Char-Roasted Tomato, Eggplant & Pepper Soup (Serves 6)

2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, quartered (garden grown are preferred)
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/2 in. slices
1 lb. red bell peppers
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
1/4 cp. virgin olive oil
2 qts. chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Place tomatoes, eggplant, red bells, and onions in a large bowl. Coat with olive oil.

2. Using either the broiler or charcoal grill, grill the vegetables until charred and softened. The vegetables will be done when they are lightly charcoaled.

3. Place the vegetables in a large dutch oven and add stock. Season with herbs.

4. Puree soup in food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt & pepper.


Spicy Curried Crab Bisque (Serves 6)

1 cp. chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 jalapeno chili, minced
1 lb. lump crab meat
2 Tbs. curry power (Madras brand is very good)
1 cp. canned coconut milk (can be found in Asian markets)
5 cps. half & half

Method:

1. Saute onion and peppers in olive oil until soft.

2. Add garlic, curry powder, and chilis. Saute 30 seconds. Add crab meat and remaining ingredients.

3. Simmer gently 5 minutes- DO NOT BOIL.

Hint: When mincing any hot chilis, wear close-fitting surgical gloves or rubber dishwashing gloves. This will keep the capsicum juices from harming you. Remember to remove both the seeds and the membranes if you want less "hot" in your dish.


Cold Herbed Turkey Meatloaf (Serves 8)

1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 cp. chopped onion
3/4 cp. chopped green onion (green part only)
1/2 cp. chopped carrots
1/4 cp. chopped celery
1/4 cp. chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cp. chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cp. ketchup
1/2 cp. milk
3/4 cp. fresh bread crumbs
3 lbs. freshly ground turkey
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Melt the butter and saute all the vegetables together until soft. Be careful to keep the heat low enough so they don't brown. Allow the vegetable to cool to room temperature.

3. Add the herbs, milk, ketchup, and eggs to mixing bowl.

4. Add the ground turkey and breads. With your fingers, mix the meat with the herb mix until incorporated.

5. Add the cooled vegetables to the mixture.

6. Place mixture into a standard bread pan to bake.

7. Place meatloaf pan inside a roasting pan and place in the center rack of the oven. Carefully pour boiling water inside the roasting pan to come up halfway on the meatloaf pan. (A teapot with a good spout works best.)

8. Bake 35 minutes. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Hint: To save time, the vegetables can be minced, one at a time, in a food processor. Just be careful to not "over process" them and make them too small.


Balsamic, Olive Oil & Garlic Potato Salad (Serves 6)

2 lbs. red potatoes, cubed with skin on
1/3 cp. virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried rosemary, lightly minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. minced garlic

Method:

1. Place potatoes in pot with cold water and salt lightly (kosher salt is best). Allow potatoes to simmer gently- DO NOT BOIL.

2. Cook until tender, 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

4. After potatoes are cooked, drain, and add to mixed ingredients. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Hint: When shopping at the grocery store, choose potatoes of the same size so the potatoes will be uniformly cooked.


French Lentil Salad (Serves 6)

1 cp. lentils (preferably French green lentils)
1/4 cp. minced red onion
1/4 cp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. minced orange zest
6 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled
pepper to taste

Method:

1. Boil lightly salted (kosher salt is best) water.

2. Reduce heat to simmer and add lentils. Cook 25 minutes.

3. While lentils are cooking mix together all the remaining ingredients, except cheese.

4. Drain lentils and allow to cool to room temperature. Add mixed ingredients and crumbled cheese on top. Lightly toss to incorporate the ingredients.


Baby Greens with a Cumin Vinaigrette (Serves 6)

1 lb. baby greens (aka. meslun mix)
1/2 cp. cider vinegar
1 Tbs. grainy Dijon mustard
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1.5 cps. virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor.

2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form dressing. Season to taste.

Hint: Don't "overdress" the baby greens or they will wilt from the weight of the dressing- use a light hand.


Classic Creme Brulee w/Fresh Fruit Garnish (Serves 6)

1.75 cps. heavy cream
1.75 cps. whole milk
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 extra large egg yolks
1 whole extra large egg yolks
1/2 cp. sugar
1/4 cp. raw sugar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. In a heavy saucepan, heat cream, milk, and vanilla bean over medium heat until mixture starts to boil. Or until small bubbles form on the edges of the milk mixture.

3. Remove from heat immediately and let sit 10 minutes.

4. Remove vanilla bean. With a paring knife, use the tip to scrap the inside of the vanilla bean back into the milk mixture.

5. Discard the vanilla bean.

6. Whisk together in a medium bowl egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar until well combined.

7. Add the cooled milk mixture in a smooth stream, whisking constantly. Remove any "foam" and discard.

8. Place 6 flameproof ramekins in a roasting pan. Divide custard mixture among the ramekins.

9. With oven rack in the center, carefully place the roasting pan/ramekins inside the oven. Carefully, add hot water to the roasting pan to reach 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins.

10. Bake 40 minutes until just set but "tremble" slightly when gently shaken.

11. Chill custards overnight.

12. Sprinkle with raw sugar and caramelize the sugar. Garnish w/fresh fruit & mint sprig.

Hint: Sugar can be caramelized in two ways. Place the ramekins under the broiler, watch carefully until just lightly browned. Or caramelize sugar the way pastry chefs prefer. Light a standard blow torch and lightly wave over top of the ramekins until the sugar darkens and the top appears glazed.

Hint: If you can find a product called "manufacturing cream", use that instead of heavy cream. Manufacturing cream contains 33% butterfat (as opposed to heavy cream which contains 31% butterfat) and makes a richer custard. This is what restaurants most commonly use in their creme brulee's.



Archives:
Orange, Fennel & Garlic Marinated Olives
Cannelli Bean & Red Onion Salad
Sliced Tomato, Basil & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
Grilled Tri Color Peppers with Rosemary & Thyme
Caponata & Fontina Sandwiches on Sliced Ciabatta

Traditional Holiday Turkey Dinner-with dressing, yams, cranberries etc.