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Archive for June, 2011

by Caitlin Saniga

Is it weird eating asparagus with a spoon? Maybe. But forks don't work so well with this dish.

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • bowl of ice water

OK, let's be honest, this dish is almost too simple to have a recipe. But I just love this slicing technique. I'd never tried asparagus in little bite-sized beads before! So cute!

Chop the asparagus into small beads (no longer than a centimeter in length). Put the asparagus and a splash of water in a pot on the stove top. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until asparagus turns bright green. Turn off the heat and transfer the asparagus to the bowl of ice with a slotted spoon. Allow to sit in the ice water for a couple of minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and stir well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with extra lemon zest.

Makes 4 big side-dish servings.

Recipe adapted from: Keep it Simple Foods

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

We got an enormous bag of spinach at the farmer's market --- where the vendor insisted we needed two bags.

  •  spinach
  • apple, sliced thin
  • candied walnuts (refer to this recipe)
  • feta
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (either Dijon or spicy brown)
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make a bunch of candied walnuts, you'll find something to do with them.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper. Whisk together and set aside.

Put together your salad. Which I will not explain how to do. Top with the vinaigrette and serve.

Makes about two servings.

Recipe adapted from: Life Tastes Like Food

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

This melty-good pie almost didn't make it through the front-porch photo shoot.

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed (almost powdered) lemon wafer cookies (The vanilla wafer cookies work, too, I suppose.)
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter

For filling:

  • 1 pint mango sorbet
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Use a food processor to crush the cookies. If you don't have one, put the cookies in a heavy-duty zip-top bag, and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, use a rounded spatula to combine the cookie crumbs and butter. Pour the mixture into a pie pan and flatten it with your fingers to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 6 to 8 minutes, just enough so that it firms. Place the pan on a potholder and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Microwave the mango sorbet for 15 seconds. Use a spatula to spread the sorbet over the bottom of the pie crust. Freeze pie for 30 minutes.

Microwave the vanilla ice cream for 15 seconds. Use a spatula to spread the ice cream over the sorbet, being careful not to mix the two layers. Freeze pie for 30 minutes.

Run a flat-edge knife or pie cutter under hot water and cut the pie into slices. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe: Caitlin Saniga

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

*Throughout June, “Freeze These” will feature our favorite frozen dessert recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Use a good cornbread recipe for this, not some junk you add water to and throw in the oven. Have some southern class.

For the cornbread (optional, if you have your own recipe)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cornmeal. Add eggs, milk and shortening and beat with a mixer until smooth. Pour into a greased 9-by-9 inch or 8-inch round pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let the cornbread sit out for a day or two, becoming stale. Cut into cubes or crumble. Place on a baking sheet and put under broiler in oven, or bake at 375 until the pieces crisp.

For the salad

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 large tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used apple cider because that’s what I had)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and set aside.

Toss the beans, bell pepper, onions, basil and cornbread together. Add the dressing and serve immediately.

Makes six to eight servings.

Recipe adapted from: Ezra Pound Cake

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

If you're not planning to eat the salad all at once, don't drizzle the vinaigrette over the whole dish. Pack away the vinaigrette on its own container and dress the salad right before serving.

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, cut crosswise in 1-inch strips (about 12 cups)
  • 1 2- to 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
  • 2 peaches, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 ounces blue cheese or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, chicken, peaches, cheese and almonds on a platter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple: Easy, Delicious Meals

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

These are exactly what you want to eat in the morning with a cup of tea (or coffee, I don't hate).

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 7 ounces (half of a 14-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 cups room-temperature blueberries (about 6 oz.), washed and dried on paper towels

Line 8-by-8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the ends to grab once the bars are done. Spray lining with cooking spray.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt and baking powder until combined. Add the butter and mix with you hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside one cup of the crumb mixture in a small bowl for the topping.

Add the egg white to the remaining crumbs. Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into the bottom to form a level crust.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until the top feels dry to the touch.

While the crust bakes, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest and egg yolk in a medium bowl. Set aside to thicken for 5 minutes.

