Green beans with ginger

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
fresh ginger, about 2 inches long 1 inch wide peeled and chopped
6 tbl. Vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 fresh green chili (optional), washed and sliced very fine
3 tbl chopped cilantro (coriander greens)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/4 tsp garam masala
2 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Salt

Wash and trim the green beans. Slice into fine rounds, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Set aside in a bowl.

Put the ginger in the blender with 3 tablespoons of water and blend at high speed until it is a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. While heating, pour in the paste from the blender and add turmeric. Fry, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, then add the green chilies and cilantro. After another minute add the green beans and continue cooking and stirring for about a minute. Add the cumin, coriander, 1 tsp of the garam masala, lemon juice, salt and 3 tbl. Of warm water. Cover skillet, turn flame to very low and let the beans cook slowly for about 40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so.

These beans can easily be cooked in advance and reheated. Serve them in a warm dish, with 1/4 tsp garam masala sprinkled on top.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Makes about 60 Biscotti

1 1/2 cups almonds (coarsely chopped)
2 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbl. Plus 1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz. Bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tbl. Coffee-flavored liqueur or brandy
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbl confectioner's sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Toast the almonds on a small baking sheet for about 6 minutes, or until golden. Leave the oven on.

In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients (except confectioner's sugar).

In a mixer, beat the eggs, coffee liqueur and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed just until blended. The dough will be very stiff. Mix in the toasted almonds.

Sprinkle the confectioner's sugar onto a work surface. Divde the dough into 6 equal pieces. On the work surface shape each piece into a 12 inch log about 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 35 minutes, switching the pans halfway through baking, until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool on the baking sheets for 15 minutes. Lower the oven to 300 degrees.

Carefully tranfer one log to cutting board. Cut the log diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut sides down. Repaeat with tht eremaining logs. Bake biscotti for about 17 minutes, switching the pans halfway through baking until dry; the slices don't need to be turned. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.

(Biscotti can be frozen for up to a month in airtight containers)

Broiled Chicken Strips

serves 6-8

3 lb skinned, boneless breast of chicken

5 tbl vegetable oil
4 tbl red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 whole head of garlic (each clove peeled and chopped)
1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tbl whole fennel seeds
2 tbl ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8 cloves
20 black peppercorns
1/2 - 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (spices are for mildly hot dish)
2 tsp salt
3 tbl tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients needed for the marinade in the container of an electric blender. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste.

Wibpe all the chicken pieces thoroughly dry. Divide breasts in two sections then cut each section into strips that are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide.

In a bowl combine the chicken and the marinade. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 5 hours.

Preheat the broiler. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil Spread the chicken (most of the marinade will cling to it) thinly on the tray. You'll need to do this in two batches.

When the broiler is heated, put in the tray with the chicken. Broil for about 10 minutes. Turn and broil another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is lightly browned. Serve the first batch and start the second.


9 eggs
3 cups milk
2 tbl white wine
9 thick slices buttered bread, crusts off
1 lb mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1/2 lb grated swiss cheese
1/2 lb grated sharp cheddar

Cut bread slices into cubes. Beat eggs well in a large bowl. Add milk, wine, a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper. Layer bread cubes, mushrooms and cheese in a buttered 9 by 13 inch pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn heat down to 300 degrees. Continue baking 30-45 minutes more. (Strata will puff up, and be a golden brown. Test with a toothpick to see if it's done)

Green Lasagna (Food and Wine, October 1994)
serves 10

This recipe is long, and looks complicated, but if you make the meat (or mushroom) sauce ahead of time and buy the fresh pasta, you shouldn't find it too much of challenge.


6 tbl unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

To make the balsamella:

Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan until frothy. Add the flour and stir over moderately low heat without coloring for 5 minutes. Remove from the head and set aside.

