Nancy’s Chopped Salad

From Nancy Silverton’s Mozza Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen blog. This vinaigrette makes the salad and you can find the wonderful Sicilian oregano that is so full of flavor at Amazon. Today, I varied the ingredients and it is always delicious. Iceberg is a must as it has the perfect crunch. There are endless possibilities of combinations of vegetables and meats and cheese. I used a finocchio salami that was really delicious. For two of us, I just prep the amount of ingredients that I think we will eat so you can plan accordingly.

Oregano dressing
4 cloves garlic (I use 2 as I don’t want it too strong)
1 to 2 tablespoons dried oregano (Nancy recommends 2; I got nervous and used 1, but might not have minded more)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, ideally extra-virgin

Salad and assembly
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rings
1/2 pound provolone (see Note about varieties), sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1/2 pound salami, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
4 medium or 8 small pickled pepperoncini, sliced into rings
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
Sea salt
1 head iceberg lettuce (see Note about size), halved, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch ribbons
1 head radicchio, halved, cored and cut in 1/4-inch ribbons
2 tablespoons dried oregano for garnish (optional)

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic and then add the oregano, salt and up to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Chop the mixture together and use the side of a knife or a mortar and pestle to make a grainy herb paste. Transfer the paste to a large salad bowl, and add the lemon juice and vinegar. Mix with a fork allowing the salt to dissolve, then add the oil and whisk with a fork until well combined. The dressing should be thick with garlic and oregano. If you’re using a small head of iceberg, transfer 1/3 the dressing into a small bowl to be used only if needed. For a larger head of iceberg, you’ll want it all.

Assemble salad: Gently fold the chickpeas, red onion, provolone, salami, pepperoncini (including seeds and juice) into the dressing, one at a time. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve: When ready to serve, gently add the tomatoes, lettuce and radicchio to the salad bowl, along with a couple of generous pinches of oregano, and toss to combine with the dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding any reserved dressing if needed. Serve immediately.

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Vietnamese Braised Baby Back Ribs

From The New York Times by David Tanis. Wonderful flavors in the super tender ribs.

2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed and very finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
1 tablespoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated ginger
3 to 4 pounds baby back ribs
4 scallions, slivered or chopped, for garnish
Cilantro and mint sprigs, for garnish

Make the marinade: In a small bowl, put the shallots, lemongrass, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile paste, salt, sugar, five-spice powder, garlic and ginger. Mix well.
Put the meat in a deep baking dish or roasting pan and add marinade. Using your hands, coat ribs well. Let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight, well wrapped. Bring back to room temperature before proceeding.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Add 2 cups water to the pan, cover tightly with foil and place pan in oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 1 hour more. When done, the meat should be very tender, nearly but not quite falling off the bone. Remove cover and return to the oven for about 15 minutes until the ribs are nicely browned.
Remove ribs from pan. Pour pan juices into a saucepan and skim fat. Reduce over high heat until somewhat thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, divide ribs with a sharp knife and pile them onto a platter.
Serve family style with steamed rice and pan juices. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and mint sprigs.

Hillstone Cole Slaw with Ding’s Pickle Relish

We love to eat at Hillstone and my husband is especially fond of their cole slaw. They quietly sell the special Ding’s relish that goes into the dressing. There are so many great flavors in this dressing. I used one batch of dressing for a half of head of savoy cabbage and it was perfect.

⅓ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons drained pickle relish
1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 teaspoons drained prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2½ cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup finely shredded savoy cabbage
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup finely chopped scallion greens


Whisk mayonnaise, relish, buttermilk, horseradish, mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add green and savoy cabbages, parsley, and scallion greens and toss to coat. Taste and season again with salt and pepper.

Creamed Turkey and Sausage with Sweet Potato Biscuits

From the NY Times wonderful chef, David Tanis.I made this with leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving and I am not sure that I liked the turkey in there again unless it was fresh. Chicken would be delicious too. I think I would add an extra 1/4# of sausage too. The sweet potato biscuits were wonderful! I bake my sweet potatoes in a cold oven, turn up to 425 degrees (after pricking each with a fork a few times) right on the oven shelf for 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on size. Turn off the oven and leave for 30 minutes-perfect every time!

