Word is that cheesecakes have been making an appearance since the first Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. Well then! The Countess of Leicester’s household was making cheesecakes in 1265 as noted in her domestic notes. This old Yorkshire recipe uses either cheese curds or cottage cheese. I used the latter as cottage cheese is what I had on hand and I was in a rush, no time for curd hunting. Using curds will result in a richer “pye” than if you use the more mundane cottage cheese.
This is really a savoury pie. It’s supper, not dessert. A bit tangy. Good for a light dindins if you serve it with some greens. Not schfancy. But sure is quick. The recipe .. its simplicity .. lends itself to many additions. Sauteed spinach, soaked currants, others kinds of cheese. (I’m not suggesting adding all of these at once. Complicated!)
1 shortcrust pie pastry (If you’re feeling keen and enthusiastic, you may be making this from scratch. I rarely do.)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups of cottage cheese
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 eggs beaten
Turn oven to 350F.
Bake the pastry on it’s own for about 15 minutes. It might shrink down from the sides a little but, frankly, no one else will notice but you.
Meanwhile, mix up the remainder of the ingredients in a bowl.
Once the pastry has had its initial cook, pull it out from the oven. Now add the remainder of the ingredients on top of the pastry and bake for 30 minutes or so.
This tart is such a showstopper! And a great excuse to go to the Farmers Market and pick up different veggies that look yummy. I get very excited when fiddlehead ferns make an appearance in early summer and this is a good opportunity to show them off. But really, you can use any variety of veggies on top of the tart. Experiment.
You’ll want to have an 18 x 13 cookie pan lined up (in other words, a shallow big baking sheet). As well as some filo .. make sure it is fresh filo as filo that has been hanging out in the freezer for months tends to be hard to manage. You’re also going to need a brush with which to use the butter to coat the filo.
This will feed a crowd. At least a dozen.
1 package of frozen filo. Let it thaw.
1/2 stick of melted butter
1 cup of full fat ricotta
1 cup of heavy cream
1 lb of fresh spinach
1 lb of green squash (if you’re going with the green theme!)
1/2 lb of fiddlehead ferns
1/2 lb of snow peas
1/2 lb of snap peas
1/2 of asparagus (I tend to use the tips)
Heat oven to 375F
Layer about 5 sheets of filo on the cookie sheet, washing each sheet with a brush of the melted butter. Then mix up the eggs, ricotta, and heavy cream. Set aside.
Saute the spinach so that it cooks down all the way through. Mix that into the creamy, eggy mix and spread that over the filo on the cookie sheet. Have a taste and add salt and pepper as appropriate to your taste.
Thinly slice the squash (a food processor is good for this task) and layer the slices on top of the creamy mix. Bake for about 30 minutes.
While the tart bakes, you’ll want to blanche all the remaining veggies. That means just pop them in boiling water for about a minute. So they still have crunch but are not entirely raw. They’ll also turn a vivid green doing this. Prepare a pot of boiling water. Also prepare another pot of ice water. Dunk the veggies in the boiling water until cooked through al dente and then throw them into the ice water promptly. This will make sure they keep their green and their crunch.
Once the veggies are chilled all the way through, drain them and let them dry.
Remove the tart from the oven and layer the remaining veggies on top.
Ta-dah! Ready. Let the tart cool a wee bit so it’ll be easier to slice.
Between the dill and the unexpected crunch of the cornichons, this potato salad is a right winner. Pretty, too. I tested it the other evening on some friends and the dill was popular. Dilly!
This does well to sit and percolate for a little while (make in the morning for an evening dinner) but is absolutely fine to be eaten immediately if that’s the way your schedule has worked out.
With any leftovers you have, heat up a glob of olive oil to a very hot temperature and throw in the remainders of the salad. Sauteed potato salad is quite lovely .. get the outside of the potatoes a little crisp in the oil and serve.
2 lbs of little potatoes (fingerlings work well)
1 cup of creme fraiche
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of chopped cornichons
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 cloves of grated garlic
1 bunch of dill chopped
1 bunch of chives chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
handful of edible flowers if you have access (chive flowers, nasturiums, etc)
Feeds a crowd of 10 or so.
Boil the potatos until they are cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Mix up the creme fraiche and the sour cream. (I like having a mix of the two .. a little tangy but not too tangy). Add the chopped herbs, the garlic, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cornichons. Mix. Set aside.
Once potatoes are cooked, let them cool and then muddle them up a bit, breaking the skin so that the potato has more surface area from which to absorb the sauce. Fold in the sauce and then turn out into a bowl. If you have some edible fleurs around, sprinkle those on top.
Look at these lovely, chubby long radishes. Fresh from the Union Square Farmers Market and popped into the oven.
Heat the oven to 425F.
Slice the radishes in half.
Melt a healthy dollop of butter in a frying pan (or microwave) and then coat the bottom of a baking dish with it. Put the radishes down in the dish, sliced side down, and bake for about 25 minutes. The butter will burn a little turning brown and adding a yummy flavor to the radishes.
Such a quick dish. Easy. And it’s fun because you get to muck in with your fingers and chomp on the yummy Shishito Peppers.
Shishito peppers are those peppers you see at Farmers Markets or Asian Markets that tend to have a sign “Sweet but the occasional hot one!”
4 lbs of mussels (debearded. ie, no stuff sticking on the outside of the shell)
2 cups of sauteed shishito peppers
2 cloves of grated garlic
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of white wine (or a rose)
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.
First off, you want to saute the peppers. Simple. Just pour a glug of olive oil into a pot, get it hot, and then throw in the peppers and sautee for a couple of minutes. Totally fine if they get a little brown.
Pull them out and set aside. Saute the onions in the remaining olive oil. As they begin to get glassy, add the minced garlic. (Put the garlic in any sooner and you’re going to burn it as onions, of course, take longer to cook than garlic). Add the tomatoes and the ginger.
Add the wine and the stock and heat to a burble so that about half of the liquid evaporates.
Toss in the mussels and cover the pot for about 4 minutes allowing all the mussels to open. Throw out any that don’t open as they’re dead. Add the peppers and the cilantro, stir them gently around the broth and mussels.
Taste the broth. Do you need salt or pepper?
They mussels are ready to be served! Crusty bread always goes nicely to sop up the juices.
Serves 4 people.