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Sep 092016
 
Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean salad

Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean saladIMG_2552

The first time I made this sweet potato salad was for a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook-out for a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others, all of whom short of 1 or 2 of the wives are mad ass foodies. The dish is so colorful, with varied textures, wonderfully bright & earthy flavors as well, it’s sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy, easy to prepare & it travels well so it’s my go to dish when the invite to go to pot luck party comes my way and I’m going the Storytellers Pot Luck Picnic this Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is also a staple dish when I’m on charter.

The recipe I first stumbled upon dresses the warm sweet potato salad with a bit of thinned out whole milk Greek yogurt. Typically I served the salad both ways, one bowl with just the vinaigrette, the other dressed with the plain yogurt.

Ingredients:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ pound haricot vert cut to 1″ pieces, then quickly blanched
Salt – for the boiling water
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffonade basil leaves
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt

WHAT TO DO

While you bringing water to a boil to blanch the haricot vert prepare the shallot vinaigrette in to which the blanched haricot vert will marinate.  In a bowl, mix the finely minced shallots, vinegar, spicy mustard into which you’ll slowly drizzle in the olive oil & whisk until the dressing is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves.

Blanch the haricot vert – very quickly which helps to enhance their color as well as bringing a bit of subtlety to their bite.  Add the haricot vert to the dressing and let it marinate in a bowl w/a tea towel on top.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes. This technique for cooking potatoes that keep there shape is fail proof.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.

IMG_2550

warm potatoes with haricot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Sep 032015
 

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I first made this dish for a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook-out for a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others, all of whom short of 1 or 2 of the wives are mad ass foodies. The dish is so colorful, with varied textures, wonderfully bright & earthy flavors as well, it’s sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy, easy to prepare & it travels well so now it’s a main stay in my arsenal of Galley Dlights.

The recipe I first stumbled upon dresses the warm sweet potato salad with a bit of thinned out whole milk Greek yogurt. Typically I served the salad both ways, one bowl with just the vinaigrette, the other dressed with the plain yogurt. On board, I served this with a Thai chicken curry & pineapple rice I steamed off which included a half cup of coconut milk. To me, this dish bangs a gong, it’s such a highlight to a meal and looks beautiful on a table.

Ingredients:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ pound haricot vert cut to 1″ pieces, then quickly blanched
Salt – for the boiling water
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffonade basil leaves
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt

WHAT TO DO

Start by bringing water to a boil.

Then whip up the vinaigrette to marinate the quickly blanched haricot vert in.  In a bowl, mix the shallots, vinegar, spicy mustard then begin to drizzle in the olive oil & whisk until the dressing is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves.

Blanch the haricot vert – very quickly which helps to enhance their color as well as bringing a bit of subtlety to their bite.  add the haricot vert which are cut into 1 inch pieces to the dressing and let it marinade in plastic storage bag if your cooking for a charter of if you’re in the luxury of a kitchen, let the haricot vert marinate in a bowl w/a tea towel on top.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.

IMG_2550

warm potatoes with haricot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Oct 182013
 

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I was invited to a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook out with a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others – many of whom I’d not seen in decades.

During the week leading up to evening the flurry of emails began with who was bringing what. There was a Korean steak bar-b-que with various relishes in lettuce cups, a Cajun style chicken wing dish, a gorgeous cheese  & charcuterie spread from Todd English’s Food Hall in The Plaza, blistered shiso peppers, toasted breads, crackers,  a baked fish, jalapeno mojito’s, & a lavender & citrus cocktail w/crushed ice – I liked very much.

When I wrote to say I was going to bring my sweet potato & hericot vert salad I got two emails back, almost immediately, expressing what a perfect dish this would be to have at our fete.  The dish is so colorful, with varied textures and wonderful fresh & earthy flavors, sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy. I brought enough to fill one bowl with just the vinaigrette version and the other I folded the yogurt into. To me, the dish was the belle of the ball.

Ingredients:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks
Salt, as needed to taste
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffinade basil leaves
½ pound hericot vert
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt

I started by making the vinaigrette to marinate the hericot vert in.   In a bowl, mix the shallots, vinegar, olive oil and spicy mustard together. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves, add the hericot vert which are cut into 1 inch pieces. Let stand with a kitchen or a tea towel on top to marinate.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add  enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.

