Recipe List

Facebook Coffee Recipe Contest

The Winning Recipes!

KQED kicked off Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way by teaming up with Peet's Coffee & Tea to sponsor a recipe contest on Facebook, the social networking site.

Favorite original recipes featuring Peet's coffee as an ingredient was the main requirement and the winning recipes are featured below:

"Amazing Fudge Peets Brownies"
(Brownie Recipe w/Fudge Frosting)

Recipe by Kanya Yoshihiro

Brownies (cook first):

Fudge Frosting (cook while brownies are baking):

Finishing and Serving the "Amazing Fudge Peets Brownies"

Raspberry & Espresso Marscapone Napoleon

Recipe by Amy Tran

After puff pastry has cooled, split horizontally in half. To assemble the Napoleon:

Makes 6 Napoleons

Coffee Balsamic Glaze

Recipe by Abena Darden

To spruce up the glaze try sautéing 1 clove of garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with a fresh bay leaf. Add the vinegar, coffee, and honey and cook as instructed above.

Mocha Pudding Cake

Recipe by Susan Krauss

This recipe is very easy and great! I adapted a recipe that my mom made for years by substituting 1 cup of coffee for the original 1 cup boiling water (I use decaf Major Dickason's Blend) I always have these ingredients at home so if I need a quick dessert and don't want to go to the store this is it!

Peet's Chocolate-Orange Mousse

Recipe by Patrick Ebert

Jacques Pépin Recipes

Butter Bean Canapés

Watch Episode 201 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I love beans and the big butter beans (habas grandes) available in cans at the supermarket are well suited for these canapés. The bean mixture also makes a great first-course salad or meat accompaniment. If made up to 3 hours ahead, the bread will, for the better, soak up the juices from the beans.

Mix together in a bowl 1 can (15.5 ounces) drained butter beans (large white beans), 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chives, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut twelve 1/3-inch-thick slices from a baguette. Mound the bean mixture on the bread slices. Serve.

Makes about 3 dozen

Shellfish and Chicken Paella

Watch Episode 201 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Paella is arguably the national dish of Spain, and the best ones, it is said, come from Valencia in the south. Gloria and I had our best paella there in an unassuming little restaurant where the lady owner was the chef.

I have made paella with all varieties of rice, although conventionally it is made with Spanish short-grain. Italian Arborio rice, French rice from Camargue, and Asian or American rice work as well.

Although true paella is made in a shallow tin pan on an open fire and can include rabbit as well as snails or eel, I make mine with chorizo sausage and chicken thighs, adding shellfish at the last moment. I also cover the pan, which is not the traditional procedure, because this helps the mixture cook more evenly. The chicken, chorizo, mushrooms, onion, and garlic can be browned a couple of hours ahead.

I like to use commercial alcaparrado, a mixture of olives, red pimientos, and capers that my wife uses in her Caribbean cooking, and hot salsa, both of which are available in markets.

4 servings

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chorizo and chicken and brown over high to medium heat for 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. (The recipe can be prepared to this point a couple of hours ahead.)

About 30 minutes before serving time, reheat the mixture until it sizzles. Add the rice to the pan and mix well. Stir in the alcaparrado, tomatoes, saffron, hot salsa, chicken stock, and salt. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 12 minutes.

Add the mussels, scallops, and shrimp to the pan, placing them on top of the rice without stirring them in. Cover, increase the heat to medium, and cook for an additional 8 minutes. Add the peas, cover, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Stir well and divide among four warm plates. Serve.

Cured Herring Starter

Watch Episode 202 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This is a winner when guests drop by unexpectedly.

Drain a 12-ounce jar of herring in white wine. Combine in a bowl with 1 tablespoon each drained capers and bottled horseradish, 1/2 cup peeled and diced (1/4-inch) cucumber, and 1/2 cup peeled and diced (1/2-inch) apple. Add a good dash of salt and Tabasco hot pepper sauce and 1/4 cup sour cream. Toss with 4 cups mesclun salad greens. Serve on plates or in martini glasses.

4 servings

Skirt Steak Grandma

Watch Episode 202 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Gloria's mother, originally from Puerto Rico, always rubbed lime juice on her steaks before cooking them and sprinkled lime juice liberally on the steaks after they were cooked. Her sauce included anchovies and garlic. This is a delicious interpretation of her recipe.

4 servings

Rub the steaks with the 1 tablespoon lime juice and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper 10 minutes before cooking.

Heat the olive oil and the oil from the anchovies in a large heavy skillet over high heat. When hot, add the steaks and cook them for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side for medium rare, or for more or less time based on your own preferences.

Crush the anchovy fillets with the chopped garlic. When the steaks are ready, transfer them to a hot plate and set them aside to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, add the anchovy-garlic paste and the scallions to the drippings in the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the water and boil for 30 seconds. Pour over the steaks, sprinkle them with more lime juice, and serve.

Fried Capers

Watch Episode 203 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

For an unusual cocktail accompaniment, I like to deep-fry capers. Although small capers are preferred for most recipes, the largest capers available are the best for deep-frying. Crunchy and nutty, these will surprise and delight your guests.

Drain a 3- to 4-ounce jar large capers in a sieve. Rinse well under cool tap water to remove excess salt. Dry thoroughly on paper towels. Heat 1/2 to 1 inch canola or safflower oil to about 350 degrees in a skillet. Add the capers and cook for about 2 minutes, moving them around gently with a slotted spoon. They should be light brown and dry. Drain on paper towels and when cool enough to handle, transfer to a serving bowl.

Makes about 1/2 cup

Small Berry Custards

Watch Episode 203 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Conventional berry tarts are made by baking a shell of cookie dough and, when it is cold, filling it with custard, arranging berries on top, and finishing it with a glaze. However, it is easier, faster, and less caloric to make this similar recipe without the dough. The custard is spooned into individual soufflé molds or small glass bowls and topped with berries glazed with seedless raspberry jam. Any small molds with about a 1/2-cup capacity that are pretty enough to serve in the dining room will work here.

4 servings

Pastry Cream

For the pastry cream: Bring the half-and-half and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl with a whisk. Add the flour to the yolks and mix it in well with the whisk. Pour the hot half-and-half into the yolk mixture and whisk it in. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil, whisking until it thickens. Boil for 10 seconds longer, remove from the heat, and cool.

When ready to assemble the desserts, divide the cream among four 1/2-cup molds. Cut each strawberry lengthwise into 6 to 8 slices and stand the slices up all around the edge of the molds so the tips extend a little beyond the edge. Arrange a layer of raspberries on top of the cream in each mold inside the strawberry border. Heat the raspberry jam for about 10 seconds in a microwave if it is too firm to use as a glaze and coat the berries with the jam. Garnish with the mint sprigs if using. Serve with cookies, if you like.

