Vegetables

Broccolini

Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with a milder taste. It has smaller florets with thinner and more tender stalks. I use the whole vegetable except for the last half-inch of the stems.

Broccolini © Karen Lee 2016

Broccolini © Karen Lee 2016

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of crushed dried chili pepper
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Wash broccolini by submerging and lifting in a big bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added.
  2. Let drain in a bowl. Spinning dry is not necessary.
  3. After discarding about ½-inch of the stems, cut the broccolini into ½-inch pieces.
  4. Heat a 10-inch stainless steel or enamel skillet for one minute over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and then the garlic. Turn heat to medium low and sauté the garlic until it just starts to take on some color. After the garlic has been in the pan for one minute add the salt and the chili pepper.
  5. Add the broccolini and toss; sauté about 1 minute, then add the stock a few tablespoons at a time. Simmer until evaporated then toss and add more stock as needed until the broccolini is tender, approximately 5 minutes. Dish. Drizzle with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
http://karenleecooking.com/2016/05/17/broccolini/

Shiitake Chips

Shiitake boost the immune system. I roast 2 or 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms almost every night in a black iron skillet and serve them as a side dish or an appetizer with my dinner.

Tips for working with mushrooms

  • Buy all mushrooms 2-4 days in advance and let them air dry in the frig on a plate without a cover.
  • Always wash your hands and the cutting board after handling the shiitake and make sure they are cooked through before eating.
  • You want to be able to see parts of the bottom of the pan otherwise the pan is too crowded and the shiitake will not brown or crisp.

Shiitake Chips © Karen Lee 2016

Shiitake Chips © Karen Lee 2016

Ingredients

  • 12 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, a few turns of the mill
  • a sprig of thyme or rosemary (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash shiitake.
  3. I like to wash all vegetables and fruits by submerging and lifting them in a bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added. This helps the cleaning process.
  4. Dry the shiitake with a paper towel.
  5. Place them in a black iron skillet stems up.
  6. Do now crowd lest they will not crisp.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Toss in a sprig of thyme or rosemary if you have it.
  10. Roast the shiitake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a little crisp and brown.

Notes

Serve like lollipops. The stems are too tough to eat.

http://karenleecooking.com/2016/04/04/shiitake-chips/

 

Great Time of Year for Wild Mushrooms

I love old mushrooms. I buy them a week in advance and put them on a plate in the refrigerator.

Karen Lee Wild Mushroom Pasta

The mushrooms will lose moisture while sitting in the frig, instead of giving up lots of water in the sauté pan.

This trick results in a nice and crispy mushroom sauté, and not a soggy one.

Roasted Fairytale Eggplant

IMG_1236These tiny eggplants have a short season, about one month. You can find them in your local open-air markets. They are beautiful, delicious and easy to prepare. You can serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish.

 

 

Roasted Fairytale Eggplant

Roasted Fairytale Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 15 eggplants, approximately
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly (about 8 slices)
  • Cut each slice into two the long way
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Wash and dry eggplants. 
  3. Make a slit in each eggplant and slide in a piece of garlic.
  4. Place the eggplants in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Season with some of the salt and pepper.
  6. Toss again using a rubber spatula.
  7. Place an iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the eggplants to the skillet and using a rubber spatula scape in any oil that clings to the bowl.
  9. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggplants are soft.
  10. Place on a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool 5 minutes and then have your guests pick the eggplants up by the stem and eat them with their hands, leaving only the stem behind.
http://karenleecooking.com/2014/09/11/roasted-fairytale-eggplant/

Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake

We had another fun class on January 19th.  Happy hungry students gathered around the butcher block eager to learn healthy new dishes to add to their repertoire.  Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake were on the menu and I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you.

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Choose Snow Peas that are bright green, no trace of brown or yellow. Crisp looking, flat, with underdeveloped peas. Snow peas are a good source of vitamin C, iron and manganese (good for bone development).

Shitake have been given credit for boosting the immune system, and helping prevent cardiovascular disease.

Karen Lee Secret: I like to buy shitake (and all mushrooms) three to five days in advance. Place them in a bowl, uncovered in the refrigerator. They dry out and give up less water when you sauté them and therefore become crispy.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake

Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of snow peas (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup shitake, no stems
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced, no seeds no membrane
  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
  • 1 whole scallion cut into 1/8-inch half rounds
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash snow peas by submerging and lifting them out of a bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added. (This helps clean them) String each snow pea then pile 2 snow peas on top of each other and slant cut into 3 pieces the long way.
  2. Wash the shitake in the same way as the snow peas. Using a knife remove the stems and discard, then cut each shitake into ¼ inch strips.
  3. Heat a small iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turn the heat to medium and sauté the shitake about 5-7 minutes or until crispy. Season with half of the salt and pepper. Remove from the skillet to a serving platter.
  4. Rinse a 10-inch stainless steel or enamel sauté pan then dry over medium heat. When water evaporates (this procedure will take one or two minutes) add the remaining olive oil and sauté the snow peas over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining salt and pepper. Flip or stir occasionally.
  5. Add the butter and the ginger and sauté another minute.
  6. Add the jalapeño, shallot, and cumin and continue to sauté and stir for another minute.
  7. Add the scallions and sauté another 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Empty contents of pan into the serving platter.
http://karenleecooking.com/2014/02/01/sauteed-snow-peas-and-shitake/

