Category Archives: vegetarian

Recipe: Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

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Good Evening:

The original inspiration came from the New York Times, but no one in my family can resist experimenting with recipes. For us, cookbooks are less textbooks and more like collections of timidly proffered suggestions to ignore at our pleasure. The original recipe called for honey only as a glaze, but that didn’t seem quite flavorful to me.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze.

Feta with Honey-Apricot-Mustard-Thyme Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. slab of feta cheese, patted as dry as possible with paper towels
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a small oven-safe baking dish with aluminum foil, place the feta on the foil, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese turns springy. Remove from oven.
  3. Preheat the broiler.
  4. Stir the honey, apricot preservers, mustard and thyme together in a microwave-safe dish and microwave it on high for 45 seconds.
  5. Gently spread the mixture on top of the cheese until you have an even layer.
  6. Stick the baking dish with the coated feta under the broiler for one minute, then remove and inspect.
  7. If the glaze has not started to bubble, stick the cheese back under the broiler for one more minute ONLY. That should suffice.
  8. Remove from broiler, let cool for a few minutes, and carefully use a spatula to transfer the cheese to a serving dish. Everything is hot, so watch your fingers!
  9. Serve the cheese with crostini and watch your friends annihilate the appetizer.

You may use a small wheel of Brie as a substitute, however!, you must use a whole wheel, not a cut wedge. The Brie must be covered entirely in that famous white rind or it will melt into nothingness.

Enjoy!

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Three Basil-Mint Pestos, One Vegan, Two Vegetarian.

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Good Evening:

In my previous post, I described how I dealt with an overabundance of mint. But before I had the overabundance of mint, I had an overabundance of mint–plus an overabundance of basil.

Presenting how I got rid of that in a manner most pleasing to the stomach: Pesto.

Pesto does not require basil and only basil, plus pine nuts and only pine nuts. It does not even require Parmesan cheese. Whilst the famous Pesto Genovese includes all three, multiple variations exist. For example, the Provencal “pistou” is a Genovese with no cheese or nuts. You should feel free to invent your own.

Basil-Mint Cheese-less Pesto

I began with these ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of Basil leaves
  2. 1 cup of Mint leaves
  3. 3 cloves of Garlic
  4. 1/4 cup of shelled Pistachios (yes, Pistachios)
  5. 1/4 cup of slivered Almonds (a more traditional substitute)
  6. 3/4 cup of Olive Oil

Put the first five ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. You will need to pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Now leave the process on and slowly add the olive oil until all is incorporated and thoroughly blended.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your first pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint Asiago Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. 3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago (you don’t even need the “right” cheese!)

Add the cheese to the pesto remaining in the bowl and pulse until thoroughly blended and incorporated.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your second pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. Six ounces of jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil, with the oil. Seriously.

Add the tomatoes to the remaining pesto in the bowl and pulse until the sun-dried tomatoes are thoroughly chopped, blended and incorporated.

Remove the remaining pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate.

Now all you have to do consists of combing the online websites for cool new recipes calling for any kind of pesto! Sorry, I can’t help you with that, but it is a fun activity.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri.

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Good Evening:

The thing is, the vendors at farmers markets must sell you much bigger bunches of fresh herbs than you actually need. They don’t have a choice; either that, or their produce spoils on the farm.

So yes, I knew what I got myself into when I purchased an innocent “little” bundle of mint leaves at the Civic Center Farmers Market. Even after using too much for the recipe in question, I still had vast quantities leftover and needed something different from making 50 gallons each of iced tea and lemonade (the traditional solution in New England).

Therefore I committed blasphemy. Chimmichurri is a magnificent Argentinian condiment made with fresh parsley, sometimes with either fresh cilantro or oregano added, plus garlic, olive oil, and white vinegar. I still had over a half cup of mint leaves leftover, and desperate to use all of a very fine quality batch, I developed this recipe instead.

Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri

Ingredients

  1. Two cups of parsley leaves (save the stems for soup stock)
  2. 3/4 cup of mint leaves
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. Finely chopped zest of one small Lemon
  5. 3/4 cup of olive oil (you can splurge with the high-quality stuff)
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. Juice of one small Lemon

Process

Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to chop, frequently pausing to scrape down the sides, until everything is finely chopped and blended. Add one-half of the lemon juice and pulse again a few times. If sufficient, save the other half for another use. If not enough, add the other half and pulse again a few times until everything is blended.

What foods go well with this?

