Manhattan Seafood Medley with Amazing Sauce

The success of this entree begins by making sure you buy the freshest seafood from a trusted fishmonger and spending the time to collect all the spices needed to give the sauce its rich depth. Make the sauce the day before you serve it and the herbs and spices will infuse my entire recipe, even more. Instead of serving the seafood and amazing sauce over rice or cous cous or potato or quinoa, I chose orzo, which worked wonderfully well. My second choice would have been either cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower. ©Joyce Hays, Target Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

If you make the sauce the night before, as easy as that is, there’s practically nothing to do the next day, except cook the orzo (or your choice) in chicken stock or broth, and fry the seafood quickly in a very hot skillet. Because this fragrant recipe is impressive and attractive, your family and/or your dinner guests will regard you as a top chef. Try it. As long as there are no allergies or other reasons not to eat seafood, your complements will come rolling in. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Dinner for Two

Seafood Ingredients

1/2 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined & cleaned

1/2 pound sea scallops

1 glug extra virgin olive oil

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, mashed right in skillet, with a fork, or use a garlic press

Amazing Sauce

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion

2 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

10 gloves garlic, sliced

1 cup diced ripe tomatoes with a little of their juice

One 28 ounce can of Cento San Marzano Certified Peeled Tomatoes with Basil Leaf

2.5 Tablespoons dry oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 Tablespoon chickpea flour

1 cup clam juice in the bottle

1 Tablespoon Cento tomato paste

1/2 cup cream sherry

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Tabasco

1 pinch Salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 pinch chili flakes

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 Tablespoon flax seeds

1 cup fresh cilantro, well chopped

Keep some chicken stock or broth handy, while cooking the sauce.

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (save some for garnish)

 

I bought all the ingredients from the following: Whole Foods, FreshDirect, Dean & Deluca, Amazon, Sherry-Lehmann Wines and Spirits. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

Make Amazing Sauce the Day Before Serving

1. Do all of the chopping, slicing, cutting now so all sauce ingredients will be ready.

 

Do all your chopping, slicing, cutting at once, on one board. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. Melt olive oil with butter in a large skillet, that has a cover that fits well, over a medium flame.

3. Next, saute the scallions, onion, garlic, pepper, until soft.

 

Saute the scallions, garlic, onion, pepper first. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. Stir in the can of Cento tomatoes and juice, along with the fresh tomatoes. Add the fresh, cut tomatoes

 

Cento tomatoes and fresh tomatoes have been added. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Add oregano, thyme and all spices, as well as all herbs and flax seeds. Lower heat and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the chickpea flour and stir well.

6. Add 1 cup clam juice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

7. Add the Cento tomato paste and stir until blended.

 

All spices and herbs, plus Cento tomato paste, have been added. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

8. Add the Cream Sherry, Worcestershire, 1/3 cup of heavy dairy cream and Tabasco. Stir well to combine all ingredients. If you feel sauce is too thick, slowly add some chicken stock, stir and determine if you need more. If you think sauce is too thin, very slowly, add more chickpea flour, stirring constantly, until you get the consistency you want.

 

As you can see all final liquids have been added and am ready to stir well to combine everything before simmering for 10 minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

9. Once all sauce ingredients have been combined, put the tight-fitting cover on and lower the heat to simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Keep sauce covered and let it cool down to room temperature. Then put in refrigerator overnight.

 

Finally, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

On the day of serving

  1. Follow directions on box and make the orzo (or whatever you chose to serve the seafood and amazing sauce over): I like to use chicken stock or broth to cook in, instead of water, which is always part of the directions on the box. After cooking, keep warm.

 

Orzo cooked in chicken stock or broth. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. At this point, when you’re about to serve in 10 minutes, over a low flame, heat up the amazing sauce, so it’s ready when the seafood is done.

 

Warming up the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

3. Seafood, add one glug of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and with a fork, mash the garlic. If you have a garlic press, you can use that also. Turn the heat up.

4. To the pan, add the sea scallops and shrimp. Allow them to cook for a full minute, check to see if the scallops have turned a light brown. At that point, turn shrimp and scallops over and let the other side turn a light brown. This should take about 1 minute on each side, over a high flame. When done, remove from heat and set aside. At this point, you’re ready to serve.

 

Call me fussy, but I like to cook shrimp and scallops separately, so while I’m trying to get the scallops just right on the outside, I don’t overcook the shrimp. If either is overcooked, they get rubbery and really do taste overcooked which would ruin the whole dish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Cooking the shrimp. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Spoon the amazing sauce into individual large pasta-shape bowls and place a portion of orzo (or your choice) in the center of each pasta bowl, over the sauce.

6. Spoon seafood over the orzo and the sauce. Add more sauce if desired, sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

 

All this dinner needs is a fresh crispy salad, your favorite warm bread or rolls to sop up the sauce and an icy white wine.

