Spinach Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
1 Comments   1 comments.

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spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts

Don't tell anyone, but I am not the biggest fan of cranberries. I know they are one of our regions great ingredients and I have been slowly working my way to a closer relationship with them. Here's a riff on a warm spinach salad that gets a nice burst of flavor from you guessed it—cranberries.

The salad is a simple mix of baby spinach with sliced red onions, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries with a sweet and tart dressing that repeats the cranberry theme with some cranberry juice. What makes this delicious and inviting, is that the pumpkin seeds get fragrant and crunchy from a quick pan toasting, the onions are slowly cooked so they get sweet and unctuous, then the vinaigrette ingredients get added and heat through just enough to wilt some of the spinach leaves—but not all of them for a lovely texture and terrific flavor—now those are cranberries I can eat.

Total time: 25 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced into rings
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup dried cranberries
1 ( 6- ounce) bag baby spinach, washed and dried
Cranberry Vinaigrette

Toast pumpkin seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat, shaking occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Make Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette (see below).

Gently reheat onions over low heat. Add vinaigrette and dried cranberries and heat gently until warm, 1-2 minutes.

Place spinach in a salad bowl, pour warmed cranberry over salad and toss lightly. Divide among 4 plates and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Vinaigrette

Yield: about 1 cup

¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cranberry juice (not cranberry-apple or other blends)
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup plus one tablespoon walnut oil

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, mustard powder, salt, pepper, garlic, cranberry juice and honey.

Add walnut oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
4 Comments   4 comments.

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Makes 4 pancakes

Pot stickers, scallion cakes, dim sum… they all have one thing in common, the simplest dough in the universe: hot water dough. Add the great French ingredient, shallots, and you’ve got a combination that can morph into anything.

Hot Water Dough Ingredients
2 cups (16 ounces) all-purpose flour
8 ounces hot water

In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, gradually add water to flour. Once dough forms a ball and all the dry ingredients are incorporated, remove from mixer. Dough should not be sticky. If it is, add more flour, tablespoon by tablespoon. Very lightly flour a flat surface and bring dough together into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for up to 48 hours.

Scallion Pancake Ingredients
1 tablespoon sambal
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Hot Water Dough
2 cups scallions, white and green parts, cut diagonally, 1/16 inches thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil

1. To make the dipping sauce, combine the sambal, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine the sesame and olive oils and set aside.

3. Flour a work surface and on it roll the dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Brush the dough with the oil mixture, sprinkle with the scallions, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Starting with one long side nearest you, roll the dough jelly-roll fashion to make a tight log. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.

5. Roll 1 piece with your palms to make a skinnier log about 12 inches in diameter. Twist each end of the log in opposite directions 4 or 5 times (this will make additional pancake layers), then wrap the log around itself to make a coil, tucking the outside end beneath the coil. With a rolling pin, flatten the coil to 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 3 more pancakes.

6. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and swirl to coat the pan. Depending on the pan’s size, add 1 to 2 pancakes and cook until brown and crispy on both sides, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cook the remaining pancakes. Slice each pancake into 4 wedges.

For a savory pancake addition, mix 2 cups of finely chopped raw shrimp in a bowl with the scallions. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the mixture, and proceed with the recipe, frying the pancakes 3 to 4 minutes per side.


ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Black Pepper Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

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I used to make my own soy syrup, but it was very delicate and had a tendency to break like an aioli. But one day my Indonesian sous chef Budi introduced me to Kechap Manis, a great sweet soy syrup from his country. I said, "Wow, Budi, you just saved me a lot of steps!" And now I use Kechap Manis all the time as a base for glazes and sauces... like my Black Pepper-Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Satays, a terrific grilled appetizer you can serve any time you're looking for tasty finger food. Serves 4 as an appetizer

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup kechap manis
2 oranges, zested and juiced, minced zest for garnish
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly, separate white and green
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Assemble satays by alternating chicken and pineapple. In a large bowl, combine kechap manis, orange juice, ginger, black pepper and scallion whites. Add satays and marinate for 15 minutes.

Prepare a hot grill, sprayed slick. Remove satays from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill satays until chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, boil marinade for a dipping sauce and use some of it to brush onto satays while cooking.

Serve in bamboo satay plate with dipping sauce garnished with scallion greens.

Garnish satays with orange zest and scallion greens.


Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming.

Lasagna Roll-ups By Annie Copps

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
2 Comments   2 comments.

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lasagna rollups

Here's a fun and delicious twist on lasagna that you'll be happy to serve for dinner any time or whip up for a large buffet.

Lasagna rollups are made of the same ingredients as traditional layered lasagnas (and can handle all the variations of fillings and sauces). But this way, everyone gets their own, individual serving and it feels just a little more special, with no extra effort.

Let's start with the pasta. Cook off lasagna noodles until they are soft and flexible, but still al dente. Combine the usual lasagna suspects of ricotta cheese, egg, a few scrapes of fresh nutmeg, mozzarella cheese, parmesan and for texture, some chopped walnuts. Spoon a few tablespoons of the mixture onto one end of a cooked noodle, then gently roll to the end.

Place the rolled bundle into a baking dish and repeat with remaining pasta and filling. Top the whole party with your favorite sauce.

Cover and bake about 20minutes.

Ta Da—lasgana roll ups!

3/4 pound lasagna noodles
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt to taste
2 drops Tabasco sauce, or cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ground walnuts

In a large pot of salted water, cook noodles until barely done.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients.

Pesto Sauce:
2 tablespoons dried basil
1/3 cup ground walnuts
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced green onion
2 garlic cloves
Kosher or sea salt
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

In a blender or food processor, combine ingredients and blend until smooth.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling over each lasagna noodle. Roll up the lasagna end to end (jelly-roll style) and cut each roll-up in half, keeping jelly-roll style. Place cut-side down in a greased baking dish. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of pesto sauce over each roll-up. Cover tightly with buttered foil and bake 20 minutes.

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Shucked Oysters With Two Sauces By Annie Copps

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

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Few ingredients express their hometown quite like an oyster. And the majority of oysters growing in New England are all the same species: Crassostrea virginica.

The size, shape, flavor, and texture of an oyster are not from the type of oyster they are, but rather where they come from—the salinity of the water, the temperature of the water, what the oysters feed on, and the force of the tides and speed of the currents—that's what makes an oyster from a coastal island in Maine taste completely different from the same species grown in Duxbury or Cotuit or Wellfleet. Just a squeeze of lemon or dab of cocktail sauce does a raw oyster well, but I hope you'll try these sauces to enhance their briny attributes.

A classic mignonette sauce is a simple combination of finely chopped shallots, vinegar and cracked pepper, while a remoulade involves a bit of mayonnaise mixed with a salty combo of chopped cornichons and capers and fresh herbs—either way, get yourself to a freshly shucked New England oyster.

Mignonette Sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly ground white or black pepper

In a small bowl combine ingredients. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

Remoulade Sauce
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup chopped cornichon pickles
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh chervil

In a small bowl combine ingredients. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Bacon-Pineapple Fried Orzo
By Ming Tsai

Monday, November 29, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

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bacon pineapple fried orzo

5 slices of bacon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 cup sliced scallions, some greens reserved for garnish
1 cup 1/4-inch dice pineapple
5 cups cooked orzo
3 tablespoons Wanjashan organic ponzu
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil

In large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. When cooled, crumble. Drain bacon fat, wipe pan clean and lightly coat with canola oil. Over medium heat, saute garlic, ginger, scallions and pineapple. Add orzo, ponzu and crumbled bacon. Toss to combine and heat through. Check flavoring and season. Serve family style, garnished with scallion greens.

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