Hundreds of them. It’s astounding how well this worked out. Chicken, pork chops, grilled vegetables, a dip for fresh vegetables, a dip for grilled shrimp, a marinade, a salad dressing, a sauce for egg noodles, a sauce for diced summer squash and halved cherry tomatoes (uncooked)–Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri works on almost every entree. Someone else must have discovered this before I did, because it’s just too dang good not to already exist.

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it reach room temperature before using.

Vonn Scott Bair

Carrot, Mint and Creme Fraiche Dip.

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Good Evening:

Another experiment, but this one turned out surprisingly well for a first attempt. Should work as a spread on crackers or crostini, but today I served with crudités.

Carrot, Mint and Creme Fraiche Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Carrots cut into half-inch dice
  • 1 cup of Vegetable Broth, with more in reserve
  • 16 oz Creme Fraiche
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
  • Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Technique

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add carrots and stir.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let the carrots poach for 20-30 minutes until tender. Check frequently; if broth evaporates, immediately add more.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. If any broth remains, drain and save for another use.
  5. Place carrots, mint, creme fraiche, salt and pepper into a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  6. Scrape into a bowl. Stir in the pistachios if using.

Pretty darn easy. This should serve a crowd, so cut all ingredients in half for family. You have other options. For example, add a tablespoon or two of tahini before pureeing. Or use dill instead of mint and no pistachios. Lemon juice to taste, perhaps. Or use Zatar for seasoning. It’s a pretty adaptable and versatile dip.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Once I figure food photography, I’ll try to include some shots.

Recipe: Triple-R Onions.

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Good Evening:

Like my cheddar and creme fraiche recipe, this dish also works in a variety of contexts: side dish to the main course; topping for burgers, turkey or chicken breasts, steaks or sandwiches; pureed, it becomes a sauce.

Triple-R Onions: Red Onions in Red Wine and Rosemary

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 extremely sharp French Chef’s knife
  • 2 Red Onions, combined weight about one pound
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 0.5 – 1 cup of Red Wine, depending upon need
  • 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped Rosemary, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper

The Process

  1. Peel and halve the onions along their axes.
  2. Slice very thinly with the knife to produce onion strings, ideally one-sixteenth inch thick although one-eighth will suffice for this recipe.
  3. Gently separate the strings from each other
  4. Gently heat the olive oil over low heat in a stainless steel sauce pan (not cast iron). When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions, and stir gently and frequently for 10-15 minutes until they became very limp, have sweated out all of their water, and that water has evaporated. Two important points here. First, you want to get rid of the onions’ water, almost dry them out. Second, do not burn the onions; you have to keep stirring slowly and gently.
  5. Once the water has evaporated, add one-half cup of the red wine to the onions and stir. If the onions absorb the red wine too easily, add the other half.
  6. When the red wine has absorbed into the onions, stir in the rosemary. Cook for a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

I have no idea what kind of dish this is, but it works very well in a variety of contexts.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

Recipe: Cheddar-Creme Fraiche Something-Or-Other.

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Good Evening:

I need your help on this one. But not with the recipe itself, inspired by something similar in the New York Times.

Cheddar-Creme Fraiche Something-Or-Other

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Creme Fraiche
  • 3-4 ounces finely grated Cheddar cheese, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon stoneground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • Pepper to taste (salt is unnecessary)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried or finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice.

Process

  1. Mix the creme fraiche, mustard, horseradish, garlic and pepper in the top of a double boiler and gently heat until it turns piping hot.
  2. A bit at a time, stir in the Cheddar, until all is incorporated and throughly melted.
  3. Remove from heat at once and stir in the herbs.

Can’t get much simpler, can it? So what’s my problem?

Oddly enough, I have no idea what I created.

When it’s hot, the Something-Or-Other pours beautifully over a baked potato or egg noodles. Or you can stir it into a bowl of mashed potatoes and be amazed at the results. When lukewarm or at room temperature, it becomes a great dip for grilled vegetables, chicken wings, beef satays, skewered mushroom (cooked or not), and who knows what else. When cold, the Something-Or-Other becomes a sandwich spread for sandwiches made with leftover turkey and/or cooked mushrooms, hamburgers, or cold chicken breasts. Or you can scoop it with carrots, celery, pita chips or the like.

Sauce? Dip? Condiment? Sandwich spread? I have no idea.

Tastes pretty good, though.

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger.

