  When they’re cool enough to handle, peel off and discard skin (and stem and seeds), then chop peppers.  (You can do this step up to one day ahead and refrigerate.)

Heat 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook chard, tossing occasionally,

until it wilts.  Transfer chard to a colander in the sink.  Wipe pan clean with a paper towel, then heat the remaining TBS oil in the skillet.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally,

for 5 minutes.  Transfer mushroom mixture to a fine-mesh sieve to drain.

Press on chard, and the mushroom mixture, to drain off as much liquid as possible, and drain off any liquid from the roasted red peppers.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together ricotta cheese through egg white.

Add vegetables and stir well to combine.

Coat a 9” pie plate with cooking spray;  roll out half of the dough and transfer to pie plate.  Pour vegetable mixture into the bottom crust, then roll out and top with the remaining dough.  Crimp crust edges.  Cut slits in the top crust for the steam to vent.

Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Tagliatelle with Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Red Peppers and Fresh Mozzarella

by Jennifer

My CSA (shout out to Farmer Dave’s!) has started up again, and I’m sooooo happy.  All of you supporters of farmers’ markets, local farm stands and CSAs understand:  not only is it a great way to support local business and local agriculture, but the produce you get is just so delicious.  Lettuce, freshly picked, tastes completely different from store-bought lettuce.  And broccoli rabe!  I have had a series of unsuccessful attempts to cook broccoli rabe in my life, all of which ended up with me dumping it down the disposal, so bitter it was inedible.  Yesterday I picked up our weekly CSA produce and there was broccoli rabe, and WOW, was it delicious.  Completely different from anything I’ve bought in a store.  This is what I made with it (and honestly, I wish I’d had another bunch);  serves 4.

  • 1 lb. tagliatelle or fettucine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt (or other coarse sea salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 red peppers, roasted (save the liquid if you make them ahead;  or you could use a 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained), thinly sliced
  • 2 8-oz. packages fresh mozzarella pearls, drained

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant;

add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted.  Meanwhile, start cooking pasta.  When the broccoli rabe is wilted,

turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta if al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water before draining the pasta.  Season broccoli rabe with sea salt and pepper.

Toss together the pasta, roasted red peppers and their juices, broccoli rabe and garlic, fresh mozzarella, and reserved cooking water as desired (for moistness).

Spaghetti with Anchovies, Olives, and Toasted Bread Crumbs

by Jennifer

This recipe, which I’ve adapted minimally from Gourmet magazine, serves 4.  I served a tomato and basil salad on the side:  one tomato per person, cut into wedges, tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped fresh basil.

  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • 3 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 bottled or canned anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry
  • 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, sliced into strips
  • 3/4 cup Spanish olives, halved
  • 6 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;  cook spaghetti according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water before draining.  Meanwhile, tear the bread into chunks and use a food processor or blender to pulse the bread into coarse breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 TBS oil in a 12” heavy skillet over medium heat;  add bread crumbs and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp.  Transfer breadcrumbs to a plate and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Heat remaining 4 TBS oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat;  add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the onions turn golden.

Add the garlic and anchovies, stirring constantly until anchovies break down.

Turn heat to medium-low and add the wine;

cook, stirring occasionally, until the most of the wine has evaporated.

Turn off the heat and stir in the peppers, olives, parsley and black pepper.

In the pasta pot toss together the pasta, reserved cooking water, and vegetables.  Divide pasta among plates and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs.

Very Full Tart with Caramelized Fennel Salad

by Jennifer

The Very Full Tart comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty, and it’s absolutely delicious.  The original recipe called for 7 cherry tomatoes, halved, added to the tart when you add the cheese, which I did not do.  One thing:  my prebaked pie crust shrunk considerably (not enough overhang?), and of course the egg/cream filling spilled over the crust and surrounded it.  The result – no longer a crisp tart crust, but still fantastic!  (Seen here served with Challah.)

Serves 6.

Very Full Tart

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 7 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into 2” pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 11 oz. pie crust dough (I used the Fool-Proof pie dough recipe, which I made the day before)
  • Fresh thyme leaves from 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with one rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the center.  Carefully remove the stem of each pepper, reaching in and cleaning out the seeds and membranes (shake them over the sink, or rinse them out and shake dry).

