Polenta

3 Cups water
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup corn grits
1 Tablespoon butter

Bring water to boil, add salt and corn grits. simmer 30 minutes Mixing often. Stir in butter. Put into an oiled rectangular pan. I used a bread pan. Let cool. Once firm turn out on cutting board and cut into strips. I made mine about 3/4 inch thick. I added ample butter and olive oil to a fry pan and fried until crispy on both sides. The slices may be topped with grated cheese, pasta sauce or just salt. It is so much better than any polenta I have had anywhere!

Homemade Pita

This is one bread where I measure the flour exactly. A pizza stone is nice to have but not required to make these pita.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast – fast acting
1/2 Cup lukewarm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 Teaspoon sugar

3 1/2 Cups wheat flour – you can use white bread flour, whole wheat flour or a mix of the two. My favorite is a mix of the two so the pita are not too heavy.
1 1/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup lukewarm water
~ 1/3 Cup flour for kneading and rolling out pita

Mix the yeast and sugar into the 1/2 Cup of lukewarm water and set aside for 5 minutes to activate. In a large bowl, mix flour salt together then add yeast/water mixture and the 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix until smooth. It will be sticky. Let rise until doubled – about 1 hour in a warm part of the kitchen or in the oven if you can set your oven to 100 degrees F or you have “bread proof” setting.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Sprinkle risen dough with a just enough flour to be able to punch in down and knead one to two minutes. Pinch dough into about 8 balls of equal size, let sit for 5-10 minutes on floured surface. With a rolling pin roll out each ball  to 1/4 thick and ~5″ diameter round. Lift and turn as you work so they don’t stick to the surface. You can make them thicker or thinner, larger or smaller depending how you prefer them. Let them set and rise about 10 minutes. To bake I place, by hand, a few ( 2-4 depending on your space) pitas into the oven onto the heated baking sheet or stone, one at a time and let them bake for about 4 minutes each. You will know they are done if they have puffed up like balloons, steam escaping has subsided and they are very lightly browned in some spots (check the underside). Lift them out of the oven one at a time with a spatula when they are done. Add more pita’s to the oven to bake as the baked ones are removed.

They freeze very nicely. Serve with hummus!

Hummus

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – I preferred buying dried garbanzo and cooking them.  It takes at least few hours to cook them until they are soft. I think they taste better than the canned and you don’t have to worry about BPA or other things that could come from being canned.

2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of one lemon
2-3 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon tamari
Water as needed to allow blending

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Chill.

This recipe is based on Carol’s recipe – thanks Carol!

Hearty Salad

Base:
1 cup finely cut green cabbage
1 cup finely cut red cabbage

1 cup chopped arugula
1 cup chopped kale
Mustard greens, parsley, beet greens, and others can be added when available.

Options to change it up: grapes, apples, dried cherries, tomatoes, peppers, olives, capers turkey, hardboiled egg.

Toppings: Feta cheese, toasted sunflower seeds, Olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Cabbage and kale can be cut up in advance because they hold up very well in the refrigerator for a week. Cabbage is nicest if cut on a mandolin so it is fine like sauerkraut.

Arugula and other greens don’t hold up as long so I keep them in a container separate container from cabbage that I plan to store for a while. I cut up enough cabbage and kale for the week and then add more perishable items when the salad will be eaten in a day or two. I don’t usually use lettuce because it doesn’t hold up as well as arugula.

Creamy Greens and Coconut Linguini

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 lb linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno (ribs and seeds removed if less heat is preferred)

11⁄2 tbsp finely grated ginger

1 can coconut milk
1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped

1 bunch spinach, chopped
1⁄4 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves

salt

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno and ginger; cook until garlic is soft, about a minute. Add coconut milk, cover and turn up heat to bring to a simmer.
  3. Add kale and spinach; cover and cook until just wilted and bright green (depending on the size of your pot, you may need to add it in bunches, letting a handful wilt then tossing in another handful).
  4. Add mint and remove from heat. Puree sauce using an immersion blender (or a regular stand blender – just puree in batches or the steam created can blow the lid off). Add salt in big pinches, tasting as you go, until the flavours pop – then it is properly seasoned.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, scoop out a cup of the pasta water before draining it. Toss the pasta with the sauce,adding splashes of pasta water if needed to thin out to desired consistency.
  6. Recipe by Foodess.com at http://foodess.com/2014/01/creamy-greens-coconut-linguine/

White Peach Salad with Burratta and Tarragon

A Sporty original recipe!

Ingredients:

White Peaches, peeled and sliced

Couple balls of burrata cheese

White sherry vinegar or white basalmic vinegar

Large handful of tarragon

A nice sea salt: Pink Hawaiian is especially good on this salad

freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Make Tarragon oil first:

Set a coffee filter in a sieve set over a heatproof measuring cup or bowl.

Purée 3 handfuls tarragon and 1 1/2 cup grape seed oil in a blender until well blended. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot but not yet sizzling, about 3 minutes.