 

For dessert we had an easy to make fresh berry mousse.

 

Just a little sauce left over, but that’s about it. This is so-o delicious. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Finally, Fall is in the air, here in the Big Apple. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We are deeply disturbed by all the climate change catastrophes taking place around the world. In our hemisphere we’ve had disasters in: Puerto Rico, Mexico, California, Texas, Florida, as well as ruinous flooding along the whole eastern coast of the U.S.

 

Climate change is the most dangerous global challenge we all have to contend with.

 

Let us give up part of our tribal allegiances, and become world citizens working together toward one goal — saving our planet.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Apple Cheese Cake with Autumn Attitude Crust

Sometimes, I brag and this is one of those times. Because apples are in season now, I wanted to use them in a new dessert; but last year I already did several apple cakes. Then a light went off. As I had never heard of an apple cheese cake, this became a new challenge. The first attempt was delicious but wasn’t presentable enough for photos. I also wanted to experiment more with the crust, as well as the filling. We ate our way through the week, all the variations I could think of. You get to make it one time and savor the flavors delicieux. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

Filling

4 or 5 fresh apples

4 containers of Tofutti (soy cream cheese)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

7 Tablespoons sugar (fine grains)

5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Zest of 1/2 fresh lemon

2 teaspoons fresh lemon

6 large eggs

Crust

15 graham crackers (2 and 1/2 inches x 5 inches) or 8 ounces

3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 stick butter, soft and cut into pieces

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

 

Try to buy the best available ingredients.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

Do the crust first

Crust

1. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Process until they are almost fine crumbs. Add dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Process until mixture clumps together like damp sand.

 

Processing all the crust ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. With the paper the butter stick was wrapped in, oil a large pie dish.

3. With your fingers, press the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch pie dish and refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing filling.

 

Get the processed crust out of the food processor with a spatula and press into the bottom and sides (if only enough for the bottom, that’s fine, don’t worry about it). Press as hard as you can and make the crust even all over. Then put in fridge for 30 minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

Filling

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

2. If your food processor is small and you can’t do all the filling at once in it, don’t worry, simply do each step, then remove the contents from processor into a large bowl and continue with the next step, until all ingredients have gone through the processor. Then mix all ingredients in the large bowl, very well.

3. Peel skin and core 3 apples and puree in food processor until smooth

 

Processing the 3 apples. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

4. Add Tofutti and process until smooth.

5. Add superfine sugar, and with motor running, add eggs one at a time.

 

Processing the rest of the filling. I need a new food processor; this one is too small to hold all the filling ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

6. Add lemon or lime juice, and process until blended.

After each processing step I scrape the pureed ingredients, into a large bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

7. Cut and core (leave skin on) the other 2 apples. Then on a cutting board, chop these apples into small dice-shaped pieces and set aside.

 

Chopping two apples with skin left on. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

8. Wait until crust has been in fridge for 30 minutes.

 

Contents of bowl have all been pureed in food processor and are now ready to pour into the crust. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

9. Scrape all the filling out of food processor (or out of the large bowl) and into the pie dish with crust.

10. Now, with your hands or a spoon, sprinkle the cut up apple pieces with skin on, over the top of the cheese cake.

 

Cheese cake going into oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11. Put pie dish into the oven.

12. Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, until filling is set and wobbles slightly in the center (it will continue to cook as it cools). After baking for 1 hour and 30 minutes, check to be sure cheese cake isn’t too dark around the edge.

13. When cheese cake is done and wiggling a little in center, remove and allow it to do its thing, while cooling down completely.

 

Just out of oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

14. When cool, refrigerate overnight. Then serve the next day.

 

Yummy apple cheese cake; creamy filling and crunchy crust! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We’re drinking an icy Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough district of New Zealand. A delicious wine with a rating in the 90s and worth every penny (do they still exist?). We chilled the glasses first. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Roast Cardamom/Curry Chicken Thighs with Sumac, Cilantro, Mango, Dates and Chopped Pistachios

There are three aspects of my latest recipe that make it especially good: First, you marinate ingredients overnight. Second: the wide variety of herbs and spices, creates the depth and levels of flavor. Third: the 25 fresh garlic cloves, surprise many people; however, if roasted long enough, garlic takes on an unbelievably sweet nutty taste, without which this recipe would not be as good as it is. Put off making this, until you have collected all the spices. I get my spices from Nuts.com, FreshDirect and a little family owned Asian market a few blocks away. Once you have all the herbs and spices, give it a try. It’s worth it! The second time I experimented with this recipe, was to show off with our wonderful house guests, who, I might add, gobbled it up, with nothing left over. Because the natural juices are so-o flavorful, you’ve got to serve this chicken dish with rice, couscous, mashed potatoes, risotto, or orzo, to help soak up the gravy au natural. In addition, serve warm pita or flat bread to sop up the juices. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