When the crust is out of the oven, sprinkle blueberries evenly over it. Drop spoonfuls of the lemon curd mixture over the blueberries and spread gently to distribute evenly.

Bake about 8 minutes, until the lemon mixture begins to form a shiny skin (I’ve been getting the weirdest descriptions in my recipes lately).

Pull the bars out of the oven and sprinkle the cup of reserved crumb topping over the bars.

Bake 25-30 minutes more, until filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly browned.

Cool the finished bars in the pan on a rack for about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan using the parchment overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator before cutting for cleaner cuts.

I cut mine into 20 pieces, about 2-inch squares.

Recipe adapted from: The Craving Chronicles

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

Any time I'm not cooking eggs on the stove, it makes me nervous. And on top of that, I hadn't read the recipe all the way through before I started cooking (bad, bad, I know). So! Anyone who hasn't made carbonara before should read the recipe *first*, and then start cooking to avoid the short-lived panic I put myself through. That said, this recipe was simply delicious.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces zucchini, cut into pieces the same size as penne
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan (or a mixture of Parmesan and Romano cheeses)
  • 8 ounces penne

This dish has no salt, but you hardly miss it. The pepper is the star this time.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it browns and crisps, then transfer the strips to a paper towel with a slotted spoon.

Add the pepper and zucchini to the pan and cook until zucchini chunks are nicely browned, 2-3 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, yolk and cheese. Crumble the bacon over and stir.

Add penne, scrape the contents from the zucchini pan into the bowl (oil and zucchini), and toss, adding splashes of pasta water to create a creamy sauce.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

Totally OK for these to be messy and not that attractive because they are delicious.

Amount is totally dependent on how many you make, the original recipe was for 20. which is absurd.

  • graham crackers
  • peanut butter ice cream (I had vanilla and chocolate in my freezer, I let them soften a little and mixed in some peanut butter instead of buying more ice cream).
  • strawberry jelly
  • strawberries, sliced thin
  • peanuts, chopped

Break graham crackers into squares. Spread jelly on each cracker and place strawberry slices on top. Freeze for about a half hour or so. This way when you add the ice cream the jelly won’t slide off the cracker.

Add the ice cream once the jelly has frozen, enough so it’s about an inch thick. Top with another jelly cracker – you want jelly on the top and bottom of the ice cream, otherwise all you will taste is peanut butter.

I've been getting really good strawberries at the farmer's market.

Roll the sides of the ice cream in the crushed peanuts, pressing it gently into the ice cream with your hands. Pop back in the freezer so the ice cream and nuts can set. Serve with napkins and milk.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Photos: Sarah Steimer

*Throughout June, “Freeze These” will feature our favorite frozen dessert recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

If you can't find campanelle at your grocery store, you can substitute penne or another long, tubular pasta.

  • 12 ounces campanelle
  • 4 red or orange bell peppers, cut into quarters and seeds removed
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Place the peppers on a baking sheet skin-side up and broil until blackened, 8 to 10 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, scrape away the blackened skins with a knife and discard. Cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces.

Add the peppers, olives, almonds, oil, thyme, 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, salt and pepper to the pasta, and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry).

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

I used duck eggs for the first time when I made this recipe. There's more protein in duck egg whites, so my whites whipped extra high.

  • 1/2 cup (one stick)  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds OR slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup rhubarb compote (recipe here)

In a food processor or blender combine the almonds, cornmeal, confectioners’ sugar and baking powder. Process until the almonds are finely ground, about one minute.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are quite stiff, about three minutes. Slowly add the sugar. Beat for one additional minute. Add the tepid melted butter and beat gently to combine – BE GENTLE. I don’t think I was gentle enough.

Add the almond and cornmeal mixture in two batches and mix gently only until combined. Do not overmix.

Spread the batter in a buttered, 8×8-inch baking pan, and dollop the rhubarb compote on top. With a spoon, press down through the rhubarb compote gently to swirl it into the batter. Be gentle, as you do not want to deflate the egg whites.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees until it is golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve with additional compote.

Recipe: A little Zaftig

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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