Bring the milk just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Return the butter and flour mixture to the heat and quickly add the hot milk, stirring constantly in the same direction with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring, and simmer for 4 minutes. Season with salt , pepper and nutmeg. Let cool, whisking occasionally, then press a piece of buttered was paper against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Meat Sauce

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbl olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 large celery rib, finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 medium skinless boneless chicken breast half, pounded 1/4 inch thick
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups Beef Broth, preferably homemade
1 tbl tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb prosciutto or boiled ham, finely chopped
freshly grated nutmeg

This is the Food and Wine Recipe for a meat sauce, which is very good. To make this a vegetarian dish, I substituted a reduced vegetable stock for the beef broth and various kinds of mushrooms (crimini, button, portobella) for the meat.

In a medium bowl, soak the porcini in 1 1/2 cups of luke warm water until softened, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonreactive saucepan. Add the onion, carrot celery, garlic and parsley and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. (If using mushrooms add them too) Add the chicken breast and cook, turning once until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan, finely chop it and transfer to a small bowl.

Add the ground beef and pork to the vegetables in the pan. Cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the Beef Broth (or vegetable stock) and the tomato paste. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Drain and rinse the porcini; trim off any tough bits and discard. Stir the porcini into the sauce along with the chicken and the remaining 1 cup Beef Broth. (If making a mushroom lasagna I would reduce the soaking liquid and add this in place of some of the vegetable stock. Remember to watch for any sand which may have settled to the bottom of the soaking liquid, before reducing.) Bring to a gentle boil and simmer over moderate heat until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the prosciutto and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer over moderate heat until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the prosciutto and cook for 1 more minute. Correct seasoning with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Let cool. (The meat sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.)

1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella (about 1/2 lb)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 5 oz.)

(You could certainly add a third cheese (a blue cheese for instance) if you like)

Spinach Pasta:

Below is a recipe for spinach pasta, but local folks take note: you can buy fabulous sheets of fresh spinach (and other) pasta at Tallutos, 944 S. 9 th St in the Italian market.

3/4 lb fresh spinach, stemmed
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
3 tbl. Plus 1 tsp. Olive oil

To make spinach pasta:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the spinach and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse and squeeze dry. Finely chop the spinach; you should have 1/4 (packed) cup.

Mound the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, spinach, 1 tbl plus 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. To the well and mix with a fork. Gradually draw the flour from the inner rim of the well until almost half has been incorporated. Begin kneading in the remaining flour; using the palms of your hands, continue kneading until the dough is smooth.

Cut the pasta dough into 4 equal pieces of dough covered with a clean kitchen towel. Flatten the dough and dust it lightly with flour. Roll it through a pasta machine set on the widest setting. Fold the dough in thirds, press down, flour lightly and continue rolling the dough through the machine until the dough is very smooth. Lower the setting one notch and repeat the process, rolling the dough once through successively narrower settings, until you reach the thinnest one. Drape the pasta sheet flat on clean kitchen towels. Roll out the remaining pieces of dough in the same way.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Meanwhile, using a large knife, cut the sheets of pasta crosswise into 5-inch lengths. (If you buy sheets they can be used whole)

Drop the pasta several sheets at a time into the boiling water for 5 seconds. Transfer to the bowl of cold water to cool. Drain on a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining pasta.

Generously butter a 9 by 13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the Meat sauce in the bottom of the dish. Cover the bottom and sides of the dish with slightly overlapping pasta squares, allowing about 1 inch to hang over the edge of the dish. Combine the cheeses and sprinkle one-third of the cheese over the pasta. Cover with another layer of pasta and spread one-third of the balsamella on top. Add another layer of pasta squares and cover with half of the Meat sauce. Continue layering the pasta, alternating the cheese, balsamella and Meat sauce, ending with a layer of balsamella covered with pasta. Fold the overhanging pasta over the top of the lasagna. (The lasagna can be assembled 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Uncover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the lasagna loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes longer, until the lasagna is heated through and the top is lightly browned. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.