Flourless Walnut Torte with Apple Butter, Maple Sauce

Gluten-free cake! Usually, a cake pan is usually prepared by buttering and flouring. The flour provides a surface for the cake batter to grasp as it climbs the sides, and the butter underneath allows for easy removal from the cake ring. A pan that is completely unprepared also provides traction for the batter. You just have to run a thin-bladed knife around the pan before releasing the ring, and since no flour was involved, you can serve this dessert to those intolerant of gluten. Another amazing thing about this recipe is the number of ingredients—there’s hardly any. Continue reading

Shooters: Cherry Peppers Stuffed with Prosciutto & Provolone

Salty, spicy, and rich with cheese and olive oil, these peppers are a hit on any occasion. When I cooked at a large hotel in the Providence area I was exposed to a variety of Italian delicacies as that part of Rhode Island is home to a sizable population of Italian descent. While there, I learned that these stuffed peppers (known locally as shooters) are ubiquitous to the region. You find them in taverns, and on the shelves of neighborhood grocers. Locals take pride in making their own shooters, and once you try these you’ll understand why. My garden produced enough cherry peppers this year that I was able to make my own. Continue reading

Peppers Stuffed with Polenta and Ricotta, Baked with Italian Sausage, Eggplant, Summer Squash and Tomato Sauce

Sweet, creamy polenta is enriched with Bennington, Vermont’s Maplebrook Farm Whole Milk Ricotta and fills garden fresh peppers. Nestled into a mixture of summer vegetables, spicy Italian sausage, and deeply flavored marinara sauce these peppers are a treat to serve friends or family. Perhaps some crusty bread to help sop up the sauce is all you need to accompany this one-dish meal. A spicy, full-bodied Shiraz would stand up to the range of deep flavors. Schooners of American India Pale Ale would play off the spicy notes of the sausage as well as the cheesy polenta. Continue reading

Cauliflower and Carrot Soup with Dill

In early autumn the flavors of these vegetables are at peak. The sweetness of carrots and the slightly sour tang of cauliflower complement each other perfectly—it takes two to tango. Serve with crusty sour dough bread and a spreadable cheese such as Blythedale Farm’s Vermont Camembert. Made in the traditional French manner, it bears distinctive nutty, mushroomy flavors and fresh scents that go well with this soup. Continue reading

Meatballs with Porcini and Prosciutto, Marinara Sauce

Meatballs are one of the great comfort foods. These are tender, moist, and enriched with the heady flavors of porcini mushrooms and prosciutto, they will make you lean back and in your chair and rub your belly. I started with some local, pasture-raised organic ground beef from Windy Willows Farm in Johnson, Vermont. Once you’ve eaten a hamburger made from grass-fed organic beef you’ll search for a steady source. Grass-fed beef has about the same amount of fat as chicken breast, but more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid. That really makes this comfort food—not only does it taste great, it’s good for you. Continue reading

Stuffies: Quahogs with Linguica

Stuffed quahogs, otherwise known as stuffies in southern New England, are one of those “must have” treats when you visit the area. Many recipes include bacon and various seasonings, spicy versions include the addition of chorizo sausage and copious amounts of crushed red pepper. This recipe features the briny smack of the clams accented by the milder Portuguese sausage, linguica.  A country-style, coarsely-ground sausage, linguica is often smoked and is milder than chorizo, but still redolent of garlic and paprika. An informal appetizer or meal, stuffies are best accompanied by cold beer, lemon wedges, and bottled hot sauce so everyone can spice them to their desired degree of heat. If you are looking for party food, look no further than stuffies. The perfect beer to wash down stuffies is the Alchemist’s Heady Topper, an American Double India Pale Ale brewed in Waterbury, Vermont. It is extravagantly hopped, and best drunk from the can to preserve the intense hop flavors. Continue reading

White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Eggplant, Tomato Pistou and Garlic Croutons

This recipe is all about garlic. Garlic in the soup, garlic in the pistou, and garlic croutons. The pureed cannellini beans give the soup a nice smooth body. Garden vegetables are the essential ingredients of summer cooking. Nothing tastes like produce in season. Enjoy it while you can. Pistou is often made without tomatoes, like pesto, but this version gives the soup a blast of ripe, uncooked tomatoes—a memorable flavor to be enjoyed when you can get it.  Continue reading

Crab and Corn Cupcakes with Red Pepper Jelly

I intended this to be an appetizer, but if you’re like me you might make a meal of them. Lighter than crab cakes and served with a dollop of warm, slightly spicy red pepper jelly, these cakes combine the briny flavors of the sea with the toothsome qualities of sweet corn. Serve these cupcakes with mixed greens or baby spinach and lemon wedges. I like a glass of Prosecco with these flavors. The tiny bubbles and citrus quality of Italian Prosecco enhance both the crabmeat and the red pepper jelly. Well-hopped India Pale Ale works with this dish for the same reasons. Continue reading