Patlicanli Pilav

© Katherine Stetson

A savory and aromatic pilaf from Turkey!

Serves four, as a side dish.

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1 tomato, cut into a small dice
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges, optional garnish

Rinse rice until water becomes clear. Drain in a strainer and set aside.

Place eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Allow to sit (over a bowl or in the sink) for one hour. Rinse the cubes thoroughly, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet until hot. Carefully add eggplant and sauté until golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chopped onion and cook until softened. Stir in the tomato, eggplant, mint, parsley, sea salt and pepper.  Cook until bubbling.

Add the rice and chicken stock. Do not stir! Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer with the lid on for 20-30 minutes until rice is tender and water has been absorbed.

Gastropub Brussels Sprouts

© Katherine Stetson

Inspired by a gastropub in Concord, New Hampshire. One big happy calorie! Be sure to prepare all the garnishes prior to cooking the Brussels Sprouts!

Four modest servings as a side dish, or enjoyed by many as an appetizer:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, young, firm and bright green, trimmed and halved, rinsed and dried
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw walnut halves
  • ¼ cup (or more) Asiago cheese, coarsely grated or shaved
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Bacon fat
  • Lemon wedges
  • Smoked sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional)

Cook the bacon until crisp and drain on a paper towel. Crumble when cool. Reserve bacon fat.

Flash fry the walnuts in a small amount of peanut oil and some of the bacon fat. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with smoked sea salt. Chop to desired size.

Coarsely grate or shave as much Asiago as you think appropriate and wrap in waxed paper and store, until needed, in the refrigerator.

In a cast iron skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of peanut oil and 2-3 tablespoons of bacon fat until hot. Add the Brussels Sprouts and sauté rapidly, stirring and tossing, until caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid until desired tenderness is achieved. Season with smoked sea salt and ground pepper.

Assemble the dish:

Tumble the warm Brussels Sprouts into a serving dish or dishes. Sprinkle on the bacon crumbs, shaved Asiago, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and serve lemon wedges on the side.

Calabacitas with Fresh Hatch Chiles

© Katherine Stetson

This is not your usual recipe for Calabacitas!  Although it takes a bit more time and a few more bowls and plates, I like to cook or roast each ingredient separately and then gently warm all of the components when it’s time to serve.

Leftovers, if you’re lucky enough to have them, contribute to superb quesadillas, tostadas and Huevos Ranchero!

For 6 servings:

½ red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 summer squash (7 inches), half-inch inch dice
2 zucchini (7 inches), sliced
2 cobs of corn
2 scallions, sliced
3 Hatch chiles, hot or medium
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 cup black or red beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon cumin seed

Peanut oil, as needed

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Roast the chiles: Place chiles in a cast iron or other heavy skillet in one layer.  Roast under the broiler until charred on all sides.  Remove chiles to a bowl and cover with a plate to steam and loosen the skins.  When cool enough to handle remove skins and seeds and chop in a medium dice.  Set aside.

Roast the corn: Heat (the same) skillet on the stove top until very hot. Shuck the corn and brush lightly with peanut oil.  Roast ears in the skillet, rotating periodically, until half of the kernels are browned.  When cool enough to handle, slice kernels from cobs and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in (the same) skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until softened.  Remove contents to a bowl and set aside.

Add a thin film of peanut oil to the skillet and sear the zucchini, in a single layer, until golden brown.  Season lightly with sea salt and pepper.  This may take several batches, subject to the size of your skillet.  Remove zucchini to a plate.

Add a thin film of peanut oil to the skillet and sear the yellow squash until golden brown.  Season lightly with sea salt and pepper.  Remove yellow squash to a plate.

When ready to serve, warm the skillet and add all the ingredients.  Toss gently until heated through and serve immediately with chopped fresh cilantro.

Baked Tomatoes Boursin

© Katherine Stetson

For four servings:

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons Boursin Herb Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut a slice from the bottom and top of each tomato.  Make a conical cut to the tomato top, sufficient to hold the cheese.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat and add butter and oil.  When hot, fry both sides of the tomato until lightly caramelized.  Divide cheese amongst the tomatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Souffléed Cheese Grits with Scallion and Bacon

© Katherine Stetson

For four servings:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely minced
  • ½ cup grits
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels and crumble when cool.  Add the scallions and garlic to the bacon drippings and cook until softened.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and add grits.  Stir until thickened.  Pour into a medium bowl and add the butter, grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in the egg yolks when the mixture has cooled, followed by the scallions, garlic and bacon.

