Archive for February, 2016

Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese

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My yoga teacher reminded me yesterday how fast time can go by and how we don’t even notice all that we do or have done with that time. A flash and whirlwind. Its winter here in New York, we have finally gotten the snow that came late this year and this last weekend we had the deep freeze that always makes me want to stay in my kitchen with the oven and stove working on overtime. And one of the things I have loved making on these colder and wet/snowy days is this braised or baked endive. I have no emotional connection to these, no family member ever made these in my childhood, and yet I have seen recipes for this time and again and again and each time I immediately long to cook these.

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I love endive in salad and the idea of braising it always seems comforting and warm. And excuse me cheese yes please!! The bitter endive is milder when cooked but retains it’s bite. Wrapped in ham and then covered with nutty savory cheese makes for the perfect bite. Served with a green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the sauce, you will want to lick the plate and bread is usually a better option then my finger wiping the plate clean. Its simple yet feels slightly old world comfort food that is perfect for a cold, snowy, rainy, or foggy night. 

I hope you enjoy and are staying warm and that time is not going too fast to simply be for a few moments.

Ra

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Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

6 Belgian endives, halved vertically

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper (this is optional but I think it elevates the dish)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature

4-5 slices cooked ham from the deli, halved

2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese 

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  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove the outer layers of the endive, trim the bottoms and cut in half and remove the cores. Put the endives, cut-side down, in a large skillet with small pat of butter. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Brown one side of endive for 5 min flip over and add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until water is evaporated and endive is tender, approx 5 min more. I usually have to do my endive in batches and then let cool on a plate.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking all the time. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper and cayenne if using it.
  • Take about 1/3 of the béchamel and lay in the bottom of a baking dish that is large enough to hold all of the endives in a single layer. Wrap each endive in a piece of ham and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining 2/3 of béchamel over the endives. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake the endives for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned. Serve hot.

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17

02 2016

Olive Oil and Coconut Granola For The Ones I Love

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It has been a week of family health and keeping so many in my thoughts and prayers. Everyone is doing well now but anytime someone I love is in the hospital it reminds me how fragile and precious this life is.

First both my godmother and long time family friend Timmy had to have surgeries in the last week. They were on opposite sides of the country and the surgeries were unrelated but I received the news about both less then 24 hours apart. Then Zelda had an unexpected health scare and small procedure; three times in a week I found myself thinking about loved ones as they underwent their procedures. I am happy to report that ALL are doing well, and I am always reminded how important people are in my life in these moments. I have spoken of Timmy here before, of his creative nature, his wise soul, his compassionate heart. And I have spoken of Zelda but will speak more in the future of her large role in my life, the extended family she brought me into that after more then 30 years I consider my own, her gifts, her influence, and her Aunt’s brownies and meat balls.

My godmother Annie is one of the steadfast people in my life. She was there in the room when my mother gave birth to me. She was my mother’s partner for the better part of the first few years of my life. She is one of the parent figures who always looked out for me. Annie is widely creative, enormously intelligent, and endlessly curious. She is the one who introduced me to Shakespeare, The Phantom Of The Opera, 400 Blows, and Something Wild (although I would say the last might have been a little too early). She is the reason I have been riding on the back of motorcycles since I was a wee tyke. She has always been ahead of her time

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When I was a baby and then again as a young girl Annie moved to India to live in a small town in the Himalayan Mountains. Growing up I would study the panoramic picture she had of the Himalayas and wonder what it was like in such a far off place. When she returned when I was a young girl she brought me back the most beautiful indigo sari with gold and silver sparkling points like stars in a night sky. I am still sorry that I had to outgrow that Sari, as it might have been one of the most beautiful things I have ever worn.

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If I lived closer to Annie, Timmy, or Zelda I would deliver them soup or cookies. I would try to care for them however I know and food seems like the best place I can ever find to care for others. But I am not close, so I decided to do the next best thing and make something and send it them. Inspired by Annie’s time in India and knowing how she likes granola I thought I would make my favorite cardamom spiced granola. It’s not too sweet and with cardamom and coconut it feels exotic and enticing. The recipe I use is a combination of this olive oil granola, this granola, and a bit of my own doing. I hope Annie, Timmy, and Zelda will all enjoy this small gift and I hope they will all recover fast and know that I love them so much.

Love,

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Olive Oil and Coconut Granola

Ingredients

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (I used gluten free for this recipe)

1 cup raw pistachios, hulled (or nut of your choice)

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1 ½ cup coconut flakes unsweetened

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup Agave Nectar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¾ cup dried fruit of your liking (cranberries, cherries, diced apricot)

  • Preheat oven to 300°. In a large bowl combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, agave nectar, olive oil, salt, spices. Mix well. I like to taste just a little here to make sure it is the right balance of sweet and spice.
  • Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer (you might need 2 baking sheets so as not to crowd the granola) and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and well toasted. Be careful granola will go from golden to slightly burnt faster then you expect.
  • Transfer the granola to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit of choice. Let it cool. Enjoy for many mornings to come.

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06

02 2016