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This is dish with some substance that is still brightly flavored and not heavy. Depending on how much you reduce the cooking liquid, it can be soupy, a little saucy, or dry. Use it as a base to a protein, or a main course. Add some grains and a little yogurt or cheese and you have a complete protein. Using different herbs or spices will change the flavor profile, so have fun seasoning the dish.

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For what it’s worth, gratin refers to the cooking vessel and the way it is used, not just the dish itself. Anything can be cooked “au gratin” and the recipe itself is varied. Potatoes alone, or mixed with other roots such as parsnip, turnip, or onion. Mushrooms, kale, artichoke hearts, olives, all these can go in as well. The dish can be made with or without cheese, with cream, milk, stock, or any combination of these. In summer, I make gratins with vegetables that are “wet” (tomatoes, eggplant, etc.) and the only liquid I use is a little bit of flavorful olive oil. In colder months I make traditional creamy, cheesy gratins with roots and tubers. You can be precise in the way you lay in the ingredients or you can be casual. Bear in mind that the thickness of the cuts, the density of the vegetables, and how tightly packed in the dish everything is can affect the cooking times. This recipe is a variation of a quiche I used to make, and it is named for Denise who likes it so much I can never make enough.

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This recipe calls for new potatoes, but you can use anything really, as long as it is a waxy type. The new potatoes have a sweetness and nutty quality that just really plays well with this iteration of pesto. If the potatoes are smaller- 1-inch or less- smashing them with a fork or cutting board is great. If they are bigger, slicing is a good way to go, or cut the potato into 1-inch chunks and go from there. This helps to keep a good potato to pesto ratio for good flavor. If you decide to salt the finish dish, be sure to use a large crunchy type and go light with it. This is one of those simple dishes where it is all about the ingredients, and how some things just seem to go so well together.

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Here is another iteration of mint pesto. This uses traditional pine nuts, but you could substitute roasted almonds or combine the two. If you do not have fresh marjoram, skip it, but it adds depth to the mint and brightens it up. I prefer to use a mortar and pestle for my pesto, both for flavor/texture, and because it is hard to do smaller batches in a food processor. Both methods are given, but I hope you will try the mortar and pestle method.

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One of the simplest ways I know to enjoy tomatoes is this quick and very traditional Mediterranean snack. I first made this when inspired by a description I read in a book by Lawrence Durrell if I recall correctly. I have since seen it in many other places. There is no set recipe. It is a technique. I suppose a 1:1 ratio of medium tomato to slab of toast might work.

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Roasting the tomatoes concentrates the tomato sweetness, while also adding a haunting roasted background note. The basil oil is a great finish, and you could use Thai basil for the oil which would be great also. If you don’t have that handy, the mint crema (yogurt and mint) will work fine. You could also drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, especially if you have some of the thick aged stuff stashed.

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This is a light flavored dressing with a definite character of its own. Some people hate shiso, others love it. The dressing is for the latter. The coriander seed helps to add more dimension to the shiso. Do not let this dressing heat up or it will not taste that pleasant. Adding shiso at the start and at the end adds depth while retaining the very fresh flavor shiso is known for. Use within a day or two of making.

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“Lighter Flavored” refers to the lighter cilantro flavor, so it is a background note rather than a star. The use of cilantro seed powder enhances the dressing by adding a subtle citrusy aroma and flavor that works well with the other elements. Try this dressing with roast squash, as in the Orange Hokkaido and Kale Salad, or with fish and shrimp, or pork.

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Here is a twist on a favorite, the “Golden Beets and Kale Salad with Orange Cilantro Vinaigrette”. Here we see Orange Hokkaido fill in for golden beets, and some orange flavored cranberries are added for interest, and the dressing is changed up a little to back off the cilantro a bit, and an Orange Shiso dressing is offered as well, for those that have easy access to shiso.

