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Recipe: Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Broccoli Rabe

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This recipe is so satisfying that before you’ve even finished cleaning your plate, you’ll be adding it to your repertoire of quick, easy and fulfilling weeknight meals. Preparing a mise en place — the French phrase for prepping everything you need for a recipe — will set you up for success by having all of the ingredients ready to go. Sautéing the broccoli rabe is arguably the best part of this recipe because it turns a mesmerizing bright green and comes to life before your eyes. That medium-high heat is a magical thing!

When it came time for us to share the meal we created, it was evident from the silence and facial expressions that the broccoli rabe’s commanding bitterness challenged some of our teen’s taste buds. This opened up the age-old discussion of how our taste buds are always changing. One of the best things about cooking is that it gives us a space to try new things.

Pasta with Homemade Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Serves 6

1 lb pasta
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground chicken
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth, maybe more
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes

1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box (al dente). Drain and reserve ½ cup pasta water.

2. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, parsley, fennel, and oregano. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and, when it shimmers, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add chicken mixture and sauté for about 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and continue to cook until broccoli turns a bright green. Add pasta and ½ cup of chicken broth, or more if necessary. If the pasta sauce needs thickening, add some reserved pasta water and simmer. Serve immediately with Parmesan.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/13/17 at 04:16 PM • Permalink

Recipe: The Ultimate Double Chocolate Chip Cookie

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

I wrote this week’s article for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to memorialize the best chocolate chip cookie recipe on earth. That’s saying a lot. And I mean it. For years I have tinkered and tailored recipes to come up with my version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie: thin with lacey and crispy edges, a soft gooey center, studded with extra chocolately chocolate chips, overflowing with chocolate flavor and with a definitive crunch from a spattering of nuts. This quest of mine proved to be some version of the Holy Grail. For all of my trying I never got it right. The famous Toll House cookie is too cakey and fat. Other versions combined different fats and did not deliver the rich buttery taste I also crave. And finally, most chocolate chips are not chocolatey enough for me.

And then, last week, I made a determination that this was it — I was going to master a chocolate chip cookie recipe that would put Tate’s to shame (for a packaged cookie, theirs are pretty good). And I am happy to report, I was not only successful, but I would award myself a big fat gold star! Now I just have to figure out when the next cookie contest is so I can unveil this little beauty to a panel of discriminating judges (and I hope they are kids)! So here it is, folks. Take two of these with a glass of milk and call me in the morning.

Lisa’s Lacey Gooey Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

1 cup all purpose baking flour
1 ½ cups oat flour (2 ½ cups oatmeal finely ground in the food processor)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Maldon salt flakes
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup white sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
11.5 oz. (1 bag) Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Premium Baking Chips
1 cup chopped pecans

1. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.

2 In another mixing bowl beat butter and sugars until creamy.

3. Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and beat well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla to wet mixture.

5. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well combined. Turn in chocolate chips and mix with a spoon. Then add the nuts and mix again.

6. Drop by 2 tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet giving ample space between them as they will flatten when they cook. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until done. Cookies should look crispy on the edges and soft in the center.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/07/17 at 02:41 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Butternut Squash Minestrone

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Madeleine Fischer, program coordinator at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This fresh yet hearty take on the classic Italian minestrone is tough to beat when looking for a recipe that simultaneously reminds us of summer days gone by and welcomes the change that fall has to offer. And its versatility allows us to use whatever is in season. This worked out well for us during the mysterious and unpredictable warm and cold days with students from Ichabod Crane.

Minestrone is an ideal soup in which to play around with spice and vegetable combinations. For our recipe, the bounty of butternut squash, waiting patiently to be featured, was a necessary addition. When simmered in the minestrone broth, it took on a whole new persona that is melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Trustworthy kale, by our side all season, was our green of choice. Cabbage, Swiss chard, or any hearty green can be substituted. As our own twist, we used the last of our cherry tomatoes in lieu of canned. Macaroni is conveniently cooked in the broth and cannellini beans round out the soup, making it a complete meal. Topped off with oregano and Parmesan cheese, a familiar and beloved combination, all parties left content.

