Malfatti

“Malfatti” translates to “poorly made” – these dumplings are rustic but delicious, and a long time favorite family recipe. Be careful in varying from the recipe or risk having your dumplings dissolve in their cooking water!

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
1 c ricotta
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. fine dry bread crumbs (no substitutions!)
1/4 c scallions minced
3 T fresh basil or 2 ½ t dried
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t nutmeg


½ c flour


pasta of your choice
prepared tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese


Place the 1/2 cup of flour in a wide shallow bowl and set aside.

Press the thawed spinach in a colander to remove as much water as possible. Place in a large bowl and add cheeses, bread crumbs, scallions, eggs, garlic, basic and nutmeg. Mix well using your hands is messy but efficient. Divide into 16 equal portions and form each into 3″ log shapes. Roll each log in the flour and place on a small baking sheet and put it into the freezer for at least an hour.

When ready to eat, put on a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Gently add malfatti and simmer for 3 minutes after they rise to the top. Serve hot over pasta with your favorite tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

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Pasta with Clam Sauce

A good quick dinner. Connor likes this, William not so much. The original name of this recipe was “pasta with green clam sauce” but we usually omit the spinach so I’ll add that at the end as an option.

1/3 c olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 bottles clam juice* or stock (8 ounce) – can replace one with chicken broth
2 cans chopped clams in clam juice (6 ounce each)*
1/2 c dried bread crumbs
1 lb vermicelli, spaghetti, fettuccine or linguini
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Put the water on for the pasta. When it boils, add the pasta and cook until just al dente. Before draining reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about a minute until just fragrant, don’t let it brown. Add the clam juice (and broth if using that). Drain the clam juice from the two cans of chopped clams and add that too. Now add the bread crumbs and reduce to a simmer.

3. Return pasta to its cooking pot over low heat. Add the canned clams and simmering sauce and toss to mix. Add enough of the reserved pasta coking water to make the pasta very moist. Season lightly with salt and generously with fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.

IF YOU LIKE IT GREEN
Cook 1 ½ to 2 lbs spinach in a large pot of salted water for about 30 seconds, until just wilted. Remove from water with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a colander in the sink to drain. You can now use this vitamin enriched water to cook your pasta.  Add the spinach to the pasta with everything else at step 3.

* We recommend Maine made!

clam juice

Adapted from “The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook” page 72

 

Homemade Paneer

William and Anna made this for us and said it was EASY!  It was certainly delicious. Adapted from full Saag Paneer recipe by Aarti Sequirea at foodnetwork.com 

Cheesecloth
8 cups whole milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (more may be needed)

Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, and set it in sink.

In a large wide pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom.

Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds (white milk solids) and whey (the thin liquid) separate. If the milk doesn’t separate add another tablespoon or two of lemon juice and turn up the heat slightly. Then it should separate. Stir in a motion that gathers the curds together rather than breaks them up.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavor.

Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Tie the cheesecloth to your kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.

Twist the ball to compact the cheese into a firm ball, then place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side (this will ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth!) and set another plate on top. Weigh the second plate down with cans of beans or a heavy pot .Let it sit about 20 minutes in the fridge. While you start preparing Saag or other sauce.

Makes 12 ounces of cheese.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/saag-paneer-spinach-with-indian-cheese-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Paneer

 

Shredded Tofu & Shiitake

Recipe shared by Theodate Lawlor at at a meeting of Greg’s Buddhist Sanga in November 2015, attributed to Melissa Clark, NY Times.

• 1 (15-ounce) package firm tofu, drained
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing or dry sherry
• Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
• 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons peanut or grape-seed oil
• 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced (4 cups)
• ¼ cup sliced scallion
• 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, outer leaves removed, inner core finely chopped (optional)
• 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger root, grated
• 1 large garlic clove, grated
• 1 small red chile, seeded and finely chopped
• Salt, as needed
• ½ cup shelled edamame (defrosted if using frozen)
• ¼ cup chopped soft herbs, such as cilantro, chives or basil


1 Using the coarse holes of a box grater, shred the tofu. Spread tofu out on a clean kitchen towel to drain while you prepare the sauce and mushrooms.

2 In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, Shaoxing, lime juice and sesame oil.

3 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, then add the peanut oil; it should thin out on contact. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned and slightly crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in the scallion, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chile and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

4 Carefully transfer the tofu from the towel into the skillet. Toss in the edamame and the soy sauce mixture. Cook until mixture is heated through. Season with salt as needed. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve with lime wedges.

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Swiss Chard Quesadillas

Adapted from Vegetarian Times original recipe here: www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/guadalajaran-swiss-chard-quesadillas/

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, minced
1/2 t cumin seeds
⅛ t oregano
¼ cup tequila or Cointreau
1 lb. Swiss chard, washed and trimmed
8 6-inch corn or flour tortillas (or use the larger size and fold in half)
1 cup grated swiss cheese or sliced

1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until golden. Stir in garlic, chile, cumin and oregano, and sauté 2 minutes. Add tequila, and simmer 1 minute, or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in chard. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and steam 5 minutes, or until chard wilts. Uncover, and cook 3 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated.

