Raghavan Iyer, CCP
Chef and Author

Masala bhindi tamatar
(Braised Okra and Tomatoes)

• 1 pound fresh okra, rinsed and thoroughly dried
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 2 dried red Thai or cayenne chilies, stems removed
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
• 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 large tomato, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

Snip the caps off the okra, being careful not to cut into the pods. Cut the pods into 1-inch lengths. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle and turn reddish brown (5 to 10 seconds). Then stir in the chilies and cook until they blacken slightly and smell pungent (about 5 seconds). Immediately add the okra and stir-fry until the pieces blister in spots and acquire a light brown coloration on their ridged skin (10 to 12 minutes). Stir in the coriander, salt, cayenne, and turmeric, and continue to stir-fry to cook the spices (about 1 minute). Add the tomato and ½ cup water, stirring once or twice. Once the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is fork-tender (12 to 15 minutes). Sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve. Serves 4.

Brenda Langton
Chef and Author

Broiled Eggplant with Orange-Miso Glaze

• 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
• 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, juiced
• 2 tablespoons mirin
• 3 tablespoons white or light miso
• 1 medium eggplant or 3 small Japanese eggplants
• Vegetable oil

Combine orange juice, ginger juice, mirin, and miso in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and set aside. Diagonally slice eggplant into ¼ inch round or oval slices. Place eggplant slices on an oiled sheet pan. Brush tops lightly with vegetable oil. Place eggplant slices in a 450 degree oven and bake until lightly brown (approximately 15-20 minutes). Take out of oven and spoon a coating of miso sauce onto each slice. Return to oven and bake about 5 minutes until golden brown, or place briefly under broiler. Serves 4-6.

Amalia Damgaard
Private Chef & Culinary Designer

Amalia's Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

• 1 cup of yellow onions, small dice
• 1 cup diced bell peppers (red, green and orange)
• 3 tablespoons Canola oil
• 2 cups multicolored beans (canned), drained, rinsed
• 1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
• 3 cups cooked white rice **
• 1 tablespoon Lizano Sauce
• 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2-1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
• 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
• Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
• Cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, onion and bell peppers, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the beans, bacon, and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the rice, mix well, and sauté another 2 minutes. Season with Lizano and Worcestershire and Tabasco; add cilantro, salt and black pepper. Mix well and sauté another minute. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves. Serves 6-8.

**3 cups of cooked rice

Sauté 1 ½ cups of uncooked long grain white rice in ½ tablespoon. Canola oil. Add
2 3/4 cups of hot chicken stock and bring to a boil, adjust heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (about 10 minutes). Turn heat off, keep covered, and set aside until needed.

Amalia's Special Hints:
Serve Gallo Pinto alone or as a side dish. As a side dish, complement with grilled chicken or beef or with pan roasted Tilapia and sautéed chayote squash. To make a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock and omit the bacon. Buy the Lizano sauce at any Latinmarket.

Beth Dooley
Cookbook Author & Food Writer

Beth's Traditional Basil Pesto

• 2 cups fresh basil leaves
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
• 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Put the herbs, garlic, nuts and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender and whir until you have a thick paste. Thin with the remaining oil to the desired consistency. Just before using, stir in the Parmesan by hand. To make this by hand, put the herbs, garlic and nuts into a mortar and pound into a paste adding oil until you have the desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Just before using, stir in the Parmesan. Makes about 1 cup. NOTE: This will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days covered with a thin layer of oil and plastic wrap. It also freezes nicely. Make this thick or thin depending on your preference. It's great on freshly sliced tomatoes, terrific tossed with pasta, and wonderful slathered on grilled bread.

