Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Pineapple
24 extra large or jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp (leave tail on if desired)
1/3 to 1/2 of a fresh pineapple cut into bite-size chunks, or use canned pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
12 slices center-cut bacon, cut in half crosswise
24 wooden toothpicks
Sweet Cilantro Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
Preheat the broiler. Holding a shrimp, nest a chunk of pineapple in the natural curve of the shrimp, then wrap bacon around the shrimp and pineapple and secure with a wooden toothpick. Wrap and secure all 24 shrimp and place on foil-lined broiler pan. Broil about 4 minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp and shrimp are opaque and firm. Remove and serve with dipping sauce.
Sweet Cilantro Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Asian-style mild chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced green onion or chives
In a serving bowl mix together all ingredients. Serve with shrimp.
Asiago Cheese and Red Pepper Quiche in Mini Phyllo Shells
2 packages (15 cups each) mini phyllo shells
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
Slivers of green onion for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the mini phyllo shells on a sided baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, basil and a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Mix in the cheese. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the mixture into each phyllo shell. Top each with some red bell pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffy. Garnish each with a sliver of green onion.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Pistachio-Topped Brie
1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil with a tablespoon or two of the oil from the jar
1/3 cup chopped shelled pistachios
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-pound Brie round
Toasted baguette slices or crackers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes with some of its oil, pistachios, parsley, garlic and pepper. The mixture should come together some, but not completely.
Place Brie in a pie dish and top with sun-dried tomato mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes or until Brie feels soft around the edge. Remove from the oven and leave it in the dish or transfer to another serving platter. Let it rest a few minutes, and then cut into the Brie, allowing the cheese to seep out. Serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers.
Sausage and Cheese Wonton Cups
24 round or square wonton wrappers
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or nonstick spray
1/2 pound cooked and crumbed sweet or mild Italian sausage or use turkey sausage
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brush a wonton wrapper with a little oil and press into each cup of a mini muffin tin, pleating and making sure the wrappers are pressed lightly into the sides. Repeat with all the wontons. Bake for five minutes or until their edges just begin to turn golden.
Meanwhile, mix together the cooked sausage, cheese and ranch dressing.
Remove wontons from the oven and spoon cheese mixture into cups. Top each with some cheddar cheese. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet if you like. Bake 8 to 10 minutes more or until bubbling.
Remove from oven and serve.
Cremini Mushrooms with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
24 cremini mushrooms (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches round) wiped clean
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen cut leaf spinach, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove and reserve the mushroom stems. Use a spoon to hollow out the mushroom a bit more. Place the mushroom caps, stem side down, on a sided baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices. Let cool slightly. Turn over to stem side up.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Mince the reserved mushroom stems. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add mushroom stems. Saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to thaw it and heat through.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, heavy cream and cream cheese. Simmer for 3 minutes to let the flavors combine.
Remove from the heat and add half of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon a heaping teaspoon of stuffing inside each mushroom. Sprinkle with the top with remaining cheese.
Place the stuffed mushrooms, stuffing side up, on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the stuffing is hot and the mushrooms are dark brown in color. Serve immediately.
NEW YEAR’S RECIPES
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ounce (about1/4 cup) chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (about 1-pound each) thick fillets fresh salmon
Serves 16 as an appetizer.
Make the curing mix. Thoroughly combine sugar, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Lay one fillet of salmon skin-side down in a large, clean dish so that it is completely flat. Spread all of the curing mixture evenly over the salmon fillet.
Place the other fillet flesh-side down on top of the first fillet. Wrap the fillets tightly with plastic wrap. Weigh them down with a plate and 1 to 2 cans or other weights totaling between 1 and 2 pounds.
Refrigerate for 48 hours, turning every 12 hours and draining off the fluid. After 48 hours, unwrap the fillets and pat dry with paper towels. To serve, cut thinly on a diagonal with a very sharp knife. Serve with brown bread and butter, if desired.
1 (16-ounce) package black-eyed peas
1/2 pound salt pork, chopped
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
11/4 teaspoon hot sauce
2 to 4 teaspoons salt, to taste
Rinse and sort peas according to package directions. Place in a large Dutch oven, cover with water 2 inches above peas and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then cover, remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour. Remove from Dutch oven and drain.
Saute salt pork in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 6 minutes, or until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pan. Add bell peppers and onions; saute 5 minutes.
Add 7 cups water, return peas and pork to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Add rice, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and rice is done. Remove from heat; stir in butter and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Pork and Sauerkraut
2 pounds sauerkraut
2 pounds bone-in rib pork chops
3 1/2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika, or to taste
Serves four to six.
Wash sauerkraut thoroughly and squeeze dry. Place in a medium pot, add water just to cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 1 hour.
Mix salt to taste with 2 1/2 tablespoons flour and dredge the meat in the mixture. In a large frying pan, heat the bacon drippings over medium-high heat and fry the meat until golden. Add the onions and continue cooking until onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain the sauerkraut and add it to the frying pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the sauerkraut and pork to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan.
Mix 1 tablespoon flour with water to form a slurry. Bring the drippings to a boil; add the flour slurry to thicken the drippings as desired. Stir in garlic powder and paprika until fully dissolved, then let cool slightly. Return pork and sauerkraut to pan, heat through and serve.
Cotechino with Lentils
1 (about 1 pound) cotechino sausage
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 cup dried lentils, washed in cold water and drained
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the sausage. If using a partially dried or heavily salt-cured sausage, soak in cold water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain.
Place the sausage in a pot with enough cold water to cover it. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a slow boil and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes.
