RECIPE OF THE WEEK
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January 5
Short Ribs

This is a tasty and hearty winter meal — beef short ribs cooked long and slow in a tomato sauce on your stove top until the
meat falls off the bone! Serve the ribs over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles, or with potatoes gratin or cornbread on the side
(recipes follow). And the leftovers are delicious too!

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds beef short ribs
1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large onion, thickly sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine (optional)
2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Place a large pan or Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat; brown short ribs in olive oil in batches and set aside. Using same pot, stir in tomatoes or tomato sauce, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Then add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes and mix well. Add onions, garlic, red wine, and short ribs, and stir together until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook covered, stirring occasionally and skimming fat from surface, until meat is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove bay leaves, taste sauce for seasoning, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley before serving.

January 12
Potatoes Gratin

This cheesy, creamy baked potato dish is one of the most elegant of all comfort foods. The dish is also sometimes called scalloped potatoes. Baking the thinly sliced potatoes for over an hour until they absorb all the milk and cream will make them tender and delicious. This is sure to become one of your family’s favorite recipes!

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 garlic clove, halved
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 ounces Gruyere or other Swiss cheese, grated (1 - 1/13 cups)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and place in a bowl of water to prevent discoloring. Rub inside of a 9-by-12-inch oval baking dish with cut sides of garlic. Heat cream, milk, nutmeg, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around edge. Season with pepper. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick; transfer to a bowl. Pour warm cream mixture over top. Mix well, using your hands to separate and coat potatoes, and transfer to prepared dish. Gently push potatoes down, and pour cream mixture from bowl over top. Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese. Bake (with a baking sheet placed on the rack below to catch drips) until potatoes are fork tender and top is bubbling and brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

January 19
Skillet Cornbread


Cornbread is an American classic and the perfect accompaniment to many dishes, especially ones that have lots of gravy or sauce that need to be sopped up — like short ribs, beef stew, chili, or even your Thanksgiving turkey. Or you can simply eat it straight out of the skillet with butter and honey or jam.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of shortening

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir together. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined. In a small bowl or pan, melt the 1/4 cup shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an 8-inch iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. Batter should sizzle.

Cook on stovetop for 1 minute, then bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown; edges should be crispy. Slice in skillet, remove gently, and serve on a platter.


January 26
Texas Chili

Texas chili typically uses chunks or slices of beef rather than ground beef; no beans; plenty of chili peppers; and coriander and cumin spices. In many ways it is more like a stew than the chili typically made in other parts of the U.S. This recipe also calls for a touch of chocolate and a bottle of beer. It’s delicious and the perfect game food for football play-off season! Serve with Fritos sprinkled
on top for crunch, or with warm flour tortillas or cornbread on the side.

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
4 pounds beef chuck roast or sirloin steak
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large fresh green jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons ground pure chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 (12-ounce) bottle Negra Modelo beer
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
3 whole dried large red chiles, such as New Mexico or guajillo
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped, for serving
1 cup sour cream, for serving
Fritos, warmed flour tortillas, or cornbread for serving

In a small heavy skillet, toast cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant. In a mortar and pestle, or in a coffee grinder, grind to a powder and set aside.

Meanwhile, roughly cut beef into 2-inch cubes, or slice it against the grain into pieces about 1/4-inch thick by 1 1/2 inches square. Sprinkle with salt.

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, brown the meat, turning occasionally until crusty. Adjust heat to prevent scorching. As it is cooked, remove the meat to drain on paper towels. Add more oil as needed for browning, but do not clean out the pot.

To the empty but crusty pot, add onion, garlic, jalapeños, chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until onion has softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat, beer, tomatoes, chocolate, whole dried chiles, and 1 quart water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is fork-tender. Remove the dried chiles. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate. The chili tastes best one or two days after it is made. If serving later, reheat over low heat and serve in bowls, sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro. Serve sour cream on the side. Add Fritos for crunch, or dip flour tortillas or cornbread into the spicy gravy.

February 2
Game Time Nachos


This recipe will make a large platter of nachos for everyone to snack on during the Super Bowl game! It’s quick and easy to prepare — and tastes delicious! The recipe below calls for shredded chicken, but you can use browned ground beef instead. Enjoy as you cheer on your favorite team!

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 ounces tortilla chips
2 cups poached, shredded chicken (or browned ground beef)
12 ounces Monterey Jack or Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
16 ounces salsa in a jar
1 avocado, coarsely sliced, for garnish
1 or 2 thinly sliced jalapenos, seeded and stems removed, for garnish
1/2 cup pitted black olive slices, for garnish
sour cream, for garnish
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
2 limes quartered, on the side

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle position. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons safflower oil. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add black beans, cumin, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat. On a large oven-safe platter, layer one-third of the tortilla chips and top with one third of the black beans, chicken (or beef), cheese, and salsa. Repeat, layering twice more.

Transfer to oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted throughout. Remove from oven, top with avocado, jalapeno, olives, cilantro, and dollops of sour cream, and serve immediately with lime quarters on the side



February 9
Salad Dressing Chicken
with Beans and Escarole




This is a very quick and easy chicken dish to prepare for a weeknight meal -- but it is so delicious that you may want to serve it when entertaining too. The homemade salad dressing is poured over the chicken while it bakes and then, after the chicken is ready, the warm dressing and pan juices are used to dress the escarole and bean salad that accompanies the chicken.

4 whole chicken legs, skin on
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 shallot, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 head of escarole salad
1 can of cannelloni beans
2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels and lay in a flat baking dish, side by side. In a small bowl, mix the vinegars and mustard with a whisk, then add a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper and finally the honey. Then slowly add the olive oil and continue to whisk; add the shallots and mix. Pour dressing over the chicken legs, sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and place in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the thigh juices run clear when pierced.

