Pasta with Sweet Red Peppers, Pine Nuts, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Kale and Sausage

I made a few changes to this recipe from a new favorite cookbook, “Earth To Table Every Day.”

Ingredients

3 sweet red peppers (I used roasted sweet red peppers from a jar.)

¼ cup olive oil

4 anchovy fillets in oil, minced (I used 3 tablespoons anchovy paste.)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup dry white wine

4 leaves kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (I used one package, frozen. Cooked and drained.)

3 cups roasted cherry tomatoes (My addition. These were from my garden and roasted during the Autumn.)

3 links sausage (My addition. 2 sweet, 1 hot. Casing removed.)

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 pound pasta (I used Rotini.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

1. Preheat a grill or broiler to high. Grill the red peppers, turning often with tongs, until blistered and blackened on all sides, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, roast the peppers directly over the stovetop flame of a gas oven. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 20 minutes. Peel the peppers and chop them into ½-inch pieces. (Note: I skipped this step as I used roasted sweet red peppers from a jar.)

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high  heat. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped red peppers, then add the white wine. Boil until the pan is nearly dry. Stir in the kale and chili flakes. Remove from the heat. (Note: I cooked sausage first and then added the anchovy paste, garlic, red peppers, wine, kale and cherry tomatoes.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and drop in the pasta. Cook for about 9 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You will be cooking it further in the sauce. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Return the sauce to medium-high heat and stir in the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, to allow the flavours to mingle. Add a spoonful of pasta water if the sauce looks too dry. Remove from the heat.

4. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts and parsley and toss well. Tip into a large serving bowl, garnish with an over-generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve immediately.

Susan said it looked like the photo in the cookbook and that is was so delicious.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Butter And Jam Thumbprints

I made some butter and jam thumbprints for our Christmas Eve Party! So delicious.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling (I used Demerara Sugar for rolling.)

1 large egg

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod, or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup raspberry, cherry or strawberry jam (I used Red Raspberry and Strawberry from Stonewall Kitchen.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.
  4. Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie or ice cream scoop and roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.
  5. Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Serve.
  6. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

Based on a recipe from Food Network.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Very easy to make. I might consider using regular flour next time. Or almond flour. I used whole wheat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup whole spelt (or whole wheat) flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios for garnish

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the butter, sugar, cardamom, and ground pistachios together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the flour and mix until a uniform dough is obtained.
  3. With floured hands, roll into balls about an inch in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 3 inches apart.
  4. With your thumb, make an indentation in each ball and fill with chopped pistachios.
  5. Refrigerate the cookie sheet with the cookies on it for about 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. (NOTE: I baked for 20 minutes.) Allow the cookies to cool on the pan before removing.

Based on a recipe from Kitchen Vignettes.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

 

Curried Apple, Squash, Sweet Potato Soup

I have always enjoyed the cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home,” so when Susan and I were at the town library recently and she pointed out to me a new cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates,” I said we had the check this out. And we did and I made this delicious curried, apple, squash, sweet potato soup!

Ingredients
Soup
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped butternut squash* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
2 cups peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples
2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped sweet potatoes* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
4 cups water
* About 3 pounds of butternut squash and just less than 2 pounds of sweet potatoes will yield the right amount for this recipe.
Topping
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 ounces fresh spinach or mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
 
Directions
In a large nonreactive soup pot (it needs to be big), sauté the onions in the butter or oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  In a small dry skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until aromatic and lightly browned.  Cool for a few minutes and grind to a powder (I used a coffee grinder). Add the ground spices, salt, squash, apples, sweet potato, and water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute on medium heat, stirring constantly, until soft and just golden. Add the greens and sauté on high heat until the water evaporates and the greens wilt.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
Purée the soup in small batches in a blender until smooth, adding about 1/4 cup of water if the soup is thicker than you’d like.  When ready to serve, gently reheat, ladle into shallow bowls, and top each serving with some of the sautéed greens.
I served the soup with this homemade bread with sage.


