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Section 4                   

sBaked Carrots with Chardonnay              
sBaked Pasta/Mushrooms
sGreen Beans Suprême
sPreserved Lemons
sSteamed Whole Okra with Tomato Gravy
sRed Lentils and Rice
sKentucky Corn Casserole
sSweet Potatoes Anna
sSpinach-Mushroom  Frittata
sJames's Spiced Nuts
sAsparagus Mimosa
sRoasted Brussels Sprouts
sSri Lankan Village Salad
sSautéed Eggplant


Baked Carrots with Cumin, Thyme, Butter and Chardonnay   (4 servings)

(Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver)                                 

1  pound baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

1  handful fresh thyme leaves

4  tablespoons butter

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

5  ounces Chardonnay

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Place all ingredients in a covered Corning Ware or other casserole.  Bake until carrots are tender (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).  Stir and serve.



Conchiglie Al Forno with Mushrooms and Radicchio   (6 servings)

6   ounces shiitake mushrooms (about 18 medium-size), cleaned

8   tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus some for buttering the dish

1   pound imported conchiglie rigate (ridged pasta shells)

1   tablespoon olive oil

2½ cups heavy cream

2   small heads radicchio, cored and finely shredded (about ½-inch thick)

½  cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½  cup shredded Bel Paese cheese

½  cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

     Coarse salt to taste

6   leaves fresh sage

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.  Remove the stems from the mushrooms and discard.  Slice the mushroom caps ¼-inch thick.  Heat 6 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are softened.
  1. Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.  Drain the pasta.  Run cold water over it to stop the cooking process, then drain again.
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cream, shredded radicchio, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Bel Paese, Gorgonzola and the cooked mushrooms.  Add the pasta and toss.  Stir in the salt and the sage leaves.
  1. Butter a glass or earthenware baking dish (about 13 by 9 by 2 inches).  Transfer the mixture to the dish.  Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the pasta is bubbly and crusty brown on top.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.



Green Beans Suprême

2 packages French Style green beans (frozen)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1 cup sour cream

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Cook beans slightly; drain well and cool.  Mix in cheese, sour cream, and seasonings.  Place in uncovered lightly buttered casserole dish.  Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes.



Preserved Lemons with Cardamom and Bay Leaves

6 medium-size lemons

½ cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon cardamon pods

3 bay leaves

1 cup lemon juice, or more if needed

1. Cut the lemons in quarters lengthwise, leaving them attached at one end.  Rub the flesh with a little of the salt.  Place 1 tablespoon of the salt in the bottom of a 1-quart glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Place the lemons in the jar, alternately with the remaining salt, cardamom pods, and bay leaves, pressing the lemons to fit them snugly in the jar.

2. Pour in enough lemon juice to cover the lemons.  Put of the lid and refrigerate, shaking the jar daily 2 to 3 weeks before using.  Preserved lemons, covered with liquid and tightly sealed, will keep for several months or longer in the refrigerator.



Steamed whole okra with tomato gravy                       (4 to 6 servings)


1 tablespoon bacon drippings, melted butter or olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallots or onion

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup hot chicken broth

5 medium plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice (2 cups)

1 to 2 tablespoons tomato juice

   Coarse sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 pound tender, young okra, washed (preferably none longer than 2 inches)

5 cups cooked white rice



1.      Heat drippings in medium skillet over medium heat.   Add shallots, and sauté, stirring constantly, until softened slightly, about 45 seconds.  Remove skillet from heat, add flour, and stir with wooden spoon until blended.  Return skillet to heat, and cook mixture, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.

2.      Pour hot broth into skillet, and whisk until smooth.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce, stirring frequently, until almost a glaze.  Add tomatoes to skillet, increase heat to medium, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.  Cook until tomatoes soften slightly, adding juice if sauce seems too thick, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, along with cayenne, thyme, and heavy cream, and continue to simmer, whisking to incorporate cream.  Taste for seasoning, remove from heat and keep warm.

3.      Pour 1/3 cup water into large, deep skillet, and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Add okra and ½ teaspoon salt.  Cover, and steam, shaking skillet frequently, until okra is bright green and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

4.      Serve okra hot with tomato gravy and white rice.  (Gravy may also be served with pork chops or roast chicken.)



Red Lentils and Rice

1 lb. split, red lentils, sorted and washed

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger root

1-2 tsp. ground cumin

2 cups rich, homemade chicken stock

2 cups water

1 tsp. curry powder

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, picked over

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Stir in ginger, curry powder, and cumin.  Cook and stir a minute or two.  Add remaining ingredients, including lentils.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Add more hot water, if necessary.  Serve over cooked white rice.



Kentucky Corn Bake Casserole         (6 to 8 servings)   

1 16-ounce can of cream style corn

1 16-ounce package of corn, frozen or canned (drained)

2 eggs, beaten

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon garlic salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 can green chilies, chopped

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

 Preheat oven to 350°.  Beat together all ingredients except chilies and cheese.  Pour half the mixture into greased 1 ¾ quart casserole.  Mix cheese and chilies and layer in casserole.  Carefully pour on rest of corn mixture.  Cook about 50 minutes.  Sprinkle with paprika (optional).



