Aliza Green

Chef | Consultant | Author

First Christian Church

Sesame Sugar Snaps

Serving Size: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
  • 1 tablespoon Asian roasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Heat sesame oil and butter together. Lightly brown sesame seeds Toss with sugar snaps and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until brightly colored. Sprinkle in soy sauce. Shake together and serve immediately.

(from BEANS: More than 200 Wholesome, Delicious Recipes from Around the World)

Honey-Poached Quince

Honey-Poached Quinces

Quince trees used to abound all over the American landscape, but now they’ve become a somewhat exotic fruit, ready to be rediscovered, as they definitely were this year. Legend has it that these deeply lobed yellow fall fruits were Eve’s original temptation in the Garden of Eden. That might be so, based on their incredible fragrance. But we don’t think Adam took a bite and was seduced forever: A raw quince would’ve sent civilization in quite a different direction, with its mouth-puckering fierceness.

Quinces need cooking to bring out their seductive flavor, which is somewhere between pear and apple, with another sharp but indefinable taste that seems to come from their wild heritage. But once you have the taste, you’re hooked – every fall you’ll be looking for our quinces, most reliably found at the farmers’ market or an Asian market. A bowl of quinces brings an exotic aroma to the whole house; a lone quince on the shelf will perfume your closet.

The only problem is how to crack these hardest of fruits. We suggest a Chinese cleaver – or don’t cut them at all until they’re cooked; they’ll have more flavor that way.

This heavenly dish of poached quinces from four-star Philadelphia chef Aliza Green accents their natural tartness and fragrance with lemon and spices, including a whole vanilla bean. You’ll have leftover poaching liquid; reduce it into a delectable syrup, or even further and you’ll have a wonderful quince jelly to serve on crackers with cheese or for breakfast toast.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water, or more if needed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 large fragrant quinces, such as Smyrnas

Directions:

In a large nonreactive pot, combine everything but the quinces. Stir and bring to a boil. Peel the skin off the quinces. Slice them on half (preferably with a Chinese cleaver), then in quarters. Cut out the seeds, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

Place the quinces in the syrup and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and poach gently until the quinces are tender when pierced with a skewer, 15 minutes to nearly 1 hour. You may need to add more water. The quinces will be rosy when they’re done. Let cool in the syrup and serve alone or with a cheese course.

West African Peanut Soup

West African Peanut Soup

West African Peanut Soup

Peanut soup appears on the menu in many African countries. This smooth, creamy version thickened with both peanuts and peanut butter gets its sweetness from yam. A warm reddish brown, the soup is fragrant with sweet spices, intensely flavored, earthy and piquant. Europeans brought peanuts from South America to Africa in the early 1500’s where they caught on quickly because of their similarity to the native African bambarra groundnut. In the U.S. it has become traditional to serve this soup when celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa. Substitute vegetable stock for a deliciously rich vegetarian soup.

Ingredients:

Serving Size:  8

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon each: chopped garlic and
  • ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons each: ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch each: ground cloves and cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
  • 2 large yams, peeled and cut-up
  • 3/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock), simmering
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Optional garnishes: diced fresh tomato, cilantro sprigs, and chopped roasted peanuts

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne. Sauté together 2 to 3 minutes to release their fragrance. Stir in the tomatoes and yam, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes to meld the flavors.

Add the hot stock and peanuts, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter and chopped cilantro, season with salt and pepper and heat through. Top each serving with the (optional) garnishes. Serve piping hot.

(from Starting with Ingredients)

Red Onion Marmalade for Steaks

Ingredients:

Serving Size: 8

  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large non-reactive skillet, sauté the onion in butter, till softened but not browned. Add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, thyme, honey, coriander, allspice, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is syrupy, stirring occasionally. Serve hot as a topping for steaks or hamburgers.

(from Starting with Ingredients)

Corn Spoon Bread

Corn Spoon Bread

Ingredients:

Serving Size: 6 to 8

  • 1½ pounds corn kernels and their “milk” (scrape against the grain of the corn cob for milk), 8 to 10 ears, substitute frozen corn
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal, preferably whole-grain yellow
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Prepare a (9 x 13-inch) baking pan by coating thoroughly with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350º F.

Place corn kernels in a blender or food processor. Add eggs, buttermilk and butter and blend. Stir together cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle into container. Continue blending or processing till just combined.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or till just set in the middle and starting to come away from sides of pans. (Allow 15 to 20 minutes more baking time if using frozen corn.) Cool to room temperature before removing from pan, using a rubber spatula to loosen sides. Cut into squares to serve. (Refrigerate to store. Reheats beautifully in microwave.)

