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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strawberry-Hued Stalks Promise so Many Possibilities: Rhubarb

I wasn’t very familiar with rhubarb until a few years ago when I founded the Eat-In-Season Restaurant Challenge. Subsequently, as chair of the Challenge committee, I hosted a breakfast to introduce the concept to the press. For this event, my own challenge was to come up with a menu using foods that were in-season in Maryland during the month of May. Obvious choices would have been asparagus, ramps, fiddlehead ferns or wild watercress. A less obvious and certainly more challenging choice was rhubarb, an under-appreciated spring vegetable that typically shows up in sweet foods like cobblers, puddings, jams, chutneys (and, of course, the ubiquitous pie). Could rhubarb work as a key ingredient in a breakfast dish that the press would appreciate and enjoy? I decided to find out.  

My first experiment with rhubarb

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Asparagus and Shrimp with Grilled Halloumi

Asparagus and Shrimp with Grilled Halloumi

Halloumi ranks as one of my favorite cheeses because of its wonderful flavor and texture. And who wouldn’t marvel at a cheese that can be sautéed or grilled yet still keeps its shape and doesn’t melt? On the day I first tried this recipe, my sister was dropping off her two Norwich terriers for an overnight visit, and she and a friend arrived just in time for the taste-testing. They loved my creation, so I submitted the recipe to the Features Editor of the Examiner, who promptly published it.

1 pound large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Several grindings of freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound halloumi cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black
pepper. Marinate for 3 hours. Cook asparagus in rumbling water for 3–5 minutes or until
desired tenderness; for best results, asparagus should be tender crisp. Run asparagus under cold
water, or let them sit in an ice bath until cooled. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet
over moderate heat, add halloumi cubes and sauté for about 2 minutes or until just slightly
brown. Place 4–5 shrimp into each of 6 rimmed serving bowls. Top the shrimp with asparagus
pieces and cubes of halloumi cheese. Spoon reserved marinade over the ingredients, distributing
evenly and top with toasted sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.

6 servings

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Caramelized Parsnips with Roasted Pecans

Caramelized Parsnips with Roasted Pecans

The wonderful sweetness of the parsnips comes out when caramelized. This simple side dish is a great accompaniment to baked chicken, pork and lamb.

3–4 tablespoons neutral oil
1 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced about ¼-inch thick
4–6 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ cup roughly chopped pecans, toasted and salted

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add and sauté parsnips for about 10–15 minutes, stirring often. Add additional 1–2 tablespoons oil and sliced garlic and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  2. Cook until parsnips are slightly blackened and cooked through. 
  3. Toss with pecans and serve immediately.

 4 servings

If you're interested in learning about a 400 year old proverb, check out my column, What's in Season that appears in the Slow Food newsletter.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day Salted Chocolate Ginger Bark with Pomegranate Seeds

Salted Chocolate Ginger Bark with Pomegranate Seeds

I'll be making this delicious bark to have as part of our Valentine's dessert.

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), broken into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced crystallized (candied) ginger
Coarse sea salt
½ cup pomegranate seeds

1. Place the chocolate pieces in a medium pan and melt over moderate heat. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in ginger.

2. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and spread evenly.

3. Refrigerate until the bark is no longer warm and is soft enough to gently press the pomegranate seeds into the chocolate. Season the bark with coarse salt.  

     4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the bark is hard. Gently break (being careful not to crush the pomegranate seeds) into serving pieces. Keep refrigerated until serving time. Bark will last about 5 days.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Crowd-Pleasing Super Bowl Game Day Appetizer

                                        Watch-It-Disappear Horseradish Dip
Get the recipe and watch me prepare this tasty dip on News Channel 3 Let's Talk Live