Archive for the Uncategorized Category

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.


Royal Indian feast

Posted in Potlucks, Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 by zandrsn

Jessie Made: Pudhina Paneer

Serves 6


1 gallon whole milk

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

2 teaspoons Balti Masala (recipe below)

2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt

6 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

2 fresh green Thai chiles, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise (including seeds)

1 cup half-and-half


1. Pour the milk into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring

frequently to prevent the milk from scorching. (Watch carefully because the milk boils

over quickly and easily.) Once the milk comes to a boil, add the vinegar. Remove the

pan from the heat and set it aside until the curds separate from the thin, watery, greenish

whey, 15 to 20 seconds.

2. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, making sure there are 2 to 3 inches

hanging over the rim of the colander. Place the colander in the sink, then pour the curds

and whey into the cheesecloth and let it drain for 5 minutes.

3. Once most of the visible liquid is gone, pour the curds into a bowl and add ¼ cup of the

cilantro, the Balti Masala, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Stir to evenly incorporate and

then pour the curds back into the cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth over

the curds to cover them.

4. Fill a Tupperware container with water and set it on top of the wrapped cheese in the

colander. Set this aside until the cheese is firm, 3 to 5 hours.

5. Remove the weight and unwrap the now-firm cheese. (You can make the cheese up to

1 week in advance, swath it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. You can also freeze the

block, sealed in a freezer-safe bag, for up to 2 months. Thaw the paneer in the refrigerator

before use.) Cut the paneer into slabs for frying.

6. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.

7. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the paneer

slabs in a single layer and cook, turning them occasionally, until all sides are honey-

brown and crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer them to the paper towel lined plate to drain.

Once the paneer is cool, cut the slabs into 1” cubes.

8. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high

heat. Add the onion and stir-fry until it is light brown around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.

9. Stir in the tomato paste, remaining ¼ cup cilantro, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, mint,

and chiles. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the thick paste, uncovered, stirring

occasionally, until there is an oily sheen on top, 2 to 4 minutes.

10. Pour in 1 cup water, stirring to make a red sauce. Add the paneer and stir once or twice.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally and

gently, until the cheese cubes soak up some of the sauce and soften, 8 to 10 minutes.

11. Pour in the half-and-half and stir once or twice. Raise the heat to medium and simmer

the curry, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the creamy red sauce thickens, 8 to 10

minutes. Serve.

Balti Masala

Makes 1/3 cup


2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds from black pods

½ teaspoon nigella seeds

3 bay leaves

2 (3”) cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add all the whole spices (reserving the

cayenne and nutmeg) and toast, shaking the skillet every few seconds, until the fennel,

coriander, and cumin turn reddish brown, the mustard, cloves, and cardamom turn ash-

black, the cinnamon and bay leaves appear brittle and crinkly, and the mixture is highly

fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. (The nigella will not change color.) The mustard seeds will pop

like popcorn, so you will want to have a lid handy to prevent them from flying out.

2. Immediately transfer the nutty-smelling spices to a plate to cool. (The longer they

sit in the hot skillet, the more likely it is that they will burn, making them bitter and

unpalatable.) Once they are cool to the touch, place them in a spice grinder or coffee

grinder and grind until the texture resembles that of finely ground black pepper. (If you

don’t allow the spices to cool, the ground blend will acquire unwanted moisture from the

heat, making the final blend slightly “cakey.”) The ground blend will be a deep reddish

brown and the aroma will be sweet and complex, very different from those of the pre-

toasted and post-toasted whole spices. Stir in the cayenne and nutmeg. Store the mix in a

tightly sealed container, away from excess light, heat, and humidity, for up to 2 months.

Adapted from 660 Curries

Charred Eggplant Raita

Serves 8


2 medium eggplants

1 ½ cups plain yogurt

1 small onion, finely minced

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Pierce the flesh of the eggplants with a fork in several places, then put the eggplants

underneath the broiler to char the skin. Turn the eggplants with tongs until all sides are

blackened. Place the eggplants in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.

2. Once cool, peel the skin from the eggplant flesh and discard. Remove the stem. Put the

eggplant flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Stir the eggplant puree into the

yogurt with the onion. Season with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Adapted from


Rich made: Red lentil with Tofu Dal

2T veg. oil
2sm. onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2t chopped fresh ginger
1c red lentils
6c water
1 pound tofu
1t cumin seeds
1t garam masala powder
1t salt
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
6T chopped cilantro
Serve with cooked rice

Heat tablespoon oil in sauce pan over moderate heat. add onion, garlic and cook stirring until golden. add ginger stir for 1 min. add lentils and water, bring to a gentle boil, uncovered, until lentils split, about 20 min.
in meantime, rinse and trim tofu ends, press on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
when lentils are cooked, heat remaining teaspoon of oil in sauce pan,  add garam masala, salt, pepper, and cook, stirring until fragrant 15-30 seconds. stir in hot oil to lentils then stir in tofu cubes. let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in cilantro. salt to taste.


Kelli and Tore made: Aloo Gobi


1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets

1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup water

Accompaniment: lemon wedges and cilantro


Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.  Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.