Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Friday, April 20, 2018
 
Search Archives:
Newsletters Signup
Close it
Get The New App!


Newsletters Signup
Close it

RI Archives: Food

View past Recipe articles.

View all past Food articles.


RI on Facebook    RI on Instagram       

Berkshire Coop

Guido's Marketplace

MSH-RLI

RACE BROOK LODGE

Recipe: Smoky Black Bean Beet Burgers

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to 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 recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

These smoky black bean beet burgers feature beans, quinoa, mushrooms and beets that, together, create an extremely satisfying dish. Protein is usually the “star” of any dish, and often times we find protein in the form of meat, eggs or dairy, but there’s a whole world of plant-based proteins that are equally as delicious and satisfying.

These burgers have a hint of smokiness from the paprika. The smoked paprika is crucial to pulling the flavors together in these patties. We paired our burgers with a purple cabbage slaw for a nice crunch and topped them with pea shoots and a spicy ketchup. Burgers of any kind are always fun to make in a group because no matter the age or size of the crowd, everyone can customize them with cheese, condiments and other fixins! 

Smoky Black Bean Beet Burgers
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker)
Makes 8-9 patties

1/2 large red onion, finely diced (~3/4 cup)
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (shitake, baby bella, or white button)
Generous pinch each salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, well rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely grated raw beet
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
½ cup bread crumbs


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil.

2. Once hot, add the onion and sauté, seasoning with a pinch each salt and pepper.

3. When the onions are soft (about 5 minutes) turn up the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms and onions are slightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add black beans and mash. You’re looking for a rough mash, so you can leave a bit of texture if you want.

5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the quinoa, beets, spices and stir.

6. Lastly, add the breadcrumbs a little at a time until the mixture is able enough to form into patties. Set in the fridge to chill while your oven pre-heats to 375 degrees.

7. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil. Form mixture into roughly 8-9 patties.

8. Arrange burgers on a baking sheet and brush or spray the tops with olive oil. Bake at 375 for a total of 30-45 minutes, gently flipping at the halfway mark. Cook longer to dry them out even more and achieve more crisp, but it’s not necessary.

9. Serve on small buns or atop mixed greens with desired toppings.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/16/18 at 10:02 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding, Which Isn’t Pudding At All

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Once upon a time I was the producing partner of the actress Minnie Driver, our company was called Two Drivers. She is British, I am not, but we shared many British sensibilities including our love of British novelists and sticky toffee pudding. (It always comes down to food.) During the several years we worked together, I became a self-ascribed Anglophile and, among many other Britishy affectations I adopted, I learned that “pudding” is how a proper Englishman refers to dessert. Sticky toffee pudding is actually a moist date cake smothered in rich buttery toffee sauce and is nothing akin to an American version of pudding. It is about a million times better, in fact. So after years of eating sticky toffee pudding whilst (another one of my favorite words) traveling to London for work, I took it upon myself to bake the dessert and then perfect the end result.

This is it. And you don’t have to be in love with anything British to fall madly in love with this gorgeously rich dessert. Plus, it’s super easy. The most complicated part is getting the toffee right, so go slow and steady and you’ll hit the sweet spot of making toffee. I choose to soak the cake in the toffee and save a little sauce for later when I plate the dessert. Served warm with a big dollop of whipped cream, it’s heaven on the palate. Once you polish off a serving of this “pudding,” you might find yourself thinking: that was bloody well delicious!

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Serves 6

Pudding:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Sauce:
1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Special equipment: A 6-cup cake pan or 6 one-cup Bundt pan molds

For pudding:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour cake pan(s). Bring dates and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside; let cool.

2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture. Pour batter into mold.

3. Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pudding onto rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

For sauce:
1. Bring sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently before using.

2. Place cake on a plate and pierce with a wooden skewer in several places. Slowly pour half of the sauce over cake making sure it evenly coats cake and soaks into the holes. Allow to sit for at least one hour.