Beet, Stilton, Apple, and Nut Salad

Watch Episode 204 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This classic salad makes an elegant and tasty first course for a dinner or a great lunch main dish. I simplify the preparation by using sliced canned beets.

Drain the juice from a 1-pound can of sliced beets. Divide the slices among four plates, allotting 4 or 5 slices per plate. Mix together in a bowl 3/4 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms, about 1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped apple, 1/2 cup broken walnut pieces, and 1/2 cup crumbled Stilton cheese. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix well. Spoon a good dollop of the mixture into the middle of the sliced beets on the plates and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives. Serve.

4 servings

Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust

Watch Episode 204 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I often make this recipe at home when I am in a hurry, because splitting and flattening the chicken and cutting between the joints of the leg and the shoulder reduce the cooking time by half. I use kitchen shears to split the chicken open at the back and to cut the cooked bird into serving pieces and a knife to cut between the joints.

The mustard crust can be made ahead and even spread on the chicken a day ahead, if you like. I pour the cooked chicken juices into a fat separator with a spout and serve over Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, leaving the fat behind.

4 servings

Mustard Crust

For the crust: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone of the chicken to split it open. Spread and press on the chicken with your hands to flatten it. Using a sharp paring knife, cut halfway through both sides of the joints connecting the thighs and drumsticks and cut through the joints of the shoulder under the wings as well. (This will help the heat penetrate these joints and accelerate the cooking process.)

Put the chicken skin side down on a cutting board and spread it with about half the mustard mixture. Place the chicken flat in a large skillet, mustard side down. Spread the remaining mustard on the skin side of the chicken. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, then place the skillet in the oven and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. It should be well browned and dark on top.

Let the chicken rest in the skillet at room temperature for a few minutes, then cut it into 8 pieces with clean kitchen shears. Defat the cooking juices. If you like, mound some Fluffy Mashed Potatoes on each of four warm dinner plates and place 2 pieces of chicken on each plate. Pour some juice on the mashed potatoes and chicken and serve.

Anchovy Spread

Watch Episode 205 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This is an appetizer for anchovy aficionados. My wife adores this spread on pasta, toast or, as I suggest here, on cheese.

Put the contents of a 2-ounce can of anchovies in a food processor or mini chopper. Add 1/4 cup whole almonds, 1 garlic clove, 1 washed and quartered white mushroom, 3/4 cup diced (1/2-inch) country bread (preferably from a day-or-two-old loaf ), and 3 tablespoons best-quality olive oil. Process until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Cut 1/4-inch-thick slices from a firm cheese like Gruyère, Manchego, or provolone. Cut the slices into 1-inch squares. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the anchovy spread on each square of cheese, garnish with sliced almonds, and serve.

Makes about 20 small canapés

Bluefin Tuna Tartare with Apple

Watch Episode 205 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Especially for dishes like tartare, ceviche, and gravlax, the fresher the fish, the better the result. For this recipe, I start with a tuna steak about 1 inch thick and cut it into 1/2-inch squares. Using larger pieces rather than finely chopped fish, the conventional choice, gives the dish a creamier feel in the mouth. Do not mix the ingredients together more than 1 to 2 hours before serving; if combined sooner, the lemon juice will discolor the tuna, turning it an opaque white.

4 First-Course Servings

Cut the tuna steak into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice into 1/2-inch squares. Peel the apple and cut the flesh into 1/4-inch pieces. You should have about 2/3 cup.

No more than 2 hours before serving, mix together in a medium bowl the tuna, apple, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, Tabasco, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and chives.

Peel the cucumber with a vegetable peeler. Use the peeler to cut 9 long strips of flesh from the cucumber, pivoting the cucumber and stopping before you reach the seeds in the center. Julienne 1 cucumber strip and set aside for the garnish. Mound the tuna tartare in the center of each of four plates and wrap 2 cucumber strips around each mound to enclose it. Garnish with some of the julienned cucumber and serve.

Asian Chicken Livers

Watch Episode 206 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

These livers, which are poached and served in a hot sauce, are a fabulous appetizer. The sauce, which can be made ahead, is also good with steamed fish, as a seasoning for salad, or sprinkled over steamed vegetables. The livers take only about 2 minutes to cook.

Cut about 5 chicken livers in half. Remove and discard any sinew that was connecting the halves. Cut the halves in half again. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Put the liver pieces in a sieve. Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to accommodate the livers, mix 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro. When the water in the pot is boiling, lower the sieve containing the liver pieces into the water and cook for about 2 minutes. The water will have barely come back to a boil. Remove the livers; they should be pink inside. Add to the bowl of sauce and mix well. Serve with chopsticks or forks.

4 to 6 servings (20 pieces)

Pumpkin Gratin

Watch Episode 206 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

The only way I ate pumpkin as a child was in a savory gratin, so the first time I had it in the United States -- sweet, in a pie -- I thought it was a mistake. I've come to love pumpkin pie and I still enjoy pumpkin in the gratin of my youth. The combination of Swiss cheese, eggs, and cream comes together into something like a smooth and creamy soufflé, capturing the flavors of fall. Canned pumpkin speeds things up.

4 servings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the pumpkin puree into a food processor and add the eggs, cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Process for 10 to 15 seconds to combine.

Coat a 6-cup gratin dish with the butter. Fill the dish with the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until set and lightly browned on top. Serve.

Rice Paper Rolls with Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato

Watch Episode 207 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Rice papers, or spring roll wrappers, are transparent brittle disks made of rice flour. They're available at Asian markets, specialty stores, and some supermarkets. They need only 45 seconds to a minute to rehydrate in water, making them soft, pliable, and usable for quick hors d'oeuvres. They can be stuffed with shrimp, fish, meat, and vegetables, as well as cheese, ham, olives, or nuts; use whatever you have on hand.

Wet 16 dried rice papers under cold tap water. Set them aside for a minute to soften. Peel and pit 1 avocado and cut it into 16 wedges. Drain and set aside 16 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves. Peel 4 scallions and cut them into 3-inch pieces. Lay the rice papers flat on the table and top each with a wedge of avocado, a sun-dried tomato half, 1 sprig fresh cilantro, and a few pieces of scallion. Sprinkle a little salt and a dash of Tabasco hot pepper sauce on each. Fold the vegetables inside the soft rice papers, bringing the sides in to make a tight, compact roll. Serve.

4 servings

Tall Greek Tomato Salad

Watch Episode 207 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

The ingredients of this Greek salad are traditional but the preparation is unique. Tomatoes with the stems still attached are readily available in supermarkets.

4 servings

Lemon–Olive Oil Dressing

Tomato Salad

For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

For the salad: Cut around the stems of the tomatoes with a paring knife and reserve the stem "caps" to place back on the tomatoes. Cut a small slice from the base of the tomatoes so they will sit flat after stuffing. Cut each tomato horizontally into 5 slices, each about 1/3 inch thick. (They should be cut and arranged so that the slices can be reassembled later.)

