Tag Archives: Lighter & Vegetarian Entrees

Plan to Entertain: The Holiday Season

If you are a regular here, you know that I have a mission to increase home entertaining nationally by 10%. Really. If you are new to my blog, now you know about my mission. Cynics kid me about the 10%. They ask, “Why 10%?” or, with a touch of sarcasm, “How will you know you have accomplished your mission?” My response is that I believe in setting expansive goals. President Obama would call them audacious. Ten percent is a nice round number and actually not so difficult to accomplish. If you normally entertain friends and family in your home once a year and I encourage and inspire you to do it twice a year, that’s a 100% increase in your home entertaining. So, help out! Entertain at home.

Make My Holiday Party Recipe Your Holiday Party Recipe
My recipe for holiday parties has three simple steps.
1. Invite people you love and enjoy being with. (Forget pay back and obligation.)
2. Think about having The Good Enough Holiday Party. Don’t set the bar unrealistically high for yourself. Over-reaching rarely has a happy ending. Either you end up saying, “No, that’s too hard” and skip home entertaining altogether. Or, you try something that’s way beyond your resources — psychic, time and/or money — and at your party’s end you are resentful and swear off future entertaining at home.
3. Whatever you do, spend the upfront time to plan and spread out your tasks over at least one week so you get your one relaxed hour before guests arrive. Plan to entertain this holiday season. Better. Easier.

Hanukkah’s Coming
Hanukkah begins Friday evening, December 11th and runs through Saturday evening, December 19th. That gives you two weekend windows to entertain friends and family with latkes. Plan ahead! If you make applesauce this weekend it will hold in your refrigerator up through that last candle in the menorah. Visit your local farm stand or farmer’s market if you can for a mix of fresh sweet and tart apples for your applesauce. (The Reading Terminal — where I am spending weekends with At Home — is loaded with varieties of local apples. Shop, visit and get a signed book…or two or three.) Latkes may be made in advance and frozen.

Traditional Potato Latkes & Applesauce
(from At Home by Steve Poses)
It’s a shame that potato pancakes tend to be made only for Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that comes in December. The Hanukkah story celebrates the miracle of oil—there was reportedly just enough to burn one day in the temple, but it lasted for eight days. The fact that potato pancakes require prodigious amounts of oil to fry is surely a coincidence. The key to making them crispy is to squeeze out excess water from the grated onion and potato. Make the applesauce first so it’s ready for your hot latkes. The recipe will yield more than you will likely need for the latkes.

do ahead Applesauce may be made up to two weeks ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Latkes may be made up to three days ahead and stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator or frozen up to a month. Reheat in a 350° oven for 7-10 minutes, turning them over midway through.

Applesauce
1 cup apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
21⁄2 pounds apples (for best results, use a mix of sweet and tart)
sugar to taste

Latkes
1 pound onion, peeled
11⁄2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
vegetable oil

1 Make the applesauce: In a large pot, add apple cider and cinnamon sticks and simmer slowly for 10 minutes, taking care not to boil the cider away.

2 Leaving skin on, core apples and cut them into chunks.
3 Add apples and sugar to pot. Increase heat to high and cover. After about 5 minutes, stir apples to move the top apples down into the liquid. Continue cooking until apples are soft and falling apart, about 10-15 minutes more.
4 Remove cinnamon sticks and reserve. Using a food mill or food processor, puree apples to desired texture. Add back cinnamon sticks to sauce. Chill. (Just be sure to remove cinnamon sticks before serving.)

