Posted on October 21, 2016 - by Lucy
This recipe is based on one from the fabulous David Lebovitz‘s newsletter. If you like reading about Paris and French food, I recommend you subscribe. He was a chef at Alice Water’s restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, but many years ago moved to Paris and is excellent at translating French ways to Americans.
|Lucy with Notre Dame Gargoyles
I remember eating a soup like this when I was a student in the 1970s in France and terribly homesick. A French family used to invite my roommate and me to Sunday dinner every week because they knew we were lonely for home–wasn’t that sweet? The mom would sometimes serve this soup so making it brought back some fun memories. John says I’d choose France for every vacation if I could–he’s not far off! Anyway, back to soup…
I veered quite a bit from David’s recipe and you can move back to his or further away from both of ours – the recipe is very flexible. It’s good for someone on a low sodium diet, because the pistou (essentially pesto without the nuts) packs a big flavor punch. I used the vegetables that I either had in the garden or saw at the weekly farmers market. But you could also add potatoes, tomatoes, celery…
Ingredients for the soup
Two medium zucchini
2 to 3 leeks, well washed
Carrots, either three large or five or six smaller
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 cup dried white beans (I used Navy)
1 32 ounce box low sodium chicken broth
Handful of small pasta, if you like
Chopped tomatoes if you like
2 sprigs thyme (which I forgot, darn it!
The day before you plan to make the soup, soak the white beans overnight in water. Rinse them, and then cover them with water in a large pot and simmer until soft with two bay leaves. (This could take an hour or so.) When the beans are soft, add the chicken broth to the pot and keep simmering.
Chop the leeks. Chop the green beans into bite-size pieces. Chop the zucchini likewise. Chop the garlic cloves. I used my food processor to chop the carrots, and didn’t even rinse it before starting the pistou. And that explains the little flecks of orange you will see later.
In a large frying pan, heat some good olive oil and sauté the leeks, the garlic, carrots, onion, zucchini and saute until soft. Add the green beans and sautéed them a bit too. Scrape this mixture into the bean pot and simmer everything until soft, about 20-30 minutes. You may if you wish add a handful of pasta at the end, but you may have to add more liquid too.
For the pistou
One clove garlic
One small bunch basil, cleaned and leaves removed (my favorite veggie guy at the market had Thai basil so that’s what I tried)
1/4 cup good olive oil
About an ounce Parmesan cheese
Chop the garlic in the food processor, then add the olive oil. Add the Parmesan cheese in smaller pieces and chop that in. Finally add the basil and pulse until everything is combined.
Serve the bowls of soup with a heaping tablespoon of the basil mixture dropped in the center. Then each diner can stir his or her pistou/pesto into the soup. Or pass the pistou in a separate bowl if you have concerned eaters…
Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
Posted on September 27, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: I know I’ve mentioned my supper club on this blog here in the past–we are six couples who try to get together 3 to 5 times a year for dinner and chatter. The hostess (and host) are responsible for the main course and the table setting, and each of the other couples brings a dish. The hostess can assign certain recipes or leave it open-ended. For various reasons, this year got away from us so we wanted to throw together an easy summer supper. We ended up with a mixed grill, potato salad, salad, grilled vegetables, and a lemon and orange-glazed angel food cake from 4 and 20 Blackbirds bakery in Guilford CT for dessert. Everyone loved our shrimp and the peaches so I’ll share those recipes with you!
Ingredients for the the shrimp
Three large shrimp per person (33 for my event), shelled and deveined
1/2 cup good olive oil
One large lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Mix the ingredients, olive oil to brown sugar, and taste to see if you need more lemon. Stir in the chopped garlic. Let the shrimp sit in the marinade in a glass dish for 2 to 4 hours, stirring from time to time. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water. I had the 8 inch kind, which fits three large shrimp.
Thread three shrimp crossways onto each skewer so they will lie flat on the grill. Grill on medium high heat for three minutes each side. The brown sugar should result in a nice glaze.
For the peaches: Pit six peaches and slice them lengthwise. (We all agreed there was no need to peel them!) Brush the peach flesh with lemon juice and then a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Grill for 6-8 minutes in a grill pan, flipping once.
Posted on September 21, 2016 - by Lucy
|John has batting practice
We’ve had a zucchini extravaganza in our garden this summer. As my friend Gina says, tis the season where people lock their garage doors and car doors to prevent gardeners from leaving baseball bat-sized zukes on the premises…
But in case this happens to you, here’s a yummy recipe for zucchini/blueberry bread.
3 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ cups granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed with a paper towel
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp no sodium baking powder
1/2 tsp no sodium baking soda
2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two 8×4 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, vanilla, sugar and zucchini.
In a food processor, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the butter.
