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Mary’s Memo #2215

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
     Mary Ann’s only criticism of last week’s memo was that recipes seemed too “wintry” than they should be for this time of year so I promised more “spring” in this week’s selections.
     Not Your Mother’s Casseroles by Faith Durand is a January 2011 Harvard Common Press selection, featuring over 200 recipes for healthy, easy and modern casseroles. It’s organized into chapters including Breakfast, Starters and Spreads, Vegetarian Casseroles, Pasta and Grains, and Desserts. With gluten-free offerings, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles will suit just about any dietary preference.
     Author Faith Durand writes for and is managing editor of The Kitchen.com, a popular home cooking website in the Apartment Therapy network. Not Your Mother’s Casseroles is her first book. She lives in Columbus, OH.
     I love sea scallops and this recipe can be ready in 20 minutes.

     QUICK LEMONY SCALLOPS WITH BREAD CRUMBS AND WINE

1 pound large sea scallops2/3 cup Japanese panko crumbs1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, mincedJuice and zest of 1 lemon1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter2 tablespoons white winePreheat the oven to 400ºF and lightly grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Pat scallops dry. Use the tips of your fingers to work the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper together in a small
bowl. Roll each of the scallops in this bread crumb mixture and arrange them in a single layer in the prepared dish. Whisk the lemon juice, melted butter and white wine together until thick and emulsified. Pour over the crumb-coated scallops. Sprinkle the
remaining bread crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the scallops are opaque. Do not overcook! Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 servings. Source: Not Your Mother’s Casseroles by Faith Durand; Harvard
Common Press, January 2011, $16.95/softback.

     Now available in paperback by Harvard Common Press is Tomatoes & Mozzarella by Hallie Harron and Shelley Sikora. Who are more suited partners on a plate than tomatoes and mozzarella? Cookbook includes 100 recipes from a variety of cuisines from the Mediterranean to the American Southwest. There are recipes for every season, from quick dishes to more sophisticated creations. The cookbook is also filled with gorgeous photos to tempt.
     Harron is a professional chef and restaurant consultant and author of Not Your Mother’s Fondue and Cheese Hors d’Oeuvres.Sikora is co-owner of the Bobby McGee‘s restaurant chain and is also the author of An Italian Affair.
Spring Tomato and Bread Casserole sounds good to me. It’s like a savory bread pudding. Enjoy!

     SPRING TOMATO AND BREAD CASSEROLE
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I prefer light kind)2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced3 large cloves garlic, mincedSea salt and freshly ground pepper1/2 loaf rustic country bread (about 8-ounces) at least day old, sliced and toasted (Aunt Millie's has a country buttermilk bread that will work)2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley4 medium-size ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese3 to 4 cups store-bought canned vegetable broth, as needed (Chief and Rays carry Swanson® vegetable broth and it’s located by chicken and beef broth)4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly slicedPreheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Oil a gratin or 9x13-inch casserole dish. Make 2 layers each of onions, bread, herbs and tomatoes. Top the second layer of tomatoes with Parmesan cheese. Slowly pour 3 cups vegetable broth around the edges. Drizzle a little oil over the top of the dish, cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake 20 minutes more, or until the top is just starting to brown. Remove from the oven, spread mozzarella on top and bake an additional 15 minutes or until casserole is well browned and the cheese is
melted and light brown speckled. If the dish seems dry, add up to 1 cup more of vegetable broth and bake for a few minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source:Tomatoes & Mozzarella by Hallie Harron and Shelley Sikora, Harvard Common Press, re-issued in April, 2011, as a $14.95 paperback.

FRESH ARTICHOKES, LESSON 1
     Bryan Chief customers have been asking about fresh artichokes lately. Although they are available year round, March through May is the peak season and again, with a smaller crop, in October. Choose artichokes that have tightly packed, crisp leaves with bright coloring. Avoid artichokes that are tough or woody or that have leaves that are spread apart, a sign the vegetable is old. Check the cut end for freshness; avoid a black cut, which indicates the artichoke has been stored too long. At home, store in the refrigerator for no longer than a week.
     Next week: How to prepare an artichoke for cooking. Download PDF of Memo #2215

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