Remove  oil from heat, cool until safe and then strain though prepared sieve (do not press on solids or oil won’t be clear.) You can keep at room temp for about 2 weeks. Also good on steamed vegetables and to make vinegrette.

Prepare salad next:

Place about 1 sliced peach on each plate.  Tear one small burratta ball into pieces on top of the peach, top with chopped tarragon. Sprinkle on the vinegar, then sea salt and pepper. Put dribbles of tarragon oil on the peach/burrata tower and on the plate along the side.  Repeat with all plates.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara di Zucchine

From Bon Appétit | May 2005

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 pound medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 3 1/2 cups)

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)

12 ounces spaghetti

6 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces, divided

Preparation

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and sauté until beginning to color, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; discard garlic.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and Parmesan in large bowl to blend. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Save some pasta water and put aside.  Drain pasta; add to egg mixture and toss to coat (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Add additional pasta water back to get to creamy consistency.

Add zucchini mixture and half of basil to pasta; stir gently to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining basil and serve.

Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papas)

SERVES 8

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh Mexican oregano (optional)

2 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped

1 or 2 red and/or green jalapeños, stemmed and finely chopped while wearing gloves

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 lb. russet (best) or yukon gold potatoes, peeled

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 cup canola oil or avocado oil

18 corn tortillas

You can top with any or all of the following: Thinly sliced green cabbage or lettuce, chopped tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, avocados and crumbled cotija or feta cheese or even cheddar in a pinch.

Preparation:

Mix cilantro, oregano, tomatoes, jalapeños, and garlic in a small bowl; set salsa aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Add minced garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and cumin, and mash until smooth. Set potato mixture aside.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spread 3 or four heaping spoonfulls potato mixture over half of each tortilla, and fold over to form a taco. Working in batches, add tacos to oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.

Stuff the cabbage, tomatoes, and cotija or others into tacos or spread on top; drizzle with salsa and sour cream (optional) before serving.

Pasta al pomodoro

Recipe from “New Italian Cooking,” courtesy of chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta

Total Prep: Roughly 40 minutes, 4 servings
This is a straightforward, traditional, fresh tomato sauce in which ripe tomatoes — and little else — get cooked quickly to retain their vibrant flavor. Why then is it such a hit? The key is in the finish. Here’s how I put the dish together at the restaurant: I take a single portion of pasta cooked just shy of al dente and add it to a sauté pan that holds a single portion of hot, bubbling tomato sauce. To toss the pasta and sauce together I use that pan-jerking method we chefs are so fond of. I do this to look cool. Just kidding. The real reason is that this technique not only coats the pasta evenly with the sauce, but it also introduces a little air into the process making the dish feel lighter and brighter. To accomplish this aeration with larger portions and without fancy wrist work, cook the sauce in a pan with a lot of surface area. When you add the pasta to the sauce, gently toss the pasta with a couple of wooden spoons (tongs can bruise and break the strands), lifting the pasta high above the bottom of the pot. Finish the dish with some butter, some cheese, and some basil.
Ingredients
About 20 ripe plum tomatoes

About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish the dish

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs. unsalted butter 1 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about half a cup)

6 to 8 fresh basil leaves well washed and dried, stacked and rolled into a cylinder and cut thinly crosswise into a chiffonade

1 lb. spaghetti, either high-quality dry or homemade
To peel the tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease about 5 tomatoes in the pot and cook. Let boil for about 15 seconds and then promptly move them to the waiting ice water (do this with the remaining tomatoes). Pull off the skin with the tip of a paring knife. If the skin sticks, try a vegetable peeler using a gentle sawing motion. Cut the tomatoes in half and use your finger to flick out the seeds.
To cook the tomatoes: In a wide pan, heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and season lightly with the salt and pepper (I always start with a light hand with the salt and pepper because as the tomatoes reduce, the salt will become concentrated).

Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften. Then, using a potato masher, chop the tomatoes finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze it for longer storage.
To serve: Bring a large pot of amply salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high heat, gently tossing the pasta and the sauce together with a couple of wooden spoons and a lot of exaggerated movement (you can even shake the pan) until the pasta is just tender and the sauce, if any oil had separated from it, now looks cohesive (If the sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta liquid to adjust it). Take the pan off the heat and toss the butter, basil and cheese with the pasta in the same manner (the pasta should take on an orange hue) and serve immediately.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

A vegetarian twist on a Chinese take-out standard, these sprouts deliver crunch, spice, and zing.

From Bon Appetit Feb 2015
SERVINGS: 6

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger

2 tablespoons hot chili paste (sambal oelek)

6 dried chiles de árbol, lightly crushed
1⁄2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1⁄3 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss brussels sprouts and 4 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until softened (but not soft) and browned, 20–25 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until smooth.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chili paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes. Add chiles, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and 1⁄2 cup water and bring to a boil; stir in cornstarch slurry. Simmer, stirring, until sauce coats spoon, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Toss brussels sprouts with sauce and serve topped with peanuts.