Rinse and drain the cannelloni beans. Chop the escarole salad and place in a large bowl; add the beans and herbs and toss the salad well.

When the chicken legs are ready, place them on individual plates to rest for a few minutes while you prepare the salad. Scrape and mix the hot dressing and chicken juices from the baking pan, pour over the salad, and toss. Serve salad immediately while the dressing is still warm -- it will wilt the escarole just a bit and add loads of flavor to the salad. Place one serving of salad on each plate next to the chicken leg, and serve with warm crusty white bread.

February 16
Polish Jelly Rolls
Paczki


In Poland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “Tlusty tydzien” or Fat Week. It is a time when millions and millions of paczki are consumed, especially on Fat Tuesday. They are available in the US in many Polish and American bakeries, or you can try making your own. The second recipe below is for chrusciki, also a popular pastry in the week before Lent. Happy Paczki Day!

2 cakes yeast
1 1/3 cup milk, scalded then cooled till lukewarm
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup butter, melted
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 shot glass rum
1 cup prune or other fruit filling
powdered sugar
shortening or vegetable oil for frying

Crumble yeast into bowl and add lukewarm milk. Add half of flour; mix well. Beat eggs and egg yolks with sugar and salt; add to first mixture. Add melted butter, vanilla and rum. Work in remaining flour. Allow to rise in warm place until spongy, about 2 hours.

Turn dough out on floured surface and cut into even sections with juice-size glass. Spread the dough apart enough to fill with prepared prune or other filling and seal the filling into the dough. Allow paczki to rise in warm place until double in bulk.

Then fry in hot, deep shortening until brown. Turn just once. Drain on absorbent paper. While still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

February 23
Angel Wings
Chrusciki

These delicate pastries are very popular in Poland during the pre-Lenten season of Mardi Gras, along with another fried pastry, paczki. But they are also served during the year at weddings, during the Easter and Christmas holidays — or for any special occasion.

5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 large whole egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rum or brandy
2 cups all-purpose flour
canola or vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

Combine egg yolks, whole egg and salt in bowl of mixer. Beat at high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Beat in sugar, cream, vanilla, and rum. Add flour and beat until blisters form, about 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured board, divide in half, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch-wide strips. Cut these strips on the diagonal at 4-inch intervals. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, deep skillet to 350 degrees. Make a slit in the center of each strip of dough. Then pull one end through the slit to form a bow.

Fry 6 chrusciki at a time for 1 minute or less per side or until golden. These fry quickly, so watch closely. Drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar.




March 2
Tuna and White Bean Salad

In March we would like to present several meat-free dishes for Lent, starting with this delicious tuna and white bean salad, an Italian classic, which makes a super-simple and satisfying lunch. Serve as a salad, on grilled whole-wheat bread, or tucked into a whole-wheat pita pocket.

2 (6-ounce) cans dark meat tuna, packed in olive oil
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup small capers, nonpareil in brine, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh arugula
6 fresh basil leaves

In a large bowl, add the tuna, reserving the olive oil in a separate small bowl. Break tuna into bite-size pieces with a large fork. Add the beans and capers. Into a small bowl with the reserved olive oil, add the red wine vinegar. You should have 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil -- add more extra-virgin olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on the tuna, bean, and caper mixture, and allow the flavors to infuse while slicing the vegetables. Add the onion and tomatoes to tuna mixture and toss gently.

Place the arugula on large decorative platter and top with tuna mixture. Tear fresh basil leaves over the top and serve immediately.




March 9
Cauliflower Parmesan

Everyone knows and loves eggplant parmesan, but this recipe calls for breaded cauliflower instead — baked with cheese and tomato sauce — which will provide a satisfying meatless dinner for your family. Cauliflower is a vegetable that is in season all year long — and it’s super healthy and good for you, as well as being tasty. Serve over spaghetti or angel hair pasta.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups panko or plain unseasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets
Olive oil, for frying
5 cups tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. Season each generously with salt and pepper. Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then in eggs, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.

Fill a large skillet with 1/2-inch oil. Place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry cauliflower in batches, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer fried cauliflower pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.

Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan over sauce. Scatter half of the cauliflower pieces over the Parmesan and top with half of the mozzarella pieces. Top with half of the remaining tomato sauce, sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan and repeat layering, ending with a final layer of sauce and Parmesan.

Transfer pan to oven and bake until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Spaghetti or angel hair pasta are great accompaniments to this dish.


March 16
Fish Tacos

Tacos are a great way to serve more fish to your family … who doesn’t love tacos after all? Flaky white fish in bite-size pieces is fried with lemon and taco seasoning mix, and then served in hard taco shells or soft tortillas with a cooling white cream sauce, and topped with crunchy cabbage, juicy tomatoes, and fresh avocado slices, garnished with cilantro and limes.


For the Tacos:
1 package taco seasoning mix, divided
1 lb cod or 1 lb white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
12 count corn taco shells, warmed, or 12 flour tortillas, warmed

For the Crema:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Toppings:
shredded cabbage
chopped tomatoes
avocado slices
freshly squeezed lime juice or lime quarters
chopped cilantro
taco sauce

For the crema, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix in a small bowl.

Combine fish, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and remaining taco seasoning mix in a medium bowl; pour into large skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Fill taco shells or tortillas with fish mixture; add a tablespoon of crema, and top with toppings. Serve more crema, taco sauce, and lime quarters on the side.

