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Recipe: Lisa Fielding’s Guacamole And Homemade Corn Chips

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.

It makes me sad to even write this but Labor Day is just a few weeks away and that typically signals the end of summer for those who live on the East Coast. But it also heralds a long weekend of eating, drinking and taking it easy before the grind of regular programming takes over. You may be busy coordinating a few festivities that include menu planning and the like. In order to ease your search for new spins on perennial favorites, I thought this the perfect time to share my recipe for one of the easiest and easily most satisfying of dips: the beloved guacamole.

My guacamole is pretty straightforward and lives up to its Mexican heritage. No tomatoes! Please. That’s for salsa. And the heat can be derived from finely minced jalapenos or red pepper flakes. Either is wonderful, the latter is simpler. Fresh lime juice is essential. And quality avocados a must. Tip: Avocados are rarely ripe at the market so if they are rock hard, place them in a paper bag, close and stash in a cool dark place. Two days later, your avocados will be perfect without over ripening with black spots and stringy fibers (which makes this chef toss the entire fruit in the trash). 

Once you’ve assembled, allow the guacamole flavors (in a covered bowl) to mature a few hours in the refrigerator before serving. Another tip: place a pit or two in the dip and this will prevent the contents from turning brown due to oxygenation before serving. While the flavors meld, this is the perfect time to take the extra step and make your own chips. Collective groan?  Believe me — this is the easiest thing to do and makes the experience of eating guacamole exponentially better. 

Guacamole
Yield: 6 servings

3 ripe Haas avocados
3 large cloves garlic finely minced
¼ small red onion finely minced
Juice of one large lime
1 tsp. coriander (or 1 tablespoon freshly minced cilantro)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or 1 jalapeno seeded and finely minced)
1 ½ tsps. Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roughly smash until preferred consistency is achieved. Place a pit in the center, cover in plastic wrap, chill for two hours. Serve with homemade chips. Ole!

Homemade Corn Chips
One bag of white corn tortillas cut into quarters.
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt

Heat oil in a heavy skillet until it reaches 375 degrees. When you drop a single chip in it should fry quickly. When oil is hot enough, drop several chips at a time in the skillet. Let fry until golden (one minute) and turn until the other side is done. Remove to a paper towel lined platter, salt liberally and repeat. Chips can be reheated in a 375 degree oven for five minutes.

 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/14/17 at 04:46 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Chinese Cucumber Salad

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. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

I’ve harvested many, many pounds of cucumbers over the past couple of weeks. The rain this season has resulted in massive plants with loads of happy, crunchy cukes sprawled out below. So what does one do when they have 60 campers coming for lunch and bins of cucumbers in the cooler? Make a salad! Cukes are, of course, the darlings of pickling, but they can soak up enough flavor in half an hour to give a zing of taste to the best last-minute summer dinner decision you’ll ever make. 

Upon making this dish you may hear murmurings of “Cucumber salad? You mean cucumbers in the salad…” Don’t be dissuaded. The sweet crunchy cucumbers pair perfectly with the mouthwatering dressing, especially when marinated for at least 30 minutes. They’re a perfect accompaniment to any meal, particularly outside under a fading summer sun.

Chinese Cucumber Salad
Serves 4 - 6

3 cucumbers, peeled and de-seeded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper


1. Cut cucumbers into thin half moons. Sprinkle generously with salt and let cucumbers sit in a colander, over the sink, for 10-15 minutes.

2. Combine garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add cucumbers and toss until well combined. Fold in cilantro, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 08/07/17 at 03:47 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Perfect Rack Of Lamb

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 have a client whose only mandate for every meal in which a beef, chicken or lamb is prepared is that the end result is juicy and tender. Seems like an easy request but when you’re cooking multiple courses for many people with different demands there are times when it is extremely challenging to hit the bullseye. This past weekend I hit the bullseye and was so thrilled with this rack of lamb from the preparation to the presentation that I decided it was worthy of sharing with Rural Intelligence’s readers. 

Rack of lamb may seem like a special occasion meal, but it shouldn’t be. It’s so easy to prepare and readily available at most markets. When buying a rack, it is important to note quality, quality, quality.  Look for a large rack that will yield a sizable medallion on the plate. Make sure it’s Frenched, which means that the meat, cartilage and fat between the tips of the rib bones has been cleaned down to the chop. This yields a gorgeous rack and makes it easier to carve. When you get the rack home, you also want to trim the layer of “fat back” down to a thin membrane to ensure proper cooking. Now that you’ve got the basics down without further ado, here is the perfect rack of lamb recipe.

