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The Silk Robe refers to the silky texture leeks, fennel, and carrots take on when cooked slowly. You can grill the salmon, or roast it high or low temperature as you wish, or cook it entirely in a pan on the stovetop. Each method gives a different but delicious result. Higher temps yield a crispy part of the fish, where a slow and low cooking results in a supple and silky fish that matches the vegetable topping. Pan searing gives a crisp top deck and low oven heat yields silky flesh to meld with the topping. Because there are so few ingredients here, and cooking is so simple, be sure to use only the best ingredients. You could use halibut or other thick bodied flaky fish for this recipe, or even slowly poached chicken.

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This is a pureed soup, so it is smooth and “creamy” feeling, although there is no cream. The ingredients combine to make a slightly sweet soup, so serving this with a salad of bitter winter greens with a sharp-ish vinaigrette is excellent. The flavoring of this soup can go from Provençal to Southwestern American to Indian with ease. See Chef’s Notes for ideas.

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Variation on a theme, with Moroccan accents. While the orange flower water is not essential, it really does add an extra dimension that’s delightful and mysterious all at once.

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The meaty, winey Portobello mushroom and the nutty starchy farro mellow the bitter and earthy flavor of the radicchio while the sweetness of the carrot and onion dice act as a counterpoint. This is a dish with some substance, and the mushrooms make a good substitute for meat texturally and flavor-wise.

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Having always been a stickler as to the definition of “pesto”, I have relaxed about this a bit, but still feel “pesto” should contain an herb, garlic, nuts, and olive oil. In this case the herb is the fronds from fennel combined with a little parsley for bulk, the nuts are coarsely chopped almonds, and the pesto is pretty runny. There is no cheese in this, although you could add some young Romano to the recipe if desired. This recipe was meant for Carrots with Fennel Jam, but would work well with chicken, fish, pork, pasta, or drizzled on spaghetti. Mortar and pestle is my preferred method for texture and longevity of end product, but a blender works, and the method for that is listed after the mortar method.

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This dish is quite dramatic on the plate, especially if you have purple or multicolored carrots. If you wish, you can steam the carrots instead of roasting. Roasting and steaming help purple carrots retain color, and in the case of the purple carrots it intensifies the color. Wet cooking purple carrots washes out the color and tints every other vegetable in the pan a not pleasant shade or blurple. The earthiness of the carrot is offset by the fennel and the pesto, while roasting intensifies the sweetness of the carrots and intensifies the flavor at the same time.

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“Condiment” is used for lack of any better word, but I suppose salsa, jam, or chutney could be used as well. It is, essentially, sweet vegetables cooked until melting, to boost the flavors of earthy late season peppers. This is used as a topping for seared and quickly braised mei quin. Use as a side dish, add ground pork, tofu, or bits of leftover chicken and serve with rice for a main. A mandolin is very helpful with this recipe.

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The lettuces used here are what was used for this recipe originally, but other choices will work as well.

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The lemon brings out the brightness in the mustard, and the sesame adds a slightly sweet/nutty flavor with random spots of crunch that plays well with the mustard.

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The peppery notes of the cress and rocket play up the sweetness of the beets. The shreds of Little Gems add crunch and loft to the salad, while the orange in the dressing adds a bright note with some sweetness to marry with the beets and contrast with the nutty peppery cress and rocket. If you wish, you can serve the salad without the lettuce and use a standard Balsamic Vinaigrette. Use this as an accompaniment to things like steaks or roast chicken. You could also serve it alongside (or in the cup of the cap) roasted Portobello mushrooms. If you wanted you could add orange suprêmes to the salad just before serving.

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This was first done for a salad of beets, a peppery cress, arugula, and shreds of Little Gem lettuce. It will go with plenty of other salads of sharp or spicy elements, as well as on pork chops or chicken. Use a milder olive oil, and be sure to use organic oranges with plenty of flavor and some acid. Organic because you want to rub the bowl with the orange skin to flavor the dressing.

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I was reminded of a dish from a restaurant I worked in long ago when flipping through a recent cookbook about modern French bistros. We used to cut potatoes to the size of rice grains and cook it like risotto. The starch of the potatoes gave a very similar texture to traditional risotto. Here, carrots are cooked similarly, but you won’t get the same mouth feel until you choose to take some of the veg and broth and pureé it in a Vitamix or food processor and add it back in at the end. As I love to play with variations of peas and carrots, I include an option for adding shelled edamame. Look for frozen non-GMO organic beans, and cook them a little longer than called for. They should be tender all the way through, with a creamy texture. The recipe is great without them if you wish to keep things quick and easy.

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Whenever I work with root vegetables, I am bound to wonder, at some point, what it is like roasted whole. Here is one answer to that question.

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This recipe was made to go with Crisp Pan Roasted Salmon, but will go with roast chicken as well as seared scallops, black cod, or pork chops. Leeks cook to a silky texture similar to escarole, and the earthy funk combines well with the slightly bitter escarole. Although the recipe calls for white wine or sherry vinegar, a white balsamic or a good quality red wine vinegar would go great here as well. If you do go with red wine vinegar, serve a red wine that has plenty of fruit, but also some tannins to match the vinegar and act as a foil to the rich salmon and the smoothness of the vegetables. You could also toss this with pasta or grains such as farro.