March 23
White Bean and Kale Stew



Our last meatless recipe for Lent is this vegetarian stew full of complex flavors and textures. Adding the kale leaves at the very end ensures they keep their structure and crunch. Your family is sure to love this flavorful and healthy dish!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped (juice reserved)
1/2 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch kale (1 pound), stems removed and leaves torn into small pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and season with salt. Cook vegetables, stirring, until tender, about 8 minutes.Increase heat to medium-high, and add tomatoes and their juice. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add 7 cups water, potatoes, and beans, and bring stew to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, then stir in kale.Cook, covered, until tender, about 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.

March 30
Roast Leg of Lamb for Easter

In many countries around the world lamb is traditionally served at Easter, rather than the ham that is so popular in the U.S.
This leg of lamb roast, served with a butter anchovy sauce, is delicious and easy to prepare. Buy U.S. lamb if possible.
It is a bit more expensive than Australian or New Zealand lamb, but the slightly higher price is well worth it!

1 large bone-in leg of lamb roast with a cap of fat, 6 to 8 pounds
2 ounces (1 can) anchovies packed in olive oil, drained, or 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Leaves from 6 fresh rosemary sprigs (2 heaping tablespoons leaves), plus extra sprigs and branches for garnish
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
Black pepper
1 lemon, cut in half
1 ¾ cups white wine, plus extra for gravy

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Use a small sharp knife to make about a dozen incisions, each about 2 inches deep, through the fat that covers the top of the meat. Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, blend 2/3 of the anchovies (or 2/3 of the mustard if using), the rosemary leaves and the garlic cloves into a chunky paste. Using your fingers, press paste deeply into incisions.

Mix remaining anchovies (or mustard) and the butter into a paste. Smear this mixture all over the surface of the roast. Season liberally with black pepper. (Do not add salt; the anchovies are salty enough, and so is the mustard.) Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up, and squeeze the lemon halves over. Pour the wine around the roast into the pan.

Roast 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast until internal temperature reaches 130 to 135 degrees (for medium-rare or medium meat), about another 60 to 90 minutes. Baste every 20 minutes or so with the wine and drippings in the pan, adding more wine as needed to keep the liquid from scorching. If possible, for the last 15 minutes of cooking, use convection or a broiler to crisp the fat on the roast.

Remove pan from the oven, remove rack from the pan, and let the roast rest on the rack for at least 15 to 20 minutes in a warm place, tented with foil. The internal temperature will rise to about 140 to 145 degrees.

To make sauce from the pan drippings, remove a few tablespoons of fat by tipping the pan and spooning off the top layer. Put the pan over medium heat until the liquid simmers. Taste the simmering liquid and whisk in more wine, 1/4 cup at a time, until the consistency and flavor are right. Do not let the mixture become syrupy; it should be a sharp jus, not a thick gravy.


April 6
Ham and Noodle Casserole

Do you have some left-over Easter ham? Here is a tasty ham and noodle casserole your family is sure to love!

8 ounces egg noodles
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken or cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Place half of noodles in buttered 2 quart casserole dish. Combine ham and cheese; sprinkle half of ham mixture over noodles. In a small bowl, combine soup and milk. Spoon half of soup mixture over ham layer. Then layer again: noodles, ham/cheese, soup. Dot with butter. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped chives before serving.


April 13
Asparagus Salad with Hard-boiled Eggs

Chopped hard-boiled eggs are often used as a topping over lightly cooked but still crunchy asparagus spears that have been tossed in a vinaigrette. This recipe gives a different take on this classic dish — the asparagus is cut into smaller pieces and the chopped eggs are mixed in with the salad. Try this for an early taste of spring!

1 pound asparagus
3 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Place in a large frying pan with 1 cup of water and 1/2 tablespoon of salt and cook for 5-6 minutes over medium heat, turning occasionally and adding a little more water if needed. Refresh with ice-cold water, then drain and dry on paper towels. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the eggs, place in small bowl, and season with salt and pepper

In a salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the asparagus, capers, and chives, and toss together. Add the chopped eggs, then toss together again gently and serve.

April 20
Roasted Carrots with Dill

Carrots are available all year-long and are great roasted. But for a special treat in the spring, look for young, medium-sized carrots with the greens still attached. They will taste tender and sweet and this recipe is bound to become a family favorite, both for weeknight dinners and for special occasions.

2 lbs whole carrots, medium-sized, with greens
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp freshly chopped dill
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Peel carrots and cut off green tops.

Lightly grease a baking sheet or flat roasting pan. Place the carrots in a single layer on the greased sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss with your hands to make sure they are evenly covered in oil. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast the carrots for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and turn the carrots. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill and roast for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place carrots on a platter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp of fresh dill. Serve immediately.

April 27
Pan-fried Filet Steaks

For a quick and easy, but also elegant and delicious dinner, serve these tender filet mignon steaks with red-wine sauce. The asparagus salad and roasted carrots (recipes above) will make great side dishes. Or you can serve with mashed or baked potatoes and a green salad for a classic steakhouse meal.

4 filet steaks (6 to 7 ounces each, 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick)
Salt
4-5 tbsp canola or safflower oil, divided
4-5 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
2 cups dry red wine (like Merlot, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon)
Black pepper to taste

Allow steaks to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Trim off any excess fat. Just before cooking, pat steaks dry with a paper towel, drizzle lightly with a little oil on both sides (2-3 tbsp), gently rub it over the steaks, and then salt liberally.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy skillet for one minute over high heat. Add steaks to very hot pan and then immediately turn the heat down to medium-high. Sear without turning for 3 minutes on one side (4 minutes for a 1 1/2-inch-thick steak). Then turn and cook for another 4-5 minutes on the other side, to desired doneness. Remove steaks to warmed platter to rest and cover loosely with foil.

