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Recipe: “Blonde” Meatballs & Spaghetti

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

I love the concept of spaghetti and meatballs, but in reality I always find the actual dish too heavy, without tasting inspired or fresh. A bowl of pasta lacquered in heavy tomato sauce with even heavier meatballs might be the perfect answer to hunger pains on a wintry day, but what if you’re looking for something less filling, slightly more refined, and more presentable on the plate? Well, I happened upon a delicious path to a more delicate version of spaghetti and meatballs while cooking for a client and seeking a luncheon recipe to appease both children and adults at the table.

I always say that there is alchemy in the kitchen because if there weren’t, my career as a professional chef would have ended early into my tenure. For instance, there was the leg of lamb that despite following the recipe to the letter was completely undercooked and had to be butterflied and broiled until I could carve and serve it without destroying the beautiful piece of meat in the process. My clients later said it was the best leg of lamb that they had ever eaten. These little blessings happen all the time because, let’s face it, cooking is art and performance all rolled into one and just like anything else in life, there is room for error. And somewhere along the way, I have learned to trust in the process that no matter how bleak the scenario, the perfect solution is just a few deep breaths away.

Under similar circumstances, I developed this recipe out of necessity without any precedent for where I was going with the ingredients. My client had suggested a pasta with protein and also mentioned that there was ground turkey and a few eggplants in the refrigerator. Immediately, baked penne melanzane with a turkey ragù came to mind, but the creative side of my brain vetoed the notion and urged me to come up with something different. Note to self: cooking untested recipes for the first time at a client’s could be professional suicide or another good day in the kitchen. The gambler in me bet on myself, and a very clear image of turkey eggplant meatballs with a caramelized garlic olive oil sauce over spaghetti occurred to me.

And guess what? This dish turned out to be one of the most delicious and easiest meals I’ve ever prepared, while also hitting high marks for a gorgeous presentation. I plated it on a huge platter with a generous sprinkling of minced Italian parsley and additional freshly grated Parmesan, a blonde version of an Italian favorite. My clients loved it, too, and now it’s earned a place in the cookbook I will one day write.

So if you, like me, have fallen out of love with spaghetti and meatballs, rekindle your affection with mine.

Turkey Eggplant Meatballs with
Golden Caramelized Aglio e Olio

Serves 8 to 10

For the meatballs
2 pounds ground turkey
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, finely diced
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
6 slices white bread, torn into pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper (do not substitute with foil, or meatballs will stick).
2. In a large bowl mix the turkey, onion, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.
3. Put the eggplant dice in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
4. Put the torn bread in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of the reserved eggplant water. Mash and squeeze the bread until it is a doughy, wet mass. If more water is needed, add a few more tablespoons one at a time.
5. Put the eggplant on a cutting board and chop until it is reduced to a pulpy purée.
6. Add the bread and eggplant to the turkey and mix well. Add the eggs and Parmesan and mix well. The mixture will be light and moister than a traditional meatball mixture.
7. Gingerly roll the turkey mixture into 2-inch balls and drop onto a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the bottoms are crunchy. Set aside.

For the pasta
12 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds dried spaghetti
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup minced Italian parsley

1. Place the minced garlic in a small pot, not a saucepan, and cover with the olive oil. (This is not a sauté but a slower-cooked caramelization process that cannot be achieved in a shallow pool of olive oil. The garlic would cook too quickly and taste bitter rather than sweet and garlicky with a chewy texture.) Add the salt and the red pepper flakes. Cook over low heat until the garlic has caramelized and is golden and slightly browned on the edges, about 15 minutes.
2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse; immediately place in a large bowl and toss with ¾ cup of the garlic olive oil. Toss with the Parmesan and parsley. Spread on a large serving platter.
3. In a large sauté pan over high heat, reheat the meatballs with the rest of the garlic olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Tumble the meatballs onto the platter and serve immediately.
4. Follow with a simple green salad. Mangiamo!

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/13/17 at 05:11 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Mini Apple Turnovers

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Jenn So, director of programs at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This is one of our favorite recipes at The Sylvia Center. It’s perfect for all ages and is a great handheld dessert for kids, not to mention a wonderful snack to make for a party. The phyllo dough is crispy and just slightly buttery and the tart apples match beautifully with honey. Replace the apple with pears or any other fruit, just be sure to cook down most of the liquid. You can also use this technique with savory fillings like spinach and feta or curried chickpeas.