For tips on peeling and cutting winter squash, see the article “Winter Squash” on the website.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Orange Hokkaido Kabocha squash, peeled and cut into ½ or ¾ inch pieces
1 bunch Scotch, or lacinato, kale, stemmed and torn into small bits, washed well and dried
½ cup, or to taste, dried orange flavored cranberries
½ cup pepitas, lightly toasted in a pan until just fragrant
1 cup Lighter Flavored Cilantro Orange Dressing, or Orange Shiso Dressing
Neutral flavored oil as needed
Toasted Pumpkin Seed oil-optional-
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tablespoon coriander seed powder
 

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Put the squash into a bowl and drizzle with just enough oil to lightly coat. Toss the squash to be sure it is coated all over. Lightly season with salt and pepper and half the coriander seed powder. Place on a lightly oiled sheet pan so the squash pieces are not touching. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the pieces of squash. Bake 15 minutes more, or until the squash has dried out a bit and it golden brown with touches of caramelization along the edges. If it seems the squash is cooking quickly, lower the heat a little. You want the squash to dry out a little without burning or sticking to the pan. When the squash is tender, a little bit dried out, and has a nice color, remove it from the oven and allow to cool a little. Drizzle with a small amount of whichever dressing you have chosen and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the rest of the ground coriander seed. Allow to cool entirely.

While the squash cooks, put the kale into a large bowl and drizzle lightly with enough dressing to coat everything well and toss.

Once the squash is cool, add it to the kale along with the cranberries and gently mix so as not to smash the squash cubes.

Distribute among 4 plates, scatter with the pepitas, and little salt and pepper, and then drizzle a few drops of pumpkin seed oil around the salads and plate rims if you have it.* Serve.

Chef’s Note’s: Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil is one of those obscure but great “secret” ingredients to have on hand. A few drops imbues anything with a wonderfully autumnal seed and nut flavor that is haunting, and fun to watch people try to identify. Like miso is a sauce, it adds a lot of wonderful mystery flavor, and the two combine well. Once opened it will keep in the refrigerator a very long time. Other squash can stand in for the Orange Hokkaido, but it should be a fairly dry squash.

Serves: 4

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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Sounds odd, but the tender/sweet of the carrot is a great foil for the chewy/bitter of the escarole. Scattering the escarole with a little sugar aids caramelization and adds to the sweet/bitter contrasts. Give this unlikely seeming combo a try and you may be hooked. Make this when the carrots are sweet.

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Cocque are a Spanish flatbread equivalent to pizza, but are usually more rustic. Typically the crust is thin, or really thin, and is crisper and blisters a little. The toppings are fewer, but always choice. Cocque appear as part of the tapas pantheon, or as a starter or snack with drinks, not as a main dish. You can use whatever peppers you want, but if using the Hungarian Wax peppers you might want to nibble a few to check for heat.

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This recipe originally came to me from Tom King when he had the restaurant Papa’s Church. It is usually more rustic than Italian pizza, shaped into a rough rectangle or oval, with bubbles and blisters around the edges.

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This dish was somehow inspired by the classic tapa known as Tortilla Española. Don’t ask how, as I am not sure myself. The potatoes used are important here. Find something like a Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold, or other potato that possesses a slightly sweet and nutty flavor without being a really waxy type, nor really mealy. Potato size also matters. The idea is the potato and sauce work together to highlight each other’s flavor, while the tomato acts as a counterpoint with acid and fruit, and the parsley adds earthy and vegetal notes.

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Here, fennel and onions are cooked to give a texture similar to the traditional apples of the original dish. This dish could be served as a dessert with some ice cream or cheese, or serve it as a savory course with a salad of lettuces and herbs such as flat parsley and fennel fronds.

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This sauce is part of a steamed potatoes and tomato dish that was inspired by a Tortilla Española, but is can be used with other things as well. Try it with garbanzo beans, grilled shrimp, or as a dip for flatbreads and crudités. It would be good under poached eggs as well. By the way, this is the perfect way to use the core of the cauliflower.

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This stock first occurred one spring after market when I opened the refrigerator and found it full of whole and partial bits of green garlic and young garlic, leeks, scallions and spring onions as well as the tops I had saved, not to mention the halves of white and yellow onions. Everything was in great shape, but I needed room for the next batch of produce. So, I made stock. This recipe is sized down for the average kitchen.

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Straightforward lemony dressing, with Meyers supplying wonderful floral notes and lower acid. This recipe has boundless uses.

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You can do this with swordfish as well, and you can cook your fish in the oven if you wish.

INGREDIENTS:

4 servings salmon, 4-6 ounces each (or how ever large you like them), skin and bones removed
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon coriander seeds, powdered
½ tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped finely
A little garlic powder, or 1 clove garlic grated on a Micro-plane or ginger grater
Olive oil as needed, around 1-2 tablespoons at most
1 recipe Celery Herb Salad (see recipe)
 

METHOD:

If using fresh garlic, mix the grated garlic paste with 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Let oil sit 10 minutes so flavors marry, then paint onto the non-skin side of the fish evenly. If using garlic powder, lightly rub the fish with a little oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, dust with coriander seed, and scatter the marjoram over the fish. Allow to sit at least 15-20 minutes so flavors can marry with the fish.

