Archive for the ‘Salads and Dressings’ Category

Cooking (and Singing) “By Heart”

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

I love the phrase “by heart” as it relates to both singing and cooking. Singing a song or making a recipe “by heart” doesn’t mean merely that one has memorized it. The phrase implies that one has internalized not just the mechanics of the song or recipe but its essence—and that one is ready to riff!

When Alice Parker and I started planning a summer musical program, the title “By Heart” sprang to mind immediately. We will perform songs we know really, really well on August 12. We look forward to connecting with our audience as we re-create wonderful songs by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and other beloved composers.

The evening will raise funds for Mohawk Trail Concerts, a chamber-music series that has delighted me each summer for almost all of my life.

Naturally, when I appeared on Mass Appeal yesterday to talk about the concert I made a couple of recipes I know by heart, a tasty salad (the dressing is adapted from Cabot Cheese) and my mother’s favorite hot fudge sauce. I have shared the recipe for this simple sauce on these pages before.

By coincidence, it was National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! I didn’t know how apt the date was before I went on the air. Learning that Tuesday just happened to be the perfect day for hot fudge sauce gave me the feeling of being one with the food cosmos.

Here is the salad recipe, along with yesterday’s video. Do please come to my concert if you can! And never stop cooking, singing, and living by and with heart.

Kitchen Sink Southwestern Chopped Salad

The title “kitchen sink” says it all: the ingredients for this recipe should depend completely on what you have in the house. Feel free to play around.

Ingredients:

for the dressing:

1/2 cup grated store cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
the juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
2 garlic scapes, chopped, or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo with some juice (more if you like)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
ground pepper to taste

for the salad:

4 cups lettuce
2 cups lightly cooked corn kernels (grill the corn with a little olive oil if you have time; otherwise, use leftover corn)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, cut into chunks
lots of chopped black olives
4 scallions, chopped (use the white part and some of the green)
cilantro or parsley for garnish

Instructions:

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender. Place the salad ingredients (except for the cilantro or parsley) in a large bowl, add the dressing, and toss. Sprinkle the herb over all. Serves 4 to 6.

And now the video:

Tinky Cooks “By Heart” on Mass Appeal

Bee Mine

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Please forgive the shortness of this post. I’m having a delightful but crazy week: two TV appearances; a major fundraiser for Mohawk Trail Concerts; and the cooking class I mentioned in my last post on Friday at the Baker’s Pin in Northampton, Massachusetts.

(The class is on rhubarb—of course—and there are still slots open as of this writing. So please spread the word!)

On Tuesday I appeared briefly on Mass Appeal to help promote the upcoming Bee Fest here in Franklin County. The local beekeepers’ association organizes this annual event to celebrate bees and honey and their contributions to our lives. Organizers Sandy Thomas and Dan Conlon (the former an old family friend and the latter a bee keeper from Warm Colors Apiary) joined Seth Stutman and me on camera. They brought me a fabulous hat to wear–and some wonderful honey to take home!

Dan, Tinky. and Sandy

I often forget to cook with honey; I’m too focused on maple syrup! I had fun playing with it in preparation for this segment.

At first I planned to make a honey rhubarb crumble. I love rhubarb, and I love crumbles, so combining them with honey sounded natural. Unfortunately, the TV station informed at the last minute that someone else had recently made a crumble on the show.

So … I racked my brain for a quick honey idea. I vaguely remembered that my friend Leticia had once made a salad dressing with honey and soy sauce. Of course, I couldn’t find her recipe—I have a lot of trouble finding things sometimes—but I quickly concocted my own.

I’m sharing both recipes here. Obviously, I only make the salad dressing in the video below, however. Do watch it; you’ll not only see me in that fabulous bee headgear, but you’ll learn more about the Bee Fest. The video isn’t fabulous–something is going on with our internet in Hawley–but I wanted to post it before the fest just in case locals might want to visit.