Mini Apple Turnovers
Serves 6

3-4 large apples, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons butter
Cinnamon, to taste
1 package phyllo dough, defrosted

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Heat butter in a pan and melt slowly to avoid browning. Pour melted butter into a small bowl and add apples to pan. Sauté apples in the residual butter until soft. Add a pinch of cinnamon and the honey to the apple mixture to desired taste. 

3. Following instructions on box for handling phyllo dough, fold dough in half lengthwise and brush surface with butter. Place ¼ cup apple mixture at bottom corner of the dough and fold into a triangle, and then continue to fold in triangles, like folding up a flag.

4. Brush each triangle with butter and place on a baking sheet. Bake 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/06/17 at 03:50 PM • Permalink

The Duchess Of Litchfield’s Best Flourless Chocolate Cake Ever

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.color:green;

My clients eat a lot of chocolate desserts and over the years I have searched high and low for the best chocolate fill-in-the-blank to keep it interesting for them and me. So I have curated an enviable index of chocolate desserts. And then one day, as I was testing several recipes for chocolate flourless cakes, I came up with the motherlode of recipes. I essentially added more butter, eggs and chocolate to several standard recipes and came up with my own cake that is hands-down the most moist, rich and decadent cake I’ve ever eaten. I then considered how to gild the lily so-to-speak, and plated it on my improvised crème anglaise, then tossed a few berries on top for color. This became my go-to chocolate dessert and it’s a perennial favorite. Best of all, it’s fail safe, requiring very little prep or special equipment. In other words, you can make it in a snap and wow your guests with your culinary prowess when you serve it beautifully plated. Additionally, it keeps for up to a week, so if you make it for yourself, you can finish each day with a little chocolate love for all the good you do. Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Brandied Crème Anglaise
Yield: 12 servings

For the cake
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter plus more for the pan
10 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the pan and the paper.
2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove the top of the double boiler or the bowl from heat and whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and whisk well. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before sliding a knife along the edge and releasing the spring.
3. Dust the cake with cocoa powder, cut it into 1-inch slices, and serve on a puddle of brandied crème anglaise. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week.

For the creme anglaise
2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon good-quality vanilla
2 tablespoons brandy

1. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, slowly bring the cream and vanilla to a soft boil and immediately remove from the heat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the hot cream to the yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking the entire time (you might need a spare set of hands to hold the bowl). Transfer the mixture to the same saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened and a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let the custard boil.)
3. Cool the crème anglaise completely and stir in the brandy. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate. Pull the plastic wrap off before serving, which will remove the filmy top.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/01/17 at 03:11 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Singapore-style Rice Noodles

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Jenn So, director of programs at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

Singapore-style Rice Noodles can be typically found on menus at Chinese-American restaurants. Our version is healthy and packed full of seasonal vegetables and warming curried noodles. Like any stir-fry, this dish is a perfect way to use up those vegetables and proteins you’ve got in your fridge. It’s great with leftover chicken or beef, or you can keep it vegetarian by using tofu or more egg. If you like your noodles on the spicier side, add hot chili oil or red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Singapore-style Rice Noodles
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or spinach, roughly chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 8-oz package of thin rice noodles
Scallions, sliced thinly on bias for garnish (optional)

1. Soak rice noodles in a large bowl with hot water for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine curry powder, broth and soy sauce. Set aside.

3. Warm oil over medium-high heat in a large wok or sauté pan. Add onion, red bell pepper, carrot and cabbage. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add tofu.

4. Push vegetables aside to create a small area in the middle of the wok or pan. Add eggs and scramble. Add rice noodles and sauté to combine with vegetables. Add curry powder mixture and cook until liquid has absorbed into noodles. Add more soy sauce, broth or curry powder to taste.

5. Serve immediately with a garnish of scallions.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/23/17 at 02:54 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Cauliflower Soup With Buckwheat Drizzle

Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.

I am addicted to vichyssoise and all its incarnations. I make the classic French version with potatoes and leeks but have expanded the recipe to include celery root, parsnips and onions. No matter what combination of ingredients I choose, the end result is a multi-dimensional soup whose flavor is certainly greater than the sum of its parts and the ease of its preparation. I make it all year long and serve it either warm or room temperature — a versatility that few soups can match. All these factors made vichyssoise my favorite go-to soup, until I made this recipe recently for a client and fell in love with its depth of flavor, texture and healthier ingredients. This cauliflower cashew soup with buckwheat drizzle is a surprisingly divine soup, as sophisticated, hearty and elegant as its French counterpart, while offering a more contemporary spin – this recipe has no cream and no butter. But, if you like, you can add a quarter cup of cream at the very end to heighten the already velvety texture and appearance.