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Good Evening:

I, too, remember the dark days of Brussel Sprouts. They came frozen in 6 inch x 6 inch x 2 inch white-packaged bricks, boiling them to death was the only known cooking method, and frankly, they tasted faintly of urine. However, in the early 1980s, I worked at the restaurant that might have served as the starting point for their slooooooow comeback to respectability. The Commissary, part of a Philadelphia empire of restaurants owned by Steve Poses, would split them in two vertically, blanche them for 1 minute, immediately shock them in cold water to stop cooking, and then drain them thoroughly. When called for, the second cook would sauce them in butter, top with crumbled bacon and salt and pepper, then serve as a side dish.

The recent trend in Brussel Sprouts seems to consist of oven roasting them whole without blanching. It’s OK, but sometimes the stems are not quite done. This past weekend I had about 12 ounces of sprouts–largely because what the heck, why not?–and thought I night try something slightly different. I knew that freshly grated nutmeg is the secret ingredient to great creamed spinach (weird if you think about it, but it does work); I knew that many Chinese recipes include both cabbage and ginger. So let’s have fun.

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger

  • 12 ounces Brussel Sprouts, washed, drained on paper towels, stem ends trimmed, split in half vertically.
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (and it has to be freshly grated)
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put Brussel Sprout halves in a bowl.
  3. Toss with oil then with salt and pepper. I like to go light on the salt and heavy-ish on the pepper.
  4. Heat saute pan to medium-high. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Working in batches, place Brussel Sprouts cut side down on the skillet.
  6. Leave untouched for 3 minutes. Check for a nice light to medium brown sear on the cut sides. If you have the sear, transfer cut side up to an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. If too light in color, let sear for 1-2 minutes only, then transfer to sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven. Ten minutes if you like crunchy, fifteen if you prefer a softer texture.
  9. Transfer to a heat-proof serving bowl.
  10. Sprinkle the nutmeg and ginger on the sprouts and stir gently until thoroughly coated with the spice blend. I like strong flavors and went with a teaspoon of each. You might want to start with a half teaspoon of nutmeg and ginger if you prefer mild spice flavors.

Serves four as a side dish.

Some notes: Leaves will fall off. That’s fine; you’ll have something to munch on as you work. More importantly, I cannot stress strongly enough the use of freshly grated nutmeg. The complexity of the aroma and flavors make a big difference.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

 

Recipe: Chilled Cucumber & Radish Soup

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Good Evening:

Chilled cucumber soups always seemed a trifle bland to my taste, so I experimented with this recipe, one of the easiest you will ever find. The radishes add a nice little zing to the flavor, making the soup very refreshing. You can make it 2-3 days in advance if you keep the soup well chilled in the icebox. Best of all, no cooking required!

The Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, about 1 pound, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 10-12 large radishes, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 teaspoons fresh dill, divided (can 2 teaspoons dried, if preferred)
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

The Process

  1. Put the cucumber and radishes into a food processor along with 1 tablespoon of the dill. Process on high until thoroughly pureed.
  2. Add the buttermilk and process a few seconds until blended.
  3. Pour into a bowl, add remaining dill, plus salt and pepper and stir until blended.
  4. Chill until very cold.

Should yield 5-6 eight ounce servings of a very pale soup flecked with red and green, very pretty.

Yes. It’s that easy.

Vonn Scott Bair

Beauty Is in the Stomach of the Beholder (Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art)

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Good Evening:

It’s cracked.

It’s misshapen.

It’s lumpy.

It’s ugly.

It’s the first loaf of bread I’ve ever baked.

My First Loaf of Bread!

My First Loaf of Bread! (taken with my iPhone 4)

I think it’s a gorgeous work of art.

I used one of the most popular recipes in the history of the New York Times, Jim Lahey’s legendary no-knead bread of the Sullivan Street Bakery. I can vouch for the success of the recipe, especially if you have the patience to wait 18 hours for the yeastie boys to wake up and get hungry.

Actually, I should write that it was a gorgeous work of art. For proper aesthetic appraisal, approval and appreciation, in one sitting I deposited the entire loaf into the custody of that renowned art historian and critic known as my stomach. Blind to the visual defects but alert to the inner beauty of my sculpture, that august art critic rated my work 4.5 stars out of 5.

I’m pretty sure I can score that last half-star. Just need more practice.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Roasted Dates with Pomegranate Vinegar

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Developed this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s really easy as long as you remember to use a light touch when you add the vinegar and spices.