Rack Of Lamb
Serves 8

2 (8-rib) Frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 ½ lbs.), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
4 tbls. finely chopped fresh mint
3 large garlic cloves minced
2 tsp. salt plus extra for searing lamb
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper plus extra for searing lamb
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for searing lamb

Liberally salt and pepper racks of lamb set aside. Mix all remaining ingredients set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Douse a large heavy skillet such as cast iron with olive oil to coat bottom evenly (a tablespoon should do). When skillet is hot, place racks fat side down in pan. Do them one at a time if your skillet isn’t large enough to hold both. Sear for three to five minutes until a golden crust forms. Turn rack and sear other side for 2 minutes. Hold racks by the bones and sears the tops of the racks for another minute. 

Place in a shallow roasting dish fat side up. Pat bread crumb mixture into an even layer. Place in hot oven and cook for 20 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium rare. If bread crumb mixture starts to brown too much place a sheet of foil over racks. 

Remove from oven and allow racks to rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 10 before carving chops between the bones. Plate with bones crisscrossed. I served mine on a bed of mushroom risotto but my favorite is with creamy gruyere potato gratin. 

Enjoy! 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/31/17 at 10:25 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Raspberry Zucchini Muffins

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. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

I admit, sometimes I am a neglectful zucchini mother. Weekends and rainy days happen, sure. I find that as the rest of the summer bounty begins to mature, the initial charm of the summer squash begins to fade away. Despite my apathy, the zucchini persists. In fact, it becomes emboldened and before you know it, boom, small zucchini limbs are right there in your garden.

This means, of course, zucchini bread. A one-bowl recipe that’ll fit into breakfast, lunch, and post-dinner treats. Zucchini bread is derived from the same ingenious forces that were behind carrot cake, I imagine. It has vegetables in it, ergo, it is healthy. Okay, sure, not always. But there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve to cut back on the excess sugar, especially with the berry harvest we’ve been having this summer. Raspberries add color, sweetness, and general happiness to most recipes and these muffins are no exception. At the Sylvia Center, we typically opt for muffins in lieu of whole loaves. They’re much more shareable, plus the crunch-to-soft ratio is the same for everybody. Very important!

Raspberry Zucchini Muffins
Makes 24

3 large eggs
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cups granulated or turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated, packed zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 ½ cup raspberries
Oats (for topping)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 24 standard muffin cups or line them with paper liners.

2.  Whisk together eggs, olive oil, sugar and vanilla in the bottom of a large bowl. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt over wet ingredients and whisk them in well. Stir in zucchini. Add flour slowly, stirring gently only until it disappears into the mix. Fold in raspberries gently.

3. Divide between muffin tins, top with oats if desired. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes. A knife should come out clean when inserted except for bright raspberry juices. Store in foil at room temperature.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/24/17 at 04:27 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Hillstone-Inspired Kale Salad

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 just returned from a week-long trip to Los Angeles for a series of meetings on my other job — that of a Hollywood screenwriter. It’s been a very good summer for my career: I sold a semi-autobiographical series based on my life as a Manhattan-based private chef entitled, “Totally Together and Completely Insecure” while setting up two of my best pieces of feature writing, a drama entitled “A Family History” and an adaptation of a British comedy entitled “Welcome to the Working Week.” All of this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been assiduously devoted to writing since I walked away from my desk job and had to come up with a survival plan while I pursued this dream. Plan B, as I referred to it then, was reinventing myself as a private chef and all these years later I am so grateful for the culinary adventures that followed. 

Meetings in LA usually include lots of wining and dining and this trip was no different. In addition to drinking copious glasses of rosé, I also fell in love with a kale salad from Hillstone, so much so in fact that I went to the restaurant twice and managed to cajole the recipe from my server. That’s a bit of an overstatement; I didn’t get the actual recipe as much as a list of ingredients, which I duplicated and made my own version for clients last weekend. It was sensational and so I happily share this extra yummy kale salad as inspired by Hillstone Restaurant at 2nd and Wilshire. There’s a hint of heat, loads of flavor and the chewy texture of kale meets the crunch of cashews. Enjoy.

