Archives for October 2007

Crisp, Crunchy Prosciutto: Better than Bacon

Roast sliced prosciutto for a crispy treat

Two questions for a mom/food blogger/personal chef/recipe writer/household planner having one of those weeks that are making her very tired:

Question: What is the one thing you toss into your cart each and every time you shop at Costco.
nswer: One pound packages of sliced prosciutto.

Question: And why is that?
Answer: Because when there’s nothing much in the house to cook, we can always munch on oven-roasted prosciutto. This stuff might be better than bacon-flavored potato chips.

Question: Just one more question – how do you make it?
Answer: Just have a look at the easy recipe below. I’m going to have a little nap now.

Crisp Oven-Roasted Prosciutto

12 slices prosciutto
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Arrange the prosciutto on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven 12-15 minutes (keep you eye on it – it browns quickly) until crisp. Cool.

Crumble over pasta, eggs, mashed potatoes or sandwiches. Or just eat it plain, right out of a bowl.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Butternut Squash Soup: Rich, Silky (and Dairy-Free)

A comforting bowl for fall

Now is the perfect time of year to make soup – we can almost see breath clouds while walking to school in the morning (it takes a lot of huffing), pumpkins are stacked on front stoops and the maples are showing off their fall colors.

Plus, Thanksgiving is right around the corner – I just placed my order for a pasture-raised turkey. Now I need to get busy planning our menu. Since we don’t have a huge family gathering and the duty to provide everybody’s habitual favorite side dishes, I try different recipes from year to year, just to keep things interesting. I’m craving chiles this year, for some reason, and might roast this Southwestern-inspired turkey.

This soup will be great on our holiday table. Made with my all-time favorite fall ingredient, butternut squash, it’s so smooth and rich-tasting you might think it’s loaded with butter and cream, but no worries! It’s completely dairy-free. The secret to its plush, velvety texture is in the ratio of vegetables to broth, and the addition of a little bit of potato for body.

Butternut Squash Soup: Rich, Silky (and Dairy-Free)

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small non-starchy potato (such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss), peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 4 - 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs and toasted nuts, to garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and ginger; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the squash, potato, honey, stock and orange juice and zest; season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then adjust heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork.
  3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion hand blender until very smooth.
  4. Garnish with fresh chopped herb leaves (such as chives, basil or parsley) and chopped toasted nuts, if you like.

Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

Snack on these…

I grew up in a part of the United States where the appeal of boiling up peanuts for a snack is right up there with throwing your herring in a vat of lye. You know that people have been known to do such things to perfectly harmless ingredients, but why?

However, recently I became great chummy with the folks at the National Peanut Board after my shrimp salad recipe won a nice prize. (They love that sort of thing, you know, for promotional purposes).

I had some interesting conversations about all things pea-nutty; topics covering the research, cultivation, nutrition, history and overall plain goodness of the peanut.

And then Matt and Ted Lee presented me with an autographed copy of their book, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. These guys know from boiled peanuts. Homesick in New York City, they started boiling peanuts in their apartment, then tried to get fancy food stores and restaurants to buy them. It took a while for the idea to catch on, but you have to credit their talent and cleverness. They’re now award-winning food writers and proprietors of a mail-order company that supplies all manner of Southern foods and condiments, including boiled peanuts, of course.

I came across fresh, raw peanuts at Global Foods Market, my fabulous ethnic foods emporium, and brought them home. After leafing through my stacks of cookbooks, I riffed on an idea from Madhur Jaffrey in her book World Vegetarian (have I ever told you how much I love her recipes?)

Boiled peanuts are pretty darn good. They really taste like the legumes they are, kind of a sweetly grassy cross between water chestnuts and baby lima beans. The seasonings in this recipe permeate the shell, delicately flavoring the softened peanut with a whiff of the exotic.

Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

1 pound fresh, raw peanuts in the shell
1 dried chili pepper, crumbled
1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 or 2 whole star anise

Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, until peanuts are soft. Drain, cool and eat.

More bloggers and their delicious boiled peanuts:

Eat All Day
Algerian Cuisine by Chef Zadi

Desert Candy

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food