Mix a tablespoon of the flour mixture into the blueberries.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir gently. Carefully stir in the floured blueberries.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes, then turn out bread onto wire racks until it has cooled completely.
Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Are you all caught up? Hope you have plenty of time to read this fall… and then for all the latest news, follow Lucy on:
Posted on August 21, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: My hub and I are mad for cherries when they are in season, and trust me we’ve eaten pounds and pounds of them this summer. But we’ve never done anything except eat them from the bowl. I couldn’t imagine pitting all those little guys. But then I got the image of a cherry cobbler in my head, and it would not be denied. (Sadly, I went to the grocery store yesterday and the cherries were GONE FOR THE SEASON! I’m quite certain you can use this same recipe for blueberries or peaches. Back to the story…)
So I went in search of a cherry pitter and found this one on Amazon, which handles 6 pieces at a time. So it still takes a while (maybe half an hour) to pit enough for the cobbler, but this time it’s worth it. Be careful because one diner did find a pit in her portion. You don’t want your guests cracking their molars on your dessert! (Recipe has been adapted for low-sodium diets.)
For the cherry filling:
Six cups pitted cherries
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Half a lemon, squeezed
Place the cherries in an 8 by 8 Pyrex pan, ungreased. Mix in the cornstarch and sugar, and squeeze the lemon over the top.
For the crust:
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon no sodium baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup sugar
Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in the chilled butter, using a pastry cutter. When the lumps are pea-sized, stir in the cream or milk. Do not over mix. With a large spoon place blobs of the crust over the prepared cherries. Do not worry about smoothing the crust or covering every square inch.
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. The cherries should be bubbling and the crust a light brown. Let the cobbler cool a bit and serve with almond-scented whipped cream.
For the cream:
1 cup organic whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 tablespoon sugar
Whip the cream with the almond flavoring until thick. And the sugar and stir that in. Serve with the cobbler and swoon. (This is very rich–serves 6-8.)
It’s perfect for celebrations, like the publication of a new book! Or simply reading a great book.
Posted on May 3, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: This year for Christmas my wonderful uncle sent me a big box of dried Michigan cherries. They are so sweet and delicious! I’ve used them in granola and cookies, but I wanted to find a salad to showcase them as well. This combination does just that.
1 head red leaf or butter lettuce
2 small cucumbers
2 sticks celery
One ripe avocado
One half ripe mango
1/2 cup dried Michigan cherries
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into pieces and toasted
Wash and dry the lettuce, tear into bite-sized pieces and layer at the bottom of the salad bowl. Slice the cucumber and the celery and mix this in.
Toast the walnuts until slightly brown and crunchy.
Peel and dice the avocado. Slice the ripe sections of the mango off the pit, and dice. Layer the avocado and the mango onto the salad. Sprinkle with cherries. Top with cooled walnuts.
Dress with a mustard vinaigrette and toss, once your guests have admired the presentation:). (You of course should feel free to make your own tweaks, onions if you like them, or some kind of soft cheese, for example.) In this case, we ate the salad with pan-fried yellowtail snapper and roasted rosemary potatoes–yum!
The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?
You can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Posted on January 28, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: In Key West in the winter, we get lots of houseguests (no surprise!) Suppose you’re looking for something special to serve your visitors for breakfast? Over a year ago, I made some blue cornmeal pancakes that were to die for (she said modestly.) But when I went back to look at the recipe, I was shocked about how much sodium was involved. In pancakes! Who knew? So this is a revised version, equally delicious, probably under 100 mg of sodium for the whole batch. Next time we’d double the amount and freeze any extras for quick lunches or snacks.
2/3 cups cornmeal (I used Bob’s organic)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Featherweight no-sodium baking powder
1 teaspoon Ener-G sodium-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar added (less than 150 mg sodium vs 257 in one cup buttermilk)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing griddle
1 cup blueberries (frozen works fine)
Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add the blueberries. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until mostly combined.
Heat the pan or griddle and melt some butter to cover the bottom. Add the wet batter to the pan. Cook over medium heat until bubbles pop, then flip the pancakes over and cook the other side, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve with real maple syrup. Next time I would also top with a dollop of plain yogurt.
KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but available for pre-order today!
And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Posted on January 5, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: In October, my husband went on a dream trip —playing golf in Scotland with his three brothers and four other childhood friends. (Aren’t they so cute?) They had an amazing time, and he came home with small packages of Walker’s shortbread cookies, which they found at every hotel and B and B…
Naturally I became addicted to these cookies and decided I should try making some myself. Neither the brown sugar nor the almond extract are traditional, but they sounded like good additions to me.
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• almond extract, 1 tsp
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the extract. Mix in the flour on low speed until it’s just combined. (If you work the dough too hard, the cookies will be tough.)
