• A really different, simple recipe for all the green stuff:

    Braised Greens with Dried Fruits and Nuts

    1/2 lb (about 5 cups) fresh green such as kale, chard, nappa cabbage
    2 T. olive oil
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    1/4 c. raisins
    1/4 c. chopped apricots
    1/2 c. pine nuts
    2 cubes veg. or chicken bouillon
    1/4 c. dry white wine
    1 cup hot water
    1 t. salt
    Freshly ground black pepper.

    1.  Wash greens and coarsely chop, removing thick stems.

    2.  Heat oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot and saute until fragrant.  Add raisins, apricots and pine nuts.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add bouillon cubes, smashing them into mixture.  Add white wine.  Boil 1 94 2 minutes.  Add greens and toss.  Add hot water, salt and pepper.  Stir and cook over low heat until greens are wilted and liquid has thickened, about 8 - 12 minutes.  Serves 6.

    Note:  I made this with water instead of oil.

  • White Bean and Winter Tarragon Soup with Fennel

    serves 4

     

    8 ounces Great Northern white beans

    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    1 medium onion, diced

    1 small fennel bulb, diced, about one cup

    2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    7 cups chicken stock

    1 Tablespoons fresh winter tarragon leaves, chopped*

    3 Tablespoons thinly sliced ham, julienned

    salt and pepper to taste

     

     

    Sort through the beans to remove rocks and other items. Put in a container and cover with four inches of water. Soak overnight. Drain off the water.

     

    In a stainless steel pot heat the olive oil. Saut the onion and the fennel until golden. Add the grated lemon peel and the garlic. Cook for one minute to release the flavors. Add the stock, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans until soft, about one hour.

     

    Stir in the tarragon, reserving 1/2 teaspoon to use for garnish. Add the ham, stirring to blend all flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into decorative soup bowls and garnish with the remaining tarragon.

     

    * French tarragon can be substituted for winter tarragon.

  •  

    Ingredients

    • 3 to 4 shallots, unpeeled
    • 1 1/2 pounds pumpkin (untrimmed), or butternut squash or 1 1/4 pounds peeled pumpkin
    • 2 cups canned or fresh coconut milk
    • 2 cups mild pork or chicken broth
    • 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce, or to taste
    • Generous grindings of black pepper
    • 1/4 cup minced scallion greens (optional)

    Preparation

    In a heavy skillet, or on a charcoal or gas grill, dry-roast or grill the shallots, turning occasionally until softened and blackened. Peel, cut the shallots lengthwise in half, and set aside.

    Peel the pumpkin and clean off any seeds. Cut into small 1/2-inch cubes. You should have 4 1/2 to 5 cups cubed pumpkin.

    Place the coconut milk, broth, pumpkin cubes, shallots, and coriander leaves in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and simmer over medium heat until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for salt and add a little more fish sauce if you wish. (The soup can be served immediately, but has even more flavor if left to stand for up to an hour. Reheat just before serving.)

    Serve from a large soup bowl or in individual bowls. Grind black pepper over generously, and, if you wish, garnish with a sprinkling of minced scallion greens. Leftovers freeze very well.

     

    Serves 4-6.

     

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
    • 2 large potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced
    • 4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth

    OPTIONAL:

    • Saute sliced fennel with the leeks
    • Add herbs to the pureed soup: basil, cill or chives
    • Add cream or milk to substitute for part of the liquid


     

    Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

    Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

    Serves 4.
  • Fresh Pea Soup
    makes 6 cups

    We use organic frozen peas to make this beautiful bright-green soup. Adding them to the pot at the tail end of the cooking time preserves their sweet flavor and vivid green color. It's lovely garnished with lots of snipped fresh chives, dill or chervil. Adding a small dollop of creme fraiche, sour cream, or whipped cream to each serving is pretty delicious, too.

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 leek, trimmed, washed and sliced
    1 russet potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
    4 cups chicken broth
    2 pounds (6 cups) frozen peas
    Salt and pepper

    Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft but not colored, about 10 minutes.

    Add the potatoes and chicken broth to the pot and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the peas and season with some salt and pepper. When the peas are heated through, about 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat.

    Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. For a smoother texture, pass it through a strainer into a bowl, discarding the solids. Taste the soup and season it with more salt, if you like, as it will probably need it.

