Category Archives: 1 Recipe of the Week

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

Recipe of the Week

Onion Custard

Onion Custard

Malinda Russell’s “A Domestic Cook Book” of 1866 is the first cookbook published by an African American woman. A treasure of American history, its 39-pages provide a peek into the lives of free African Americans during the Civil War and reveal that there was so much more to Southern cooking than “soul food.” This elegant Onion Custard recipe is delicious evidence.

“Pare and boil twelve large onions; mash when cooked soft, and strain through a sieve; stir in, while hot, 1-4th of a lb of butter; beat half a lb sugar with the yolks of six eggs; stir into the sugar three tablespoons flour, one pint of rich cream; stir all together until smooth; on tablespoon cinnamon, half spoon cloves, stir well; beat the whites of the eggs, and stir it in last; paste your pans with rich pastry; bake in a quick oven.” – Malinda Russell

This recipe below is a simplified, unsweetened version of Russell’s recipe.

2 tablespoons butter
2 small yellow onions, minced (about 2 cups)
salt and pepper
4 egg yolks
1 ½ cup milk or cream
pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325° F. In a medium skillet, melt butter. Add onions and cook until soft, translucent, and they begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Taste, adjust seasoning, remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with milk, pinch nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Divide the onions evenly among six 4-ounce ramekins. Evenly divide the custard mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Place in a large baking pan with 2-inch sides. Pour enough boiling water in pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins and transfer to oven. Bake until custards are just set, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove ramekins from hot water bath and serve warm.

Serves 6

Recipe of the Week

1950s-Style Cheese Log

1950s-Style Cheese Log

From the 1950s through the 1970s, cheese balls felt right at home sitting next to a dry martini.

For the cheese ball:
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
8 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons port wine, sherry, cognac, or whiskey
1 to 3 tablespoon room temperature butter, if needed

For the coating:
¾ cup combined chopped roasted nuts and chopped dried fruit of choice

For serving:
bell peppers, carrots, radishes, grapes, and Ritz crackers

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process or beat until light and fluffy in texture, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the grated cheddar cheese and process for 30 to 45 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl. It should be very smooth and completely combined. If it is not, process or mix another 30 seconds.

Add the garlic and the liquor of choice. Process until the mixture is completely smooth and the mixture is thick and fluffy – about one full minute or more. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl.

If the mixture has become runny (like salad dressing or yogurt), add 1 tablespoon room-temperature butter at a time and process or beat until completely incorporated, fully processing or beating between each addition.

Scoop the mixture into a mound. Place a large piece of plastic wrap about 12 by 16 inches on a work surface. Using a large spoon, transfer the mixture into a mound in the center of the plastic wrap.

Shape it into ball or log using plastic wrap. Lift up 2 opposite sides of the plastic wrap and cover the sides of the cheese mixture. Place your cupped hands against the plastic wrap, and gently press the mixture into a round. Lift up the remaining plastic, one piece at a time, and cover all sides of the cheese round. Shape it into a ball. Collect all the plastic pieces at the top and twist them together, creating a bundle that looks like a tied sack or pouch.

Wrap the plastic-wrapped cheese ball completely in aluminum foil and shape again with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 6 days.

Before serving, pour the coating into a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap completely, and place on the topping. Gently roll to coat. Pat the sides and top well to ensure a full coating. (Wrapped in plastic and then foil – but without rolling in the topping, a cheese ball will keep for up to a week.)

Place the cheese ball on a serving tray or platter with a selection of vegetables, crackers, clusters of grapes. Set out small cheese knives or butter knives for spreading and serve.

Makes 1 4-inch cheese ball, serving 6 to 8
(adapted from Kitchn)

Recipe of the Week

Spinach and Leek Fritters

spinach fritters

Spinach and Leek Fritters

The first references to spinach are from Sasanian Persia (226-640 AD). In about 647 AD spinach was taken to China where it was known as the “Persian green.” The first written evidence of spinach in the Mediterranean is in three 10th century Arab medical and agricultural works making spinach popular in the Arab Mediterranean.

For the fritters:
3 leeks chopped
5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
½ cup feta cheese
¼ cup minced oregano
2 scallions, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

For the garlic tzatziki:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 Persian cucumber, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
2 tablespoons dill
salt and pepper

Make the garlic tzatziki. Finely chop the garlic until it forms a paste. Place in a large bowl and mix with the yogurt, diced cucumber, olive oil, lemon, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauté the leeks in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until very soft.

Place the leeks in a large bowl and add the spinach, feta, oregano, scallions, beaten eggs, and garlic. Stir to mix well. Then, sprinkle in the flour and baking powder, a bit at a time, until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Heat about ¼ cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once warmed, drop 3 scoops of batter into the skillet. After about 30 seconds, flatten them out a by pressing them down gently with a spatula. Pan fry for about 3 minutes, and then flip to fry the other side for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Place the fritters on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil and serve with garlic tzatziki.

Makes about 12 fritters