Roll the dough out on a piece of floured parchment into a rough rectangle (no more than 1/2 inch deep), then move the whole thing to your baking pan. Score the dough into the size cookies you want. Bake at 325 until lightly browned.
Once removed from the oven, prick the warm cookies with a fork and cut through the scored lines.
You might want to whip up a batch for National Shortbread Day on January 6!
Posted on December 20, 2015 - by Lucy
This recipe was tweaked from one filed by Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times. I made her version and then revised for my second attempt, which we modestly judged delicious. The recipe is quite flexible and can absorb about any vegetables you have lying around. You’ll notice that I added no salt, though of course some of the ingredients have sodium naturally occurring. We did not miss it! And I’m very, very fussy! I’ll list the approximate sodium content at the end for those interested. (And I have to watch sodium these days…)
For this version I used the following ingredients:
Two ears corn, kernels stripped off the cob, or frozen, 1 cup
2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
Half a green pepper diced
One small onion diced
4 to 5 okra pods, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Half cup milk
2 to 3 ounces lower salt Swiss cheese
1 ounce Parmesan, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8″ pan well.
Sauté the onions, peppers, okra, and chopped spinach until the vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Mix in corn, dill, and basil.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Then stir in the vegetables and the grated Swiss cheese. Scrape this mixture into the prepared pan and top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until sides and top are starting to brown. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before serving with a green vegetable and salad.
(Now for the sodium count: Eggs, 62 mg per one medium egg. Spinach, 24 mg per one cup. Low sodium Swiss cheese, 4 mg per ounce. Shredded Parmesan, 85 mg per one Tbsp. Fresh okra, 411 mg per one cup-wow! One ear of corn, 262 mg. Half cup 1% milk, 53 mg.)
KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but available for pre-order today!
And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Posted on December 16, 2015 - by Lucy
People look at me with suspicion if I show up somewhere with a key lime dessert (and that’s with some good reason–I did off someone with a key lime pie in AN APPETITE FOR MURDER). But there’s no reason you shouldn’t have this delicious recipe, perfect for a holiday party. They will never suspect a thing…
Beep! Beep! Beep! There’s a calorie alert associated with this recipe. You should not go in with the idea (as I did) that a Key Lime Parfait would be a light dessert because of the citrus…
With that warning out of the way, here’s the story behind the recipe. The fifth Key West mystery (DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS) features a New York chef who’s just opened a restaurant in Key West. She wants her new menu to reflect some of the tastes and history of the island, and this key lime parfait is one of the desserts she offers. So of course I had to try making one, and this is the result.
Key limes are smaller than regular limes–and here I have to tell the truth–kind of a pain to juice. John helped me and it took all the limes in a pound bag to end up with 1/2 cup of juice. (Next time, I might try the recipe with regular limes.)
5 whole graham crackers, crushed, to make about one cup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
key lime zest
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Crush the graham crackers. (Easy way–place the graham crackers in a ziplock bag, seal the bag, and roll them to crumbs with a rolling pin.)
Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread this on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let this cool, then break into crumbs again.
Meanwhile, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla. (I used my food processor, which was a snap.) Set half of this aside for the topping.
Mix the condensed milk with the lime juice. The citrus will cause the milk to thicken. Gently stir in one cup of whipped cream.
Now comes the fun part, in which you layer the parts you’ve prepared. I chose wine snifters–next time I would try something taller and thinner, as these servings were BIG.
Layer in some of the baked crumbs, then some of the key lime mixture, and repeat. When you have distributed all the ingredients, top with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkle with more crumbs and some zested lime if you want a stronger flavor.
And then lean back and enjoy the compliments! (and by way, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS makes a Perfect Stocking Stuffer!)
Posted on June 1, 2015 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: Life is a little crazy right now, with FATAL RESERVATIONS coming soon, so I thought I’d share a really easy recipe. I know, what sense does that make, right?
But some night when you’re pressed for time and want to quickly dress up a piece of fish or some shrimp, you’ll be glad to have this one in your hopper.
|Salsa with Yellowtail
|Ignore the ginger, I changed my mind on that!
One large ripe mango
One ripe avocado
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Two key limes
1 to 2 teaspoons orange flavored olive oil
Salt-and-pepper to taste
Putting this together is so easy, it’s almost embarrassing: Cut the mango and avocado into small chunks. Mix this gently with the onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Squeeze the key limes over the top and drizzle all with the olive oil. Then salt and pepper to taste.
Voila–salsa! You can serve this with pan fried yellowtail snapper or Key West pink shrimp. You could even serve it with tortilla chips as an appetizer. No one would complain!
When she is not blogging and cooking, Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries.
Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!