Kale Salad
Serves 8

8 cups fresh kale torn from the tough stems and chopped into dime-sized pieces, chilled. (Salad is much more flavorful served very cold.)
1 cup raw cashews roasted and salted
½ small red onion
1 bunch fresh mint
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly cut
1 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Dressing:
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¾  cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Emulsify ingredients, set aside. 

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place cashews in pan, add salt and toss until evenly browned. In a food processor, pulse onion, mint and jalapeno until finely minced and well combined. In a salad bowl, toss kale with this mixture. Add dressing and gently massage kale. Add cashews and feta. Salt and pepper to taste. Form a nice mound to plate and serve.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/18/17 at 10:40 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Pan-Fried Vegetable Dumplings

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. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

Occasionally, shiitake mushrooms walk into our lives. They catch us off guard, almost with a glimmer in their eye, like they always knew we’d be back for them. So they wait patiently, eating away at trees, getting more and more delicious, anticipating this very moment. Calm your trepidations that you don’t know what to do with shiitakes — you can handle this. And, you can make everybody appreciate them with you!

At the Sylvia Center, a lot of our days are spent contemplating the question: how do we make kids want to eat this? Shiitakes are loaded with vitamins and minerals and they have a distinctive meaty sumptuousness that when tasted once, if they’re cooked correctly, will have you craving more and more. So how do we do it? Dumplings. Crispy well-cooked half moons brimming with the fresh flavors of ginger, carrots and sesame oil. I cannot say enough of this recipe; it’s our most popular by far. It even encourages kids to try tofu, an abhorred word amongst the middle school circles we teach in.

I highly suggest cooking these at home with many hands around to assemble dumplings. It can become a highly competitive game. But by the end, no matter what allegiances have been formed, everybody can settle around the table to stuff their faces and giggle as dipping sauce trickles down their chins.

Pan Fried Vegetable Dumplings
Makes 60 pieces

For Dumplings
1 pounds firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 large bunch spinach, minced
12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
Black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
60 fresh round dumpling wrappers

For Herbal Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

To make the herbal dipping sauce, heat a skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable or canola oil. Once oil is shimmering, add garlic, scallion, 1 tablespoon ginger, red chili flakes and cilantro and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar and vinegar, and remove from heat. Once cool, transfer the sauce in the bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the tofu, 1 tablespoon ginger, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, sesame oil and black pepper, and mix thoroughly.

Put water in a small bowl. Dust a plate with all-purpose flour. Put a wrapper on the palm of one hand. Dip the opposite pointer finger in the water and run it across the outer 1/2-inch edge of the wrapper. Put a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper and fold into a half-moon shape, sealing the wet edges together. Place the dumpling on the plate. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Bring a large non-stick skillet to high heat. Add a healthy drizzle of vegetable oil. Place dumplings flat onto skillet, close together, in concentric circles. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan and cover immediately, and reduce heat to medium. Allow dumplings to steam until no water is left and dumplings are golden brown on the bottom. Add more water if necessary. Uncover and place dumplings, browned side up, on a platter. Repeat with the remainder of dumplings.

To serve, drizzle lightly with herbal soy sauce or serve sauce on the side for dipping.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/10/17 at 08:11 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Easy Peasy Summer Appetizer Party

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.

Summer is the official party season on the East Coast. As each weekend rolls around, many of us find ourselves (me excluded since I’m always working) either attending or throwing a party.  And no matter if it’s the former or the latter, food is involved. That said, it is summer and no one wants to spend long hours in the kitchen when they can be outdoors enjoying the long days and warm evenings. So despite my tendency to create elaborate menus, I have, due to my own time constraints, started to curate meals based on seasonal and simpler dishes that are still delicious and visually appealing. Easy doesn’t equate to bland in my kitchen. I’ve grown so accustomed to this practice, that I recently catered a dinner party based entirely on passed hors d’oeuvres which were presentable, flavorful and as filling as a multi-course dinner.

So now that we’re well into the summer season, I thought what better subject for this week’s blog than a menu based on dishes you can make in a snap and still look like a gifted chef and host. Or in the event you’re attending a party soon, any one of these recipes will travel well and make a terrific contribution to the evening ahead. Pick and choose or make all of these at once for a fast and fun summer party. Enjoy!