    Return the soup to the pot and warm it over low heat. Or, cover and refrigerate it until cold. Serve the soup hot or cold.

  • Ingredients
    1 poblano or Anaheim or jalapeno chile (de-seed the jalapeno if you don't like things too hot)
    2-3 zucchini, 10-12 oz
    1 bunch cilantro
    1 large onion
    3 Tbs. sunflower seed or olive oil
    3 Tbs. chopped parsley
    3 Tbs. chopped mint
    2 corn tortillas
    sea salt
    5 cups water or chicken/veggie stock
    juice of 1 or 2 limes
    sour cream, optional
     
    Instructions

    • Roast the chiles and remove the seeds, then chop coarsley. Quarter the zukes lengthwise, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the cilantro thoroughly, including the stems. Finely slice the stems and chop the leaves, setting aside  few for garnish. Thinly slice the onion.
    • Heat half the oil in a soup pot over med-high heat, then add teh onoin, zukes, cilantro stems, parsley and mint. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onoin is limp and the zukes are fairly soft, about 10 minutes. Tear one of the tortillas into pieces and add it to the veggies.
    • Add 2 tsp. salt and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the zucchini is completely soft, about 15 minutes, then add the remaining cilantro. Let cool at room temperature, then puree until smooth. Season with salt and lime juice to taste.
    • Cut the remaining tortillas into skinny strips and heat the remaining oil in a skillet. When hot, add the tortillas and cook until crisp. Set them on paper towls to drain. Serve the soup garnished with a dollop of sour cream, a little mound of tortillas strips, and a sprig of cilantro in each bowl.

     
     

  • Makes 8 servings
     
    For stuffing:

    • 4 cups fine fresh bread crumbs from an Italian loaf (1/2 pound)
    • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces)
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (5 cloves)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/2 cup minced sweet soppressata (dried Italian sausage; 2 1/2 ounces)
    • 1 cup finely chopped provolone cheese (1/4 pounds)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil

    For artichokes:

    • 8 medium artichokes (8 to 9 ounces each)
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1 cup water, divided
    • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
    • 1 cup olive oil, divided
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, divided
    • Equipment: a 6- to 8-qt pressure cooker or a wide 4- to 6-qt heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid

    Make stuffing:
    Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
    Spread bread crumbs in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then toss with parmesan, garlic, parsley, soppressata, provolone, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Drizzle oil (1/4 cup) over crumbs and toss to coat.
    Trim and stuff artichokes:
    Cut off artichoke stems and discard. Cut off top 1/2 inch of 1 artichoke with a serrated knife, then cut about inch off all remaining leaf tips with kitchen shears. Rub cut leaves with a lemon half.
    Separate leaves slightly with your thumbs, then pull out purple leaves from center and enough yellow ones to expose fuzzy choke. Scoop out choke with a melon-ball cutter or small spoon, then squeeze some juice from other lemon half into cavity. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
    Spoon about 2 tablespoons stuffing into cavity of each artichoke and, Starting with bottom leaves and spreading leaves open as much as possible without breaking, spoon a rounded teaspoon stuffing between each leaf.
    Cook artichokes:
    Put 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup broth, 1/4 cup oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in pressure cooker (without insert) or pot and arrange 4 stuffed artichokes in liquid in 1 layer. Drizzle with 1/4 cup oil.
    If using pressure cooker, seal lid and cook at high pressure, according to manufacturer's instructions, 13 to 15 minutes. Put pressure cooker in sink (do not remove lid) and run cold water over lid until pressure goes down completely.
    If using a regular pot, simmer artichokes, covered, until leaves are tender, about 50 minutes. Transfer cooked artichokes, along with any liquid, to a shallow bowl and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.
    Repeat procedure to cook remaining stuffed artichokes. Transfer artichokes with tongs to 8 shallow soup bowls and spoon cooking liquid around them.