5 Make the latkes: On the largest holes of a box grater, grate onion and potatoes. The large-holed grating disk on the food processor does a fine job too. Turn the mixture onto several layers of cheesecloth or an open kitchen towel. Gather the corners and squeeze the water from the mixture.
6 Combine eggs, flour, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add onions and potatoes and mix well.
7 Preheat oven to 200°. Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels and have another unlined baking sheet ready. Heat 1⁄2 cup oil in a sauté pan over moderately high heat until very hot but not smoking. Fill a 1⁄3 cup measure with the potato mixture. Drop it into the sauté pan and push it down with the flat side of the measuring cup so you have a pancake about 3 inches in diameter and 1⁄4-inch thick. Cook pancakes until brown and crisp on one side, about 2-3 minutes, and flip, taking care not to splatter the oil. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes more. Add more oil as needed, making sure to get the oil hot before adding the pancake mixture. Adjust heat as needed so that the pancakes brown as they cook through without burning. As you get to the bottom of the mix it will be watery, so be sure to give it a stir. Transfer cooked pancakes to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Pat the top of the pancakes with another double layer of paper towels. Cook remaining batter in batches until all the pancakes are cooked, transferring cooked and drained pancakes to the unlined baking sheet.
8 Keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.
yields 2 quarts applesauce and 1 dozen 3-inch pancakes

Additional note about making latkes in advance: Make sure latkes get cooked through if you are making your latkes in advance. Uncooked potato will discolor. To make sure latkes are cooked through, make sure you cook over moderate heat so that the inside gets cooked before the outside gets over-cooked.

Thursday’s Daily News — A Dinner Party a la Poses
To tell the story of At Home, Daily News writer Beth D’Addono created a mini reality show by recruiting a willing, but mildly entertaining-phobic Cara Schneider to work with me. Together we designed a plan for a small dinner party. Over the next several weeks I was Cara’s coach. I could not have wanted a better student. I confess to being a bit nervous at the outset. Would these principles to make home entertaining better and easier work in real time and real life? Read the article to find out or watch the video.

Buy the Book — Live and In-Person
At Home by Steve Poses is not available in bookstores, but only online or “live and in-person.” Please stop by one of these places. I would love to inscribe a book to you and everyone on your holiday list who loves or aspires to entertain more — better and easier.

The Reading Terminal Market on Weekends
I will be at Reading Terminal Market weekends between now and the end of the year. Look for At Home’s table in Center Court across from Meze on Saturday’s and near Spataro’s Cheesesteaks — across from the pig — on Sundays.

Beth Cooper’s Coopermarket on Monday, December 14th
Beth opened Coopermarket in 1995 and since that time Coopermarket has been an everyday and special event Main Line source for wonderful prepared foods and catering. Beth’s first restaurant job was at The Commissary and she also cooked for me at the 16th Street Bar & Grill. Sara, Beth’s key assistant, worked for me at The Market of The Commissary where she single-handedly introduced Philadelphians to fine cheeses long before fine cheese became a food store staple. I will be visiting with Beth and Sara and signing At Home on Monday, December 14th from 3 to 6 PM.
Coopermarket is at 302 Levering Mill Road in Bala Cynwyd.

Weaver’s Way on Saturday, December 19th
I will be at Weaver’s Way in Mt. Airy on Saturday, December 19th from 11 AM to 2 PM. Weaver’s Way General Manager Glen Bergman is an old friend and former General Manager of The Commissary. Weaver’s Way’s Mt. Airy is located on 559 Carpenter Lane.

Thanks for visiting.

Steve

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Traditional Potato Latkes & Applesauce Recipe

It’s a shame that potato pancakes tend to be made only for Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that comes in December. The Hanukkah story celebrates the miracle of oil—there was reportedly just enough to burn one day in the temple, but it lasted for eight days. The fact that potato pancakes require prodigious amounts of oil to fry is surely a coincidence. The key to making them crispy is to squeeze out excess water from the grated onion and potato. Make the applesauce first so it’s ready for your hot latkes. The recipe will yield more than you will likely need for the latkes.

do ahead Applesauce may be made up to two weeks ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Latkes may be made up to three days ahead and stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator or frozen up to a month. Reheat in a 350° oven for 7-10 minutes, turning them over midway through.

Applesauce
1 cup apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
21⁄2 pounds apples (for best results, use a mix of sweet and tart)
sugar to taste

Latkes
1 pound onion, peeled
11⁄2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
vegetable oil

1 Make the applesauce: In a large pot, add apple cider and cinnamon sticks and simmer slowly for 10 minutes, taking care not to boil the cider away.