Zest of 1 fresh lemon

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of 1 fresh orange

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of 1 fresh lime

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sumac

2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

4 Tablespoons honey

1/2 cup cream sherry or Madeira

1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

1 bay leaf

1 pinch chili flakes

1 pinch black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons curry powder

8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)

3 cups sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick)

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

25 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

2 cups sliced dates

3 mangos cut in cubes

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2/3 cup fresh cilantro, well chopped

2/3 cup fresh parsley, well chopped

2 scallions, chopped (for roast)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

1/2 cup pistachio nuts, toasted, then chopped, for garnish

 

This recipe is great because of the myriad of ingredients like orange, lemon, lime, mango and dates. I’m also experimenting with new spices like sumac. The Madeira also adds a special touch. In my recipe for chopped chicken liver, I swear it’s the Madeira that makes such a difference. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Do all of your chopping, slicing, zesting, first.

Chop several items on one cutting board, to save time. Here, we’re slicing onion, garlic and carrots. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Having peeled 3 mangos, we’re now cutting into bitesize pieces. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. Zest of one lemon

3. Zest of one orange

4. Zest of one lime

5. Quarter the lemon, lime and the orange lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges Reserve slices.

6. In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, chili flakes and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.

 

Mustard-honey mixture is now cooling. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

7. In a very large bowl, add the honey mixture. Next, add carrots, onion, garlic slices, chopped scallions, dates, thyme, curry, flax seeds, cream sherry, chicken stock or broth, orange and lemon slices, cilantro. Stir this mixture several times.

8. Add chicken thighs to the bowl with sauce, stir sauce over the chicken several times. Cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

 

All of the ingredients will be covered and marinate overnight in the fridge. Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

9. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

10. Line a large roasting dish with parchment (optional) to make cleaning easier, later.

11. Transfer all ingredients, including all of the marinade, to a large roasting dish that can go from oven to table. Chicken should be skin side up.

 

This is my favorite oven to table large size, baking dish. –  From your bowl of marinating ingredients, first put the chicken into the baking dish, with the skin side facing up. Then slowly, with a large spoon, add all of the fruit and veggies, over the chicken. Finally, add all of the liquid. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Going into oven to roast. Another secret of this flavorful recipe, is the amount of fresh sliced garlic. When I told our house guests that there were 25 garlic cloves (large slices), they were quite surprised. People don’t realize that when you roast garlic for this amount of time, it becomes sweet and so delicious, you can eat it plain, as a regular vegetable. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Out of the oven. This chicken is so moist and delicious! I must confess that as I’m putting this newsletter together, everything about this recipe is making me hungry. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

12. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 30 to 40 for thighs.

13. While chicken is roasting, make saffron jasmine rice, with curry, golden raisins, and toasted pine nuts

14. When the chicken is done, give the sauce in the pan a stir; if the sauce looks too dry add 2 to 3 Tablespoons chicken stock or broth or wine. Add the parsley and scallions and stir into the sauce. If you want the sauce thicker, mix some chickpea flour into several Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt, and add to the sauce, mixing the flour very well into the rest of the sauce.

15. Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.

16. Serve the chicken and saffron rice with sauce spooned over.

17. Sprinkle the chicken with the toasted, chopped pistachio nuts.

 

The aroma of herbs and spices filled the air and beckoned us to begin the feast, which we did with gusto! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

With our relatives visiting us from Germany, we started this meal with chilled Pouilly-Fuisse and a tomato/avocado/cucumber salad with an extra virgin olive oil & fresh lemon, dressing. Then the new recipe, the chicken thighs with all of the luscious gravy, served over one of my oldest most reliable recipes, saffron/curry rice with golden raisins and toasted pine nuts. Both dishes will be finished by the time we clear the table for dessert; which is a simple and refreshing, strawberry/blueberry mousse. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Dessert: Fresh mango, Cheese & grapes, Blueberry cake. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Last week, we all saw Mary Jane by playwright, Amy Herzog at New York Theater Workshop, where THI is a patron. On another evening, we saw Prince of Broadway, a lovely musical review of some of the productions of director/producer, Hal Prince. Prince of Broadway was playing at the Samuel J. Friedman, Broadway Theater of Manhattan Theater Club, where THI is also a patron. We enjoyed both of these shows and recommend them highly.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Good for Any Holiday: Carrots on the Side

Carrots-on-the-Side, a complete carrot change of pace, for your holiday table.  Enjoy!  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

1 cup pistachios, shelled, then toasted

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, + more to oil baking dish

1 and 1/4 cups almond flour

4 or 5 medium carrots, scrubbed, peeled, sliced

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 extra-large or large egg

Zest of 1 fresh lemon

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 Pinch salt

 

Easy to find ingredients.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. With some of the extra butter, oil a pie baking dish, or any low baking dish.  I haven’t done it yet, but I think a loaf pan would also work well, although, it might be harder to remove a slice from a loaf pan.  It might crumble and not look as good on a plate; whereas it’s easy to cut a triangle shape, from a pie dish to plate.