Fire up the grill or crank the oven to 425°F. If not grilling the fish, heat a skillet large enough to hold all the fish without crowding and that can go in the oven.

When the grill is ready or the oven is up to temp and the pan is hot, cook the fish. For the grill, cook evenly for both sides. In a pan, cook for 4 minutes only on the non-skin side, so you can see the color of the fish in contact changing color about 1/8th of an inch in or more. Transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking. NOW-here is the trick to cooking fish; eight minutes to the inch. If your salmon is 1½-inches thick, total cooking time should be right around 12 minutes. So if the fish in the pan has been on the stove-top 4 minutes, give it eight more in the oven. On the grill give it 7-8 minutes on the top, then flip it for the rest of the time. One way to tell if the salmon is done is the push with your finger on a thinner part near the edge and see if the fish readily flakes under a moderate pressure.

Cook until the fish is done, then plate. Pile the Celery Herb Salad in mounds on top of the fish and serve.

Serves: 4

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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Based on a dish I had out recently. You can adjust the ginger to your liking, and if you run hot water over the ginger if will mitigate some of the heat while leaving the gingery flavor behind. Although the recipe looks long, it is a quick and flexible dish to make. Add beef or tofu to the sauté if you wish, and serve with rice.

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Although it says “Creamy” in the title, there is no cream, just a bit of yogurt for the smooth texture. You can, of course, skip the yogurt and the soup will still be quite good, if a little sweeter perhaps. The tomato adds acid and brightens the flavors of the soup, while adding liquid as well. As to seasoning, this soup is amenable to so many different herbs it makes this a truly versatile dish. The vegetable garnish is optional, so this can be a quick and simple dish as well.

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I have always tried to come up with interesting ways to use the leaves of celery besides dumping them in stock. Here’s one that is a nice topping for grilled fish like salmon or sword, or to top pork chops or lamb meat balls.

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This dressing was concocted for Grilled Strawberries and Little Gem Salad, but would work well with grilled shrimp, lamb meatballs, or falafel. It would go nicely with Herbed Chicken Paillards in a sandwich as well.

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Although the combination of may seem odd to some, the tomato forms the bridge here between the oxalic roughness of the spinach and the sweetness of the strawberry with its acid and sweetness. The crunch of the spinach and the plush softness of the berries and tomatoes is pleasing to the palate. The lettuce is used here to add loft to the salad and lighten it a little. Be sure to use enough oil to soften the bite of the acid in the dressing or it will team with the spinach to taste aggressive. If you have almond or hazelnut oil, use some in the dressing and add some roasted nuts to match the oil for added depth.

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Although if pressed I’d call this a salad, but it is also pretty much a meal in itself. Lots of crunchy textures, sweet and savory flavors, fruity top notes (tomato) and earthy nuttiness (pepitas), all swathed in refreshing mint and parsley. Add some cheese, cold chicken, cold cuts, or pressed tofu to make it even more substantial.

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This “risotto” will be more toothsome than one made with rice, and will have a deeper flavor that contrasts nicely with the bright flavors of the squash and tomatoes. The more colors of squash the better.

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Use this dressing for the Spinach, Tomato, and Strawberry Salad if you have the oil and nuts. This dressing will go well with many things. Anything with spinach, and especially arugula, match well with this dressing, as do crisped porcini mushrooms. Use this dressing for a salad if arugula and cress to top thin pan seared pork chops nut crusted swordfish. For nut oils, I like the Tourangelle line of oils. I find them to be full flavored, fresh, and relatively inexpensive for the quality, which I find to be consistent. If you wish, you can substitute almond oil for different salads.

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For this dish low moisture content squash such as Costata Romanesco or Cousa are ideal, but you can do this with any summer squash, really. The trick is to merely sear the outside of the squash for flavor and color, not to cook it through. A fixed-blade slicer or mandolin is great for prepping this dish, otherwise use a thin bladed razor sharp knife to prevent the squash from cracking.

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If you do not have filet beans, try this with Romano beans cut into 1-inch diamonds instead.

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Not truly pickled, these beans are what I call “quickles”. The recipe differs from most of my quickle recipes in that the quickling solution is a vinaigrette instead of the usual vinegar/sugar solution. This dish is great cold, but can be served hot as well.

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Not truly pickled, these beans are what I call “quickles”. These are great cold, but can be served heated as well.

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