Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter

4 pounds sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup apple butter
Salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until very tender.

Peel the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until creamy, then mash in the butter and apple butter. Season with salt and serve.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/4 pounds baby brussels sprouts or regular brussels sprouts halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup Grade A pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon walnut oil

Heat the canola oil in a very large skillet until shimmering. Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper, then cook over high heat without stirring until they are browned, about 2 minutes. Add the unsalted butter and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is melted. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are just crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar. Add the chestnuts and walnut oil and cook until hot.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brussels sprouts and chestnuts to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and serve.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
freshly ground black pepper
snipped chives

Separate the cauliflower into florets and chop the core finely.
Bring about 2 cups of water to a simmer in a pot, then add the cauliflower. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender.

Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and mash with a masher until it looks like mashed potatoes. Top with chives.

Variation:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.

In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.

Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of butter.

Pasta e Piselli

1.3kg peas in their pods, or 350g frozen
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A small knob of butter or 50g pancetta or guanciale, diced
3 large or 6 small spring onions, chopped
A celery stalk, chopped
A sprig of mint
Salt
1 tbsp tomato puree (optional)
A parmesan rind
300g fresh egg pasta or 200g dried pasta
Pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated

If the peas are in their pods, pod them and set aside. Warm the olive oil in a large pan and fry the pancetta, onion, celery and mint with a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent. Stir in the tomato puree, if using, then add the peas, stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add 1.3 litres of cold water and the parmesan rind. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Once the peas are tender, remove the mint, add another small pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring regularly, until the pasta is al dente. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes, stir in 2 tbsp grated cheese, taste and check for salt (it shouldn’t need it). Divide between bowls and serve, handing round more cheese for those who want it.

Braised Chick Peas with Tomatoes and Almond Pesto

500g chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 24 hours, or 2 x 400g tins
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
6 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
500g fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

For the pesto
50g blanched almonds
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic cloves

1 Drain the soaked or tinned chickpeas, put in a heavy-based pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Add the bay leaves and garlic, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chickpeas are very tender. Pull from the heat, add salt to taste, and leave to cool in the cooking liquid.

2 Warm the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add 1 tbsp chopped parsley and the tomatoes. Simmer, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cook until saucy. Dilute with a ladleful of chickpea broth, then add the chickpeas, leaving some broth remaining. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3 Make the pesto by pounding/blending the almonds, pine nuts and garlic into a paste. Stir into the chickpeas. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding more broth if you want. Stir in the last of the parsley. Serve with bread and cheese.

Kakadi Chi Koshimbar (Indian Cucumber Peanut Salad)

2 cucumbers peeled
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons spanish roasted peanuts chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar Optional
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds or sub cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon juiced

Chop up the cucumbers, cilantro, and peanuts into a very fine dice.

Place into a bowl and season with salt and sugar.

In the smallest little heat proof bowl you have, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering.

Place the mustard and/or cumin seeds and allow them to sputter like popcorn about 30 seconds.

Add in the turmeric and stir quickly.

Pour this hot, flavored oil over the cucumbers and mix well.
Squeeze lemon juice and mix once again and serve.

Baked Gobi Manchurian

4 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped onions
1 large bell pepper chopped or eight small little ones
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Line a sheet pan with foil and turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the veggies with oil, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and place veggies on foil-lined sheet.

Broil for 30 minutes or so until the veggies are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Let this sit while the veggies cook.

When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and pour sauce on them, mixing as you go.

Indian Cabbage and Peanut Slaw

4 cups chopped cabbage or use ready slaw mix
1 tomato diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons Spanish roasted peanuts chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (Optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds or cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon juiced

Rough chop the cabbage and carrots slaw mix into bite size pieces.

Chop up the tomato, cilantro, and peanuts into a fine dice.

Place all the vegetables into a bowl and season with salt and sugar.

In the smallest little heat proof bowl you have, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering.

Place the mustard and/or cumin seeds and allow them to sputter like popcorn about 30 seconds.

Add in the turmeric and stir quickly.

Pour this hot, flavored oil over the cabbage mixture and mix well.
Squeeze lemon juice and mix once again and serve.

Pressure Cooker Potato Leek Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and chopped
1 small stalk celery, chopped
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 quart water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
black pepper
minced chives for garnish

Select the sauce feature, medium heat, and preheat the cooking bowl. Heat the butter until just foaming, then add the leeks and celery. Sauce until softened but not browned, 5-7 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients except cream and stir to combine.

Select pressure cook and adjust time to 10 minutes.

When cooking has completed, remove bay leaf and thyme and blend soup until smooth. Stir in cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Served garnished with chives.

Pressure Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 pounds tomatoes, cored, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped basil
3/4 cup cream or milk

Select the sauce feature and high heat to preheat the cooking bowl. heat the butter until just foaming, then add the onion and carrot. Sauce until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, and stock. Stir to combine.

Select the pressure cook soup feature and adjust cooking time to 10 minutes.

When the cooking has completed, remove and discard the thyme. Add the basil and blend soup until smooth. Stir in cream and season to taste.

Black Beans with Mango

2 cups cubed mango, about 3 mangoes, preferably the Ataulfo variety (see Notes)
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 large handful fresh cilantro, stems removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a serving bowl, mix the mango and beans.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice and chile powder.