Place a bottom slice from each tomato in the center of each of four salad plates. Cover each slice with some of the cucumber slices and a slice of onion and sprinkle with fleur de sel and a little dressing. Place the second consecutive slice from each tomato on top of the first. Cover with some of the feta slices and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of dressing over the cheese. Add the third slice of tomato and cover with cucumber slices, onion, and a little more dressing. Add the fourth tomato slice and cover with feta cheese and a dash of dressing. Finish by adding the last tomato slice, with the hole from the missing stem. Reinsert the stems for a nice presentation.

Divide the olives and any remaining cheese or cucumber among the plates, scattering them around the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with some fleur de sel and any extra dressing, garnish with oregano leaves, and serve cool but not cold.

Red Pepper Dip

Watch Episode 208 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Roasted red peppers are sold at the deli counter. I transform them into a fast dip to enjoy with cocktails.

Cut enough roasted red bell pepper into 1-inch pieces to make 1 cup. Transfer to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process until smooth. Serve with crunchy breadsticks.

Makes About 1 1/2 Cups

Asparagus Fans with Mustard Sauce

Watch Episode 208 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I like firm, fat, green asparagus with tight heads, and I always peel the lower third of the stalks with a vegetable peeler to make them tender. I often offer this as a first course.

The asparagus is dressed with a sauce of mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar and garnished with hard-cooked eggs and chives. Cook the asparagus fairly close to when you will sit down; it tastes better if it is served directly from the boiling water without being refreshed under cold water.

4 servings

Mustard Sauce

Lower the eggs into enough boiling water to cover them and cook at a very gentle boil for 10 minutes. Drain off the water and shake the pan to crack the eggshells. Add ice to the pan and set aside for at least 15 minutes to cool completely. Shell the eggs and place them, one at a time, in an egg slicer, cut through them, then rotate them 45 degrees in the slicer and cut through them again to create strips. Alternatively, chop the eggs with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Peel the lower third of the asparagus spears with a vegetable peeler. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a large skillet. Add the asparagus, cover partially, and bring back to a boil over high heat. Boil over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the spears are tender but still firm. Using a slotted spatula, remove the asparagus from the water and put it on a platter.

For the sauce: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

At serving time, arrange the asparagus spears on a platter, positioning them so the stem ends are close together and the tips are fanned out. Coat the lower third of the asparagus spears with the sauce and sprinkle the eggs and chives over and around them. Serve.

Cheesy Breadsticks

Watch Episode 209 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

An ideal vehicle for slightly stale bread, these "sticks" lend originality to your breadbasket and are excellent with most foods, from soup to meat to cheese.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread about 2 tablespoons good olive oil evenly on a cookie sheet. Cut 1/2-inch slices from a 6-ounce piece of country-style bread. Cut each slice lengthwise into breadsticks about 1 inch wide. You should have about 2 dozen. Arrange the sticks in one layer on the oiled pan and press on them lightly. Turn the sticks over on the pan and press on them lightly again so they are oiled on both sides. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon each paprika and ground cumin. Sprinkle over the breadsticks. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and crisp.

Makes about 24 breadsticks

Ragout of Broccolini, Beans, and Sausage

Watch Episode 209 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

White beans, sausage, and broccoli are a classic Mediterranean combination. Instead of broccoli, I use broccolini, because it is more tender and the stems don't need peeling. Preparing the dish with canned cannellini beans makes it a cinch.

4 servings

Pour the oil into a large skillet or saucepan and add the onion and sausage. Cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking the sausage meat into small pieces with a fork or spoon. Add the liquid from the can of beans and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, wash and cut the broccolini tops into 1-inch pieces and the stems into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the pan with the garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and return to a boil. Cover and boil gently for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the broccolini is tender but still a little crunchy.

Add the beans, mix well, and return to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes to blend the flavors together. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve as is, or sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and extra oil.

Cured Salmon Morsels

Watch Episode 210 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Gravlax is one of my favorite hors d'oeuvres, and I usually present it on buttered bread or cucumber slices. One day when I was slicing salmon, I decided to cut some of it into small cubes, quickly cure them, and serve them on toothpicks. These only take a minute to prepare. The fresher the salmon, the more outstanding the finished morsels.

Cut about 8 ounces cleaned salmon into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with about 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss the cubes together in a small bowl and let cure for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop some fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, and parsley). Toss the salmon pieces with the herbs to coat them well and arrange them on a serving plate. Stick a toothpick in each cube. Sprinkle with the best extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Makes about 30 pieces

Crusty Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Sauce

Watch Episode 210 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Thighs are the part of the chicken that I enjoy most. When I cook them in stews or with a sauce, I remove the skin because when it is cooked with moisture, it gets rubbery and releases all its fat into the sauce.

In this recipe, I cook the thighs in a skillet skin side down, so the skin becomes crisp, dry, and beautifully browned. Make sure to use a nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, so as the skin fries, the flesh is cooked by the steam. The portions are relatively small here, but within the context of a menu this is enough meat.

4 servings

Arrange the chicken thighs skin side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, trim off any excess skin at the edges and cut about 1/2 inch deep into the flesh on either side of the thigh bone. (This will help the meat cook more quickly.) Sprinkle the thighs with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and arrange them skin side down in one layer in a nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid.

Place the skillet over high heat and when the thighs start sizzling reduce the heat to medium, cover tightly, and cook for 16 to 18 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken is browning properly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 degrees. If the chicken seems to be cooking too fast after 10 minutes or so, reduce the heat to low. The skin of the chicken should be very crisp and brown. Transfer the chicken skin side up to an ovenproof platter and place it in the oven.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet in which you cooked the chicken. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté them over high heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on the mushrooms and then add the wine and any liquid that has accumulated around the thighs on the platter. Cook the sauce over high heat for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid.

To serve, divide the sauce among four hot plates. Place a thigh in the middle of the mushroom sauce on each plate, spoon some sauce over, sprinkle on the chives, and serve.

Sweet Crisp Bacon

Watch Episode 211 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I learned how to cook bacon in a microwave oven from my wife and I now never cook it any other way. It's easy and fast and crisps the bacon uniformly. There can be variations in timing from one microwave to another, but regular bacon generally cooks in about 4 minutes and thicker slices require up to 6 minutes. Cook the thick slices for 4 minutes initially and then check them every 30 seconds or so and continue until the bacon is cooked to your liking. Choose as lean a bacon as you can find. I prefer thick-sliced bacon. Brushing the top of the slices with maple syrup or honey imparts a delicious taste.