Butternut Squash Minestrone
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups butternut squash, cut into ½- inch cubes
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup dried macaroni
1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 T fresh oregano, minced
Salt
Pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan

1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onions, sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, sauté until fragrant. Add butternut squash, sauté for another 2 minutes.

2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and reduce heat to simmer, cook 7-8 minutes, add tomatoes. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add beans.

3. Add Swiss chard and oregano. Stir in until it wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/31/17 at 05:23 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Fougasse: The Bread Of Friendship

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

It is that time of year: the holidays are just about upon us and endless entertaining is in sight, which translates to hours in the kitchen. No doubt cooking is laborious, but it is also a supreme act of generosity and creates an atmosphere where people can truly connect. Ergo, I am not only an enthusiastic party giver but also an appreciative guest. Every time an invitation arrives inviting me to dine I am over the moon. Entertaining doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to come from the heart. The moment they’ve arrived, guests can feel the amount of love and care that has gone into whatever meal you’ve prepared and table you’ve set. This makes them feel special, and enables us to take the time to enjoy each other. 

So now that you’re contemplating your multi-starred holiday menu, don’t settle for dinner rolls at your table. Instead put a little elbow grease into the bread and make the deeply presentable fougasse. Fougasse is a Provençal flatbread that dates back to ancient Rome and is a cousin to its Italian counterpart, focaccia. I have adapted several recipes over the years and choose to stuff mine with olives, dried fruits, nuts and cheese or — for a sweeter version that is germane to Monaco — nuts, citrus and sugar. Either way, I roll the dough into a large leaf shape and slash it in three places to deepen the effect before sprinkling with sea salt and additional herbs, and then baking. The concept of bringing the bread to the table whole is that each person tears a piece and offers the fougasse to his or her companion, and so on. It’s a casual and convivial custom that harkens back centuries. 

Here is a basic recipe for fougasse. Let your imagination run wild and add ingredients that appeal to you.

Fougasse
Yields 2 loaves

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/3 cups water heated to 115°F
4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing loaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup roasted walnut pieces
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/3 cup Niçoise olives, pitted and chopped
Sea salt to taste
1 tsp. herbes de Provence

1. In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and water; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, and kosher salt and mix until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes. Or mix dough in a stand mixer and then switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. Shape into a ball and moisten with a little olive oil; cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½ hours.

2. Heat oven to 500°F. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a rough 8x10-inch rectangle. Mound half the walnuts, cheese and olives in the center. Fold the sides over the filling until you’ve made an envelope. Carefully re-roll, evenly distributing filling until the dough resembles a large leaf roughly 10x12 inches.

3. Transfer the leaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut a single slash down the middle of the bread and two additional slashes, slightly angled, on the sides.  Spread slashes apart with your fingers. Cover with a damp towel; let rest until puffed, about 30 minutes. Lightly brush the loaf with olive oil; sprinkle generously with sea salt and herbes de Provence. Put the baking sheet in the oven and carefully toss several handfuls of water on the bottom of the oven to create steam and then close the door. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/24/17 at 03:07 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Vegetable Ajiaco

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

Ajiaco is a flavorful potato and corn soup that originates from Colombia, where it is traditionally made with chicken and a variety of potatoes. The starch from the potatoes add a naturally light creaminess reminiscent of whipped mashed potatoes — decadent but not over the top. It is the perfect one-pot meal for the autumn harvest, making delicious use of the end-of-season sweet corn, peppers, potatoes, carrots and fresh herbs. We made this soup on a chilly fall morning with a group of middle school students from Catskill. They devoured the entire pot.

