Basic Pan Fried Chicken

1 whole 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 parts, or chicken parts with skin and bone
Salt, pepper, and seasoning of your choice or design (see step 1 below)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil

Equipment: The widest, heaviest pan you have, cast iron or some such, at least 2 inches deep. You want it wide so you can cook more at once, and heavy so it cooks evenly. If you have to choose, go for heavy over wide.

The first step is key: season the bird 8 hours before cooking it. Seasoning the meat far ahead of time allows the salt to work its way into the meat, and salt does magical things to protein, causing it to expel and then reabsorb water, leaving the chicken extra juicy. Just make sure you have 2 teaspoons of salt and a few good cranks of black pepper per 3 pounds of chicken, which is already enough to make fantastically delicious bird. Beyond that you can do whatever you want with spices, garlic powder and the like. Anyway, sprinkle the salt and seasonings over the chicken and rub it all over.

Refrigerate for 8 hours or more.

Heat your pan over medium heat and add oil to a depth of 1/2 inch.

Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolk and white in a small bowl, beat in the milk and season with a healthy pinch of salt, a couple cranks of pepper, and a pinch of your spices.

Season the flour in a big bowl. How much? Give it a couple of pinches, dip a clean finger in, and taste it. It won’t be delicious, but if you can tell the salt and seasonings are in there, you’re good.

Pour the eggwash over the chicken. Stir it a bit to distribute it evenly, then quickly take out a couple of pieces and toss them in the flour so they’re well-coated. Shake off the excess, and lay them on a platter, trying not to let them touch. Repeat until all the chicken is coated. I like to use tongs to move the chicken from the eggwash to the flour so I don’t get dough forming on my thumbs. Yum, chicken dough!

And now: the torment of boiling oil. Dip a piece of chicken into the pan. You want to see a sizzle. You want the grease hot enough so it doesn’t soak in. The sizzle you’re looking for is like a fizz, not an angry, searing boil. If it’s the latter, turn off the heat and wait a few minutes, then try again. If it looks right, turn the heat up to high and start adding the chicken skin side down, beginning with the thighs and legs. To prevent horrible injury, don’t drop the chicken in and splash hot grease everywhere. Try gliding the pieces into the pan in a dragging motion away from your body, almost like giving someone the brush-off gesture in slow motion.

Add as many pieces as will fit without touching one another. This is important; if they touch, they won’t brown. Adjust the heat down, erring on the cool side: The bubbling should be steady and vigorous, but again not violent. It shouldn’t make you afraid to be near it. If you’re using a thermometer, it should read around 350 degrees without touching the pan bottom.

After about five minutes, take a peek at the underside of the chicken. If it’s taken on some color, flip it. When that side becomes that same color, flip it again. Continue doing this, cycling through the pieces, watching for particularly brown spots where the chicken touches the pan, and somewhat favoring keeping the skin side down. You might occasionally get an extra jolt of sizzling, probably from a thigh. Stab at the center of the thigh pieces with tongs, around the bone, to let the hot oil get in there and cook it thoroughly; otherwise the breasts will finish cooking several minutes before the thighs.

When the chicken is the color of walnuts, after about a total of 15 minutes of cooking, it should be done. Go ahead and cheat a little and poke the thickest parts with a sharp knife. If the breast is all white and the thighs have no blood, you’re good. Remove the pieces and drain on paper towels. Let them rest for a few minutes before piling them up, and don’t cover them; the steam will get the crusts soggy. Don’t forget to turn off the heat! And before you serve, take a piece for yourself and eat it, right there, in the kitchen. Nothing in the world tastes as good as your first piece of fried chicken.

Basic Poached Chicken (for salad and broth)

1 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 parts on the bone (or 2 breasts, legs and thighs)
2 ribs of celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Worcestershire sauce
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Aleppo or cayenne pepper

Optional (for a more complex broth):

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 rib of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 parsley stems
5 black peppercorns, whole

First do some play-acting. Put the chicken pieces in a heavy pot, preferably one big enough to fit them in without having to stack more than 2 pieces high. Fill the pot with cold water to cover the chicken by 1? inches. Take the chicken out; what’s left is how much water you’ll use.

Take the skin and any obvious pockets of fat off the chicken. I love chicken fat as much as anyone, but when poaching it’ll just float on top of the liquid and make for greasy broth. (Don’t throw it out, though … make chicken crackins!) Generously sprinkle salt and pepper all over the chicken parts.

If you’re being (slightly) fancy and using the optional ingredients, pour off the water in the pot into a bowl and dry out the pot. Melt about a teaspoon of the chicken fat over medium heat, add the vegetables and cook, stirring, as they sweat. When the onions are translucent and softened, add the water, bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer, covered. Let the vegetables cook for about 20 minutes, until they’re soft.