 

With butter, oil the pie dish.  I added a little almond flour after oiling, but not necessary.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

3. Clean, peel, slice the carrots.  And toast your pistachios. (set aside)

 

Scrub, peel and slice the carrots.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. In a small deep pan, put the carrot slices, then pour water over them so they’re covered.

5. Bring carrots to a boil, over medium to high heat and cook until tender, 15 to 25 minutes.  If the water boils away, add more, so that the carrots are always covered, the whole cooking time.

6. When carrots are done, drain them in a colander, then pat dry with paper towel.

 

Draining the carrots.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

7. Now, put the carrot slices into a bowl of an electric mixer and mash them with a fork.  It’s more work, but you can put them in a food processor and pulse, until the carrots are smooth. Let carrots cool in the bowl or in the food processor.

 

Decided to use a food processor.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

8. When carrots have cooled down, (use a spatula to scrape out all the mashed carrots into the mixing bowl) add the baking soda and 1 Tablespoon warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix to dissolve.

9. Next, into the mixing bowl, add the butter and dark brown sugar and beat.  Get this mixture nice and airy, then beat in the egg.

10. Keep the beaters going, while you add 1 pinch of salt, lemon zest and the fresh lemon juice.

 

Do your lemon zest first; put it into a small cup until ready to use.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

A citrus squeezer like this, strains pulp and catches the seeds.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11. Next add the 1 teaspoon of cardamom, beat, then add the carrots and beat until the mixture is smooth.

12. Last, add the baking powder and the almond flour, and beat until the mixture is very smooth.

 

I used a regular mixing bowl along with a hand beater. This batter is now ready to pour & scrape into the pie dish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

13. With a spatula, pour, then scrape all of the batter, into your oiled pie dish.

 

Just poured the batter into the oiled pie dish and smoothed the top. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Going into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.  Then take out, sprinkle with pistachios and bake for another 10 minutes.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

14. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and sprinkle chopped pistachios over the top.  Put make in oven and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven.

15. Test your carrots by pushing with your fingers.  If it pops back easily, it’s done. Serve the carrot side dish warm along with any main course.  It will go well with lamb, fish, poultry, beef or a 100% vegetarian meal.

 

The first time I experimented with the carrots, I hadn’t yet thought to sprinkle with pistachios.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here’s a closeup of the lovely moist carrots on the side.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Another attempt, this time with pistachios.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Carrots-on-the-Side.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We paired this chilled Pouilly-Fuisse with Carrots on the Side, along with a new recipe for veal meatballs in a mushroom sauce (still working on the sauce), mashed truffle cauliflower and my always changing recipe for saffron rice.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We just saw, A Doll’s House Part 2, for which Laurie Metcalf won the 2017 Tony for best actress.  There were 7 other Tony nominations for this play.  However, sorry to say, neither Jules or I liked it.  Everyone (the talented people contributing to the production of this play are all awesome) involved in this play, gave it their all, but as far as we’re concerned, non of the creativity, saved it.  The interesting dialogue between Nora and her daughter, was not enough to carry the play.  We found the play boring, too talky and were flummoxed as to how there were so many Tony nominations, including a Tony nomination for best play.

We had dinner in one of our favorite mid-town restaurants, Sardis.  It’s the one tourist destination that continues to satisfy real New Yorkers, like us. We have the same corner banquette table held for us, each time we go. The staff is exceptionally friendly, food and wine are good, unique theater d?cor is the same for over 30 or more years, centrally located for theater goers; what’s not to like?

 

©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Balsamic Drizzle, Chopped Pistachios

Not only are figs in season now, but this is one of the world’s quickest and easiest recipes, not to mention the delicious flavors. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

It’s a pleasure to have seasonal dishes and fresh figs are one of those pleasures. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

On Thursday night, this was dessert. Warm figs just out of the oven. You could add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, to a dish like the one above; or serve the vanilla ice cream with warm figs on top, sprinkled with the toasted pistachio nuts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Oil to grease a baking sheet

2 ounces, or more, of soft, creamy fresh goat cheese

Several tablespoon of your best aged balsamic vinegar, or fig balsamic vinegar

12 or more fresh figs, washed, drained and patted dry with paper towel

 

Just a few choice ingredients: fresh figs (from Turkey), goat cheese (the creamy type, not the crumbly), pistachios pre-shelled (from Turkey), either aged balsamic vinegar or fig balsamic vinegar (I’ve used both, which are good). ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Chop the pistachios, then toast them; set aside

 

Toasting the pistachios. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

3. Use your fingers to roll the goat cheese into 24 1/2 teaspoon-sized balls.

4. Run the figs under cold water, then dry them.

5. Cut figs in half and put into a baking dish.

6. Press a cheese ball into the center of each fig.

 

Cut figs in half and press a small goat cheese ball into the center. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

7. Sprinkle chopped pistachios over all the figs and cheese.

8. Drizzle the balsamic over each fig.

9. Just before you’re going to serve the figs, put in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. When the cheese starts to melt and/or turn golden, remove from oven.

