August 21

Reverse Martini

Makes 1 serving

4 or 5 ice cubes

dry white vermouth to taste

splash of gin (less than a tablespoon)

strip of lemon zest

Place the ice cubes in a red (or other large) wine glass and fill the glass with vermouth. Add the gin and garnish with lemon zest.
--Julia Child

The Angostura

Makes 1 serving

4 to 5 ice cubes

tonic water to taste

5 drops of Angostura bitters

Place ice cubes in red (or other large) wine glass. Fill with tonic water. Add bitters.
--Julia Child

Ziti With Chard

Serves 4

1 large bunch chard, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound ziti

grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

fresh tomato


In a large heavy skillet, saute the chard and garlic in olive oil until chard is limp but still bright green. Add salt and pepper. Cook pasta aldente, divide in four bowls, and top with chard. Top with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon.
--Adapted from "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant" (Fireside, 1990)

Zucchini Carbonara

Serves 4

3 medium zucchini, sliced thin

1 onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound spaghetti or other pasta

2 eggs

1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1/4 cup fresh basil, parsley or mint, chopped, plus more for topping

Saute the zucchini and onion in the olive oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Heat a large bowl in the oven, or by filling it with hot water. (If using hot water, empty bowl just before adding ingredients below.) Cook pasta. As soon as you dump pasta in the colander to drain, beat eggs and cheese and fresh herb together in the hot bowl. Add the pasta, then the vegetables. Top with extra cheese and chopped herbs.
--Adapted from "How to Cook Everything" (John Wiley & Sons, 1998)

Mustard-Green Sandwich

Serves 1

fresh mustard greens

slice of tomato

2 slices good whole-wheat bread

soy-wasabi mayonnaise to taste (see note)

Slap together and eat.

Note: Make soy-wasabi mayonnaise by mixing wasabi and soy sauce to taste into store-bought mayonnaise. This is also a great dip for boiled green beans.

Cucumber Soup

Serves 6

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

4 large green onions, coarsely cut

3/4 cup mashed potato

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 sprigs mint, optional

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup cream or milk

garnish: finely chopped cucumber, mint

Place vegetables with water, salt and pepper in a blender. Cover and turn motor on high. Remove cover and with motor on, add mint, if using, broth and cream. Puree until smooth. Serve chilled, or heat over a double boiler. Serve with a garnish of finely chopped cucumber and mint.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "I would seed the cucumber before chopping it and adding it to the blender. Remove seeds by slicing the cucumber lengthwise and scraping a spoon along the seeds (a melon baller also works well). This results in a smoother puree. The mashed potato works well to make the soup thicker without adding sour cream or a roux. If you add the mint, I would encourage eating the soup cold. It's very refreshing, and the mint adds a lively character to a chilled soup."

Creamy Grits

Serves 6

4 cups whole milk

2 ounces butter

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 cup grits (see note)

In a large, heavy saucepan, bring milk, butter and salt to nearly a boil and stir in grits. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Be sure grits do not stick and burn on bottom of saucepan.

Note: Mine are stone ground grits from Anson's Mill in South Carolina. It'll ship orders if you call 803-467-4122.

Fresh Corn Spoon Bread

Serves 6

2 cups sweet white corn

8 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

1 quart heavy cream

1 cup cooked grits

1 tablespoon kosher salt

pinch of black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Husk corn, de-silk and cut kernels from the cob into a small bowl. Scrape the cob with a knife over the bowl for the "milk." Whisk eggs and egg yolks together. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well.

Butter and flour a 9-inch square casserole dish. Pour Spoon-bread batter into dish. Bake in a water bath at 300 degrees for approximately 1 hour. (Spoon bread should be solid when jiggled.) Spoon hot right from the casserole dish to serve.

Seafood Perlau

Serves 2 (recipe can easily be doubled or tripled)

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

four 1-ounce pieces of grouper

1 pint seafood stock

2 ounces dry white wine

12 mussels

8 clams

1 ripe tomato, small dice

2 tablespoons butter

Tabasco to taste

salt to taste

1/2 cup white rice

2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add olive oil. Saute shrimp and grouper until halfway cooked. Deglaze the pan with seafood stock and white wine.

Add mussels and clams. Stir in chopped tomato, butter, Tabasco, salt and rice.

Cover pan and simmer on low heat until rice is tender and shellfish have opened. Sprinkle with chives and serve in shallow bowls. Accompany with crusty bread and white burgundy.

Grilled Creole Pork and Peppers

Makes 2 servings

4 banana peppers or 2 Anaheim chiles

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon creole mustard

1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves

1 butterflied pork chop or boneless loin chop, 3/4 -inch thick ( 1/2 pound)

1 teaspoon ground Cajun seasoning blend for pork

Heat grill to low to moderate heat or set oven control to broil. Spray rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Place peppers on grill rack in broiler pan. Grill pepper 4 to 5 minutes, turning several times, until skin is blistered and charred. Place peppers in paper bag. Close tightly; let stand 15 minutes.

Mix tomato paste, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and thyme; set aside. Remove peppers from paper bag. Peel off skin; discard. Keep peppers warm.

Trim excess fat from pork chops. Slash outer edge of fat on pork 1/4 -inch deep to prevent curling. Rub both sides of pork with Cajun seasoning. Place pork on rack or broiler pan.

Grill pork 4 to 5 inches from heat 4 minutes or until seasoning browns; brush with tomato sauce. Grill 1 minute; turn. Grill 3 minutes longer; brush with sauce. Grill 1 to 2 minutes longer. Heat remaining sauce to boiling; serve over pork and peppers.

Per serving: 215 calories; 10 grams total fat (3 grams saturated fat); 75 milligrams cholesterol; 28 grams protein; 13 grams carbohydrate

Creamy Yellow Summer Squash Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter

4 leeks, sliced

2 cups sliced yellow summer squash

4 cups homemade or canned chicken broth

1 cup milk or light cream

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the broth. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or a food processor and puree until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Add the remaining 3 cups broth, the milk, and salt and pepper to taste.

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