Archive for May, 2011

Springtime in Sicily

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 by zandrsn

Dave made: Involtini Siciliani
-adapted from Pomp and Sustenance by Mary Taylor Simeti (pg. 209)


1 medium onion, minced
1 onion, cut in wide slices
2 T olive oil
2 cups stale white bread crumbs (or panko)
¼ c pine nuts
¼ c raisins (or currants), plumped in hot water for 5 minutes
¼ c grated pecorino
2 oz provolone, cut into small pieces
1.5 lbs beef steak, pounded flat and cut into 2 inch by 3 inch rectangles

salt and pepper

Saute the minced onion in 2 T olive oil until soft, then stir 1 cup breadcrumbs, pine, raisins, grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Put a small spoonful of the filling and a piece of the provolone onto each slice of meat, rolling it up and skewering it. Intersperse a slice of onion between each meat roll. When finished skewering, coat with remaining crumbs and salt. Broil or grill for about 10 minutes.

Jessie made: Orange-Baked Olives


3 1/2 cups whole mixed olives, drained
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir the olives together with the wine, orange juice, olive oil, and garlic in a 9″x13″ baking dish. Nestle the sprigs of rosemary in the olives.

2. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs, then stir in the parsley, oregano, orange zest, and red pepper flakes. Serve warm.

Adapted from

Baked Ricotta with Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4

1 large red bell pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for the pan and for drizzling
14 grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese, drained to remove excess whey
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


1. Position a broiler rack 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler. Place the red pepper on a baking sheet and place on rack; broil, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes, until the skin is charred and blistered. Transfer to a plate and cool. Peel and discard the ribs and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin strips or bite-sized pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a small baking dish (a casserole dish the size of the ricotta works best). Place the tomato halves in the dish, cut sides up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside.

3. Cut the ricotta cheese in half crosswise. Remove the tomatoes from the dish. Place the bottom half of the ricotta, cut side up, in the dish and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the pepper strips on top, then the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the remaining ricotta, cut side down.

4. Sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with a little extra oil. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is hot and the top is golden.

5. Serve with sliced baguette or crostini.

Adapted from


Kelli Made: Sicilian Pistachio cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios (aprox 16 ounces whole pistachios)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 325. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter.  Put 1 cup of pistachios in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped but not powder.  In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Mix pistachios into flour mixture. Set aside. In a large bowl (or standing mixer), beat butter with 1 1/4 cups sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in vanilla and almond extracts and lemon zest.  Beat flour mixture into sugar mixture in two additions. The dough will be soft. Use a spatula (I used mostly my hands) to spread the dough evenly across the baking sheet. Roughly chop remaining cup of pistachios and sprinkle them over the dough. Sprinkle remaining two teaspoons of sugar over the dough. Bake dough for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it turns golden brown at the edges. Allow dough to cool on wire rack for 35 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Zach Made: Baked Fennel Sfincione
Serves 5


  • 5 fennel bulbs
  • 1 can 28 oz. Italian peeled tomatoa (I used San Marzano) roughly diced
  • 2 medium size onions, thickly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets (or more)
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • salt, pepper and oregano to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of grated caciocavallo or Parmigiano cheese
  • 4 oz. caciocavallo fresco or provola cheese diced very small (you can used smoked buffalo mozzarella as well)
  • 3 tablespoon of bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper and oregano to taste

Preparation :

The Fennel
To prepare the fennel for cooking, trim, cut base, discard rough outer leaves and stalks. Discard any wilted or bruised part.

Set aside the inside tender green leaves attached in the center of the white bulbous part, to be used as garnish or to flavor other recipes.

Cut each fennel vertically into ¼ inch slices and wash carefully.

The Fennel
Over high heat, set a 6 quart sauce pot with 4 quarts of water. When water begins to boil, place the fennel in it, add salt to taste and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Fennel should be al dente, if they are too hard extend cooking time.
Using a slotted spoon place the fennel to drain in a colander and set on the side.

In a 6 quart saucepan combine the sliced onions with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and place over a medium heat. When the onion turns light golden in color, remove half of the sautéed onions and set on the side; add to saucepan the tomato, the basil, salt and pepper to taste. Increase to a high heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
When it returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cut the anchovies in small pieces, place in a dish and set aside.

Grease a 9 inch round baking dish and coat with breadcrumbs.
Pour a ladle of sauce in the baking dish and place the fennel in layers, covering each layer with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, some sautéed onions, a few pieces of anchovies, a few pieces of diced cheese, a sprinkle of cheese and bread crumbs, some basil and continue until all ingredients are finished. Sprinkle some oregano and bread crumbs. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.
Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Garnish with some of the fennel’s tender green leaves and serve hot or at room temperature.