FOR THE CREAMED TURKEY:
4 ounces sausage meat, preferably breakfast sausage or sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk, more as needed
1 cup leftover gravy or 3/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2 cups diced cooked turkey meat
FOR THE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS:
2 cups/260 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed
2 teaspoons/6 grams baking powder
½ teaspoon /1 1/2 grams baking soda
1 teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup mashed sweet potato
½ cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook sausage meat, breaking it into small crumbly pieces as it browns. Pour off any rendered fat. Add butter and diced onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to combine.
Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, stirring vigilantly as the sauce thickens. Reduce heat if sauce is bubbling too rapidly. Whisk in gravy or broth and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Fold in turkey meat and heat through. Keep warm.
Make the biscuit dough: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add butter and work it into the dry mixture with fingers until mixture resembles wet sand. Beat sweet potato and buttermilk together and stir into flour mixture. Mix briefly just enough to incorporate to make a soft dough.
Transfer dough to a work surface and dust lightly with flour. Knead for 1 minute, then pat or roll dough to a 1 1/2-inch thickness. Use a floured biscuit cutter or water glass to cut 10 to 12 rounds from the dough. (Or simply use a sharp knife to cut dough into 2-inch squares or diamonds.) Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
To serve, split a warm biscuit and spoon saucy turkey over it.

Al Forno’s Five Cheese Pasta

From Al Forno, the wonderful restaurant in Providence, RI. This is a delicious pasta that comes together very quickly. I usually make it in the morning of the day I am going to eat it and bake it for dinner. I use Parmesan cheese instead of the Pecorino but you can use whatever cheeses you like. I reduced a can of diced tomatoes with some tomato paste to get a thicker sauce to add to the cream, cheeses and pasta. **Note-I gave the leftovers of this to my neighbor, Hannah and she added the rest of the 16 oz. ricotta, chicken and peas and said it was delicious! I think it is a brilliant idea!

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely shredded (1 1/2 ounces) Fontina cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
6 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound penne rigate or conchiglie rigate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, sliced thinly Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the pasta and butter. Stir well to combine. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine. Divide the pasta mixture among six to eight shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2 cups in capacity) or place in a shallow (1-inch) layer in larger baking dishes. Dot with the butter, and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

My sister Meg alerted me to this recipe in the NY Times! So simple and delicious! You can use as much or as little of the nutella as you want. It leaves melting pockets of hazelnut chocolate!

½ cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups/256 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups/310 grams mashed bananas, from about 3 medium bananas
⅔ cup/134 grams granulated sugar
¼ cup/57 grams plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup/99 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
Brown butter: Melt butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Cook butter, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a rubber spatula until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Don’t walk away from the pan during this process. The butter will go from browned and nutty to acrid and burnt in moments. Transfer butter to a large heat-safe mixing bowl and let it cool slightly.
When the butter has cooled a bit, add the mashed bananas, sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined, then add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan and spread it evenly with a knife or offset spatula. Spoon half the chocolate-hazelnut spread in several dollops over the top and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl it into the batter. Spoon and spread the remaining batter over the top followed by dollops of the remaining spread. Swirl in the spread, then bake the bread for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Perfect Sugar Cookie

From the Flour, a cookbook and bakery in Boston by Joanne Chang. This dough is perfection. Be sure to let it rest at least an hour before baking. I rolled a half of the dough out at a time and kept the other half chilled. Every single bit of the dough rolled out into about 80 cookies. I am going to freeze the cookies and frost them as needed. Note**I prefer the frosting from my blog, Binx’s Christmas Cookies. The butter adds a glisten and it is the perfect amount for this batch of cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
3 c. unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment ( or a hand held mixer) cream the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes), scraping the sides and bottom often. Beat in eggs and vanilla and mix for at least 2-3 minutes, until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl often. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. On low speed slowly blend in flour mixture until evenly mixed. Let rest wrapped in plastic as an 8” disc at least one hour until dough is firm enough to roll out. Flour a work surface and the dought and roll out 1/4” thick. Cut out cookies and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool cookies at least 30 minutes.
Frosting-see Note** above about optional recipe
3 1/4 c. (1#) confectioners sugar
5-6 T. milk
food coloring as desired
Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk in enough milk to make a stiff icing.

