Mary’s Memo – November 11th


From Mark Bittman’s transition to mostly vegan eating to Gwyneth Paltrow’s emphasis on vegan meals in her new family cookbook, more and more people are realizing that they can enjoy the benefits and satisfaction of a vegan diet without having to commit to plant-eating at every meal. And thanks to Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts (Running Press, November 2013, $30.00/hardcover), either full-time or part-time vegan eating can include rich, sinful-tasting and delicious chocolate desserts. Cookbook includes recipes for chocolate cakes, brownies, truffles, puddings, ice creams and more that will appeal to every chocoholic, vegan or otherwise! All the recipes are plant-based, some are gluten-free and some are raw, but every single one is absolutely chocolate and made with quality, easily sourced ingredients without dairy, eggs and white sugar.

Fran Costigan is an internationally recognized culinary instructor, recipe developer and innovative vegan pastry Chef and author of three cookbooks. A graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the National Gourmet Institute, Fran is a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan restaurant kitchens. She teaches her distinctive courses in her hometown of New York City at the Institute of Culinary Education. Visit her at


A customer asked me recently about a recipe calling for escarole. Think curly leaf endive because it is a form of it. Curly endive, what the Chief produce departments sell, is available year round. It’s used mainly in salads but can also be cooked and used in soups such as Italian Sausage, Endive and White Bean Soup. For more kick use spicy Italian sausage in the recipe.


• Extra-Virgin Oil for sautéing
• 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
• 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
• 1 small zucchini, diced
• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1 head of curly endive, core removed and chopped
• 2 cans Bush white beans (Navy or Great Northern), drained
• 12 cups chicken stock
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or to taste
• Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add sausage and cook until crumbled. Add the onion and carrots and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic, basil, oregano and parsley. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Add squash and again cook another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, endive, beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 30 minutes to blend flavors. Add salt and pepper. Before serving garnish with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Recipe makes about 16 cups. Leftovers can be frozen. Source: Adapted from a Dorothy Lane Market recipe.


Chutney is a spicy condiment made with fruit, vinegar and spices. I recently served chutney at the Bryan Chief made with cranberries. Chutney isn’t a food that one eats by the dishful but a little-dab-will-do-accompaniment to any meat or served over cream cheese with crackers on the side as an appetizer. Make this recipe now and freeze it for your Thanksgiving dinner. That’s what a lot of tasters were going to do.


• 1-3/4 cups sugar
• 1-3/4 cups water
• 4 cups fresh cranberries, sorted, washed and drained
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add cranberries; simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes or until cranberry skins pop, stirring occasionally. Stir in raisins and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Recipe makes 1.5 pints.


Many of you tell me you buy cranberries and store the bags in the freezer for use when they’re not available. When you take them out of the freezer you can’t tell if there are berries that should have been discarded. My recommendation is to sort and wash them before they are frozen. Or if you’re like me, grind them with 2 naval oranges per 12-ounce bag, add sugar to your taste, and freeze in proper containers.

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