Happy honey time!

Bee Mine Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

5 to 6 cups rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces (enough to fill your pan with some room at the top for the crumbly bits)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the rhubarb in a buttered Pyrex pie dish (a stainless or ceramic dish may be substituted, but don’t use aluminum as it will react with the rhubarb’s acidity). Drizzle the honey over the rhubarb.

Combine the cinnamon, flour, oats, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and cut it in with knives or a pastry blender (your hands will do in a pinch). Add the brown sugar and mix again until crumbly.

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the rhubarb, pressing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown in most parts and bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

Slightly Asian Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 splash water
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) neutral oil such as canola
a few drops of sesame oil

Instructions:

In a mason jar combine the honey, vinegar, soy sauce, and water. (A little ginger and garlic wouldn’t hurt as additions!) Shake to combine. Add the oils and shake once more. Serve over lettuce or spinach with nuts and orange segments. For a more festive look, sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top of the salad.

Makes just under 1 cup of salad dressing.

And now the video:

Tinky Cooks with Honey on Mass Appeal

Biscuits and Rhubarb Salad!

Friday, May 12th, 2017

A Mother’s Day Hug

I write this on May 12, the birthday of Edward Lear. In addition to many other works, Lear wrote (and illustrated!) “The Owl and the Pussycat.” My late mother started reciting this poem early in life—and it was one of the last things she forgot as she succumbed to dementia.

(To hear me read it in her style, visit my YouTube channel.)

I thought about the owl, the pussycat, and my mother this morning as I drove to Chicopee, Massachusetts, to cook on Mass Appeal. Appropriately, today’s show was devoted to Mother’s Day.

It was one of the most delightful editions of Mass Appeal I can remember; the mothers of both of the hosts participated (and got makeovers!), and a happy spirit reigned.

I prepared two dishes that struck me as suitable for Mother’s Day. The first was a biscuit recipe from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. I discovered the book and the recipe while trying to satisfy my southern sister-in-law’s craving for biscuits earlier this year.

It’s a simple, satisfying formula that produces puffy, delectable biscuits. Thanks to Nathalie for giving me permission to reprint it here.

Since rhubarb is just starting to pop up in my area, I also made a recipe from my forthcoming rhubarb book. This salad combines sweet and tart flavors and provides the mouth with a lot of satisfying textures: crunchy nuts, soft rhubarb, creamy cheese.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers—those who are mothers, and those who have or had mothers. (That should take care of pretty much everybody!) Enjoy the day—and these recipes….

 

Nathalie Dupree’s Two-Ingredient Biscuits

Ingredients:

about 2-1/4 cups self-rising flour (I use White Lily)
about 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
melted butter for finishing

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silicone, or brush the sheet with melted butter.

Whisk 2 cups of the flour in a wide, large bowl. Make a hollow in the middle of the flour with the back of your hand. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the cream with a rubber spatula. Use broad stokes to pull the flour into the cream. Mix the batter just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If there is remaining flour, add more cream.

Lightly sprinkle a board or silicone sheet with some of the leftover flour. Turn the dough out onto the board—it will be messy—and sprinkle the top with more flour. Using your floured hands, gently fold the dough in half and pat it into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Flour the dough again if you need to, and fold it in half again and pat it out again. If it’s still clumpy fold it for a third time—but don’t over work it.

Dip a biscuit cutter in flour and use it to cut out biscuits, starting from the outside edges. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for 6 minutes; then rotate the pan in the oven and bake until the biscuits are light golden brown, another 4 to 8 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and brush them with melted butter. Serve warm.

Makes about 8 to 12 biscuits, depending on how big you cut them.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

for the strawberry vinegar:

strawberries (don’t use too many at a time or this will take forever)
enough distilled white vinegar to cover them
equal amounts of sugar and water

for the salad:

1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon strawberry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups spinach
toasted pecans to taste
feta cheese to taste

Instructions:

The day before you want to eat your salad (or any time up to a year before!) start the vinegar.