Arrange 4 bacon slices side by side in one layer on a corrugated microwave tray. Brush with 2 teaspoons maple syrup, turn, and brush on the other side with 2 teaspoons more syrup. Cover loosely with a sheet of paper towel and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Check, cook for another 30 seconds, and then check again. Continue cooking, checking every 30 seconds, until the bacon is well crisped (about 6 minutes total).

4 servings

Apricot Clafoutis

Watch Episode 211 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

A clafoutis is somewhere between a sweet omelet and a custard. Made with fruit, often cherries or apples, it is a classic throughout France, with small variations from region to region and, sometimes, different names. It can be called flan aux fruits or a flognarde, but most often is known as clafoutis. My recipe is made with canned apricots. Try different brands: some are much better than others. Serve the clafoutis directly from the skillet or unmold it onto a serving plate and serve in wedges.

4 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet.

Drain the apricots, reserving the syrup. You should have 6 to 8 apricot halves and 1/2 cup syrup. Using a whisk, mix the syrup with the flour in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter from the skillet and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the butter remaining in the skillet and arrange the apricot halves on top, spacing them evenly. Place the skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes and then transfer it to the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the confectioners' sugar on top. Cool to lukewarm.

Serve the clafoutis directly from the skillet in wedges or unmold. To unmold, make certain that the clafoutis is free from the sides of the pan; if necessary, run a sharp knife around the edge to release it. Then place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dessert and invert it onto a plate. Place another plate on top of the inverted clafoutis and invert it again so the crusty side is on top. Remove the plastic wrap, cut into wedges, and serve.

Radish Toasts

Watch Episode 212 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

The conventional way to eat radishes in France is to split them partially open and insert a small piece of butter in the opening, then to dip the top of the radish lightly in coarse salt and enjoy it with a piece of crunchy baguette. I sometimes prepare a variation of this French recipe.

Cut a baguette into thin slices about 3/8 inch thick. Cover each slice lavishly with unsalted butter. Thinly slice several radishes horizontally (a vegetable peeler is good for this) and cover the butter with overlapping slices of radish. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top and enjoy with drinks.

6 to 8 servings

Scallop Pancakes on Boston Lettuce Salad

Watch Episode 212 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This unusual first course is always received well. It can be made with shrimp or fish as well as scallops, and the batter also can be cooked in teaspoon-size morsels, perfect for enjoying with drinks. Although these pancakes are delicious eaten right out of the skillet when the edges are crunchy and the centers soft, they are also tasty prepared ahead and reheated at serving time in a 450-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes. The edges will be softer, but the pancakes are just as good. I serve them on a Boston lettuce salad as a first course for dinner or as a main dish for lunch.

4 first-course servings (about 12 pancakes)


Boston Lettuce Salad

For the pancakes: Put the scallops, flour, baking powder, club soda, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the chives.

Heat about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per pancake into the pan. It will spread to form a disk about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Cook about 6 pancakes at a time over medium heat for a total of about 5 minutes, turning them after about 2 1/2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and the remaining batter to make about 12 pancakes total. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.

For the salad: Toss the lettuce with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. To serve, divide the salad among four plates, arrange 3 pancakes alongside or on top of the greens, and serve.

Minute Recipe: Melba Toast

Watch Episode 213 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I like my toast very thin and crunchy. If you put a very thin slice of bread in the toaster, however, it tends to burn and curl up. The solution is to use the technique Escoffier used when he created the ultrathin toast that he named Melba toast in tribute to the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba.

Cut crunchy white bread into 1/2-inch slices and toast. You can toast the bread twice to get it really crunchy on the outside. When the bread is toasted, trim off the crust from around it. With the bread slices arranged flat on the table, use a sharp knife held with the blade parallel to the table to cut through the soft center of each slice, giving you 2 wafer-thin slices with one toasted side and one slightly softer side. Top the soft side with butter or another spread.

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

Watch Episode 213 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

As soon as the outside temperature dips below 50 degrees, I can't wait to make this vegetarian soup, which is ready in about half an hour. What goes into it is usually determined by the contents of my refrigerator: onions, leeks, scallions, carrots, celery, and salad greens are all good. Canned beans make it sturdy enough for a main course.

For a comforting lunch or dinner, serve with grated Gruyère on top and chunks of country bread as an accompaniment.

4 servings (about 6 cups)

Combine the water, leek, carrot, turnip, celery, oil, and salt in a large saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for about 12 minutes. Add the beans, including the liquid, and bring to a boil again. Boil for a few minutes. Serve in bowls with a generous sprinkling of grated Gruyère and a parsley sprig (if desired) on top and bread alongside.

Goat Cheese Toasts

Watch Episode 214 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Goat cheese toasts make excellent hors d'oeuvres or garnishes for a salad. I like the small Bûcheron goat cheese, which is about 1 3/4 inches in diameter, or any other soft, creamy, and mild goat cheese of about the same size. Montrachet is also a very good imported chèvre, or goat cheese. Combining the cheese with a little herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning and some slivered garlic adds complexity. The toasts can be assembled and toasted at the last minute.

Preheat the broiler. Cut as many 1/4-inch slices from a baguette as you need for serving. Arrange the slices side by side on a baking sheet. Cut enough 1/4-inch-thick slices from a tubelike container of goat cheese (dental floss is good for slicing the cheese) for each of the bread rounds. Press a slice of cheese on each slice of bread, taking care to cover the entire surface of the bread so it doesn't burn under the broiler. Sprinkle a small amount of herbes de Provence on each toast and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Using a vegetable peeler, remove thin slices from a large peeled garlic clove and press 1 sliver in the center of the cheese on each toast. Sprinkle each toast with a few drops of olive oil. Slide the toasts under the broiler, so they are 4 to 5 inches from the heat source, for about 2 minutes, or until the tops are bubbly, hot, and lightly browned. Arrange the toasts on a serving platter. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Fillet of Sole with Mushroom Sauce

Watch Episode 214 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

In this recipe, strips of fillet of sole are rolled to form what French cooks call paupiettes. Rolled beginning at the thickest end, the paupiettes will not unfurl as they cook. Using whipped butter makes the preparation easier, because when the butter boils it holds together without breaking down as regular butter might.

The traditional version is made with wine, cream, and mushrooms, but Sole Normande can include cider, tomatoes, herbs, or even cooked apple, all Normandy products.

Any of the different types of flatfish available, from gray to lemon to Dover sole and from fluke to flounder, are fine for this recipe; the important consideration is freshness.

4 servings

Cut each fillet in half lengthwise, removing and discarding the small strip of sinew from the center of the fillets. With the white side that touched the bones on the outside of the paupiettes, roll up the fillets, starting at the thick end.

Gently place the paupiettes and the remaining ingredients, except the butter and chives, in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and boil gently for about 3 minutes.

Holding the lid so the paupiettes remain in the pan, pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and place it over high heat. Boil for a few minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the whipped butter and mix in well with a whisk. Bring to a boil and boil for a few seconds.

