Late Summer Pasta Sauce

Well its mid-September here on long island. I have a bumper crop of tomatoes. So, we need to get busy cooking the beefsteaks. First up is a sweet late summer pasta sauce. This will consume four of the large ones, and it will freeze nicely. This way I can have the fresh tastes of the late summer well into the early winter.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Four large tomatoes
  • 3 sausage links
  • Duck Walk red wine
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 Italian peppers
  • 1 cup diced white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Water (about four cups)
  • Oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt

In a heavy cast pot drizzle a little olive oil. Every good sauce starts with a little olive oil. Then add the minced garlic. Remove the casings from the sausage and crumble the ground pork into the pot. Mince the onion and add that to the pot. Stir this up while the pork browns. A bit of fond should be forming on the bottom of the pot. Deglaze with a splash or tow of red wine, then pour in about four cups of water.

 

Core and de-seed the tomatoes. Dice the exteriors and toss into the pot. Then toss the cores into the blender. Blend to puree. Add this to the pot. Add the tomato paste. Add the oregano, two bay leaves and salt. Let this simmer a while to blend together (about an hour).

 

Dice the zucchini and peppers. Add these to the pot. Check the fluid level. If the sauce is too thick you can always add a bit more water. If it’s not thick enough you can cover it with a splatter screen and cook out the water. Let this cook about fifteen minutes to a half hour and then add in the mushrooms.

 

Let this simmer while you make the pasta. You don’t want to give those mushrooms too much time to cook. You want to keep them a bit firm. If you plan on freezing this batch of sauce, I would recommend not putting the mushrooms. Instead, add them later when you thaw the sauce out. Few things are as mushy and bland as a thawed out mushroom.

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Spanish Style Yellow Rice

Well its September here on long island. Several tomatoes are ripened outside. So, let’s go pick a pair of beefsteaks and put them to good use. Saving money and having fresh ingredients to work with is one of the reasons for planting your own garden. Here on Long Island we have a long growing season and for some reason, tomatoes grow wonderfully out here.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 6oz box of Goya Yellow Rice
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 chorizo sausages
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Make the rice according to the package. While you’re doing that…

Slice the chorizos and slowly cook them in a nonstick frying pan. Add the minced garlic. Dice the onion and add that to the fry pan. Dice the peppers and add them to the pan. Let all this simmer together over low heat.

Core and de-seed the tomatoes. Dice the exteriors and toss into the pan (you can save the cores in the fridge for making tomato soup later). Add the red pepper flakes salt and pepper. Heat this through then mix in the rice.

Serve this with chips and guacamole!

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Sea Bass Stew

Its that time of year… winter is a great time to cook warm hearty soups. This one is quick and easy. Also Cherry Valley Market has been having Italian loaves on sale for $1.29 for a pair on Fridays.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lb sea bass filets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of fresh chopped tomato (about 1 medium sized tomato)
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 8 oz of clam juice
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk white wine
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • Touch of dry oregano, Tabasco, thyme, pepper
  • Salt

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, and gently cook for 10 minutes or so.

Add clam juice, dry white wine, and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, less than 10 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted Italian bread.

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Red Clam Chowder with a kick

Clam chowder is a wonderful dish this time of year. When the weather turns cold and blustery, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup. And with the added kick of minced jalapeno and Texas Pete’s hot sauce, this soup will open up those sinuses!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 5 drops Texas Pete, or other hot pepper sauce

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, place the vegetable oil, onion, carrots and celery. Slowly cook and stir 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Mix in the bacon, potato, clam juice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, white pepper, seasoning salt, parsley, marjoram, garlic powder, thyme, mustard, Cajun seasoning and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.

Mix in the clams and cook approximately 5 minutes more. Serve with oyster crackers.roasted-tomato-soup

 

Sweet Glazed Sweet Potatos

A little maple syrup goes a long way. Especially since Best Yet market has a 37 cents a pound sweet potato sale! I think I feel a side dish coming on. Please Please Please, support ‘real’ agriculture and purchase only real maple syrup, not the chemical concoction called breakfast syrup…. One, because its healthier and more natural, and secondly, because the chemical one often turns too runny when cooking with it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2   pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 6 medium)
  • 1/3  cup pure maple syrup
  • 2  tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  cup cranberries

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1- to 1-1/2-inch chunks. In a large bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper; add sweet potatoes and cranberries. Toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish, spreading mixture evenly.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are glazed and tender, stirring twice. Makes 8 servings.