Place the berries in a non-aluminum pan. (A porcelain dish is great.) Cover them with the vinegar, and leave them to soak, covered, overnight. If you forget them for a day and wait 2 nights, they will still be fine.

The next day (or the day after that), gently strain the juice through cheesecloth. You may squeeze the berries a little, but don’t overdo; letting the juice drip out on its own is best.

Measure the juice. Then measure a little under 1-1/2 times as much sugar and water as juice (i.e., if you have a cup of juice, use just under 1-1/2 cups of sugar and 1-1/2 cups of water) into a saucepan.

Cook the sugar/water mixture until it threads. Measure the resultant sugar syrup. Add an equal quantity of berry juice to it, and boil the mixture for 10 minutes. Strain this boiled vinegar through cheesecloth, and decant it into sterlized bottles. Cork or cover. Stored in the dark, strawberry vinegar should keep its color and flavor for up to a year.

When you are ready to start your salad, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating toss the rhubarb and sugar together in a bowl, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place the sugared rhubarb pieces on it. Bake until the rhubarb just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the rhubarb from the oven and set it aside.

In a small bowl or jar combine the vinegar, salt and pepper and oil.

Place the spinach in a salad bowl. Add the rhubarb, the pecans, and the feta; then remix the salad dressing and toss it over the salad. Serves 4 as a side salad.

And now the videos!

Two-Ingredient Biscuits

Strawberry-Rhubarb Spinach Salad

The Food of Love

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Love-Walked-Inweb

My most recent television appearance was devoted to encouraging viewers to come to my concert this coming Saturday. Alice Parker and I (known near and far—mostly near—as the Divas of Hawley, Massachusetts) will star in LOVE WALKED IN, an evening of classic love songs by such songwriters as the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Burt Bacharach, and Alice herself.

If you’re in Western Massachusetts this weekend, I urge you to join us on July 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Federated Church on Route 2 in Charlemont. Donations at the door will go to the Rose Anna Dixwell Fund, which helps fund music lessons for local children.

I firmly believe that all children—and all adults, for that matter!—should make music whenever possible so I’m proud to be associated with this endeavor.

The evening will be fun, with lots of hamming it up from the resident soprano and lots of singing along. Cabot Cheese has donated nibbles for the after-concert reception, and bakers are standing by to brave the heat and make cookies, so our program should be delicious literally as well as figuratively.

To highlight the concert’s romantic theme on Mass Appeal, I prepared my idea of a romantic meal. Everyone’s ideal romantic meal is different. This one was loosely based on a meal I enjoyed when I was 19 at la Maison de Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

Van Gogh's Bedroom

Van Gogh’s Bedroom

My companions and I toured the tiny room in which Van Gogh spent his last months. We then dined downstairs in a lovely, convenient restaurant. I ordered a small steak (really, the French know how to cook steak to perfection) with a delectable salad. To complete the meal the waiter brought an ENORMOUS bowl of chocolate mousse to our table. I was in food heaven.

The company—my honorary godmother Dagny Johnson and her nephew Eric—was pretty wonderful, too. If Van Gogh had been able to enjoy such food and such company, he would probably never have committed suicide.

I couldn’t replicate the steak or salad exactly; I’m not French. So instead for my romantic meal I made my favorite flank steak, which I have described before on this blog, and a fresh salad with my neighbor Gam’s herbed buttermilk dressing. Gam’s recipe calls for dried herbs, but since I had fresh ones I used those instead. The dressing turned a fascinating shade of green.

gamdresweb

I did have a French recipe for chocolate mousse, thanks to my mother’s cordon-bleu studies. So the mousse was authentic.

I didn’t have QUITE enough time to beat the egg whites for the mousse on the air—live TV presents unique challenges—but I brought along some mousse to serve and share with everyone at the studio.