Parsley & Walnut Pesto

• 2 cups parsley leaves
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
• 1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Put the herbs, garlic, lemon juice and zest and nuts along with half of the oil into a food processor or blender. Blend into a thick paste and add additional oil to reach the consistency desired. To make this by hand, put the herbs and garlic into a mortar and then pound in the lemon zest and juice along with the nuts, then slowly pound in the oil until you reach the consistency desired. Makes about 1 cup. NOTE: This will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days covered with a thin layer of oil and plastic wrap. It also freezes nicely. This is lovely on broiled chicken, fish, burgers and steak. It's also terrific tossed with grilled vegetables (especially grilled mushrooms). Swirl it into chilled tomato or potato soup.

Cilantro, Mint & Cashew Pesto

• 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
• 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1/4 cup unsalted cashews, chopped
• 1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or more as needed
• Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Put the herbs, garlic, cashews and lime juice into a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add about 1/4 cup of the oil and pulse several times. Then, with the motor running, add enough remaining oil to make a creamy sauce (using a little more, if needed). Salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately. Or, to make this by hand, put the herbs, garlic, cashews and lime juice into a mortar and pound into a paste. Slowly add the oil, pounding as you go. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Makes about 1- 1/4 cup. NOTE: Use this immediately, it doesn't keep more than one or two days. This is terrific on grilled fish or tossed with buckwheat (soba) noodles.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Cookbook Author & Host of the Splendid Table

Heirloom Tomato Stack with Pine Nut-Raisin Confit

• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, or more to taste
• Generous pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
• 1/3 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 3 tablespoons raisins, coarse chopped
• Salt to taste
• 2 tight-packed tablespoons fresh Spicy Globe Basil, torn
• 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 6 medium-sized ripe delicious tomatoes

Basil Oil (make just before serving and do not keep)

• ¼ to 1/3 tight-packed cup Spice Globe Basil leaves
• ½ cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil
• salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, black and red pepper, onion, currants, and salt to taste. Let them stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Just before assembling the dish, stir in the basil and all but 1/4 cup of the pine nuts. One at a time, core the tomatoes. Check that each is stable if placed cored side down on a plate. (The idea behind this dish is that each tomato will be sliced horizontally and layered with a scant spoonful of seasonings so that it looks whole again on the plate. Keep each tomato's slices in order for easy assembly.) Cut each tomato horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Then reassemble the tomatoes on a serving platter. Start with the bottom slices of each tomato. Season them with a little salt, then with a teaspoon or so of the onion mixture. Continue alternating slices until they are used up. To finish the dish, sprinkle the tomatoes with the reserved pine nuts. At the last minute puree together the basil oil ingredients and streak the oil around the tomatoes. Serve at room temperature with rugged whole grain bread. Pour a Portuguese Vinho Verde, or an Oregon Pinot Gris. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a starter. Salad can be assembled 30 minutes ahead.

Michael Rostance
Broder's Pasta Bar

Caponata Umbrian Style

• 1 pound eggplant, ¾ inch dice
• ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 ounce porcini mushrooms, cleaned, soaked, drained (reserve liquid)
• 1 red pepper, spines and seeds removed, ¾ inch dice
• ½ yellow pepper, spines and seeds removed, ¾ inch dice
• ½ green pepper, spines and seeds removed, ¾ inch dice (Note: Peppers should weigh ½ pound after cleaning.)
• 1 cup sweet yellow onions, ½ inch dice
• 1 cup celery, ½ inch dice
• ½ orange, zested and juiced
• ½ lemon, zested and juiced
• ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1 cup roasted chestnuts, sliced
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ½ cup red wine
• 1 cup porcini soaking liquid, strained
• ½ cup red wine vinegar
• 1 cup crushed tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon purple basil, chiffonade
• ½ tablespoon mint, chopped
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 1 ½ cups oil cured olives, pitted

Salt the diced eggplant liberally. Drain in a colander for ½ hour or more. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large braising or frying pan. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon sugar. Sauté over medium heat until tender but not brown. Add the peppers and sauté until tender. Add the celery and sauté until just tender. Note: If all the vegetables do not fit comfortably in the bottom of the pan, transfer in batches to a mixing bowl. When all the vegetables are cooked, transfer to the mixing bowl. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Add to the mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, rest of the oil, red pepper flakes, zest and juice to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the porcini liquid and red wine vinegar to the tomatoes. Add the chestnuts and vegetables to the pan. Simmer 10 minutes. Add the basil, mint and raisins to the pan. Taste for salt, pepper and sugar. Add more if needed. Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve at room temperature topped with grated pecorino cheese and crusty bread. Recipe can be double for big parties and groups. Keeps 3-4 days in the fridge and also freezes ok.