I served it as a starter for a fancy multi-course dinner and then at home to help us defrost from these recent frigid temps. Since it’s all we were having for dinner, I added chive and parmesan biscuits and the pairing was a match made in heaven. In fact, as a little snack, split a biscuit and smother it with the soup a la biscuits and gravy and you’re in business. Plus, it’s super easy to make and even the most amateur cook can make this lickety split.

Cauliflower-Cashew Soup With Crispy Buckwheat Drizzle
Serves 8

Note: Simmering vegetables in a covered pot over low heat so that they steam in their own liquid — a French technique called à l’étouffée — is the ticket to achieving a soup with pronounced depth.

½ cup olive oil, divided
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, separated
½ cup Sherry
1 large head of cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets, stem chopped, divided
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. raw cashews
6 cups (or more) chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons buckwheat groats
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon paprika

1. Warm ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and Herbes de Provence; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.

2. Add Sherry, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set ¾ cup cauliflower aside; add the rest to pot along with cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.

3. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 15 minutes (check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; reduce heat if they are).

4. Add stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

5. Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower, cashews and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.

6. Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.

7. Serve topped with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.

Do ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 1 month if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/16/17 at 01:35 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Roasted Winter Vegetable Burrito

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Jenn So, director of programs at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This simple yet filling roasted winter vegetable burrito recipe is bursting with flavor and packed with protein. It’s a quick and crowd-pleasing dish and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to make. It’s perfect for those nights you’re craving something hearty, tasty and quick and have an assortment of winter vegetables you’re looking to use. You can toss in any type of winter squash or hearty green instead of the butternut squash or kale.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Burrito
Serves 4

1 yellow onion, halved and thickly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thickly sliced
1 bunch of kale, chopped coarsely
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 large tortillas
Fresh salsa, to serve (optional)
Sour cream, to serve (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. Combine the onion, bell pepper, kale and squash in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, cumin, cayenne and salt. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Roast vegetables until squash is golden brown and kale is crispy but not burnt, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Remove vegetables from the oven and transfer to the large mixing bowl. Add black beans and season to taste with salt.
5. Add vegetable filling to each tortilla and top with grated cheese and cilantro. Add salsa and sour cream if using. Wrap and serve.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/09/17 at 11:28 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Tre Colori Lasagna

We are happy to introduce you to a new recipe contributor. Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients. We welcome her former food blog “The Duchess of Litchfield County” to its new home at Rural Intelligence.

The word “lasagna” is a classic example of onomatopoeia. There is a richness, fullness and promise of something deeply satisfying when it rolls off your tongue. Lasagna sounds as good as it tastes — if you make it properly. American lasagna has suffered the fate of many ethnic favorites and morphed into a mushy, tasteless mass with emphasis on abbondanza instead of quality ingredients and exquisite flavor. I’ll help you right the wrong with my sophisticated tre colori recipe.

This lasagna is layered with satiny butternut squash puree, bay leaf-scented béchamel, basil and pine nut pesto, and mozzarella. I’ve reworked this recipe numerous times to discover that perfection is found in using oven-ready lasagna noodles and fresh mozzarella. Fresh pasta essentially disintegrates. Boiled noodles are too thick and dominate instead of complement the sauces and cheese. It’s the much easier, boil-free noodles that execute a winning job of absorbing the flavors of the various ingredients for a well-balanced casserole. Remove this from the oven, allow it to sit for ten to fifteen minutes while you pour yourself a glass of Gavi, and then slide a generous portion onto a warmed plate. You’ll be transported by the combination of colors and tastes that are nothing like what a meat and ricotta lasagna delivers. Follow this indulgence with a simple salad and you’ll feel ready to claim the year ahead.   

Tre Colori Lasagna
1 (1-1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
Solid dash of nutmeg
2 bay leaves
2 cups pesto (homemade or your favorite store bought)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2-1/2 cups grated fresh whole-milk mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

For the butternut puree
Heat chicken broth and add the squash. Simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and transfer the squash with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Add enough broth to give it a smooth and satiny consistency. You may reserve the remaining broth and use later.

