Time for homemade applesauce. Nothing could be easier. If you don’t have a food mill consider buying one or better yet, buy a chinois and pestle. A chinois is cone shaped, it has a stand, and the pestle pushes the apples through all the holes in no time. A friend gave me one and I thought that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the food mill. Was I surprised. My cooked apples are applesauce in seconds!
Use apple seconds. There is no reason to use perfect apples for applesauce. You can mix varieties or not.
Wash and cut apples into halves or quarters, (you don’t have to peel them.) Put into a pot with a tiny amount of water on the bottom to keep them from scorching when they begin to cook. Cover pot. Cook until mushy.
Turn off heat. You can put them into the food mill or chinois now (over a bowl of course), or wait until they cool off some. Add sugar (or not) and cinnamon, and you have applesauce. This freezes beautifully.
Arugula & Radicchio with Feta & Dates
(if you don’t have dates, use raisins)
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ¼ lb. baby arugula (8 cups)
- 1 (3/4lb) head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
- 3 oz. crumbled feta (1/2 cup)
Whist together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined well
Halve dates lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise.
Toss together arugula, radicchio, feta, and dates in a large bowl, then toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.
Arugula Salad with Carmelized Onions
ARUGULA SALAD WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GOAT CHEESE, AND CANDIED WALNUTS
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/1/4 # red onions, thinly sliced
- 2T balsamic vinegar
CANDIED WALNUTS (or buy them at our market vendors)
- 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2T butter
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves
- 4 cups 1/2” cubes crustless country bread (like Arnold’s)
- 3T extra-virgin olive oil
- 3T balsamic vinegar
- 10 oz. arugula
- 8-10 oz. soft goat cheese
Onions–heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions.
Saute until golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with vinegar, stir to blend, season with salt and pepper.
Candied Walnuts–Combine first 4 ingredients in another heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts, stir. Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to sheet of foil and quickly separate nuts with forks. Cool. Can be made ahead.
Croutons–Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Drizzle with oil tossing constantly to coat evenly. Scatter cubes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. These also can be made ahead.
Salad–Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Place arugula in very large bowl. Drop in onions tossing to distribute evenly. Add nuts, croutons, and goat cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly.
Asian Cabbage Slaw
This recipe is an adaptation for cabbage of Thai green papaya salad (som tam) and makes a refreshing
and fat-free alternative to mayonnaise-based salads (not that there’s anything wrong with mayonnaise!).
- 1/2 to 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 1 carrot, grated
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small hot red or green chili, minced
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- Thai basil, spearmint (optional)
- 1-2 scallions, chopped
- ¼ cup roasted shelled peanuts, ground or chopped fine
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp light colored vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
Mixed thinly sliced cabbage and grated carrot in a large bowl with the garlic, chili, cilantro and other herbs if using. Add the lime juice, salt, sugar, vinegar and fish sauce and stir well (the volume of salad should decrease within minutes as the cabbage sheds its liquid). Refrigerate until needed. Just before serving garnish with the ground peanuts and chopped scallion.
Asparagus with Cheese & Eggs Italian Style
- 1 pound asparagus, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 6 eggs, beaten
Blanch and drain the asparagus, being careful not to overcook it. In a bowl toss the asparagus with the
butter, cheese, and salt and pepper. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Scramble the eggs (don’t
overcook) and cover the asparagus with the eggs. Serve quickly!
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cleaned
- 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast or thigh, or 1/2 pound beef flank steak sliced thin across the grain
- 3 T light soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more) grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 3 Tablespoons peanut (or other neutral oil, not olive)
- 2 cloves garlic (or more if you like garlic) sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed (or you can purchase black bean with garlic paste in a jar at one of the stores and use about 1 T of that. Keep jar in refrigerator.
- 1/4 Cup chicken broth (canned or homemade)
Slice the cleaned asparagus diagonally into 1/4 “pieces. Set aside. In a small bowl marinate the chicken or beef in 2 T of the light soy sauce, ginger, sherry or rice wine and the cornstarch. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.
Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the oil. The oil should just begin to smoke. Quickly lay the meat on one side in the pan. Do not turn, but cook over high heat for a moment until the one side begins to brown. Toss-stir the meat for a moment and remove from the pan, allowing the oil to drain back into the pan.