Whip the egg whites and Cream of Tartar into firm (but not stiff) peaks.  Stir 1/3 of the mixture into the grits.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and pour into a buttered eight-inch skillet or pie pan.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.  Serve immediately.

Creamed Spinach with Gorgonzola and Frizzled Ham

© Katherine Stetson

One skillet – ten minutes.

This recipe makes one portion and is easily doubled, tripled, etc.  It’s a good idea to serve it with toast points to sop up every last dreg of sauce, otherwise the temptation to lick the plate might prove irresistible!

For each serving:

  • 3 ounces fresh, young spinach, stemmed and rinsed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons crumbled Gorgonzola (or any blue cheese), divided
  • 1 medium slice of roasted ham (or good quality deli ham such as Virginia or Black Forest)
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • toast points, for garnish

In a ten-inch non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add ham and cook until lightly caramelized on both surfaces.  Remove from skillet and set aside on a warm plate.

Wipe skillet clean and add spinach with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly wilted.  Scoop spinach into a colander and let drain.

Again, wipe skillet clean and add cream, 2 teaspoons of cheese and nutmeg.  Bring mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 4-5 minutes until mixture has reduced and thickened slightly.  Return spinach to skillet and stir to combine.  When spinach is heated through, spoon mixture onto a plate with the frizzled ham and toast points.  Crumble remaining teaspoon of cheese over top and serve immediately.

Perfectly Sautéed Mushrooms

© Katherine Stetson

The secret to perfectly sautéed mushrooms is using a skillet big enough to ensure plenty of room for the mushrooms to toss and turn until a golden caramelization is achieved.

  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or cognac (optional)
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • squirt of fresh lemon juice, for garnish (optional)

Slice mushrooms into uniform thickness, about 1/8 inch.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and butter.  When butter has melted and begins to foam, add mushrooms and quickly toss to coat in the butter/olive oil mixture.  Let cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes or until mushrooms take on some color.  Toss and turn mushrooms with a spatula and season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking and when mushrooms reach desired degree of color, add the sherry or cognac and cook until liquid has evaporated.  Serve immediately topped with chopped fresh parsley or a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

Glazed Cipollini Onions

© Katherine Stetson

The flavor of these glazed onions is explosive and perfect alongside grilled meats.

For two-three servings:

  • 8 ounces baby cipollini onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or Balsamic, if you prefer)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add onions and blanch for 4 minutes.  Drain onions and plunge into a bowl of ice water.  Carefully remove stem and root end from onions and peel off outermost layer.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter with honey and vinegar.  Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes.  Remove lid and place skillet in oven and continue cooking for an additional 10-12 minutes or until liquid has reduced to a glaze and onions are tender.  Serve immediately with additional grindings of pepper.

Roasted Ratatouille

© Katherine Stetson

Roasting the vegetables, instead of sautéing them, compounds the flavors for a really superior treatment of this classic vegetable dish from Nice, France.

Leftovers make a delicious frittata or topping for sandwiches.

For four servings:

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ inch half moons
  • 6 ounces sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 onion, cut into ½ inch strips
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated aged cheese (Gouda, parmesan or your favorite)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  To a large sheet pan, add vegetables and herbs (except tomatoes) and toss with the olive oil.  Roast for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned at the edges.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium oven-proof skillet, add can of tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Stir in the reserved roasted vegetables and toss to combine.  Top mixture with grated cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Roasted Asparagus

© Katherine Stetson

The very best cooking method for asparagus!

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To trim asparagus, bend each stalk gently until it breaks.  Discard root ends or reserve for soup stock.  Rinse asparagus under running water and place in an 8” by 8” baking pan.  Add olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.  Roast for 5 minutes and then toss the asparagus in the pan to evenly coat with the seasonings.  Continue roasting for approximately 15 minutes, subject to thickness of asparagus and remove from oven.  Serve immediately.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.