Cook the Book – Mom’s Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mom’s Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This dressing will hold in the refrigerator for two weeks.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 to 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup salad oil

Pulse all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. With the food processor running, gradually add the oil (this doesn’t need to be slow, just don’t dump it in all at once).

Makes approximately 1 cup

Replacing White Flour with Whole Wheat in Recipes

Stromboli was lunch today for a group of Waldorf kids on their 8th grade trip adventure.  What a terrific group!

As it was a PPH column first, the previous post only included a link, but now can include the whole recipe.  After it ran, a reader asked this question about replacing white with wheat flour and I thought it was a good one to share:

I always enjoy your column; my husband’s favorite French Onion soup is the one you printed a while back. Now I would like to give your stromboli a try, perhaps for Valentine’s Day. I was wondering what you thought about using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and if I did, whether there are any adaptations I should make. I already plan to try a new brownie recipe from the most recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine, so I figured the stromboli would be fun too. Why not break the caloric bank in the name of love??? (I guess that is why I might feel better using whole wheat flour!!!)

Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your recipe suggestions!

Mary G.

And my response:  That French Onion Soup is my husband’s absolute favorite recipe too (which I will post on a future date.)  I love your phrase about ‘breaking the calorie bank’!  As for using whole wheat, I have two thoughts.  One, don’t replace more than half of the white flour with the wheat, any more and you’ll have to adjust the gluten content or it won’t rise as well.  The other thought is to use whole wheat bread flour, which has more gluten in it, and rises better.  Even so, for the first time, I wouldn’t replace all of the white flour with the wheat. On another note, I read that brownie recipe a couple of days ago and thought to try it as well.  I really love the one I already use, but it’s more fudgy than anything else, which has only seemed a very good thing.

Happy caloric eating to you and your husband!

Stromboli Dough
Stromboli is similar to a pizza or a calzone.  While a pizza is flat and a calzone folded over itself once, stromboli are rolled into a loaf with the toppings inside.

This dough is easily doubled or tripled to make stromboli for a crowd or for any of the above mentioned uses.  Of course you can always knead this dough by hand, but I’m assuming that only the purists among us will do so when a dough hook is readily available.  If you don’t own a dough hook, no worries, our foremothers (and me all summer long) just kneaded the dough for 10-15 minutes by hand.  It’s a meditative and energetic exercise all at once.

3/4 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water, reserve 1/4 cup and add as needed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for the top of the dough
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a mixing bowl.  With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low speed.  Add 3/4 cup of water and olive oil.  When the dough begins to form a ball, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the little bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl start to work into the dough.  Knead on medium low speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the surface of the dough begins to be very smooth and the dough is elastic.

Oil the top of the dough, cover with either a plate or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°.  Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven.  Dust a baking pan with corn meal.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured countertop to about the size of a laptop.  Lay out ingredients over the entire surface and roll up snugly into a loaf, tucking in the ends and pinching the seam closed.   Place the loaf onto the pan dusted with cornmeal.  Oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 1/2 hour.  When the loaf has nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on the top with a razor or very sharp knife.

Place the baking pan in the oven, throw 1 cup of water into the skillet on the bottom to generate steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and an internal read thermometer reads 210°.

Serves 4-6

Ricotta and Genoa Salami
1/2 pound sliced Genoa salami
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about 1 cup

Mozzarella with Parsley and Arugula Pesto

1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)
6 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about  2 cups

Parsley and Arugula Pesto
1/2 packed cup parsley leaves
1/4 packed cup basil leave
1/4 packed cup arugula leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the leaves are finely blended.

Makes 1 cup (I know the stromboli recipe calls for only 1/2 cup, but if you are going to clean the food processor anyway, why not make extra to go in a pasta dish or a dressing on salad?)

No-Cook Tomato Herb Sauce
The stromboli is nice on it’s own, but traditionally it has a sauce to go with it.  I discovered this summer that even canned crushed tomatoes make a flavorful sauce that doesn’t need cooking when the bright flavors of parsley and basil and the zip of fresh garlic are mixed with the tang of red wine vinegar.

1 14oz. can crushed tomatoes, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 teaspoons minced garlic, about 1 clove
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic
1/8 teaspoon salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.  This sauce benefits from 20-30 minutes of just sitting to allow the herbs and garlic to soften and the flavors to combine.

Makes 2 cups  (again, you’ll have extra, but why not?  With the extra pesto above you’ve got the beginnings of a great pasta dish.)

Our first days on the bay are always so sweet!

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Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Peas with Penne

“Mama, WHY are we the only ones who take care of the chickens?” say the girls one morning. (They aren’t but who’s counting.)

“I tell you what, I’ll do the chickens both morning and evening if you cook dinner tonight,” I say with complete certainty that they’ll choose chickens.

“DEAL!” they say.

So then goes the conversation about what they’ll make and how they’ll make it all by themselves. Admittedly, they did ask questions and I did hang around the kitchen to field them, but I didn’t touch a pot or a pair of tongs once.

They served it with asparagus from the garden and even figured out how to use the pasta water to blanch the asparagus. The amounts of the peas and the cheese are approximate as I wasn’t in there measuring, but the creme fraiche and the salmon are exact.

It wasn’t just edible; it was GOOD!

Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Peas with Penne
1 pound package of penne
4 oz. creme fraiche
1 1/2 to 2 cups peas. The girls used frozen, but if you have fresh peas? Heaven.
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese. I was skeptical but it was great!
salt and pepper
4 oz. smoked salmon

Asparagus with Lemon
If the asparagus you find is skinnier than what I’ve listed, reduce your blanching time accordingly.
1 bunch thick asparagus (about 3/4-inch diam.)
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta for 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Add the asparagus for 4 more minutes. Remove asparagus with tongs to a platter and add the peas to the water for 1 minute. Drain and return to the pasta pot. Add the creme fraiche, cheddar cheese and smoked salmon and stir until the cheddar is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze half a lemon over the asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve the pasta with the asparagus and a lettuce and vegetable salad.

Serves 4 to 6


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Wilted Brie Salad

This recipe was inspired by Kerry Altiero, chef and co-owner of Café Miranda’s in Rockland, Maine.  If you haven’t eaten there yet, it’s a palate’s delight.

This is a perfect last minute meal for greens that you might find popping up in your garden (or under the cold frame).  If you don’t have time to make the pesto or the crostini, just skip it and buy both.  This salad also makes a great sit down appetizer for a dinner party.

Wilted Brie Salad
8 cups mesclun mix, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 oz. brie cheese, cut into four wedges

Preheat broiler.  Mix all ingredients except for the brie and divide evenly onto 4 plates.  Place wedge of brie on top of salad.  Place under broiler for 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

No longer looking for a quick dinner tonight

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Russian Penne

When I made this recipe this week, I wouldn’t tell anyone what was in it until they tried it.  Then I shared.  Knowing that the combination of ingredients don’t sound good unless you are a desperate vegetarian or have a bumper cabbage crop.  Turns out, the combination hits you just right when you want a cosy pasta dish filled with gooey cheese and healthy veggies.

This is a recipe that harks back to a time when Jon and I were vegetarians and ate more cheese than two people should ever consume in one year.  We wanted to see if we felt healthier by a change our eating habits.  And while it’s true, we did eat more vegetables, we also ate a ri-di-cu-lous amount of cheese.  No surprise that we didn’t feel much different at the end of our vegetarian year.  The reason for so much cheese? – we were looking for the big boosts of flavor that meat can bring to food and cheese was the solution for us.  Of course now, there are all sorts of great vegetarian cookbooks that would help us build flavor in our food without adding so much dairy.   Turns out we couldn’t wait that long and only lasted a year before we succumbed to burgers and bacon.  Molly Katzen’s cookbook, Moosewood Cookbook, was one of the few highlights of that year and I still use the dog eared, grease-stained copy.

Russian Penne
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 diced scallions
1 diceded green pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms
1 shredded carrot
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups uncooked penne
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
several grinds of fresh black pepper

Cook the penne in salted boiling water until just underdone.  Drain and reserve.  Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the cabbage, green pepper, mushroom and carrot.  Combine everything in the pasta pot or large bowl.

Bake in a buttered 9×13 pan, covered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serves 6-8

I dare you to try it!

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Portland Press Herald – latest column

Many of my grandma's baking recipes called for sour milk, the modern equivalent of which is buttermilk.  You can cause milk to sour by adding one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, but you need to use a little bit less of the created buttermilk because it's a little thinner than store bought. 

What I'm finding as I use raw milk is that while raw milk will sour faster than pasteurized, once the milk goes sour it has a fabulous consistency which is perfect for baking.  On the boat, I end up using half and half, cream or milk that has soured but has a second life making flavor in brownies, scones, biscuits and Irish soda bread.

This week's The Maine Ingredient column in the Portland Press Herald is about making your own cheese – ricotta, ricotta salata and Y(5) yogurt.  Y(5) yogurt is a cultured yogurt that is sweeter, a little less sour and thicker than others I've made at home and on the boat and I can't make it fast enough to satisfy the mouths in this family.  The only downside is it's not meant to be recultured, meaning you need to use a packet of culture from New England Cheese Supply Company every time. 

To make yogurt cheese, which is spreadable and somewhat like goat cheese, line a deep bowl with cheese cloth and pour the yogurt into the cloth.  Tie the ends and hang over the bowl by threading a wooden spoon through the knot and resting the spoon on the edge of the bowl. Allow the whey (the liquid) to separate from the solids overnight.  Remove the cheese cloth and enjoy on crackers, toast or drizzle with olive oil and herbs. 

To make cheese balls, roll into small equal sized balls and place in a jar of olive oil and a sprig of rosemary.  Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. If the oil has congealed, simple let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and then remove the yogurt.


© 2009 Anne Mahle

Pumpkin Roll

PumpkinRoll1bPumpkin Roll

This recipe was given to me by my friend, Linda Bournival, and I’ve only adjusted it for style, not content. She makes it for holiday gifts and gives it with the recipe since so many people ask her for it. It will forever be one of my favorites.

unsalted butter (for the baking sheet)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup minced pecans
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 15 1/2- x 10 1/2-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper. Place a sifter on top of a small plate and measure the dry ingredients into the sifter. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a whisk or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the pumpkin, combine well, and then sift in the dry ingredients. Spread the batter onto the prepared pan and sprinkle with the pecans. Bake for 15 minutes or until the center is done and the edges pull slightly away from the pan. Meanwhile, spread a kitchen towel out on the counter and sprinkle with the confectioner’s sugar. Turn the finished cake onto the towel to cool. Peel off the parchment paper and roll the cake and towel into a log. Set aside to cool.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides occasionally. Unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling over the whole cake. Roll up again, removing the towel and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the filling to set and slice into 8 to 12 pieces.

Serves 8 to 12

Many wonderful days to you and your family.