IMG_2550

warm potatoes with hericot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Apr 122017
 

Keep it seasonal, keep it green, keep it light

My arsenal of Passover eats are:

 cauliflower crust ‘pizza’, nut loaf and my sweet potato & string bean salad  They’re perfect dishes I hope will sustain you through the Passover week.

May these days of joy, rejuvenation, connecting with friends & family carry us through the year

Chag sameach, חַג שָׂמֵחַ, Happy holidays

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Sep 292016
 

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I was invited to the Harvest Festival at The Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island one of the most glorious weekends this year.

About a dozen or so EZ-UP, pop-up tents manned by local vendors and food artisans offered up various delicacies from smoked turkey or brisket sandwiches, brick oven grilled pizza, all organic – kale, sweet potato & chic pea style soups and coleslaw to local wines, squashes, and Sylvester Manor eggs, husk tomatoes, breads, flower wreaths and cutting boards. The tents lined one edge of the farm’s ‘center field’ where a small stage was platform to a number of folk acts that played the last few hours of the weekend’s festivities.

My friend’s blanket was laid out just to the right of the EZ-UP tent where the ‘sound board’ was in the center of the ‘center field’.  As we were finishing lemonades and kettle chips and getting into our sweatshirts as the warm sun set for the day when another friend showed up w/a brown paper bag half full of husk tomatoes, grown on The Sylvester Manor farm. No sooner had he sat down when I had one of these yellow marble sized morsels pinched from it’s husk in my mouth. OOoos, ahas and yums drifted and filled our space as hands of adults and kids dove into that bag with little restraint.

Husk Tomatoes or Ground Cherries look like a mini heirloom tomatoes but taste like a cherry and tomato mixed into one bite. Pretty Dlectable if you ask me. Immediately I thought to myself, “this would make one killer tomato jam.” One of my all time favorite delicacies.

Concerned that the two pint baskets I got would yield very little I thought adding my next favorite delicacy, Peppadews, would bulk up the yield while also adding so much to the flavor and body of the jam on a whole.

After photographing these most gorgeous and interesting husk tomatoes or ground cherries for way to long I got that sauce pot on the stove.

What I used:

2-3 T of olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a pot with a thin coating of oil.

1 T mustard seeds

1 t of red pepper flakes

3 good sized garlic dents – minced & sliced

2 baskets of Husk Tomatoes – husked & washed – some cut in half

6 – 8 Peppadews – sliced and good splash of their liquid

1/2″ fresh ginger root – finely grated

2T tomato paste,

1-2 T sugar and or maple syrup.

What to do:

Add the red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger to the olive oil heating over a medium to low heat to infuse the oil with these savory flavors. Then I added the washed husk tomatoes and the sliced Peppadews and their liquid. Stir well, lower the heat.

If the mixture might be to spicy which it was the first time I made it, it can be toned down by added the juice of a wedge of lime, a bit more sugar or the maple syrup.  I also added some freshly ground nutmeg*

*Nutmeg is hardly a staple ingredient but I keep it around because a sangha member who’s authored a book on natural healing mentioned my using nutmeg when he noticed I was trying to suppress my cough during a Dharma teaching.

This Husk Tomato/Ground Cherry Jam is about the best conDiment to serve this time of year if you ask me. It’s a real trick or treat, sweet yet with a nice spicy bite at the same time & boy does the color work. It’s great as a topping on baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, on buttered toast of any kind, and any protein.  Make it, it’s great. A little goes a long way.

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Aug 012016
 

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I noticed a friend’s post on Facebook this morning with a photo of a simply beautiful plate of vegetable couscous with this comment, “Grandma’s couscous was my purpose for coming to Israel.” and the hashtag, youcompleteme.