Roasted Dates with Pomegranate Vinegar

  • 2-3 Medjool Dates for each person, split into halves, seeds removed and discarded
  • Pomegranate flavored vinegar
  • Salt, Pepper and Coriander
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place each date half, cut side up on the paper.
  3. Lightly sprinkle the dates with the vinegar.
  4. Lightly sprinkle the dates with the salt, pepper and coriander.
  5. Roast the dates for 5-6 minutes, tops.
  6. Let cool to warm or room temperature, serve.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Apple Pie Filling with Dried Fruits and Nuts

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Good Evening:

I have much less experience as a baker than as a cook, so it was probably crazy of me to try and improvise a different and less boring version of apple pie on Thanksgiving. However, the result turned out very well for what we writers would call a “very rough first draft,” so I present it now for inspection and possible revisions. Note that I do not include a recipe for pie crust. I have learned the hard way never to suggest that others do not already possess the perfect pie crust recipe. Feel free to use your own.

Apple Pie Filling with Dried Fruits and Nuts

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter, with 1-2 Tablespoons in reserve
  • A spice blend of 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon ground allspice, divided into equal portions
  • 1 pound of Fuji apples, cored, peeled, and cut into chunks about an inch wide and a 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Trader Joe’s Orange-Scented cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut baking pieces
  • Equal parts orange juice and brandy, roughly 1/2 cup each
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated orange peel

Instructions

  1. Mix the raisins and cranberries in a bowl. Cover completely with the OJ-brandy blend and let the concoction sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  2. Mix the apples and one-half of the spice blend in another bowl and let sit at room temperature for the same amount of time as the dried fruit.
  3. When ready, drain the dried fruits, reserving the liquid. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the remaining spices, shake the pan to spread them out in an even layer, and let cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the apple chunks, stirring carefully to ensure that all of them are coated with the butter-spice mixture.
  6. Add the fruits and nuts, again stirring to ensure that everything is coated with spices. Add another 1 Tablespoon butter if it appears needed.
  7. Saute over medium heat for about 7 minutes.
  8. Stir in the brown sugar, orange peel, and 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved OJ-brandy blend. Stir until everything is thoroughly coated and the sugar has dissolved.
  9. You may also add more cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and/or ground allspice to taste at this point.
  10. At this point you may remove the pan from the stove, let cool and continue with your favorite pie crust.

Notes

Any leftover OJ-brandy blend? Great! Serve it in cordial glasses with the pie, or save it for yourself. The flavor of brandy enhanced with orange juice and dried fruits is delightful.

The finished recipe also tastes greats as a crepe filling, on top of pancakes or waffles, or as a topping for vanilla ice cream. Or just by itself, topped with spiced whipped cream.

Of course you should feel free to substitute/add spices, replace the walnuts with almonds, or try other dried fruits such as apricots. I eagerly await suggested improvements.

You may also replace the brandy with bourbon or rum.

Have fun!

Vonn Scott Bair

With Apologies to Pablo Neruda (Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!)

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Good Morning:

“With Apologies to Pablo Neruda, As Translated by Samuel Beckett” by Vonn Scott Bair

Great big

Smile of Sunday

Cheesy

-Omelet!

Omelet with Piave Vecchio DOP, Seasoned with Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Rosemary, Sage

Omelet with Piave Vecchio DOP, Seasoned with Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Rosemary, Sage

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–If memory serves…that would equal a nice change of pace. But if it does, Pablo Neruda once wrote a haiku that Samuel Beckett translated as this:

Great big

Smile of summer

Slice

-of watermelon!

Recipe: Dr. Vonn’s Magic Dust (Spice Blend for Deep-Fried Dishes)

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Good Evening:

Maybe this will prove nothing more than a figment of my imagination, but I honestly believe that I have created a perfect spice blend for deep-fried dishes, and I mean all deep-fried foods; fried chicken, breaded and deep-fried Provolone sticks, french fries, breaded and deep-fried veggies, et cetera. Naturally, I will continue to tweak and experiment with different proportions, but I present the best I’ve devised so far.

Dr. Vonn’s Magic Dust

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered onion
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered or granulated garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I prefer low salt dishes, you can add more)
  • 2 Tablespoons thyme (powdered or “rubbed” if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Spanish pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons smoked cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a clean, sterile, and dry jar with a screw top lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously. Shake some onto french fries so you can get a good feel for the taste and whether or not you want to adjust proportions. Should keep for a few months at least.

The most critically important ingredient, and the most difficult to locate, is the smoked cinnamon. Amazon has exactly one source of the spice, while I get my supply from The Ingredient Finder, but it is super-duper-ultra worth the search. In terms of taste, it blends well with the smoked paprika, but the aroma! WOW. That smell truly excites me. This ingredient has not caught on in American cooking yet (which explains why it remains pretty darn expensive), but I can’t see that continuing much longer.