Place peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with about 1 TBS olive oil, and place on the top rack in the oven.

In a bowl, toss the eggplant with 4 TBS oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the center rack;  roast for 12 minutes.

To the eggplant add the sweet potato, stir gently, and roast for another 12 minutes.

Check the peppers;  if the top side is blackened, use tongs to turn them over.

Add the zucchini to the sweet potato and eggplant pan, stir gently, and roast for another 10 – 12 minutes.  Remove all vegetables from the oven, cover the pepper dish with foil to let them steam, and lower the oven to 325 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 TBS oil in a 10” – 12” saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and bay leaves and saute, stirring frequently,

until brown and tender, about 20 minutes.  Set aside, discarding bay leaves.  When the peppers are cool, peel and roughly chop them.

Combine all of the roasted vegetables in a bowl.

Coat a 9” – 10” tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.  Roll out pie dough to about 1/8” thick and transfer to the tart pan, pressing gently into the corners and letting some overhang.

Line the dough with a circle of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake the crust at 325 degrees for 30 minutes;  carefully remove pie weights and parchment paper and bake the crust for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.  (I baked the crust a few hours ahead and let it sit at room temperature.)

Scatter the onions over the tart crust,

then top with the roasted vegetables, sprinkling half the thyme leaves over everything.

Drop teaspoons of ricotta cheese over the vegetables, and scatter the feta cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper to taste;  pour this mixture over the vegetables, sprinkling the remaining thyme leaves on top.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before removing tart from the pan and serving.

Caramelized Fennel Salad – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 3 bulbs fennel, halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. salad greens
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl toss together the fennel through pepper.

Spread fennel mixture over a large rimmed baking sheet (on parchment for easier clean up) and bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool (you can make the fennel up to a day in advance;  let it come to room temperature before serving).  Toss caramelized fennel with the salad greens and vinaigrette;  serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients;  you can make the vinaigrette in advance and refrigerate — let it come to room temperature before using.

Classic Cheese Souffle, Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion, Whole Wheat French Bread

Classic Cheese Souffle, Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion, Whole Wheat French Bread

by Jennifer

I had always thought of souffles as being pretty formidable, but it turns out they’re not that difficult to make, and they’re absolutely delicious.  A good way to splurge on eggs and cheese, and if they eggs are Omega 3-fortified, all the better for you.  You can definitely buy some good French bread, but if you have the urge, try making your own.  Baking bread is absolutely not difficult;  the process requires your attention for a few minutes at a time, with lots of down-time in between, and your house ends up smelling wonderful, and you can experience both satisfaction and amazement at watching flour and water turn into something so substantial and tasty.  This dinner serves 4, with leftover French bread to freeze, or make French toast, or sandwiches…..

Classic Cheese Souffle – adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4.

  • 2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup, packed, coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about 4 oz.)

With the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, preheat to 400.

Coat a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom and sides evenly with the Parmesan cheese (this gives the souffle something to “cling” to as it rises).

Heat the milk in a medium-sized pot over medium heat until it’s steaming.  While you’re waiting, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes.

Add the warm milk, whisking until smooth, and cook, whisking, until very thick, about 2 -3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the paprika, salt and nutmeg, whisking well.

Add the egg yolks and whisk well to combine.  Set aside to cool slightly (you can do this up to 2 hours ahead of time;  leave, covered, at room temperature).

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture.

Continue to fold in the remaining whites, 1/4 at a time, while also slowly adding the Gruyere cheese.

Gently scoop the batter into the souffle dish.  Place the souffle in the oven and immediately turn heat down to 375.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the souffle is puffed, golden-brown, and the center moves only slightly when gently shaken.  Serve immediately.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion – adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

Serves 4.

  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 handfuls frisee or chicory
  • 3 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

Broil the red/yellow pepper, turning occasionally, until all sides are blackened. Immediately transfer pepper to a ziplock bag and seal, allowing the steam to loosen the skin.

When cool enough to handle, peel skin off pepper and cut pepper into strips.

While the pepper is cooling, toss the red onion with 1 TBS olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred in spots.

Set aside.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a serving bowl toss together the spinach, frisee, peppers, onions and vinegar mixture.  Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot, but not smoking.

Pour the hot oil over the greens and toss well, allowing the greens to wilt.  Serve immediately.