3. Cut cake into wedges. Serve with warmed extra sauce and whipped or ice cream.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 04/10/18 at 01:26 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Classic Hummus

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to 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 recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

We often ask teens and families what they do when they are hungry for a snack. Answers range from cooking something creative, searching for whatever is edible in the fridge, or buying something convenient. This simple recipe for classic hummus dip eliminates all hesitation when it comes to answering that question. It’s great to have on hand when hunger hits, or when a meal needs a little something extra. As a snack, it can be paired with raw veggies or spread on a slice of pita, bread or crackers. Let it be a tasty topping on a sandwich, grilled chicken or burger. It can also serve as the base for a nutty dressing for pasta salad or salad greens. Just thin it out with more water and oil, then season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Try making a big batch to have in the fridge and use it throughout the week. All the tummies and taste buds in your household will thank you!

Classic Hummus
Serves 6 as side

1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water, as necessary
1/2 t cumin
Sesame seeds or other nut/seed of your choice

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired creaminess. Add water to make a thinner hummus. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper and sesame seeds, if desired.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 04/02/18 at 04:19 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad With Pancetta Lardon

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

This may seem like a “meh” recipe due to its truncated length, but there’s a good reason: this recipe writer is at large pursuing her other job as a Hollywood screenwriter and presently in Los Angeles. And since we’re on the topic I am happy to share that my first meeting was with a smart, beautiful and fierce actress at the enviably gorgeous Soho House Malibu where said actress expressed her commitment to this writer’s semi-autobiographical half-hour series entitled “Totally Together and Completely Insecure.” The show is about a Manhattan-based private chef. Sounds vaguely familiar…

I am also here meeting on an adaptation of a book entitled “Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z” and I’m booked solid so had to dream up something quick, relevant and delicious for Rural Intelligence this week. Here it is — my shaved Brussels sprout salad.

The key to making this salad is shaving the Brussels sprouts so they are fluffy enough to pile into a light and presentable mound. If you’ve got great knife skills, have at it. If not, best to pull out your food processor, make the necessary changes to your attachments and let the machine do all the work. You can also use a mandoline but that is even trickier and could cost you a few layers of your fingertips. The goal is to end up with a bowl of soft flaky sprouts. The rest is easy and the extra work you’ll put into getting this right makes all the difference with the salad as texture translates to taste.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pancetta Lardon
Serves 6

1 lb. Brussels sprouts rinsed, dried and shaved
1/4 lb. pancetta cut into tiny cubes and sauteed until crunchy. Drain on a paper towel.
3 heads baby gems chiffonade (these are the teeny romaine)
Or: 1 head romaine chiffonade
4 oz. baby arugula (if you can’t find super fine baby arugula use micro greens; regular arugula is too tough)
2 oz. pine nuts roasted until golden (use a skilled on a medium heat and toss until golden and aromatic)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

For the dressing:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Salt and pepper

Place Dijon, vinegar and molasses in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and a few cracks of freshly ground pepper. Pour half over salad and gently toss until coated. Taste. Add dressing a little at a time if you desire more. You do not want to overdress this salad and the extra will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Plate by creating a tall mound. It’s nice to dive into.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 03/27/18 at 01:22 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Tuscan Kale And White Bean Pasta

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to 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 recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

This recipe for kale and white bean pasta is always very popular among The Sylvia Center’s cooking class participants, though most have never tried kale, beans and pasta together before making it in our class. Because of its popularity among all ages, we often choose to make it for our first class whether it’s with teens or youth and their parents. A big reason we love this dish is its versatility. Come springtime, we swap the kale and beans for asparagus and peas, and when late summer hits, it’s tomatoes and corn. Whatever the season, this recipe is meant to showcase the ingredients we have on hand. Be sure to reserve some pasta water to create a saucier consistency in step three, if needed.

We made this last week with our teen class participants and they cleaned their plates. The teens decided to make two batches — one with more red pepper flakes and lemon, and the other saucier and with more parmesan. As we sat down to share our meal, the dish inspired conversation around the three macronutrients that our bodies need — carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This is why we love teaching young people and families about food! The hands-on experiences facilitate discussion and action around what we are eating, why we are eating it and how to prepare it in a simple and delicious way.