    Adapted from epicurious.com
     

  • Makes 4 servings
     
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1/2 tsp. dried thyme
    3 cups broccoli or romanesco florets
    2 Tbsp. sour cream
    2 tsp. flour
    2 tsp. Dijon mustard
     
    1.  Bring broth and thyme to a boil over high heat.  Add broccoli or romanesco.  Return to a boil.
    2.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp.  Retain cooking liquid, and remove broccoli;  keep warm.
    3.  Blend sour cream, flour, and mustard.  Stir into cooking liquid still in saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes;  cook and stir 1 minute more, but do not boil.  (If sauce is too thick, add more broth, 1 Tbsp. at a time)
    4.  Return broccoli to saucepan with sauce.  Stir gently until coated.  Serve at once.
     

  • Makes 4 servings
     
    12-20 asparagus spears
    1/4 tsp. grated lemon peel
    1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. chicken broth
    3/4 tsp. dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp. olive oil
    salt and black pepper
    lettuce leaves
     
    1.  Place asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet.  Spray with vegetable oil spray.
    2.  Roast asparagus in 500 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender and lightly browned.
    3.  Meanwhile, combine peel, juice, broth, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a screw top jar.  Cover and shake until blended.
    4.  Place asparagus on a lettuce lined serving plate.  Drizzle vinaigrette over asparagus.  Toss gently to coat.
     
    Note:  Good warm, cold, or at room temperature!

  • Serves 10.
    Roasted carrots, parsnips, and celeriac add great depth of flavor to this unique stuffing. Recipes for the homemade cornbread and the stuffing are included here:

     
     

    CORNBREAD FOR DRESSING
    Makes 12 cups of 1/2 inch cubed cornbread.

    • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 1/4 cups cornmeal
    • 3 tablespoons melted butter



    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in cornmeal, then melted butter. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
    Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cornbread in pan on rack. DO AHEAD: Cornbread can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, cover, and store at room temperature.
     
    STUFFING

    • 1 lb. shallots, cut into wedges
    • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices peeled carrots (about 3/4 pound)
    • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices peeled parsnips (about 3/4 pound)
    • 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled celeriac (about 3/4 pound)
    • 2/3 cup olive oil, divided
    • 1 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, stemmed, caps halved
    • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
    • 6 cups 1/2-inch cubes cornbread (see recipe below)
    • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth


    Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Place shallots, carrots, parsnips, and celeriac in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1/3 cup oil over and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place mushrooms and garlic on another rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with remaining 1/3 cup oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast root vegetables until tender and brown around edges, stirring every 15 minutes, about 1 hour. Roast mushrooms and garlic until tender, stirring once, about 30 minutes. Place root vegetables and mushrooms in large bowl. Place garlic in small bowl; mash with fork until pureed. Add pureed garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage to vegetables; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Vegetable mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cool vegetables, cover, and chill. Bring mixture to room temperature before continuing.
    Place cornbread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Let bread cubes stand at room temperature to dry slightly, about 1 hour.
    Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2- inch oval baking dish. Add cornbread cubes to vegetables; toss to distribute evenly. Add eggs; toss to coat. Drizzle with melted butter; toss to coat. Add broth and stir to combine (mixture will be very moist). Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
    Bake dressing uncovered until lightly browned and crisp around edges, about 45 minutes.

  •  
    Serves 4 to 6.   Published September 1, 2007. Cooks Illustrated.
    The quickest way to slice the vegetables is in a food processor fitted with an 1/8-inch slicing blade. If the potatoes are too long to fit into the feed tube, halve them crosswise and put them in the feed tube cut-side down so that they sit on a flat surface. If the potato slices discolor as they sit, put them in a bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of the cream and chicken broth. If you like, use Parmesan instead of cheddar.
     
    INGREDIENTS
    2 TB butter
    1 onion, minced, about 1 cup
    1 TB chopped fresh thyme
    1 1/2 tsp salt 
    1/2 tsp pepper
    8 oz celery root (about 1/2), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
    8 oz parsnips (about 2 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 bay leaves
    1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
    4 oz grated cheddar cheese, 1 cup

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add celery root, parsnips, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaves and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, bring mixture back to simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are almost tender (paring knife can be slipped into and out of potato slice with some resistance), about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
    3. Transfer mixture to 8-inch-square baking dish (or other 1 1/2-quart gratin dish) and press into an even layer; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake until cream is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
    4. To Make Ahead: Once the scalloped vegetables have been transferred to the baking dish and pressed into an even layer in step 3, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add the cheese, cover with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheddar begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

     

  • Serves 6. Takes about 45 minutes - a quick, easy fall soup!
     
