October 16

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Egg Fettuccine With Figs, Rosemary and Pancetta

Serves 4 as a main course

3 slices firm white sandwich bread

3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)

salt and pepper

6 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, or to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

12 figs, trimmed and cut in half

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste

3/4 pound dried egg fettuccine

freshly grated parmesan

Tear bread into pieces and pulse in blender or food processor until reduced to coarse crumbs.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and then cook bread crumbs, stirring constantly, until golden-brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour bread crumbs into a bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking, and then cook pancetta, stirring, until golden-brown and crisp. Remove pancetta from pan with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

Add onion to the skillet, with the pancetta drippings, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring 1 minute. Stir in wine and boil until liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Stir in broth, figs, parsley, half of the pancetta and lemon juice and remove from heat.

Cook fettuccine in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, and then drain pasta in a colander.

Add fettuccine to fig mixture with 1/4 reserved cooking water and salt and pepper to taste. Heat over low heat, tossing gently, adding more cooking water if mixture becomes dry. Cook until heated through.

Serve pasta topped with bread crumbs, parmesan and remaining pancetta.
--Gourmet magazine

Grilled Pork and Fig Kebabs

Serves 4

1 pound pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 clove garlic, minced

8 large fresh figs, halved

cooking spray

Cut the pork crosswise into 16 pieces. Mix together all other ingredients, except the figs, to make a marinade for the pork.

Put the pork and marinade in a glass or ceramic dish and chill, covered, for 30 minutes.

Thread four pieces of the pork on each kebab. On separate kebabs, thread four figs each lengthwise, with cut side facing down.

Coat grill rack or grill pan with cooking spray. Place pork on grill over medium-hot coals for 4 minutes, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Then add the figs with the cut side down, until they are heated through. (You may want to flip figs once or twice.)

Cook until pork is done, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
--Cooking Light magazine

Fresh Figs With Rosemary Goat Cheese

Serves 12

11 ounces soft, mild goat cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (more or less to taste)

1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound (about 15) fresh figs, black mission figs or brown turkey figs if you can find them; halved and little stems removed

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except figs, until smooth. Mound goat-cheese mixture in center of platter. Place halved figs around the cheese. Serve with a cheese knife to spread the mixture on fig halves.

Rosemary goat cheese can be made a day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.
--Gourmet magazine

Missouri Red Cake

Serves 16

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 ounces red food coloring

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Cream first 5 ingredients. Sift dry ingredients and beat into shortening mixture gradually. Add buttermilk and vinegar last.

In a preheated 300-degree oven, bake in greased and floured three-layer cake pans 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool cakes slightly on wire rack.

Run a knife around the edges and turn cakes out. Cool completely and ice.

Icing

1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

pinch salt

1 cup sugar

1 stick (8 tablespoons) margarine

1/2 cup Crisco

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

flaked or shredded coconut, optional

Cook first 3 ingredients until thick. Allow to cool. Cream sugar, margarine, Crisco and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture and beat again. Frost cooled cake. Garnish, if desired, with flaked or shredded coconut.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "The cake is indeed a deep-red color, imparted by the food coloring and cocoa. I think a more subtle color would be pleasing, so I would add half the amount of food coloring. "This cake is easy to over-cook, so remove layers from the oven as soon as a tester comes out mostly clean. If left in the oven too long, the cake can be dry.

"The icing makes a stiff, fluffy, very attractive frosting to the cake, the off-white color contrasting nicely with the deep-red interior."

Brazilian Black Bean Bake

Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each)

2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons minced jalapeno chile

2 to 4 teaspoons minced ginger root or 1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger

four 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained, or 6 cups cooked dry-packaged black beans, rinsed, drained

two 14 1/2 -ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cubed fresh or jarred mango

1/3 cup sliced banana (see note)

Combine all ingredients, except mango and banana, in 3-quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, 30 minutes; uncover and bake to desired thickness, about 1 hour. Spoon mango and banana on beans before serving.

Note: If desired, ripe plantain can be substituted for banana.

