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A Classic Vinaigrette
Mar 12th, 2015 by

This salad dressing recipe is so easy and delicious, I stopped using store-bought dressings years ago. It takes less than five minutes to make. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil. Here’s where you use extra-virgin olive oil if you have it. About half a cup.
  • Vinegar. Balsamic or red wine vinegar can be used depending on what you feel like. A little more than an ounce. (Remember: a good ratio for vinaigrettes is about 3 parts oil to one part vinegar. Adjust to your liking.)
  • Garlic, one large clove.
  • Salt, preferably Kosher salt. About 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
  • Dijon mustard, about 1/2 teaspoon.

Procedure:

Put garlic in a bowl with the salt. Take a heavy fork and mash it good until it becomes a paste.

Add the olive oil and then the vinegar.

Add the mustard and whisk.

Pour it on your favorite salad and mix it up.

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A Gift: Smothered Escarole (Scarola Affogata)
Feb 11th, 2010 by

This side dish marries well with drier foods, such as roasts and fried chicken.

This side dish marries well with drier foods, such as roasts and fried chicken.

I came home the other day and found a plastic bag filled with four heads of escarole tied to my back fence. There was no note: just the mystery lettuce left hanging there.

I didn’t bring it in right away. After all, I live in the city and who knows what crazy person with questionable hygiene might have left it there.

But soon the mystery was solved as I checked my answering machine. My neighbor, Nina (known as “Mama Nina” to her grandchildren), left a message saying her cousin brought her a box of escarole and she didn’t know what to do with all. She suggested I could use it in a variety of dishes, including a fine escarole soup.

Instead I headed to my cookbooks and found one for “Smothered Escarole,” in “La Cucina Di Lidia, Recipes and Memories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast” by Lidia Bastianich and Jay Jacobs. It sounded good, was simple, and she suggested it be served with drier foods such as roast beef or fried chicken.

It went well with the roast beef I made last night for dinner. It tasted a little bitter, a little savory sweet.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Escarole (1 pound, about 2 medium heads)
  • Garlic (About 6 cloves, crushed)
  • Olive oil (About 3 tbsp.)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Hot red pepper flakes ( 1/4 tsp.)
  • Fresh black pepper (About 4 twists of the mill)
  • Bacon or sausage, cooked. (Optional; I used about 1/4 pound of bacon I had leftover in my refrigerator)

What I did:

Remove the outer leaves of escarole if damaged or discolored (Nina’s escarole was fresh and beautiful, without discoloration or wilted leaves). Cut off the bases and wash the leaves twice in abundant cold water and then drain.

In a large pot, saute the garlic in oil until golden, but not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook over moderate heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Discard the garlic and serve immediately.

(Note: Lidia writes that when she was a child, she would often eat this as a sandwich between two slices of thick Italian bread. And if you pack it for lunch, it tastes even better as the bread absorbs some of the vegetable juices.)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.

Best Super Bowl Appetizer: AI (Asian-Italian) Chicken Wings
Feb 4th, 2010 by

If you like your chicken wings on the sweet side, you can add a little brown sugar too.

If you like your chicken wings on the sweet side, you can add a little brown sugar too.

This is the killer app for Super Bowl Sunday.

I’m not sure how or when it happened but the most popular appetizer for Super Bowl Sunday is chicken wings. Hot and spicy, barbecue, or sweet with honey mustard are the usual favorites. But here’s something different and guaranteed to be addictive.

There are many similarities between Asian cooking and Italian cooking and this recipe, which is based on a recipe my mother used, blends the two cultures’ spices perfectly. I’ve doctored it up a bit over the years. They’re easy to make and this recipe can be expanded to feed any size crowd. (Note: I eyeball everything, so don’t worry about exact measurements.)

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Chicken Wings (About 20)
  • Soy Sauce (Buy a premium brand, such as Kikkoman; About a cup. Don’t spare the soy sauce.)
  • Garlic (About 5-6 cloves, sliced thin)
  • Ginger (If fresh, about 1 inch, peeled and sliced thin; If ground powder, about 3-4 tbsp.)
  • Dried Basil (About 1 tbsp.)
  • Dried Oregano (About 1 tbsp.)
  • Tabasco Sauce (About 5 drops; you can add more or less according to how hot you like it. I find, 5 drops to be on the mild side.)
  • Sesame Seed Oil (About 1 tsp.; This is the killer ingredient and you don’t need much to add much flavor.)
  • Black Pepper (1/4 tsp.)
  • Olive oil (just enough to grease a cookie sheet)

What I did:

Put wings in a bowl you can seal tight.

Add all ingredients in order that they appear above. Make sure to sprinkle the soy sauce over all of the wings.

Put cover on bowl and shake it good for 30 seconds or so.

Let it rest in the refrigerator. Overnight is best to let the marinade seep in. However, I’ve made them without resting them at all. Simply by shaking the bowl and then putting them in the oven and they’ve come out good and tasty. Shake it a few times during the resting time.

Give it one last shake before spreading wings onto a cookie sheet, greased with a little olive oil. (You may want to line cookie sheet with aluminum foil greased with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.)

Cook in a 350 degree oven for about one hour (turn over after 30 minutes, cook another 30 minutes, and then serve).

These can be made ahead of time, as they’re good hot or cold.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

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