Pasta with Cabbage and Gorgonzola

This is a very simple pasta from Elizabeth Minchilli. I adore her blog and she and her daughter give cooking classes and tours in Rome and Italy. A very talented ex-pat married to an Italian. It is quick to make and delicious. The author suggests that you can use any vegetable and cheese mixture, like radicchio or kale and taleggio, brie or goat cheese. She also recommends not to skimp on high quality freshly ground black pepper. There is something magical about cabbage that is steamed or sautéed. It is a wonderful winter vegetable that should not be missed.
pasta-with-cabbage-and-gorgonzolab-22d65994-mn44hu
140 grams pasta-1 1/2 c. dried pasta
1 medium leek, sliced thinly
¼ head of cabbage, cut into thin ribbons
80 grams gorgonzola, but in small cubes-about 3 oz.
⅓ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold all the cooked pasta. Add the leeks and salt and cook over medium heat until wilted.
Add the cabbage, with 1 cup water, and let cook until very tender.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, retaining 1 cup pasta cooking water.
Add the drained pasta to the cabbage, turning the heat to medium low. Stir well to mix, and add the parmigiano and half the water, stirring to combine.
Add the gorgonzola, a bit at time, stirring it well. Add the rest of the water, stirring so that the cheese melts and the water evaporates. When the cheese is melted, it is ready. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve topped with more black pepper.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

This recipe is from Field of Greens by Annie Somerville who is the chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. It has some components to it that may seem labor intensive but it is the most flavorful black bean soup that I have ever had! One component is the Chipotle Puree which is just a can of chipotles in adobo, pureed. The pureed chilies keep forever in the refrigerator and it is a condiment that I use often. The other component is the ancho chili puree which are the ancho chiles, like you see in ristras-toasted in a cast iron pan until lightly toasted and then covered in a bowl with boiling water for 15 minutes-then drained and pureed. I find some beans, no matter how long you soak them need time to cook. This recipe calls for them to be soft in 20-25 minutes but my beans took over an hour to soften.* I think this soup could be great for a party with all sorts of garnishes including the above and also you could have rice and some type of cheese, like feta or any of the Mexican grating cheeses.

bean-soup-pot
2 c. dried black beans, about 12-16 oz. (I use 16 oz. as I buy my black beans by the pound from Rancho Gordo, sorted through and soaked overnight
6+ c. cold water
1 fresh oregano sprig
2 fresh sage leaves
1 T. light olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 3 c.
salt and cayenne pepper
1/2 t. toasted oregano, in a small pan til lightly toasted
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 t. chipotle puree (see above in notes)
1 T. Ancho Chili puree (see above)
1/4 c. dry sherry
1/2# fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, about 1 c. or 1 8 oz. can of tomatoes, with juices
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
For garnish
1/2# fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped, about 1 cup
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Or other garnishes
fried strips of tortillas
thinly slice avocado
creme fraiche mixed with orange juice, cumin and cayenne
black-bean-soup-garnished
Rinse and drain the beans. Place in a soup pot with the cold water, oregano sprig, bay and sage leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until the beans are soft-20-25 minutes or however long it takes. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion, 1/2 t. salt, 1/8 t. cayenne and toasted oregano. Cook over medium heat until onion is soft-about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and chili purees. Saute for 3-4 minutes, add the sherry and simmer until reduced by half, a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 t. salt and cook for 10 minutes.
Set aside 1 1/2 c. cooked beans. Remove the fresh herbs and bay leaves. Combine beans and their broth with the tomatoes and onions and puree in the blender in batches. Add the reserved beans, orange juice and 1/2 t. salt. Season with salt and cayenne to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Toss the tomatoes and cilantro together and garnish each serving with a spoonful.

Swedish Meatballs

This is a delicious recipe from the NY Times. The onion gravy for the meatballs is so flavorful that I can see using it on a roast chicken and many other dishes. The only thing I may change is use a little less panko as mine tended to clump up. The traditional recipe is sliced, crustless bread and if that was available, I would use that. The other change I made was that I baked the meatballs, rather than broiling them-my preference. I baked them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. You can serve this with  buttered noodles or mashed potatoes. We were given a wonderful jar of lingonberry sauce which was delicious on the meatballs!
raw-swedish-meatballsjpg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup warm milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1 tablespoon brandy
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef or chicken broth, low sodium or homemade
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional but recommended
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch cloves
1 T.worcestershire sauce

sauced-swedish-meatballs
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed for drizzling
Chopped fresh parsley or dill, for garnish
In a medium bowl, soak bread crumbs in warm milk while you prepare the onions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in onions and a pinch of salt and cook until pale golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer half the onions to a large bowl and set aside.
Prepare sauce: Add brandy to skillet with onions and ignite with a long match or igniter (or if you’re using a gas stove, just swirl pan, brandy should catch fire). Let flame die down, then add the remaining butter, letting it melt. Sprinkle in flour. Sauté until flour browns, about 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, whisking, until reduced to a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add mustard, if you like, and season with more salt, if needed.
To large bowl with onion, add remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, soaked bread crumbs, beef, pork, eggs, garlic, pepper, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and worcestershire sauce.. Roll into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each), placing them on one or two rimmed baking sheets as you go. Preheat oven to 400 degrees if baking or you can broil these.
Heat broiler. Drizzle meatballs with oil. Broil meatballs, switching pans’ positions if using more than one so they both get close to the broiler, until well browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with gravy, lingonberry sauce and garnished with herbs.
swedish-with-rice