When the sausage has been boiling for 1 1/2 hours, make the lentils. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in a saucepan. In a heavy pot, cook the onion in oil over medium-high heat, stirring, until it turns a pale gold, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chopped celery, stir to coat in the oil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the lentils to the pot, stirring thoroughly to coat. Add enough of the simmering water to cover the lentils and cook, covered, at a very low simmer, until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. If necessary, add more simmering water to keep the lentils covered, or add some of the cooking water from the sausage for more flavor in the lentils.
When the lentils start to get tender, stop adding liquid so that the lentils will absorb all the remaining cooking liquid. If the lentils reach doneness with liquid still in the pot, turn up the heat to high and boil away the remaining liquid, stirring the lentils as they cook. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the sausage to a cutting board and cut into slices 1/2-inch thick. Spoon the lentils onto a warm platter, arrange the sausage slices on top, and serve.
Cabbage Salad with Winter Roots and Popped Mustard Seed
1 medium head savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage
2 medium carrots, scrubbed well
3 medium watermelon radishes or other winter radishes
1 small red onion
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard seed
2 small dried arbol chili peppers, torn into 2 or 3 pieces (reduce to 1 or omit for less heat)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cracked black pepper
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (from about 10 sprigs)
Cut the cabbage in half through the stem end, then cut each half through the stem end to yield four quarters. Slice off the core and discard, then cut each quarter crosswise into thin ribbons. You should have about 9 loosely packed cups. Transfer the cabbage to a bowl.
Cut the carrots into matchstick-size strips (julienne), and halve and thinly slice the radishes; transfer those ingredients to the bowl of cabbage.
Cut the onion in half crosswise, then slice it thinly lengthwise. Add the onion to the bowl.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seed and arbol chili pieces. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds begin to pop. Remove from the heat; let cool for 5 minutes (covered).
Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice in a small bowl, then pour over the cabbage, along with the oil and mustard seed. Use your hands to toss the cabbage and vegetables with the dressing until they are well coated and slightly wilted. Taste for salt, and season lightly with the black pepper.
Fold in the parsley, and serve.
Mustard Greens, Kohlrabi and Carrots with Ginger Dressing
8 cups lightly packed mustard greens (from about 2 small bunches, or 1 large; about 12 ounces)
1 large carrot, scrubbed well
1 bulb green kohlrabi
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds (unhulled, if possible)
One 3/4-ounce piece young ginger root
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon boiled cider (may substitute pomegranate molasses or maple syrup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Tear the mustard greens into large, bite-size pieces; rinse them in a bowl of cool water, then spin dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
Trim the carrot. Trim and peel the kohlrabi; cut each into matchstick-size strips (julienne) and add to the mustard greens.
Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds are lightly browned; this should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool.
Cut the ginger and garlic into small pieces. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic and ginger with 1/8 teaspoon of salt to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl.
Alternately, smash the garlic and ginger with the flat side of a knife, then mince.
Add the vinegar, the boiled cider and the remaining1/4 teaspoon of salt to the bowl, then gradually whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing. Pour it over the greens; use your hands to gently toss the salad. Taste, and add salt and/or cracked black pepper as needed.
Divide evenly among individual plates; garnish with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve right away.
Collard Green, Potato and Chickpea Salad With Spiced Lemon Dressing
1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed well
1 bunch collard greens (about 1 pound)
5 pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon plus1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked or canned, no-salt-added chickpeas
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves, for garnish
Freshly cracked black pepper
Serves four as an appetizer or two as a main course.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of the kosher salt, then add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium; cook uncovered just until the potatoes can be easily pierced with the sharp tip of a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
Cut the ribs from the collards by slicing along both sides of the stalk from the top of the leaf to the stem end; discard or reserve the ribs for another use. Stack the halved leaves and cut them into thin ribbons. Rinse in a bowl of cool water, spin dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the chopped olives.
Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cumin and caraway seeds; cook for about 3 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Let cool for 5 minutes, then grind to a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and add the crushed red pepper flakes (to taste).
Use the same mortar and pestle to reduce the garlic to a paste. Add the lemon juice and the 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt; mix until the salt has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl; slowly whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing.
Once the potatoes are cool, cut them into bite-size chunks. Add to the bowl, along with the drained chickpeas.
Add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of the dressing to the bowl of collards and olives; use your hands to toss gently until well incorporated. Pour the remaining dressing over the potatoes and chickpeas, along with the remaining1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Use a spatula to fold it in until well coated.
To serve, scatter the potatoes and chickpeas over the bottom of each plate. Mound the collard-olive mixture on the top, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Season lightly with the black pepper. Serve right away.
Chicory with Grapefruit, Avocado and Pepitas
1 bunch Catalogna chicory, or Italian dandelion greens (may substitute regular dandelion greens, escarole, curly endive or sugarloaf chicory)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced yellow onion (may substitute shallot)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons raw, hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 small ruby red grapefruit, supremed (see note)
Flesh from 1 large or 2 small ripe yet firm avocados, cut into long, quartered slices or bite-size pieces
Trim off and discard the stem ends of the chicory. Chop the leaves into 2-inch pieces. You should have about 8 cups, lightly packed. Rinse in a bowl of cool water and spin dry, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
Combine the onion, salt and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring to incorporate. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season with the1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Toast the pepitas by warming them in a skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and just lightly browned. Cool completely.
Toss the chicory with all but 2 teaspoons of the dressing, gently using your hands to combine. Mound the chicory onto individual plates, and nestle the grapefruit sections and avocado among the greens.
Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of dressing. Sprinkle the toasted pepitas over the top; season with more black pepper, if desired.
NOTE: To segment the grapefruit into supremes, slice off the bottom and the top. Stand the fruit on a cutting board with one of the cut sides down. Use a serrated knife to cut the peel and the pith away from the fruit, top to bottom. Then, holding the fruit in your hand, cut the segments away from the membrane. (The idea is to leave behind all of the membrane and white pith.)