First Tuesday Recipes for March

I hope I’m not speaking prematurely, but spring seems to be in the air! As I write this it’s supposed to be almost 60 degrees this afternoon and it’s beautiful and sunny out.

My thoughts are turning to spring meals. I’ve got two desserts and a decadent soup for you this month—and they feature lemons, strawberries, and asparagus. It doesn’t get much more spring-y than that!

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Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Custards

For the custards:

2 1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. whole large eggs

2 lg. egg yolks

1/8 t. salt

pepper

For the soup:

1 lg. leek, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped

1/2 c. shallot, finely chopped

1/2 t. salt

pepper

1 t. unsalted butter

2 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces

3 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 c. water

1/4 c. heavy cream

For this recipe, you’ll need 6 2-inch ramekins. If you don’t have them, you can order them from Amazon here. I have a set of them and I use them often for dips, garnishes at the table, etc.

 

Make the custards:

Butter ramekins and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cheese, cream, and milk just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour steeped cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing lightly on the cheese solids. Discard cheese solids. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add steeped cream in a thin stream, whisking until smooth. Divide among ramekins.

Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill dish with a hot water bath about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. I use a kettle to boil the water while the cream steeps so the water is hot and ready to pour into the baking dish when the ramekins go in.

Bake in center of oven for 40-45 minutes or until centers of custards are completely set. Transfer ramekins with tongs to a cooling rack and cool for five minutes. Do not cool longer than five minutes. Run a knife around the ramekin to loosen the custard, place a soup bowl over the ramekin, and invert so the custard is in the soup bowl.

While the cream steeps and the custards bake, make the soup:

Wash the chopped leeks in a bowl of cold water and drain well. Pat dry. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, shallots, salt, and pepper; cook until leeks are softened, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, broth, and water; simmer, covered, until asparagus is just tender, about 10-12 minutes. After 2-4 minutes, remove 6 asparagus tips, cut each in half, and reserve for garnish.

Use an immersion blender to purée soup or purée in batches using a blender. Transfer soup to a large bowl and wipe out saucepan. Pour soup through a sieve into the saucepan; discard any solids. Stir in cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium-low heat until hot.

Ladle soup over custards, garnish with reserved asparagus tips and extra shaved cheese, if desired. Serve hot.

 

***

Lemon Chiffon Crunch

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/3 c. light brown sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/3 c. melted butter

1 3-oz. pkg. lemon Jell-O

3/4 c. boiling water

1/2 c. sugar

Juice and peel of one lemon peel, zested and chopped

12 oz. evaporated milk

 

Combine first four ingredients; mix until crumbly. Reserve 3 T. crumb mixture; press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a buttered 9-inch square pan; chill.

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water; add sugar, lemon juice, and peel. Chill to consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Ten minutes later, pour evaporated milk into a freezer tray and freeze until ice crystals form around the edges. Turn into chilled bowl; whip until stiff. Fold whipped evaporated milk into Jell-O mixture. Spoon into pan on top of crumb layer. Sprinkle top with reserved crumbs. Chill until set.

 

***

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Crust:

3 c. flour

2 1/2 t. sugar

3/4 t. salt

2/3 c. chilled shortening, cut into pieces

1 1/4 sticks chilled butter, cut into pieces

10 T. ice water

Filling:

3 1/2 c. rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick

16 oz. strawberries, hulled and halved (for very large berries, cut into quarters)

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

Egg wash:

1 lg. egg yolk

1 t. water

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add shortening and butter and mix with a fork or pastry knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water, 1 T. at a time, until dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough into two disks and chill. When chilled, roll out disks into two circles. Place one circle into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.

Mix filling ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Spoon filling into pie crust. Roll out second disk of dough and place on top of the pie. Trim edges. Whisk egg yolk and water; brush over top of pie.

Place pie on baking sheet and cook in 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook pie for another hour and 25 minutes. Cover crust with foil if it is browning too fast.

 

Remember that readers are always invited to share recipes. Just email them to me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll put them in a future post.

Enjoy!

 

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes and a New Release!

Contrary to what the thermometer is telling us today in South Jersey, it’s still winter out there. With that in mind, I’ve got three comforting winter dishes for you this month. And in keeping with my New Year’s resolution to have more plant-based meals in 2020, the recipes I’m sharing are vegetarian.

