Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Interruptus Part II

I made minestrone on Sunday with the beautiful vegetables that Rita brought me, and a few things that I picked up at the Tompkins Square greenmarket.   Minestrone is often made with chicken broth - or, like its French relative, soupe au pistou, started with pancetta.  I make a strictly vegetarian soup.  For this one I used a red Tropea onion.  The torpedo shaped onion has its origins in the Calabria region of southern Italy.   It's sweet and slightly pungent flavor gives depth to the soup.

I like to eat this minestrone at room temperature - but there's no reason why you can't serve it hot.

Serves 8.   
I eat about half of it after it's freshly made and freeze the other half for future meals.

1 Tropea - or medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 small hot pepper, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh borlotti beans ( about 1 pound in their shells)
6 cups water
1/2 pound new potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound broad beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded savoy cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups summer squash or zucchini or both cut into 1/2-inch rounds

Garnish with: cherry tomatoes covered with olive oil and salt and roasted at 350 degrees F. until they're deep gold, about 45 minutes, a dollop of pesto (recipe on previous blog) per serving, and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

1.    In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan saute the onion, garlic and hot pepper in the olive oil until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes.   Add the borlotti beans and water.  Lower the heat and simmer for  15 minutes and add the potatoes, broad beans, cabbage and salt.   Cook for 15 minutes and the zucchini.  Cook until the beans are tender - another 1/2 hour or so.   In the meantime the potatoes should be soft enough to push up against the side of the saucepan and mash with  dinner fork.  The soup will thicken a bit.   You may want to add more water as needed.
2.   Serve while still warm or at room temperature with the suggested garnishes.

 Labor Day 2011 was celebrated with cookout on my terrace with food made for friends by me and my friend, Roy.
We started with a lovely eggplant relish very reminiscent of  the Sicilian sweet &amp sour caponata  made by Roy which he served on goat cheese smeared crostini and garnished with tender aruglua leaves.  Unfortunately I won't be able to give you  any of Roy's unpublished recipes.  We'll all have to wait for a future book from  Roy Finamore.  Go to his site Tasty Central  to sample some of his other recipes.
The guacamole served with radishes and corn chips was from me.   It's probably anathema to guacamole purists because I make it in a food processor and add a bit of garlic.  The important thing is that my lime juice and cilantro redolent dip tastes very good.

Roy grilled burgers and dogs.  We ate the dogs in grilled buns with outstanding chili made by Roy and cole slaw made by me piled on top.  The cole slaw is more or less the recipe that my late mother made for every occasion from birthday parties to, well, to Labor Day cookouts.


1 head cabbage thinly sliced on a mandolin
2 carrots, peeled and shredded

Dressing:  Add  3/4 cup good quality commercial mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons grated onion (I used red), 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt (or more as desired), and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper to a small bowl and whisk together until completely smooth.  Pour over the cabbage and carrots and combine.
Try to make the cole slaw in the morning if you're serving it in the evening.  It gets better as it marinates.

Roy made potato salad.  It was a riff on one of the salads from his book "One Potato Two Potato" (Houghton Mifflin, 2001).  Full of chopped hard cooked eggs, sweet pickles and celery.
He also made the most incredible baked beans in the universe.  I'm tapping my foot waiting  for that recipe.
I made the summer cake ( see blog, August 17th) that I love so much with Italian plums.
Roy made butter pecan ice cream, and raspberry buttermilk sherbet from his James Beard award winning book, "Tasty" (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Makes about 1 quart
Roy says, "When I was growing up, a Good Humor truck drove through our neighbor hood, ringing a bell every summer afternoon.   Ice cream truck music drives me nuts now, but it certainly didn't them.  My favorite was raspberry sherbet on a stick.  Here's my tribute."
4 (6-ounce) baskets raspberries
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups simple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

Whir the raspberries in a food processor until you have a loose slush.   Pass the slush through a strainer set over a bowl, working with  wooden spoon or rubber scraper to get all the pulp.  Discard the seeds.
Whisk the buttermilk, simple syrup, lemon juice and salt into the pulp.  Chill for an hour or so.
Follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker to freeze the sherbet.  Scrape it into a plastic container and pop it into the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

SUSANSIMONSAYS:   It was a wonderful weekend.   I'll go upstate another time.  However, I couldn't have had the experiences that I enjoyed had Irene's intrusion not permitted them. 

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