To make the sauce, add red wine to pan and cook over high heat until it is reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Add any juices from the steak platter that may have been released during resting and cook for two minutes more. Take pan off heat and when the sauce stops bubbling add the softened butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking it in until fully incorporated. Whisk in 2-3 more tablespoons of butter, one at a time, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Remove foil from meat and sprinkle each steak with freshly ground pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of the sauce over each filet before serving.


May 4
Easy Egg Breakfast Casserole



Just in time for Mother's Day -- an easy egg casserole that only takes a few minutes to prepare and 20 - 25 minutes to bake.
Serve it as breakfast in bed to Mom, along with a glass of orange juice, buttered toast, and a bowl of strawberries and cream. And don't forget to add a flower to the breakfast tray!

1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
cheese, divided
6 eggs,
whisked
6 slices bacon,
diced
2 slices white
crusty bread, cubed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen spinach, chopped
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Stir 1 cup cheddar cheese, eggs, bacon, bread, red bell pepper, green onion, spinach, milk, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until well-combined; pour into prepared
baking dish; sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until eggs are set, 20 to 25 minutes. Serves four to six.



May 11
Green and White Spring Pizzas

Spring is here! And what a great time to serve more fresh veggies to your family. These pizzas call for ramps (baby leeks) or
scallions, which are both healthy and tasty, plus creamy ricotta cheese, spinach, and parmesan. They are easy to make
and your family is sure to love them!

1 pound pizza dough
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
6 ounces ramps or scallions, trimmed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Coarse sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, for topping

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Divide the dough into 4 pieces on a floured surface. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Stretch the dough into four 6-inch rounds; place on the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the ramps or scallions with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Saute until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove ramps or scallions to cutting board. Add spinach to skillet with one tablespoon of butter. Saute for a minute. Add to ramps or scallions on cutting board and cut into pieces.

Mix the ricotta, lemon zest, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and some sea salt and pepper in a bowl. Brush the crusts with olive oil (this will protect them from getting soggy), then spread with the ricotta mixture and season with sea salt. Top with the ramps or scallions and spinach, and finally with the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven until warmed through, about 2
minutes.

Top the pizzas with basil, parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil.

May 18
Pasta Primavera

Creamy pasta primavera is a classic Italian dish. The word “primavera’ means spring in Italian, and you can substitute fresh spring veggies, like spinach, ramps, or spring onions for the squash in this recipe. If you use whole-wheat pasta, this dish will be even more hearty and healthy. Kids are sure to love it -- and what a great and delicious way to get them to eat more vegetables.

Coarse salt and ground pepper
12 ounces ribbon or fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced medium
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta.

In pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent, 6 minutes. Add flour and whisk to combine. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking frequently, until simmering and thickened, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini or squash (or other vegetables) and cook until crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, Parmesan, and basil, adding enough pasta
water to create a thin sauce that coats the pasta. Serve with more parmesan, if desired.


May 25
Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Take advantage of rhubarb season with this easy dessert. The creamy, vanilla-scented cake serves as a base for the tangy and tender rhubarb on top. Serve warm, if you like, with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. A great springtime dessert!

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, more to grease pans
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, rinsed and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2cups granulated sugar
1/2cup light brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Wrap two layers of foil under the pan, and place it on a buttered baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Whip 2 sticks butter in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. With your fingers, blend the remaining 1 cup sugar with lemon zest until the mixture is uniform in color. Cream together with the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. (It’s O.K. if the mixture looks curdled.) With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the mixer bowl in between the additions.

Pour the brown-sugar mixture into the cake pan, then spoon in the rhubarb and its juices. Spoon in the batter so it covers all of the rhubarb. Smooth out the top.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm to touch and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any large, moist crumbs.

Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake, place a plate on top of the pan and turn it upside-down. Release the cake from the pan while still warm or else it will stick.



June 1
Summer Corn Soup

Farmers markets are now open all across the United States and we can finally enjoy seasonal local produce, that did not have to travel in containers from all around the world to reach our tables. In June and July we will feature spring and summer recipes that showcase the fresh fruits and vegetables that you can buy from local producers and serve to your family. Enjoy the bounty of the land with these amazing recipes! The first one is for a sweet corn soup that you can prepare all summer long.

12 ears corn
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 jalapeño peppers
2 red bell peppers
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
2 green onions
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons salt, to taste
Black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional

Husk corn. Dice onion and mince garlic. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise, discard seeds, and mince. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, discards seeds, and dice. Cut green onions into thin slices.

For the corn stock, cut kernels off corn ears and reserves the cobs. In a large pot, make a corn stock by combining the cobs, bay leaf, peppercorns, 1 pinch of salt, and 16 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

Place a stockpot over medium-low heat and add oil. Add onion, jalapeño, and diced red peppers. Stir vegetables until onions are translucent and peppers are soft but not brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 and 1/2 minutes more, until garlic is golden but not brown. Increase heat to medium, and add butter and corn kernels. Add a tablespoon of salt, pepper to taste, and stir for about 4 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add 6 cups of corn stock. Stir the broth, then add cream and stir again. Cover pot and lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, purée soup coarsely, leaving some kernels partly broken or whole. Add more salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, smoked paprika. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with green onions.


June 8
Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta



Watermelon and tomatoes are a great combination -- the two best tastes of summer in one great salad! The red onion adds a little zest and the feta cheese crumbles add saltiness, perfectly balancing the sweetness of this salad.

4 to 6 large tomatoes, ideally heirloom, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 small red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, torn into large crumbles
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped, optional

Combine the cubed tomatoes and watermelon and sliced onion in a large, nonreactive bowl and toss gently to combine. Add salt and let stand 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cheese to the tomatoes and watermelon, then the dressing, and toss gently to combine. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.


