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Rich Roasted Potatoes 

Just a few simple ingredients give these potatoes such stellar results. I prefer using olive oil for all my cooking uses, but any cooking oil, or even half oil and half butter will do.


Serves 4 to 6

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1¼ to 1½-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced finely
few grinds of pepper
½ cup olive oil


Rich Roasted Potatoes
Rich Roasted Potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the potatoes in a small bowl. Place the potatoes into a gallon sized zip top bag or a plastic container with a lid. Pour the oil mixture over and seal the container. Toss well to coat all the potatoes. Pour the potatoes into a 13 x 9-inch oven safe casserole. Bake for a total of about 45 minutes, turning them once halfway through the baking time.


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Fresh Egg Noodles 

Though making your own egg noodles takes more time than emptying a package of store bought noodles into a pot of boiling water, everyone should have the experience of working with noodle dough at least once, just to see what it's all about. The flavor is far superior to dried, store bought noodles, with a far more satisfying "bite".

Serves about 4 (8 ounces of dough)

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs


Place the flour and salt onto a clean counter or marble board. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack in the two eggs. With fingers, begin mixing the flour into the eggs, working it in bit by bit until the mass begins to come together. All the flour will be used. Once you can form a ball from the dough, begin kneading, pressing and sliding the dough with the heel of the hand. Turn and again press and slide the dough. Do this for 10 minutes. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to work with the dough, roll out very thinly with a rolling pin, or use a pasta roller according to manufacturer's directions. Once you reach the desired thinness, roll the dough into a log and slice across the log with a very sharp knife. Unravel the strips and set aside on a rack until ready to use. Heat a pot of boiling water with enough salt to taste like the sea. Drop in the noodles and cook until al dente. Time will vary, depending on how thick or thin the noodles are; check frequently after about 5 minutes.

NOTES: I made these noodles to accompany my Beef Stroganoff; a most felicitous combination, indeed.

Fresh Egg Noodles

Making Fresh Egg Noodles
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Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole 

We have all been through summers where everyone wants to share their abundance of yellow squash and zucchini. I had 2 large squash and a huge zucchini, and what to do with them? I like them okay; my husband not at all. We have already had zucchini bread three times recently. I got the idea to add Granny Smith apples with the squash, and then put on my thinking cap to come up with other things that would make this casserole delicious eating.

Makes one 9 x 13-inch casserole

4 slices thick-slice bacon
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, thin sliced and rough-chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups yellow squash and/or zucchini, cut in thin slices
4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced thinly
1 cup bread crumbs
2½ cups shredded cheddar, 1 cup set aside
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage (less than 2 teaspoons if dried)
1½ teaspoons salt
pepper, to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup water

Slice the bacon across the length into ¼-inch pieces. Fry the bacon till crisp, drain and reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add in the butter and the onions and toss to coat. Saute the onions till golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and allow the mixture to cook for another 2 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 on convect). While the bacon and the onions are cooking, slice the squash or zucchini and place into a large bowl. Add in the apples, bread crumbs, 1½ cups of the cheddar, sage, salt and pepper. Add the bacon and onion/garlic mixture to the bowl when they are done, tossing well to coat. Add in the eggs, whisked with the half-cup of water and mix well. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, or spray with cooking spray. Pour the squash mixture into the prepared pan, patting in evenly. Sprinkle with the reserved cheddar. Cover with foil and bake the casserole for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake about 25 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden.
Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole
Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole

Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole before baking  Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole baked
Yellow Squash and Apple Casserole before and after baking

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Southwest Corn and Beans 


Faced with an overabundance of fresh corn, I came up with another flavorful side dish using  the bounty. I had fresh bell peppers and onions from the local Farmers' Market, as well as the corn, and added in some southwestern flavors with the cumin and lime and the beans just plain taste good. Overall, a wonderful combination of fresh vegetables and some beans, you cannot beat this dish for wonderful fresh flavor. The addition of a red bell pepper would be a great addition, both for flavor and color.