Divide the paupiettes and mushrooms among four warm plates, pour the sauce on top, and sprinkle on the chives. Serve immediately.

Cherries in Eau de Vie

Watch Episode 215 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

During the summer, when cherries are plump, ripe, and juicy, I put up a few jars of cherries in alcohol and keep them in the cellar to enjoy during the winter. My mother always had some preserved sour cherries or Montmorency cherries on hand. Served with some of the cherries, this eau de vie makes a great after-dinner drink. I sometimes use pure grain or fruit alcohol (about 190-proof) that I dilute by half with distilled water, but if this is not an option for you, substitute vodka instead.

Trim the stems of about 1 pound large sweet cherries such as Bing, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem attached to the cherries. (If the stems are pulled out, the alcohol will permeate the cherries, making them soft and mushy instead of firm and crunchy.) In a bowl, mix about 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 1/2 cups eau de vie or vodka. Pack the cherries into a Mason jar and pour the alcohol mixture over them, adding enough so it just covers the fruit. Cover the jar with a tight-fitting lid and set aside in a cool place, such as a cellar, for at least a month. Serve a few cherries in a brandy glass with some of the liquid. The cherries will keep for a couple of years.

About 12 servings

Pork Medallions with Grapes in Pomegranate Sauce

Watch Episode 215 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Pork tenderloin is succulent, flavorful, and lean, delicious roasted whole or cut crosswise into medallions and sautéed. I accompany it with a sweet-sour sauce similar to what I would serve with venison, with pomegranate juice and chicken stock thickened with a little ketchup. Seedless grapes finish the dish nicely and shredded arugula gives it a special accent at the end, although you can use chopped chives or parsley instead, if you like.

4 servings

Trim the pork tenderloin of most of the fat and silverskin and cut it crosswise into 1-inch-thick medallions.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet. Sprinkle the medallions with the salt and pepper. Arrange the medallions in a single layer in the skillet and cook them over high heat for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until lightly pink inside. Transfer the medallions to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Add the pomegranate juice and chicken stock to the skillet, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, grapes, and cherries or cranberries and mix well. Boil for about 1 minute, or until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.

Arrange the medallions on four warm plates, coat with the sauce and grapes, and sprinkle with the shredded arugula. Serve.

Surimi Salad on Greens

Watch Episode 216 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Surimi—imitation crabmeat—is usually made with pollock or scrod. It comes vacuum-packed and I keep a package of it in my refrigerator for a fast first course or last-minute hors d'oeuvre.

In a bowl, combine about 2 cups (1-inch pieces) surimi, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 3 tablespoons minced scallions, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallot or onion, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a good dash Tabasco hot pepper sauce. Divide about 2 cups mesclun salad greens among four plates. Spoon the surimi salad on top. Garnish each serving with about 3 oil-cured olives and serve.

4 servings

Mini Savory Cheesecakes on Arugula or Butterhead Lettuce

Watch Episode 216 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

When I was vacationing a few years ago in Alsace, a region in northeastern France, I was surprised to see that many restaurants featured a savory tarte au fromage, a cheese tart made with farmer cheese and eggs and cooked in a pastry shell like a quiche. I decided to make these little savory cheesecakes in small soufflé molds. Instead of lining the molds with dough, I coat them with butter and bread crumbs, so the small cakes can be turned out easily. Serving the cheesecakes on a bed of salad lends an appealing freshness and crunch to the dish and cuts down a little on its richness. These make a great lunch or brunch main course and an elegant first course for dinner.

4 first-course servings

Mini Cheesecakes


For the mini cheesecakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat four small (3/4-cup) soufflé molds with the butter. Divide the bread crumbs among the molds and coat the bottoms and sides heavily with the crumbs, pressing them onto the buttered dish so they stick.

Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and add the eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Mix well with a whisk and divide among the soufflé molds. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture in the molds. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Arrange the molds on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes will still be slightly wet and soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

For the salad: Meanwhile, toss the lettuce leaves with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Arrange on four plates.

Invert each cooled mini cheesecake into one of your hands to unmold it, then turn it over so it is right side up and place it in the center of one of the plates on top of the lettuce. Serve immediately.

Cheese Balls with Pignoli Nuts

Watch Episode 217 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I love cheese and always buy more than I consume. Through the years, I have worked out a number of recipes to use leftover cheese, so I don't have to feel guilty about it spoiling. This appetizer is best done with soft cheeses, like fontina, Camembert, blue, St. Albray, or Reblochon. Pear and dried cranberries lend a little sweetness and the toasted pignoli nuts add richness and texture—a perfect combination.

Spread about 3/4 cup pignoli nuts on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Remove any skin or mold from enough soft cheese—one variety or a mixture of those listed above or others—to yield 1 cup. Break into 1-inch pieces. Put the cheese in a food processor with 1/2 cup 1-inch pieces of peeled pear or apple, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process until the mixture is still chunky but is well combined and beginning to stick together. Divide into 18 small portions of about 2 teaspoons each. Shape into small balls. Roll in the toasted pignoli nuts to coat. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 18 small cheeseballs

Chili con Carne with Lettuce and Cheese

Watch Episode 217 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I used to have the chili con carne recipe from San Quentin Prison; the warden sent it to me in the 1960s when I worked at Howard Johnson's. Unfortunately, I lost it, but it was very similar to this coarsely textured chili of beef and red kidney beans. The amount and type of hot chile pepper—serrano, jalapeño, or the fiery habañero--is up to you and your family's preferences. I have added a little cocoa powder to give it a bit of depth, similar to the Mexican sauce called mole.

Making this dish in a pressure cooker requires less than 1 hour. I often serve it over crunchy iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves, with a sprinkling of grated Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or cheddar, a little cilantro, and some sliced onion on top.

To cook the chili conventionally, put all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook gently, covered, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender.

4 servings


Put all the ingredients except the garnishes in a 5- to 6-quart pressure cooker. Bring to a rolling boil, uncovered, over high heat. Mix well, secure the lid on the cooker, and cook over high heat until the gauge indicates that the pressure inside is on high. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 50 minutes. Decompress the cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Open the lid, stir the chili, and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Remove the bay leaves.

To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves to resemble cups on four plates and ladle the chili into the leaves. Sprinkle on some cheese, red onion, and cilantro. Serve and enjoy.

Salmon Rolls

Watch Episode 218 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

A popular hors d'oeuvre, salmon rolls are easy to make. Buy whipped cream cheese, which is easier to spread, for this recipe.