In future experiments, I will use powdered rosemary, rubbed sage, perhaps some combination of rosemary, sage, thyme and maybe oregano, for I am an ethical mad scientist–I only experiment upon myself.

Vonn Scott Bair

Love Your Veggies!

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Good Evening:

I haven’t added a recipe in a while. This isn’t only a recipe ; it’s also a technique for the proper treatment of vegetables. The pictures come from today’s visit to the Civic Center farmers market; paradoxically, the vegetable pictures were pretty bad, so I only have fruit for this post.

First Cherries of 2013! Picture Taken with iPhone 4, Modified in Aquarella v. 1.0

First Cherries of 2013! Picture Taken with iPhone 4, Modified in Aquarella v. 1.0

How little love vegetables get from both home cooks and restaurant professionals! Almost as an afterthought, they dump some perfectly wonderful vegetables into a pot of boiling water, forget they exist, cook the flavor, color and nutrients out of them, fail to drain them properly, and then dump them on a plate to lay weakly in a pool of rapidly cooling water. Now when my grandmother in Idaho cooked vegetables, she boiled them, too, but she kept an eye on the pot, did not overcook them, and drained them completely. But she “cheated:” until 10 minutes before dinner was served, these same vegetables had grown in my paternal grandparents’ backyard garden.

I normally prefer to saute vegetables, but sometimes I need to cook them in water. But I don’t boil them; boiling only works well with the ones growing in your back yard. I prefer steaming as the best way to use water and still preserve color, shape, taste and nutrients. I will give away my secret, but be forewarned: I will call upon your courage and fortitude.

Steamed Vegetables (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 pound Vegetables, such as zucchini, carrots, peas, shelled fava beans, snow peas
  • 1 Lemon, zested, split in half
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Fresh Mint, finely minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)

I’ll pretend we’re steaming zucchini.

  1. Wash the squash thoroughly and trim the ends. Split lengthwise into quarters. Cut into one-half inch chunks.
  2. Boil water in the pot, adding the juice of one lemon half and the optional white wine if you choose.
  3. Toss together the zucchini, mint and lemon zest.
  4. Place in the steamer basket, place the steamer basket over the pot of boiling liquid, and cover.

Time for bravery. I present my big secret after the picture of the strawberries.

Strawberries at the Farmers Market, 24 April 2013

Strawberries at the Farmers Market, 24 April 2013

Undercook the vegetables.

Yes, please have the courage to undercook your vegetables. The zucchini needs no more than 2 minutes, perhaps only one. Snow peas (which you’ll cut in half or thirds) and peas might need 3 minutes. Fava beans, maybe five if they’re big. Carrots, depending upon how thickly you cut them up, might need six or seven. Rule of thumb: If they’re still a little crunchy, they’re done. Remove your vegetables from the pot, dump them into an attractive bowl (presentation matters; love your veggies!), and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over them. You may add a little butter or high quality olive oil (or substitute other herbs, as long as they’re fresh) if you wish.

Vonn Scott Bair

Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Sauteed in Butter and White Wine

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Good Afternoon:

I receieved the inspiration for this recipe from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. I wanted a corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, but boiled cabbage just didn’t interest me. This substitution worked pretty well, if I do say so.

  • 1-2 Shallots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 bulb of Fennel
  • 5-6 Celery stalks
  • 1/2 to 1 cup White Wine
  • Optional: Fresh Fennel fronds, Thyme, Dill, Chervil and/or Parsley to taste, chopped
  1. Finely mince the Shallots. Trim the roots and green leaves from the Leeks (saving the leaves for stock), split each leek down the middle like a log, slice very thinly, and then wash thoroughly. Slice the Fennel bulb very thinly into roughly one-inch lengths, using whatever technique you prefer (fennel can prove a puzzling veggie to chop). Slice the stalks of Celery very thinly across the grain. Wash the leeks, fennel and celery thoroughly, then leave to drain.
  2. Melt the butter (vegans can substitute margarine) over medium-low heat, then add the shallots and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the white wine, stir, turn up the heat until the liquid bubbles, then let it reduce for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables, stir, turn the heat back down to medium-low, and saute gently for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the optional herbs. If the vegetables have absorbed all of the liquid, you may serve them as is. If they have not, serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Notes:

  • Slicing thinly is the critical detail; try for 16 slices per inch, but at minimum 8.
  • This probably works best as a side dish for lamb, roast beef, corned beef or ham.
  • Powdered fennel seed is a nice option.
  • Next time, I intend to add 1 1/2 cups of peeled and diced apples. Should complement the fennel very well.

Vonn Scott Bair