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Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking

Monthly Archives: May 2012


Serves 2

A CookTale

The Saugerties Farmers Market opened this weekend. Heather Ridge Farm was there with their annual well-stocked tented presence, along with items from their Bees Knees Cafe. This week they brought handmade Merguez sausage. What a treat, we snapped them up and set the plan for a North African style dinner. Dried Currant Couscous, Broccoli Rabe as the bitter green, and Harissa as the condiment. The Merguez were so authentic, they would have been a hit in a restaurant in Morocco or a Berber tent in the Atlas Mountains. Thanks Carol Clement and the chefs at the Farm.


8 Merguez Sausage links (4 per person)
1 TB of EVOO
1 C of Israeli Couscous
1-1/4 C of Water or Chicken Broth
1/3 C of dried Currants or other dried fruit
Sea or Kosher Salt
1 bunch of Broccoli Rabe (1 lb)
3 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
2 TB of EVOO
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
Harissa Condiment (optional)

METHOD For the Merguez

1. With a sharp instrument, prick holes into each Sausage. Lightly rub EVOO onto each.

2. In a cast iron grill pan or outdoor gas grill, cook the Merguez sausages until they begin to take on color. Do not overcook & dry them out. Remove from the heat & keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

INGREDIENTS The Israeli Coucous

1 C of Israeli Couscous
1-1/4 C of Water or Chicken Broth
1/3 C of dried Currants or other fruits
1 TP of Butter

METHOD The Israeli Coucous

1. In a medium-large pot, bring the Water to a boil. Add the Couscous & the Currants. Cover & simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove the cover, add the Butter & the Salt & fluff up the cooked Couscous. Keep warm.

INGREDIENTS For the Broccoli Rabe

1 lb of Broccoli Rabe
2 Garlic Cloves sliced
Red Pepper flakes (to taste)
2 TB of EVOO

METHOD For the Broccoli Rabe

1. Wash Broccoli Rabe, trim the stems, remove & save large leaves.

2. Steam for 6 minutes, flush in cold water and drain. Cut into small pieces. Set aside.

3. Add the EVOO to a deep sided frying pan. When rippling hot, saute Garlic & Red Pepper flakes. (Do not let them burn.) Add the Broccoli Rabe. Toss it all together & cook until the mixture is softened to taste. Add a few ounces of water if the pan gets too dry.

Serves 1

A CookTale

Cathie went to dinner with our dear friend Louise, leaving me to my own devices. I opted for a Burger filled with savory Blue Cheese, condiments and spices. Rather than a roll, the Burger was surrounded with a Tomato, Avocado & Basil Salad. Not an earth-shaking creation, but a mighty tasty way to serve a Burger.


1 lb of lean ground Sirloin (makes three 5 oz Patties)
4 oz of crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 C minced fresh Chives or Scallion greens
1/4 tsp of any hot Pepper Sauce
1 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp of coarsely ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt
1 tsp of dry Coleman Mustard
1 TB of EVOO


1. In a large bowl, mix the ground Sirloin, Blue Cheese, Chives, hot Pepper Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, black Pepper, Salt, & Mustard. Cover, & refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Preheat a cast iron grill pan on high heat. Gently form the Burger mixture into 5 oz Patties. Grill the Patties 3 minutes per side, or until medium rare.

3. The alternative is to broil the Pattie about 5″ from the flame, 3 minutes to a side for medium-rare.

4, Plate surrounded by the Salad & a splash of EVOO & serve.

Serves 2

A CookTale

This is an adaptation of a Mark Bittman New York Times article. He cleverly replaced Skate, which is not easily available, with Halibut and the result was brilliant. What makes MB remarkable is the simplicity with which he “Cooks Everything”. For Fish lovers, this will make a great addition to your recipe file and a splendid dinner on your table.


3 to 4 TB of Butter or EVOO
12 ounces of Halibut (sliced in half)
1/2 cup of Vermouth or White Wine
3 TB of Capers with their Vinegar
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Lemon Juice to taste


1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. In an 8- or 10-inch skillet, heat 3 TB of the oil or butter (enough to film the bottom of the pan nicely) over medium-high heat.

2. Add the Fish & cook, undisturbed, adjusting the heat so it really sizzles. Check after 4 or 5 minutes; it should be nicely browned. Season it, turn, season it again & cook another 3 minutes or so, until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance.

3. Put the fish on a plate, with the more beautiful side up. Put the plate in the oven & splash a little more EVOO and/or Butter in the pan, along with the Vermouth or White Wine. When that’s reduced a bit, toss in the Capers and boil until nearly dry.

4. Remove the plates, pour the pan sauce over the fish, squeeze a bit of Lemon juice over them & serve.


Serves 2 Generously

A CookTale

A luxurious cut of Lamb that’s ideal for a quiet dinner for 2 or an elegant dinner party for many. And so many side dishes to accompany it are compatible. Creamy mashed potatoes, or mashed Parsnips. Classic French Flageolets. Most any Green like Creamed Spinach. Matter of fact, there are very few vegetables that wouldn’t work. This rack was coated with Pomegranate Molasses that added a wonderful flavor to the crust. Highly recommended.


