Grilled Clams with Poblano Pepper and Roasted Corn Relish

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 4-8 MINS

Recipe Image

This dish is as gorgeous to look at as delicious to eat and it makes an impressive and beautiful presentation. Farm raised clams are available year-round and you can find wild clams from October through June.
I have tried a few different versions of this recipe. I removed several steps and simplified the ingredients to make my version super simple.

INGREDIENTS

* 3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
* ½ cup onion, any type, chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped, seeds removed

* 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped, seeds removed 

* 1-14 ounce can premium sweet corn, drained
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar or more to taste

* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1-2 Tbsps olive oil
* 1 lime, 1/2 for juice and half cut into wedges for serving
3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the grill to high.

1. While the grill heats up, heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium high.

2. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until translucent about 6–7 minutes.

3. Add in the cider vinegar and mix well.

4. Add in the red and poblano peppers and sauté for another 10 minutes.

5. Add the corn and mix well.

6. Turn the stove off and add the honey. Squirt on the juice from half the lime and mix to incorporate. Set aside

7. The grill should be hot by now. Put the clams directly on the grill grates or a grill pan. Grill undisturbed for 4-8 minutes or until they open. Carefully place them onto a serving platter. Be careful not to spill the clam liquer. Discard any clams that do not open.

8. Spoon the corn and pepper relish all over the clouds. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper to taste and erve with lime wedges.

NOTES

You can use fresh corn but I substitute a 1-14oz can of good quality sweet corn for 2 cups fresh corn when I am running short on time which is almost always.

Chicken Cacciatore

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 60-90 simmer time

Recipe Image

Cacciatore means “hunter style” in Italian, and this savory, slow cooked dish features chicken with loads of peppers, tomatoes, wine, garlic and fresh herbs. The bacon adds a smoky flavor and mixes beautifully with the vegetables to create this simply delicious simmered stew. I serve this over thick spaghetti but any pasta will do.
Double Duty Recipe: make a double batch of the cacciatore and spread on top of toasted Italian bread topped with mozzarella, broil for one minute and cut into bite-size pieces and serve warm as an appetizer with your weekend cocktails.

INGREDIENTS

* ½ pound bacon, chopped
* 1 lb button or cremini mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
* 6 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
* 1 4 ounce can tomato paste
* ½ cup dry red wine or chicken broth
* ½ large red onion, cut length wise and then thinly sliced
* 1 each small red, yellow and orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
* 1-14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
* 3 tablespoons capers, drained
* 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
* 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* 2 to 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* A few sprigs fresh basil, chiffonnade for garnish
* 1 lb thick spaghetti, cooked for serving
* 1/2-3/4 cups Parmesan, grated, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400.

1. Fry the bacon in a large oven-proof pot with lid or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside, leaving the fat. Add the onions and stir until slightly browned.
4. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
5. Add the mushrooms to the fat in the Dutch oven and cook over medium-high, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and lightly brown, about 10-12 minutes.
6. Add the chopped garlic and stir until fragrant.
7. Pour in the wine or broth into the mushroom mixture and let it come to a simmer. Scrape the browned bits up from the bottom of the pot.
9. Add the bell pepper, tomatoes, capers, oregano, red-pepper flakes and stir to combine.
11. Add the chicken, season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of fresh pepper and stir.
12. Put the pot in the oven on the middle rack. Cook on low until the chicken is very tender and the flavors are blended, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
13. Remove the chicken from the pot and on a large cutting board, using two forks, break the chicken up into large chunks. Add the chicken back into the pot and stir in the parsley, add more salt and pepper if necessary.
14. Serve over spaghetti and garnish with basil and Parmesan.

NOTES

Butter Braised Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | X MINS

Recipe Image

As soon as the warm weather began to cool, my father Jean would serve us quintessentially French vegetable dishes of braised leeks, cabbage or Belgium endive. Most were prepared in this buttery braised and herbaceous broth and then finished under the broiler. This is fresh country French cuisine at it finest, without the complicated steps and long list of ingredients. Only creamy butter, a little wine, fresh herbs and a hearty handful of grated cheese make this a must have recipe for your fall recipe repertoire.

INGREDIENTS

* 6-8 medium leeks, about 2 lbs, trimmed and rinsed clean

* 
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

* 
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

* 2 Tbsps cold, unsalted butter, cut into slices

* 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

* 1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino or cheese, grated

* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS


Step 1. Trim dark-green tops and roots from the leeks then cut in half lengthwise. Remove any tough, bruised outer layers. Hold the leeks to keep them intact and rinse them under running water and drain.

Step 2. In a baking dish or cast iron skillet, arrange the leeks in a single layer, close together, with the cut sides up to absorb and hold the butter and broth.

Step 3. Add the wine to a small pan and boil for a minute and then add the broth and bring to a simmer. turn heat off.

Step 4. Sprinkle the leeks with kosher salt and a few good cranks of freshly ground pepper.

Step 5. Evenly distribute the slices of butter on top of the leeks and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Pour the wine and broth over the leeks and butter. tightly cover the baking dish or pan with a lid or foil and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add additional broth if necessary.


