Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Savoy Cabbage

I love savoy cabbage. Think slaw, or braises, or stuffed leaves. Let’s focus on the latter though. How about quinoa, feta and shiitake stuffed cabbage leaves?

Savoy Cabbage Bundles stuffed with Quinoa, shiitakes and feta

8 large outer leaves of savoy cabbage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups julienned shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cubed feta
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt.
Blanche the cabbage leaves for about two minutes until flexible/ pliable.  Cool by plunging into a big bowl of ice water.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shiitakes and cook until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add the vinegar and the butter. Cook for three minutes. Remove from pan and place in a mixing bowl.

To the shitakes add the quinoa, feta, mint and oregano. Stir to combine.  Season with remaining salt.

Place each leaf of cabbage on a cutting board and cut the thick core center of each leaf away with a thin V cut. Scoop about ¾ cup of filling into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold over bottom upwards, left side inwards and right side inwards. Roll up like a burrito. Place on a steamer insert (like those bamboo ones sold at Fook’s Foods on Baxter: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHOPS. That said if you pulled some Peking Duck meat from a pre-ordered Peking Duck from Fook’s that would rule in this preparation. ).

Steam the bundles until warmed through. Serve over some romesco sauce. Yum. And healthy. Quinoa rules when it comes to protein without meat.

Oh, here’s a quick Romesco recipe:

4 cloves roasted garlic
 ¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 roasted roma tomatoes
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
pinch salt

Combine all in food processor and puree until just smooth, leaving a little texture still in the sauce. This will keep for a week or so.


Combine arugula with some caramelized shallots, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and some shaved goat cheese, something like Pecan Chevre from Sweetgrass Dairy. Dress with some simple vinaigrette


Blueberries are one of those treats that most people devour by the handful long before any inclination of pickling but it will be nice to use them past the season in a different form other than frozen. Pickled Blueberries are awesome served with goat cheese, brie or poured over grilled duck. Also great with desserts like crème brulee or ice cream but can also be an interesting salad element.

Pickled Blueberries
1 Quart washed and patted dry blue berries
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup real maple syrup
Zest of ½ lemon
1 small star anise (removed immediately after boiling)

Bring the vinegar, maple syrup, lemon zest, and star anise solution up to a light simmer. Remove the star anise and pour the solution over the clean and dried blueberries. Allow to sit and cool for at least two days before using.

Tricolored Filet Beans

Also known as wax beans, they always seem to baffle us when we blanch and shock them in the restaurant. The three colors are yellow, purple, and green when raw, and after we blanch them quickly the purple ones have mysteriously gone green, strange but delicious and versatile none the less.

Blanching these beans is a key first step. So here are some things to keep in mind when blanching. First, use a large pot that can fit a gallon or more of water with room at the top to spare. Next, salt the water generously and bring it to a rolling boil. Third, have a mesh spider strainer and an icy water bath very close. Lastly, never put so many beans into the salty boiling water that it stops the boil. Submerge the beans in the boiling water in small batches for only a minute. Immediately pull them out of the boiling water and shock them in the icy water bath. This gently softens the beans, stops the cooking, and brings out the bright color of these beans. From this point gently pat them dry and store them sealed in the refrigerator.

Great uses for these beans include simple bean gratin with Parmesan and bread crumbs, bean salad with olives and simple vinaigrette, or poached off lightly in a beurre monte butter bath.

Filet Bean and Olive Salad
1 Quart blanched filet beans (cut in half long ways)
¼ cup sliced olives (whatever type you like)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white or Champagne vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Reserve the filet beans and olives in a bowl until just before serving. In a separate bowl, mix the Dijon, thyme, paprika, shallot lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and salt together creating a vinaigrette. Just before serving toss the beans and olives with the vinaigrette to coat evenly. Serve cool or room temperature.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes are a nice midway point between the starchy and waxy potato extremes. They make exceptionally smooth and delicious pureed potatoes but are starchy enough to turn nice and golden brown when roasted with olive oil. The skin is tasty left on in the roasting application but would be best removed in the puree for the sake of being nice and smooth.  For these potatoes, you can follow the roasted potato recipe from last week, (click here) just make sure to chop them up nicely. Or if you want to take it to the next level, try pureeing them! Click HERE for a pureed potato recipe adapted from Joël Robuchon’s, he is the master of the potato puree.  

Lacinato Kale

This kale is really beautiful stuff. As a child my first exposure to kale was the ruffled raw garnish application which has thankfully gone out of style. This kale has deep green flat leaves which taste nutty when quickly seared. The low moisture content of the leaves requires a quick but vigilant cooking to ensure that the leaves don’t burn. These greens are best seared off in a hot skillet with a little olive oil in small batches stirred continuously to prevent burning. At the restaurant we often finish kale (right after pulling it off of the heat) with a small pat of butter and a splash of sherry vinegar to balance the rich nutty flavor or the seared greens.


Basil is one of the most versatile herbs. The one rule of thumb when dealing with leafy herbs like basil is to not cook it too much if at all. Basil tends to lose a lot of its delicate flavor characteristics when cooked too much. Celia’s basil is an ingredient that has limitless uses. The leaves are exceptionally delicate which makes them great mixed in raw to any salad. This basil can be used in a summer tomato confit salad, toasted pecan pesto, pasta dishes, infused in olive oil, or even ice cream or sorbets.   


Peel some tomatoes, chop them up and combine them in a sauté pan with some shrimp, bay leaves, olive oil and minced garlic. Cook until the shrimp are done and then add some butter and smoked paprika. Season with salt. Serve over grits…. Cooked ones. Served over raw grits would be weird. It’s a ten minute dinner. Accompany with a nice arugula salad.

Sweet Onion and sage tart

Make a savory tart with eggs, caramelized onions and fresh sage. Maybe a little chopped anchovies and flat leaf parsley. The thing about a tart like this is it can be a starter at dinner with a little salad on top, and a room temp lunch the following day.  Lovely.  Just make a simple savory pie crust, rest well, and combine a touch of cream with beaten eggs, caramelized onions and fresh sage in the shell. Bake at 375 until the egg is just set. Let cool before cutting. 
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