Per serving: 289 calories; 60 grams carbohydrate; 11 grams protein; less than 1 gram fat; 10 grams dietary fiber; 1,296 milligrams sodium; 0 milligrams cholesterol

New England Baked Beans

Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each)

1 pound dry-packaged navy beans

8 ounces sliced bacon, cubed

2 cups chopped onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Place beans in large saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches; heat to boiling and boil 2 minutes. Let stand, covered, 1 hour; drain. Return beans to pan with enough water to come to the top of the beans; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer beans and liquid to bean pot or 3-quart casserole.

Stir bacon and remaining ingredients into beans. Bake, covered, at 250 degrees for 1 hour; uncover and bake until desired thickness, 4 to 6 hours, stirring every hour.

Per serving: 388 calories; 55 grams carbohydrate; 18 grams protein; 9 grams fat; 14 grams dietary fiber; 798 milligrams sodium; 11 milligrams cholesterol
--Recipes from the Bean Awareness and Education Network

Charred Tuna Bites

Serves 6 to 8 as hors d'oeuvre or small plate

SPICE MIX:

3 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

TUNA:

1 pound fresh tuna, sushi-grade if possible

oil for sauteing

GINGER TARTAR:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 tablespoon ginger

In a small bowl, combine all spices, which can be dry. Then cut tuna into bite-sized pieces and toss in the spice mix until coated.

Place a saute pan on the burner and let it get hot, then add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add spice-covered tuna bites and saute, turning each piece quickly so as not to overcook. Total cooking time should not be more than 1 minute for each batch.

Remove tuna bites from pan and place on paper towel to absorb oil. Repeat as necessary.

For ginger tartar: Mix ingredients in bowl and put in refrigerator to chill.

Then place tuna on plate and top with ginger tartar.
--Sascha's 527

Melitzanosalata (Eggplant Dip)

Serves about 30 guests with bread at a party; can be halved

3 medium to large eggplants

salt to sprinkle

1 1/2 cups of very fine olive oil (divided use)

5 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cut the eggplants in half and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes. Roast the eggplants with a bit of olive oil on the grill or in the oven until soft.

When cold, put them in a food processor and blend with the garlic and balsamic vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil until the consistency is smooth and creamy.

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.
--The Black Olive

Mussels in Ouzo

Serves about 6 guests as small plate; 3 guests as larger serving

3 dozen fresh mussels

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups of white wine

1/2 cup of ouzo

1 parsley bunch, chopped

Rinse off mussels. Throw out any that are clearly open.

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic until it is almost brown, then immediately put in the mussels.

Add the wine and cover. Keep on high and cook for about 3 minutes until the mussels are opened. Uncover and add the ouzo. Cook for another 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley. Serve the mussels in the broth.
--The Black Olive

Amazing Tofu Teriyaki

Serves 2

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar

4 to 5 dashes Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound extra-firm tofu, sliced in half or thirds lengthwise

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, mirin, sugar, Tabasco, ginger and a light grinding of pepper. Stir to mix well.

In a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot and almost shimmering, fry the tofu, turning once, until lightly browned and crisp on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour out excess oil from pan and set aside.

While the tofu is still warm, cut it into cubes. Add the marinade and mix until very well-coated. Set aside until ready to finish them off in the skillet. If you have the time, let the tofu marinate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Increase the heat to high. When the skillet is very hot, pour the marinated tofu and all the marinade back into the pan. Fry, stirring constantly, until the marinade is completely absorbed and the tofu is well-coated.

Cornmeal Chicken With Fresh Peach Salsa

Preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Fresh Peach Salsa (recipe follows)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Prepare Fresh Peach Salsa. Mix cornmeal, salt and pepper. Coat chicken with cornmeal mixture. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in oil 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Serve with the peach salsa.

Per serving: 405 calories; 5 grams total fat (3 grams saturated); 85 milligrams cholesterol; 520 milligrams sodium; 31 grams carbohydrate; 33 grams protein

Fresh Peach Salsa

3 cups chopped, peeled peaches

1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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