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Barley Vegetable Soup

2 T. olive oil

1 med. onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, diced

1 stalk celery, sliced thinly

1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 c. pearled barley

1/2 t. each dried basil, oregano, and thyme

6 c. vegetable broth

1 potato (I use white, but you can use sweet), diced into bite-sized pieces

1/2 c. frozen green beans

1/2 c. canned corn

1/2 c. frozen peas

salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, barley, basil, oregano, thyme, and broth to the stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once barley is softened, add potato. Simmer for 10 more minutes, or until potato is tender. If using sweet potato, you will probably need to simmer for longer.

Add green beans, corn, and peas; stir to combine and heat for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

***

 Veggie Frittata

2 1/2 c. broccoli florets, trimmed to bite-sized pieces if necessary

1/4 c. roasted red peppers, cut into small strips and patted dry

1/4 c. artichoke hearts, chopped and patted dry

8 eggs

1/4 c. 2% milk

2 t. Dijon mustard

1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

1/2 c. grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water. Place broccoli florets in a steamer basket over the water and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover; steam 4-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain broccoli and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and cheese until blended. Add red pepper strips and artichoke hearts. Mix well.

Spray an ovenproof nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Pour egg mixture into the skillet and heat over medium-low heat until edges are set, about 5 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are set and no visible liquid eggs remain, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.

This is really good with salsa.

***

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

(I have shared a Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta before—here—but this one is different and just as good)

1 1/2 t. unflavored gelatin

1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. water

1 c. milk

1/3 c. sugar

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. whole milk Greek yogurt

honey for drizzling

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water and let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until it is dissolved. Occasionally I have to put the saucepan back on a low burner, stirring constantly, in order to dissolve the gelatin.

In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and the yogurt. Whisk in the warm milk mixture until smooth. Pour mixture into 6 (4 oz.) ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 3-4 hours. To serve, drizzle with honey.

Enjoy!

Remember, you’re invited to to submit recipes for my First Tuesday posts! Email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com.

***

And don’t forget that today is Release Day for Be My Valencrime! Click here to order your copy today! Many thanks to everyone who has already ordered the paperback and preordered the ebook! ❤

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes of 2020!

Happy New Year! Welcome to another installment of my monthly First Tuesday Recipes series. This month we’re going international. I’ve got an Eastern European comfort food, a French-inspired entrée, and a German side dish.

Let’s get cooking!

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Chicken Babka

For the dough:

1 1/4 c. flour

1/4 t. salt

1 t. baking powder

1/2 c. solid Crisco (do NOT use butter)

1 egg, beaten

3 T. milk

For the filling:

2 c. cooked chicken breast, chopped

1/2 c. chopped celery

1 T. chopped parsley

1/2 t. salt

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted and divided (do not substitute another cream soup)

chicken broth

Prepare dough: sift dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in Crisco with two knives until pieces are pea-sized. In a small bowl, combine egg and milk; add to dry ingredients. Toss with a fork until dough holds together. With floured hands, pat dough into a ball. Chill overnight.

Prepare filling: in a large bowl combine chicken, celery, parsley, salt, and 1/2 c. soup.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble: on a floured surface, roll out dough into 16″ by 17″ rectangle. Spread with filling. Roll up lengthwise. Shape roll into a ring and place in a greased 9″ pie pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden.

While babka bakes, in a small saucepan combine remaining soup and chicken broth to make a gravy. The amount of broth you use will depend on how thick you like your gravy. Simmer until heated through. Slice babka and serve with gravy.

***

Chicken Monte Cristo

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3 slices deli ham

3 slices Swiss cheese

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

Cooking spray

Cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Flatten chicken to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Sprinkle each chicken breast with black pepper. Cut each slice of ham and each slice of cheese in half. Place one piece of ham and one piece of cheese on top of each chicken breast. Roll up each breast lengthwise, tuck ends under, and secure with a toothpick.

Dip each chicken roll in egg white, then dredge in breadcrumbs.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and place the chicken on the sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Serve with cherry preserves.

***

German Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes

6 slices bacon

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 T. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 t. celery seed (key ingredient–no substitutions)

dash pepper

1 c. water

1/2 c. vinegar

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Cook potatoes until tender. Drain well and slice. Cook bacon until crisp, reserving 1/4 c. drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Cook onion in drippings until tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add water and vinegar. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes more; fold in bacon and potato slices. Heat through, tossing lightly. Add egg slices; toss lightly just to mix.

Enjoy!