June 15
Grilled Aspargus Salad

Take advantage of asparagus season with this delightful and hearty salad made with grilled asparagus spears, chick peas, tomatoes cucumbers, olives, and cheddar cheese. Each bite will give you a burst of unexpected flavors and textures.

1 pound asparagus
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 lightly packed cups mesclun greens or baby arugula leaves
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
3 cups pita chips

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning, until tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the mesclun or arugula greens with the grilled asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, and cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, both mustards, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified; add the tarragon. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Garnish with pita chips and serve.





June 22
Peach and Blueberry Parfaits

This is a delicious summer dessert that is super easy to make. A creamy custard poured over angel food cake cubes and fresh summer peaches and berries makes this dessert both yummy and irresistible.

2 cups wholet milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pounds fresh peaches, peeled and chopped (about 7 cups)
1 pt. fresh blueberries
1/2 (14-oz.) angel food cake, cubed (about 6 cups)
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Whisk together first four ingredients in a small non-aluminum saucepan over medium-low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. (Mixture should lightly coat the back of a spoon.) Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture into a small mixing bowl, and place plastic wrap directly over surface of custard to prevent film from forming; chill 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Layer fruit and cake in 8 mason jars or tall parfait glasses. Drizzle each with 1/4 cup vanilla sauce. Garnish with mint leaves.



June 29
Simple Strawberry Sherbet

You would never think that something this simple could taste so delicious! Only three ingredients are needed to prepare this refreshing summer dessert.

1 quart ripe strawberries, stemmed and frozen
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water

Freeze strawberries for 2 hours or until hard.

Place frozen strawberries and sugar into a food processor and pulse machine on and off until fruit is broken up. Add water and continue processing until you have a smooth puree.

Transfer to a container and freeze for 2 hours, or until firm enough to scoop. Stir the mixture every 30 minutess or so until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve in glass bowls or sundae cups, garnished with fresh strawberry slices, whipped cream, and mint leaves, if desired.

July 6
Grilled Mexican Corn

Continuing with our Farmer’s Market recipes for summer, we start July off with grilled corn, served with mayonnaise, lime juice, and parmesan cheese. It's delicious and makes a great side dish to go with burgers, ribs, steaks, or grilled chicken.

4 ears of corn, husked
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
salt and pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Prepare a grill, with heat medium-high and rack about 4 inches from the fire. Put husked corn on grill and cook until kernels begin to char, about 5 minutes, then turn. Continue cooking and turning until all sides are slightly blackened.

Mix together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lime juice or chili powder if you like. Serve corn with chili-lime mayo and parmesan cheese on the side. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

July 13
Cold Watermelon Soup

Cold summer soups are one of the highlights -- and joys -- of summer and they are enjoyed all around the world, especially in countries where it gets really hot. Try this sweet and tasty watermelon soup, that is spiced up with lemon juice, ginger, mint, wine -- and some sparkling wine too -- for added layers of flavor.

6 pounds red seedless watermelon, diced (9 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup lightly sweet white wine, such as Riesling, (or 3/4 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup sugar)
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
8 teaspoons crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sparkling wine (or sparkling water)

Combine 1 cup of the watermelon with mint and sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Blend remaining 8 cups watermelon, lemon juice, wine, and chopped ginger in a blender until smooth. Let sit 1/2 hour. Strain soup; divide among 8 bowls. Top each bowl with 1/8 cup reserved watermelon and 1 teaspoon feta.

July 20
Summer Zucchini Pasta

Summer pastas should be simple and fresh, using whatever veggies are in season and available from your local Farmer’s Market. This recipe calls for zucchini, basil, and ricotta. Enjoy!

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce basil, about 2 cups loose leaves
1 pound ziti or other dry pasta
8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces grated parmesan, about 1 cup, plus more for serving

Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, basil, and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.


July 27
Grilled Herb Tomatoes

Fresh, locally grown tomatoes are the very best taste of summer! Tomatoes go well with herbs, especially basil, but almost any herb will enhance their taste, especially when grilled. These tomatoes are quickly placed in an herb marinade, grilled, then topped with parmesan cheese and parsley, and served either hot, warm, or at room temperature.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 medium tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Prepare a medium-hot grill. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the olive oil and next 6 ingredients (through pepper). Add tomatoes, and turn to coat them in the herb marinade on all sides.

Place tomatoes, cut sides down, on the grill rack. Brush tomatoes once with remaining herb marinade. Grill about 5-7 minutes on each side over medium-high heat or until tomatoes begin to blister, soften, and brown. (They can burn easily, so keep an eye on them.)

Remove the tomatoes from grill, drizzle with any remaining herb marinade, and top with parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve straight from the grill, or let cool a bit and serve warm or at room temperature.

August 3
Chilled Cucumber Soup



In August, we offer four recipes that pulled together make a great summer meal – chilled cucumber soup, a zesty Greek salad, grilled chicken breasts, and a Polish peach pie. Enjoy the four recipes together – or one at a time – for some truly unforgettable tastes of summer!

2 large European cucumbers (2 1/4 pounds), halved and seeded—set aside 1/2 cup finely diced, the rest coarsely chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups whole buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup loosely packed dill plus more for garnish
1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons loosely packed tarragon leaves
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt
fresh ground white pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped

In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber with the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, dill, parsley, tarragon and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Season the soup again just before serving. Pour the soup into bowls. Garnish with the finely diced cucumber, red onion, sprigs of fresh dill, and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

August 10
Greek Summer Salad

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled kebabs or skewers – be they chicken, beef, lamb, shrimp, or fish. The salad calls for crisp lettuce, sweet ripe tomatoes, juicy cucumbers, briny olives, and creamy feta, for a perfect balance of flavors and textures.