Step 6. Uncover and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the leeks are tender and the broth has reduced by half or more.

Preheat broiler to high

Step 7. Sprinkle the leeks with the pecorino or parmesan cheese and broil for 3-5 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Add additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

I like to make and serve this dish in a cast-iron skillet. I think it brings a beautiful and rustic flair to the dinner table.

Creamy Feta and Spinach Orzo

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

Recipe Image

Creamy feta cheese and spinach melt into the orzo to create a warm and light meal. The lemon zest gives the recipe just enough zing and compliments the feta beautifully.
This dish makes a perfectly balanced meal all on its own or serve along side with roast chicken or fish for a heartier meal.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or half of each
* 3 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced set aside some of the green parts for garnish
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock plus more if needed
* 1 cup orzo
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
* ¾-1 cup cup feta. Not crumbles. Plus more for serving
* 1 cup fresh dill, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt the butter or heat the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Stir in half the scallions and garlic, and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the spinach in a few batches and sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir a couple times until the spinach is wilted but not mushy, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
6. Stir in orzo, lemon zest and cover. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes and until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir a few times to be sure the orzo doesn’t stick to the pan.
7. Stir in the feta cheese and dill. Cover and cook for another minute to let the flavors develop.
8. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with a handful of crumbled feta and scallions.

NOTES

I adapted this recipe from a New York Times recipe. I removed a couple of steps and unnecessary ingredients.

Savory Tomato Pie

YIELDS | 6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 45 MINS Plus cooling time 60 MINS

Recipe Image

This is a savory, herbaceous pie that highlights the bounty of tomatoes from summer’s end. This easy Tomato Pie is perfect for Meatless Monday. Simply omit the bacon or sub with vegan bacon. I found myself slicing slivers of it cold straight from the fridge though I did allow the family to have some too 😍

INGREDIENTS

* 3 pounds assorted medium to large heirloom tomatoes
* 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
* 6 thick-cut bacon slices, diced, or vegan bacon, optional
* 2 large shallots, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tsp.)
* 6 ounces aged extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
* ½ cup mayonnaise
* ½ cup chopped fresh basil
* ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
* 1 large egg
* 1-9” pie shell store bought or home made
* Fresh basil leaves
* Minced fresh chives

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Set aside enough tomato slices to cover the top of the pie, about 7 or 8 slices and place on top of paper towels to absorb the excess juice. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and set aside. 

2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray or oil onto a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the remaining tomatoes in a single layer and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until blistered and slightly dried. Cool completely, about 1 hour.


3. Meanwhile, cook bacon, if using, in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fat is beginning to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots, and cook until bacon is crisp and shallots are caramelized, about 6 to 7 more minutes. Stir in garlic; and cook for about a minute and until fragrant. Transfer bacon mixture to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Cool 20 minutes.


4. Stir together cheese, mayonnaise of choice, basil, chives and egg until combined. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold in the bacon and garlic. 


5. Spread a third of cheese mixture into the pie crust and then layer on half of the roasted tomato slices in an overlapping pattern then repeat this step.
6. Spread the last of the cheese mixture on top of tomato slices and then top the pie with the reserved sliced fresh tomatoes. Press the tomatoes and filling into the crust . 

7. Bake the pie until the filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes and then transfer to the wire rack, and let cool for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with basil and chives, kosher salt to taste and freshly ground pepper to taste. 



NOTES

Spaghetti with Creamy Pecorino Cheese and Black Pepper Sauce

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

Recipe Image

This is a take on a popular Italian recipe called Cacio e Pepe, aka, cheese and black pepper. It is made with pasta, its cooking water; Pecorino Romano and loads of freshly ground black pepper. The pleasing piquant flavor from the pepper pairs perfectly with the savory cheese and wraps around each noodle like a warm and cozy blanket. I combined a few recipes to come up with this easier version.
Serve with a simple green salad and good white wine.

Duty Recipe Recipe: consider making a double batch of this creamy pepper sauce to stir into mashed potatoes or add a couple of dollops to warm rice for an easy side dish during the week.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 lb spaghetti or other long pasta
* 8 ounces Pecorino Romano, finely grated and about 2 cups, plus more for serving
* 1 ¼ teaspoons coarsely grated black pepper, plus more for serving
* 1/2 cup filtered water or more as needed
* 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, optional
* Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with a generous amount kosher salt. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until el dente. Save 2 cups of the pasta water and drain the pasta into a colander. Add the pasta back into the pot and cover to keep warm.

2. While the pasta cooks, add the cheese and pepper to a high speed blender or food processor and half the water and blend until a thick paste forms. Add more water as necessary until the paste becomes smooth and glossy but still thick like the consistency of hummus.

3. Add 3/4 cup of the paste 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, and mix well pulling the pasta up from the pot as you go to incorporate. Add more pasta water and paste as necessary until you achieve the desired consistency.

4. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with toasted walnuts, optional, additional grated cheese and a few cranks of black pepper.

NOTES