You’d think I’d never made a vegetarian couscous the way I started reading recipes then I quit that as fast as I started it and simply looking at the picture my friend posted I knew just what I was going to do to make myself a Dlicious vegetarian couscous, the perfect dish to make & eat on this muggy, rainy, hot & steamy yet cool at other times Sunday at the end of July and this is what I did:

I purchased organic carrots & a zucchini from the Tibetan farmers that set up along and around Avenue A & 7th St around Tompkins Square Park. I had an onion (or two at home). I could not find sweet potatoes here then I forgot to look for them when I went to Union Market because I had in fact run out of couscous which is an absolute basic staple for me.  Because I was so hungry & this would be such a perfect meal I splurged & bought a can of GOYA’s all organic garbanzo/chic-peas. Typically I would only use chic-peas I cooked off myself. I rarely splurge on canned beans but when I do, they must be all organic. I’m thrilled to see GOYA getting into the organic game. OH, and there’s a penny I found IMG_0932

Inspired by the picture alone I started by making a full bodied vegetable broth/Court-Bouillon. I started by steeping a vegetable bullion cube in about 4-6 cups of boiling water in my bestowed by my Stepfather’s copper pot. Then I drained the beans into colander over the pot of the steeping vegetable broth to which I added 2 large bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, a smashed garlic clove & a 1/2 teaspoon of Kampot Peppercorns, (a fellow Aries’s friend gave me as a birthday present from a recent trip to Cambodia & Thailand) & bits of star anise to my frequently used bespoke D.infuser.IMG_0935

Then I began chopping the ingredients: Carrot. IMG_0937 IMG_0939I used 6 small all organic carrots in a medium roll cut. Then 1/2 a Jana Gold appleIMG_0942 because I didn’t see sweet potatoes & forgot to look for them at Union Market – medium dice/chop. then 1 medium sized onion. IMG_0943Again – medium chop.  Oh & 1/2 a large zucchini cut in half again then across into a half moon shape.IMG_0944

I added the ingredients to the simmering broth in the order I cut them, as described above & let that cook a good 20 – 25 minutes. I added the garbanzo beans the last 5 minutes .

Then I put 1 & 1/4 cups of the simmering broth into another heavy bottomed pot, to which I poured in 1 cup of all organic whole wheat the couscous, stirred that quickly, took it off the heat – meaning I slid the pot with a top on it over to a cool back burner. After 5 minutes I fluffed the perfectly cooked couscous with a fork.

With a large spoon I scooped a good amount of couscous into my favorite soup bowl with the then ladled a serving of the veg & some of the broth on top. I set up a noshing bowl with a dollop of hummus, plain whole milk yogurt, olives and a few pepperdews.

Lunch was killer & could not have been more perfect for today, a day of writing, voice over & work on small paintings. I’m going to call a neighbor I think will love it too.

 

 

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Sep 222015
 

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It all happened very quickly from when I got a call to fill in for a Chef on-board an 83′ Camper Nicholson SY/sailing yacht, (tho I call myself a cook) for a Dlivery which turned into a charter from Annapolis, MD to Newport, RI with visits to a few of the usual New England archipelagos that I had an Amtrak ticket reservation for a 7AM train the following day to BWI rail station & instructions to take a car service to the town dock in Annapolis where I’d meet the Captain to start provisioning and cooking for a trip that information about was vague and short in coming.

Word eventually came in that our Dparture date would be 4 days later than originally thought and that owner wanted a steak dinner the first night we’d be out tho he still hadn’t confirmed how many guests he invited along.

My slim built, Father Christmas looking Captain is an accomplished navy pilot who also trained combat airmen, a music industry veteran, record company guy, Jazz club owner and then settled into being a world class yachtsman and gentleman. The 1st mate, Sammy, is a wonderful character to behold. With my bags still in the cockpit, the Captain showed me below through 2 salons and into the galley. He said I should root around & see what I thought we might need as he knocked on the door of the focsle starboard berth and out bounced Sammy. A white Antiguian Adonis with tousled perfectly streaked shoulder length blond hair, wearing only black Speedo shore line briefs.  I don’t believe we shook hands but he sort of popped to it, into action, jumping up into the cockpit then moments later made his way back to the galley with much less speed, falling into position in HIS banquet at the galley table where he spends 80% of his time when he’s on duty. Otherwise like Capt. Phil says, “He’s the most sleepingest guy I’ve ever met.” He eats like no one I’ve ever met. Everything he eats is with copious amounts of ketchup & he uses salt in the same manner as his ketchup intake. I learned early on he does not like potatoes or beans tho he will eat them. He turned 20 just days before I met him. Remember the 80% of the time he’s on duty, he’s reclining in his gallery table banquet gaming while simultaneously listening to a fantasy book series with a British narrator. He claims to not read, that’s why he listens to books.  It didn’t take long before I nicknamed him Bambam. His gaming computer which runs constantly and cannot be closed takes up more than half of the galley table. His knapsack, towels, sweaters & the sorts take up a lot of space on both the banquets.