As an added option, you can topped with chopped pecans.

sweet sweet potatos

Spicy Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoe Soup

Its that time of year… pumpkin pickin’ time! Pumpkins populate “punkin’” patches and make spooky faces from door steps and window sills around Halloween, but Sugar Pie pumpkins are the sweet and mellow ones used for cooking—not scary, and 100% tasty. And unlike their jack-o’-lantern brethren, they are thin-skinned for easy peeling. The sugar pumpkin is a small 3 to 8 pound range squash that has a wide range of cooking applications, but in this recipie… that firey jack-o-latern will meet his spicy match.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin
  • 4 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a mortar or spice grinder, grind coriander, cumin, oregano, fennel, red pepper, salt and peppercorns into a coarse powder. Blend in garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil to form a paste.

Wash pumpkin, and cut into 2-inch wide wedges, scraping away seeds. Peel potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into 6 wedges. Smear the pumpkin and the potatoes with the spice paste and place in a baking dish.

Roast in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until tender and just beginning to blacken at the thinnest points.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, cook the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.

Chop pumpkin and potatoes into smaller chunks and add this with the chicken broth into the pot. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Be sure to scrape the roasted spice paste off the baking dish and include it in the puree. It may be necessary to deglaze the dish with a little chicken broth.

Heat this thoroughly and then serve with toasted french bread slices. Make this vegan friendly by using a flavorful vegetable stock.

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Breakfast Baked Apples

Here’s a way to really enhance and turn that morning oatmeal for two into something special. Take two large Granny Smith apples and turn them into apple-bowls. The Granny Smiths are a great baking apple. With their bright green skin and creamy white flesh, Granny Smith apples are crispy, pleasantly tart and are available year-round. Their distinctive tartness pairs well with the cinnamon, sugar and butter needed for a classic baked apple recipe. They hold their shape very well when cooked, resulting in a professional-looking dessert.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Raisins
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup or honey

Yeah, I know there are no amounts for most of the ingredients, it’s because they are all measured ‘to taste’.

First, make the oatmeal, where its those steel cut oats or instant oatmeal, whichever you prefer. Add the cinnamon, sugar, raisins ‘to taste’. This will be the stuffing mixture for our apples. Now, core the apples, cut them in half, and hollow out about a third of the center forming a ‘bowl’ in the middle of the apple half. I like to take the apples removed from the hole and adding it back to the oatmeal mixture.

Take a scoop and divide the mixture into the four apple bowls and drizzle some maple syrup, or honey, over the mixture. Top each with about ¼ tsp of butter.

Place them into a baking dish and pop into a 375 degree oven for about ten to fifteen minutes.

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Bay Crab Chowder with Corn

As the weather turns cooler, thoughts turn to… chowder! Since I used one can of crab for the appetizer, I will use the other can of crab meat for… you guessed it, chowder! You can’t just buy one can of crab… or at least I can’t. Add it to some chicken broth and milk, with some corn, and a shake or two of Old Bay seasoning, and you can make a simple Chesapeake Bay style staple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 leaf McCormick® Bay Leaves

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and bay leaf; cook and stir 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add corn and crabmeat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

corn-crab-chowder-finished-1

Duck Walk Shrimp

Its a nice day for shrimp, and yes, I have no idea what exactly that means, but it popped into my head none the less. I have shrimp on my mind, which is better than the alternative, having wine on my mind which is probably just as likely. So, let’s open a fresh bottle of Duck Walk white and talk about shrimp, and pasta, and vino.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of medium shrimp drained peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ cups Duck Walk white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground peppercorns
  • 1 package of linguini cooked and drained

Melt the butter and toss in the garlic and get that browning. Deglaze with a little wine and add the shrimp and the rest of the wine. Cook until the shrimp are done, nice and firm, about six minutes or so. Then remove the shrimp for the pan and set aside. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste and reduce this down to a little thicker sauce. Then add the linguine and get tit well coated with the pan sauce, and then add back the shrimp. Warm every thing and serve it up shaved Parmesan cheese and with some garlic toast…. And wine!

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Basic Stuffed Stripe Bass

Strippers are running just off shore. And they seem to be plentiful when the boats pull into Babylon, the local fishmonger is running a sale on whole fish. So, one great way to cook these up for a bunch of friends is to keep that bass whole, stuff it, bake it, and bring it to the table.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 two pound whole striped bass
  • 2 cups of cubed bread for stuffing
  • ½ cup of diced tomatoes
  • ½ of a small red onion diced
  • ¼ tsp tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Sea salt

Combine the bread crumbs, tomatoes, onions, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. Use this simple stuffing mix to stuff your cleaned and dressed striped bass. Use toothpicks or those fancy bamboo skewers to close the fish and place it on a baking rack. Brush butter on top of the fish and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

stripped_bass