Using a good vegetable peeler, such as an Oxo, cut lengthwise strips from 1 unpeeled zucchini, stopping when you reach the seeds in the center. Rotate the zucchini and repeat this procedure. Discard the seeds. Place a long strip of zucchini on the table. Top it with a small slice of smoked salmon; it should cover only the center portion and stick out a little beyond it on either side. Spread about 2 teaspoons whipped cream cheese on the salmon and add a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roll up the zucchini slice, encasing the salmon and cream cheese in a tight roll. Cut down the center and arrange both halves cut side down and green side up on a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining zucchini strips. Serve the rolls on their own or with thin sesame crackers.

Sautéed Stuffed Figs with Blueberries

Watch Episode 218 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I like dried figs and use them liberally in stews and enjoy them as snacks. In Portugal, figs are dried, split open, stuffed with almonds, and hung in the open markets, where they are sold. I stuff the opened figs with walnut halves and cook them in butter, honey, and white wine in a skillet to create a sauce, then sprinkle them with blueberries. Choose soft, moist figs that are as large as possible. The blueberries add color and texture to the dish, but you can omit them or substitute raisins or pomegranate seeds.

4 servings

Cut the figs into halves and arrange them flesh side up on a platter. Press 1 walnut half into each fig half and press on the nut to embed it well.

Melt the butter in a medium nonstick saucepan and add the wine and honey. Arrange the figs, walnut side up, in the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and boil gently for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is syrupy and the figs are glazed.

Let the figs cool to room temperature. Arrange them, walnut side up, on a platter. Pour the sauce over the figs and sprinkle the blueberries on top. Serve.

Salmon Mousse

Watch Episode 219 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Smoked salmon is available freshly cut at the supermarket deli counter or prepackaged from Scotland, Alaska, Canada, or Nova Scotia. Any of these are good for this recipe. I use salmon ends or other trimmings if I can find them at a lower price, because the flesh is pureed for the mousse.

In a food processor, process 1 cup (4 to 5 ounces) smoked salmon tidbits, ends, or trimmings with 1/2 cup ricotta or farmer cheese, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and a good dash each of salt and freshly ground black pepper for about 45 seconds, or until smooth. Transfer to a gratin dish or deep platter. Using plastic wrap, press the mousse into the dish to create a smooth layer between 1/2 and 1 inch deep. Scatter 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons drained capers, and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives on top. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with breadsticks, crostini, or pretzel crackers.

Makes 20 to 30 appetizers

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on Grape Tomatoes

Watch Episode 219 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

For this recipe, I butterfly a pork tenderloin and stuff it with baby spinach and cheddar cheese. I roast it, slice, and serve on top of sautéed grape tomatoes. The stuffing can be prepared a few hours ahead. A couple of strips of aluminum foil wrapped around the tenderloin prevent it from opening during the browning; they are then removed when the pork goes into the oven.

4 servings

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, pushing it down into the skillet, and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Remove the lid and cook, uncovered, until the liquid from the spinach has evaporated. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Trim the tenderloin of any fat and silverskin. To butterfly the tenderloin for stuffing, lay it flat on the cutting board so one end is close to you and the other end is near the top of the board. Holding your knife so the blade is parallel to the board, cut through the long side of the tenderloin, stopping when you are about 1/2 inch from the other side. Turn the tenderloin so the uncut side is closest to you and make another parallel cut below the first one, again stopping about 1/2 inch before you reach the other side. Open up the butterflied tenderloin and pound it a little to extend it to about 12 inches long by 7 inches wide.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange half the spinach mixture down the center of the butterflied tenderloin and top with the cheese. Add the rest of the spinach, fold in the sides, and roll the tenderloin back and forth to evenly distribute and encase the filling. Wrap 2 strips of aluminum foil, each 1 to 2 inches wide, around the tenderloin to secure the stuffing inside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet. Sprinkle the outside of the tenderloin with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place the tenderloin carefully in the skillet and brown it, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the foil strips from the tenderloin and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, when it will be slightly pink in the center. Transfer the tenderloin to a plate, cover, and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the tomatoes (the pork will continue to cook as it sits).

Add the tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the skillet in which you browned the tenderloin and sauté over high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until just softened. Divide among four warm plates.

Slice the tenderloin crosswise into 8 medallions and arrange 2 slices in the middle of the tomatoes on each plate. Serve.

Chicken Persillade

Watch Episode 220 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

When I'm in the supermarket and hear an announcement that there are chickens fresh out of the rotisserie, I buy one. Plump, brown, shiny, juicy, and eminently appetizing, these chickens are good cut into pieces and served on romaine or Boston lettuce with my personal enhancement, a persillade, on top.

Separate the leaves of packaged, prewashed organic romaine or Boston lettuce. Spread them out on a large platter. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Using kitchen shears, cut the rotisserie chicken into pieces, bones and all, and arrange on the salad. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. When hot, add 2 tablespoons chopped shallots and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic. Cook for about 10 seconds. Add about 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley, cook for 20 to 30 seconds longer, and stir in the juice from the chicken container. Spoon over the chicken pieces. Serve.

4 to 6 main-course servings

Turkey Scaloppine with Dried Morels

Watch Episode 220 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This classic dish used to be made with veal. Nowadays, it is hard to find in supermarkets and very expensive. Turkey is an inexpensive alternative that is tender if not overcooked.

Dried morels are more flavorful than fresh and the soaking liquid used to reconstitute them adds intensity to the sauce. I usually rinse the morels briefly under running water to remove any surface dust or dirt before I put them in a bowl to soak. Take care to pour them and their soaking water into the skillets slowly, and discard the last few tablespoons of liquid, along with any sand or dirt that has settled to the bottom. You can substitute other dried mushrooms, like porcini (cèpes) or shiitakes.

4 servings

Rinse the morels briefly under cool running water and put them in a small bowl. Pour the tepid water over them and press a piece of aluminum foil on top, pushing it down into the mushrooms to keep them immersed in the water.

Divide the butter and oil between two skillets large enough to accommodate the scaloppine without overlapping. While you heat the butter and oil over high heat, sprinkle the scaloppine with about half the salt and pepper and dip them very lightly into the flour. Divide the scaloppine between the skillets and sauté them over high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving plate.

Divide the shallots or onion between the two skillets and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and soaking liquid, leaving behind any sand or dirt on the bottom. Boil for a few seconds to deglaze, then combine the mixture in one of the skillets. Continue cooking, uncovered, over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely gone. Add the vermouth and cook for another minute. Add the cream and boil for a couple of minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Add the remaining salt and pepper and any liquid that has come out of the scaloppine.

Arrange 1 or 2 scaloppine on each of four warmed plates, then spoon the sauce and mushrooms on top of the scaloppine. Sprinkle on the tarragon or chives and serve.

Glazed Sausage Bits

Watch Episode 221 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This is a fast and luscious hors d'oeuvre to serve with drinks, especially strong ones like martinis, margaritas, or rum punch. Any sausage can be used, but I like the large, juicy kielbasa that I find at my local supermarket. For the glaze, I use pomegranate juice and a bit of ketchup, but you can also use orange, apple, or cranberry juice and a dash of maple syrup or honey, as well as Tabasco hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper.