Rose Geranium Pound Cake and Broiled Summer Fruit with Honey Butter

Rose Geranium Pound Cake

Serving Size: 12

Rose Geranium Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • Butter and flour (for pan)
  • 8 whole rose geranium leaves (optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch salt
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced rose geranium leaves (or substitute lemon verbena, lemon balm, basil, or mint)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a large (12-cup) Bundt pan. Arrange whole rose geranium leaves in the bottom of prepared pan sticking them on with a dab of soft butter. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out excess. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda and reserve.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla, the grated zest, and minced rose geranium leaves.  Alternating and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter.  Carefully pour batter into the pan so as not to disturb the leaves and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Cool before removing from pan and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Broiled Summer Fruit with Honey Butter

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons ground anise seed (grind in spice or coffee grinder)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 vanilla beans, split open and seeds scraped out (or 2 tablespoons vanilla)
  • Combine in food processor and process till smooth and creamy and reserve.  (To prepare by  hand, soften butter, then beat together with remaining ingredients.)

Directions:

Prepare a colorful assortment of summer fruit including quartered figs, sliced peaches, plums, and/or apricots, pitted and halved cherries, diced mango and/or red papaya, sliced red bananas, halved strawberries, and whole raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries. Preheat the broiler. Spread fruit out in a metal baking pan. Spoon bits of the butter all over the top, using about half the butter. (Refrigerate the remainder for use another time.) Broil the fruit on high for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and browned. Serve with ice cream or a wedge of the Rose Geranium Pound Cake. (Butter may be frozen for later use.)

Sicilian Eggplant Caponata on Crostini

Sicilian Eggplant Caponata on Crostini

Photo by Steve Legato (www.stevelegato.com)

Caponata is a traditional Sicilian relish with a long, rich history that originated with the fisherman’s caponata alla marinara, made with seafood. These days, caponata is usually made with eggplant. Sicily’s cuisine is a fascinating mélange of Italian, Arab and Spanish culinary traditions, closely linked to local crops like the eggplant featured here. Caponata recipes abound and the dish may be varied almost endlessly with such additions as toasted pine nuts or almonds, artichokes, cooked egg slices, orange juice, anchovies, basil, and even bitter chocolate. Sicilian restaurants sometimes add swordfish, shrimp, or baby octopus and top it with shaved bottarga (dried, salted and pressed tuna roe). Caponata gets its typical sweet and sour flavor from a little sugar mixed with red wine vinegar. The caponata will keep up to ten days, refrigerated, but should be brought back to room temperature for best flavor.

Ingredients:

Serving Size: 1 Quart

  • 2 large eggplants, unpeeled
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 3 to 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) box Pomi (asceptic box packed diced tomatoes) or canned plum tomatoes diced and mixed with liquid from can
  • ¾ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut eggplant into 1-inch dice. Toss with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread onto a baking pan. Roast about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is browned and soft.

Meanwhile, combine onions, red and yellow peppers and celery. Sauté in a large skillet in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil till crisp tender.

Separately, combine tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add to sautéed vegetables. Stir in roasted eggplant. Bring to the boil and simmer together about 15 minutes or until thickened. Cool and then stir in parsley and marjoram. Serve at room temperature on Crostini.

(from Starting with Ingredients)

Roast Chicken with Celery Root & Apple Glaze

Roast Chicken

I believe in using the best chicken and to make this wonderful dish, my choice is Bell & Evans grain-fed chicken, available at the Whole Foods markets. These pale creamy looking chickens have deservedly won top honors at many tastings. Here chicken halves are marinated, then roasted at high temperature for better browning and concentrated flavor along with a mixture of Fuji apples, celery root and red onions and topped with an apple cider glaze. It’s a good dish for a party, because it’s sure to please, everything can be made ahead with only unattended oven roasting while you greet your guests and it’s inexpensive to make even if you use top quality grain-fed, free-range or organic chicken.

Serving Size: 6

Apple Cider Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 1 quart rich chicken stock, homemade if possible
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • ½ peeled yellow onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed

Directions:

Bring all to the boil and reduce till the liquid is syrupy and equals 2 to 3 cups. Strain and keep warm.