    Ingredients:

    • 4 bacon slices (optional)
    • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
    • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
    • 1/2 pounds carrots, chopped
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
    • 3 thyme sprigs
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 1/2 cups veggie or chicken broth
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar



     
    Preparation:
    Cook bacon in a 4-to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
    Add garlic and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. If skipping the bacon, substitute butter or olive oil for the fat. Add squash, carrots, apple, thyme, bay leaves, broth, water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.
    Purée about 4 cups soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve topped with crumbled bacon.

  • Adapted from Gourmet...
     

     
    Makes 8 servings (about 10 cups)

    The roasted acorn squash tastes fabulous when scooped up with spoonfuls of the beet soup. But if oven space is limited, simply serve the soup in bowls.

     
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    Ingredients
    For roasted squash

    • 8 (1- to 1 1/4-pound) acorn squash
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

    For soup

    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 5 medium beets (about 2 pounds without greens), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 red apple such as Gala or Braeburn, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    • 4 to 5 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

    Preparation
    Roast squash:
    Preheat oven to 375°F.
    Cut off "tops" of squash (about 1 inch from stem end) and reserve. Scoop out seeds and discard. Cut a very thin slice off bottoms of squash to create a stable base. Brush "bowls" and tops all over with oil and sprinkle salt inside. Arrange squash bowls, with tops alongside, stem ends up, in 2 large shallow baking pans.
    Roast squash in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until flesh of squash is just tender, about 1 1/4hours total.
    Make soup while squash roast:
    Cook onion in oil in a 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add beets and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
    Add broth and 4 cups water, then simmer, uncovered, until beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar and brown sugar.
    Purée soup in 3 batches in a blender until very smooth, at least 1 minute per batch (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a large bowl. Return soup to pan, then season with salt and pepper and reheat. If soup is too thick, add enough water to thin to desired consistency.
    Serve soup in squash bowls.
    Cooks' notes: • Squash flesh shrinks during baking; if a small hole forms, serve soup in squash but set in a soup bowl.
    • Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.

  • Kale and White Bean Soup

    yield: Makes 6 main-course servings
    active time: 1 hr
    total time: 3 hr

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy
    • 2 onions or leeks, coarsely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 5 cups chicken or veggie broth
    • 2 qt water
    • 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (optional), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
    • 8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 lb kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

    Preparation
    Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
    Cook onions/leeks in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes.
    While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
    Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.
    Cooks'notes: •Soup is best if made 1 or 2 days ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Thin with water if necessary.

  • Fall is when the wild mushrooms, particularly Chanterelles, start mysteriously popping out of the dark forest duff around here. It's also when the corn is ripe, making a perfect marriage. This soup would go great with a pile of steamed kale, drizzled in olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar and salt.
     
    Corn Chowder with Bacon, Crab and Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Ingredients

    • 4 ears fresh yellow corn
    • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
    • 3 cups whipping cream (or milk or milk substitute if aiming for a lower fat soup)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 7 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
    • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery (i didn't have any and went without - it was fine)
    • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1-2 colored sweet peppers, diced
    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    • 6 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thickly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons dry Sherry
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried
    • 1 pound fresh crabmeat (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    Preparation
    Cut kernels off corn cobs. Set kernels aside and put the cobs into a large heavy saucepan. Peel the potatoes. Set diced spuds aside and add peels to saucepan. Chop the leeks. Save the butt ends and the leaves, chop up, rinse and combine with the corn cobs, broth, and cream. Simmer 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch the cream. Remove from heat.
    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons pan drippings; add onion, leeks, celery, and fennel seeds to pot. Sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and sweet peppers. Strain cobs, leek leaves and potato peels from cream mixture; add strained stock into potato mixture. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn kernels. Simmer chowder until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
    Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Sherry and thyme. Add mushroom mixture to chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Sauté crabmeat in same large skillet over medium-low heat just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide crabmeat, reserved bacon, and parsley among bowls. Ladle chowder over and serve.

  • Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suaz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb Salad but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado. Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea, though like so many foods we enjoy here of French origin, has changed a bit to adapt to our tastes. Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Nicoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your mise en place (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly.
     

