Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad

A Great Salad:

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad


This is one of my favorite salads. I make it for buffets all the time because it never gets soggy — the longer the vegetables marinate, the tastier the salad is.

For the salad:

1 pound trimmed fennel bulbs, quartered and cut into very thin crosswise slices

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin 2-inch slices

1 to 2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced chives

1 ounce shaved Parmesan

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 small garlic clove, very finely minced or puréed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the salad and serve.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: This is a great keeper. The vegetables marinate in the dressing, and they don’t get soggy, just saturated and extremely tasty.

Nutritional information per serving: 137 calories; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 128 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 3 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peach and Blackberry Pie

Southern peaches are starting to appear in the northern markets and that means it's time for peach pie.  I had some blackberries in the freezer that needed to join their peach cousins.  Here is a picture of the marriage.

Recipe as follows:

Butter piecrust:

2 cups AP flour
1 stick plus 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut up
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 - 5 tablespoons icewater

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter.  Process until the butter is the size of peas.  Add icewater, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Pie filling:

6 cups of sliced peaches, skins and stones removed
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter, cut up
1 egg, divided.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Carefully mix all ingredients (except egg) together.  Take the dough and roll it out to fit a 9" pie plate.  Have a few strips left over to cover the pie or for decoration.  Brush the dough with the egg white as it will help keep the piecrust from becoming soggy. Take a fork and poke a few holes in the bottom and sides of the dough.  Add the fruit mixture and cover with remaining dough. Mix the egg yolk with the remaining egg white and brush over the top crust.  Sprinkle with sparkly sugar if desired.  Bake for 25 minutes in the center of the oven and then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy with ice cream for a nice summer treat!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Honey Challah

I found this wonderful recipe for Honey Challah here:

Honey-Vanilla Challah

Adapted from “The Bread Bible” by Beth Hensperger, “The Good Enough to Eat Breakfast Cookbook” by Carrie Levin, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart and “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, among others.

Makes 1 Loaf

•1 package active dry yeast

•4 tablespoons granulated sugar

•1 teaspoon salt

•4 1/4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•1 cup of warm milk

•2 eggs + 1 for the glaze

•4 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl and another for the glaze

•1 tablespoon honey

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Give it a stir. Add the warm milk, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, then the honey.  Beat the ingredients until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, switching to a dough hook.  Knead the dough in the mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes or until the sides of the bowl are clean.
Place the dough in a deep container greased with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray. Gently deflate the dough by pressing your fingers into it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

With a bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 20 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Lay these ropes side-by-side, not quite touching. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over -until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under.

Place the braided dough on your baking sheet, cover loosely witha tea towel and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.  At this time preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and whisk together the glaze: 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Brush the dough with a thick layer of it. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom. Transfer to a baking rack to cool. Allow to cool completely.