 

Ready to go into the oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

10. Serve as an appetizer or as a dessert. Consider serving the figs as a side dish with fish, poultry, beef or lamb.

 

Depending on your oven, bake at 375 degrees, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the goat cheese gets melty and the pistachio nuts become a little more brown. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

OUTSTANDING !  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This whole dish of baked figs with goat cheese, is just about gone. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

A light sweet (bubbly) wine was just the thing for the baked figs and cheese. We considered pairing with Bellinis; maybe next time. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

After a wonderful lazy August filled with lots of music and theater, it’s requiring a bit of an effort to get back on track. However, during August, with our loyal readers in mind, we did experiment with lots of new recipes, so stay tuned. Here’s to a happy harvest as fall emerges in all its glorious reds, yellows and oranges.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Summer Solstice

This delicious (our original recipe) martini took many weeks, before we got exactly the taste we were looking for. That’s why you will see a variety of photographs. Our aim was for a refreshing, immediately delicious flavor with a slight layer of spice; also a light red or dark pink, color. We started with a plethora of ingredients just before dinner. The constant star of them all, is Zubrowka special vodka, delivered directly from Poland, the flavor of which adds a certain punch. It took about eight dinners, before we hit our goal. Now we can share our laborious research, with you. Need I say, we had so much fun, experimenting, on your behalf, of course. :) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here is Dodi, our adorable cat, supervising the project. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients For Two 

Martini shaker, strainer, jigger, towel to catch liquid, while shaking

2.5 teaspoons strawberry puree in bottom of each glass (before pouring)

Vodka, 2 jiggers vodka, plus a splash, into shaker

Strawberry liqueur, 3 jiggers, plus a splash, into shaker

Sparkling rose wine, 6 jiggers, plus a splash, into shaker

Container with ice cubes, drain just before adding to shaker

2 Martini picks

Garnish: 1/2 lime, 6 raspberries

 

Except for this particular, Polish vodka, all of the ingredients are easy to find. For over 30 years, we’ve been ordering from Sherry-Lehmann, a well-known wine and spirits source in Manhattan. If for some reasons, they don’t have what we need, our backup is always Astor Wine & Spirits down on Lafayette Street in the Village. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Put the martini glasses in the fridge for 30 minutes of more.

2. Bring all of your ingredients to the same place

3. In a food processor, puree a few fresh strawberries so that you have 1.5 teaspoons of puree for each martini glass.

4. With a small spoon add the puree to the bottom of each glass, before you pour anything.

5. Put three raspberries on each martini pick, then add a pick to each glass.

6. Slice the lime; cut the slice in half, put each half on the edge of glass

7. Measure the vodka, strawberry liqueur and rose wine, and add to the martini shaker.

8. Last, before shaking, add ice cubes bringing the mixture up to the top.

9. Close the shaker tightly, cover shaker with a towel, and shake as vigorously as you can.

10. Pour contents of shaker into glasses. Not necessary to fill up to the very top, since there will be enough in the shaker for round two.

11. Make a toast and enjoy!

 

This was an experiment, using a strawberry as garnish. They’re too big for the garnish on side of a martini glass. Tried it once, didn’t work well. Decided to use the much smaller red raspberries. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

You’re getting a glimpse of our plant wall, a work in progress. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is a gorgeous martini that will not disappoint. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We have been enjoying the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center this summer. We recently heard award winning pianist from Iceland, Vikingur Olafsson play Beethoven’s Pathetique, and violinist Thomas Zehetmair in Beethoven’s violin concerto, both brought the house down! No one could stop clapping and cheering! The audience went wild! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Beethoven Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op 13 (Pathetique), 1797

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major, 1806

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

Smoked Paprika Hummus with Warm Pita or Flatbread

Who wants to spend a lot of time in a warm kitchen, during the summer? We like to feast on small quick and easy dishes, like tapas; with a good bottle of wine.

