Tag Archives | Winter 2015-16 Recipes

Lentil Soup


Recipe from The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan (1992, Alfred A. Knopf)

Serves 6

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons onion, chopped very fine cup shredded prosciutto or unsmoked ham
2 tablespoons carrot, chopped fine
2 tablespoons celery, chopped fine
1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
½ pound dried lentils
4 cups homemade meat broth
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put 2 tablespoons of the butter and all of the oil in a soup pot, add the chopped onion and prosciutto and turn on the heat to medium high. Do not cover the pot. Cook the onion, stirring it, until it becomes a deep gold.

Add the chopped carrot and celery. Cook at a lively heat for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes with their juice, and adjust the heat so that they bubble gently, but steadily. Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, wash the lentils in cold water and drain them. Add the lentils to the pot, stirring thoroughly to coat them well, then add the broth and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pot, adjust the heat so that the soup cooks at a steady, gentle simmer, and stir from time to time. Generally, it will take about 45 minutes for the lentils to become tender, but each lot of lentils varies, so it is necessary to monitor their progress by tasting them. Some lentils will absorb more liquid than others. If necessary, add more broth while cooking or, if you are not using homemade broth, add water.

When the lentils are done, before turning off the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and swirl in the grated Parmesan. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Serve with additional grated Parmesan for the table.

The Philadelphia Free Library Culinary Literacy Center
1901 Vine St.

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Corn Pudding

Adapted from Sara May

Serves 8

Chef Sara May of Bing Bing Dim Sum in South Philly loves using cultured buttermilk in both sweet and savory dishes. “I love the tang that it gives, the way that the acid in the buttermilk really livens up the flavors of sweet things like fruit or creamy things like custard.”

Even if a recipe doesn’t call for buttermilk, May recommends swapping out part of the milk on the ingredients list with a good cultured buttermilk. “Substituting buttermilk for a portion of the milk that’s called for in a quick-bread recipe is a really nice way to liven up the cake and give a little zip to the flavor and keep it super moist.” May has adapted a favorite recipe from her mother—a savory corn custard—to use cultured buttermilk; it’s become a staple at her holiday table.

6 ears of corn, kernels removed, divided or
4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed and divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped (see note)
½ cup cultured buttermilk
½ cup whole milk
½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (I’m a fan of Clover Creek Cheese Cellar’s mild cheddar in this dish)
1 large red bell pepper, diced finely
3 large eggs, beaten
1 large pinch kosher salt
4–5 twists of the pepper mill
Cooking spray

Note: The heat levels of jalapeño peppers tend to vary widely, so be sure to taste a little bit of your pepper before adding to the dish so you can adjust the level of spice to your liking.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place the kernels from 4 ears of corn (or 3 cups thawed frozen kernels), onion, jalapeño, buttermilk, whole milk and cheese into a food processor. Blend until a smooth paste forms. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in red bell pepper, kernels from the remaining 2 ears of corn (or 1 cup thawed frozen kernels), eggs, salt and pepper, taking care to thoroughly incorporate.

Coat the inside of eight ½-inch ramekins with cooking spray. Divide corn mixture evenly between ramekins, filling only ¾ of the way to the top. Place ramekins in a large casserole dish with deep sides and add enough hot water to the dish so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Carefully place in oven (it’s heavy!) and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until pudding tops are brown and firm. Serve warm.

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Nina’s Butter Cookies

Adapted from Nina White

Makes Approximately 18 Cookies

½ cup cultured butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1¾ cup pastry flour

Preheat oven to 425°. Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in egg, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Add pastry flour gradually and mix thoroughly.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake until edges are golden.

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Apple-Cheddar Drop Biscuits


Recipe courtesy of Blew Kind

Makes 9 biscuits

2¼ cups flour
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
1 cup milk
1 apple, cored and diced with skin on
Fresh cilantro, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons aged cheddar, diced
Preheat the oven to 425°.

Place flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the butter and cut it into the flour mixture, using a wooden spoon or the paddle of a mixer, until the mixture resembles peas. Once it reaches a clumpy consistency, add agave nectar evenly into the mixture.

Stir in milk. The consistency should be like cake batter. If dry, add more milk by the teaspoon. Take off mixer, if used. Fold in the diced apple, cilantro and aged cheddar.

Spoon out 9 biscuits. Put in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until crispy brown on top.

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Eggs for a Thanksgiving Crowd


1 dozen eggs
Scant ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Scant ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
Generous tablespoon unsalted butter
Generous tablespoon olive oil

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a whisk, adding in the kosher salt and black pepper, along with a small dusting of cayenne. “You aren’t looking to make it spicy, but to tone it,” says Chris. Whisk in the milk.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick omelet pan over medium heat. “Normally you want to do scrambled eggs low and slow, but we need to cook a lot of eggs in a pan that’s not large,” says Chris.

Add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter melts and bubbles, add the eggs. Let it sit for 30 seconds or so to allow the fats and eggs to combine. Then, move in a clockwise manner around the rim of the pan, gently pulling the spatula across the eggs, folding them in on themselves. Because there’s more heat and a deeper set, you have to move more steadily, but “keep it nice and easy,” he says. You may need to adjust the heat, lowering when necessary, to prevent burning.

The eggs will begin to congeal and thicken—cook them until them are firm, but not stiff, with a slightly wet look. It should take 5 to 10 minutes. The finished eggs should be creamy. “People who ask for dry eggs will be disappointed in my eggs,” Chris says.

If you are doing another batch, transfer the eggs to an ovenproof vessel, tented with aluminum foil, that will accommodate what you’re serving, and put it in a low oven (200° or less). Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat the process.

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