2 Leaving skin on, core apples and cut them into chunks.
3 Add apples and sugar to pot. Increase heat to high and cover. After about 5 minutes, stir apples to move the top apples down into the liquid. Continue cooking until apples are soft and falling apart, about 10-15 minutes more.
4 Remove cinnamon sticks and reserve. Using a food mill or food processor, puree apples to desired texture. Add back cinnamon sticks to sauce. Chill. (Just be sure to remove cinnamon sticks before serving.)

5 Make the latkes: On the largest holes of a box grater, grate onion and potatoes. The large-holed grating disk on the food processor does a fine job too. Turn the mixture onto several layers of cheesecloth or an open kitchen towel. Gather the corners and squeeze the water from the mixture.
6 Combine eggs, flour, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add onions and potatoes and mix well.
7 Preheat oven to 200°. Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels and have another unlined baking sheet ready. Heat 1⁄2 cup oil in a sauté pan over moderately high heat until very hot but not smoking. Fill a 1⁄3 cup measure with the potato mixture. Drop it into the sauté pan and push it down with the flat side of the measuring cup so you have a pancake about 3 inches in diameter and 1⁄4-inch thick. Cook pancakes until brown and crisp on one side, about 2-3 minutes, and flip, taking care not to splatter the oil. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes more. Add more oil as needed, making sure to get the oil hot before adding the pancake mixture. Adjust heat as needed so that the pancakes brown as they cook through without burning. As you get to the bottom of the mix it will be watery, so be sure to give it a stir. Transfer cooked pancakes to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Pat the top of the pancakes with another double layer of paper towels. Cook remaining batter in batches until all the pancakes are cooked, transferring cooked and drained pancakes to the unlined baking sheet.
8 Keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.
yields 2 quarts applesauce and 1 dozen 3-inch pancakes

Additional note about making latkes in advance: Make sure latkes get cooked through if you are making your latkes in advance. Uncooked potato will discolor. To make sure latkes are cooked through, make sure you cook over moderate heat so that the inside gets cooked before the outside gets over-cooked.

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Chapter 16 — Light Meals: Sandwiches & Lighter & Vegetarian Entrees

Apologies for the delayed arrival of the this post. There are so many exciting publishing developments each and every day, I fear this preview didn’t get out to some of you. So without further ado, here is Chapter 16’s preview:

Our countdown t0 the date At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining ships from Kentucky continues. Section 6: Lighter Meals covers in its two chapters what might be thought of as lunch and then breakfast and brunch. Chapter 17 is officially titled Sandwiches & Lighter & Vegetarian Entrees. The utility of Chapter 16’s recipes is certainly not restricted to lunch.

Officially there are about 430 recipes in At Home – plus additional recipes on At Home Online plus new recipes will come from this blog. But as the following recipe shows, often within recipes there are several recipes that can be used independently. This Yellow Split Pea Fritters recipe also includes recipes for an interesting slaw and a tamarind sauce — each of which can be used on their own.

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Is Pascal pretty great or not?!

This recipe was inspired by a lunch I had at a stand in London’s wonderful Borough Market during one of my summer journeys with Noah. You can read about that London’s Borough Market on Page 335 of At Home.

Yellow Split Pea & Onion Fritters with Warm Slaw & Tamarind Dressing
Your vegetarian friends will be mightily impressed by these tasty cakes with an Asian inflection. You can find the tamarind in an Asian or Indian grocery.

do ahead Fritters can be made a day ahead, stored at room temperature and reheated in a 300° oven. Slaw and dressing can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Fritters
2 onions, quartered and sliced thin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 pound yellow split peas
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Slaw
1 carrot, shredded
1⁄2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus 6 cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce
1⁄2 cup tamarind puree
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 Combine split peas with 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Boil until peas are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain well and transfer peas to a bowl.
2 Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over moderate heat and add onions. Cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to the bowl with split peas. Mash mixture until pureed. Stir in baking powder, eggs, flour, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Let mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, prepare slaw: Heat oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add carrots, cabbage and jalapeño and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, salt, pepper and cilantro.
4 Stir together tamarind puree, sugar and soy sauce.
5 Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Form half-dollar size cakes from mixture and, working in batches, fry until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. If serving immediately, transfer cooked fritters to a baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200° oven.
6 To serve, set 2 fritters on each plate. Top with slaw and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with a cilantro sprig.