Sweet Potatoes Anna                  (6 -- 8 servings) 

  6  medium sweet potatoes, peeled

10  tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1  tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

      Coarse sea salt and freshly ground

      black pepper   

  1. Heat oven to 425°.  Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice potatoes about 1/8- inch thick.  Place in a very large bowl, and add butter, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss well until all slices are well coated with butter and seasonings.
  1. Reserve about a dozen of the best-looking slices for top layer.  Arrange a layer of slightly overlapping slices in a 10-inch round gratin dish, skillet  or other shallow oven-proof pan.  Layer potatoes until all are used, topping gratin with reserved slices. 
  1. Place a sheet of heavy-duty foil directly on top of potatoes.  Place pan in oven, and place a heavy pan slightly smaller in diameter than first pan directly on foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.
  1. Remove top pan, and carefully peel away foil.  If necessary, use a spatula to help separate foil from potatoes.  Continue baking until potatoes are soft and top is almost caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes longer.  Cut into wedges and serve hot.



Spinach and Mushroom Frittata                  (6   servings) 

1 ten-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed thoroughly of water

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

¾ cup chopped Portobello mushroom cap

½ cup finely chopped scallions, white part with some light green

¼ tsp. dried fines herbes

    salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 375°.  In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed.  Butter a 9-inch pie plate and fill with the spinach mixture.  Bake for approx. 30 minutes, or until browned and set.  Let cool for 20 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve. 



James's Spiced Nuts                                                 

 ¾ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg white, lightly beaten

2 ½ tablespoons water

1 ½ pounds nuts (walnuts, pecans, and/or almonds)

   1. Preheat over to 275°.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the nuts., stirring until well blended. 

    2. Add the nuts, and stir well until all are coated.  Using a slotted spoon, lift nuts from the syrup, draining off excess liquid.  Place on a non-                stick baking sheet in a single layer.

3. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, then cool completely before placing in bowl.


Kuromame         (6 to 8 servings)               

2  cups dried Japanese black soybeans, rinsed and picked over

¼ cup shoyu or other light soy sauce

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 ounces dried chestnuts

1 teaspoon salt 

  1. Preheat oven to 275°.  Place soybeans, shoyu, sugar, and 6 cups water in a Dutch oven or heavy 3-quart saucepan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Transfer immediately to oven, and braise for 2 hours.  Or place ingredients in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 3 hours. 
  2. While beans braise, bring 4 cups water to boil in a saucepan.  Add chestnuts, and simmer until almost tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Drain, cool, and quarter.  Set aside.
  3. Add chestnuts and salt to beans, stir, cover, and braise 1 hour more (or longer in slow cooker).  Taste beans for doneness.  When tender, remove from heat.  Serve at room temperature.


 Asparagus Mimosa      (4 servings)


   Coarse sea salt

1½ cup pounds asparagus, trimmed

1 egg

   Extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon

  Freshly ground black pepper

  Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

  Maldon sea salt, or other flaky sea salt.


  1. Fill a large pan with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Drop the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes, then lift out the spears and plunge them in the ice water.  Once cool, dry the asparagus on tea towels.
  2. Boil water again and drop in the egg.  Cook for 9 minutes, then let cool before peeling it. 
  3. Arrange the asparagus on a platter.  Sprinkle on the olive oil, and squeeze over a little lemon juice.  Place the peeled egg in a sieve and use the back of a spoon to mash it through the sieve and over the asparagus.  (Hence the name — the fluffy yellow-and-white sieved egg resembles mimosa flowers.)  Finish the dish with a coarse grind of pepper and a dash of salt.



Roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic                                  (4 servings)


1 pound Brussels sprouts

4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to coat bottom of pan)

5 cloves garlic

   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 


  1. Heat oven to 450°.  Trim bottom of Brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan.  Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on the bottom, and transfer to oven.  Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about ½ hour. 
  3. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve warm or hot.



Sri Lankan village salad                                              (4 servings)


1 small seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 green cayenne chili, finely chopped

1 red cayenne chili, finely chopped

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons rice vinegar or fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons coconut milk


  1. Place the cucumber slices in a colander, sprinkle with the kosher salt and set aside for 30 minutes.  Rinse gently and pat dry.

In a shallow bowl, combine the cucumber, shallots, chilies, sea salt and pepper.  Gently toss in the vinegar and coconut milk.



Sautéed eggplant                                           (4 servings)


1 large eggplant, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

½ cup tomato sauce

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

   Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



  1. Soak eggplant in salted water for 1 hour.  Drain thoroughly.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat sauté eggplant in oil until soft.  Add bell pepper and continue to cook until very soft.  Add mushrooms and cook a few minutes longer.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Heat thoroughly.  May be served hot or cold.



Baked potatoes with Cabrales cheese (4 servings)



4 medium russet or other baking potatoes

1½ tablespoons butter

1 ounce Cabrales cheese (about ¼ cup crumbled)

1 large egg, separated

¾ cup warm milk, or as needed




  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Bake potatoes on baking sheet until tender in center when pierced, about 1 hour.  Remove from heat, and cool just enough to handle.  
  2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop insides into a large mixing bowl, taking care to keep skin intact.  Set aside potato skins.
  3. Preheat a broiler or 450° oven.  Add butter, Cabrales and egg yolk to potatoes.  Mash mixture, adding just enough milk to make a thick purée.  Using an electric mixer, whisk egg white until stiff but not dry.  Fold egg white gently into purée until blended. 

Fill potato skins with mashed potato mixture.  Place potatoes under broiler or in oven until golden on top.  Serve hot.   



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