Blinis

This is a tried and true recipe from Martha Stewart’s Entertaining circa 1982 that I received as a gift from my future mother in law who is a wonderful and adventurous cook.It is a super light dough that makes a lot of blinis. I usually make them one or two pans at a time, whatever I can keep up with. The blinis freeze very well and are wonderful with caviar or smoked salmon. I got a great suggestion from a caviar guy who told me to put the caviar on toasted English muffins with good butter and creme fraiche-delightful! Smoked salmon is also delicious on blinis with a garnish of lemon, dill and creme fraiche.

blinis
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
pinch of sugar
1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 salt
6 T.melted butter
3 egg whites
melted butter for cooking the blinis
caviar-and-blinis
Proof yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar for 5 minutes to be sure the yeast is active. Put the yeast mixture, milk, flour, egg yolks, salt and melted butter in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed for 40 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and blend again for a few seconds. Pour batter into a large bowl, big enough to accommodate the rising. Cover loosely and set in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours (-2 hours-In Colorado 1 1/2 hours is enough). Do not let batter rise too much or it will taste over fermented. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle. Brush with butter and drop blini batter by the teaspoonfuls onto the hot pan. Turn when first side is lightly browned and cook briefly on the second side. Blinis may be cooled, wrapped and refrigerated. Warm in a 300 degree oven or small skillet before serving.

Key Lime Pie

This recipe comes from an old friend and the former chef, Jeff Lohmann of my husband’s restaurant in 1979. Jeff sent us the key limes from trees in Palm Desert-what a treat. A few things are different with the recipe-he uses brown sugar in the graham cracker crust and he doesn’t prebake the crust. Also there are no eggs in the recipe but two cans of sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. The sour cream seems to lend a velvety texture to the pie.
whole-key-lime-pie
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2 c. graham cracker crumbs, crushed
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 oz. melted butter
Combine and press into pie plate.
Mix together:
3/4 c. key lime juice
1 T. key lime zest (about 4 limes)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. sour cream
Pour into pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until firm.
key-lime-pie

JDN’s Eggnog

This recipe comes from my husband’s grandfather. We served it at our restaurant 30 years ago! It is rich and as David says ‘an artery clogger’. I remember it as delicious and potent!

12 eggs, separated
2 quarts of heavy cream
1 quart rum of your choice, Mt. Gay or
1 pint of peach brandy
1 # sugar
fresh nutmeg, optional

Separate eggs, whisk whites to soft peak. Whisk egg yolks to mix.
Put cream in bowl, add sugar and dissolve, add rum and peach brandy and stir in whisked egg yolks. Fold in egg whites. And serve. I think we grated fresh nutmeg over each serving.

Sharon’s Caesar Salad Dressing-the best!

This recipe comes from my friend Sharon who is a wonderful cook. She has been perfecting it for 30 years! I am a huge anchovy fan and try new kinds often. My favorite kind is Scalia which may be hard to find.
sharons-caesar-dressing
1-2 garlic cloves, to taste
1 can of anchovies, with oil
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. good olive oil, I love California Extra Virgin
1 T. mayonnaise
dash of red wine vinegar, optional

Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated to taste

In a blender add the first four ingredients and blend well. Add mayonnaise and vinegar if using. Chill and serve with good croutons and romaine and Parmesan cheese.

Molasses Cookies

From What’s Gaby Cooking blog that is one of my new favorites! I grew up with a molasses cookie with raspberry jam in the center and have never found the recipe but I will try it in these cookies the next time I bake them.
molasses-cookies
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
INSTRUCTIONS

In a large stand mixer combine the butter, sugar, egg and molasses. Mix for a minute or two until well combined.
Combine the flour, cloves, ginger cinnamon and baking soda and sift together.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once chilled, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls. Roll them around in a small cup of sugar and set onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool.

Sausage and Cabbage

This is the simplest of Sausage and Cabbage and delicious! I make a half recipe for the two of us and will use leftovers in a soup.
sausage-and-cabbage
Salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh sweet Italian pork sausages or bulk sausage
1 large green or Savoy cabbage, about 4 pounds, cored and thickly shreddedina’s
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread and mustard, for serving
Nutritional Information
PREPARATION
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. If using sausages, remove casings and discard them.
Place cabbage in boiling water, cover, and let water come back to the boil. Uncover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain cabbage in a colander and run cold water over it to stop cooking.
Put about 1/3 of the cabbage in buttered dish and cover with 1/2 the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Repeat, ending with a final layer of cabbage, and dot top with butter.
Cover dish tightly with a layer of parchment paper, then top with a lid or a layer of aluminum foil. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours, until cabbage is soft and sweet, and top is lightly browned. After 2 hours, uncover the dish: if there is a lot of liquid in the bottom, leave uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. If not, re-cover and finish cooking.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

My niece Rachael introduced me to this fool proof Tenderloin from the one and only Ina Garten. It is so easy and everyone loves beef tenderloin! It is a wonderful dish as is or for a large party I served it with mini brioche rolls with horseradish sauce. Always a hit!
beef-tenderloin
2 1/2 pounds filet of beef, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place the beef on the sheet pan. Combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the filet and brush it evenly over the top and sides. Sprinkle the cracked pepper evenly all over the meat.
Roast the filet for 30 minutes exactly for medium-rare (25 minutes for rare and 35 minutes for medium). Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow the beef to rest on the pan for 10 minutes. Slice and serve hot or warm.
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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/balsamic-roasted-beef.html?oc=linkback