Heat the pan again and add the garlic. Mix for just a moment and add the black beans or black bean paste. Mix for another moment and add the asparagus. Toss for a few seconds and then add the remaining soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Mix just until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and chicken broth. Stir to make a sauce. Serve immediately.
YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE SEASONINGS IF THIS ISN’T ENOUGH. YOU CAN MAKE IT SPICY BY
ADDING RED PEPPER PASTE OR FLAKES.
Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Cheese
- 1# fresh asparagus
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
In a wide pot, bring several inches of water to a boil. While the water heats, snap off the fibrous ends of the asparagus spears. Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 5-8 minutes, until just tender.
While the asparagus cooks, heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Crack the eggs into the skillet.
Cover and cook until the whites are firm and crisp around the edges and the yolks are partially cooked, but not hard-set. Arrange the hot asparagus on warmed serving plates, top with the fried eggs, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Asparagus with Lemon and Balsamic Vinegar
Line a pan with heavy-duty foil. Put a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice on foil. Take asparagus spears and put into a HOT pan that you have drizzled a little olive oil into. Don’t use a non-stick pan. Cook asparagus until it’s a little brown and slightly bendable about 6 or 7 minutes. Put asparagus onto foil with oil, etc. wrap up. Place on another piece of foil and wrap up. Turn over a couple of times, leave in foil about 5 minutes. Unwrap and serve with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Basic Eggplant Salad
- About 2 pounds large dark eggplants
- ¼ cup olive or sunflower oil
- lemon juice or white vinegar, according to taste.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic, crushed, then chopped (optional)
Roast the eggplant either on a barbecue (charcoal or gas) and allow it to blacken until soft inside. You can also place it over a gas flame on top of the stove where it makes a bit of a mess as its liquid drips but it still emits a smoky flavor. Otherwise it can be placed under a broiler. Remove from heat.
Place eggplant on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, slit it open and tilt the board over a sink to allow the liquid inside to run off. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle but still warm, use the knife to remove the peel and seeds.
The consistency of the salad depends on the method used for pulping the eggplant. Mashing it with a fork or pressing it through a potato masher results in a thick, pulpy mixture. Placing it in a food processor makes a smooth puree. When the eggplant is mashed put it in a bowl and add the oil slowly while stirring, blending it in well. Add the lemon juice, pepper, and salt to taste. Lots of garlic can be added to make a dish that is called “caviar of the poor.”
BelleRita’s Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
Wash tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters. Place on cookie sheet that has sides. Sprinkle olive oil over tomatoes, doesn’t matter how much, but not too much. Sprinkle salt over all. Place in 400 degree oven and roast for an hour or more. You can stir them around during the roasting. They don’t have to be dry, but you’ll be able to tell when they’re at the doneness that you want.
Take fresh basil leaves and place on top of roasted tomatoes after you take them out of the oven, stir around so that the basil wilts some. When the tomatoes have cooled, puree either in food processor, blender, or use immersion blender.
30# of tomatoes will make about 7-8 quarts of sauce. This is a good sauce either by itself, or the beginning of another sauce. It freezes very well.
Hickory Dell Berry Cobbler
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 4 cups blueberries, raspberries or any mixed berries
- 1/2 cup Raspberry Preserves
Preheat oven to 350.
While oven preheats, melt butter in a 2½ qt. baking dish in the oven, then set aside.
Combine flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder. Add milk & stir just until blended.
Spoon batter over butter in dish. Do not stir.
Combine fruit and preserves. Spoon over batter. Do not stir.
Bake until fruit is bubbly and dough has traveled to top and is golden brown, 45-55 min. Serve warm.
(can use a mixture of fruit and/or other preserves)
Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake
- 2 ¾ CUPS FLOUR
- 1 ½ TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
- 1 ½ TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
- 1 TEASPOON SALT
- ¾ CUP SOFTENED BUTTER
- 1 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
- 3 EGGS
- 1 PINT SOUR CREAM
- 2 TEASPOONS VANILLA
- ¾ CUP LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
- ¾ CUP CHOPPED NUTS
- 1 TEASPOON CINNAMON
- 2 CUPS BLUEBERRIES
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream and vanilla to batter. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon for streusel and set aside ½ cup. Toss the remainder in with the blueberries. Spread one third of batter in a 10” greased and floured tube pan. Sprinkle with half of the berry mixture, then spread another third of batter and sprinkle with remaining berry mixture. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle on ½ cup reserved streusel. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before trying to remove from pan.