If you’re not using the optional ingredients, bring the water to a boil, and turn it down to a simmer.

Now get your poach on: Slip the dark meat in the water, then arrange the breast pieces on top. Make sure all the parts are completely submerged. The chicken will cool the water down significantly, so just let it gently come back up and maintain it at poaching temperature, which is about 170 degrees on a thermometer. By sight, that’s the point at which you will see light but definite steaming and just a little shivering at the surface of the water. There should be no bubbles forming. Occasionally slightly lift or move the chicken so that no pieces are sitting too squarely on one another, blocking the hot water from getting to it. Poach until the chicken is just cooked through; the juices run clear when you cut into it near the bone. Check it after 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness, breasts may be finished then, but thighs and legs may take 30 minutes or more, if they are connected to one another. Overcooking is not a very serious issue, because the water temperature is so gentle, so you don’t to be maniacal about getting it out of the pot right away.

Remove chicken to a pan to cool, moistening with a few spoonfuls of broth, and scoop out the vegetables from the pot. When the chicken is just cool enough to handle, take it off the bone and return the bones to the broth, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, up to a couple hours. Give the broth a taste. Isn’t it good? Simple, maybe, but sweet and clear. Strain it, let it cool fully, and use it as you would any broth or stock.

Time for your salad: When the chicken meat is cool, cut it into 1/2-inch dice and combine in a bowl with the diced onion and celery. Season it to taste with salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne or Aleppo pepper (have you had this? Amazing — fruity, a little sweet , a little tart, and a little hot. And a beautiful deep red), Worcestershire (I like 5 or 6 dashes), mustard (about a teaspoon), and as much mayo as you see fit. I’m smart enough to never get in the way of someone’s mayonnaise preference.

Halibut with Saffron Cream

1 cup yogurt, preferably full-fat
Salt and pepper
Large pinch Aleppo pepper or small pinch cayenne
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

In a small bowl, whisk yogurt together with salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper or cayenne, and shallot. Rub saffron between your fingers to crush it, then stir it into yogurt mixture. Let sit for about 20 minutes (or covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours). Just before serving, add juice, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Sprinkle halibut with salt and Aleppo pepper or cayenne. Put butter in nonstick skillet large enough to hold halibut, and turn heat to medium. When the butter melts, add fish, and cook gently, turning once or twice, until a thin bladed knife meets little resistance when inserted into the thickest part, generally less than 10 minutes.

Serve fish hot, warm, or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over it.

Ginger Fried Rice

1/2 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.

Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.

Maple and Ginger Roasted Winter Vegetables

1/2 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 2×1/2-inch sticks
1/2 lb. carrots (about 3 or 4), peeled and cut into 2×1/2-inch sticks
1/2 lb. turnips (about 2 medium or 1 large), peeled and cut into thin wedges
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any wilted leaves pulled off; large sprouts halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin matchsticks (about 1/3 cup)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1-1/2 Tbs. pure maple syrup

Heat the oven to 425 F. Spread the vegetables and the ginger matchsticks in a large, low-sided roasting pan or a heavy rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the vegetables and spread them so that they’re just one layer deep. Roast the vegetables, tossing a couple of times, until tender and golden brown in spots, about 30 minutes. Combine the grated ginger and maple syrup. Drizzle the vegetables with the maple-ginger mixture, toss, and roast for another 5 minutes. The vegetables should be very tender and browned in spots. Serve warm.

Jewel Roasted Winter Vegetables

4 medium beets
1-1/2 pounds carrots
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
8 large cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Put the beets into a small baking dish and rub them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes.

While the beets are roasting, peel and cut the carrots into 1-inch-thick rounds, and trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Put the carrots, sprouts, and garlic cloves in a large baking dish and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

After the beets have been cooking for 30 minutes, add the large pan of vegetables to the oven separately, and cook everything for 1 hour more, stirring the vegetable mixture once or twice.

Remove the beets from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board to cool. Stir the thyme into the carrot and Brussels sprout mixture and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes while the beets are cooled and cut.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, after about 5 minutes, peel, then cut them into 1-inch chunks. Remove the other vegetables from the oven, toss with the beets, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Deep Dish Apple Pancake

2 large or 3 medium apples, preferably Granny Smith
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, fresh ground if possible
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat the oven to 400 F. Peel and slice the apples; you should have about 3 cups. Mix the fresh cinnamon, ginger and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

In the oven, or over a burner, melt the butter in an 8×8″ pan or a deep cast iron skillet, tilting to coat the bottom and sides with melted butter. Add the brown sugar to the butter in the bottom of pan. Spread the apples on top of the sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples. Put the pan back in the oven to start the apples cooking.