     
    Vinaigrette
    Rounded 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste, mashed with 1 clove of garlic
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 small leek, minced
    1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
    2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
    2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
     
    Salad
    2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
    6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
    1.5 pounds new potatoes, each potato scrubbed and diced into 1" cubes
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 medium heads butterhead lettuce or other leaf lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
    3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
    1 small red onion, sliced very thin
    1 sweet pepper, sliced into long, thin strips
    3/4 lb. green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
    1/4 cup niçoise olives
    2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

     
     
    *Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
    1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
    2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.
    3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
    4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
    5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

  • Modified from a recipe on epicurious.com
    yield: Makes 8 servings
    The inclusion of fennel and a dash of Pernod puts a sophisticated spin on the classic chilled potato soup. 

     
      Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 5 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 3 small fennel bulbs)
    • 2 onions or leeks, sliced
    • 1 pound small potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low– salt chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons Pernod
    • 2 cups half and half

     
    Preparation
    Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add sliced fennel and onions/leeks. Cover and cook until fennel is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in Pernod. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer soup to large bowl. Mix in 2 cups half and half. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

  • CRÈME VICHYSOISSE
    Modified from a recipe courtesy  of Frances Sotak, Bethlehem, PA

        2-3 tbsp. butter
        2 leeks
        1 medium sized onion
        3-4 medium sized potatoes
        1 tbsp. salt
        3 cups chicken stock
        1 ½ cup whole milk
        1½ cup half-and-half
        1½ cup cream
    In a Dutch oven melt two to three tablespoons of butter.  With a mandoline, thinly slice the white part of the leeks.  Then thinly slice onions.  Sautee the leeks and onions in butter until golden.
    To the leeks and onions add the potatoes, peeled and diced.  To this add salt and chicken stock (canned is fine).  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.
    After cooling, blend until all lumps are gone.  Return to the stove and put on lowest heat setting.  Add whole milk and half-and-half.
    Refrigerate.  When completely cooled add cream.
        
    Serve hot or cold, garnishing with chopped fresh chives just before serving.

  • Don't just throw them away! The tender tops on your carrots are great in soups! Here's one rendition, based on a recipe from Local Flavors:
     
    1 bunch carrots, the tops and the roots
    2 Tbs butter
    3 Tbs. white rice
    1 bunch purplette onions
    2 thyme sprigs
    2 Tbs. chopped dill, parsley or celery leaves
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    6 cups veggie stock or chicken stock
     

    • Pull or pluck the lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems. You should have between 2-3 cups, loosely packed. Wash, then chop finely. Grate the carrots, or chop them finely.
    • Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot tops and carrots, rice, onions, and herbs. Cook for several minutes, turning everthing a few times, then season with 1.5 tsp. salt and add the stock.
    • Bring to a boil and simmger until the rice is cooked, 16-18 minutes.
    • Taste for salt, season with pepper and serve.
  •  
    Olive oil
     

    2 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
    1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    ½ cup  chicken stock
    Handful of arugula
    2-4 oz. marinated feta, crumbled
    ¼ small red onion, very thinly sliced
    ¼ large red chilli, thinly sliced
    1 tsp finely grated lemon rind 
    Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle 

    • Heat 2 tbs of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add fennel and cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until fennel caramelizes a little, season with salt and pepper. 
    • Add balsamic vinegar and chicken stock, cover and cook for 8 -10 minutes or until tender. 
    • Transfer braised fennel to a bowl, add arugula, feta, red onion, chili, lemon rind and dress with olive oil. Toss gently to serve.
  • Zoe set me up with some of her fine leeks a while back and I came up with a pretty tasty application.  
     
    Chopped up the leeks into one inch sections after cleaning and gave them a quick saute with some marsala curry powder (or whatever) and a bit of olive oil.  Then I stuffed the chicken with them and gave the chicken liberal coating of tandoori paste and baked with potatoes.  The leaks steam themselves inside the chicken and impart a nice flavor and it helps keep it moist.
     
    Now you might not want to eat all those leeks along with your chicken on the first go around, but I always make a soup from the left overs so when you go to simmer up the bones just throw all those leeks in and you've got a great soup base.  Then add carrots, celery, or whatever veggies (maybe noodles or rice) you've got and you'll have a great curry flavored chicken soup!
    Now thats Leeky!
     
    -Zachary (will geek for food)