As always, if you have a recipe you’d like to share, please email me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to include it in a future post!

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for December

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am shocked that December is here already. Time goes so fast as the year comes to an end.

Today I’ve got three recipes that I’ve had recently. I went heavy on the savory this month because I figured the last thing you need in December is another dessert recipe. The first recipe is intended as a side dish, but we had larger helpings and made an entire meal out of it. It’s really up to you. The second recipe came from my mother-in-law and is an easy and tasty side dish. And the third recipe, from my dad, is one for the slow cooker, great for busy December days.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Ham and Citrus Aioli

1 ham slice (these are generally larger than ham steaks from the grocery store, but ham steak works, too), cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1 1/2 T. olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar (I use Black Mission fig flavor, but any variety will do)

1 clove garlic, halved

1/4 c. plus 1 T. mayonnaise

1 t. Dijon mustard

1 t. orange zest

1 t. orange juice

1/2 t. lemon zest

1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss ham and Brussels sprouts with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread sprouts and ham on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, heat Balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. You should have a slightly thickened reduction.

On a cutting board, smash garlic halves with the side of a knife. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (about 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon) and continue smashing garlic to make a paste. Place paste and the remaining ingredients (mayonnaise through lemon juice) in a small bowl. Whisk vigorously and set aside.

When sprouts and ham are done, drizzle with Balsamic reduction and dollop with aioli. Serve immediately.

 

***

Corn Pudding

1 can (14 oz.) corn, undrained

1 can (14 oz.) creamed corn

1 stick butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c. sour cream

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a greased 9×9″ baking dish and put it in the oven until the butter is melted. Remove the dish from the oven and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and bake for one hour.

***

 Tomato-Ground Beef Soup

1 lb. ground beef, crumbled

1/4 t. each pepper, oregano, and basil (I usually use at least 1/2 t. of each of these)

1 med. onion, chopped

3 c. beef broth

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 T. soy sauce

1 c. each sliced carrots and sliced celery

macaroni, cooked according to package directions

grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cook 8-10 hours on low heat. Season with salt as desired. Serve hot over cooked macaroni and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

***

Enjoy!

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? You know what to do–let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes for September

photo courtesy of stanbalik, pixabay

This year is just flying by! The summer has been busy and the fall promises to be even busier. I’ve got a few recipes for you this month that are good for that transition from summer to fall: filling, but not heavy. There’s a dish that’s great to take to potlucks or get-togethers, a quick meal that’s cooked on the grill, and an easy, cool dessert.

***

UFO

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 c. sour cream

onion powder

1 jar salsa, divided

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 large tomato, diced

1 can black olives, sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

tortilla chips

Cream together cream cheese and sour cream. Spread evenly over 12-inch pizza platter. Sprinkle generously with onion powder. Layer the following ingredients in order:

3/4 jar salsa

1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

scallions

tomato

black olives

green pepper

remaining cheese

dots of remaining salsa

Chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.

***

Fig and Your-Choice-of-Cheese Pizza

4 mini flatbreads (I buy the mini naan at the grocery store)

olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 c. grated mozzarella cheese

1 c. crumbled bleu or goat cheese (or any other kind of cheese you prefer–Asiago is good, too)

8 figs, sliced into sixths

salt and pepper to taste

handful arugula

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

Heat vinegar in saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until vinegar is thickened and reduced by half. Remove from stove and set aside.

Preheat grill to high. Brush tops and bottoms of flatbread with olive oil. Place flatbreads, top side down, on the grill for about two minutes, long enough to get grill marks. Remove flatbreads from grill.

Rub tops of flatbreads with garlic, then discard garlic. Sprinkle flatbreads with cheese and figs, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to grill, bottom sides down. Cook for another two to three minutes, until cheese is melted, and remove from grill. Sprinkle with arugula and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

A variation of fig pizza. I used chopped walnuts instead of arugula. Yum!

***

Chocolate/Pistachio/Lemon Lush (recipe courtesy of my dad)

1 stick butter, melted

1 c. flour

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. powdered sugar

Large container whipped topping, divided

2 packages instant pudding, your choice of either chocolate, pistachio, or lemon

3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, flour, and chopped walnuts in a medium bowl. Mix well and press into bottom of 13 x 9″ pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In another medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and one-half whipped topping until fluffy. Spread over cooled crust.

In another bowl, mix pudding and milk for two minutes. Spread over creamy layer.

