BASIL, MUSHROOM AND PARSLEY DRESSING

from The Good Cook, Time-Life’s cooking series – serves 4

This is for hot vegetables. Poured over them just as they come out of the water or steam. If it’s water, pour out the cooking water and let the vegetables dry. Green beans are the choice for this dressing in France.

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped basil leaves – or 2 tsb. Dried
2 tbsp. tarragon white wine vinegar
½ cup mushrooms
1 tbsp. walnut oil
¼ cup chopped parsley

Soften the butter in a mortar or small bowl and work in the basil leaves, plus 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Toss the mushrooms with the oil and remaining vinegar. Toss the hot vegetables in the basil butter, mushrooms and parsley and serve.

EVERY DAY STRAIGHT UP VINAIGRETTE

Good on everything inc. cooked vegetables; one cup or so

1 Tablespoon Dijon

3 or 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 or so teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt and pepper

Fine cut parsley or chives

½ cup olive oil

OPTIONAL:  Add honey if you find the taste too tart.  I start with a tablespoon and go from there.

In a small bowl, wisk the first four ingredients together.  Add herbs.

Slowly add (in thin stream) olive oil whisking till it’s all added.

Adjust seasoning and taste.

Add honey if you choose.

Inspired by The Silver Palate Cookbook

Spaghetti Tossed with Eggs, Smoked Cheese, and Fried Bread Crumbs

Here’s a farm favorite…it’s from Madison Brown’s Greens Cookbook.

4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 green olives, chopped into small pieces (optional)
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 Eggs
4 Tablespoons Parmesan, grated
3/4 cup tiny croutons or course bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons Butter
8 oz. dried spaghetti
3 ounces smoked cheese, grated
Pepper

Bring pot of water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and the chili flakes, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the onions are nicely browned. Season with salt, turn off the heat, add the garlic, and stir for 20 seconds or so; then scrape the contents into a large bowl and add the olives and the parsley.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl with the Parmesan. Fry the croutons or bread crumbs in the butter until they are crisp and golden.

When you are ready to cook the spaghetti, add salt to the water, the the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. Pour it directly into a colander, and shake off the excess water; then add the spaghetti to the bowl with the onion. Pour in the eggs and toss well to coat the noodles and cook the eggs. If the eggs don’t cook as much as you would like, put everything in a non-stick pan and warm it gently while stirring, until the eggs are properly done; then stir in the cheese and season with plenty of coarsely ground pepper. Toss one more time with the croutons or bread crumbs.

serves 2 to 4

Some tips about preserving herbs

Freezing: The easiest way to handle herbs it to simply put them in zippered plastic bags (wash the herbs well and remove the tough ends; whether you chop them or not is up to you). Basil should be blanched for about a minute before it’s frozen or it will turn black; the others don’t need it) though their color will be brighter if you do). When they’re thawed, they’ll be crumbly and should be treated like dry herbs.

Drying: Simply tie a bunch with a string or ribbon and hang upside down in a dry spot (keep away from drafts, cooking fumes, and extreme cold). When they’re completely dry, crumble them and store in a glass jar with a tight cover. If you need to protect your drying herbs from dust or animals, place them in a plastic bag before tying them.

Microwaving: You can dry herbs in a microwave oven in a matter of seconds; just remember that if you leave them for a second too long, you’ll find a pile of ash or possibly a blazing bouquet. Spread the herbs on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel (dry about a cupful at a time). Microwave on high for 40 seconds; check and repeat for 5 seconds at each try, until the herbs are dry and crumbly. After the first round, don’t let it go for more than five seconds at a time.

Any-Herb Pesto

Ingredients: Salt
2 1/2 loosely packed cups fresh basil, parsley, mint, chives, dill, cilantro, or any combination
(Note: If you want to use stronger herbs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, or oregano, limit yourself to a tablespoon per batch and make up the bulk with parsley, basil, dill, or another less-intense herb.)
1 small garlic clove, or to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts or roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the herbs with a pinch of salt, the garlic, nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually. At this point, the pesto can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to several months. Wait to add the cheese until after you have defrosted the pesto, or add it to the food processor or blender to taste.

And to quick ways to fix cabbage (besides your 4th of July coleslaw)