Combine 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1 tablespoon ketchup, and a good dash of Tabasco hot pepper sauce in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil and boil the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it gets syrupy. Remove the skin from a 6-ounce piece of kielbasa and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Add the sausage slices to the sauce. Cook over high heat, turning the slices occasionally, until the mixture reduces almost completely and coats the sausage slices (2 to 3 minutes). Serve as is with toothpicks or on top of Ritz crackers.

4 servings (18 slices)

Risotto with Broccoli Stems

Watch Episode 221 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Risotto never fails to please as a first course, and if garnishes are added it can be varied ad infinitum. My wife, Gloria, makes risotto with Japanese sushi rice with great success, but for this recipe I use Italian short-grain rice.

Broccoli stems are often discarded by cooks because of their thick, fibrous skin, but a quick peeling makes them deliciously edible. I keep the florets for another recipe and use only the stems here. Depending on the size of the stalks, you'll need 3 or 4 good-sized stems to get enough broccoli for this recipe.

I cook my risotto, covered, to the halfway point (about 8 minutes) in about the same amount of chicken stock as I have rice. Then I finish it uncovered, adding small quantities of liquid until I achieve the right consistency and degree of doneness. This is the same way risotto is often made in restaurants: it is already partially cooked so it can be finished portion by portion in 8 to 10 minutes when the order comes from the dining room.

4 servings

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the diced broccoli stems, bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until they are tender but still crunchy. Drain and set aside. Wash and cut the mushrooms into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pile up the slices and cut (julienne) them into 1/4-inch sticks. You should have about 1 cup.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over high heat and add the onion and scallions. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the mushroom julienne and the rice. Mix well and stir in the salt and 1 1/4 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil, stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 8 minutes. Uncover. The liquid should be completely absorbed. If not, continue cooking until it is dry. (The risotto can be prepared to this point up to 2 hours ahead.)

When you're ready to finish the risotto, heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it is sizzling, add 1/4 cup of the remaining stock, and stir well. Continue stirring occasionally until this liquid is absorbed and the mixture starts sizzling again, which should take about 2 minutes. Repeat this procedure 3 more times, adding 1/4 cup stock each time. Add the butter, cheese, and broccoli stems at the end of the cooking, stirring them in for 1 to 2 minutes, until the risotto is creamy but the grains of rice are still firm to the bite in the center. Serve right away on very hot plates, passing the Parmesan at the table.

Eggs and Anchovies

Watch Episode 222 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

This delicious first course was a favorite at my mother's restaurant in Lyon when I was a teenager. Since I usually have all the garnishes in my refrigerator, nothing could be easier to prepare, but the eggs have to be cooked properly.

Lower 4 large eggs into boiling water to cover, bring the water back to a very low boil, and boil gently for 9 minutes. Pour out the hot water and shake the pan to crack the eggshells. Fill the pan with cold water and ice and let the eggs cool thoroughly. Shell the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Place 2 halved eggs on each of two plates or on a platter. In a small bowl, whisk together until smooth 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon ketchup, and a good dash of Tabasco hot pepper sauce. Coat the eggs with the sauce. Place 1 anchovy fillet on top of each halved egg. Sprinkle on a few capers. Divide about 1 tablespoon chopped red onion among the four plates. Serve.

2 servings

Skillet Broccoli Bits

Watch Episode 222 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

To me, the stems are the best part of the broccoli. They have to be peeled to remove the fibrous, tough outer skin, but they are firm, nutty, and buttery inside. Here both the peeled stems and the florets are cut into pieces and sautéed in a skillet. A little water is added at first and the broccoli is covered to start the cooking process. After it evaporates, the broccoli is finished uncovered. This is especially good with Cod in Olive-Tomato Crust.

4 servings

Cut the broccoli florets off the stems and divide the florets into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Peel the skin from the stems with a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. Cut the peeled stems into 1-inch pieces.

Put the broccoli into a stainless-steel skillet and add the water, oil, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, over high heat for about 3 minutes. Remove the cover and cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, or until the water is gone and the broccoli is glazed and tender but still firm. Serve.

Cod in Olive-Tomato Crust

Watch Episode 222 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

You can take liberties with the crust for this dish: I sometimes add horseradish, bread crumbs, minced scallions, herbs, and garlic, for example. The assertive ingredients in this crust are just right for flaky and mild-flavored cod. Scrod and haddock also work well. In fact, any fresh fish fillets—the fresher the better—can be cooked this way.

I like to buy cod loin fillets, which are the thick ones from the back of the fish. About 1 inch thick, they will need 5 to 6 minutes under the broiler; adjust the timing if your fillets are thinner or thicker. The dish can be assembled a few hours ahead so it is ready to slide under the broiler at serving time.

Serve with Skillet Broccoli Bits.

4 servings

Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces and put them in a food processor with the olives and cheese. Process until you have a rough puree that holds together.

Rub the fillets with the 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets so there is space between them on the baking sheet. Cover the fillets with the tomato-olive mixture and slide them under the broiler, so the fish is about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil for about 5 minutes, until the fillets are just tender but are still slightly undercooked inside. Garnish with the parsley and serve. Pass the bottle of extra-virgin olive oil at the table.

Savory Iceberg Cups

Watch Episode 223 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I fill everything from tortillas to wonton skins to phyllo with cheese, ham, salad, olives, sausage, or meatballs. For a light, crunchy, delicate, low-calorie wrap, I sometimes use the center leaves of iceberg lettuce, which are shaped like cups and are easy to fill, wrap, and eat.

From 1 head iceberg lettuce, remove 8 center leaves, each about the size of your cupped hands held together. Arrange them side by side on a platter. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup crumbled (1/2-inch pieces) feta cheese, 1 cup (1/2-inch pieces) drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup (1/2-inch pieces) chopped red bell pepper or pimiento, 1 cup pitted spicy green olives, whole if small or cut into 1/2-inch pieces, and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic. Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Divide among the iceberg lettuce cups. Wrap the cups to enclose the filling, if you like, or serve as is.

Makes 8 hors d'oeuvre wraps

Bay Scallops in Mignonnette Sauce

Watch Episode 223 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Try to get bay scallops for this dish, but if they are unavailable you can substitute sea scallops, cut into 4 to 6 pieces. My market usually has small Nantucket bay scallops, each about the size of a large cherry. They are very sweet, tender, and delicious raw. I marinate them for a couple of hours in a mignonnette sauce, traditionally made of shallots, coarse black pepper, and vinegar, to which I add mustard and olive oil. Pieces of crunchy, spicy radish add texture and taste. I serve this dish as a refreshing appetizer in scallop or oyster shells with a fine julienne of cucumber on top.

