Extend Your Enjoyment of Summer Vegetables!

Extend Your Enjoyment of Summer Vegetables!

Signs of Fall is definitely upon us, so take advantage of the last bounty of fresh vegetables! Check out our book collection and find and find inspirations for preserving the best vegetables of summer!

Canning and making preserves are pretty easy… You would be surprised at how great homemade jams and jellies are compared to industrial, store-bought jams.

Charleston Gumbo


Ahhh… The first snow of 2012 got us thinking of a warming stew for dinner. So we tried this spicy thick seafood ‘soup,’ the Charleston Gumbo.  It’s easy to make and cleaning up is also easy because there’s only one pot to clean! This dish will definitely warm you up, and when served in one of Le Creuset‘s colorful Cast Iron Casseroles it will cheer up a wintry night.

Serves: 4/6                  Preparation and Cooking 1 1/2 hours

  • 125 grams chopped bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 500 g peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 500 g new potatoes cut into 1cm dice
  • 225 g okra, cut into 1 cm slices
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups fish stock or water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 450 g cod fillet, cut into 6 cm pieces
  • 1 kg large raw shrimp
  • 1 kg small raw clams
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, to garnish
  1. Preheat a Casserole on a low to medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring until the fat begins to run. Add the olive oil with the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and chillies. Reduce the heat to low and cook these vegetables until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients, except the seafood.
  4. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the vegetables are very tender. Add all the seafood, stirring well.
  5. Cover again and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer until the cod is cooked and the clams are open; discard any clams that remain closed.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and season.
  7. To serve: Ladle over cooked long grained rice.
  8. Bon Appétit!

Peanut Turkey with Apples and Carrots

Photo: Tasting Table

Whoa… Hold the press! When I first got an email for Southern-inspired Thanksgiving recipes from Tasting Table, a daily “food culture” newsletter, I was immediately drawn to the peanut aspect of the recipe. Over the years I have read many turkey recipes that involve exotic spices, rubs, and brine liquids… But peanuts?? I have never heard of combining peanuts with turkey before! I would like to share this with our Cook and Craft family… Hope you enjoy it and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

— Mel Harjono

Yield: 6 servings    Cook Time: 2 hours
One 12-pound turkey–giblets removed, turkey rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, plus 3 sprigs fresh sage, divided
4 baking apples (such as Macintosh)–cored, halved and divided
1 shallot, peeled
Half a medium lemon
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Peanut-Butter Gravy
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup apple cider2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salted peanuts
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Sprinkle the cavity and skin of the turkey liberally with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mash together 3 tablespoons of the butter with the chopped sage, salt and pepper. Carefully rub the seasoned butter under the turkey’s skin. Stuff the cavity with the remaining sage springs, 2 apple halves, shallot and lemon. Truss the turkey’s legs.

2. In a large roasting pan, add the 3 remaining apples and the carrots. Toss with the remaining teaspoon of sage butter. Season with salt and pepper and add the chicken stock. Transfer the turkey, breast side up, to a wire rack and fold the wing tips under the turkey; rub with the peanut oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the rack on top of the vegetables.

3. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the turkey is golden, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375° and roast, basting every 20 minutes with the pan sauce until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh reads 165°, about 1 to 1½ hours.

4. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

5. Make the gravy: Transfer the apples and carrots from the pan to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim the fat off of the pan drippings and set the pan on two burners over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar and whisk, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Add the flour to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened and the starch flavor is cooked out, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the apple cider and chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

6. Carve the turkey and serve warm with the caramelized carrots, peanut-butter gravy and salted peanuts.

Yucatan-Style Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Cherry Glaze

This extremely delicious baby-back ribs recipe is courtesy of Ivy Stark, the executive chef for the Dos Caminos restaurants in New York and Florida. It’s succulent ribs cooked Yucatan style: wrapped in banana leaves, covered with spices and orange juice, and baked. The flavor is complex and crave-inducing… these ribs can be kept for days, you’ll have them as excellent leftover.

Yucatan-Style Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Cherry Glaze
Yield: 24 (1/2 rack or 8-10 ounce) portions. Preparation time: 30 minutes plus unattended cooking time. Shelf life: 5 days.

For the ribs:
Banana leaves, available from Latin food suppliers.
2 bunches thyme, chopped
2 bunches oregano, chopped
1 bunch rosemary, chopped
16 ounces sliced shallots
5 ounces sliced garlic
12 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole allspice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/4 cup achiote paste (substitute with annato seeds, or omit entirely)
12 rack baby back ribs, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
10 lemons, sliced
10 limes, sliced
1 1/2 quarts orange juice
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

For the Spicy Cherry Glaze:
1 ounce vegetable oil
1 ounce garlic, minced
8 ounces red onion, diced
2 ounces fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 quarts sour cherries
2 ounces resposado tequila
3 ounces Sriracha hot sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 ounce sherry wine vinegar
4 ounces soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange banana leaves in the bottom of a deep full-size baking pan large enough so the ribs will be completely covered.

2. In a bowl, combine thyme, oregano, rosemary, shallots, garlic, bay leaves, allspice, cumin, coriander and achiote paste. Lay ribs in the pan and distribute seasoning mixture evenly. Add lemons and limes, pour orange juice over the meat, cover pan with foil, seal tightly and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove, leave pan covered, and cool the ribs to room temperature.