1 head of romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
3/4 pound tomatoes, seeded, quartered or sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (from about 1 large)
1 cup diced red bell pepper (from about 1 large)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)


Toss first 10 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Gently mix in feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead of serving. Let stand at room temperature for tastes to mix and blend.


August 17
Grilled Chicken Skewers with Green Onions

Marinating chicken breasts in lemon and oregano before grilling will make them super tender and tasty. Grill the marinated chicken chunks on skewers together with green onions for an amazing and satisfying burst of flavor!

2 boneless chicken breasts
3 lemons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7-8 green onions


Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise into thirds, and then slice again into about 1-inch chunks. Place chicken chunks in a freezer bag and set aside.

Zest one of the lemons and add to a medium size bowl. Juice that lemon plus one more, add to the lemon zest and then add the minced garlic and oregano and stir. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to combine. Add kosher salt and pepper. Pour the marinade into the freezer bag with the chicken chunks and let marinade for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to grill, prepare the grill by lightly oiling the grate with vegetable oil or cooking spray and set to medium high heat.
If using wooden skewers, prepare them by soaking in water for 10 minutes. If using metal skewers, no prep is necessary.

Slice the remaining lemon in thin rounds and then slice the rounds in half. Trim the bottoms of the green onions off and cut into 1-inch lengths.

Thread one piece of the chicken onto a skewer then two slices of green onion, and then another piece of chicken. Fold a slice of lemon in half and thread next to the chicken, grouping closely on the skewer. Add another piece of chicken, then green onions and repeat the pattern until you've reached the end of the skewer, ending with chicken. Discard any of the remaining marinade.

Grill chicken, turning often so each side browns and has light grill marks, until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.


August 24
Polish Peach Pie

This easy-to-make peach pie is juicy and tasty – and it’s sure to be a hit with your family. Late August is the perfect time to buy fresh peaches at your local farmer’s market. They taste great eaten as is – and even better baked in this popular Polish pastry.

Dough:

1 cup whole buttermilk
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder

Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar,
1 cup flour

Fruit:
4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

Other:
butter, unseasoned bread crumbs, powdered sugar

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and sprinkle lightly with unseasoned bread crumbs. Mix dough ingredients roughly in a large bowl and spread in the bottom of the baking pan. Place diced peaches on top of dough. Mix topping ingredients in a medium bowl and sprinkle on top of peaches. Bake for 35-40 minutes in 350 F oven. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.


August 31
Strawberry Basil Cocktails

Just in time for your Labor Day Party – a summer cocktail that is sure to please your guests. Mashing strawberries together with basil leaves, then adding lemon juice, a drizzle of honey, and vodka, will make a drink your guests will enjoy -- and never forget! Cheers!

Per cocktail:

5 ripe strawberries, leafy ends removed
5 fresh basil leaves
1 medium lemon, juiced (plus more for garnish)
drizzle of honey
1 1/2 ounces vodka
club soda

In a large mixing glass, muddle and mash the strawberries together with the basil leaves. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and a drizzle of honey. Stir in the vodka. Then fill a tall glass with ice and pour your mixture into the glass. Top it off with club soda. Garnish with a strawberry or strawberry slices and a basil leaf. Na zdrowie!

September 7
Cheddar and Scallion Dip

A great started to any party is this creamy cheddar and scallion dip. Or serve it as a snack as your family watches a football game or a favorite TV show. You can spice it up with hot sauce or Tabasco and serve it with crackers, pita chips, or veggie sticks.

4 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature), cubed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
Black pepper, to taste (optional)
1/4teaspoon sweet paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, as needed
1/2 cup sharp Cheddar, finely grated
1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste (optional)
Hot sauce or Tabasco to taste (optional)


Place the cream cheese, mayonnaise, scallions, salt, pepper (if using) and paprika in a bowl and mix and mash well with a fork or spatula until smooth. Mix in orange juice until smooth, and then mix in the Cheddar. If the dip seems too thick, add a little more juice. Taste for seasoning and add a few drops of hot sauce or Tabasco to add more heat. You can also mix in a food processor if you like.

September 15
Cheese and Sausage Balls

Another great appetizer for football season (or for the soon-to-be-upon-us holidays) are these cheese and sausage rolls that are served warm straight from the oven. Easy to make and delicious! They can be served plain or with a warm marinara dipping sauce on the side.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups grated cheddar (1/2 pound)
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/2 large yellow onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add grated cheddar and toss to coat. Add sausage, onion, and butter. With your hands, mix until well combined and roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls, 1/2 inch apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until balls are golden and cooked through, 25 minutes. Serve warm.


September 22
Kale, Apple& Avocado Salad

Two great tastes of fall combine in this tasty and healthy salad - kale and apples - along with avocado, red onion, and cilantro.An apple cider vinaigrette brings all the tastes together. Be sure to use sweet, crisp apples; they add a nice sweetness to the salad.

2 bunches fresh kale, cut into bite-size pieces
2 apples - peeled, cored, and diced
2 avocados - peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or more to taste
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

Dressing:
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 pinch dried oregano, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Stir kale, apples, avocados, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro or parsley together in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper together in a smaller bowl until dressing is smooth and thickened. Pour over kale salad and toss well to coat.

September 29
Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pork and apples are a classic combination. This is a recipe you can prepare in under 30 minutes - perfect for a weeknight dinner. Serve with mashed potatoes and broccoli slaw for a well-balanced meal.

