Sofrito — So-free-toe. Isn’t that a great word? I don’t even remember where I found this recipe, but I’m crazy about it. Even though it’s very similar to salsa, the ingredients are all fresh and raw and whatever you put Sofrito on, it just pops!
The summer tomatoes are in – the small, intensely flavored dry-farmed ones, heirlooms of all sizes, colors and stripes and the tiny little cherry tomatoes— all soooo delicious! It’s hard to beat a combination of really ripe tomatoes, fresh, soft mozzarella, lots of basil and maybe a bed of crispy Romaine or tender butter lettuces to soak up the juices. Simple and delicious.
This is a great pull-out-the-stops recipe for an elegant meal, but it’s also really easy to assemble. Pitting the cherries takes time unless you have a pitter, a handy gadget that speeds things up exponentially.
It’s November and I’m thinking about cozy soups, fragrant stews and other warming foods that speak of waning sunshine and chilly nights. Especially when I was fighting with the wind while raking leaves. However, as I cruised the produce section I spotted bright yellow Ataulfo mangoes, one of the sweetest and most flavorful varieties that comes into our markets here in the States. What to do? I can’t imagine mango soup and stews call for root vegetables — parsnips and potatoes, carrots and onions. Then I remembered a wonderful dish I created when I worked with New Leaf markets. A black peppered, spicy mango chicken saute with cashews. Served over a rice pilaf, I could have the best of both worlds — a warming dish but with tropical overtones. I bought the mangoes!
This is a versatile recipe. It can be vegetarian, made with fish or meat, and you can add vegetables to the chicken curry recipe. Serve condiments such as chopped peanuts, pistachios or cashews, coconut, raisins or even fresh mango on the side if you like. And don’t forget the chutney!
In 2011 I traveled with my friends to Cinque Terra, “The Five Lands,” all built on hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Basil is used throughout the region as pesto and is also blended with spinach and pecorino as the filling for pansoti, a ravioli that is shaped like a triangle. Unless you live in an urban area or regularly make pasta, it’s nearly impossible to find pansoti. Use your favorite ravioli instead. Walnuts and almonds are also grown in this region and the Ligurian walnut sauce that I had over pansoti is seductive! When I returned home and made the sauce, I added just a little vanilla, which accented the walnuts nicely. I used artichoke and butternut squash ravioli in the picture above and served it with a roasted vegetable and white bean salad and Chardonnay. As spectacular as the view walking the ridge from Vernazza to Monterosso! (And, by the way, the sauce would be excellent served over poached chicken or fish.)
As a big fan of Mediterranean food, I’m always excited when I find a new recipe or see a recipe that I usually then tweak. I found the original version of this recipe in the New York Times but have I have adapted it considerably. I have to say that it has become a signature dish to serve for friends who love lamb.
As fresh asparagus and English peas are only available for a month or so, if you enjoy them, eat them as often as possible. Here’s one delicious way to do just that. Feel free, however, to substitute fava beans, baby artichokes or any other favorite early vegetables to this fresh pasta dish. Peas are frozen as soon as they’re harvested and hold their flavor well so don’t worry if you can’t find fresh ones. Finally, baby arugula isn’t bitter like its more mature counterparts, but if you can’t find it or don’t like it, substitute baby spinach leaves or a different vegetable.
The rich, saltiness of meats often benefit from the light, sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Although we don’t think of rhubarb as a vegetable because we nearly always serve it sweet, it’s technically a veggie. This refreshing sauce pairs especially well with pork (adds sparkle to ribs, for instance), but it will lift the flavor of a roasted chicken or poached chicken breasts and is great with all grilled meats and fish. Add some heat to it — Tabasco, pepper flakes or harissa, if you’d like.
Chicken With Preserved Lemon, Soft Black Olives and Nigella Seeds
Courtesy of Paula Wolfert, The Food of Morocco
Paula says, “An absolutely delightful dish from Marrakech, inspired by a recipe in L’Authentique Cuisine Marocaine by Jorg Zipprick and Ben Marrakchi.”
When I was running a special culinary program at a local natural foods store, I found the basics for this recipe in a monthly magazine, as I recall. I tried it on our customers and they loved it so I posted it. The photo was too small for our current blog format, so I made it again recently and realized how versatile this recipe is.
Lomo saltado is a Peruvian dish served with white rice on the side and fried potatoes served on top of the meat and vegetables. While this may sound odd, potatoes are originally from Peru and they are used in every possible way. Soy sauce? Many Japanese moved to Peru several generations ago.
A few years back I ran a special food program at a local community market. I was asked to feature steak one weekend. Although I hadn’t cooked steak in years, my grandmother ran a restaurant in the 1930s and was an expert at cooking steaks and roasts. My father learned to make perfect steaks and roasts from his mother and I learned from him.
This is a flavorful and romantic recipe. It’s also delicious. Serve with pasta, or a wild rice and basmati pilaf. The best part is that you can make this delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less! Shown here with Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Risotto.
Courtesy of David Lebovitz: The Sweet Life in Paris
This tagine is so good that tears will come to your eyes when you eat it! If you want to know more about tagines, visit my blog about them here.
Although vanilla is not traditional in tagines, it does enhance the flavors. I’ve added it as an optional flavor.
This is a deliciously rich recipe but without guilt as coconut milk is filled with healthy fat. Fresh ginger and lemon brightens up the recipe. A perfect summer brunch or outdoor meal though just as good in the winter to help you dream of warmer weather.
With the infusion of oranges and hint of vanilla, this is a flavorful and delightful way to serve roast duck. Serve with pan fried potatoes or dumplings.
Courtesy of Chef Deane Bussiere