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

Shashlik with Tajik Non


I first tasted shashlik in Dushanbe, Tajikistan during a senior year study tour of the former Soviet Union. We ate at an outdoor café in the cool of the evening. The skewers of lamb cooked slowly over smoldering charcoal on a long, narrow grill called a mangal. The grill resembled an elongated metal shoebox on stilts. The lamb did not come in direct contact with a metal grill as on American barbecues, but was essentially spit roasted. The skewered lamb was served on flatbread embedded with shallots, and then sprinkled with thinly sliced scallions. The non served a plate as it was flat in the center and puffed around the edges. The beverage of choice was vodka served by the bottle. It had a foil cap you peeled off and discarded. The idea of drinking less than a bottle never occurred to anyone, a cap therefore was superfluous. Continue reading

Grilled Pork Chops with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella, Served with Mushroom Risotto and Brocollini

Grilled Pork Chops with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella howtofood

Oven roasting concentrates the flavor of fresh garden tomatoes and gives them a caramelized flavor. They need a concentrated flavor to play off the earthy zing of Maplebrook Farm cherry-wood smoked mozzarella. When you unwrap this remarkable cheese you’ll smell what I’m talking about before you even taste it. The pork chops are soaked in a brine before grilling to make them retain juices, and to absorb the flavors of garlic, brown sugar and summer savory. The mushroom risotto flows onto the plate and the pork chops are served on top and is both sauce for the meat and starch for the meal. Crisp brocollini provides a textural counterpart to the other elements. Serve with Viognier or an oaky Chardonnay, if you prefer beer try a frosty, well-hopped IPA. Continue reading