Posts Tagged ‘Tinky on TV’

National Zucchini Day

Friday, August 11th, 2017

In some ways, I find food holidays just a tad too convenient. I have a sneaking suspicion—actually, in some cases I flat out KNOW—that many of them were organized by corporations or their minions to promote specific products. (Take that, National Oatmeal Month!)

And yet … I enjoying having an excuse to celebrate particular foods. So when I learned that Tuesday was National Zucchini Day, I roped in my friend Michael Collins of the Barrel Shop B&B to cook a little zucchini with me.

I have known Michael for 25 years or so. (Bless his heart, he says that I was just a small child when I first ventured into his former restaurant, the Green Emporium in Colrain, Massachusetts.) I have had fun over the years cooking, singing, eating, and talking with him and his partner Tony, an artist.

I hoped Michael would have a tasty, simple zucchini dish, and his stuffed zucchini didn’t disappoint. It featured a lovely combination of flavors, colors, and textures.

I celebrated the holiday with courgette chocolate cupcakes. I love the word “courgette,” the French term for “zucchini.” It sounds elegant and mysterious and helps counter the popular reputation of zucchini as overabundant and boring, a reputation to which I strongly object.

I topped my cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting. I could make a meal of these two dishes and hope you can, too!

Michael and I appeared together on Mass Appeal. Somehow the video of the cupcakes got lost on the internet, but you can see his zucchini boats by clicking on this link.

I’ll be back soon for National Eat a Peach Day…..

Michael’s Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

4 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons Asiago cheese
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
the juice of 1 lemon

Instructions:

Scoop out the centers of the zucchini. Chop the zucchini “meat” finely. Blend it with the onion, the garlic, the olive oil, the bread crumbs, the tomato paste, and the salt and pepper to make a paste.

Stuff the mixture into the zucchini shells. Cover with the cheese. Dot with the olives, and squeeze the lemon juice on top.

Bake until the zucchini boats are bubbly and brown, about 20 minutes. Serves 8 as a side dish.

Courgette Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup canola oil
7/8 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated zucchini (stem but do not pare first)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the flour and the cocoa. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Blend in the vanilla, followed by the baking soda and salt; then add the flour/cocoa mixture mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the zucchini.

Pour the batter into lined muffin cups. Bake until the cakes test done, about 25 minutes. Ice with your favorite frosting. Makes about 18 cupcakes.

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

Strawberry Salsa

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Rhubarb has just about gone by in my neck of the woods so I am in deepest mourning. Fortunately, strawberries have arrived to take my mind off my grief.

I had never made strawberry salsa before trying it this season—but I’m glad to have it in my repertoire. I love salsa, and I hate waiting for tomato season to make it! This version is easy to put together, looks spectacular, and tastes fabulous.

Naturally, I made it this week on Mass Appeal and discussed the reasons for seeking out strawberries here and now. They make the perfect Fourth of July treat in New England.

Both hosts on the show called themselves “salsa purists” (particularly Danny New, who recently arrived in our state from Florida) and were skeptical about strawberry salsa. This condiment won them over, however.

Convincing the Skeptics

The Salsa

Ingredients:

the juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups strawberries, chopped fairly small

Instructions:

In a bowl stir together the lime juice and the salt. Stir in the pepper, the onion, and the cilantro; then add the strawberries.

Refrigerate the salsa for a couple of hours for maximum flavor. Serve with tortilla chips, over chicken or fish, or with crackers and cream cheese. Makes a little over 2 cups.

And now the video:

Tinky Makes Strawberry Salsa on Mass Appeal

Saying Goodbye

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Last week I said goodbye to my friend Seth Stutman, who has been the co-host of Mass Appeal as long as I have been appearing on the show. Seth has always been a generous host, willing to make his guests look good and display their wit—and I have come to think of him as a dear friend.

“Goodbye” might be too strong a word; I hope to see Seth again in the future! I won’t be seeing him, or appearing with him, on Mass Appeal, however. He was ready for a change and has found another job in Western Massachusetts that will display his intelligence and people skills. The new folks are lucky to have him!

I will continue to appear on the show with the lively Lauren Zenzie and her new co-host, Danny New. They are very, very young—but I don’t hold that against them! I keep hoping a bit of their youth will rub off on me. I’ll miss dear Seth, however.

On his last show, three of his favorite cooks came in to prepare party food. I made the cookies below, which my friend Janice gave me when I got my Ph.D. They may look familiar; they are a version of the infamous inauthentic but delicious Neiman Marcus Chocolate-Chip Cookies.

When I noted during the segment that the recipe made complex cookies, Seth responded that I myself was a complex cookie. Really, how could one not love this boy?

After the show, the hosts, the guests, and the production people gathered to nibble and to wish Seth well. I sang him a slightly altered version of “You Made Me Love You,” because that’s how I feel about him.

I may seem a bit TOO sentimental in the video below, but I maintain that there’s nothing wrong with a little sentiment!

The Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1-1/4 cups blended oatmeal (oatmeal pulverized into a powder in your blender)
1/2 cup pecans, also pulverized (optional but good)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 ounces milk chocolate, cut into small chunks

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the baking powder and salt. Stir in the flour; then the oatmeal, pecans, and chocolate.

Shape the dough into balls—either 6 large ones or 12 medium ones. Place them on parchment- or silicone-covered cookie sheets, flatten them with your hand (they don’t really spread), and bake them until the brown nicely, at least 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes; then remove them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 6 to 12 cookies—or even more smaller ones!

And now the video….

Graduation Day Chocolate-Chip Cookies for Seth

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