Whole Wheat French Bread – from Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein

I feel incredibly fortunate to own a standing mixer, but I remember well back to the days when I had to knead dough by hand.  Not too bad, especially if I had someone to talk to or good music to listen to, but I’m loving not having to knead anymore!  Whether or not you own a standing mixer, this bread is not difficult to make and is wonderful to eat.  The ingredients are for a standing mixer, and make 3 loaves (freeze 1 or 2 for later), but in parentheses are the ingredient amounts for kneading by hand, which will make 2 loaves.  The method is the same either way.

Sponge

  • 3 cups warm water (2 cups)
  • 2 heaping TBS yeast (1 1/2 TBS)
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (3 cups)

Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour (2 – 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 TBS salt (1 TBS)

Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

To make the sponge:  In a large bowl, standing mixer bowl or otherwise, combine water and yeast and allow a few minutes for the mixture to become foamy.  Add the bread flour and stir until mixture is smooth.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space (I turn my oven on for a minute or two, then turn it off and place the bowl in there) until doubled, about 45 – 60 minutes.

To make the dough:  Punch down the sponge either by stirring it or with the mixer blade on first speed.  Add the whole wheat flour, starting with 3 1/2 (2) cups, and the salt, and mix until the dough to is too stiff to mix, or until the dough starts climbing up the mixer blade.  For the latter, scrape off and change to the dough hook, and knead for 10 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary (better not to add more flour if it’s not too sticky);  alternatively, knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking too much to your hands.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough:  gently press down until the dough deflates, and gently knead once or twice inside the bowl.  Re-cover and allow to rise again, another 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 (2) portions.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, press each portion into a long flat rectangular.  Starting with the long side away from you, roll the dough towards you, like a jelly-roll, pressing down as you roll, so you have a long, tight, baguette shape.

Transfer to a cornmeal-dusted (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet;  repeat with remaining dough.  Cover and allow to rise one more time, about 30 – 45 minutes.While the dough is in its last rise, preheat the oven to 475, with a metal brownie pan (or something similar) on the lowest rack.

Brush the loaves with water, and slash the loaves at regular intervals at about a 20 degree angle.  Drop 6 – 8 ice cubes into the metal pan (this tries to simulate the steam injection of professional bakers’ ovens), then place the loaves in the oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and the crust feels hard when you gently squeeze it.

Cool for as long as you can keep yourself from tearing into them!

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta, Roasted Pepper and Broccoli Salad with Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Vinaigrette

By Jennifer

Serves 4 adults.

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta – adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 9 garlic cloves – 5 minced, and 4 smashed
  • 1 lb. shrimp (preferably US-farmed or wild-caught), cleaned, each shrimp cut into 2 – 3 pieces depending on size
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. short pasta of your choosing
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup clam juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine 2 tsp. minced garlic, 1 TBS olive oil, shrimp, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. 

Heat the 4 smashed cloves in 2 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until golden, about 5 – 7 minutes.  Remove the garlic and discard.

While the pasta is cooking according to package directions, heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and add the shrimp, with marinade, in a single layer.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is just cooked through.  Transfer the shrimp to a clean bowl.

Cook the remaining minced garlic and the red pepper flakes in the skillet for a minute;

add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Add the white wine and cook, stirring, for a minute.  Add the clam juice and parsley and cook for a few minutes, until the mixture becomes slightly thickened.

Turn off the heat and add the butter and lemon juice.

Drain the pasta;  return it to the pot.  Add the shrimp and garlic sauce and toss well.

Roasted Pepper and Broccoli Salad with Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Vinaigrette – adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Vinaigrette

  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

Combine vinegars, oil, salt and pepper and whisk well.  Stir in tomatoes and olives.

  • 2 peppers, yellow and/or red
  • 1 1/2 lb. broccoli, and cut into florets, stems chopped

Roast peppers by placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet under the broiler for 20 – 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are blackened.

Immediately place peppers into a plastic bag and seal;  the steam contained within the bag helps release the skins and makes them easy to peel.

When they are cool, peel off the skins and chop.

Cook the broccoli, florets and stems, in a pot of boiling salted water, for 2 minutes, then drain.

Combine peppers, broccoli and vinaigrette, and toss well.