Add the cilantro to the serving bowl and then drizzle the dressing over the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This salad can be assembled in advance without cilantro and refrigerated for a day. Add the cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.

Green and Wax Beans with Tomato Vinaigrette

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed
1 overripe large tomato
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more as needed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Drop green and wax beans into boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice bath. When cool, drain and dry with a towel and place in a large bowl.

Cut tomato in half across its equator and squeeze out seeds (use for another purpose or discard). Using the largest hole on a box grater, grate the tomato flesh. Discard skin and transfer grated flesh to a medium bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup.

Stir in vinegar and salt, then stir in olive oil and garlic. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt as needed.

Add just enough vinaigrette to coat beans, add olives, then toss well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes (and up to 4 hours) before serving. Add torn basil and serve.

German Potato Salad

2 pounds boiling potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
4 strips bacon
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into thin slices, including some of the green
1/2 cup minced celery, including some leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Cut the potatoes in half if they are large, put them in a pot and add enough lightly salted water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and boil gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until just tender. Drain.

While the potatoes are still warm, peel and slice, or cube them, into a large serving bowl.

In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add scallions and celery, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Mix with potato pieces.

In the same skillet, mix 1/4 cup of water with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika and dry mustard. Stirring with a whisk, bring to a boil and pour over salad. Crumble bacon over the top, and serve warm.

Chili Paneer

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
14 ounces paneer
canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chili, very finely sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 scallions, finely sliced into rings
lemon wedges, to serve

Throw the cumin seeds into a mortar and pestle and roughly grind them to a coarse powder. Next cut the paneer into 3/4-inch cubes. Pour a thin coating of oil into a large frying pan and bring it to a high heat. Fry the paneer in batches, turning the pieces until golden brown on each side, and transfer them to a dish lined with paper towels. Watch out, as the paneer may spit; if so, half cover the pan with a lid.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, followed by the garlic, green chili, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Sauté for around 3 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir, then put the paneer back into the pan along with a splash of water. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan, add the scallions and simmer until there is no water left. Serve fresh and hot with a squeeze of lemon.

Cuban Black Beans

1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, minced
1 large white onion, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt

Put the black beans, quartered green pepper and bay leaves in a large saucepan add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the green pieces and bay leaves.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced bell peppers and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the cumin and oregano. In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil over moderately low heat until golden brown.

When the beans are tender, add the sautéed pepper mixture, the garlic in its oil and the tomato paste. Season with salt and simmer gently for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Parmesan Cheese Dip

2 cups (5 1/2 ounces / 150g) finely grated Parmesan cheese (on a Microplane)
Scant 1/4 cup (50ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

Add-in ideas: black pepper, lemon juice, chopped dried figs, chopped dates, finely lots of chopped chives, lemon zest, or red pepper flakes, dried herbs, chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Combine the cheese, olive oil, and wine in a jar or bowl. Stir gently until it all comes together, then press the cheese down a bit into a flat surface. It will keep like this, drizzled with a layer of olive oil, for a few weeks refrigerated. (Let it come back down to room temperature before serving.)

To serve the cheese, scoop out a bit into a separate smaller bowl or plate, and stir in or sprinkle with any add-ins at this point.

Serve with crackers, toasts, or crudités; spread on sandwiches; layer in tarts; spoon into soups.

Pasta con Ceci

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons good tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape, like macaroni)
2 cups boiling water
Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil until it shimmers.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly browned and fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and salt and fry for 30 seconds or so.

Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve, ladle the pasta into shallow bowls, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, and drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Summer Corn Chowder

1 quart good chicken stock
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, chopped
3 ears fresh corn
1 sweet red pepper, seeded & chopped to size of corn kernels
1 small onion chopped to size of corn kernels
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Combine lemongrass and stock, simmer 20 minutes (until the stock is well-flavored). Strain the stock and reserve, discarding the lemongrass.

Cut kernels from cobs, then scrape the cobs with the edge of a knife to extract all the milky fluid from the base of the kernels. Add corn (and liquid from the cobs), red pepper, and onions to stock, simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add cream and parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve, garnished with a sprig of Italian parsley.

Coconut Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

Soak the rice in water for 15 minutes. Drain. Add the drained rice to a medium pot. In a 2-4 cup capacity wet measuring cup, pour in the can of coconut milk, and then add water until you hit just under 2 cups of liquid total. Add to the pot, along with the sugar and salt.

Put the pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately gift the pot a stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and keep covered until ready to serve.

Just before serving, stir in the toasted coconut flakes.

Braised Spiced Romano Beans with Yogurt and Mint

1/4 cup [60 ml] Greek-style yogurt
Juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground black lime, plus more for sprinkling (or use lime juice)
1 tsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
2 cups Pomodoro Sauce
1 cup Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
1 lb [455 g] romano beans, stem end trimmed
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup [7 g] mint leaves

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lime juice, and 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add water, 1 tsp at a time, so the mixture is thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black lime, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the pomodoro sauce and stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the romano beans, coating with the sauce, and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook at a slow, steady simmer until the beans soften and darken in color, 15 to 20 minutes. If needed, add more stock, 1 Tbsp at a time, to keep the pan from drying out.

Remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if desired.

Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the lime yogurt. Scatter the mint leaves over all, sprinkle with a bit more ground black lime, and serve warm or at room temperature.