Have ready one unbaked pie shell, your favorite recipe
2 tb soft butter
1-1/2 cup chopped white onion, pinch of salt
2 cups fiddleheads, cleaned of all brown papery stuff, washed twice, drained and steamed until bright
2 cups shredded farmhouse sharp cheddar
Salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg
6 eggs, beaten well
1-1/2 cup half and half or light cream
Make a custard of the beaten eggs and cream. Set aside.
Saute the onion until lightly browned, add salt , pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Toss with the cooled, cooked fiddleheads.
Pile into the uncooked pie shell, top with the cheese.
Pour the custard over all, don’t overfill if the custard is too generous. Dust lightly with paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 40 minutes or until puffed and set in the center.
Let it rest for a half hour before slicing. Goes well with a crisp salad.
It’s tradition to say Rabbit, Rabbit at the beginning of each month. I am not sure why.
But, truly in the springtime, a rabbit fricassee over wide noodles with a touch of woodland or garden herbs and grainy mustard transports me to in Paris in April.
Rabbit hasn’t caught on in popularity in America like in France. It tasted mild, much the same as poultry. Honestly, cutting up a rabbit is not harder than cutting up a chicken, once you get over the fact that it’s a rabbit. The technique is much the same: dredging in seasoned flour, a little sautéed shallot, turn once when brown, remove meat and deglaze with white wine, mustard and heavy cream or creme fraiche. Add in fresh chopped thyme, ramps or rosemary at the end to keep it bright.
Served over wide noodles with a big salad, one couldn’t ask for more on a blustery early spring day….for lunch, at a bistro in Paris!
Here is a recipe we prepared when I was a student at La Varenne, in Burgundy,France:
Lapin a la Moutarde
1 small, dressed rabbit, cut into 8 pieces.
Flour, salt and pepper…a little paprika for color
1/2 cup avocado oil
Combine the flour and seasonings, Dredge the rabbit in the flour and set aside. Heat the oil on a medium heat.
1 cup, chopped shallot
2 cups dry white wine, 2 cups rich chicken broth
1 TB whole grain mustard, 2 fresh thyme springs and fresh rosemary or chopped ramps or chives, added last..
1 pound of wide egg noodles, cooked al dente. Keep warm.
Fry the rabbit in medium hot oil, turning once until just cooked through, salt lightly, and set to drain on paper towels.
Pour off most of the oil, and sauté the shallot in the same pan, deglaze with wine and broth, check seasonings. Add the mustard and creme fraiche or heavy cream, and place rabbit back into the pan, cook covered over a low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally and add more broth if it seems to need it.
When it’s time to serve, choose an impressive platter (make it warm). Add the noodles and top with the rabbit pieces. Taste the gravy and add more creme fraiche and the herbs… give it a stir and pour over the rabbit and noodles. I add even more spring chives and their deconstructed blossoms to the top, to garnish.
Choose a crisp, white Burgundy and enjoy a hearty lunch with friends. Is that the Eiffel Tower I see?
The flavor profile in these is reminiscent of some of my favorite foods from China, although I am told by a close friend who lived for a time in China, Dr. Jane Liedtke, the Egg Roll is as American as it gets. More traditionally, Peking duck is wrapped in a “bing”, or wrapper with Hoisin sauce, scallion, etc. for a delicious part of the duck dinner. These egg rolls stand in for us home cooks in America.
Supposedly, making the wrappers is as easy as making pasta. Also, you can purchase perfectly good ones to produce these. The filling is open to inspiration, I like a bit of star anise in mine.
FILLING INGREDIENTS | Makes a dozen
Shredded cabbage and carrot, to equal 2 cups
Mung bean sprouts, minced celery and green onion to equal 2 cups
2 cups cooked, shredded duck meat, chopped fine
1 large beaten egg, cooked and chopped
Season with a bit of garlic, star anise, salt , pepper, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil & Asian chili sauce to taste.
Dust with cornstarch, 1 tb or a bit more if it seems wet . Mix all together and let rest.
BUILD THE ROLLS
Make a slurry of cornstarch and water for sealing the sides of rolls
Each egg roll gets 3 tb of meat, egg and vegetable mixture.
Roll tightly, sealing the sides with the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
PREPARE TO FRY EGG ROLLS
You will need a heavy fry pan, with high sides …or a wok. You will also need some sesame or avocado oil, your egg roll wrappers and plenty of paper towels.
We’re shallow frying these, so we don’t need really deep oil, just about 3 inches in the pan.
Preheat oil and add a few rolls at a time, do not crowd. Flip once to get a golden brown all over.
Drain and sprinkle with flaky salt.
We enjoy these right out of the oil with a Hoisin or Duck Sauce and very hot mustard!
I travelled in Chile in the winter, which is like Springtime there at the bottom of the world. Imagine fields full of lupine at Christmas!
Well, another harbinger of very early spring is the Black Hake that is well known and loved there. My experience of this delicious flaky white fish was at a street vendor.