Makes about 8 - 10 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

5 ears fresh corn, sliced from the cobs, about 6 - 7 cups
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems, OR
   1 teaspoon dried whole thyme, rubbed between palms
1 teaspoon cumin, or more, to taste
2 - 2½ teaspoons salt
few grinds of the pepper mill
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 can kidney beans, well rinsed
½ cup chopped cilantro, or to taste


Southwest Corn and Beans
Southwest Corn and Beans
Heat a very large skillet and add in the olive oil. Put the onion, bell pepper and celery into the pan and saute on medium heat for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the corn, along with the thyme, cumin, salt, pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and continue to cook, tossing often for another 10 minutes. Add the lime juice with the beans and cilantro and toss until heated through, another 2 minutes. Serve with some cilantro leaves scattered over top for garnish.


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Lemon Garlic Beets 

Many years ago I used an excellent recipe for beets in the Food and Wine Magazine, but it required the use of the oven. In mid summer, with the heat in the high 90s, heating the oven is not my preference. From the memory of those flavors, I tossed together this recipe and in half hour, the beets are just stellar. I love beets, about any way except raw, which I cannot tolerate, so if you love beets, you must try this recipe.

Makes about 2 - 3 servings

14 - 16 ounces fresh beets
1 teaspoon lemon (or lime) zest
juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 - 2 cloves garlic, sliced
a few grinds of the pepper mill
1 tablespoon olive oil


Lemon Garlic Beets
Lemon Garlic Beets
Wash, peel and slice the beets about¼-inch thick, or less.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet and place all the rest of the ingredients into the hot pan. Toss to combine and coat the beets well. Cover the pan and lower heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beets are just tender. Serve immediately.

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Creamed Green Beans with Bacon 

A simple recipe with spectacular results. Bacon just makes it better still. Some bacon grease and the addition of a little garlic and thyme elevates the flavors of the white sauce to new levels. I made these for a dinner party and fried the bacon earlier in the day, leaving it on paper toweling to drain. I added the butter and garlic to the bacon grease and added the flour to combine and left this mixture until later to finish off. An easy do-ahead when time or stove burners are at a premium.

Serves 6 - 8

1 pound green beans, stem end removed, cut as desired
6 slices thick-sliced bacon (about 4 - 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
1 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste

Creamed Green Beans with Bacon
Creamed Green Beans with Bacon
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Cut the bacon strips across the grain into ¼-inch pieces. Fry the bacon until almost crisp. Remove the bacon pieces to paper toweling to drain and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease for another use. Add to the pan the butter and the garlic. Allow the butter to melt and saute the garlic gently for 2 minutes. Add the flour and thyme leaves and stir to combine. Add in the water and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring for about 5 minutes until the mixture is like a gravy. Set aside and keep warm.

Prepare a steamer and set the green beans into the steamer basket. Bring water to a boil and steam for about 12 minutes, or until the green beans are just tender. Drain well and add the green beans to the sauce in the skilllet. Add in the bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish. Stir together and bring the mixture back to full heat. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with reserved bacon pieces. Serve immediately.



Confetti Corn and Bacon 

There are multitudes of recipes that exist with this title; all are just a little different. This is my own spin on this delicious combination. Fresh corn is terrific on its own; the addition of bacon makes it decadent.

Serves 6 to 8

6 ounces bacon, sliced across into ¼-inch strips
1 onion, chopped
6 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 - 2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons nonpareil capers
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Confetti Corn and Bacon
Confetti Corn and Bacon
Fry the bacon on a large skillet until just crisp. Remove the bacon to paper toweling to drain and set aside. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the skillet. Add in the onion and saute gently for about 10 minutes or until just golden. Add in the corn and peppers and saute another 8 minutes, then add in the garlic to cook for another two or so minutes, until corn is tender. Add in the salt, sage, capers and whipping cream and heat through. Return the bacon to the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish.


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Grilled Portobellos 'Richard' 

Our great friend Richard was visiting and we were going to grill steaks. He wanted to make a side dish with Portobellos, and with only a bit of help from me, he created this dish. It is so fantastically flavorful it is hard to describe. A vegetarian friend said she almost felt guilty eating them as it was so much like eating meat. Try these as a side dish or as a main course on a "Meatless Monday." The inspired combination of flavors are too good to miss.