For the béchamel
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for two minutes until completely incorporated and slightly browned. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking the entire time. Don’t worry if you see lumps — they’ll blend into the sauce eventually. Sauce should start to thicken after a few minutes. Add the nutmeg, bay leaves, freshly cracked pepper and a pinch or two of salt. Cook for a few more minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the sauce to cool and leave in the bay leaves until you’re ready to assemble, as they’ll continue to flavor the sauce. 

For the pesto
Toast the pine nuts in skillet over medium heat. Place basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until blended. Stream olive oil in with the processor running until you have a chunky puree. Do not over process. Add salt, pepper and cheese, pulse a few times, then remove from the processor. 

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Now grab your favorite 9 x 12 lasagna casserole.

Spread an even layer of pureed squash over the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of 4 noodles. Repeat squash. Follow with dollops of pesto, then dollops of béchamel, and sprinkle the grated mozzarella. Repeat layering. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and finish with parmesan. Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 30 minutes. Continue baking uncovered until the top is golden, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/02/17 at 03:33 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Crispy Potato Galette

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Jenn So, director of programs at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This beautiful potato galette is a delicious and light dish perfect for impressing dinner guests this holiday season. It’s a lighter alternative to scalloped potatoes and the crispy quality of the galette — reminiscent of potato chips — is nothing short of indulgent. Our teens had a fabulous time arranging the potato slices and brushing the layers with oil!



Crispy Potato Galette
(Adapted from The New York Times)
Serves 8

4 pounds baking potatoes, scrubbed clean and dried
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or sage, finely chopped
½ cup grated sharp cheddar, parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and grease the bottom of a 9-inch skillet with olive oil.

2. Combine garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a food processor fitted with a 1-millimeter slicing blade or with a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes. Cover the skillet bottom with a layer of potato slices, overlapping them. Brush the potatoes with some oil, sprinkle them with some of the herbs, and season them with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, oil and rosemary. Top the potatoes evenly with cheese.

4. On the stove, heat the galette over medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle. Transfer the skillet to the middle of the oven, and bake the galette for 25 minutes, or until golden and the potatoes are tender. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/12/16 at 03:12 PM • Permalink

The Dutchess of Litchfield County’s Beef Tenderloin

We are happy to introduce you to a new recipe contributor. Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients. We welcome her former food blog “The Duchess of Litchfield County” to its new home at Rural Intelligence.

Turkey is so been there, done that.

This holiday, forget about the bird and celebrate with the king of cuts: beef tenderloin. It’s so easy to prepare and yet it is decadent, rich and entirely worthy of taking center stage at your holiday table. I have been making this recipe for decades. It is fail safe, requires so few ingredients and accompanied by even easier to prepare Yorkshire pudding and cabernet-sautéed mushrooms, this version of beef tenderloin is superb. 

Beef Tenderloin
Serves 10

1 5-lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
2 sticks salted butter
2 tbsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

You’ll need a roasting dish that transfers from stovetop to oven.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat tenderloin in in salt and pepper. Pat spices firmly into roast.
2. Melt butter in roasting pan until sizzling. Add roast and sear until crispy and golden on all sides.
3. Place in oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until temperature reaches 130 degrees for medium-rare.
4. Remove from oven and allow roast to sit for 10 minutes before carving into 2-inch slabs. 
5. Serve smothered with cabernet mushroom sauce and accompanied by Yorkshire pudding made with pan drippings.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/05/16 at 09:28 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Cider Vinegar Chicken With Root Vegetables

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Jenn So, director of programs at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

This warm and earthy Cider Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables is an amazing weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make, hearty and has just the right amount of acidity to brighten up a cold winter’s evening. The rich and tangy sauce contrasts beautifully with the substantive winter root vegetables. Our teen students — many of whom claimed to dislike turnips and parsnips — gobbled this dish up!


Apple Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 whole chicken thighs, dried with paper towels
1 carrot, sliced
1 parsnip, sliced
1 turnip, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
Salt
Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot, skin-side down. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the skin turns a rich, golden color and begins to crisp. Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the oil/fat that has cooked off.

3. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, garlic and leek to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Deglaze the pot with vinegar, scraping up any browned chicken that is stuck to the bottom. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pot, skin-side up.

4. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Allow the chicken to braise for 50 minutes.

5. Heat the broiler. Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a broiler pan or heavy baking sheet. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, until the skin crisps back up. Meanwhile, place the pot of vegetables back on the stove and allow it to reduce over medium heat. Stir in the butter.

6. To serve, spoon the sauce over the chicken thighs and brown rice.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/28/16 at 10:15 PM • Permalink