Seasonal

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/

Mexican Peaches

The organic peaches from Mexico are so sweet and the season is now. They rival the Georgia peaches.

mexican-peaches

Fairway has them priced at $3.99 a pound. (Second floor of Fairway, 74th and Broadway)

Choose the ones that have a dominant red patch.

Allow them to ripen at room temperature for 2 -3 days or until they smell sweet and have a slight give.

I turn them every 12 hours. Lay them flat, in a single layer.

I like to wash fruit by submerging it in a bowl of filtered water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added.

Dry and eat. You are in for a treat!

Pasta with Roasted Plum Tomatoes © Karen Lee 2013

IMG_0653

In my last blog I gave you a recipe for Roasted Plum Tomatoes.

Today I am offering you a suggestion of how to use them in a quick pasta dish.

Here is my recipe for Pasta with Roasted Plum Tomatoes.  This recipe is enough for one or two people as a side dish and can easily be increased.

Cut ½ cup of the roasted tomatoes into large dice. Seeds, skins and all.

Sauté 2 cloves of sliced garlic in 1 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over low heat for a few minutes or until the garlic just begins to take on color.

Add ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.  Sauté one more minute.

Add the roasted tomatoes and simmer 2 minutes.

Turn off heat.

Boil 2 to 3 ounces of dried pasta.  Reserve a few tablespoons pasta water before draining.  Add pasta along with one or more tablespoons pasta water to sauce.  Toss.

Sprinkle with ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.  Toss then drizzle with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin oil.

If you prefer add some torn basil leaves to the pasta at the end and omit the oregano.

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

IMG_0653

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.

Sweet Strawberries

IMG_0635

Just returned from Whole Foods Market.

They are having a sale on organic strawberries from California.

$4.99 for a big box.

Very sweet.

I always like to wash fruit and vegetables in warm water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added.

Fill a large bowl with warm water.  Add a dash of vinegar then submerge the berries, swish them around then lift them out.

Submerge and lift one more time in just plain water.

Drain and dry.

Fruit is best eaten at room temperature.

For proper digestion, eat fruit 30 minutes before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.

Purple and Red Fruits are full of protective antioxidants, which are good for the heart.

Halibut Oreganata © Karen Lee 2013

In my Saturday April 20th cooking class we made:

Halibut Oreganata

IMG_0506.JPG

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.

Muscat Grapes

IMG_0473

Just returned home with the first of the Muscat grapes this spring.

Whole Foods, 59th street and columbus circle.

3.99 a pound

They are green, with a tinge of pink,  seedless, and sweet as sugar.

I  highly recommend them.

Enjoy!

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.

“Last Taste of Summer”

We recently prepared in class this Black Bean and Corn Salad.  Julie Inglis, one of my regular students, commented, “This is delicious. . . . our last taste of summer”.

Black Bean and Corn Salad is great to serve as a side dish, as a first course, for lunch or as an hors d’oeuvres in Belgian endive leaves.  I place the corn salad and the black bean salad along side of each other so the black beans do not bleed into the corn.

You can still buy corn from open air and farmers markets.  During colder months I buy corn from produce stores and some supermarkets.  Always ask: “Was the corn delivered today?” and if the produce person said yes then I buy it. The sugar in corn turns to starch overnight so when you return home, steam or boil it right away to preserve all the sugar and that sweet wonderful appealing taste of corn.

Black Bean and Corn Salad  and Tomato Salad

© Karen Lee 2012

1 cup black beans, washed, drained, covered with water by 7 inches, soaked for 8 hours, drained and simmered covered in 2 cups of water and one bay leaf for 1 hour or until soft. When the beans have cooked through, you should have no more than 2 tablespoons of water in bottom of pan. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the black beans at the end of the cooking. Allow to cool. This step can be done three days in advance.

4-8 ears of corn (buy and cook same day).  Steam or boil for 4 minutes. Shocking is not necessary.  After cooling, shave off corn kernels.

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters if they are large

½ cup snipped chives or ¼ cup scallions cut into 1/8- inch rounds

1/3 cup red onion, diced, then soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, drained

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (opt.)

2 tablespoons chopped dill

Dressing:

1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons aged sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

 

Place the tomatoes and corn in one bowl and toss gently with dressing.

Dress the black beans separately.

Scatter arugula or water cress or mesculin on a serving platter or individual plates.

Add herbs and scallions to the black beans and toss.

Place the corn mixture and the black beans side by side over the greens.