The Meatless Feast!

Posted in Potlucks on May 26, 2011 by zandrsn

Dave made: Seitan Shwarma

1/4c water
2 T olive oil
1/3 red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
½ t sumac
½ t dark soy sauce
½ t cumin, toasted and ground
½ t coriander, toasted and ground
¼ t Kashmiri mirch (Kashmiri chili)
¼ t dried mint
¼ t kosher salt
1 t sugar
3 cardamom pods

-marinate 1 lb seitan for 24 hrs and pan fry. Serve with pickled beets, taratoor and lettuce on pita bread.

Taratoor (tahini sauce)

1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c tahini
½ c almond butter
3/4 c water
2 cloves garlic
3/4 t kosher Salt
¾ t sugar
¼ t smoked paprika
½ t corn starch
½ c plain yogurt

Moroccan Pickled Beets
6 beets, peeled and sliced
1 red onion, frenched
2T cumin seeds, toasted
1.5c tarragon vinegar
1.5c water
1/2c sugar
1.5t kosher salt
olive oil

-roast beets w/olive oil at 400 until soft. Mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Put beets and onions in jars w/the cumin seeds. Pour vinegar mixture over, cover and leave for 3-5 days.

Jessie made: Ravioli Cookies

Makes 14


1 cup salted butter, softened

2/3  cup white sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cherry preserves

Coarse decorating sugar


1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and lemon zest. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until a smooth dough forms. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half between 2 sheets of waxed paper until pretty thin — as thin as you want the shell of your cookie to be. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

3. Remove one piece of the dough from the refrigerator, remove the top layer of waxed paper, and cut into circles, using a 3″ biscuit cutter. (Work fast because, once the dough warms up, it is impossible to work with.) Top each circle of dough with 2 teaspoons cherry preserves and place another dough circle on top. Press the edges of the 2 dough circles together to seal, then press the edge with the tines of a fork to make a decorative edge. Press dough scraps together and roll them out again until you’ve gotten all possible circles out of the dough. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

4. Press a sprinkling of decorating sugar into the top of each ravioli. Bake for about 15 minutes on the center rack in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from

Tore made: Tofu Reuben Sandwiches

The only real secret here is to cooking the tofu.  Except for that, the sandwich is made up of toasted rye bread with some melted cheddar or mozzarella, russian dressing (mayonnaise mixed with cocktail sauce), and sauerkraut.

For the tofu, here’s the way to cook it to perfection.  The best tofu in town is Daily’s bulk tofu, but it’s really expensive.  Fook’s bulk is great too, and about a third of Daily’s price.  Either will work fine.  Drain the tofu, cut into six or so slabs, and press any additional water out of them using a kitchen towel.  Then season them with olive oil, soy sauce, and a bit of hot sauce, and bake them in the oven at about 350 degrees for thirty minutes or so, flipping them every 10 minutes.  After they’re nicely browned, put them in the refrigerator for twenty minutes or so.  This will make them even firmer.  You can then reheat them quickly in the oven – then throw them on the sandwiches and add the toppings.


Zach Made: Tofu Tonkatsu


Tonkatsu Sauce:

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup shoyu

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup sake

1/4 cup mirin

4 teaspoons dry mustard powder (or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard)

2 tablespoons ginger

2 tablespoons garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice


On medium heat, add minced garlic and minced fresh ginger and cook till fragrant.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add other ingredients except mustard and allspice. Simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes stirring regularly and skimming any foam that rises to the top. Cook until the mixture is reduced about 20%. Add the mustard and allspice. Cool and serve at room temperature.


8 cakes koyadofu, about 6 ounces (170g) in total – Koyadofu is freeze-dried tofu. Hard to find, and others may be substituted, but try to get as dry as possible through freezing drying with a paper towel.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup water

1 cup breadcrumbs (panko)

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Shredded white cabbage, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for garnish

Simmering Sauce:

2 cups dashi stock (seaweed stock)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1/2 inch cube fresh giner, peeled and grated

1 clove garlic, crushed and grated


  1. If using koyadofu soak cakes in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the simmering sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Put in the drained koyadofu and simmer for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Dab the koyadofu in the dusting flour. Mix 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup of water to make a thick paste. Dip the floured koyadofu in the flour-and-water paste, then roll each cake int he bread crumbs. Set aside.
  4. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 350F. Slide the breaded tofu pieces into the oil in batches so they don’t stick together and deep-fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Serve hot with shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and tonkatsu sauce.