 

 

Several years ago, our son, Alex, introduced us to one of Manhattan’s best gourmet vegan restaurants, Candle79. We all go for dinner there, each time he comes to Manhattan . We all love it, by the way. Our strategy at Candle79 (on East 79th Street), is to have 3 or 4 courses, each ordering something different – and sharing. This way, we all get to sample a wide variety of what this inventive restaurant offers. For the appetizer course, one of the dishes was “Smoked Paprika Hummus.“ This and a few other items on the menu, which we ordered, were so-o delicious, that I bought one of the restaurant’s cookbooks in order to try their recipes out at home. The recipes are not that difficult. We want to share with our readers, Candle79?s “Smoked Paprika Hummus“ recipe.

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use the canned chickpeas)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I don’t use the salt)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I also like to use cilantro instead of parsley, for a change of pace)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup tahini

Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers, roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs

 

Some of the ingredients – Serve with warm pita bread

 

Directions

If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

 

Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

 

Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

 

In the food processor.

 

To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.

 

Try stuffing chunks of cucumber with this paprika hummus, or mushrooms or deviled eggs.

 

On an informal summer Sunday night at home, we find that this hummus is so good, we heat up some pita bread, break out a bottle of our favorite white or rose wine, and just sit at our kitchen table, with raw carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks (and a few olives) and eat this delicious repast with total satisfaction. Sorta like a perfect summer picnic at home.

 

See below the wine we enjoyed with the paprika hummus and warm bread, this past weekend.

 

This is a light and lovely sparkling rose wine; perfect in the summer, with practically everything. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Lemon Mousse Delicieux

This is a delicious, cooling dessert, that’s quick and easy to make. No cooking, no hot oven; just your trusty food processor. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Yummy with fresh strawberries, or fresh mangoes, or fresh blue berries. Experiment with your favorite fresh fruit. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Wonderful (do ahead of time) dessert for a group of people. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients for two desserts – two people

1 small can sweetened condensed milk,

1 container of Tofutti (soy cream cheese)

3-4 fresh lemons

2-3 drops of vanilla essential oil

2 or 3 ripe mangos for bottom of dessert dish and for garnish

Tiny fresh mint leaves, for garnish

 

Shopping list doesn’t get much shorter than this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions

1. Fill a medium or large saucepan with water and boil it. Add the lemons and blanch them. This means let them boil for 30 to 60 seconds. Doing this softens the skins and makes it easier to squeeze them.

 

Blanching the lemons, 30 to 60 seconds in boiling water. I should have used a larger pot, but, hey, I’m not perfect. :) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. When lemons are blanched, either let them cool down so you can handle them, or put them in a bowl of cold water so they cool more quickly.

3. Cut the mangos in half, scoop all the flesh out and cut as many strips as you need to garnish the top of each dessert. Chop the remaining mango in tiny pieces and set aside.

4. Get two or four (or more) dessert dishes out and in the bottom of each, add some of the chopped mango.

 

Cut mango in half. With a teaspoon, dig the pit out. Scoop out all the rest of the flesh from the inside of the mango. Also, scrape off the pit, as much of the mango as you can. Put everything on a cutting board and chop. Before you chop, take out as much mango as you’ll need to garnish the mousse later; set aside. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Get a large mixing bowl out.

6. Grate 1 whole lemon for the zest and put into the bowl.

 

Put a flat grater over the mixing bowl, and great 1 whole lemon, for the zest. Some of the zest will fall into the bowl, so you’ll have to scrape all of the zest, off the grater and into the bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

7. Cut the lemons in half. If they’re large, you might want to cut in thirds. Put each section of lemon in a lemon squeezer or old fashioned juicer and squeeze out all the juice. Place a strainer over the large bowl. You’re going to use the strainer to remove lemon pits and pieces of the flesh.

 

My lemon squeezer catches the pits, etc. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

8. Pour the fresh lemon juice through the strainer and into the bowl.

9. To the bowl, add the Tofutti, the drops of vanilla extract, the condensed milk

 

All ingredients are now in the mixing bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

10. The secret to the light fluffiness of the mousse comes next. With electric beaters at high speed, beat the contents of the bowl for 3 to 5 minutes, until you can see that it is light and fluffy. Then take the beaters out, tap them on the bowl to get every last delicious bit and let this mixture stand about 5 minutes, before you do anything else.

 

Five minutes of beating at highest speed and the lemon mousse is done. Beaters will be tapped to get everything off, then it’s time to lick them. Be sure to let the mousse sit in the bowl for another 5 minutes, before you spoon it into your dessert dishes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11. Lick the beaters.  :)

12. While the mixture is standing, if you haven’t spooned chopped fresh mango in bottom of dessert dishes, do that now.

13. Finally, after letting the bowl of mousse sit for 5 minutes, spoon the lemon mousse into the dessert dishes. Decorate the top with the strips of mango. If you can’t find ripe mangos in your neighborhood, use any ripe fresh fruit, like strawberries, peaches, blueberries, bananas, etc. I suppose you could use a topping of whipped cream or cool whip, but in my opinion, that would be gilding the lily, so to speak.   :)

14. Put the dessert dishes in the fridge for about 3 hours.

15. Just before serving, add one tiny mint leaf to the top.

 

Enjoy !