I’d like to share a recipe similar to the one I tried and loved:
Pan Seared Black Hake with Pebre Sauce / Yield: 2 hearty servings
1 lb. hake filet
Salt & pepper to taste, avocado oil to fry in
Season with salt and fresh pepper, set aside.
Beforehand, prepare the pebre sauce (a chilean salsa), using a blender:
3 roma tomato
a bunch of stemmed, chopped cilantro
6 green onions
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, equal part olive oil
salt, pepper and hot red pepper flakes
Using a food processor, pulse all ingredients and season to taste.
Set aside in the refrigerator, covered, until use.
Meanwhile, get a heavy iron skillet hot and heat the oil.
Gently, add the seasoned fish to the hot oil and fry it uncovered, turning once.
Top with the freshly made pebre sauce and serve with fried potatoes and a green salad.
2 lbs broccoli rabe, washed and tough stems removed, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups red cherry tomato, halved
1 pkg. sweet Italian sausage, sliced medium thick
1 lb cavatelli pasta
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Salt, pepper ground, to taste
1/2 cup good shaved or grated Parmesan
Toss the tomatoes with oil and a bit of salt. On a sheet pan, in a hot oven, blister the tomatoes. Reserve the tomatoes, retaining as much pan juice as possible.
In a saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove from pan, but save the pan drippings.
In a large covered saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the rabe and garlic. Lift it from the water with a strainer and drain, but save that water for the pasta.
Combine tomato, garlic, rabe and sausage with salt and pepper and a little more of the olive oil, keep warm but not hot (to retain colors)
Bring the pot of vegetable water, covered, back to a boil. Add a teaspoon more salt and the pasta.
Cook pasta until al dente, drain (I always save a 1/4 cup for the sauce and the remainder for soup stock.)
While the pasta is cooking, use your 1/4 cup of pasta water to deglaze the sausage pan and add that flavor layer and any tomato drippings to your cooked ingredients.
Finally add the hot, drained pasta and the rest of the cooked, seasoned ingredients to a large bowl. Toss well and top with the Parmesan cheese.
This dish is good warm but don’t over do it. The beauty is the bright green rabe and bright tomato, equally good at room temperature or the following day.
When we hunker down to watch the big game, the snacks and commercials are as important as the players. At least for me, with my marginal understanding of the game.
Honestly, for me, it’s about being with friends, sharing some laughs and excitement and getting great snack food. One of the classics…always will be…a great onion dip.
There’s nothing hard or time consuming about this recipe and it’s a bit healthier because it uses high protein FAGE Greek yogurt rather than sour cream. Another flavor layer is that I like to caramelize and cool the onions before adding the other ingredients.
Make sure you select some chi chi artisanal potato chips, the hefty kind, to pair with this dip. It deserves the best! Double this recipe for a socially distanced crowd.
2 cups FAGE sour cream
1 medium white onion, minced and carmelized in butter or olive oil, then cooled
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tb. green chives, minced
1 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder.
Combine all, then let rest, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
Enjoy the finest in dippin’ and the good feels of high protein!
Cultures all over the world seem to favor some combination of pork and beans to bring luck and prosperity in the New Year. I usually make “Hopping’ John” from the American South, with ham or pork scraps and black eyed peas.
In this Pandemic year, rather than a grocery run, I created a winner out of pantry items, garden remnants and some frozen pork loin chops. So this isn’t exactly a recipe, but rather an example of how to think on your feet. Necessity can truly be the “Mother of Invention.” So I’ll dedicate this non-recipe to one of my favorite modern composers, Frank Zappa,, clearly demonstrating how to think outside of the shake and bake box.
FRANK’S PORK AND BEANS FOR THE NEW YEAR, serves four
4 pork loin chops, fat on
Spicy smoked paprika and flour dredge, salt and pepper
1 beaten egg, small crumble of dry sage
2 cans cannellini beans, save the liquid
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup chicken stock
butter and avocado oil
A bunch of trimmed, rinsed and chiffonade cut collard greens, I foraged mine, thrice frozen, from my garden….and they were delicious.
Pound out the pork chops but not too thin, coat with beaten egg, then dredge in flour mixture. Heat up a cast iron pan of size, add avocado oil, then when oil is hot, sauté chops over medium heat, turning once. Cooking slowly keeps pork tender. Remove from pan, set aside.
Add 3 tb butter to the saute pan, when hot, add the chopped onion and coat the onion season with salt and saute until translucent. Add the beans and their liquid, incorporating all the bottom bits from the pan. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir. Place the chops back in with the beans, turn down to a low simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes.
While the pork and bean flavors are “marrying,” steam up those greens in a small amount of salted water with a tight lid, drain and save the “pot liquor” for a soup. Toss the bright green greens with virgin olive oil and a finishing salt….or you can add them into your one pot meal for a more long cooked, traditional appearance.
Either way you get a beautiful and economical dish…which automatically makes you feel lucky!
Remove mask to eat for best results.
Hoping for safety, health, humor and sanity as we navigate into 2021.