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Pasta
Serves 6-8

1 bunch of kale, chopped coarsely
1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
Olive 0il
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lemon
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb whole wheat pasta

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
2. While pasta is cooking, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onions and pinch of cayenne pepper and saute until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
3. Add kale and saute until soft, but still bright green. Add white beans and then the pasta and reserved pasta water. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and grated parmesan.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 03/20/18 at 10:55 AM • Permalink

Recipe: A Sunny Lemon Tart To Herald Spring

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Shall I state the obvious? I am super sick of this weather. We lost power last week and burned fires around the clock to keep the house from freezing…until my cat decided that the best way to keep warm was to crawl inside the fireplace near the burning embers.

Then I got sick. Of course. 

But that is hopefully behind us, with only one more storm on the forecast. I, for one, am so excited for spring that I decided to jump the gun and make one of my favorite spring/summer desserts for a client’s dinner party tomorrow night. I know it’s not very chef-like of me, but I’m tired of chocolate everything and warm everything. Now I want to plate a burst of yellow curd on a sweet and buttery crust with some delightful blueberries for contrast. 

I’m sharing this recipe in the event you, too, are in a celebratory mood and want something special for dessert on the official spring equinox. As with most of my recipes, this is by far the best lemon tart I’ve ever made; it required a lot of tinkering with the ingredients before achieving just the right mix of sweet and sour, with a satiny texture that’ll melt in your mouth. Here’s to spring, warmer days, blue skies and loads of sunshine overhead.

Sunny Lemon Tart
Serves 10

For the crust:
1 stick cold butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 egg yolk
Pinch salt
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

For the curd:
3/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
3 Meyer lemons, zested
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 eggs
Pinch salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons

For the garnish:
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Special equipment: 1 pound dried beans, 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the dough:
Put the butter, sugar, flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy consistency, or what I like to call the “Parmesan cheese” stage. Add half of the water and pulse the food processor 2 to 3 times. The dough should start to come together; add the remaining water if needed. Check the consistency of the dough by clenching a small handful in your fist. If the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. If not, pulse the dough with a little more water. When the dough has reached the proper consistency, dump it out on a clean work surface. Using the heel of your hand, shmear the dough straight forward and roll it back with your fingertips. Repeat this process 1 to 2 more times, dust with flour if needed. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness. Lay the dough in the tart pan. Push the dough into the sides of the tart pan by rolling a small scrap of dough into a ball and pushing it into the dough. Roll over the top edge of the tart pan with the rolling pin to cut the extra dough from the pan and create a crisp edge. Cover the dough with aluminum foil and gently poke the foil into the side edges to fit the pan. This will help to keep the sides of the tart tall and straight as it cooks. Fill the tart shell, put the dried beans on top of the foil and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the foil and beans and bake for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. The dough should be golden and crisp.

For the curd:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs and salt and whisk to a homogeneous consistency. Place in saucepan and bring to a medium heat. Cook, whisking, constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, 2 pats at a time until it’s incorporated and has a silky consistency.

Pour the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell and bake in the preheated oven until the lemon curd has set, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

To garnish: In a small bowl, mix together blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Serve alongside tart slices.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 03/12/18 at 04:06 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Butternut Squash And Turkey Chili

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to 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 recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

It’s that time of year when one day is so sunny and temperate that you’re convinced spring has arrived, and then you wake up the next day to a snow-blanketed world brought on by a Nor’easter. When young people visit the farm, we teach them that these changes in weather are cues that give us insight (by way of food cravings) into what can be healing in cold weather months. We want everyone to be able to recognize those signals and have the skills and confidence to decide what to eat, depending on the season.

We keep this recipe for Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili on hand for days when we need something warm. After making a base of turkey, butternut squash, beans and warming spices (cumin, oregano and chili powder), you can adjust the optional items. Add heartiness with cheese, sour cream and avocado. Use spinach, cilantro, lime and scallions to add freshness and color. The end result? Brothy and light meets hearty and warm. If we can’t depend on the weather from one day to the next, at least we’ll be eating well!

