Welcome to the Recipe Collection

Here you will find recipes for foods that might appear on the pages of my books, but didn’t have a recipe included for whatever reason, such as the Vegetarian Tacos served in How to Bake a Perfect Life. I will also post a recipe now and then that was included in the books. You might also get updated experiments here, such as the updated version of Pomegranate Baklava, and the correction for Abe’s Ass-Kicking Apple Pie, from No Place Like Home.

Potato Leek Soup

Olive oil
2 large leeks, rinsed thoroughly and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, diced
4-5 cups chicken broth
5 fist sized red potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
20 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dry mustard or 1 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt (or more)
1-2 cups milk (I like non-fat, but cream is traditional)

To top:

6 slices of crisp bacon, crumbled
3-4 green onions, washed and sliced thinly

Cover the bottom of a heavy, large pot with olive oil, heat to medium hot.  Add leeks, garlic, and shallots, stir until tender.  Add broth and potatoes and spices, and let simmer until potatoes are tender.  Carefully pour mixture into a blender and puree until smooth, pour back into the pan and test for seasoning.  (It will often need salt at this point, perhaps another bit of mustard.)   Add milk or cream until the soup is the consistency you like, and let heat, but do not boil.  Put a pat of butter in each bowl and add soup, then top with bacon and green onions.

Abuela Maria Elena’s Posole

2 cups dried posole (dried whole hominy)
2 – 3 lb boneless pork shoulder
1/2 cup mild fresh green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
1 -2 peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Rinse posole in cold water until water runs clear. Soak overnight.

To cook pork, put it in a heavy pan on the stove with a little water, salt and pepper, and let it cook real slow until it’s falling to pieces, about 2-3 hours. Remove the pork, leaving the fat in the pan, and brown the onions and garlic, then put the meat back in the pan, add the posole and enough water to cover it all, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, till posole pops, about 1 hour. Roast the peppers (if fresh) in a paper bag in a 400 oven for about 10 minutes , remove, cool, peel (skin slips off easily).. Add everything but the herbs and salt. Simmer, covered, 4 hours. Taste for seasoning, add salt to taste. Simmer, covered, 1 more hour. Garnish with cilantro and thin coils of pepper and finely chopped tomatoes.

Easy Pain au Chocolat
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (chocolate chips work fine)
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment or oil lightly. Cut each sheet of pastry into 12 squares and brush the tops of each with egg glaze, then sprinkle ½
oz chocolate (a few chips) on each of square and roll up tightly around the chocolate. Place on the baking sheet, seam down. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Remove pastries from fridge, preheat over to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the pasties with remaining egg glaze, and then dust lightly with sugar and bake for about 15 minutes. Better to cool them at least a little or the butter taste is a little overwhelming.

Spinach and Sundried Tomato Lasagna

This lasagna is so hearty and flavorful even the meat eaters in the crowd will go for seconds.  Promise.

12 0z crumbled goat cheese
1 T fresh thyme
1 T fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pasta sauce (use 2 jars prepared, or use recipe, below)
1 pound whole wheat lasagna noodles (I love Barilla)
1 10 oz package frozen spinach or 4 cups fresh
1 10 oz package frozen collard greens or 4 cups fresh
1 cup roasted peppers, sliced (jarred are fine)
1 cups firmly packed julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmesan

If desired, prepare pasta sauce (below), let simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix goat cheese, thyme, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl.

Spread pasta sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish or pan. Add one layer of cooked noodles.  Cover with thin layer of sauce, then a layer each of spinach and collards.  Arrange a layer of red peppers and tomatoes, then drop goat cheese over the vegetables.  Repeat.  Finish with a final layer of pasta and sauce.  Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.

Red Pasta Sauce, vegetarian

4 T olive oil
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 cup good quality red wine
Salt and pepper
1 28-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (someone turned me on to the Muir Glen brand awhile ago and I’ve never looked back)
1 cup firmly packed julliene-cut sun-dried tomatoes.

Saute onions in olive oil over medium low heat until tender.  Add garlic and basil and stir for another 5 minutes.  Add wine.  Reduce by half. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, and simmer for at least 15 minutes.  It will be even better if you reduce it more.

Pomegranate Baklava

From The Lost Recipe for Happiness

1 1/2 cups light honey
1 cup sugar
1 T rosewater
1 cup plus 2 T pomegranate juice

Seeds of one pomegranate, divided in half
2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pistachios
½ vanilla bean, scraped
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 pkg phyllo dough

Syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, juice and rosewater in a heavy small pot. Stir constantly while bringing to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat at let cool, then add ½ pomegranate seeds.

Preheat the oven to 425

Mix spices, nuts, and vanilla bean seeds into ½ stick of melted butter.
Butter a 13 x 9 inch glass pan.

On a clean work surface, unroll the phyllo and generously butter one layer at a time and lay it in the pan, then repeat until you’ve used half the dough. Spread the nuts and other ½ of pomegranate seeds evenly over the pastry, reserving about ¼ (mixed nuts and seeds) for the topping.

Continue buttering and layering the dough on top of the filling until all the dough has been used. Brush the top with remaining butter.  With a small sharp knife, cut the pastry layers into diamonds, then bake for 50-60 minutes until golden, watching carefully to see that it doesn’t burn.  Toward the end of baking, scatter leftover arils and nuts over the top.

When baking is finished, pour the syrup over the hot pastry, and serve when cool.

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