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

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Roasted Plum Tomatoes are delicious and versatile:

  • As a side to broiled or pan roasted fish.
  • In pasta dishes.
  • Also good to eat with mozzarella or for goat cheese and tomato crostini or in a sandwich.
  • As a flavor enhancer when added to vegetable soup.
  • You can also put them through a food mill for a smooth tomato sauce.

So great to have Roasted Plum Tomatoes on call to use in a variety of dishes. They last for one week in the frig.

You can still find local plum tomatoes at the farmers markets and the price is right. You may not even have to let them ripen this time of the year.

Roasted Plum Tomatoes © Karen Lee 2013

  • 12 ripe plum tomatoes, washed and dried
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt mixed with 1/8-teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced, green stem removed if any

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a stainless steel skillet or a shallow roasting pan. The skillet you choose should be big enough so the tomatoes have a little space between them.

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise with a serrated knife and put them in the skillet cut-side up. Do not over crowd. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and cayenne. Insert a sliver of garlic in each half.

Roast at 300° for 1-3 hours or until they have shriveled a little, are soft, and are a little brown on the bottom but still holding their shape.

This recipe can be adjusted to a small amount or a large amount of tomatoes. The more tomatoes you have in the oven the longer they will take to finish roasting.

Halibut Oreganata © Karen Lee 2013

In my Saturday April 20th cooking class we made:

Halibut Oreganata

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Braised Fava Beans with Herbs

I added this dish to the menu at the last minute when I saw fresh organic Fava beans on the second floor of Fairway).

Sautéed Asparagus with Ramps

I found the ramps at Citeralla much to my surprise.  That saved me 3 hours round trip by not going to the Union Square Market.  Ramps really made the dish, they are so sweet.  I describe them as a cousin to leeks, only much more tender.  They are in season just 3 weeks out of the year and the time is now.

Halibut Oreganata

Wild caught from Canada and purchased from Pisacane (51st and First Avenue, 212-758-1525 ask for Paul) was glistening and fresh as can be.

Pasta with Arabiata Sauce

We used fresh and canned tomatoes.  Best tomatoes right now are Tasti Lee.  I buy them at Gourmet Garage. They are grown in Florida.  Let them ripen a day or two at room temperature.

Linzer Cookies

 

Halibut Oreganata © Karen Lee 2013

  • 1 pound of halibut, not more than one to 1¼ inches thick, skin off

Topping

  • 1½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sliced garlic, green stem removed
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped shallots or cipollini or combination of both
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • A few grindings of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne
  • ¾ tsp. dried oregano (preferably wild-harvested)
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. of bread crumbs (brioche roll, cubed then pulverized in Cuisinart)
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Final Seasoning

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Garnish with snipped chives (optional)

Preheat oven to 425º.

Dip halibut in a bowl of cold water for one second then dry well with paper towels.  Place the fish in a metal roasting pan that has been rubbed with olive oil or in a skillet that just fits the size of the fish (or a little larger).

Place a small sauté pan over low heat for one minute.

Add the 1½ Tbsp. of olive oil and heat slightly.

Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes on very low heat, never allowing the oil to get too hot and lose its green color.  Add the shallots and continue to sauté over low heat.  Take the pan off the heat if necessary to lower the heat.  While the shallots are sautéing add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and oregano.  Turn off the heat.  Add the bread crumbs, fresh thyme and fresh parsley. Using an icing spatula, spread the topping over the fish.  Roast fish for about 5 to 10 minutes. Time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. If necessary run fish under the broiler for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to get the desired crust. Watch like a hawk. You are looking for brown and crusty, it is more about the color and crust than the timing.  Using two spatulas remove the fish from the pan and place on a serving platter.  Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the fish, and then squeeze a little lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt.  Garnish with optional chives.

N.B.

If roasting more than 1 pound of fish, increase the topping accordingly and the cooking time…anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes roasting time depending on the thickness of the fish and the number of pounds.

You can tell when the halibut is done by inserting the point of the knife into the thickest part of the fish and the knife-point goes through easily.  If the fish stops the knife it is raw in the center.

Also you will see albumen (white liquid protein) form around the fish.

You can undercook the halibut slightly to allow for carry over cooking time.