1 Rack of Lamb, 8 chops (frenched)
2 TB of Pomegranate Molasses
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
1 TB of EVOO


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Brush the Lamb with the Pomegranate Molasses & season with Salt & Pepper.

3. Place in a cast iron skillet, meaty side up. Roast for 15 minutes or until an internal thermometer registers 120 to 123 degrees for rare. Of course you can roast it a bit longer, to your taste, but definitely not to well done.

4. Remove from the oven. For the meaty side to have a richer color, turn the meat onto that side in the pan & cook for a few minutes. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before plating.

INGREDIENTS For the Artichokes & Asparagus

1 Box of frozen Artichoke Hearts
1 Bunch of Asparagus
2 TB of EVOO
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper


1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

1. Allow the Artichokes to thoroughly defrost.
Cut the heads off the Asparagus & reserve the rest for another purpose. (They make a great Asparagus Timbale.)

2. Combine them in a large bowl, add the EVOO & generously season them.

3. Place them on a baking sheet or a casserole dish in a single layer. Into the oven for about 35 minutes. Don’t allow them to burn, but you do want a bit of Caramelization.


Serves 2A CookTale

When I get recipe weary, just about every few weeks, I turn to an Asian stir fry to help get me back on track. The prepping of the many ingredients, the act of chopping, dicing, cutting and preparing the many ingredients for the marinade bring me back my to the reality of cooking. And generally the result is taste-savory. You might say that we run an occasional stir fry Asian kitchen.


Marinade Sauce

1/4 C Hoisin Sauce
4 TB of Soy Sauce
2 tsp of Rice Vinegar
2 TB of Water
1/2 tsp chili sauce, or to taste

4 to 6 Mushrooms (preferably Shiitake)
1 lb of Boneless Chicken Breasts, into bite-sized slices
1 Red Bell Pepper
4 Scallions (green onions, spring onions), green parts only
2 TB of Peanut Oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1 tsp of Garlic (minced)
1 TB of fresh Ginger (minced)
1/2 tsp of Sesame oil, or to taste
Sesame Seeds


1. Cut off the Mushroom stems & thinly slice. Cut the Red Pepper and thinly slice. Wash the Scallions & cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

2. Prepare the Marinade/Sauce. Combine the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Water & Chili Sauce. Marinate the Chicken in half of the mixture for 15 minutes. Reserve the other half for the wok sauce.

3. Heat the wok & add 2 TB of the Oil. When
the oil is hot, add the Garlic. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (10–15 seconds). Add the Chicken. Stir-fry until it is no longer pink & is nearly cooked through.

4. Add the Mushroom slices, Red Pepper slices & Scallions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, until softened. Push the Chicken & Vegetables up to the sides of the wok. Add the reserved Sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for 2–3 minutes to heat through. Remove from the heat & stir in the Sesame Oil. Sprinkle with Sesame Seeds. Serve hot.

Serves 2

A CookTale

I know, I’m getting carried away with the Tomato, Basil combination. But it works so well with so many foods or on its own. Adding it to quickly grilled Swordfish made dinner very satisfying. This also works well with room temperature Swordfish as a mid-day salad.


3/4 lb of Swordfish (divided into two pieces)
Sea or Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
3 TB of EVOO
4 Campari Tomatoes
3 Sprigs of fresh Basil leaves
1/3 C of Kalamata Olives,sliced in half
Salt & Pepper


1 Prepare the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Hold off the EVOO until ready to plate.

2. Season the Swordfish with Salt, Pepper and 1 TB EVOO & allow to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Heat a non-stick grill pan to high heat. Add 1 TB EVOO. When ready to cook, add the Swordfish, weighed down with a grill press, for 2 minutes a side. The Swordfish should be rare, not raw, & still juicy. Overcooking defeats the purpose, & adds nothing to the fish except to dry it out. (I came to this conclusion after too many dry tasteless Swordfish meals.)

4. Add 1 TB of EVOO and toss the salad. Season with Salt & Pepper.

5. Plate the Swordfish & spoon on the prepared Salad.


Serves 2

A CookTale

Spring is definitely in the air and Tomatoes and Basil tossed together with Spaghetti are great signs of it truly happening. It’s a taste one doesn’t forget and like a welcome friend, happy to once again have join our table. Nothing can be simper or quicker or more delicious to prepare.


2 Tomatoes or one large
Sprigs of Basil or more to taste
4 ounces of Spaghetti
Sea or Kosher Salt to taste
2 TB of EVOO


1. Prepare the Tomato & Basil in a large bowl.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the Spaghetti & cook according to the box instructions.

3. Add to the bowl, Toss with the EVOO until gently combined. Sprinkle with Salt & serve.