Thinking not possible today. Here are recipes instead.
Share a meal with a friend this week if you can!
Pan-Baked Lemon-Almond Tart
½ to ¾ cup sugar (according to personal taste)
Pinch of salt
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup cream
½ cup sliced almonds, more for garnish
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, cream, sliced almonds, lemon zest and juice.
Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat; when foam has subsided, add almond mixture to pan, tilting pan to distribute batter evenly. Continue to cook tart on stovetop until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds. Serve.
Fish Stew With Mediterranean Flavors
4 large garlic cloves, cut in half, green shoots removed
4 anchovy fillets, soaked in water for 4 minutes, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 quart water
1 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered or sliced
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 1 ½ pounds firm white-fleshed fish such as halibut, tilapia, Pacific cod or black cod, cut in 2-inch pieces
Place the garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle, and mash to a paste. Add the anchovy fillets and mash with the garlic. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion, celery and carrot with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the pureed garlic and anchovy. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is very fragrant, about one minute, and then add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit and the mixture smells aromatic, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the water, potatoes, salt (to taste) and the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover partially and simmer 30 minutes. Taste, adjust salt and add pepper to taste. Remove the bouquet garni.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, and stir into the soup. The soup should not be boiling. Simmer five to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets) or just until it flakes easily when poked. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, taste once more, adjust seasonings and serve.
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
freshly ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put a grill pan over medium-high heat, or prepare a grill; the heat should be medium-high, and the rack about 4 inches from flame. Brush eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms lightly with half the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; if roasting, grease 2 baking sheets with oil. Roast or grill vegetables on both sides until soft.
Coat bottom and sides of 8-inch springform pan with oil. Layer a third of the eggplant slices into bottom of the pan, then layer in half the zucchini, mushrooms, tomato, garlic and basil, sprinkling each layer with a bit of salt and pepper. Repeat layers until all vegetable are used. Press the top with a spatula or spoon to make the torte as compact as possible. Sprinkle top with Parmesan and bread crumbs, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil.
Bake torte in oven until hot throughout and browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before removing outer ring of pan, then let cool for another 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Pork Chops With Brandied Cherries
1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 bone-in pork chops, 1 1/2 inches thick, about 1 pound each
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons brandy
2 cups fresh sweet or sour cherries, pitted and halved
4 sprigs thyme, plus thyme leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon sherry vinegar or honey, or more to taste (use the vinegar with the sweet cherries, the honey with the sour cherries)
Combine salt, garam masala, pepper and allspice in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over pork chops, covering their entire surface. Let chops rest for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.
Heat a 10-inch skillet at medium-high. Add oil. Sear pork chops until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add garlic to pan, then sear the fatty edges of the chops, using tongs to hold them up, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute each. (Flip the garlic after it browns on one side.) If the pan starts to smoke at any point, lower the heat. Transfer the pork to a plate, and spoon off all but a thin layer of fat from pan. (Leave garlic in the pan.)
Add brandy to pan, let it simmer until the alcohol burns off (about 30 seconds), then add cherries, thyme and 2 tablespoons water. Let simmer for 1 minute.
Move cherries to the sides of the pan and return pork chops to the center so they can make contact with the metal. Cover pan and cook over low heat for about 7 minutes, until meat reaches 130 to 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (its temperature will rise as it rests). Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, add butter and vinegar or honey to the pan, stirring until butter melts and coats the cherries. Taste and add more honey or vinegar, and salt as needed. Serve pork with cherries and more thyme on top.
Greek Chicken Stew With Cauliflower and Olives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
6 to 8 chicken legs and/or thighs, skinned
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice, pulsed in a food processor
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower, cored, broken into florets, and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
12 kalamata olives (about 45 grams), rinsed, pitted and cut in half (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 to 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep, heavy lidded skillet or casserole and brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl as they’re browned. Pour off the fat from the pan. Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and very soft.
Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes and their juice, the cinnamon, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly and fragrant.
Return the chicken pieces to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and kalamata olives and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone. Stir in the parsley, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with grains, with the feta sprinkled on top if desired.
Greek Baked Beans With Honey and Dill
1 pound dried large lima beans or white beans, soaked if necessary for six hours or overnight in 2 quarts of water and drained (limas require no soaking)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, preferably a sweet red onion, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons honey, such as clover or acacia
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup, loosely packed, chopped fresh dill
Combine the drained beans and water to cover by 3 inches in a large, oven-proof casserole or Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium size, heavy skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
After 30 minutes, drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add the remaining olive oil, the tomatoes and the liquid in the can, bay leaf, honey, and 2 cups water or enough to just cover the beans. Stir in the onion, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven. Bake one hour, stirring often and adding water if necessary. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes, until the beans are tender and the mixture is thick.
Stir in the dill, cover and let sit 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with thick slices of country bread.
Provençal Fish Stew
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup niçoise or oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
2 or 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound spinach
2 cups fish or vegetable stock, or water
Pinch red chile flakes (optional)
8 ounces squid, roughly chopped
8 ounces shrimp, roughly chopped
Drain chickpeas. If you used dried, reserve cooking liquid; if they are canned, discard the liquid and rinse the chickpeas. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add bread crumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re crisp and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet; increase heat to medium-high. When oil is hot, add garlic, olives, capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, a minute or two. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it darkens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
Start adding spinach a handful at a time; keep stirring until all the spinach fits in the pan and starts to release its water; sprinkle with a little more pepper, then add the stock, chickpeas and red chile flakes if you’re using them. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily, then stir in the squid and the shrimp. Cook until the seafood is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with bread crumbs and serve.
6 to 8 large, firm-fleshed apples, preferably Braeburn, or use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith
6 tablespoons/80 grams salted butter, very soft
⅔ cup/135 grams granulated or light brown sugar
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, about 8 ounces (store-bought is fine)
At least one day before you plan to cook the tart, prepare the apples: Slice off the bottom of each apple so it has a flat base. Peel and quarter the apples. Use a small sharp knife to trim the hard cores and seeds from the center of each quarter; don’t worry about being too neat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, lightly covered, for at least one day or up to three days. (This key step reduces the amount of liquid in the tart. Don’t worry if the apples turn brown; they will be browned during the cooking anyway.)
When ready to cook, heat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 if using convection). Thickly coat the bottom of a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick metal, with butter. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top.
Cut one piece of apple into a thick round disk and place in the center of the skillet to serve as the “button.” Arrange the remaining apple pieces, each one standing on its flat end, in concentric circles around the button. Keep the pieces close together so that they support one another, standing upright. They will look like the petals of a flower.
On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry about 1/8-inch thick. Place an upside-down bowl or pan on the pastry and use the tip of a sharp knife to cut out a circle about the same size as the top of your skillet. Lift out the circle and drape gently over the apples. Use your hands to tuck the pastry around the apple pieces, hugging them together firmly.
Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat until golden-brown juice begins to bubble around the edges, 3 minutes (if the juices keep rising, spoon out as needed to remain level with pastry). If necessary, raise the heat so that the juices are at a boil. Keep cooking until the juices are turning darker brown and smell caramelized, no longer than 10 minutes more.
Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until puff pastry is browned and firm.
Let cool 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a round serving plate. (Or, if not serving immediately, let cool completely in the pan; when ready to serve, rewarm for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven before turning out.) If any apples remain stuck in the pan, gently use your fingers or a spatula to retrieve them, and rearrange on the pastry shell. Cut in wedges and serve warm with heavy cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.