About the book

Black-Eyed Peas and Swiss Chard
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and White Cannellini Beans
Braised Kale with Red Peppers
Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Sage

Black-Eyed Peas and Swiss Chard

1 cup black-eyed peas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Wash the Swiss chard, trim away tough stems, and chop the leaves into bite-size pieces.

Rinse the black-eyed peas and set them aside. Boil water in a medium-size sauce pan. Add the black -eyed peas and boil for 2 minutes.

Strain the peas and discard this water, which will be black.

Return the peas to the pan; add enough water to cover the peas by at least 2 inches. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35–40 minutes until peas are tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped onions until soft, then stir in the minced garlic. Stir and cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes until they brown a bit. Add the Swiss chard and cook for just a few minutes until it is wilted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the lemon zest and stir gently. Combine onion and Swiss chard mixture with black-eyed peas, and add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish may be served warmed or at room temperature. Serve with extra lemon juice or vinegar on table as condiments.

Serves 6
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Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and White Cannellini Beans

1 large bunch of broccoli rabe
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can of white cannellini beans, strained and liquid discarded
Red-pepper flakes
Sea salt
Asiago cheese, grated

Prepare the broccoli rabe by washing it thoroughly and cutting away the thick stems. Chop the leaves and the thin stems into small pieces and dry in a salad spinner. It is important to dry the broccoli rabe as much as possible to minimize splattering when it hits the hot oil.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and gently sauté the minced garlic until it becomes light brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic because it will create a bitter flavor. Add half the broccoli rabe to the sauté pan and stir. Cook until the greens wilt a bit and shrink, creating space for the remainder of the broccoli rabe to be added to the pan. Add the second half of broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has turned a uniform bright-green color and is wilted.

Add the strained cannellini beans and stir to combine. Sprinkle with red-pepper flakes and salt to taste.

Turn off the heat and place the Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and White Cannellini Beans in a serving dish.

Sprinkled with grated Asiago cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4–6
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Braised Kale with Red Peppers

1 large bowl of kale leaves (approximately 8 cups when chopped)
2 red bell peppers
1 large clove garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup red wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Wash the kale and rough chop the leaves, discarding any thick stems. Set aside.

Core and slice the red peppers into 1-inch-wide strips. Peel the clove of garlic and slice it thinly. Put the strips of red peppers, chopped kale, and slices of garlic in a medium-size roasting pan and stir to combine. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook uncovered in the oven stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Pour the red wine over the vegetables and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes until the peppers are soft and the greens are very wilted and browned on the edges.

Serve warm from the oven.

Serves 4–6 as a side dish
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Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Sage

18 medium-size carrots
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
2 6-inch stems of fresh rosemary
10 fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the carrots and trim their ends. Discard the ends. Unless they are very thin, slice carrots lengthwise. Very thin carrots can be roasted whole. They should be of uniform size.

Place the carrots on a heavy baking sheet and pour the olive oil over them. Using your hands, rub the oil onto all sides of the carrots to coat them thoroughly.

On a cutting board, use a knife to scrape the rosemary leaves from the stems. Discard the stems and chop the leaves to release the flavor. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary leaves over the carrots.

Wash and dry the sage leaves. Remove any long stems and discard them. Stack the leaves and roll them into a thin tube. Chiffonade the leaves by chopping finely from one end of the tube to the other. Sprinkle the sage "ribbons" over the carrots evenly.

Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and roast the carrots for 50 minutes to 1 hour, turning once at 25–30 minutes. Roasting time will vary depending on the thickness of the carrots.

Carrots are best when they are browned on all sides and soft.

Remove the roasted carrots from the oven and sprinkle with salt.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4–6 as a side dish
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Seared Shrimp with Red-Pepper Flakes and Basil
Sage and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Spiced Berry Soup
Honey Frozen Yogurt

Seared Shrimp with Red-Pepper Flakes and Basil

1 pound fresh shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil
3–4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
3–4 whole basil leaves for garnish
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

Peel and devein shrimp, leave the tails on. The tails prevent the shrimp from curling during cooking, allowing them to become "finger food" for a buffet. Dry the shrimp on towels before cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, reducing the heat to medium-high if the oil begins to smoke. Place shrimp in one layer in pan and turn it as soon as the underside looks pink. Turn and cook the second side and remove immediately from the pan. This should take only seconds per side. Continue the process until all shrimp is cooked. Set cooked shrimp aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the minced garlic to the pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes, until garlic is golden brown, but not burned. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and turn the heat back up to high. Add the shrimp, red-pepper flakes, and chopped basil and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated (just a minute or two).

Remove the shrimp to a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon juice and zest. Garnish with whole basil leaves.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Serves 6 as an appetizer
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Sage and Thyme Roasted Chicken

1 free-range whole chicken (approximately 3 pounds)
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
3 whole sage leaves for garnish
3 4-inch sprigs of thyme for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry with a clean towel. Remove any excess skin or fat from the cavity and discard. Place the chicken in a roasting pan large enough to hold it with a few inches of vegetables all around it.

Pour about half the olive oil on the chicken and rub it all over to coat the skin.

Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper inside the cavity and all over the outside.

Combine the finely chopped fresh herbs in a medium-size bowl. Spoon about half the herbs into the chicken cavity. Spread the remainder of the herbs over the outside of the chicken and press them gently onto the oiled skin to make an even coating all over the chicken.

Sprinkle about half the white wine over the chicken and pour the remainder into the pan.

Place the parsnip and carrot pieces in the pan all around the chicken. Pour the remainder of the olive oil over them and stir to coat them with the oil and wine from the bottom of the pan. Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and bake for 1–1 1/4 hours. The skin of the chicken should be a deep golden brown all over. Juices from the chicken should be clear.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before transferring the chicken to a platter. Spoon the vegetables around the chicken and garnish the chicken with a few whole sage leaves and sprigs of thyme. Sage and Thyme Roasted Chicken makes a beautiful presentation, and its fragrance is herbal and wonderful.

You can make this dish a couple of hours ahead of time and just heat it in a warm oven (250 degrees) for about 20 minutes before serving, which actually enhances the herb flavors.

Serves 6
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Spiced Berry Soup

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups grape juice

Wash the berries and set aside.

Puree 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries and 1 1/2 cups of the raspberries in a food processor with the brown sugar, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon.

Transfer the puree to a medium-size pot and add the orange juice and grape juice. Start cooking the Spiced Berry Soup over medium-high heat, stirring until the soup just begins to boil. Then lower the heat and simmer while stirring for about 3–5 minutes to blend the flavors and reduce the contents slightly. Remove the pot from the heat, pour the soup through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and refrigerate the soup so it is well chilled before serving.

Slice the remaining strawberries and add them and the whole raspberries to the chilled soup.

Serve Spiced Berry Soup with a small scoop of Honey Frozen Yogurt.

Serves 8
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Honey Frozen Yogurt

2 cups plain Greek-style thick yogurt (nonfat works fine)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup buttermilk (skim or low fat works well)

In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey, and buttermilk until all the ingredients are well blended and smooth. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it is very cold and then transfer it to an ice-cream maker. Process until the mixture thickens, approximately 25–30 minutes. Transfer it to a flat airtight container and freeze to firm.

Five to ten minutes before serving, take the Honey Frozen Yogurt from the freezer and let it sit on the counter to soften a bit.

Serves 8
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