Heres some things I made before our departure: the first breakfast I made for Capt & Bambam was, Sausage & eggs after a lesson from my Captain on how to prepare thick Italian spicy sausages by pricking them with a fork, boiling them in water then slicing them up, cooking them in a pan then mixing them into scrambled eggs. Mind you I needed this lesson, having never cooked a sausage in my life. Another morning I made pancakes with bacon. Bambam requested half a pac of bacon. One morning I did 3 over easy eggs & bacon for him on a toasted baguette. Prior to my first provisioning trip the bread cupboard had never seen a baguette. Bambam Dvoured a whole baguette between his breakfast & lunch.  One night before the owner arrived I served hamburgers with my freshly mad mac n’ cheese with fire roasted tomatoes, my purple & gold coleslaw & my cucumber & red onion salad for dinner. They loved everything. The next night I practiced cooking steak & baking a potato in a microwave. This meal went over well too.

It was finally Dparture day. One more trip to the market for 4 more pounds of chicken I’d add to the Thai Chicken curry I’d already made & froze, beer, wine & mixers, more eggs and 3 more steaks, chips & dips & Crystal Light in case they asked for Margaritas & Ruby Grapefruit juice.

With all the new groceries stowed away I began to make a Spanish tortilla for the Owner & his guests arrival.

Minutes before their arrival, the Owner gave the Capt. a 5 min warning I was asked if I’d like to keep the Log Book. Happily I said, “Yes of course.” Capt. instructed me to write each of the guests as they arrived then he gave me the name of 2 of guests that he knew were coming & the owner of course.  I was instructed how to read an instrument on the nav desk & then how to fill the log book in, first the time I’m taking the reading, I was told to do it every 4 hours from our departure, then the longitude & latitude, course bearing, boat speed & any notes. Having the Spanish tortilla with a pimenton mayo & a Mediterranean olive mix for their arrival in the lower salon was way smart – if I do say so myself.

Learning the hard way, Desserts are a must any passage, charter or Dlivery. In the midst of receiving the steak dinner plates back in the galley one of the guests asked about dessert. Lying through my teeth I said, I’ll get right on that. He said he’d expect that then when he came on watch at midnight. I beckoned for Captain.  In the time it took Capt. to meet me in the galley I remembered the quart of vanilla ice cream and 4 lemon ices I had taken out of the deep freezer underneath one of the galley banquets earlier in the day and thought I could serve that with anise pitzelles. Sammy thought I’d gone mad. Those pitzelles he said were the worst thing he’d ever tasted. Processing all this I ran into the lower salon and pulled the back cushion off of one of the couches where I thought I remembered seeing an over-sized box of brownies stored. I was close – it wasn’t prepared two bites brownies it was three bags of Ghiradelli Triple brownie mix.  I whisked eggs, oil & water directly into the dry chocolate mix without even reading the directions, poured that in a quickly buttered, deep dish aluminum catering pan I found in the pots cupboard. Sammy knew I was in the weeds so he got the oven working for me which he warned me had warm & cold spots so things needed to be turned around inside the oven. I served the crunchy on top, moist on the bottom Ghardelli brownies crumpled into a cup with perfectly textured/melted vanilla ice cream. The yield was 8 servings.

With all this said, here’s an idea of what I prepared for my first ever off shore sailing charter.

A mint infused simple syrup for mojitos & 2 pounds of candied carrots

I prepared a full head of purple & gold coleslaw, sweet pickled cucumbers, red onion & dill, 2 pounds of mac n’ cheese with fire roasted tomatoes, & a traditional Bolognese one afternoon.

Sausage, scrambled eggs & toast – baguette, English muffins, & various loaf breads

Pancakes & bacon for breakfast, hamburgers, with the salad’s, mac n’cheese from above, Lettuce, tomato & sliced red onion, ketchup, & various mustard – for a Sammy &  Capt. lunch when we were in port awaiting wind & our departure.

Thai chicken curry.

A traditional Spanish tortilla for the owner & guests arrival.