serves 6

Screen shot 2009-09-21 at 10.55.29 PM

Izzy
A three-month old black Lab sat on the lap of my 9-year-old son Noah as we traveled home from the Labradors of Broadway kennel near Flemington, New Jersey. The kennel required an official AKC registration name and he left the kennel as “Into the Woods,” my favorite Sondheim musical. Noah was charged with the unofficial naming. He was inspired by Izzy, the much- maligned and near-invisible fuzzy blue mascot of the just-completed 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Izzy has been by my side though thick and thin—both his and mine—since that day. He comes with me to work and though he’s never allowed in the kitchen, he roams the offices to see what morsel may have fallen from someone’s desk. Discouraged, he wiggles his bulky body under the credenza behind my desk. He has been behind the scenes at many an event. In giving his toast at my recent wedding, Noah said he’d sometimes doubted whether I’d ever remarry, as through most of my life as a single father, Izzy was my primary bed companion. I sincerely believe that I have the world’s best dog. Of course, the world is full of people who believe they have the world’s best dog. But I really do. Fortunately, Christina, my bride, agrees. In the meantime, Izzy has finally been consigned to a new bed—on the floor.

Tomorrow: Chapter 17 — Light Meals: Breakfast & Brunch

Less than two weeks left to buy the book — and companion website — and receive a signed, numbered first edition.

Note: I will be speaking all about At Home — book and companion website — at the Free Library on Thursday, October 15 beginning at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there.

Steve

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Yellow Split Pea & Onion Fritters with Warm Slaw & Tamarind Dressing

Your vegetarian friends will be mightily impressed by these tasty cakes with an Asian inflection. You can find the tamarind in an Asian or Indian grocery.

do ahead Fritters can be made a day ahead, stored at room temperature and reheated in a 300° oven. Slaw and dressing can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Fritters
2 onions, quartered and sliced thin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 pound yellow split peas
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Slaw
1 carrot, shredded
1⁄2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus 6 cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce
1⁄2 cup tamarind puree
1⁄4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 Combine split peas with 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Boil until peas are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain well and transfer peas to a bowl.
2 Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over moderate heat and add onions. Cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to the bowl with split peas. Mash mixture until pureed. Stir in baking powder, eggs, flour, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Let mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, prepare slaw: Heat oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add carrots, cabbage and jalapeño and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, salt, pepper and cilantro.
4 Stir together tamarind puree, sugar and soy sauce.
5 Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Form half-dollar size cakes from mixture and, working in batches, fry until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. If serving immediately, transfer cooked fritters to a baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200° oven.
6 To serve, set 2 fritters on each plate. Top with slaw and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with a cilantro sprig.

serves 6

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Chapter 6 — Composed First Courses

Chapter 6,the final chapter of Section 2: Welcoming Guests is all about Composed First Courses. A composed first course is the sort of plate you would be served in a fine restaurant, conceived and prepared by a chef with years of experience.  As with nearly everything in At Home, success is more a matter of aspiration than it is of some special skill. Trust me, you can do this. This is the perfect late summer recipe guaranteed to earn you wows. Please do not be put off by the number of ingredients or the length of the recipe as it is all very easy.I promise if you do this once it will become a part of your summer entertaining repertoire.

This past Saturday I helped our crew assemble 165 of these gorgeous plates at a Franklin Institute wedding. It was gratifying to part of the plate scraping crew as this course was cleared from Franklin Hall as there was nearly nothing left to scrape.

Tomato “Sandwich” with Corn & Lima Beans
If—and only if—you have ripe, in-season tomatoes, this recipe is a great showpiece. Select red and yellow tomatoes of approximately the same size. (For the little tomatoes, they can be a mix of` any variety.) We generally serve this dish with a medallion of goat cheese on top that gets sprinkled with some superfine sugar and glazed with a torch. We’ve simplified the recipe here with crumbled goat cheese, but feel free to try the glazed medallion if you have a plumber’s torch.

do ahead All of the vegetables may be prepared ahead and assembled just before serving.

