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September 11, 2010

Easy Artichoke Dip

This is a crazy-easy and delicious dip that is great for any fun occasion. It is a staple with our friends and family.

1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then put into a baking dish or gratin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serve with chips, crackers, or sliced bread.

November 24, 2009

Glorious Gratin of Root Vegetables

This gratin is a delicious way to serve root vegetables available through the late fall and winter. It is perfect for Thanksgiving or other holiday events and is lovely as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course. Feel free to substitute any root vegetable for the ones listed here.
This recipes is adapted from my favorite cookbook, "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," by Deborah Madison.

Butter for the dish
Bechamel for Gratins (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon butter
12 ounces yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into juilienne
12 ounces turnips, peeled and julienned
8 ounces carrots, peeled and julienned
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 2-quart gratin dish.
Cook the bechamel sauce (recipe below).
While the bechamel is cooking, cook the onions in the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, about 8 minutes.
Combine with the rest of the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to gratin dish.
Pour the bechamel sauce over the top, cover with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly and golden on top, about 45 minutes.

Aromatic Bechamel for Gratins

2 cups milk
2 slices white or yellow onion
Aromatics: a few parsley sprigs, a few thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves plus 1 garlic clove, crushed -- (tie the aromatics in a cheesecloth or put loose in the pan)
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly heat the milk with the onions, aromatics and garlic. When it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and set aside.
In another heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in the hot milk at once, including the aromatics.  Cook until thickened, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes.  Check from time to time and stir to be sure the sauce does not scorch or cook too quickly. You want this to cook at a slow, easy simmer.
Discard the aromatics, season with salt and pepper.  The bechamel is now ready to use!

October 07, 2009

Amazing and Wonderful Cilantro Chutney

 This chutney from India is absolutely wonderful. Its flavors are as vibrant and bright as its color. This makes a great condiment for meats, cheeses, sandwiches, crackers, chips -- you name it.

Huge thanks to Shefaly Ravula of Shef's Kitchen for sharing this recipe with us.  For more information on Shefaly and Shef's Kitchen classes, contact

¼ cup raw unsalted peanuts
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ serrano chili pepper, coarsely chopped, seeds and all
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peeled gingerroot
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup water


1.    Place peanuts in a blender or mini-chopper and grind to a medium-fine powder.
2.    Transfer ground peanuts to a blender if you ground them in the mini-chopper.
3.    Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, adding more water if necessary.


This chutney is very versatile. You can use it as a spread as in a panini sandwich or in a cucumber tea sandwich. You can use it as a dipping sauce for samosas or papadums. You can use it as one of many chutneys/sauces used in traditional Indian street/snack foods such as chaat or bhel-puri.

You can freeze the chutney in small containers or ice cube trays. Just thaw it out in the refrigerator.

The peanuts add flavor and act as a thickener. You can substitute daliya (dry roasted chana dal) if you wish or if you are nut-allergic.  Add fresh mint leaves for a refreshing summer chutney.

Copyright 2009 Shefaly Ravula

August 03, 2009

Tian of Summer Vegetables

Like its cousin, ratatouille, tian is a great way to use all the best vegetables of summer. The eggplant, peppers and onions are cooked until they have the texture of a thick puree. They are then covered with layers of sliced zucchini and tomato and baked in the oven.  The bright green of the zucchini and red of the tomato add a fresh accent and pretty visual appeal.


1/3 to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 small eggplants, peeled and chopped
2 green peppers, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with a fork
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 to 3 large tomatoes, sliced and halved
2 to 3 medium zucchini, scored and thinly sliced
Additional salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil for final seasoning

To make

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or casserole.  Add the onions and eggplant, toss thoroughly in oil and cook 10 minutes; add all the other ingredients except the tomatoes and zucchini.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Remove the cover and cook an additional 15 to 30 minutes, until excess moisture has evaporated.  Adjust the seasoning. You should have a thick vegetable puree.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the puree in the bottom of an oiled 8 – x 12-inch baking dish and arrange the tomatoes and zucchini in alternating layers on top of the puree.  Sprinkle with additional salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil.  Bake 10 to 20 minutes in 375 degree oven.

From the Fabulous Fish by Ann Clark

July 24, 2009

Asparagus Flan (Le Flan d'Asperges)

This is a lovely dish that is a delightful and unusual way to make use of the season's asparagus. This is a great dish for brunch or a light lunch.

You can substitute milk for the cream. The result is a much lighter flan with a texture that is more custard-like than the version using cream or half and half.

8 servings


1 pound (about 2 cups) asparagus tips
4 ounces (about 1 cup or 4 slices) smoked bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup light cream or half-and-half
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To Make

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter one 10 ½ inch round porcelain gratin dish and set aside.

Bring about 3 cups of water to a simmer. Add the asparagus and blanch until bright green and cooked al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium high heat utnil brown and lightly crisp. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cream and eggs. Whisk to blend.

Pour half of the cream mixture into the gratin dish. Scatter bacon over the mixture. Layer the asparagus tips on top of the bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining cream and egg mixture.

Place the baking dish in the center of the oven. Cook until the mixture is set and the top is golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve in wedges.

March 16, 2009

Savory Baked Sweet Potatoes

This is a great side dish that goes especially well with chicken and pork. This simple recipe is hearty, healthy, delicious and satisfying. What more could you want?


3 sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut in 1/’2 inch slices
2 bunches scallions, sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
olive oil

To make:

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for 45 minutes,

Immediately upon removing from the oven, sprinkle with sliced scallions.

Add crumbled bacon and toss.

Serve immediately.