Off shore I served: The 1st night’s steak dinner of pan seared 3/4# rib eyes, candied carrots, blanched asparagus bundles wrapped in a charred scallion & Marsala mushrooms over the steaks could not have earned me nicer compliments. Even tho my timing was off with the (microwaved) baked potatoes I served them with horseradish, sour cream & butter, plates came back empty & with rave reviews and accolades. The (as if by magic) brownies & ice cream dessert, coffee and one tea with cream & brandies which the owner served up.

The following morning was breakfast egg sandwiches with a lot of bacon & toast.

For lunch I prepared a platter full of flat meats & cheese sandwiches on standard loaf bread with a variety of mustard and or mayo and the cucumber salad & coleslaw.

The guys were fixing themselves dark & stormies for which I was constantly cutting limes for.

Before breakfast on Saturday morning I was rooting around straightening up when I came across a packet of mini pecan rounds the Captain had picked up at some point. Later that morning I whispered to Capt. that I had dessert covered for tonight. He looked at me completely baffled.

Saturday morning I blanched off & marinated the green beans for the sweet potato bomb saladAfter lunch I prepped & cooked off the sweet potatoes. I dressed it warm with a sherry vinegar & chopped basil & fresh ground black paper when I served it in a large bowl.

5PM cocktail hour I served shrimp cocktail, hummus with colorful sweet peppers, pita chips, & olives.

For Saturday night dinner I served a Thai chicken curry which I added another 3 pounds of chicken, onions, red peppers & coconut curry broth to. Fortunately because there were no left overs. I served this with pineapple & coconut milk steamed jasmine rice & the sweet potato & green bean salad. For Dssert I oven toasted the mini pecan swirls, whipped cream stuck 2 pecan’s into the whip cream & drizzled it all with maple syrup.  They flipped out for this meal.

Sunday morning we anchored in Block Island’s New Harbor at 09:40 and The Gang was in the local launch by 10AM so I was off the hook for breakfast for 6. I whipped up scrambled eggs, mini sausages & toasted baguette for Sammy & a scrambled egg w/peanut butter for Captain. Get a load of that.

The Gang returned to the boat just after noon after a romp around New Harbor which means nothing more than drinks and lots of them at The Oar.  The gang was completely soused, the owner declared he wanted those fabulous lunch sandwiches again & a rum punch with fruit floating in it.  I asked which he’d like first. His answer, “I want them parallel. Everything at the same time”.  I was close with the sandwiches & punch going up together but the punch was the first thing I attended to.  The gang went through at least 4 pitchers of my now famous rum punch.

In a matter of just a few hours we were in Newport Harbor, did a harbor cruise motor sailing and docked before 5PM.

I sent up guacamole, chips, & salsa as word came down that now they wanted Margaritas. Two guys wanted, “With salt”.

During cocktail hour the brother of the owner let it be known that they would like to take Captain, Sammy & I to dinner & a night out on the town. Dinner would be wherever the Captain chooses. That’d be the Clarke Cooke House.

Monday morning the owner was feeling – not so great. He’s slept late so I had the coffee Thermos in the cockpit before he could ask for it & 1 cup of Lipton tea with a splash of cream. I asked if I could whip up a surprise for breakfast I’m sure they’d like. The consensus, Yes. I whipped up an eight egg, lightly scrambled, onion & provolone cheese free form omelet. The gang started falling apart with various departure times from various different depots.

At 3PM the coast was clear. I was instructed to strip the beds as soon as everyone was gone.  I asked if the guys wanted the Italian dinner I’d prepared for offshore service but never got to use or if they wanted to go out. They wanted dinner on board. We all went our separate ways as the end of the day came but planned to have dinner together around 8PM.  I was invited for a sunset harbor tour in the tender to a racing yacht my friend is a mate on. When I got back to the boat at exactly 8PM the Captain & Sammy were lounging in the upper salon waiting patiently for dinner. I quickly hopped to it and within a half hour or so I served a piping hot Bolognese,(I’d taken out of the freezer first thing that morning) a bowl of angel hair pasta with warm olive oil & a sprinkle of garlic salt – because we have it on board. I also served a Caesar salad, chopped up Romaine lettuce with a thinned out, punched up store bought Caesar dressing, & sautéed garlic & zucchini. We had lemon Italian ices for dessert. Captain & I finished off 2 bottles of 14 Hands CabSauv.