Braised Red Cabbage
This recipe is another one that depends on your tastes. If you like things sweeter, add more sugar. If you like things tangier, add more vinegar. Use a large skillet with a cover for this.
- Red cabbage
- Apples or applesauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
Sauté one or two medium onions in a little oil until soft. Meanwhile shred cabbage or cut into smallish pieces. Add to pan and stir. Add two or three peeled cut up apples, or some applesauce. Start with a couple of large spoonfuls of applesauce and go from there. Add some cider vinegar, brown sugar, and salt to taste. Stir and cover. This takes quite a while to cook, so don’t plan on making this in ten minutes for your supper that night. Make it earlier so it has plenty of time to have the flavors meld.
Every so often stir and taste. You can add more apples/applesauce/vinegar as you see fit. This keeps well.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
The purpose of the liqueur is to intensify the licorice flavor of the fennel. If you don’t have anise-flavored liqueur, or are avoiding cooking with alcohol, you can achieve a similar effect by adding a star anise pod to the stock when you are braising. If you aren’t a fan of the licorice flavor, then just skip this step.
- 2 large fennel bulbs, rinsed clean
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 Tbsp ouzo, pastis, sambuca or other anise-flavored liqueur
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds
- Zest from 1 orange
- Lemon juice
1 Cut the tops off the fennel bulbs, chop 2 tablespoons of the fronds and set aside. Slice the fennel bulbs in half, lengthwise, through the core. Slice each half lengthwise into quarters (you should get eight pieces total out of each fennel bulb), leaving some of the core attached so the pieces don’t fall apart as they cook.
2 Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and place the fennel pieces in the pan in a single layer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the fennel pieces, without moving them, for at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the fennel (the sugar will help with caramelization). Check for browning, and cook for another minute or two if they’re not browned yet. Turn the fennel pieces over and brown the other side.
3 When both sides of the fennel are nicely browned, add the ouzo to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. The ouzo should boil down quickly. When it is almost gone, add the stock and water.
4 Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat down to low, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, increase the heat to high and let the stock cook down until it is a glaze. Add the fennel fronds and most of the orange zest and combine gently. 5 Serve garnished with the rest of the zest and a few splashes of lemon juice.
Yield: Serves 4.
Broccoli Raab Pasta
- 1 LARGE ONION
- 6-8 CLOVES GARLIC
- 2 BUNCHES BROCCOLI RAAB
- RED PEPPER FLAKES
- ½ TO ¾ POUND PASTA
- RED WINE VINEGAR
- PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE
Peel and thinly slice the onion. Smash, peel and thinly slice the garlic. Wash the broccoli raab, removing the heavy stems and chop the leaves and sprouts coarsely. Put a large pot on to boil.
Liberally cover the bottom of a sauté pan with the olive oil and sauté the onion over high heat. When the onion has begun to wilt and brown then add the garlic and pepper flakes to taste, and salt. Toss briefly then add the broccoli raab and a splash of water. Lower the heat and cook until tender, stirring or tossing frequently. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Taste the broccoli raab for seasoning and add a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss with the freshly cooked pasta and garnish with the cheese.
BASIC BRUSCHETTA—CUT ITALIAN OR FRENCH COUNTRY-STYLE BREAD (BERKSHIRE’S BAGUETTE
IS PERFECT) INTO ¾” thick 3-4” long slices. Toast on both sides over a charcoal fire or under the broiler
until barely golden and still supple, not hard. While still warm, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of
a lightly crushed garlic clove half. Place the toasts garlicked side up on a platter and drizzle each slice with
1-1/2 teaspoons of the best olive oil you have.
You can serve it as is, or put on a topping. Figure 1-2 per person.
- Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with shredded basil over the top.
- A mix of tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
- A toss of chopped vegetables—tomatoes, black olives, green olives, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, and crushed garlic.
- Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and minced oregano, basic and garlic seasoned with black pepper.
- A mix of chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, Italian parsley, oregano, salt and black pepper.
- Any other topping that you’d like. Be creative.