Vegetable Ajiaco
Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 bell peppers, diced
8 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
4 bay leaves
8 potatoes, mixed variety such as red, Yukon and russet, diced (3-4 lbs)
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 ears of fresh corn cut into 2-3 pieces, or kernels if preferred
3 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Recommended garnishes:
Vegan sour cream (about 3/4 cup)
2-3 avocados, peeled, halved and sliced (squeeze lime on them to prevent browning)

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, peppers and carrots, sauté for 2-3 minutes.

2. Turn up the heat to high and add vegetable broth, ⅔ of the potatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Once the soup starts to boil, put heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer, and cover pot partially with a lid. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to break down.

3. Using a fork, mash some potato pieces against the side of the pot. This helps thicken the soup and create a stew-like consistency.

4. Add remainder of potatoes, corn, green onion, parsley, and cilantro. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and corn is cooked. Mash a few more potatoes, if preferred.

5. Check for seasoning and add more if needed. Remove bay leaves. While soup is finishing up, start preparing your selected garnishes.

6. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Serve hot with sour cream and avocado slices, if desired.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/17/17 at 02:45 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Stewed Cannelinis With Pancetta And Swiss Chard

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

I love cannellinis beans. Whether they are served as part of a light salad with a lemon vinaigrette, fresh Italian parsley and grilled shrimp or part of a hearty wintry stew or soup, they are a key ingredient in this chef’s definition of “comfort food.”

I adapted this recipe from October 2013 Food & Wine. The end result was as sophisticated as a cassoulet without the same amount of preparation and ingredients. I served it for a casual dinner party from the Dutch oven in which it was prepared and I think everyone enjoyed serving seconds from a ceramic ladle on their own. 

So this weekend as the weather cools and the leaves fall, serve this Italian dish family style and be grateful for the change of seasons that make meals like this so welcomed. 

Stewed Cannelini Bean with Pancetta and Swiss Chard
Yield: 4-6 servings

2 cups dried cannellini beans (3/4 lb., soaked overnight and drained)
1 head Swiss chard chiffonade (stalks discarded)
1 small onion halved
1 large onion finely chopped
Sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lb. pancetta cut into small cubes (lardon in French)
4 garlic cloves slivered
6 hot dried red chiles
1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp. finely chopped sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 C. Marsala wine
1 28 oz. canned Italian tomatoes, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese, extra olive oil and fresh cracked pepper to finish. 


1. In a large Dutch oven (enamel Le Creuset, for example) cover the beans and halved onion with water. Salt generously. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer over low heat until tender, about an hour. Taste. Continue cooking if they are too al dente. When finished, drain the beans, set aside and reserve the cooking broth. You will need it later to thin the stew.

2. In the same pot, add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until a nice crisp cube has formed. Set the lardon aside but leave the fat in the pot. Add the olive oil. Heat and add the onions. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic. Cook for two minutes. Add the rosemary and sage and cook until fragrant, one minute. Toss in the thyme, a teaspoon of sea salt and the pancetta. Stir to combine. Toss in the Swiss chard. Allow to wilt with a couple of turns of the spoon. Add the Marsala. Allow it to bubble to cook off the alcohol, three minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes to incorporate. And then add the beans and the dried chiles.  Salt to taste. Now add enough reserved cooking liquid so sauce just covers beans. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes until a rich and thick stew has formed. If the beans are too thick simply add a little more of the cooking liquid.

3. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Serve in low, wide bowls.  Dust with freshly grated parmesan, pour a tablespoon of olive oil in the center and pass the pepper grinder. 

 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/10/17 at 02:16 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Butternut Squash And Bean Chili

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

The weather has been…all over the place. On the farm, a single day may necessitate shorts and a tank top and a sweater plus vest plus hats plus gloves. My corner of the office is beginning to look like a confused hamper. The primary question I’m getting to with all of this is, of course, what do we eat?! The arrival of Junetember these past few weeks has thrown a wrench into our objective at the Sylvia Center to eat seasonally. Our fall crops are ready, but we still crave ice cream and corn.