Menu:
Pancetta, Chive and Egg Tartlets
Prosciutto-wrapped Grissini
Caprese Skewers
Savory and Spicy Gulf Prawn Skewers
Savory and Spicy Lam Lollipops

Serves 10

Pancetta Tartlets
Makes 30

2 packages mini phyllo shells (frozen food section)
4 oz. thick cut pancetta cut into small dice
1 Tablespoon minced chives
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Gruyere
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, fry pancetta until crisp and browned. Set aside on a paper towel.
3. Mix eggs and heavy cream together. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add pancetta, Gruyere and chives. Stir until combined.
5. Remove fully-cooked phyllo shells from packaging and place on a cookie sheet. Gently spoon egg filling into shells making sure to evenly distribute pancetta.
6. Bake for 15 minutes until firm.

Prosciutto-wrapped Grissini
Makes 20 to 24

8 oz. thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
1 package bread sticks or Grissini

1. On the diagonal, wrap bread sticks with prosciutto and leave a finger’s width space to pick up.
2. Cut sticks in half and arrange on a platter with parsley or basil leaves for color.

Caprese Skewers
Makes 24 skewers

Bamboo skewers
8 oz. red cherry tomatoes
8 oz. yellow cherry tomatoes
Bunch of fresh basil
12 oz. mozzarella bocconcini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbl. balsamic vinegar
Maldon Sea Salt Crystals

1. Alternate 1 red and 1 yellow tomato with a basil leaf and bocconcini until you’ve assembled all skewers.
2. Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
3. Make a round pattern of skewers on a platter, drizzle with olive oil mixture, and sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt Crystals.


Lisa’s Fab Marinade for the Lollipops and Prawns
Makes 1 ¼ cups or thereabout

3 garlic cloves minced
2 jalapenos minced
1 tbl. minced Italian Parsley
½ tbl. minced lemon thyme
1 tsp. minced tarragon
3 tbl. Sriracha
¾ cup good-quality olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbl. honey
Juice of one lemon

1. Whisk all ingredients together. Let sit for one hour at room temperature. Marinade is ready for use.


Savory and Spicy Lamb Lollipops
Makes 16 pops

2  8-ribbed Frenched racks of lamb (if there is still a fat pack on the rack, trim back so you don’t start a fire under the broiler)
3/4 cup Lisa’s Fab Marinade

1. Cut lamb into 16 individual pops.
2. Coat with marinade. Refrigerate for two hours.
3. Turn on broiler. Place lamb on a rimmed cookie sheet. Position sheet five inches below broiler. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Turn and cook for an additional five minutes. Lamb should be pink and juicy. If you like it rarer, cook for less time.
5. Pour pan drippings into a ramekin and serve as a dipping sauce.

Savory and Spicy Gulf Prawn Skewers
Makes 20 to 24 skewers

Oven safe skewers
1 lb. large gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
½  of Lisa’s Fab Marinade (see recipe above)

1. Coat cleaned shrimp in marinade and refrigerate for one hour.
2. Skewer prawns individually.
3. Turn on broiler. Place shrimp skewers on a rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer. Broil for two minutes. Flip and broil for an additional two minutes.
4. Arrange on a platter and serve.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/03/17 at 05:29 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Summer Grain Salad

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. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

Some of these sweaty, smelly farm nights at the Sylvia Center have had us yearning for the cool fall days necessitating layers. Think of the scarves, the mittens, and that glorious button down flannel! In an effort to appreciate with summer warmth, particularly in light of last week’s solstice, we decided to focus on food layers with the students from Knickerbacker Middle School with a spring grain salad.

Many of our June crops can be represented with one sound: crunch. We like to maintain the fresh-from-the-garden crispy integrity of all of our radishes, peas, asparagus, and fresh scallions by giving them a light sauté in olive oil. They add bright flavors, colors, and satisfying lip-smacking to any summer recipe, especially when paired with al dente Israeli couscous and wild rice. At first an unlikely duo, couscous and wild rice bring out the best in one another. Couscous is so perfectly round and plump, a comforting and familiar presence in the bowl. On the other hand, every grain of toothsome wild rice is earthy and nutty. When cooked, it blossoms, shedding its skin and fulfilling its full potential as a main player in any recipe, regardless of season. These two grains seem equally poised to be in a coming-of-age food tale as a grain salad.