Coconut Bread

Originally from Bill Granger a chef in Austrailia. I found it on Smitten Kitchen and she updated The Wednesday Chef’s recipe! I do not care for sweetened coconut** so I used unsweetened coconut from my health food store. It is a dense delicious bread and I can’t wait to toast it!

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt (see Note)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (Bill calls for 2 but I preferred 1, so that it didn’t dominate)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups) **see note above
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired

Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Pork Vindaloo

From my favorite Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking book, this is a hot and sour curry from Goa on the west coast of India. The sauce is made with lots of wonderful spices and an onion broth that has a little vinegar in it. Some of the spices are a little rare but I have found a line in small green boxes called Spicely and they have every spice in small amounts! You could substitute beef or lamb instead of the pork if you wish. I serve it with basmati rice and a vegetable side dish, like the cabbage and carrots from my Indian feast post.

2 t. whole cumin seeds
2-3 hot dried red chilies
1 t. black peppercorns
1 t. cardamom seeds
3″ stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 t. whole black (or brown) mustard seed
1 t. fenugreek seeds
5 T. white wine vinegar
1 t. light brown sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
5 T. oil or ghee (I used grape seed oil)
1 1/3 c. water
2# boneless pork shoulder meat, cut into 1″ cubes
1″ cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
a small whole head of garlic, with cloves separated and peeled
1 T. ground coriander seeds
1/2 t. turmeric
Grind the top seven spices together in a spice or coffee grinder and put in a bowl. Add vinegar, salt and sugar-mix well and set aside.
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium and fry onions, stirring frequently until bring and crisp. This takes some time but is essential to the dish! It took me almost one hour to brown the onions. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and put into a blender or food processor. Add 2-3 T of the water to blend and puree the onions. Add this puree to the spice mixture in the bowl. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze.
While the onions are cooking, dry off the meat cubes and cut off any fat.
Put ginger and garlic in the blender and puree into a paste with 2-3 T. of the water, or more as needed.
Heat 5 T. oil in the pot again over medium high flame. Add the pork cubes, a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. After the pork is browned, add the garlic ginger paste, turn down heat to medium. Stir for a few seconds. Add coriander and turmeric, stirring well for a few minutes. Add the meat and vindaloo paste and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for on hour or until pork is tender. Stir a few times during cooking period.

Turkey Pho

From the NY Times, a wonderful soup with your leftover turkey and stock from Thanksgiving. Charring the onion halves and ginger add a lot of flavor to the broth. I love all of the fresh tastes from the garnishes.

2 medium yellow onions, halved and peeled
1 (4-inch) piece of fresh ginger (do not peel)
12 cups turkey or chicken stock, preferably homemade
¼ cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 star anise
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (1-pound) package dried rice vermicelli
12 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 3 cups)
1 small bunch Thai basil sprigs
3 jalapeños, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 to 3 limes, quartered, to taste
4 cups shredded cooked turkey (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 large bunch)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)

Cook onions and ginger directly over open flame of a gas burner for about 5 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are charred on all sides. (If you don’t have a gas stove, heat broiler and set onions and ginger on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until charred on all sides.) Allow charred ginger to cool, then slice it into 1/2-inch coins.
In a large Dutch oven or similar pot, combine onions, sliced ginger, stock, fish sauce, star anise and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
In the meantime, cook rice noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
Arrange mung bean sprouts, sprigs of Thai basil, jalapeños and limes on a platter and set on the table.
Remove onions, ginger and star anise from the pot. Add shredded turkey to the pot, and return it to a simmer. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with additional fish sauce and/or salt, if needed.
Divide rice noodles, cilantro and scallions evenly among large soup bowls, then ladle hot stock over the top, making sure each bowl gets a healthy serving of turkey. Serve immediately, accompanied by platter of garnishes.
Cover and refrigerate leftovers, keeping noodles separate, for up to 3 days.