Serves 4

4 very large Portobello mushrooms
1 large onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced (Richard loves garlic)
1 teaspoon salt, preferably Hickory Smoked
pepper, freshly ground, to taste
4 slices smoked Provolone cheese

Early in the day, or even the day before, mix together the olive oil, melted butter and garlic. Remove the stems from the portobellos. Brush the oil and garlic mixture all over the mushroom, first on the outside, and then leaving the mushroom cupped upwards, make sure there is a lot of the garlic mixture inside.  Sprinkle with some of the salt. The hickory smoked salt can be found in some specialty stores, but regular salt will do.  Sprinkle on some pepper, as desired. Wrap in plastic wrap, or place in a sealed container until needed.

When ready to prepare, light a grill. This works better if you have a grill pan, so the mushrooms and the onions don’t slip through the rack. Slice an onion into thick slices, about ¼-inch thick or more. Grill the onion slices on both sides, until well done and a little bit charred. Have the mushrooms grilling alongside; first grill the outside of the cap downwards and then turn them over. Be prepared! This will flare the flame, as the butter and oil will come running out. Once the mushrooms and the onion slices are cooked through, flip the mushroom cup side upwards and place one slice of the grilled onion onto the cup side of the mushroom. Top with a slice of Provolone cheese and allow the cheese to melt slightly.

Prepare for some of the best mushrooms, ever!

 

Grilled Portobellos Richard
Grilled Portobellos 'Richard', above
Stacking Grilled Portobellos 'Richard', below

Stacking Grilled Portobellos Richard

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Grilled Ratatouille  

I saw Michael Symon’s recipe on "The Chew" and then did my own thing. I added in tomatoes, jalapenos and onions to his recipe, making it more my own. All the vegetables were fresh from the Farmer’s Market in town that afternoon, or fresh picked from a friend’s garden. Maybe that made the difference.  I have no words for how good this was. I meant to grill the vegetables, but ran out of propane, so they were all broiled, and it was sublime, so I couldn’t even conceive of how good it must be done on the grill! Later on I found out - but it is fantastic either way, and allows for an alternative during bad grilling weather.


2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil or more if needed

1 medium eggplant, in ½-inch slices, halved if large
1 medium zucchini, sliced about ¼-inch thick
1 large green pepper
1 red bell pepper

2 - 3  jalapeños, whole
4 medium-small tomatoes, or use Roma tomatoes, sliced a little more
     than ¼-inch thick
1 large, or 2 medium onions, cut in ½-inch rings
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons capers

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn, plus extra, whole for garnish

The vegetables may be grilled, done on a ridged indoor grilling pan, or broiled. 

In a large bowl mix together the garlic, balsamic and olive oil. Add in the eggplant and zucchini slices and toss to coat, adding salt and pepper. Place the bell peppers and jalapenos on a baking sheet and grill or broil very close to the heat source until blackened.
Remove the peppers when blackened to a plastic bag and seal them in to steam and cool. Set aside.

If using the oven, while broiling the vegetables, have another baking sheet lined with parchment and set the tomato slices on the parchment. Lightly salt them and place in a lower rack while the broiler is being used for the other vegetables. Allow the tomatoes to stay on the lower rack uintil they have partially dehydrated. They should be done when the other vegetables are done. If grilling, place the tomatoes in the oven anyway, to dehydrated a little, about a half-hour.

On a large baking sheet with sides, place in a single layer eggplant and zucchini, reserving the olive oil and balsamic mixture. Broil or grill until just tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a serving bowl. Briefly dip the onion slices into the reserved marinade and grill or broil them until; slightly charred; add them to the serving bowl. Take the jalapeños and remove the skins, trim the stem, remove seeds and fibers and chop, adding to the serving bowl. Do the same with the bell pepper(s), then add to the serving bowl.

Add in the capers and the reserved marinade and basil leaves and toss to combine. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy.