4 first-course servings

Remove any adductor muscles still attached to the scallops.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, oil, shallot, salt, and pepper in a bowl large enough to hold the scallops. One to 2 hours before serving time, combine the scallops with the sauce ingredients in the bowl and refrigerate.

Peel the cucumber and cut 6 to 8 long strips of flesh from it with a vegetable peeler. Pile the strips together and cut them into a fine julienne or thin, spaghetti-like strips.

At serving time, add the radish to the scallops and mix well. Divide the scallops among four scallop shells, oyster shells, or small plates and sprinkle the julienned cucumber on top. Serve.

Spanish Tomato Bread and Serrano Ham or Prosciutto

Watch Episode 224 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I first enjoyed a dish similar to this at the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain. A Rioja red wine is best with this appetizer.

Rub 4 well-toasted slices of crusty, country-style bread with a large garlic clove. Halve a very ripe tomato and press out the seeds and juice. Rub the halved tomato vigorously on the toasted bread slices to coat the bread with the "pureed" tomato flesh. (Do not make these more than 1 hour ahead, or the tomato will make the toast soggy.) Sprinkle on a little of your best olive oil and a dash of coarse salt, like fleur de sel. Serve the toasts with a couple of slices of serrano ham, prosciutto, or chorizo sausage.

4 servings

Chorizo, Mushroom, and Cheese Pizza

Watch Episode 224 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

I keep ready-made pizza crusts (such as Boboli) in my refrigerator or freezer in case people show up unexpectedly for drinks. I also stock sausages in my freezer and cheese in my refrigerator to use as toppings. These pizzas can also be made with tortillas, which require only about 10 minutes to cook, and with different toppings, among them sliced tomato, Gruyère cheese, and zucchini—whatever you have on hand. I like assertive cheeses on my pizza, so I often combine some leftover blue with Camembert and/or Brie, Reblochon, or St. Albray. Serve with a green salad.

4 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the bottom of the pizza crust with a little of the oil. Place the crust on a cookie sheet, sprinkle the onion on top, and evenly distribute the chorizo, mushrooms, bell pepper, and sliced garlic on the crust. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and top with the cheese. Sprinkle on the remaining oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until well browned and crisp. Cut into wedges and serve.

Mini Croques-Monsieur

Watch Episode 225 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

For these tidbits, I use good Jarlsberg, Gruyère, Beaufort, or Comté cheese and the best boiled ham that I can find at my market. The sandwiches can be prepared ahead and baked as needed for a large party or wedding reception.

Arrange 2 thick slices white bread next to one another on the counter and cover 1 slice completely with slices of cheese. Add 1 slice ham to cover the cheese and then add another layer of cheese and ham before finishing with the other slice of bread. Spread about 1 teaspoon butter on each side of the sandwich and arrange it on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until the croque-monsieur is brown and crusty on both sides. Cool for about 5 minutes. Trim off the crust if you like and cut into 6 small rectangles. Serve hot with toothpicks.

Makes 6 mini sandwiches

Ratatouille with Penne

Watch Episode 225 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Ratatouille, the classic vegetable stew of Provence, is featured in all the small restaurants along its coast. Vegetables for ratatouille are usually prepared separately and not combined until the end. Here everything is cooked together. I don't bother to peel the eggplant, but do so if you wish. I recommend Japanese eggplants for this dish. Long and thin, they are firmer and have fewer seeds than regular eggplants.

Ratatouille is generally served on its own, at room temperature, sprinkled with the best-quality olive oil, olives, and parsley. I use it as a pasta sauce, tossing it with cooked penne before garnishing it with olive oil, olives, grated Parmesan cheese, and parsley or basil.

4 servings



For the ratatouille: Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 30 minutes. If the mixture still has a lot of liquid, reduce it by boiling, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature. You will have about 5 cups.

For the penne: Bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the penne and stir it in well, so it doesn't stick together. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, combine the ratatouille, 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large glass bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes to warm it through. Drain the pasta and add it to the ratatouille in the bowl. Sprinkle on the olives and the cheese and mix well. Divide among four hot plates and garnish with the basil and grated cheese. Pass more at the table.

Note: To serve the ratatouille on its own, spoon it into a serving dish, drizzle on a little extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with 1/4 cup pitted oil-cured black olives or kalamata olives, and garnish with 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley.

Basil and Cheese Dip

Watch Episode 226 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Put about 3 cups (lightly packed) washed basil leaves in a plastic bag or glass bowl with a cover. Microwave for about 30 seconds. Dump the hot basil from the bag into a blender. Add 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup cool water, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Process until finely pureed. (As a variation, you can add about 1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) Gruyère cheese and stir well.) Serve with bagel chips, Melba Toast, or potato chips. The dip stays brilliant green and keeps for a few days in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 cup

Chocolate Rochers with Hazelnuts and Cornflakes

Watch Episode 226 | Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

For lovers of chocolate like me, this is an ideal recipe for the holidays. Rochers is a French word meaning rocks, or little boulders, which is what these little chocolate confections look like. My friend, the chocolate king Jacques Torres, makes something similar, which gave me this idea. Here, some of the rochers are studded with cornflakes and some with hazelnuts, but Rice Krispies, dried cherries, granola, or any other dried fruit or cereal can be used in the same manner. The rochers can be smaller or larger, based on your own tastes, and you can make them with semisweet chocolate morsels or milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate. I like bittersweet best because it is high in cocoa content and not too sweet.

35 to 55, depending on size

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and put them in a glass bowl. Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes. At this point, the chocolate may look like it has not started to melt. Wait 4 to 5 minutes and microwave the chocolate again for 1 minute. (Waiting helps prevent the chocolate from scorching or burning.) Stir after the second minute in the microwave; the chocolate should be almost melted. Wait a few more minutes and microwave the chocolate again for 30 seconds. Stir with a rubber spatula. The chocolate should be glossy and smooth. (You should have about 1 cup melted chocolate.)

For hazelnut rochers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the hazelnuts or almonds on a cookie sheet and toast for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not worry about the skin. Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl and pour about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate on top. Mix well with a spoon to coat the nuts with the chocolate. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap.

Using a tablespoon, scoop up a spoonful of the chocolate-hazelnut mixture and push the dough off the tablespoon with a teaspoon onto the lined cookie sheet. Repeat, making 15 to 25 rochers, depending on size. Cool until hardened. (Stored in an airtight container, the rochers will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.)

For cornflake rochers: Put the cornflakes in a medium bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup melted chocolate. Mix well with a spoon until combined. Do not worry if the cornflakes break somewhat; keep mixing until they are coated. Spoon the small mounds onto the lined cookie sheet. You will have 20 to 30, depending on size. Cool until hardened. (These can also be frozen.)