"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Recipes - Zucchini and Basil Puree; Snap Peas in Butter;Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender Salt and Olive Oil; and “All–Day” Neapolitan Meat and Tomato Sauce


I have made all these within the last few days, and they are all tasty and easy to make:

Zucchini and Basil Puree

* 4-5 medium zucchini, cut into 2” pieces

* 1 medium onion, quartered

* 2-3 lg. bunches fresh basil, coarsely chopped

* 1 vegan bouillon cube

* 1/2 – 3/4 cup whole milk

* 1/4 cup half-and-half

* 1 tsp. Bay Spice

* 2 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

* 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan

* 10 grindings fresh black pepper

- Put 1 cup water in a pan with the bouillon cube and boil, dissolving the cube

- Put the squash, onion, and basil in the pan, and cook until the squash are tender, but not soft and mushy

- Remove the squash mixture when done, and reserve the liquid

- Put the squash in a blender with approx. 1/2 cup of the liquid, the milk and cream, parmesan, garlic, and pepper

- Blend until a smooth puree, and serve

Snap Peas in Butter

Snap peas are Spring and early Summer vegetables, but they are often available in farmers’ markets through early July.  They are sweet, require only a few minutes cooking, and are delicious.

* 1 lb. snap peas (approx.) with string removed (twist the end of the pea pod that was attached to the plant and pull quickly down.  This will pull off the stringy piece of the vegetable).  Wash well, dry, and reserve

* 1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (European-style butter preferred)

* salt to taste

- Heat the butter in a skillet until just beginning to brown

- Toss in the snap peas, sautee over very high heat until a few of them begin to brown.  They will be done when they are still a bit crispy when you bite into them.  DO NOT OVERCOOK

- Before serving, add salt; then serve.

Yukon Gold Potatoes in Olive Oil and Lavender Salt

Nothing could be simpler – boiled potatoes with olive oil and salt.  Ah, but a few little things.  Yukon Golds have the best taste….they actually have a taste which a lot of potatoes don’t.  Good extra virgin olive oil is good on its own, but goes particularly well with potatoes and salt.  Lavender salt gives a fresh, organic taste with a light flavoring of lavender.  Regular salt will do, but the best are these organic flavored salt.  I was recently at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and there were perhaps 50 varieties of flavored salt.

* 5-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into quarters

* 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

* 2 tsp. lavender salt (approx.)

- Boil the potatoes, soak a number of times in very cold water to stop cooking

- Cut each piece in half (you can better control the cooking if you cook with larger pieces, then cut for serving), and place in serving dish.  Set aside for an hour or more to cool.

- Add the olive oil and salt, and serve.

“All-Day Neapolitan Tomato Sauce with Fresh Basil and Pork

I may have posted another version of this, but I will put this up again in case you missed it.  It is very simple to make, but do it when you are home so that you can stir every hour or so.

* 1 can Marzano tomatoes

* 1/2 can tomato paste

* 1 cup red wine

* 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

* 5-6 lg. cloves garlic, minced

* 2 lg. bunches fresh basil, coarsely chopped

* 2 pork chops

* 2 tsp. sugar

* 1/2 lb. rigatoni (this recipe is for 2 people)

* 3-4 shakes hot red pepper flakes (optional)

- Sautee garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes

- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, and pork chops

- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer

- Cook for about 3-4 hours, stirring once an hour minimum.  When the pork begins to get soft, break it away from the bone (if using bone-in chops), and break it apart into chunks.  Cooking is done when the pork is soft and tender and the sauce thick.

* Cook the rigatoni al dente, drain, put the meat sauce over pasta on each plate, garnish and serve.

- Add salt to taste, serve with grindings of black pepper, garnish with a few springs of parsley on each plate.

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