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
Serves 6-8

1-2 cups brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey meat, white and dark combined
1 small butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 large red bell pepper, cored, de-seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, small dice
1 jalapeño pepper, cored, deveined and finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth, fresh or canned
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(2) 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained

Optional additions for serving:
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4-5 scallions, chopped
1 lime, sliced 8 ways for squeezing
2-3 avocados, sliced
½ pound spinach, fresh or frozen

1. Prepare brown rice according to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over high heat in a large heavy pot and add the turkey meat. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, chopping down and stirring with the side of a heavy kitchen spoon to break up any lumps.

3. Add butternut squash and sauté for another 3 minutes.

4. Add the onions, garlic, pepper, celery, carrot, jalapeño pepper, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin. Stir to blend well. Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

6. Add the drained beans and frozen spinach (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes longer.

7. Serve over brown rice in bowls with any combination of optional additions, if desired.

Rural Intelligence needs your help. Unlike other websites, we haven’t put up a paywall, but the expenses involved in publishing RI can’t be met by advertising alone. We are asking readers to step up to the plate so we can continue to cover the people, places and events that make our region so special. We need 1,500 readers to contribute or we will cease publishing at the end of March. Please click here to become a supporter now.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 03/05/18 at 11:35 AM • Permalink

What’s Better Than Cheese and Crackers?  Spicy-Cheesy Crackers

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Cheese and crackers are the perfect cocktail food. And the only thing better in my book are crispy, buttery, spicy cheese crackers. They melt in your mouth, look impressive on a serving tray and people will think you are a mad baker. The truth is, they are super easy to make and travel well so they double as the perfect hostess gift tucked into a decorative tin on a nest of colorful tissue. My only cautionary note is that once you start making these, it’s hard to stop and even harder to stop eating them. They are that good. Enjoy. 

Spicy-Cheesy Crackers
Yield: 3 dozen

10 ounces Gruyere or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (almost 3 cups)
¾ cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like extra spicy)
A few shakes of garlic powder (optional)
1½ cups all-purpose flour

1. Place cheese and butter in a food processor and pulse until completely blended.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a dough comes together.  It will be crumbly.
2. Turn the dough out onto a 16 inch piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a 1-inch-diameter log. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to seal. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a cutting board. Cut the log into ½ inch-thick slices and place ½- inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the crackers to cool completely. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 02/27/18 at 12:02 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

Recipes from The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm are those used to 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 recipes that they cook with the youth, teens and families who participate in their cooking classes in the community and programs at Katchkie Farm. Follow their blog to learn more.

We’ve all found ourselves with bananas that are past their prime, but their sweet taste and mushy texture are perfect for moistening a cake, bread or muffins. They also freeze well, so if you have the bananas and no time to bake, just peel and slip them into a ziplock bag or freezer-safe container to save for later.

We made this recipe for Banana Crumb Muffins in our teen cooking class. One of our students, Leah, declared this as her favorite recipe because she found the level of sweetness to be just right. The following week Leah came to class exclaiming that they were so good, she made them again with her friends. Next time you find yourself with overripe bananas in your kitchen, try making these muffins!




Banana Crumb Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Adapted from NYT Cooking

For Topping
1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature

For Muffins
¾ cup all-­purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄3 cup butter, melted

1. Grease a muffin tin and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. For the topping, in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add butter or margarine and mix with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Put aside while preparing muffin batter.

3. For the muffins, in large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, sugar, slightly beaten egg and melted butter or margarine. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

5. Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Using hands, arrange coarse, pea-sized crumbs over muffin batter.

6. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until muffins test done with a cake tester. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.


Rural Intelligence needs your help. Unlike other websites, we haven’t put up a paywall, but the expenses involved in publishing RI can’t be met by advertising alone. We are asking readers to step up to the plate so we can continue to cover the people, places and events that make our region so special. We need 1,500 readers to contribute or we will cease publishing at the end of March. Please click here to become a supporter now.

