Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

Recipe of the Week

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Chilled Cucumber Soup

“Sophisticated, delicately flavored… to help your reputation as a hostess.” – Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, 1950 on Cream of Cucumber Soup

Betty Crocker’s original recipe has a can of mushroom soup. This is a 21st century version adapted from the New York Times.

1 pound cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup water
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
2 anchovy fillets
2 scallions, trimmed
½ jalapeño, seeded, deveined and chopped
½ cup packed mixed fresh herbs (like mint, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil and cilantro)
½ teaspoon sherry vinegar, more to taste
¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

In a blender, combine cucumber, yogurt, water, garlic, anchovy, scallions, jalapeño, herbs, sherry vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth and adjust seasoning. Chill.

Serve chilled soup garnished with fresh minced herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4

image:  Megan Griffith

Roasted Peaches with Pine Nuts and Amaretti Crumble

Roasted Peaches with Pine Nuts and Amaretti Crumble

Peaches have been cultivated and revered by the Chinese since 1100 BC. The peach’s deep cleft and sweet juices symbolized female genitals. In contemporary China, brides wear wreaths of peach blossoms in celebration of fertility.

Pine nuts have been consumed to boost libido for millennia. The ancient Roman medical scholar Galen recommended eating 100 pine nuts before bedtime. Just like oysters, they are high in zinc, which has been linked to a healthy sex drive.

5 amaretti cookies
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, chilled
3 ripe peaches, washed, halved and pitted
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a baking dish large enough to hold the peach halves snuggly.

Combine cookies, pine nuts, flour and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until cookies and pine nuts are coarsely chopped. Add butter to processor and pulse mixture until moist clumps form.

Place peach halves, cut side up, in the buttered baking dish. Spread topping over surface of each peach half (about 1 generous tablespoon for each), pressing lightly to adhere.

Bake peaches until tender when pierced with knife and topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly and serve a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6

Recipe of the Week

Sweet and Sour Radish Salad

Sweet and Sour Radish Salad

This recipe is taken directly from the pages of Joyce Chen’s 1962, The Joyce Chen Cook Book. Chen was a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, author and TV personality who is credited for introducing Chinese cuisine to a broad American public. She was the first to serve buffet-style meals in her Cambridge, MA restaurant, the first to print menu in both English and Chinese, and the first to number menu items to make for easy communication between diner and server.

When she opened her first restaurant in 1958 it was described by a former Harvard University president as “not merely a restaurant but a cultural exchange center.”

Her radish recipe is a game changer.

2 bunches radishes
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sesame oil

Trim both ends of radish, wash and drain. Cut large radishes in half and crush radishes gently using the side of a knife.

Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt on the radishes and let set for 15 minutes. Drain their liquid.

Mix the sugar and vinegar and pour over the radishes. Garnish with a little sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

image by Gina Salazar

Pan de Elote

Pan de Elote

Pan de Elote is a type of Mexican cornbread that’s slightly sweet and way more creamy and custardy than it’s American counterpart. This recipe is a variation of my both my mom and Lesley Tellez’s version in the Mija Chronicles. My mom’s original recipe was adapted from one of Josefina Velasquez de Leon’s cookbooks.

(From the 1930s to 1960s de Leon wrote and published around 140 cookbooks, opened a popular cooking school, was regularly interviewed on the radio, and had her own TV show. My grandmother was an early student of hers.)

4 cups fresh corn
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons flour
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place the corn in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. With machine running, add the egg yolks one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.

Add the corn puree, flour and pinch salt and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Gently fold the beaten whites into the corn batter and pour into a buttered 9-inch round or square pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8 to 10