2. Place 1 tortilla in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1/4 chard mixture and second tortilla. Cook 2 minutes per side, or until browned. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Slice into wedges; serve.

via Vegetarian Times

Potato Cheese Perogies

I tried a couple recipes in the 1990s trying to recreate the delicious perogies we had in bar mlecznys or milk bars in Poland. This recipe via a Pittsburgh Post Gazette food blog seems close (with minor adaptations). Author Casey Barber recommends using a kitchen scale to measure dry ingredients by weight; too much flour in the dough makes for tough, chewy pierogies.

Basic Pierogi Dough

2 large eggs, divided
1/2 c sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
3 T unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 t salt
2 c (8½ ounces) unbleached flour
1 T water

Whisk egg, sour cream or yogurt, butter and salt in bowl. Add flour to large bowl. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour. The dough will initially be very dry and shaggy, seeming as if it will never come together, but have no fear: Keep stirring and it will pull itself into shape.

Once dough starts to come together, press and smash it against the sides of bowl with your palms, picking up dough bits and essentially kneading it within bowl until it forms a ball.

Tip dough and any remaining shaggy flakes out onto a clean work surface. Knead until smooth, about 1 minutes. Cover dough with bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

Whisk remaining egg and water in small bowl for egg wash.

Potato and Cheddar Pierogies

Just like your babcia used to make. Be sure not to use too much flour when rolling out the dough, or the pierogies will be chewy and leaden (but probably still delicious). Boil then pan-fried the dumplings in butter. Yum. 

1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 medium or 2 small), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 c finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 2 T heavy cream or whole milk

Onion side

2 T butter
1 large yellow onion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into strips along the grain
1/4 c (or more) chicken or beef broth

Sauerkraut and sour cream for serving, optional

Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Uncover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and bring back to pan. Place over low heat and stir for about 30 seconds to remove excess moisture. Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill fitted with fine disk into bowl. Stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, cheese and 1 tablespoon cream; consistency should be firm enough to roll into a ball. If filling is too dry, stir in additional 1 tablespoon cream.

For onions: Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Stir in onion and cook until starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup broth and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and deeply browned, about 1½ to 2 hours. If onions start to burn before they’re fully caramelized, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional broth as needed.

To make pierogies: Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

Divide rested dough into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Set aside 3 dough pieces and cover with mixing bowl. Roll remaining dough as thinly as possible into a rough 8-by-12-inch rectangle.

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of dough. Resist the temptation to re-roll dough scraps for additional rounds. It seems wasteful but dough won’t be as tender the second time around. Makes 24 pierogies.

Spoon filling into center of dough rounds.

Using your finger, swipe a scant amount of egg wash — just a light touch — around the dough edge.

Fold into a half-moon shape: Either fold dough over the filling on work surface — I call this “the blanket” — or gently cup the pierogi in our hand in a U shape — I call this “the taco.”

Gently but firmly seal pierogi by pinching and squeezing edges together with your thumb and pointer finger. Start with 1 pinch at the top, then move to the “corner” of the pierogi and pinch along the edge back to the top. Repeat on opposite side to finish sealing pierogi.

Transfer to baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling.

To cook, pierogies can either be boiled  (2 to 3 minutes for fresh, 4 to 5 minutes for frozen), pan-fried in oil or butter (2 minutes per side), or deep-fried in at least 2 inches of 350-degree vegetable oil (3 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen).

Deep-fry, boil and/or pan fry pierogies as directed. Serve immediately with onions, sauerkraut and/or sour cream.

pierogies3-2

“Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” by Casey barber (Gibbs Smith, July 2015, $19.99)

Green Bean Casserole

My canned-soup-free version of an old 70’s favorite I did not grow up on … except someone used to bring it to holiday family gatherings. I melded a couple of internet recipes into this version this summer because our CSA has been delivering huge bags of green beans weekly. This recipe is delicious even with the big tough ones. –Deb, 2015

2 lb green beans – snap off stems, de-string if needed and snap in half or into thirds or quarters, depending on size
1/2 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained and sliced into matchsticks
1 (6-oz.) can French fried onions, divided
 –
2 T olive oil
2 T flour
3/4 c milk
3/4 c light cream
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
 –
handful of pecans
olive oil for greasing dish

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Blend olive oil and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat until well blended and just beginning to bubble. Stir in salt and pepper, then add milk and cream and whisk together until the mixture begins to thicken. Mix in garlic and Parmesan and remove from heat.

Grease the casserole dish lightly with olive oil, then load it up with the beans, water chestnuts and half of French fried onions and mix together a bit. Stir in the white sauce and bake for 30 minutes at 350º

Remove from oven and top with the remaining onions, dot with pecans and return to oven for 5-10 minutes, until just toasted. Serve hot.

green bean pile