1 ear corn, husked and cleaned
3 large red tomatoes, peeled
3 large yellow tomatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1⁄4 pound lima beans, cooked
1⁄2 cup chopped red onion, divided
1 cup baby yellow tomatoes, halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, divided
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 ounces fresh goat cheese

1 Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add corn and cook for 3 minutes. Remove corn and allow it to cool. Scrape corn and any milky residue from the cob. Discard cob.
2 Cut large red and yellow tomatoes into 1⁄2-inch slices. Set aside.
3 Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar, shallot and garlic. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper.
4 Stack basil leaves and cut into fine strips with a sharp knife.
5 Combine corn, lima beans and 1⁄4 cup red onion. Toss with half of the dressing and half of the basil.
6 In a small bowl, combine baby yellow tomatoes, red grape tomatoes, the remaining red onion and the remaining basil. Add remaining dressing and toss well. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
7 To assemble: Layer a thick red tomato slice with 1⁄2 cup corn and lima bean salad, and top with a yellow tomato slice. Top with baby tomato salad. Crumble goat cheese over top of the “sandwich.” Repeat with remaining tomatoes, corn and cheese to make 6 sandwiches.
serves 6

Picture 1

This is one of what we call “napkin drawings” — the kind of little skteches one might do on a napkin and you can often find at the bottom of our Frog Commissary Catering “food sheets.” You will find these drawing in At Home when I think a little picture will help you understand how something is done — or in this case, assembled.

Throughout At Home are side notes that provide tips or help expand your entertaining horizons.

Equipment
Plumber’s Propane Torch
Beware of ultra-specialized kitchen gadgets. Premium kitchen supply stores and catalogues sell a precious little butane torch for glazing sugar on desserts such as crème brûlée. Far better for the size and strength of its flame—and a little less expensive to buy—is a standard plumbing torch that attaches to a small disposable bottle of propane. For a few dollars more you can get a short hose attachment that makes this easy-to-use device even more convenient.

At our weekend wedding we glazed the medallion of goat cheese that sat on the tomato sandwich. It’s very simple and fun. Just cut a medallion of goat cheese about 1/4-inch thick. Place on tomato sandwich. Sprinkle with a thin coating of superfine sugar. Light the torch and adjust flame to moderate. Run the torch across and around the medallion taking care to move the flame sufficiently to darken the top of the cheese without burning.  Alternatively, you can crumble the goats cheese as indicated in the recipe, add the sugar and glaze.

Tomorrow begins a preview of Section 3: Easy Entrees & Condiments with Chapter 7 — Easy Roasts.

It’s just eleven days until At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining is shipped from Kentucky and shortly thereafter ready for shipping to you. The book comes with a “key” to its companion website. If you have not yet ordered the book, you are running out of time to get a signed, numbered, first edition. No time to waste to buy so buy it now for yourself and your gift list.

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Tomato “Sandwich” with Corn & Lima Beans Recipe

If—and only if—you have ripe, in-season tomatoes, this recipe is a great showpiece. Select red and yellow tomatoes of approximately the same size. (For the little tomatoes, they can be a mix of` any variety.) We generally serve this dish with a medallion of goat cheese on top that gets sprinkled with some superfine sugar and glazed with a torch. We’ve simplified the recipe here with crumbled goat cheese, but feel free to try the glazed medallion if you have a plumber’s torch (See note below).

do ahead All of the vegetables may be prepared ahead and assembled just before serving.