Spring Vegetarian Delicacy

Fava Beans, one of the treasured parts of spring have arrived. We made these in class recently and they were a big hit. I wanted to share the recipe with you. You can serve them as an appetizer, or a side dish; hot, or room temperature.

Braised Fava Beans

Braised Fava Beans

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ pounds of fava beans (once shelled, blanched and skins slipped off will yield 1 cup and 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup leeks (white and light green parts only), split, washed and diced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 5 turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (or more) of chicken stock, warmed
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme or marjoram
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced scallions (split lengthwise then sliced into 1/8 inch semi-circles) or snipped chives
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
  • 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Instructions

  1. After shelling the fava beans, blanch half of them in 2 cups of rapidly boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon then repeat with the other half. Slip off the skins. Set aside.
  2. In a 10-inch stainless steel skillet, sauté the leeks for 3 minutes in 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium low heat or until they have softened. Add the salt and pepper. Add the fava beans to the sauté pan and turn over in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the stock a few tbsp. at a time, using up to ½ cup, as necessary, until the fava beans are cooked through. Total time will be between 7 to 10 minutes, but begin to taste for doneness after the first 5 minutes. Be careful not to stir the beans too often or they will begin to break. Remove from the heat. Add the herbs – the thyme, rosemary, half the basil and half the parsley to the pan.
  3. Place the fava beans on a serving plate. Drizzle the beans with 2 tsp. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, sprinkle the beans with the diced scallions and the rest of the basil chiffonade and parsley.
  4. The dish can be made a few hours ahead and can be served either hot at room temperature.
http://karenleecooking.com/2013/04/13/spring-vegetarian-delicacy/

VARIATIONS

As an alternative to the fava beans, the dish can be made with any fresh bean, such as cranberry or lima beans, or with any dried beans, such as chick peas or black beans, which will need to be soaked and cooked in advance.

Indian Cooking Class

Indian cooking is so delicious and so good for you.  Recently I have had many requests from students who are interested in preparing Indian food at home so I scheduled an Indian class on February 19th.

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When you add Indian spices such as turmeric and cumin to the oil and onions and slowly sauté them this enhances their flavor and health benefits.

Recommended companies that sell spices are:  www.Frontiercoop.com

Simply Organic and Penzeys.

Spices stored in the refrigerator in glass bottles will maximize their fresh scent.

For our Indian cooking class we made:

  • Indian Inspired Split Pea Soup with spiced yogurt
  • Chicken Vindalou
  • Saag Paneer
  • Lemon Rice
  • Raita
  • Mint Chutney
  • Baked Custard with fresh strawberry sauce

Here is the recipe for the Saag Paneer.

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In a few days I will post the Chicken Vindalou recipe. It is adapted from Julie Sahni.

SAAG © Karen Lee 2013

(Indian method of preparing Spinach)

  • 1 ¼ pounds fresh spinach
  • 2 medium potatoes or 4 new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced (no more than 12 ounces or ¾ pound) (If using organic  do not peel)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced combination of onions and leeks
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon blonde or black mustard seeds
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon butter, broken into small pieces.

Remove stems from spinach in one motion and  discard. Wash spinach by submerging and lifting as many times as necessary to remove all sand and grit.  Place spinach in a bowl, not necessary to spin dry.

Have some boiling water ready in a separate pot.

Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a  boil in a 12- inch skillet.  Add the potatoes spreading them out into a single layer.  Cover and simmer until almost done, about 15 minutes.  Keep checking to make sure the water does not entirely evaporate.  Add spinach, cover and cook another 2 minutes.

When the potatoes and spinach are cooked they should have no more than a few tablespoons of liquid at the bottom of the skillet.

While the potatoes are cooking:

In a second skillet over medium low heat sauté the onions, leeks,  garlic, and  ginger for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mustard seeds, turmeric, cayenne and salt; sauté another 2-3 minutes. turn off  heat.

Add the cooked spinach, potatoes and all the remaining cooking liquid.  Mix then place mixture in a bowl or a bain marie (tall stainless steel utensil) and zap it using an emersion blender or you can use a food processor.

Add lemon juice and more salt if needed.  Saag can be made one day in advance and reheated.

If making the Saag and serving immediately or within a few hours you can reheat in the same skillet in which the Saag was made.

When eating dot with Paneer and little bits of butter. Paneer is Indian cheese. You can substitute ricotta or mozzarella.

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Israeli Red Peppers

 

Organic Israeli red peppers are in season and available in the Northeast from December through March. In NYC you can by them at Whole Foods and Fairway. They are my favorite. Mexican red peppers can be equally as sweet if you get one that is crimson red. They are available at Food Emporium and Citarella in NYC. Great in salads raw or roasted. Remember the deeper red the pepper, the sweeter it is. Recipes to follow in the next few weeks.