4 (3/4-inch thick) boneless pork loin chops (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1-2 (about 1 1/2 cups)apples, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced
2 medium (about 2 cups) onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic


Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add pork chops. Cook over medium heat, turning once, 6-8 minutes or until browned. Remove chops to serving platter; keep warm.

Place apple and onion slices into same skillet with pan juices. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Stir in garlic; continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until garlic is softened.

Return chops to pan,cover, and continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until internal temperature of pork reaches at least 145°F and is no longer pink.

October 5
Polish Chicken Noodle Soup


As always during Polish American Heritage Month, we will present four traditional Polish recipes that you can serve to your family in October. Polish-style chicken soup is traditionally served with very thin egg noodles (kluski) and has only a few pieces of shredded chicken meat added to it. The rest of the chicken meat is usually reserved and used in another recipe.

1 roasting chicken, about 3lbs
6 teaspoons chicken bouillon
6 whole allspice
6 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3-4 stalks celery, thickly sliced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb thin egg noodles (kluski), cooked

Cover the chicken with cold water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, skimming the protein foam that forms. After the foam has subsided, add the bouillon, allspice, peppercorns, and bay leaf; simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. The longer and slower the stock cooks, the more flavorful it will be.

Remove the chicken and allow to cool. Remove the allspice, peppercorns, and bay leaf with a slotted spoon and discard.

Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to the stock and simmer for another hour or until the vegetables are tender.

Once the chicken has cooled, remove skin and bones and discard; shred or dice some of the chicken meat (1 or 2 cups) and add to the stock. Reserve the rest of the meat for another recipe.Season to taste with salt and pepper.Add chopped parsley
and stir.

Serve with cooked thin egg noodles on the side. Everyone can place some noodles in their bowl and then the chicken soup
can be poured on top. (Not adding the noodles to the soup pot prevents them from overcooking and turning mushy.)

October 12
Cabbage Casserole - Lazanki


There are many ways to prepare lazanki - with meat (bacon and/or Polish sausage) to serve as a main dish, or meatless, to serve as a side dish with poultry or pork. The following recipe is for the meatless version which is often served during Wigilia on Christmas Eve.

8 ounces wide egg noodles (kluski), cooked
8 ounces butter
1 large head cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 very large onion (or 2 smaller ones), sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Boil a large pot of salted water.

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain, toss with 1 tablespoon butter, and set aside.

Core the cabbage and discard any brown leaves. Cut into quarters and then slice roughly or chop into 1-inch pieces. Blanch in the pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes, drain, squeeze out any excess water, and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and saute sliced onions for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Add cabbage and toss with onions until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add kluski, mix together, and set aside.

In a smaller skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the sliced mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place half of the cabbage, onion, and kluski mixture in the baking dish, add a layer of mushrooms, and then top with the remaining half of the cabbage, onion and kluski mixture. Dot with any remaining butter.Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.
Serve with sour cream on the side if desired.

October 19
Polish Hunters Stew - Bigos

This classic recipe is very popular in Poland and is typically served during the holidays and at parties, especially in the fall and winter. There are many different ways to prepare bigos but the basic recipe calls for three different kinds of meat and two different kinds of cabbage; also onions, carrots, mushrooms, and tomatoes. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it becomes, so you can prepare a large batch and keep reheating it. Bigos also freezes well.

2 thick slices hickory-smoked bacon
1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound pork stew meat, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 (16 ounce) jar sauerkraut, rinsed, and well drained
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 dash bottled hot pepper sauce
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
5 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons canned tomato paste
1 cup canned diced tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and kielbasa; cook and stir until the bacon has rendered its fat and sausage is lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and transfer to a large casserole or Dutch oven.

Coat the cubes of pork lightly with flour and fry them in the bacon drippings over medium-high heat until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the casserole. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and fresh mushrooms, cabbage and sauerkraut, and then reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown. Add to casserole.

Deglaze the skillet by pouring in the red wine and stirring to loosen all of the bits of food and flour that are stuck to the bottom. Season with the bay leaf, basil, marjoram, paprika, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute.

Mix in the hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Pour the vegetables and all of the liquid into the casserole dish with the meat. Cover tightly with a lid.

Bake in preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is very tender. Serve with slices of dark rye bread.


October 26
Cheese Blintzes - Nalesniki ze serem

Polish pancakes look a lot like French crepes -- they are thin and then filled with either a savory or sweet filling. The recipe below is for cheese blintzes which can be served for either for brunch or for dessert. They can be served simply sprinkled with powdered sugar or with a fruit sauce or fresh fruit, like strawberries or blueberries.


Dough:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt

Cheese filling:

1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt


In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for the dough until smooth. Transfer to a pitcher or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes so the liquid can be absorbed by the flour.

Using a 2-ounce ladle, portion out batter into a nonstick crepe pan or small skillet that has been lightly coated with butter. Rotate pan and swirl batter until it covers the entire bottom of pan. Cook until lightly brown or spotted brown on the underside. Turn and cook second side until light brown.

Remove to waxed paper or parchment paper and repeat with remaining batter and butter. Serve immediately or wrap and freeze up to 1 month.

To make the cheese filling combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth.

To serve immediately, place 2 heaping tablespoons of cheese mixture on each crepe and fold the sides in first and then bottom, rolling away from yourself, as for an eggroll or burrito.

Filled nalesniki can then be browned in butter in a pan, or baked for 20 minutes in a buttered casserole dish until the filling is set.

November 2
Apple and Parsnip Soup

Fall is the perfect time to cook with root vegetables -- carrots, beets, potatoes, and parsnips -- either roasting them or preparing soups and gratins. Parsnips are not very popular and they are not featured in many recipes, but they are by far the tastiest of winter vegetables, sweet and deep-flavored. Below are two recipes you can prepare to introduce your family to this underappreciated veggie.

