Category Archives: Recipes

Salad Recipes To Chase Away the Winter Blahs

By Laura B. Weiss

Just because fresh greens and veggies aren’t’ readily available in the winter months is no reason to stop eating salad. Try some of these easy winter salad recipes from my latest NPR post, including this one for an updated version of that classic, the Waldorf Salad.

Not Your Aunt Zelda’s Waldorf Salad

I updated this classic recipe for “Apple, Celery and Nut Salad (Waldorf)” from The Settlement Cookbook, compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander (25th Edition, 1943). You may certainly opt for making the traditional dish, but I prefer the lighter, half-yogurt dressing and the additional adornments of beans and cumin.

Laura B. Weiss for NPR

 

Makes 4 servings

1 cup celery or two large stalks, cut lengthwise into pieces.

2 apples, cored and sliced (peeled or unpeeled)

1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup walnut meats, broken into pieces

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch cayenne

Fresh ground pepper

Arugula

Mix together the celery, apple, garbanzo beans and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise and yogurt, then add the lemon juice, cumin, salt, cayenne and black pepper and mix well. Gently fold the dressing into the celery mixture. Spoon onto a bed of arugula. Serve chilled.

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Cooking with Corn on NPR’s Kitchen Window

by Laura B. Weiss

I’ve just started writing food and recipe posts for NPR’s Kitchen Window blog. You’ll find lots of great recipes there, plus some terrific food writing. For my first post, I decided to write about corn. No, not that perennial all-American favorite, corn on the cob, but cooking with corn off the cob. In fact, as you’ll see when you read the post, I’m not exactly a corn on the cob hater, but I do think there are much better ways to consume what’s arguably America’s favorite grain. Click here to read: Making the Case for Corn Off the Cob.

Photo: Laura B. Weiss

extra corn chowder2

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Cookbook Review and Recipe: Tomatoes by Miriam Rubin

tomato cover big

Laura B. Weiss

It’s almost tomato season and I’m already planning to make some of my favorite recipes with the luscious summer fruit. Frankly, the one I love best is no recipe at all. Take one just-picked exquisitely ripe tomato from the local farmstand. Bring home. Rinse off. Lean over sink. Chomp into it. Accompany with plenty of napkins. Now you have one of the great eating treats of any season!

But there are times when I want to take the tomato one step further. And now I have the perfect cookbook for those endeavors—Tomatoes (UNC Press 2013) by author and food writer Miriam Rubin. One of the great pleasures of this compact cookbook is that Rubin, who’s from rural Southwestern, PA, is a lively and inventive writer. She starts out by taking you on a journey through the history of tomatoes. It turns out that the fruit hasn’t always been beloved. Though in the Bible tomatoes were dubbed “love apples,” the Greeks labeled them “mala insana,” or unhealthy fruit.

In Tomatoes, there are recipes for every conceivable use for fresh, store-bought and canned tomatoes. There are preparations for Bloody Marys, for a savory tomato pie, and even for a spiced tomato crumb cake. The other night, I prepared Baked-Garlic Cheese Grits with Tomato Crunch Topping and my family swooned. Among the  other recipes in Tomatoes that I can’t wait to try are Very Classy Cream of Tomato Soup and Crispy-Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans and Parmesan (See recipe below).

 

Courtesy of University of North Carolina Press.

Photo: Miriam Rubin

Because Tomatoes is part of the UNC Press Savor the South® Series—other titles include Biscuits, Peaches and Pecans—Rubin examines tomatoes through the lens of southern culinary traditions.

So what makes a tomato southern?

“A tomato absolutely becomes southern when it’s sliced thick, salted well, given a righteous slathering of Duke’s [mayonnaise], slapped between two slices of floppy white bread, and eaten over the kitchen sink,” she explains in the book’s Introduction. Tomatoes are also southern when they’re stewed, fried or made into a conserve.

Rubin points out that tomatoes aren’t just for summertime. The sorry cardboard supermarket tomato of yore has been replaced by several varieties of tasty tomatoes (some organic) that are now available at local supermarkets year-round. Plus, canned tomatoes work just fine in many recipes, she says.

 

Crispy-Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans and Parmesan

From TOMATOES: a Savor the South® cookbook by Miriam Rubin. Copyright © 2013 by Miriam Rubin.  Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu

These are gorgeous nestled alongside a grilled or baked fish or a juicy steak or as the star of a vegetable plate. Medium- sized round tomatoes or large Romas work best, but cut Romas lengthwise in half instead of crosswise. Good- quality supermarket tomatoes work nicely because baking intensifies their flavor. Don’t be tempted to use store- bought dry bread crumbs here. Making fresh ones is so simple: Tear the bread into rough 2- inch pieces and buzz it in the food processor.

Makes 8 side dish servings

  • 8 medium, firm- but- ripe tomatoes, such as Arkansas Traveler or Rutgers, or large Roma tomatoes (about 2 1⁄2 pounds), halved crosswise
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 cups fresh bread crumbs (from about 3 slices crusty country-style bread)
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄3 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Arrange the tomatoes cut- side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Mix 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper in a cup; sprinkle over the tomatoes.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Brush a little butter over the cut side of each tomato, leaving some in the skillet. Bake the tomatoes, uncovered, until they are hot, begin to soften, and look juicy on top, 20–25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the scallions and garlic to the butter remaining in the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the scallions are tender, about 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until lightly golden and crisp, 3–5 minutes.

Scrape into a medium bowl. Mix in the Parmesan, pecans, and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt.

Spoon some of the crumb mixture atop each tomato half. Bake until the crumbs are browned and heated, 10–12 more minutes. Serve hot.

 

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Ice Cream Sandwich Cookbook Gets Summer Off to A Frosty Start

ice cream sandwich pic Muy Yum

Photo: Muy Yum via Flickr.

By Laura B. Weiss

Of all the ice cream treats out there, ice cream sandwiches are my favorite. I only touched on them in my book, Ice Cream: A Global History, but Jennie Schacht the Bay Area cookbook author, gives the iconic treat its due in her new book, I Scream Sandwich!.

ice cream sandwich

Lavishly (and deliciously) illustrated with color photos, Ice Cream Sandwich! is chock full of recipes I can’t wait to try. Two that top my list are the Better-Than-It, patterned after the San Francisco-based It’s-It company’s classic ice cream sandwich. In Schacht’s rendition, that means two oatmeal cookies dipped in chocolate, sandwiching vanilla bean frozen custard. The other is Good ‘n Nutty, toasted almond ice cream on Almond wafers. It just so happens that the Good Humor toasted almond bar was one of my childhood favorites.

For those with fear of ice-cream making, Schacht suggests that in many recipes you can substitute store-bought brands for making your own. Plus, her reassuring tone (you can’t mess these up!) and copious step-by-step instructions mean even the baking-averse can try these recipes.

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