Marinated Chicken

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup finely minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 chicken halves

Directions:

Combine marinade ingredients and rub all over chicken halves. Refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

Apples, Celery Root & Red Onion

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery root, pared and cut into wedges
  • 2 large Fuji (or other firm red-skinned apples), cored and cut into thick wedges
  • 2 small red onions, cut into wedges
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Directions:

Blanch celery root for 1 minute in boiling salted water. Drain and reserve. Toss apple wedges with lemon juice. Combine with red onions and reserve.

ASSEMBLY

Ingredients:

  • Apple Cider Glaze
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
  • Apple mixture
  • Marinated chicken halves
  • Polenta, rice or mashed potatoes, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 Place celery root, red onion and apple wedges into the bottom of a roasting pan. Wipe excess marinated from chickens and place over the vegetables, skin side down. Roast till ¾ cooked, about 25 minutes. Turn chicken half over and roast until chicken is skin is browned, and the internal temperature has reached 165 (74 C) at its thickest point or the juices of the thigh run clear when pierced.

To serve, place polenta, rice, or mashed potatoes into the bottom of serving plates or pasta bowls, preferably heated slightly, if desired. Arrange chicken and apple mixture over top. Ladle Apple Cider Glaze over top. (Note that for a fancier dinner, heat the Apple Cider Glaze till bubbling and stir in two to four tablespoons of butter to enrich the sauce and give it that “restaurant-style” shine.)

(from Starting with Ingredients)

Warm Roasted Wild Mushrooms Salad with Balsamic Syrup, Caramelized Shallots & Truffle Oil

Warm Roasted Wild Mushrooms Salad

This marvelous salad was a big hit at Stella Notte, the restaurant where I last served as executive chef. It’s hearty enough to serve for lunch, or as a first course for a special dinner. To make it, I roast a combination of mushrooms—the more you use, the more interesting the flavors and textures. Then I prepare a simple balsamic syrup, deep-fry shallot rings until they’re crispy and browned. Just before serving, I toss mixed salad greens with olive oil and lemon and top it with the warm mushrooms. I drizzle the salad with the balsamic syrup, top it with the shallots and for a final filip, add a few drops of truffle oil—an easy an inexpensive way to get the deep, earthy flavor of truffle.

Serving Size: 6

Balsamic Syrup

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Combine brown sugar, vinegar and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer till bubbling and syrupy. Store at room temperature.

Caramelized Shallots

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sliced shallots

Directions:

In a large, deep pot, heat oil (filled no more than halfway up the sides) to 365° or till shimmering hot. Add the shallots and fry over high heat until the shallots are brown and crispy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from oil using a wire skimmer and drain thoroughly on paper towels. Store at room temperature.

Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms, caps only
  • 1 pounds crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ pound oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ pound portabello mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Balsamic Syrup (from above)
  • 2 cups sliced shallots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450° Combine mushrooms with oil, salt, pepper and syrup. Spread out in a thin layer on baking pan and roast till well browned, turning once or twice, about 10 minutes.

Mixed Greens With Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups baby salad greens (spring mix)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine mushrooms with oil, salt, pepper and syrup. Spread out in a thin layer on baking pan and roast till well browned, turning once or twice, about 10 minutes.

ASSEMBLY

Ingredients:

  • Roasted Mushrooms
  • Mixed Greens with Lemon Dressing
  • Caramelized Shallots
  • Black Truffle Oil

Directions:

Arrange roasted mushrooms over mixed greens, top with a spoonful of caramelized shallots and sprinkle with black truffle oil. Serve immediately.

Green Lentils with Herb Butter, Scallions & Tomatoes (from BEANS)

Green Lentils With Herb Butter Scallions Tomatoes

Serving Size: 6 to 8

Cooked Lentils

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package (1 1/2 cups) French green lentils
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ bunch fresh thyme, wrapped around and tied with kitchen string (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 a peeled onion stuck with 4 whole cloves
  • 1 head garlic, top 1/2 inch cut off and discarded
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Combine the lentils, bay leaves, thyme, onion, and garlic in a medium pot. Add 1 quart cold water and bring to a boil. Skim off any white foam and discard. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but still whole and not mushy.

Remove from the heat, cool slightly and discard the bay leaves, thyme, onion, and garlic. Drain off and discard any excess liquid. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead of time, or frozen.)

Finishing Lentils

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cooked green lentils
  • 2 bunches scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter mixed with 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (such as tarragon, basil, marjoram, chives, chervil, parsley)

Directions:

Sauté scallions briefly in butter, add diced tomatoes and cooked green lentils and simmer together several minutes until hot and somewhat thickened. At the last minute, toss with the herb butter.