3. Once cool, transfer ribs to sheet pans and refrigerate for up to 24 hours if not using right away.

4. Prepare the Spicy Cherry Glaze: in a medium-size skillet over medium heat, combine oil, garlic, onion, ginger and cherries and saute until lightly browned. Stir in tequila, hot sauce, sesame oil, sherry wine vinegar and soy sauce and simmer for 15 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Generously coat ribs with the glaze. Heat broiler and position the rack about 5 inches from the heat. Broil for 10 minutes to crisp the glaze; sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Cassoulet, Cassoulet…

Wow, just as we thought winter is almost over, Old Greenwich received another 5  inches of snow!  During the snow storm a few weeks back we were hunkering down in our homes and made some cassoulet from Amateur Gourmet‘s recipe. It was absolutely delicious and easy, the perfect dish to make in this kind of weather.

Cassoulet is a dish that just makes sense. Why does it make sense? You take fatty, flavorful meat, put it in a big pot with moisture-hungry beans and bake the whole thing until the beans are infused with all that fat and flavor and the meat is cooked. It’s not meant to be a fancy dish–this is the kind of food French people make at home–and it’s infinitely variable, as evidenced by the infinite cassoulet recipes you will find in my infinite cookbook collection, recipes that vary the type of meat, the type of bean, even the amount of time it takes to make the dish…

Follow Adam’s step-by-step (with pictures!) recipe: Cassoulet in 10 Easy Steps — you won’t be disappointed!

We Are Thankful For…

… for friends and family, for gorgeous and sunny autumn day, for items lost and then retrieved, for laughter and smiles, for aching muscles that remind us that we’re here, for moments shared, for music, for silence, for opportunities to share, for peace, for life…

Now, who wants to eat? 🙂

photo credit: NY Times

New York Magazine is featuring recipes from eleven top chefs in New York City. Many interesting variations and ideas shared by these chefs, as each bring their cultural backgrounds into the traditional thanksgiving fares.  Below is our favorite recipe from the bunch… it’s a Portugese-inspired roasted turkey recipe from chef George Mendes. For more recipes, from appetizer, side dishes and dessert, check out My Mother’s Thanksgiving in New York Magazine.

Marinated and Roasted Turkey

Provided by: Chef George Mendes

  • Type of Dish: Main Courses
  • Servings: 8


12-lb. turkey (farm-raised):
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped

4 cups sugar
2 cups kosher salt
12 cloves
1 tbs. fennel seeds
1 tbs. coriander seeds
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces star anise
5 bay leaves
2 tbs. white peppercorns

Paprika marinade:
2 cups olive oil
1 cup vinho verde wine
2 tbs. Spanish sweet paprika (available at Despaña; 212-219-5050)
2 bay leaves, torn
1/2 small onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed


In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients for the brine with 3 quarts water, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat, and pour into a container set over ice to chill.

Place the turkey in a large pot, cover with the cold liquid, and allow the bird to brine overnight.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade, and stir. Rinse the turkey under cold water, washing off all the spices. Pour the marinade over the turkey. Cover with plastic, and allow to sit for a minimum of 2 hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the neck and trimmed wing tips, coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot at the bottom of an oval turkey roaster, and add 1 cup of water to the pan. Remove turkey from marinade, reserving remaining marinade. Place the turkey on top of the bones and vegetables in pan. Cover the turkey with the lid, and roast in the oven, brushing the bird with the reserved marinade every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, start checking the internal temperature. When it reaches 150°, remove the lid and increase the temperature to 425°. Continue roasting for another 15 to 25 minutes, constantly brushing with marinade until the turkey reaches a deep orangey-brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove from the oven, and allow the turkey to rest for half an hour to 45 minutes in the roasting pan. Remove the turkey from the pan, and strain the juices into a medium saucepan. Skim the fat from the surface, bring the sauce to a simmer, and season to taste. (Published 2010)

super simple summer fruit salad

photo: mel harjono


last weekend i was invited to a friend’s summer house in upstate New York.  on Saturday morning, we made our way to a local farmer’s market and i saw gorgeous fruit and vegetable… i inhaled the most fragrant basil i’ve ever smelled… i could not resist to get creative.

this salad, or dessert — depending on when you want to consume this dish, could not be any simpler to make.  it’s so refreshing and full of flavor, precisely the dish that make you long for summer and its bounty.

the trick is to use fresh produce, preferable just-picked fruits.  farmer’s market is your best bet to get these produce, because chances are, supermarket’s produce were picked way before their peak time then traveled a long way to their final destination — hence, the watery and flavorless peaches or apricots.

without further ado, here’s my “super simple summer fruit salad” recipe:

(4) ripe peaches or apricots, diced

(2) tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

(10) basil leaf, cut into ribbons

(2)  tablespoon of sugar (add or subtract as you wish)

(2) tablespoon of non-fat vanilla yogurt (optional)

combine peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and basil in a mixing bowl, gently mix the ingredients. chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  when you are ready to serve it, top it with yogurt.  serves 4  (or in my case, it serves 2…).

— mel harjono