SPICED CRANBERRY and APRICOT CHUTNEY

chutney
Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons of oil (preferably mustard)
1 1/2 tablespoon very finely diced or grated ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup of cranberries
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of water
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of slivered apricots

Preparation:
Heat the oil and add in the ginger and saute lightly for a minutes.

Add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Add in the nigella seeds.

Add in the cranberries and the bay leaves and the water and sugar and the red pepper flakes.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the cranberries pop and soften, you will actually hear the cranberries pop! My kids have a lot of fun with this.

Stir in the apricots and cook for another 5 minutes.

Cool and serve. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

CARCIOFI (ARTICHOKE) STEW

Ingredients:

1/2 large onion
(2) 12oz frozen artichokes
1/2 fennel bulb
1 cup water
vegetable broth
hot oil (optional)

Preparation:

Cook the onions in olive oil until translucent.

Add artichokes, fennel, water, vegetable broth and hot oil.

Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Lower flame to low and cook for an additional 30 minutes, checking every 15 minutes.

HOMEMADE RICOTTA

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Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 quart goat’s milk (or a third quart of whole milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, about 1 large lemon’s worth

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Add the sea salt and stir to blend it into the milk (the salt is very important for bringing out the flavor in the finished ricotta). Bring to a very low boil over medium heat.

Add the lemon juice and stir briefly to blend. Bring back to a very low boil and cook about a minute. You will start to see little white particles coagulate on the surface. This means the curds are starting to form.

Don’t let the milk cook any longer than about a minute or you may wind up with hard, dry curds instead of the soft, creamy texture you are after. Remove the pot from the heat, and cover.

Let the ricotta sit for about 20 minutes untouched. This will allow bigger, more substantial curds to form.

Line a colander or a tightly woven wicker basket with cheesecloth or a thin cotton cloth like a piece of bed sheet. Gently pour the ricotta into the cloth, being careful not to break up the curds too much (the best approach is to tilt the pot against the colander or basket right up at the rim; free-fall pouring may be too violent).

Let this drain, unrefrigerated, for about an hour. You will now have a rather moist ricotta, the way I like it. If you prefer it drier, you can tie and hang the cheese cloth over the sink or over a bowl so the ricotta can drain more thoroughly. The ricotta is ready to use. You may refrigerate it, but it will stay really fresh and sweet only for about two days. If you plan on baking with the ricotta, drain it well.

Makes 1 pound of ricotta.

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Photography by fugzu

CIPOLLINE AGRODOLCE

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Ingredients:

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds small white cipollini onions
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
Salt and pepper

Preparation:

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine all ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally so that the onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The onions should be easily penetrated with a paring knife but should not be falling apart.

Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are glossy and dark brown, taking care not to burn. Remove from heat and serve.

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Photography by Pie in the Sky

ITALIAN SAUSAGE and PARMESAN CHEESE STUFFING

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Ingredients:

12 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless country-style white bread (from two 14.5-ounce loaves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausages, casings removed
8 ounces chicken livers, trimmed, coarsely chopped
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 cup low-salt chicken broth

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and sauté 5 minutes, breaking up with back of fork. Add chicken livers; sauté just until sausages and livers are cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to bowl with bread cubes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add onions and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onions and celery are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add onion mixture to bread cubes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan, currants, parsley, salt, and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix eggs and broth into stuffing; transfer to baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

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From Bon Appétit | November 2003

Photography by Jebb

SAUSAGE, CHESTNUT and FENNEL DRESSING

stuffing

Ingredients:

1 box (16 oz.) focaccia stuffing
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups prepared French chestnuts, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/4 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
6 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 to 3 1/4 cups chicken stock, warmed, plus more as needed

Preparation:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 3 1/2- to 4-quart casserole dish.

Put the focaccia stuffing in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery and fennel and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion mixture to the bowl with the focaccia stuffing.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with the focaccia stuffing. Add the parsley to the bowl and stir to combine. Stir in 3 cups of the stock. The dressing should be moist but not soggy. Add more stock if needed and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared casserole dish, cover with a piece of buttered aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Serves 10 to 12.

From Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

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Photography by 46137

ORZO SALAD

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Ingredients:
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1/2 cups red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • About 3/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Serves 6.

Adapted from Giadia De Laurentis/Food Network

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Photography by Kodamakitty

WARM POTATO SALAD with LEMON and DILL

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Ingredients:
  • 2 lb small yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Preparation:

Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain potatoes in a colander.

While potatoes are boiling, soak onion in cold water 15 minutes, then drain in a sieve and pat dry.

When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and quarter, then toss with lemon juice and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together onion, sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, and reserved cooking water in a bowl until blended. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste, then add to potatoes and toss to coat. Serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From Gourmet June 2003

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Photography by erix!

POTATO and GOAT CHEESE GRATIN

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Ingredients:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 5.5-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat (1%) milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil 10-inch-diameter pie dish. Slightly overlap 1/3 of potato slices in bottom of dish. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon flour, 1 teaspoon minced chives and 1/3 of minced thyme over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with 1/3 of goat cheese.

Repeat layering 2 more times. Pour low-fat milk over potatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Remove foil; bake until potatoes are tender and top is golden, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes; serve.

Makes 6 servings.

From Bon Appétit March 2002

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Photography by Stuart Spivak