3 Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 large shallots, sliced
1 1/4 pounds medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
5 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, stirred to loosen (optional)

Peel and core 2 apples, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add parsnips; sauté 3 minutes. Add apple pieces and coriander; stir 1 minute. Add 5 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, thinning with more broth by 1/2 cupfuls as desired. Return soup to pot; bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cut remaining apple (with peel) into thin strips. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle soup with yogurt or cream, if using. Place several apple sticks on top and serve.


November 9
Carrot-Parsnip Gratin

This creamy baked dish is sure to become a hit at your house -- whether you serve as a side it for a weeknight dinner or for the holidays! It goes very well with turkey and other poultry, as well as with roasts, steaks, and chops.

5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
5 large parsnips, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese
Parsley for garnish

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

Toss carrots and parsnips in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast the vegetables, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about
4 minutes. Remove sauce from the heat.

When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the carrots and parsnips to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the vegetables. Add the remaining vegetables and top with the remaining sauce.

Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin
is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

November 16
Pumpkin Hummus

Add a flavorful twist to traditional hummus by adding pumpkin puree! You can serve this dip on Thanksgiving Day before dinner — or anytime this fall — it’s perfect for snacking while watching football games too! Serve with pita chips and/or veggies like carrot or cucumber sticks and slices of red pepper.

3/4 cups dry garbanzo beans
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
5 fluid ounces lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt to taste
Place the garbanzo beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Or, bring the beans and water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse before using.
Place the soaked garbanzo beans into a large saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the garbanzo beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once cooked, refrigerate the beans and liquid until cold.
Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the beans and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid into a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin puree, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover and puree again until smooth. Use additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.


November 23
Sauteed Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Everybody loves Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving and many people like to roast them in the oven. But oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving Day, so here is a recipe for preparing them on the stove top. They are shredded, sautéed in butter and olive oil, and then finished off with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Easy and delicious!

2 (12-ounce) packages Brussels sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar

Place the Brussels sprouts in the feed tube of the food processor fitted with a large slicing disc. (There is no need to core them.) Process the Brussels sprouts until they're all sliced.

Place the butter and olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute them, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, season to taste, and serve hot.

November 30
Sweet Potato Pie

An alternative to classic pumpkin pie, this delicious sweet potato pie with its light, chiffon-like filling will allow you to eat two or more slices at one sitting. You may want to make two pies from the get-go to make sure everyone has their fill!

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (about 1 3/4 pounds)
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
Unbaked pie shell, 9 inches

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until very tender, about 45 minutes. Drain well. Mash the potatoes in a bowl. The potatoes should yield about 2 3/4 cups mashed potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter to hot potatoes, and mash until smooth. Add sugar, nutmeg, egg, and vanilla, mixing well. Combine baking powder with evaporated milk, and stir to blend. Add to mashed potatoes. Whisk mixture until velvety.
Mound into pie shell, then spread evenly to edges.

Bake until pie has set and is lightly browned on top, about 55 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving. Add dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

 

December 7
Peanut Butter Cookies

Advent is the perfect time to bake Christmas cookies with your kids and grandkids. These flourless peanut butter cookies are creamy and delicious and take only 30 minutes from start to finish.

2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, baking soda, and salt until smooth.

Shape the dough into balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, flatten each ball, creating a crisscross pattern.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 10 to 12 minutes (the cookies will deflate as they cool). Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



December 14
Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

A combination of fresh and ground ginger, molasses, and chunks of semisweet chocolate makes these cookies elegant enough for adults as well as chocolaty and chewy enough for children.

7 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool
completely.

December 21
Christmas Fruit Cake Muffins

Christmas fruit cakes are an old holiday tradition that came to us from England generations ago. Full of nuts and candied fruit, as well as rum or brandy, fruit cakes were considered to be special treats served only at Christmas. But they have also become the subject of many jokes over the years, as they are often considered to be too dry and too heavy for the modern palate. These muffins, however, may just change your mind about fruit cakes! They are perfect to serve at your Christmas buffet or brunch.


For the dough:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apricot jam
2 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese or 3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup pecans or almonds, toasted and ground
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots (5 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries or cherries (5 ounces)

For the glaze:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Garnish: dried apricots, cranberries, or cherries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in honey and jam, and then eggs. Add flour mixture, and beat, alternating with ricotta. Beat in nuts and dried fruit.

Press a square of parchment into each cup of a standard muffin tin to create a liner (you can also use baking cups). Divide batter evenly among liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer tin to a wire rack. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the honey glaze: Bring honey to a boil in a saucepan, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt.

Brush fruitcakes with glaze, and garnish with dried fruit. Brush again with glaze. Remove from pans. Let cool before serving.

December 28
New Year's Champagne Punch

This is a classic American recipe that dates back to the 1950s. It combines orange sherbet and champagne for a very special treat! Perfect to serve to your guests on New Year's Eve, or at any time during the holidays. Cheers -- and Happy New Year to all!

1 quart orange sherbet
2 quarts fresh orange juice
1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
2 (750 milliliter) bottles champagne, or prosecco, chilled
orange slices for garnish


Place the orange juice, ginger ale, and champagne in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving to get them well chilled.

In a large punch bowl, place the block of sherbet in the center and pour the orange juice over the top. Next, pour the ginger ale over the sherbet. Finally, pour both bottles of champagne over the sherbet. Stir gently to mix the liquids, resulting in a foamy top. Serve immediately in champagne glasses, garnished with an orange slice.


 

 

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