 

 

For variety, you can add some of the lemon mousse to your favorite pound or coffee cake. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

I got quite sick this week with a horrible chest cough, requiring antibiotics. We didn’t have any wine all week. I lost my appetite for everything. However, we did want to share with you our recent find, of bottled Bellinis. The flavor is fine. I was wondering how Bellinis would taste with the lemon mousse dessert, but we never got around to trying it as an after dinner drink.

 

Even if you don’t make the lemon mousse recipe, you might like to try bottled Bellinis before (during?) and after dinner. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Red Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese, Cilantro, Dates, Flax and Black Sesame Seeds

On one hot evening, last week, this is what we had for dinner: veggie burgers, this red cabbage salad recipe that has been perfected over the years, and sweet ripe fresh mango slices. This was the perfect summer meal, so we wanted to share it with you.

 

Ingredients

1.5 pounds (more or less) red cabbage, sliced very thin on a mandolin

2 heaping Tablespoons fresh cilantro, very well chopped

3 Tablespoons your best extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons, fresh lime juice

1 Pinch Salt, 1 pinch black pepper and 1 pinch chili flakes

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or sliced

8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, mashed into the dressing

4 teaspoons well-toasted black sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons toasted flax seeds (optional toasting)

 

Take an up close look at each shred of red cabbage. You’ll see that each one has a surface covered with oil. As a result, the cabbage won’t clump together, as it would, if not made slippery with the olive oil. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Thinly slice the red cabbage on a mandolin. As you know, extremely sharp, so be careful and don’t let your kids use it. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Do all your chopping, slicing, toasting, cutting first.

2. In the salad bowl you’ll use for serving, add the olive oil, lime juice, pinch salt & black pepper, and with a fork, mash the two fresh garlic cloves. Also, add the chili flakes and with the fork, stir the dressing together.

3. Next, add all the cabbage and toss it so that every single piece of cabbage is covered with the dressing. Do this before you add anything else. It’s extremely important to do this now and not later. If you don’t cover each piece of cabbage now with the oil, the drier pieces will clump together and won’t toss well later.

 

Toasting all the black sesame seeds in my smallest pan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. Next, add half of the chopped dates, half of the crumbled cheese, half of the cilantro, half of the flax and black sesame seeds and toss the dressed cabbage, slowly.

Chopping the dates. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chopping the cilantro. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Finally, sprinkle the salad with the remaining dates, cheese, cilantro and sesame seeds and serve.

6. If you want this salad to be less crunchy, let it sit for a while and the cabbage will soften up a bit.

 

We were recently at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan, (East 50s, so, great for pre-theater dinner), and after ordering a salad, I asked about its wonderful crunch and learned that if you add some baked, very hard bread crumbs, pulverized in a food processor, to toasted black sesame seeds, you will get a pleasing crunch along with the flavor, that’s very satisfying. Might want to try that with this salad recipe or others.

If you bought a mandolin, but it’s turned into a dust gatherer, now you have an excellent reason to use it. There are certain tools that you cannot do without in a 21st Century kitchen, a mandolin is one of them and a food processor is another; a small kitchen scale also comes to mind.

 

In this colorful red cabbage salad, every one of the ingredients adds to the final extremely delicious flavor. I’ve experimented a lot with this recipe and you cannot omit any of these ingredients. I would even go so far as to say, don’t even substitute. Wait until you’re able to include all of them. If you don’t have black sesame seeds, don’t use white, order the black online. I get mine from Whole Foods, Amazon, FreshDirect and Nuts.com. All the other ingredients are readily available in an urban location. Considering, the extremely positive outcome, this is an easy recipe. Just a matter of following a few clear steps.

 

For dessert, we had apple circles cooked in dark brown sugar and brandy. Still working on this; will share when ready. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here’s a pricy Italian red, 2012 Tignanello, from the renown Antinori Vineyards. This Tuscan red packs a wallop that captures your nose, tingles your palate and satisfies with a long warm finish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We saw a different type of play this weekend at one of our theater clubs, where we are patrons, the well known, Manhattan Theater Club, called: Cost of Living. There were two disabled characters (out of four actors) in this drama, played by two actors with those same disabilities. I liked having handicapped actors in those roles. During the play and before the curtain call, you could not tell whether or not the actors were disabled, or acting disabled. It was moving during curtain calls, to see that one young female actor, really had both legs amputated from the knees down, and appeared with her prosthetic legs. There were several themes in this play, certainly one was, “who’s in control,“ and being handicapped does not mean being out of control.