1 ear corn, husked and cleaned
3 large red tomatoes, peeled
3 large yellow tomatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1⁄4 pound lima beans, cooked
1⁄2 cup chopped red onion, divided
1 cup baby yellow tomatoes, halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, divided
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 ounces fresh goat cheese

1 Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add corn and cook for 3 minutes. Remove corn and allow it to cool. Scrape corn and any milky residue from the cob. Discard cob.
2 Cut large red and yellow tomatoes into 1⁄2-inch slices. Set aside.
3 Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar, shallot and garlic. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper.
4 Stack basil leaves and cut into fine strips with a sharp knife.
5 Combine corn, lima beans and 1⁄4 cup red onion. Toss with half of the dressing and half of the basil.
6 In a small bowl, combine baby yellow tomatoes, red grape tomatoes, the remaining red onion and the remaining basil. Add remaining dressing and toss well. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
7 To assemble: Layer a thick red tomato slice with 1⁄2 cup corn and lima bean salad, and top with a yellow tomato slice. Top with baby tomato salad. Crumble goat cheese over top of the “sandwich.” Repeat with remaining tomatoes, corn and cheese to make 6 sandwiches.
serves 6

Picture 1

Equipment
Plumber’s Propane Torch
Beware of ultra-specialized kitchen gadgets. Premium kitchen supply stores and catalogues sell a precious little butane torch for glazing sugar on desserts such as crème brûlée. Far better for the size and strength of its flame—and a little less expensive to buy—is a standard plumbing torch that attaches to a small disposable bottle of propane. For a few dollars more you can get a short hose attachment that makes this easy-to-use device even more convenient.

You can glaze the medallion of goat cheese that sits on the tomato sandwich. It’s very simple and fun. Just cut a medallion of goat cheese about 1/4-inch thick. Place on tomato sandwich. Sprinkle with a thin coating of superfine sugar. Light the torch and adjust flame to moderate. Run the torch across and around the medallion taking care to move the flame sufficiently to darken the top of the cheese without burning.  Alternatively, you can crumble the goats cheese as indicated in the recipe, add the sugar and glaze.

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Summer’s Best: Corn Cakes Recipe

More than a great grilled steak, more than soft-shell crabs, more than caviar, I love corn. Recently I have given you recipes for Chilled Corn Soup and Corn and Tomato Salad. Today, it’s fresh Corn Cakes.

Fresh Corn Cakes
I’m partial to bi-color corn. White corn is more dependably sweeter, but I prefer the corniness and color of bi-color. The fresher the better. You can use either for this recipe — just keep it fresh.

Do ahead It is best to blanch the corn as close to its picking as possible, but once it’s cooked its flavor is set. You can make the batter or actually cook the cakes up to three or four days before serving. Just follow instructions for reheating below. If you make batter in advance and refrigerate, remove from refrigerator at least an hour before cooking to take the chill off. If using cold batter, adjust the cooking temperature a bit to enable to batter to cook through while not over-cooking surface.

1 cup chopped scallion
5 ears corn
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Blanch corn in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove and immediately run under cold water to stop cooking and cool.

2. With a sharp knife, cut corn from cob. Using the blunt edge of knife, scape corn to remove remaining remnants of kernels and the milky corn residue. Place in large bowl. Add scallion.

3. In a small bowl, beat eggs until well mixed.

4. Add eggs to corn. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Depending on the size of your corn, the batter may be too thick or too thin. Hold out a few tablespoons of flour and add as needed. Batter should be thick and hold its shape on a spoon.

5. Add about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil to medium saute pan over moderate heat. You want a generous amount of oil such that when you put in cakes, oil comes up the sides slightly, but cakes are not swimming in oil. Cook cake in batches. For a medium-sized corn cake — about 3″ diameter — add a heaping tablespoon batter to the oil, pressing lightly to flatten and distribute. When bottom is lightly browned and cake modestly firm, carefully flip and continue cooking until second side is lightly browned. Set aside until all batter used.

6. You can re-heat cakes two ways. Simplest is to preheat oven to 350 degrees, place cakes in a single layer and heat for 7-10 minutes until hot. Better is to quickly grill cakes in a dry, hot grill pan or over moderate grill. Cakes will char lightly where they come in contact with grill adding a nutty flavor to the corn. Serve immediately or reheat according to oven instruction above.

Yield 15-20, depending on size

Hot and Sweet Pepper Relish is an ideal accompaniment.

Corn Cakes

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Thank you.

Steve

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