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Using a slightly leaner salmon is a good strategy for this dish as the leeks and escarole have enough fatty qualities already. The Japanese peppers mentioned are fushimi and/or shishito peppers, which are quite mild but have a pleasantly “green” flavor. Searing adds another dimension of flavor that enhances the whole dish. Add shavings of carrot to the leeks and escarole (see recipe) or cook using a roll-cut and plate on the side. You can make this recipe using roast or grilled chicken or pork chops as well, but in this case the escarole-leeks will bring the richness instead of the salmon.

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When cooking fish there are two things to remember. “Fresh!” And -“Eight minutes to the inch”.

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This is a dish I eat for breakfast from left-overs, or as dinner if I am alone and want something simple and satisfying as a “comfort food”. The main parts are the winter squash, onions, and greens, but feel free to add mushrooms, tomatoes, beets, or apple. Eggs poached or fried either way, as long as the yolks is soft and can run into the ingredients as a sauce. I douse them with plenty of something spicy and vinegary.

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INGREDIENTS:

1½ tablespoons rice vinegar

1½ tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sugar

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Here is a dish that is perfect for Holiday tables or at home dinners, and is, in fact, a riff on the classic green bean casserole with fried onions. No cream of mushroom soup or sauce. The leeks and pancetta or bacon can be cooked a couple days prior and they will hold in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep the fat from the pancetta or bacon as the flavor is integral to the dish.

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This is a simple dish where the components speak for themselves, and the aim of the dish is to exalt the flavor of the beans. The carrots add a subtle woody flavor as well as sweetness, and the color pops against the green of the beans and the mustard brown of the sauce.

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Make this with wild rice, or if you have other leftover grains, you can use those. The flavor of wild rice goes perfectly with other ingredients.

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This is a dish of subtle flavors. The cucumbers lend a touch of bitter to contrast with the sweet rich cream which takes on a touch of caramelization with reduction. Their texture is firm and tender at the same time, while the beans are softer but still have a little bite to them. Bits of almond add a definite crunch to counter the soft onion. This pairs up well with simply cooked fowl or steak. You could cut the beans into 1-inch lengths and then toss this dish with pasta, perhaps adding herbed bread crumbs and cheese to the dish to finish it up. If the idea of cooked cucumbers is too weird for you, simply omit them, knowing the dish will be richer without them.

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An autumnal salad that is pretty to look at and tastes of the coming season. The ingredients act as foils and links all at the same time, and form a sort of flavor merry-go-round with each other. If you wish, you can add diced apples for more sweetness and crunch to the salad. See the “option” in the recipe.

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Modern American cuisine smacks into traditional Mediterranean. This salad was inspired by a Salade Niçoise, but is much, much simpler. You want to use good quality tuna for this-at least use albacore if you can’t find any European tuna packed in olive oil. Also, If you have beans you have cooked yourself the dish will be better for them, but the recipe simply calls for pantry staple canned white beans. Rinse them really well.

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Light supper, vegetable centric breakfast, call it what you will. This is a flavorful dish that is good for you, and it is easy if you are using peppers that were grilled the day before. For the eggs, it is best if the yolks are runny, as they make a “sauce” for the vegetables when you poke the yolk and it runs out over everything.

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Yes, yes, it sounds weird. Everyone tells me so. And then they try it. And really, really like it. Sautéed cucumber is milder than zucchini with deeper flavor. If watched carefully, it maintains a crunchiness that is wonderful. The trick is to cook it just until it heats through and is turning translucent. This dish is a wonderful combination that goes well with fish or chicken, or as a foil to something richer like brisket braised in porcini stock.

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The smaller size of the ingredients of this salad give it a lightness and ensures you can get all the flavors in one bite, giving a sum that is more than the parts alone. Make this with or without the lettuce as you choose. It adds a welcome crunch, and slightly bitter and sweet flavor of the lettuce acts as a bridge between the zucchini and tomatoes.

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No meat in this, but the presentation, the thin slices, and the fact that it is raw make the connection in my mind. This is one of those times you want a fixed blade slicer. It can be done with a knife, but it will be a challenge. Cousa and zucchini are ideal for this dish, and Pattypan will work as well, but I think crooknecks are best left for other preparations. This dish lends itself to variations, from really simple to simple but elegant. The dressing can be scattered as separate ingredients or made into a vinaigrette, the garnish can be skipped or be complex-it’s all up to what you want at the time.

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A typically savory grain dish with a sweet surprise-bits of lightly sautéed apple to counter the earthiness of the chard and mushrooms. This is classically Italian in heritage, where raisins or currants are used to offset bitter greens.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 large, 4 medium Delicata squash, split lengthwise and cleaned

½ pound lean ground lamb or beef

2 cups zucchini, cut into fine dice

¼ cup onion, cut into fine dice

1 cup chard stems, cut into fine dice, washed and dried

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