 

We had a long lazy stretch of a welcomed extended weekend and managed to stay out of the sun. Hope you were rested too.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Avocado Toast Manhattan Style (move over California)

Born in California. Nuanced in New York. Healthy, easy, beyond tasty, and attractive to serve, especially in the summer. Here and there, I began seeing “avocado toast“ popping up. It seemed too easy to make a big deal out of, but here, there and everywhere, this homage to avocados was ubiquitous. Maybe all the exposure was a subtle marketing tool, but who cares; avocados are on everyone’s top ten list of healthiest foods. Finally, I decided to take a toast challenge, into our kitchen, add my own touches and share the results with our wonderfully responsive readers. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The basic recipe is one slice of whole wheat or whole grain bread, toasted. Then, cut a ripe avocado in half and pit it. With a spoon, scoop the avocado out of its skin, leaving as little of the flesh as you can. Next, slice it, arrange the slices on the toast. (optional) drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the avocado, add seasoning, if you wish. Cut toast in half, in quarters or leave uncut, and eat. Here you see the basic ingredients for avocado toast. Below, are ingredients I have added, to enable you to mix and match, so that this healthy and easy dish stays fresh and new, all summer, indoors or out. Brunch, lunch, beach, backyard, snack or supper. Good with icy beer, chilled white or rose wine, flavored or plain ice water?..just plain delicious with everything, anywhere.

Ingredients

Whole wheat or whole grain bread, toasted

Ripe avocado, cut in half, pitted, sliced

Find ripe but firm avocados. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

These are all the ingredients you need for the original California avocado toast. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

The following ingredients are what I have been adding to the avocado toast idea:

Tomato slices

Orange and yellow pepper slices, cooked in oil a few minutes until soft

Red onion slices

Hearts of romaine

Turkey bacon, cooked first

Ahi salmon, chopped well

Nova salmon under avocado slices

 

In the future, I’ll be trying avocado slices or mashed avocado sprinkled with chopped rosemary pistachios. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Clockwise: Avocado slices, tomato slices, red onion slices, orange & yellow cooked peppers, turkey bacon (cooked), romaine hearts.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado mash: A variation on avocado toast is mash one or two avocados, add some cut up ripe tomatoes, squeeze as much fresh garlic as you like, add fresh lemon or lime juice, flax seeds, mix well and spread on your whole grain toast. Or, use this avocado mash, as topping to other toast ideas. This mash turned out very well. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Fry as many eggs as you want. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Go by your own palate and create as many different combinations, with toast and avocados. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

When I was a kid, my mother used to break a soft boiled egg over whatever hot cereal I was eating for breakfast. To this day, I love runny yolks on top of many dishes like veal chops, veggies, salmon tartare and much more, so this variation, above, was a no-brainer and my first variation for avocado toast. This turned out to be a delicious lunch. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Delicious down to the last bite. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with red onion. Extremely tasty. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with ripe tomato – with or without some mashed avocado on top. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with crispy hearts of romaine, topped with avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with turkey bacon (cooked first), then topped with avocado slices  and avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast, using soft cooked orange pepper, avocado slice, topped with avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast, mashed on site, with your fork, then topped with red onion rings. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, slices of avocado, mashed at table with fork, topped with chopped raw ahi salmon, topped with another slice of avocado. When I do this particular variation again, I will top this sandwich with sprouts, preferably broccoli sprouts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, mashed avocado, chopped nova, topped with red onion ring. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, plain avocado slices, mashed with fork, covered with raw ahi chopped salmon, topped with runny yolk fried egg. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Goodness Comes in Many Forms. Here is my favorite combo of all: Whole grain toast, layer of avocado slices mashed with fork, next layer chopped raw ahi salmon, topped with runny yolk fried egg, red onion ring(s). and sipping chilled white wine. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The very next day, at one of our favorite restaurants, I asked the chef to make salmon tartare with two runny eggs on top. The green you see (above) is seaweed in the salmon tartare. I created this dish, at this restaurant. -to die for! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This chilled white, went well with all variations of the avocado toast. Here’s another toast: good health, to all our friends and colleagues! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

On Saturday we saw a play at one of our theater clubs, where we are patrons, called: Fulfillment Center. I hear it got good reviews; however, sorry to say, neither Jules nor I liked it.

The Big Apple is beautiful these days. We live near Central Park (luckily) and it’s lush these days, with all the rain we’re getting. Everything is in bloom. The park near the Planetarium is gorgeous, as is (Public Library) Bryant Park, near our offices. The Westside Highway is like driving through a park, so many trees have been planted there, plus the wild rose bushes are in full flower now adding to the pleasure of driving down the WSHighway.

The world is in chaos, but this was a relaxing beautiful weekend for us!

Be well, everyone

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

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