S/Y Mustang in port. Newport RI.

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Jul 052014
 

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Taking a friend’s critique to heart after she watched my Sardinian Lunch ‘episode’ that I’d lost sight of what Recipe$ 4 Survival stands for. What is the ‘survival’ aspect of Recipe$ 4 Survival? I knew she was right. SO, with this in mind & heart I’ve gone full force, back to basics, to prepare a health supportive, nutrient rich meal.

I set out to make a kale salad w/toasted walnuts, mint & a peanut dressing served with a baked sweet potato topped w/baked beans.

Each of these ingredients are hugely rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins & minerals while the molasses which is featured in both the peanut dressing & the baked beans is high in iron, calcium & magnesium all needed to maintain good bone health & digestion as well as aiding to lower blood pressure with a very low glycemic count.

Carrots & onions which are called for in the baked beans are also nutrient rich foods.

By the time I tried to shoot this piece for the THIRD time, I steamed the sweet potato rather than baking it which I did the first time I video taped this episode because I was also baking the beans.

For the finished piece on youtube I topped the steamed sweet potato slices DSCF5052with about a 1/4 C of warmed all organic baked beans from Trader Joe’s, enhanced w/molasses, mustard, balsamic ketchup & Worcestershire sauce – each of the ingredients already in the baked beans.

I found the kale to be bloody expensive & I could not find the dark, flat leaf lacinato kale readily available in my neighborhood so I used chicory, which is a very nutrient rich food – in the endive family. I read that Egyptians consumed a great deal of chicory because it was believed to aid in detoxifying the liver. The head of chicory I bought was just beautiful, organic & it cost less than $3.

This salad is made by first going through the head of chicory with a rough chop, then washing it in cold water, then chopping it again more finely. Again, I roughly chopped the walnuts, toasted them off and a good amount of chiffonade mint. DSCF5050Chiffonade is when you roll up a few leaves of an herb, then cut across giving you fine ribbons of the leaves. If working with or eating chicory is scaring you off, go with the kale – the king of the nutrient rich foods but the salad can also be made with arugula or spinach.

All this and more can be seen in the piece I finally posted to youtube in honor of InDpendence Day.

Eat well & LIVE it UP!

Peanut Dressing recipe:

3 T Peanut butter or Tahini

1 T Molasses

1 T soy or Tamari sauce

4 or 5 peeled slivers of ginger – minced

1 t dried red chili flakes – I used more – you’ll see this in the video

3 T warm water or a splash of orange juice.

1 t of oil, sesame is great if you have it otherwise olive oil is just fine

The recipe that inspired me to make this salad & dressing calls to put all the ingredients in a blender but since I (almost) have an aversion to working with electronic equipment, I simply whisked the dressing & it came out just fine.

 

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Mar 302014
 

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I’ve written about & photographed how to make gnocchi since I began working on Recipes 4 Survival, so I’m talking nearly 10 years and not until I was searching through pics for an instagram contest did I realize I’ve never posted anything about how to make gnocchi.

So here we are, just days into Spring 2014. Everyone’s excited because the calendar is telling us it’s Spring but I’m paying that no mind & looking at the situation realistically, it’s still freezing or downright miserable weather so making gnocchi seems to be a perfect recipe 4 survival to share right about now.

With no qualms about firing up the oven, and the minimal cost for ingredients which no one should have to leave home to get. The only real expense to making gnocchis in the time because many would consider making them, labor intensive. I think it can be a satisfying thing to do on a cold grey Saturday or Sunday.

After reading countless recipes, what I recommend doing to make gnocchi that are not ‘sinkers’, meaning that they can resemble eating bullets, is to bake the potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, remove the pulp from the skins, break it up, let it dry out,  then put the dried potato pulp through a ricer adding as little flour as necessary to hold what will become your pasta dough together.  Kneading the riced potato & flour helps to firm the dough,  For beginners I highly recommend adding 1 gently beaten egg. That’s it for making the dough, then form a few balls, then coils, then cut 1 inch pieces

The trick is to have as little water or moisture in the mix/the potato & flour dough. I added a lightly scrambled egg to the sweet potato. Tom Colicchio, who’s recipe for gnocchi’s is one of the most highly touted, he does not use egg in his recipe but Giada does and hers are quite highly regarded too.  A friend of mine who’s a chef mentioned the secret of adding corn starch when making gnocchi’s from sweet potatoes because they don’t have the starch white potatoes do.