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 02/17/18 at 01:39 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Lisa Fielding’s Caesar Salad

By Lisa Fielding of Secret Ingredients

Caesar salad has always been the motherlode of salads for me. And according to those in the know, it was invented in Mexico — but not by a Mexican. Legend has it that Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar salad in 1924 in Tijuana, where he owned a restaurant in the tourist district. 

Here’s where the story goes a little sideways for me. He invented the salad to attract Americans frustrated by Prohibition. Come for the salad, stay for the tequila? 

At any rate, if Mr. Cardini did in fact come up with the sharp and creamy dressing with notes of garlic, briny anchovy and acid, he was a genius. And I think if he tried mine, he might agree that I’ve improved on the original recipe that calls for red wine vinegar but which I’ve replaced with fresh lemon juice. The difference is not subtle. The lemon is the perfect complement to garlic and anchovy. 

One day at lunch, a friend was extolling my talents as a chef and she brought up my Caesar salad. She said — and I quote — “the dressing is so good you want to pour it in a cup and drink it.” I might not go that far, but I’ve been known to dip one homemade crouton after another into its depths and eat it like a snack. That’s another component to making the ultimate Caesar… you have to make your own croutons. No ifs, ands or buts. But you don’t have to go crazy; a good quality baguette cut into dice-sized cubes, slathered in olive oil, tossed with kosher salt and baked for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven will yield beautifully crisped and golden croutons.

There are a few other do’s and don’ts. Do cut your hearts of romaine into ribbons and discard the leafy ends which will become soggy when dressed. Give the lettuces a good washing and chill them in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving. The lettuces need to be crisp and cold. Don’t even think about omitting anchovies. Caesar dressing is made with anchovies. Period. If you don’t like anchovies, make the dressing without it but don’t call it a Caesar. Mix your dressing in a food processor so everything is completely emulsified almost to the point of resembling a thinner aioli. Nothing is worse than a runny dressing. And, to make a real meal out of your salad, grill your favorite protein, slice and serve on top of the greens. We love it with grilled salmon and a little crispy salmon skin. 

Lisa Fielding’s Caesar Salad
Yields 1½ cups dressing; serves 8

6 heads of romaine, cut into ribbons (leafy ends discarded), rinsed, dried and chilled.
1 baguette cut into dice-size cubes, dredged in olive oil, salted and baked on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees until crispy and golden (12-15 minutes).
3 large cloves garlic, skinned
1 heaping tbl. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 egg yolks
1 tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 tin anchovies rinsed under cold water, patted dry
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse garlic until minced. Add anchovies and pulse until a paste has formed. Add Dijon, dry mustard, egg yolks and Worcestershire and pulse until incorporated. Add half the lemon juice. Pulse. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream to the bowl. The dressing will emulsify quickly and start to thicken. Taste for tartness. If you like it more lemony, add more of the lemon juice until you reach the desired effect. Pulse once or twice when adding lemon juice; you don’t want to break the dressing down after it’s emulsified. 

Remove from food processor into a bowl. Add half the grated Parmesan cheese, salt and ground pepper to taste. Gently stir with a spatula. 

Assembly:
In a large salad bowl, add half the lettuces and cover with half the dressing. Toss gently. Add the remainder of the lettuces and the rest of the dressing plus the croutons (as many or few as you like). Toss again. Now add the rest of the Parmesan cheese and, if you’re a big cheese fan, grate some extra and put it on the table. I don’t like to overwhelm the lettuces with cheese. Plate and serve as-is or add grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or even steak.



 
Rural Intelligence needs your help. Unlike other websites, we haven’t put up a paywall, but the expenses involved in publishing RI can’t be met by advertising alone. We are asking readers to step up to the plate so we can continue to cover the people, places and events that make our region so special. We need 1,500 readers to contribute or we will cease publishing at the end of March. Please click here to become a supporter now.

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Posted by Lisa Green on 02/12/18 at 07:40 PM • Permalink