Beat the eggs until foamy with a whisk or eggbeater. Fold in the flour, salt, and sugar gradually while mixing. Add milk and vanilla and beat just until smooth. Let rest for a couple minutes.

2006_10_05-Apple2.jpgTake the pan out of the oven and pour the batter over the apples. Sprinkle more cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top if desired. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until center is set and sides are lightly browned. If the top browns before the center sets, tent with foil for the duration of the baking. The pancake will puff up dramatically but fall after you take it out of the oven.

Serve with powdered sugar or more cinnamon sugar.

Flourless Almond Cake

9 oz almonds, skins on
Thinly pared strip each of lemon and orange zest
About 2 tbsp of lard for greasing pans
1 tbsp flour
6 eggs
9 oz extra fine sugar

Skin the almonds the day before you make the cake: blanche them till the skin loosens, transfer them to a bowl of cold water to cool and slip off the skins. Leave the almonds soaking overnight in cold water and the next day dry them well with a cloth–but do not dry them out in the oven or sun.

Blanche the zest. Grind the almonds in a food processor or an old-fashioned hand mincer, adding the zest as you go.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a shallow spring-release or plain cake pan (around 13 inches diameter and 3 inches deep) with lard and dust it with flour. Separate the yolks from the whites. Beat together the yolks, sugar and ground almonds in a food processor. Whisk the egg whites to dry peaks, fold them into the cake mixture and pour into the prepared pan. Put into the oven, turn down the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for half an hour or until a fine skewer stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean. Turn onto a rack and leave to cool.
from La Tienda.

Maple Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts

Cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed for three minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and egg and mix until well incorporated. Add the maple syrup and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for thirty minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie, about 1 inch balls, onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen.

Maple Pudding with Sugared Pecans

Sugared Pecans
1 tablespoon egg white
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup pecan halves

Maple Pudding
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

To make the sugared pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white, granulated sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Add the pecan halves and toss with a spoon until the pecans are completely coated with the egg white-sugar mixture. Spread the coated pecans on a baking sheet.

Bake, tossing occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the nuts completely. Chop the nuts coarsely and set aside.

To make the maple pudding, in a medium nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, milk, brown sugar, and maple syrup until smooth. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks until smooth. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter pieces until completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla, maple flavoring, and 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans.

Spoon into 4 sundae glasses, cover with plastic wrap (unless you want a skin to form), pressing it directly onto the surface of the pudding, and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until well chilled. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream and the reserved sugared pecans.

Apple Maple Bread Pudding


6 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons apple brandy (such as applejack or Calvados)
1 1-pound loaf pain rustique, all crust trimmed, bread cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes (6 1/2 to 7 cups)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices (about 7 cups)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup plus additional for brushing (preferably Grade B)
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

Whisk eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt in large bowl. Add milk, cream, and brandy and whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes and press to submerge into custard. Let soak at least 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread cubes to submerge.

Meanwhile, position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350?F. Generously butter 9×5-inch glass or ceramic loaf pan with at least 3-inch-high sides. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices and saut? until deep golden and beginning to soften, stirring and turning apple slices frequently, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup maple syrup, then brown sugar. Simmer until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens to syrup, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Mix half of apple slices into bread-custard mixture. Transfer bread pudding mixture to prepared pan. Arrange remaining apple slices atop bread pudding in 2 lengthwise rows. Spoon any remaining syrup from skillet over apple slices. Place loaf pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills during baking).

Bake bread pudding until puffed and cracked on top, apples are deep brown, and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pudding registers 170?F to 180?F, about 1 hour 30 minutes (pudding will rise high above top of pan). Remove from oven and let rest at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour (pudding will fall). Brush apples on top of pudding with additional maple syrup. Spoon pudding into bowls and serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Hot Toddy

4 slices of red apple
3 cinnamon sticks
3 slices of orange
2 cloves
16 oz simple syrup (equal part sugar dissolved in water)
16 oz bourbon whiskey

Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and put over low heat. Slowly bring up to a simmer to infuse the bourbon, and keep over low heat for 5-7 minutes until the fragrance of the mixture becomes more apparent. Serve warm.

Braised BBQ Beef

One 3-pound chuck roast, rinsed and dried
2 medium onions, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)
1 18-ounce bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (or 2 1/4 cups of your favorite homemade barbecue sauce)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 sandwich or hamburger buns

In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping them in the pot. Add the barbecue sauce, increase heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chuck roast. Bring to a low simmer, cover and slow cook until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Remove the meat from the pot. Use a fork and knife to separate the roast into small pieces. Set aside.

Increase the heat on the pot to medium/medium-high, uncover, and reduce the liquid until thick. Stir often to prevent burning.

Return the meat to the liquid in the pan. Warm both thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on buns. Makes approximately 12 sandwiches.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

1 pound wide egg noodles
5 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 apples, grated
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoon peach schnapps

Preheat over to 350 degrees and preheat a Pyrex bowl.

Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt until al dente (not mushy).

Drain noodles and mix it in the heated bowl with the eggs, sugar, orange, lemon, apples, oil, raisins, cinnamon and schnapps. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Bake for one hour. Remove when golden brown and crispy on top.

Gateau aux Amandes

Butter and flour for the pan(s)
7 ounces almond paste
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons amaretto, plus additional for brushing
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Confectioners? sugar
3/4 cup creme fraiche, whipped to soft peaks, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour four 4-by-1 3/4-inch-high miniature springform pans or butter and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. If using the 8-inch pan, line its bottom with a circle of parchment paper; this isn?t necessary with the small pans.

Place the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Begin to cream the mixture on low speed to break up the almond paste, then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes, or until the paste is broken into fine particles.

Add the butter and mix for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and airy; stop the machine and scrape down the sides as necessary. It is important to mix long enough or the cake will have a dense texture.

Mix in the honey, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the amaretto, flour, and a pinch of salt and mix just to combine.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top. Bake the small cakes for about 15 minutes, the large one for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springs back when pressed. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Unmold the small cakes or invert the large cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and invert the cake again so that the top is once again facing upward. Brush the top of the cake(s) with amaretto and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Dust with confectioners? sugar. (The large and small cakes can be stored, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days.) To serve, cut the small cakes in half or the large cake into wedges. Serve with a dollop of whipped creme fraiche and fruit compote.


leftover risotto, cooled overnight
2 or 3 eggs
smoked mozzarella cut into very small cubes
olive oil
marinara sauce for dipping

Set up a breading station with separate bowls of flour, beaten egg (start with two) and panko.

Take about 2 teaspoons of the cold, cooked risotto into your palm, and press a cubed piece of cheese in the center. Form the rice into a ball, encasing the cheese completely so you can’t see it. (If it’s sticky, try wetting your hands.) Roll the ball first in the flour, then in the eggs (use a fork if you like), and finally in the panko. Place it on a large rimmed sheet pan, and continue with the remaining rice, cheese, and breading ingredients.

To fry: heat vegetable or olive oil to the depth of one inch in a deep frying pan. Affix a thermometer to the side, if you have one, so you can do your best to maintain a temperature of 350 degrees.

Carefully fry 6 to 8 arancini at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan, and turn for 3 or 4 minutes (or less, or more, depending on how big they are) until they’re nicely browned all over. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined platter to drain. Repeat.

Serve immediately, with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Yield will vary, depending on how much risotto you begin with.

Snowstorm Cafe

3 ounces hot strong-brewed coffee
1 ounce Frangelico
1/2 ounce Licor 43 (sweet citrus- and vanilla-flavored liqueur) or Navan
1/2 ounce Cognac
1 large dollop of unsweetened whipped cream
3 coffee beans

In a mug, mix the coffee with the Frangelico, Licor 43 and Cognac. Top with the whipped cream and garnish with the coffee beans.

from Kitch’n.

White Bean Soup

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
5 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 baguette slices, each 4 inches long and 1/2 inch thick
1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. honey

In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cannellini beans, broth and thyme and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and black pepper. Keep the soup warm.

Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices on both sides with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Toast the bread, turning once, until nicely grill-marked, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside.

In the blending cup of an immersion blender, chop the roasted red bell peppers. Stir in 1/2 tsp. salt, the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes, honey and black pepper. Top the baguette slices with the roasted red bell pepper tapenade, dividing evenly. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately with the crostini. Serves 6.

Pinole Cookies

2 cups pine nuts
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup almond paste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process 3/4 cup pine nuts, the sugar, almond paste, and vanilla in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add egg; pulse to combine. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process just until dough comes together.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining 11/4 cups pine nuts, gently pressing to coat. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until cookies begin to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
Makes about 3 dozen

Amaretti Pinole

1 1/2 cups pine nuts (about 7 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) almond paste, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Using on/off turns, blend 3/4 cup pine nuts and next 4 ingredients in processor until crumbly mixture forms. Transfer mixture to large bowl; add egg whites. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl to blend. Add to pine nut mixture; beat until smooth (dough will be soft and sticky).

Place remaining 3/4 cup pine nuts in shallow bowl. Spoon generous tablespoonful dough into pine nuts in shallow bowl, coating 1 side of dough with pine nuts. Using floured fingertips, transfer dough to prepared baking sheet, pine nut side up. Smooth edges of dough to form even round. Repeat with remaining dough, flouring fingertips as needed to prevent sticking and spacing cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake cookies 1 baking sheet at a time until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, transfer to plate, and serve. (Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

*Almond paste is available at specialty foods stores and in the baking-products section of most supermarkets.