By baking the potatoes which I do by washing them, rubbing them w/olive oil & piercing them w/a fork in a couple of places over the potato & tossing them straight into the oven. Another method is to bake them on a bed of salt. As long as you get a dry potato base to work with you’ll be fine. That’s why I don’t just boil them.  If you’re in a rush and just want to try it, let me tell, many Italian Nonnas boil the potatoes & have gnocchi made in no time.

This is what it looks like when I’m in the midst of making gnocchi.  IMG_5678

IMG_5684 IMG_5679

Then I sift about a cup of flour into each riced potato.

form the dough into a ball & begin to knead to build the gluten then pull off a good size chunk to begin forming segments that look like rope.  You’ll then cut the dough rope into 1” pieces.

Roll these onto a fork – this helps to hold the sauce onto the gnocchi. SorrREE – I forgot to take a snap of this step in the recipe.

Boil the gnocchi’s off in well salted water for about 3 minutes.  Serve with your favorite sauce – mine is an alfredo with mushrooms & peas or Parmesan, Maldon salt, cracked pepper, olive oil & parsley

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Nov 272011
 

I was invited to the Harvest Festival at The Sylvester Manor http://sylvestermanor.wordpress.com/on Shelter Island one of the most glorious weekends this year.

About a dozen or so EZ-UP, pop-up tents, manned by local vendors and food artisans offered up various delicacies from smoked turkey or brisket sandwiches, brick oven grilled pizza, all organic – kale, sweet potato & chic pea style soups and coleslaw to local wines, squashes, and Sylvester Manor eggs, husk tomatoes, breads, flower wreaths and cutting boards. The tents lined one edge of the farm’s ‘center field’ where a small stage was platform to a number of folk acts that played the last few hours of the weekend’s festivities.

My friend’s blanket was laid out just to the right of the EZ-UP tent where the ‘sound board’ was in the center of the ‘center field’.  As we were finishing lemonades and kettle chips and getting into our sweatshirts as the warm sun set for the day another friend showed up w/a brown paper bag half full of husk tomatoes, grown on The Sylvester Manor farm. No sooner had he sat down when I had one of these yellow marble sized morsels pinched from it’s husk in my mouth. OOoos, ahas and yums drifted and filled our space as hands of adults and kids dove into that bag with little restraint.

Husk Tomatoes or Ground Cherries look like a mini heirloom tomatoes but taste like a cherry and tomato mixed into one bite. Pretty Dlectable if you ask me. Immediately I thought to myself, “this would make one killer tomato jam.” One of my all time favorite delicacies.

Concerned that the two pint baskets I got would yield very little I thought adding my next favorite delicacy, Peppadews, would bulk up the yield while also adding so much to the flavor and body of the jam on a whole.

After photographing these most gorgeous and interesting husk tomatoes or ground cherries I got that sauce pot out.

What I used:

2-3 T of olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a pot with a thin coat of oil.

1T of red pepper flakes and 1 T mustard seeds

2-3 good sized garlic dents – minced & sliced

2 baskets of Husk Tomatoes – husked & washed – some cut in half

6-8 Peppadews – sliced and 1/4 C of their liquid

1/2″ ginger root – finely grated

2T tomato paste, 1-2 T sugar and or maple syrup.

What to do:

Add the red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger to the olive oil heating over a medium to low heat to infuse the oil with these savory flavors. Then I added the washed husk tomatoes and the sliced Peppadews and their liquid. Stir well, lower the heat.

When I tasted the mixture at this point it was really hot, spicy hot, so to take it down a bit I added the juice of a small wedge of lime, about 2T of sugar and a good swirl of Maple syrup.  I also added some freshly ground nutmeg*

Nutmeg is hardly a staple ingredient but I keep it around because a sangha member who’s authored a book on natural healing mentioned my using nutmeg when he noticed I was trying to suppress my cough during a dharma teaching. I also store my mini grater in the bottle I keep the nutmeg in and thought of it when I looked for it to add the ginger – which I think is a must ingredient for this recipe.

This Husk Tomato/Ground Cherry Jam is fabulous as a topping on baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, on buttered toast of any kind, and any protein.

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