Treasured recipes are like old friends, familiar, dependable and always welcome.
In the spirit of winding down after an unusual and often tough year, I’m taking it easy this week. After a deep dive into my files, I’ve found some “old friends” that are just right to round out almost any dinner and make life a little easier.
Think of this week’s recipes as familiar dinner guests and add any or all of the following to an entrée of your choice.
Not vegan, but with a solid nod to vegetarian, these recipes should suit nearly any diet regimen.
This year I’m adding an extra, it will be the first time I’ve named what I’m calling the International Golden Spoon Award. Up to now, it’s mostly been a local recipe that takes the title but 2020 brought two stellar dishes that had to be recognized.
All tried, truly delicious and time-tested, these are three of my all-time favorites, “friends” I don’t hesitate to take anywhere.
An easy vegetable side dish can be grilled or broiled, green or spring onions. Both sweet and savory, these are great as an accompaniment to any main dish. Serve either with your meal or as an appetizer. Paired with lightly toasted baguette slices or your favorite canape cracker, they are equally at home as finger food.
(grilled green onions)
20 spring onions or large scallions (about 4 bunches), washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
Prepare grill. Place onions on a large, rectangular foil sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and lime juice. To seal securely, move onions to center and fold each long side inward. Repeat with remaining two sides, like a present. Place packet on rack set 5 to 6 inches over grill for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove onion from foil, place crosswise and grill, away from fire, 5 to 10 minutes on each side or until softened and lightly charred.
Broiler method: Set onion packet about 3 inches from heat source and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Open foil and broil 6 to 8 minutes more or until desired char is achieved. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Transfer to platter, sprinkle with salt and serve.
POBLANO MASHED POTATOES
Another top-line favorite and an interesting use of poblanos. This tasty combination will complement any meal. Trust me, mashed potatoes will never be the same after you try this.
3 to 5 large poblano chilies
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
3 to 4 pounds potatoes
2 or 3 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
Roast chilies over gas flame until charred. (For electric stove: Broil, turning often, until thoroughly blackened.) Place in plastic bag, twist top and set aside until cool. Cook peeled and cut-up potatoes with garlic in salted water.
Meanwhile, remove charred skin from chilies, seed and devein. Place chilies in sauce pan with enough olive oil to cover and heat over medium.
When potatoes are soft, drain well and mash. Stir sour cream into poblano/olive oil mixture, add to mashed potatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper.
And finally, the epitome of desserts, traditional in my family for my girls’ birthday dinners, here’s Kathy Mullins’ chocolate pie. Need I say more?
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate with sugar, milk and salt in the top of a double boiler.* Remove from heat, cool slightly then (while chocolate mixture is still scorching hot) whisk in egg yolks, one at a time. Stir vanilla into chocolate/egg mixture. Beat egg whites to stiff stage and fold into chocolate mixture.
When completely blended, pour into pie shell. Chill in refrigerator until “set” (takes at least 3 to 4 hours) and top with lightly sweetened and flavored whipped cream.
*I always use the microwave for this, just be very careful not to burn. Heat in short increments, about 45 seconds at a time and check for softness after each zapping.
Mace and nutmeg are more than relatives, they are basically fraternal twins. Mace is the red, lace-like covering of nutmeg.
Joy assured me that, while taking a little time as all breads do, these are easy and quick to pull together.
An interesting side effect of our COVID-19 quarantine is the food. We are cooking more since we’re eating out less; we’re exploring new recipes, because we’re eating out less and growing gardens, again, we’re eating out less.
Longtime Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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