Grilled Ratatouille
Grilled Ratatouille, served stacked in layers


Grilled Ratatouille with Crusty Bread
Grilled Ratatouille served with Crusty Bread


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Green Beans with Gorgonzola 

I created this dish many years ago and my husband and I just love it. I generally have green beans, but this photo shows yellow wax beans instead. Equally good! For fancy dinners I have used the little "haricots verts" (very tiny, young, whole green beans) left whole, which make a great presentation.

Serves 4

1 pound fresh green beans or yellow wax beans

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 - 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or through a garlic press
1 teaspoon salt, more if needed
¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

In a very small saucepan combine the butter, oil and garlic and set the pan over the lowest setting possible, or even half off the burner. The desired end is a very low and slow heating of the oils and garlic. The garlic is gently poached in the oils. Allow the garlic to steep for about 20 minutes, never boiling.

Snap off stem ends and cut the green beans as desired, whether French cut, blunt cut, or left whole. Place them in a steamer basket and bring the steaming water to a boil, lower heat to medium and steam for about 10 - 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain off the water and return the beans to a pan. Add in the butter and garlic mixture (you may, if desired, strain out the garlic at this point) to the beans and toss well, with the salt. Pour the hot beans into a serving bowl and strew the Gorgonzola over top. Once the cheese is on top it will begin to melt, so serve immediately.


Green Beans with Gorgonzola
Green Beans with Gorgonzola
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Squash, Apple and Leek Gratin with Asiago 

Originally planned to fill Filo rectangles and pair with Chardonnay for a wine tasting, this combination also makes a delectable side dish. Adding in just a touch more cream and placing half the cheese on top mixed with bread crumbs and baked, this will go exceptionally well with pork or chicken dishes. This recipe is completely Gluten-Free.

Makes one 9 x 13 casserole, about 8 servings

4 – 6 leeks, white and light green parts only
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup dry sherry or other dry white wine
1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled
4 (6 to 7 ounce) apples (I used Pink Lady)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
A few grinds of black pepper
1 rounded cup grated Asiago cheese, about 4 ounces, divided
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

Squash, Apple and Leek Galette with Asiago
Squash, Apple and Leek Galette with Asiago

Cut ends off leeks, leaving only the white and lightest sections (from 4 to 6 inches) and slice in half lengthwise. Fan the layers under running water to clean out any mud or grit. Laying flat side down, cut them again lengthwise, then slice across into thin strips, making about 4 cups. Cut off the neck section of the squash, which should make about 1½ pounds. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Laying flat side down, cut each section into three more lengthwise sections. Slice each of these across into thin pieces about 1 x 1½ inches, making approximately 4 ½ cups. Peel and core the apples and cut into 8 wedges apiece. Slice across the wedges into thin slices, making about 6 cups, total.

In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add in the leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the Sherry and cook to evaporate, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and toss to combine; cook for another 5 minutes before adding apples. Add in salt and nutmeg and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the squash and apple are just tender. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Mix together the egg yolks and cream. Pour this over the mixture in the pan along with half the Asiago cheese and combine gently.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and pour the mixture in. Combine the second half of Asiago with the bread crumbs and strew over top of the casserole. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until the cheese and crumbs on top begin to brown and the casserole is bubbling at the edges.

NOTES: Serve this with a nice buttery Chardonnay. This recipe is easily cut in half; use an 8 x 8-inch casserole.

TO MAKE SQUASH, APPLE and LEEK GALETTE with ASIAGO : Make half the recipe amount of filling, omitting the bread crumbs. Reserve a bit of the cheese to sprinkle over top of filling later. Prepare a 10-inch pie pastry single crust. Roll it out into about a 15-inch circle. Set the pastry on a baking sheet or a pizza pan. Into the center, pile the filling mixture into the center and spread to about 11 - 12 inches. Strew remaining cheese over top. Flip the edges of the pastry up over the edges of the filling, folding and pleating as necessary. Make an egg wash from one egg yolk with about 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg wash over the pastry edges, being careful not to let it run down underneath the pastry or it will adhere to the pan. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Serves 6 - 8. This can be a main course for brunch, lunch or supper with a nice green salad alongside.


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