Luckily, we have this Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili recipe in our back pocket for days just like these. Squash and chili are two words that resonate deeply with the part of our brain yearning for flannels, fall leaves, and thick socks. Yet, the addition of fresh corn, tomatoes, and cilantro satisfies the part of us still clutching to bare feet and shoulders. Trust me, this stuff is gold. If you don’t take my word, trust the throng of first graders who cleared our rondeau completely clean last week — on a 90-degree day, no less.

Butternut Squash and Bean Chili
Serves 4

1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, minced
1 small butternut squash, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice, or 4 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney or black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, sauté onions, bell pepper, garlic, butternut squash and chipotle in adobo in oil until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

2, Add chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. Add tomatoes with juice and vegetable broth and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

4. Stir in beans and corn and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add more broth if necessary.

5. Stir in cilantro. Serve on its own or over brown rice or with fresh corn bread.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 10/02/17 at 04:09 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

When was the last time you made a pineapple upside down cake? Some of you may answer, “never” while many will agree it’s too far back to remember. I confess that the last time I made a pineapple down cake was in my childhood and I am quite sure it relied on cake mix, canned pineapple and maraschino cherries for “color,” as my mom would often suggest.

The idea came to me recently as I carved a fresh pineapple and exalted in the ridiculously delicious fruit. I make apple tart tatin on a regular basis so I thought, why does its American cousin get such a bad rap as an outdated dessert banished from the dessert menu? They are essentially the same concept: caramelized fruit encrusted with pastry, baked in a cast iron skillet (essential) and dramatically flipped, revealing a beautiful geometric cluster of fruit on top and pastry beneath. Plated with a dollop of whipped cream, few desserts are so deeply satisfying. So I set out to make an updated version of pineapple upside down cake with fresh fruit and a flavorful cake. 

The result was perfect and I was so pleased with the recipe that it’s been added to my favorite dessert recipes. The key to the recipe was the addition of freshly ground cardamom. It gave the cake an exotic flavor I had never experienced before. In fact, even without the pineapple component, this cake is so heavenly, it stands alone as wonderful companion to an afternoon tea or Sunday brunch. So find your mortar and pestle and go the extra step of grinding your own cardamom seeds (just don’t forget to separate the shells from the spice). And don’t forget to whip some fresh cream to go on top. No insult to Betty Crocker, but her cake never tasted or looked this good.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Serves 8-10

For topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Special equipment:
A well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make batter: Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating until batter is smooth and ribbony.

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and drop cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together).

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/26/17 at 10:32 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Rustic Summer Ratatouille

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

My initial introduction to the percussive sounding French vegetable dish ratatouille was the Disney movie. Remy, the French rat chef extraordinaire with his kaleidoscope of spiraled colorful summer vegetables, impressed the most haughty Parisian restaurant clientele. I fell in love with the real ratatouille in France, and my affair with the dish far exceeded any of my previous conceptions of romance abroad. It was infinitely more satisfying. Ratatouille has long been entrenched in Provençal summer cuisine and it’s the French equivalent of corn on the cob – iconic, rustic gastronomy.

Simply, ratatouille is a stew of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. Using herbs, the vegetables are renewed and redefined. They cease to exist independently and transform into one melded ragout that nonchalantly calls to your tastebuds, “c’est moi, I am summer.” Chefs around the world have developed ratatouille to meld to the desires of the palate of their region. In fact, unlike most French cuisine, ratatouille does not have a set recipe or precise technique. Ratouiller means to stir up, but some iterations, like the iconic aforementioned Disney kaleidoscope, don’t even necessitate that.

The Sylvia Center’s version is cooked in a big rondeau accompanied by a pot of rice. It is rich with thyme, oregano and basil while featuring all the ingredients we find ourselves swimming with this time of year: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes. Serve over rice or with a crunchy piece of baguette!