Finish off the recipe with a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing for a complementary zing of citrus. Don’t shy away from herbs and spices. The additional complexity of roughly chopped mint is surprising, but pairs perfectly with tangy feta. And if you’ve got garlic scapes, use them — all the time, everywhere, in every dish. Gaining a mastery of flavor layering is not easy. Trust your instincts and play up classic flavor matches with different flavors, textures and colors. And when in doubt, add edible flowers.

Summer Grain Salad
Serves 4

1 cup cooked couscous
1 cup cooked wild rice
½ cup sweet peas, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
¼ cup garlic chives or scapes, minced
¼ cup crumbled feta
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Lightly saute the peas, asparagus and radishes over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.

2. Toss together the couscous, rice, vegetable mixture, scallions, zest and herbs until combined and set aside.

3. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil until emulsified. Drizzle over grain and vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and top with crumbled feta.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/26/17 at 04:52 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Death By Chocolate Mousse Pie

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.

The heat is on. Seriously. The weather went from chilly and rainy to hot, humid and hello summer overnight. I’m always on the lookout for cool and delicious recipes that don’t bring outside’s soaring temps inside. This recipe provides one of the most decadent, luscious and velvety chocolate experiences; requires little to no baking time; and finishes in the refrigerator to be served chilled at the table. Who doesn’t want a nice cold dessert on a hot evening?

Warning: This pie is so beyond addictive that you may want to make two, in order to have some the next morning with a strong cup of coffee. I made this last weekend in the country for clients and they were in a fugue state afterward, reeling from the chocolate high and sensorial joy of eating this pie. Plus, this truly falls under the category of “as easy as pie” when it comes to prep and assembly. I make mine in a regular pie plate, and advise a pie server and glass of water to clean the server when plating. It also starts to melt quickly, so get it on the table in a jiffy and put leftovers back in the fridge.

Death By Chocolate Mousse Pie
Serves: 8

1 package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
14 oz. high-quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

2. In a food processor, pulse cookies and melted butter into a fine crumbly mixture. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9” pie plate. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, and then allow to cool.

3. Combine 1 cup cream, chocolate, vanilla extract and salt in the top of a double boiler. Heat until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into a bowl and place in the refrigerator until it cools to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups chilled cream with 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Pour mixture into cooled crust.

5. Chill pie at least 4 hours before serving. Prior to serving, beat remaining 1 cup cream with 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until stiff, then pipe onto top of pie with a star tip, or place a spoonful on top of each slice.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/19/17 at 07:40 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Spring Pasta With Parmesan And Lemon

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. Kristen Jovanelly, garden educator and manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.

At the Sylvia Center, we have a tried and true rule for our farm programs; you must have at least a “first taste.” Participants must try a little bit of each of the components we prepare and are encouraged to come back for more. With this Spring Pasta with Parmesan and Lemon, our first taste portions were greeted with skeptical looks and murmurings of “I already know I’m going to like it though…” The Girl Scouts at this program cleaned out the pan, with not one sole piece of farfalle left to tell the tale.

This pasta is simple, but everything is perfectly proportioned in the recipe so that each bite has a tantalizing coating of fresh, springtime flavors. Grating the first baby summer squashes of the season provides color and coats each piece of pasta with a delicate crunch. We suggest topping the pasta with edible flowers, too. It’s the perfect stage for chive blossoms to make their culinary debut if you’ve only passed by them warily in your garden before. They have a sweet taste with a subtle allium finish that’ll spice up many dishes in taste and presentation. Some of the Girl Scouts even popped a whole flower into their mouth, eyes widened with the permission to eat a real, intact, flower. Based on their subsequent reaction, The Sylvia Center staff would recommend chopping or tearing the flower, and sprinkling it lightly upon your dish. A little goes a long way!

Spring Pasta with Parmesan and Lemon
Serves 6-8


2 cups spinach, chiffonade
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into ½ pieces
1 summer squash, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
Pinch of cayenne pepper flakes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb pasta

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

2. While pasta is cooking, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onions and pinch of cayenne pepper and saute until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.

3. Add asparagus and saute until bright green. Add spinach and squash and saute until soft. Add the pasta and reserved pasta water. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Finish with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and grated Parmesan.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/13/17 at 10:19 AM • Permalink