I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography.
If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Quiche–A Thanksgiving Tradition

Thanksgiving prepations for Susan and me begin a few weeks before the holiday.

We put our tree up early so our grandchildren can see it on Thanksgiving as we don’t see them on Christmas.

Here I am doing some menu-planning for the week.

And here is Sock Monkey guarding the grandchildren’s presents.

The grandchildren come over for breakfast, along with our daughter and son-and-law. We give them their Christmas gifts—clothes that they can wear on Christmas day. I have to give credit where credit is due; Susan buys all the Christmas gifts. She often consults with me about style and size.

Here’s Matthew opening his gift.

We watch the Macy’s Parade and the Westminster Dog show before they leave for dinner at Mike’s moms and we head to Connecticut for dinner at our niece and nephews home. This is the real tradition—all of this along with breakfast. Here’s the menu:

Here’s Emily wearing her new winter jacket; I love this photo.

Before I forget, I want to tell you about the gratitude pumpkin. That’s right—a gratitude pumpkin. Not a real pumpkin but a pumpkin made of 8 strips of orange paper. On each strip you write one thing you are grateful for. Susan and I made them in our 4th grade Bridges Together class. Then stable it together to form a pumpkin. Voila!

My writing (hand-writing that is) is not so good. This is what I wrote:

  • I am thankful for our grandchildren
  •  I am thankful for my wife, Susan
  •  I am thankful for my brother and sisters
  •  I am thankful for my friends
  •  I am thankful for my son & daughter
  •  I am thankful for our dog, Freddy
  •  I am thankful for our beautiful home
  •  I am thankful for my health (Not so sure if I am thankful for the kidney stones. After one operation I am drinking so much water I feel like the main character in John Irving’s “The Water-Method Man.” Who knows what 2020 has in store for me.)

So what about the quiche?

I hardly ever make a crust for my quiche. Why bother? And crustless means less calories for those like me who are working to lose weight! A goal for 2020 for sure.

You can add almost anything to this quiche: onion, bacon, sausage, spinach, peppers. In this quiche I added leek, mushrooms, and tomato.

Preheat oven to 375F

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup half & half and 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash, oven-roasted at 400 for 30 minutes
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • pinch of nutmeg or allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grease a 10″ pie plate.

Roast butternut squash for about 30 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add half & half and heavy cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg, and beat thoroughly. Then add your vegetables and cheese.  Mix well. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie plate. I added a few sliced mushroom to half of this because our grandson loves mushrooms. Who knew!

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35–45 minutes. Maybe 50 minutes if your prefer a crusty top!

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

One last tradition. We always listen to Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving Eve or Day!

So, what are some of our family traditions? Name at least three and I will send you a Christmas Card!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Ricotta

I was getting ready to plate our dinner (featured above)—BBQ Brisket, a recipe from a favorite new cookbook, “Earth To Table Every Day,” when Susan called out to me, “Bruce. Nick Stellino is about to come on TV and he’s making soups.”

We love watching him on TV; “the storyteller in the kitchen.” And what a great storyteller he is.

One of the soups he featured is his lentil soup with sausage and ricotta. Inspired by the simple ingredients, I made it the day after we enjoyed our BBQ Brisket. Here’s his recipe:

Welcome October

I love October!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” wrote L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables.

Me, too!!!

Picture-perfect evidence of God’s majesty surround us.

Magnificent autumn leaves invite us to see the beauty that envelops us.

At Mittineague Park, the park down the street from where we live.

Or at Blair Lake on the outskirts of the Berkshires.

Of course, there are all those pumpkins!

Sometimes, we receive a surprise snow storm in October.

October light helps me create beautiful portraits, too.

Here are a few dinner and deserts I have made in October (Lentil Soup, Beef Stew, Butternut Squash with Scallops, North African Meatballs, Apple Pie and Cherry Cobler):

Yes, my friends, I made pasta and pizza, too. And fish–like these Panko Coconut Crusted Scallops:

October brings cooler nights; sweater and sweatshirt weather (Pictured here yours truly and my beloved wife, Susan.).

