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Braised Endives November 9, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Recipe, Side Dish, Veggies.
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2 lbs. Belgian endives
1 c. water
3 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. toasted cumin seed (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

Quarter the endives lengthwise.  Combine the other ingredients in a bistro pan and bring to a boil.  Add endives, cover, and cook at medium heat for 10 minutes.  Remove cover, increase heat and boil off liquid until endives are almost dry.  Serve immediately, or remove endives from heat and hold, covered, for up to 15 minutes.

Variant: substitute one 1 teaspoon bacon drippings for one of the tablespoons of butter.

Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino and Hazelnuts March 31, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Mushrooms, Recipe, Salad, Side Dish.
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2 lbs. wild mushrooms, cleaned
6 ozs. mixed salad of dandelion greens and watercress
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
9 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil sprigs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chives, chopped to 1/2-inch pieces
Shaved Pecorino di Grotta (or Romano)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet on medium for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Remove brown skins and crush hazelnuts coarsely.  Set aside.

Place diced shallots, sherry vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl, and set aside for 5 mins.  Whisk in 5 tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

Clean and trim mushrooms.  Tear larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Heat a large skillet over high heat for 2 mins.  Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat for another minute.  Melt in 1 tbsp. butter and add half of the mushrooms to the skillet.  Season mushrooms with 1 tsp. thyme, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a few twists of ground pepper.  Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  (Cooking time will vary with the types of mushrooms.)  Transfer cooked mushrooms to a bowl, and repeat cooking process with the remaining half of the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, place the greens and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

When the second batch of mushrooms is finished, add the first batch back into the skillet.  Add the vinaigrette to the skillet and warm with mushrooms for a minute or two.  When mixture is hot, pour mushrooms and dressing over the greens and herbs and mix.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt and ground pepper to taste.

Using tongs, arrange salad mixture on plates.  Sprinkle hazelnuts and pecorino over each salad plate.  Serve immediately.

Time to prepare: 30 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: 3/10

Serves: 4

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This is not a difficult dish to prepare.  Most of the time is spent grooming the herbs, washing the greens, and cleaning the mushrooms.  Once cooking begins the salad in finished in under 15 minutes.

To help time this dish with others, the mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance.  Re-heat mushrooms just before serving, stirring in the vinaigrette until hot, as described above.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Lemon-Oregano Oil April 15, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Recipe, Roasting, Side Dish, Veggies.
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1 lb. plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 fresh basil leaves
12 whole fresh oregano leaves, plus 3 tbsp. finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Toss tomatoes with sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Arrange, cut sides down, in a small shallow baking pan. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Cook garlic 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in basil and whole oregano leaves. Remove oil from heat and pour over tomatoes. Roast tomatoes until very tender but not falling apart, about 2-1/2 hours.

Transfer tomatoes with a spatula to a large plate, then pour oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl or measuring cup, discarding solids. Stir in chopped oregano, zest, juice, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper.

Arrange tomatoes on plates and drizzle with seasoned oil.

Time to Prepare: 15 minutes + 2-1/2 hours roasting

Difficulty: 1/10

Serves: 3 or 4

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This is a great dish for weekdays if your oven can be programmed for timed cooking. The ingredients can be prepped in about 15 minutes. Just set the timer for about 2 hours before you get home. If you get home on time, you’ll get to check them before taking them out. And if you don’t, they’ll be waiting for you anyway. If you won’t be home to take them out promptly, cook them for about 15-25 minutes less — they will continue to cook even after the oven is turned off, because ovens don’t cool immediately.

Braised Cabbage April 1, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Recipe, Side Dish, Veggies.
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2 lb. head of green cabbage
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, cut into rounds
1/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt
pepper
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325° F. Cut cabbage into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges in dutch oven or other braising pot such that they overlap as little as possible. Scatter carrot and onion over cabbage. Drizzle olive oil and stock over cabbage. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cover pot with parchment paper and put the lid on.

Cook the cabbage for 2 hours. After one hour, turn the wedges of cabbage over and drizzle it with the balsamic vinegar.

Cabbage can be served immediately. Or it can be held, covered and refrigerated, for up to two days. To reheat, bake for 10 minutes at 400° F with the lid off.

Time to Prepare: 5 minutes preparation + 2 hours baking

Difficulty: 1/10

Serves: 4 to 6

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This dish is so simple and delicious it’s already becoming something of a favorite and a staple after only two cookings. (Two in the same week!) I am not the hugest fan of cabbage — it’s kind of a ho-hum vegetable in my mind — but this preparation completely transforms the insipid cabbage into a rich, sweet, deeply-flavored side dish.

The dish virtually cooks itself. If need be, the turning of the cabbage can be omitted and the vinegar added at the start, making this an ideal candidate for cooking with the oven-timer while at work. (When cooking with a timer, I usually reduce the cooking time of long, slow dishes by fifteen minutes — because ovens can take so long to cool down, it will actually finish off the dish nicely even after the oven is off.)

The 1/8 tsp. of red pepper adds a surprising nip to the cabbage which wakes it up. This amount of pepper is too much for Connor, but I haven’t heard any complaints from adults.

Braised Green Beans with Tomato and Basil March 26, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Recipe, Side Dish, Veggies.
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1-1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 cippolini onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, basil, and water. Cover skillet and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until beans reach desired degree of tenderness. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time to Prepare: 10 minutes prep + 20 minutes (avg.) stovetop.

Level of Difficulty: 2/10

Serves: 4

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I’ve been getting bored of green beans lately. I avoid casserole-type dishes because of their general heaviness. And tossing beans in butter / olive oil and adding salt has gotten old. So I was really happy to discover this recipe. It is light in oil and has tons of flavor. The sweetness of the onions and tomatoes really complements the basil.

I loaded up on the salt and that worked out ok — tomatoes can handle it. Next time I would take them off a bit sooner than 20 minutes, to make them a little crisper. This is an easy dish I could see myself making once a week.