Justin Given
Arboretum Restaurant

Ground Cherry Chutney

• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup Champagne vinegar
• 3 cups ground cherries
• 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped

Mix sugar and water together in a sauce pan and cook, stirring consistently so it does not burn. This makes the simple syrup. Then add the Dijon mustard, onion, vinegar and ground cherries. Cook until it starts to thicken and the ground cherry skins start to crack. Then remove pan from stove, add rosemary and transfer to a proper container to be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to properly label with date prepared. Makes 4 cups.

Sweet Potato Fries

• 6 sweet potatoes, cut into French fries
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 3 tablespoons molasses
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, canola oil, molasses, and cayenne pepper. With a spoon lightly stir all the ingredients together until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long. Makes 6 servings.

Greg Reynolds
Riverbend Farm Local Organic Grower & Restaurant Supplier

Polenta with Maple Syrup

• 1 cup corn meal
• 2 cups water
• Bacon
• Salt
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Maple syrup

Mix one cup of corn meal into one cup of water. Bring two cups of water to a boil. When the water boils add the wet corn meal and stir well. Stir often and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep stirring. The polenta will scorch a little and stick to the bottom. Don't stir up the layer from the bottom of the pot. When the corn starts to soften, start frying some good bacon. Add a little salt to the polenta (enough so you can taste it, but not enough to make the corn meal salty) and a few tablespoons of butter. Stir. The bacon and the polenta should be done at about the same time. Enjoy the corn meal with the bacon and maple syrup. Preparing this as a cooked cereal makes the perfect food for cold, windy winter days.

Best Tasting Beans Ever

• 2 cups dry beans
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2-3 bay leaves
• Salt

Wash the beans and boil them in plenty of water. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple bay leaves to the boiling beans. Cook them until they are barely tender. Add a little salt and finish cooking them. The beans take about an hour and a half to cook. Let the water boil away towards the end of cooking. The beans will form a little brown gravy when the water just covers the beans. Eat plain or with butter.

Mike Phillips
The Craftsman Restaurant

Kohlrabi Olive Oil Puree

• 6 pounds kohlrabi peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
• 1 cup olive oil

Cook the kohlrabi in salted simmering water until fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Puree and add olive oil slowly. Serve with grilled sausages, nasturtiums and a drizzle of local honey. Serves 10. NOTE: This will cook down a lot and may be used as a starch, like potatoes.

Tammy Wong
Chef & Owner
Rainbow Restaurant

Bottle Gourd Stir-fry

• 1-2 pounds gourd (approx 1 med bottle gourd)
• ½ cup dehydrated shrimp, soaked in water (optional)
• 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
• 3 stalks green onions, cut in 2″ lengths
• 2 tablespoons cooking oil
• 2 ablespoons fish sauce
• 1 tablespoons Sesame oil
• 1 cup pre-soaked cellophane noodles

Peel skin off gourd (with a carrot peeler or similar utensil), slice and julienne. While preparing garlic and onions, heat cooking oil in a frying pan or wok. When oil is hot, add garlic, sauté briefly, then add strained shrimp and gourd; sauté until gourd is soft. Add fish sauce. Stir together then add cellophane noodles, sesame oil and green onions. Mix well and remove from heat. Serve with rice and garnish with chopped Thai chili peppers in soy sauce (optional). Serves 6.