Our dog, Freddy, a mini-labradoodle loves playing amongst the autumn leaves.

A few final thoughts. One of my favorite poems, “Kicking Leaves,” by Donald Hall begins:

Kicking the leaves, October, as we walk home together

from the game, in Ann Arbor,

on a day the color of soot, rain in the air;

I kick at the leaves of maples,

reds of seventy different shades, yellows

like old paper; and poplar leaves, fragile and pale;

and elm leaves, flags of a doomed race.

I kick at the leaves, making a sound I remember

as the leaves swirl upward from my boot,

and flutter; and I remember

Octobers walking to school in Connecticut,

wearing corduroy trousers that swished

with a sound like leaves; and a Sunday buying

a cup of cider at a roadside stand

on a dirt road in New Hampshire………

Read more here.

One last thought. Music. A favorite album/CD of ours is “When October Goes, Autumn Love Songs.” Music by Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler and others. You can get your copy here.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

 

Lebanese Eggplant with Beef, Squash, Pine Nuts & Tomatoes

As I said in my previous post, my harvest of tomatoes and eggplant this summer was disappointing.

Two plants produced two eggplants.

One summer my garden produced so many eggplants Susan and I had it almost every night. We had some many in fact, I thought of setting up a small farm stand at the end of our driveway; “Two Eggplants $1.” At one point toward the end of the summer, Susan said, “Enough eggplants!”

I found this recipe at The Lemon Bowl. I made a few changes/additions. Please note.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants (Just what I had!)
  • 1 squash, seeded and sliced thin (My addition. It’s summer. Why not? I had it in my vegetable basket!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or lamb (I used sirloin.)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 8 ounces chicken stock (I used my homemade stock.)
  • 32 ounces crushed tomatoes (I used a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the broiler and line a pan with tin foil.
  • Cut the eggplant into 2 in. rounds and lay flat on the lined broiler pan. (NOTE: I grilled the eggplant.)
  • Measure the olive oil into a small bowl and brush it evenly on both sides of the eggplant rounds.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Broil eggplant 5 minutes per side, until browned, and place in a glass casserole dish. Reduce oven heat to 350.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, toast pine nuts over low heat until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Do not walk away!
  • While this is happening, heat a large pan to medium-high and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Brown beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice 5-7 minutes using a wooden spoon. Add onions and squash and continue cooking for additional 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up brown bits.
  • Add in tomatoes and toasted pine nuts then remove from heat.
  • Carefully pour the meat/tomato mixture over the eggplant rounds and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve with plain yogurt, fresh parsley and extra pine nuts.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Crustless Quiche

I hardly ever make a crust for my quiche. Why bother? And crustless means less calories for those like me who are working to lose weight!

You can add almost anything to this quiche: onion, bacon, sausage, spinach, peppers. In this quiche I added leek, mushrooms, and tomato.

Preheat oven to 350F

Ingredients

  • 5-6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup half & half (or milk or heavy cream–if you prefer a more custardy quiche add more), room temperature
  • 1 leek, washed, halved down the middle and sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, halved down the middle and sliced thin
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • pinch of nutmeg or allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grease a 10″ pie plate.

Sauté leek, mushrooms and zucchini and set aside to cool.

Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add half & half, salt and pepper, and nutmeg, and beat thoroughly. Then add your vegetable and cheeses.  Mix well. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie plate.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35–45 minutes. Maybe 50 minutes if your prefer a crusty top!

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Garden of My Summer Dreams

August one
Wondering
If creating
The garden
Of my summer dreams
Is worth the work
The wait and the weeding
I know
My garden
Tells a story
Waiting all winter
January, February
March, April
To plant
In May
The tomatoes
Jalapenos
Basil
Eggplant
Lettuce and celery
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Hundreds of zinnias
Dill and cilantro
Then one day this

And on another day

Last night
Celery for our corn crab cakes

Dill, parsley and chives for our cucumber soup with walnuts

And this morning
A place to practice
My yoga

Namaste

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.