Cover top with remaining whipped topping and chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes for August

The summer is flying by! In my neck of the woods, this is the best time of year for sweet corn, watermelon, peaches, and of course, tomatoes straight from the garden. I love all the fresh produce that’s available in the summertime. It makes for healthy eating this time of year. Today I’ve got three great recipes for you!

***

The first one comes from reader Darlene Foster, who tells me that this is a delicious and easy dish that she often shares at barbeques and  potlucks. I can’t wait to try it. She found this Arabian Gulf recipe from Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum.

Rice Flavored with Cardamom

4 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups slivered almonds

1 cup rice, rinsed

1/4 cup raisins or chopped dates

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

 

Melt butter in a frying pan and sauté almonds until they begin to brown

Add rice and stir fry for another 3 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients, except parsley, and bring to a boil

Cover and cook over medium low heat for 25 minutes

Turn off heat and allow to steam for 30 minutes

Stir, place on serving platter and garnish with parsley

Serves 6

***

Watermelon Ice

1/3 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

1 3-pound piece chilled watermelon

1 T. fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan, sinner water with sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer syrup to a bowl set in a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water. Stir syrup until cold. Discard rind from watermelon and cut fruit into 1-inch chunks.

Place watermelon, syrup, and lemon juice in a blender and purée. Pour from blender into a fine sieve over a 9-inch square baking pan. Press hard on the solids, then discard remaining solids.

Cover mixture and freeze until frozen, 6-8 hours, and up to 2 days.

Just before serving, scrape watermelon with a fork to break up crystals and lighten the texture. Serves 6.

***

Zucchini and Tomato Sauté

1/2 t. olive oil

1 c. chopped onion

1 lb. zucchini, sliced about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper

2 c. cherry tomatoes

1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

2 t. chopped fresh dill

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add zucchini and salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minute. Add tomatoes and sauté for 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and dill. Serves 4.

***

Many thanks to Darlene for submitting her recipe this month! Please remember that I love to include recipes from readers, so just drop me a note and I’ll put your recipe(s) in a post.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for July

The dog days of summer are officially here!

This is normally the time of year for grilling and no-cook dishes, but I invented a sandwich that I want to share with you. It requires actual cooking, but it’s delicious.

Sausage Sandwich Divine

4 long hot peppers

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds

2 large red peppers, seeded and sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 small can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 6-oz. can tomato sauce

4 torpedo-style rolls

8 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover lipped baking sheet with foil. Place long hots on the foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, cover bottom of pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add sausage, red peppers, and onion. Cook until sausage and vegetables are cooked through, stirring often.

Preheat the broiler.

Slice long hots lengthwise and crosswise, then add them to the sausage mixture along with the mushrooms and about half the can of sauce (save the rest of the sauce for another use, or use more of it with the sandwiches, if you’d like).

Cook mixture until heated through.

While the mixture is cooking, split the rolls and place them under the broiler for a couple minutes, until they’re just turning golden. Watch the rolls carefully!

When the rolls are lightly golden, remove them from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, place about 1/4 of the sausage mixture down each roll. Cover mixture with two slices of Provolone and put the sandwiches, open-faced, under the broiler. Broil for just a minute or two, or until the cheese has melted. Serve hot.

***

Here’s a nice, cool one that’s good to take to July 4th and other summer parties and potlucks. This salad goes by lots of names and it’s pretty popular.

Carolyn’s Salad

1 box pistachio instant pudding

2 8-oz. cans crushed pineapple, undrained

1 8-oz. container whipped topping (I use Cool Whip)

8 oz. cottage cheese

1 c. miniature marshmallows

Combine pudding mix and pineapple in a medium bowl. Stir until well blended.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until well blended. Add pistachio mixture to whipped topping mixture and stir until everything is blended. Place in a 13×9″ pan and chill.

***

And another cool salad for hot summer days. Pair this with grilled chicken or other light main course.

Almond-Raspberry Salad

8 c. Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 c. fresh raspberries

1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted

1/2 c. seedless raspberry jam

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. honey

2 T. plus 2 t. canola oil

In a large salad bowl, gently toss the lettuce, raspberries, and almonds. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients; process until smooth.

Pour over salad and toss gently until coated; alternatively, serve salad and pass dressing.

***

Enjoy!

I’m always looking for recipes from other people. If you care to share a favorite recipe, send it along and I’ll put it in a post.

Until next time,

Amy