Rustic Summer Ratatouille
Serves 4

1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

1. In a colander, salt the eggplant and place over a bowl or in the sink. This will help the eggplant release some water. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

2. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add olive oil. When it shimmers, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute until fragrant, another 2 minutes.

3. Add eggplant and saute until the eggplant begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Add peppers and zucchini and continue cooking until the vegetables are bright and soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, oregano and salt and let the vegetable mixture simmer until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.

4. Serve immediately over rice. This dish is also great the next day.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 09/18/17 at 03:22 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Deconstructed Rib-in Pork Roast

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

Last Saturday night I was supposed to make Jose Andres’ “Pork Roast with Fruit, Nut and Sausage Stuffing” — “supposed” being the operative word. Once I arrived at my client’s there was a change of plans. Apparently no one likes fruit paired with meats, a cooking methodology I worship. The rib-in pork roast, which should have been Frenched, exposing the ribs with a single chop per person, was laden with a fat back I had to cut away but there wasn’t the time nor the interest in Frenching the bone since there was only one roast for 9 people and 4 ribs in total. Now I was seriously vexed. I had a bone-in roast which was not going to be carved along the rib for single portions so stuffing it according to the recipe was also out of the question. What to do? 

I cut away some of the fat back and realized I could carve thin slices from this side before I hit the bone beneath. This was not going to give me the presentation I desired, but at least part of the problem was solved. Now for the recipe. The list of ingredients had winnowed down to pork roast and sausage. So I thought: a classic mirepoix in the bottom of the pan with the addition of garlic. Marsala, always a good idea with pork. And beef stock. Plus a handful of fresh rosemary, marjoram and chervil. (If you can’t find chervil, use Italian parsley and if there’s no fresh marjoram in the market, substitute thyme). I sautéed the carrots, onions, celery and garlic quickly, then added the sausage and partially cooked it. All of this went in a shallow roaster. I created a space in the center for the bed of herbs, then placed the roast on top of the herbs, fat side up. I massaged the roast with olive oil and created a fine crust of salt and pepper. Then I added broth and Marsala and placed it in a very hot oven on convection roast. An hour later the roast came out and I was able to carve away some servings for the juicy meat addicts and then put the remaining roast back in the oven for five minutes to finish off the cooking process. 

When it was time to serve, I did absolutely nothing to the “gravy.” It was superb. I simply removed the herbs and heated it up when it was time to plate. This is now one of my favorite ways to serve pork. My amendment to the recipe is: skip the bone-in roast and get a boneless pork roast, but see if you can get a good slab of fat on top because I am convinced that added an enormous amount of flavor to the final dish. And the next time the recipe you’re planning to follow doesn’t pan out for some reason, be creative, trust your instincts and remember, if it tastes good, no one will care anyway. 

Roast Pork with Sausage, Mirepoix and Marsala Gravy
Serves 8-10

1 5-lb. boneless pork roast with an inch of fat
4 cloves garlic minced
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 stalks celery thinly sliced
1 medium onion diced
8 oz. Italian sausage removed from the casing
4 tbs. olive oil
3 cups beef stock
1 cup Marsala
1/3 cup roasted pine nuts
4 stalks fresh rosemary
Handful of fresh chervil/thyme/marjoram/Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees convection bake. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a sauté pan. Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic for 4 minutes until wilted and translucent. Add raw sausage removed from the casing. Sauté for 4 additional minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a shallow roasting pan add the sautéed vegetables and sausage.Clear a center space for the fresh herb bed. Place the roast on top. Rub with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Salt and pepper liberally. Pour 2 cups broth and all of the Marsala around the pan. Place in the hot oven. Thirty minutes into cooking time, turn the pan and add the remaining cup of broth and some water if needed. After an hour insert a thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 140 degrees. 

Let roast 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, remove herbs from pan and reheat and reduce slightly on stovetop. Slice in ½-inch medallions. Serve on a bed of whipped potatoes. Ladle gravy over all.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 09/11/17 at 08:15 PM • Permalink