It went fast!

hugweb

Seth comforted me following the egg-white debacle.

Gam’s Herbed Buttermilk Dressing

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley (or more!)
1/2 teaspoon dried chives or lots of fresh
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or lots of fresh
1/4 teaspoon dried basil or lots of fresh
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon or lots of fresh
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus more if you like)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in the order indicated and mix well. Store in the refrigerator, and re-shake before using. Makes a little over 2 cups of dressing.

mousseweb

Taffy’s Cordon Bleu Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) sweet butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 tablespoons coffee, divided (you may use water instead or use a bit of each)
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
1/2 cup superfine sugar, divided (if you don’t have superfine sugar and don’t want to buy it, whirl regular sugar around in a food processor for a bit; that will do just fine.)
1 pinch salt

Instructions:

In the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over warm water) combine the chocolate, the butter, the vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of coffee. Cook the mixture over hot water, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the top of the hot water, and set it aside to cool.

In another heatproof bowl combine the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of coffee, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Place them over the hot water and cook, whisking vigorously, until the mixture becomes uniformly frothy and lighter in color.

Remove the yolk mixture from the top of the hot water, and whisk it for another minute or so. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Allow the resulting concoction to cool for a few minutes so that it is lukewarm to the touch. (You may begin beating the egg whites while the chocolate/yolk mixture is cooling.)

Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat them until the egg whites are foamy. Sprinkle on the remaining sugar and beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture. (It helps to add a little bit of them at first, then the rest.)

Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or bowls. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight; then serve with a little whipped cream. Serves 8.

And now the videos……


Apples Everywhere!

Monday, September 28th, 2015

apple treeweb

My neighborhood is awash in apples. No one can recall having seen an apple season like this one. (Last year we had practically NO apples!) Even my own old, pathetic apple trees have produced copious amounts of fruit.

The apples ripened early, and I have to admit that it took me a while to get around to doing anything with them. I like to eat (and cook with) apples when the weather gets cool—and so far it has remained remarkably warm.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I decided that if I didn’t use some of the fruit soon the birds and squirrels would get it all.

Of course, I have made applesauce, a staple of my fall kitchen. For my most recent television appearance on Mass Appeal I prepared a couple of additional recipes I have been longing to test.

The first was a coleslaw from my friend Chef Michael Collins. Michael is cooking up a storm at his new restaurant, a tiny, colorful place in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, called Ponte because of its proximity to the lovely Bridge of Flowers.

Michael couldn’t come with me to the TV station that day, but he gave me permission to use his recipe, which perfectly blended sweet and tart. Here I share both that recipe and my cooking video.

Enjoy apple season—and please comment below if you have found a fun new way to cook with apples. We still have a LOT of them in my neighborhood.

Michael Collins (left) with his partner Tony Palumbo at Ponte

Michael Collins (left) with his partner Tony Palumbo at Ponte

Michael’s Apple Slaw

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded cabbage (try for a fairly rough cut)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 large apple, unpeeled (any red apple), diced into chunks (if you really love apples, put in 2 of them!)
1/2 cup chopped or halved pecans (or peanuts or walnuts—whatever you have in the house), plain, toasted, or roasted
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (I like the honey)
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
1 tablespoon milk (optional; I didn’t need it)

Instructions:

A couple of hours before you want to assemble the coleslaw, place the cabbage in a colander. Toss in a tablespoon of kosher salt, and leave the mixture to drain for at least an hour, maybe 2.

Soak the cabbage in cold water to remove the salt, and drain it thoroughly.

Toss together the cabbage, the apple pieces, the nuts, and the raisins or dried cranberries.

In a bowl combine the other ingredients. Pour the resulting dressing over the cabbage/apple mixture and mix thoroughly.

Refrigerate for 1/2 hour before eating. Eat within a day to keep the apple pieces crisp. Michael likes to serve this salad on a cabbage leaf.

Serves 6.