Author Archive | Jake Levin and Silka Glanzman

Gourd Almighty

Ubiquitous pumpkin more versatile in the kitchen than on the porch

Gourds

Proudly lined up outside grocery stores and farm stands, pumpkins are practically synonymous with autumn—especially here in New England. Most will go the way of the jack-o’-lantern, but don’t overlook the flavor and versatility of this rich winter squash.

This season, put a couple extra in your cart. With a little experimentation and a big knife, the pumpkin will quickly become a staple at your fall table—and not just on Thanksgiving.

You know how to pick the perfect carving pumpkin, but cooking pumpkins are a bit different. Smaller pumpkins—anything under three pounds—have the best flavor. You’ll want to make sure it doesn’t have any bruises, soft spots or punctures and, if possible, pick one with a bit of stem left in place.

Like any vegetable, there are plenty of varieties to choose from, each with its own flavor profile. Baby Pam Sugar Pies come with sweet flesh and a fine, dry grain—making them perfect for pies. Long Island Cheese, named for its coloring and flat shape, is a beautiful heirloom with moderately sweet flesh and a long shelf life—up to a year out of direct sunlight. Red Warty Thing, a newer variety, has hard and—you guessed it—red, warty skin.… Read the rest

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Pumpkin & Ricotta Pappardelle

Serves 2–4

  • 1 (3-pound) pumpkin, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large bunch of sage (1 cup leaves, loosely packed)
  • ¾ pound fresh pappardelle pasta
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta

Spread out pumpkin chunks in a large roasting pan. Dot with butter, and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven at 400 for 45 minutes or until tender.

Pour oil in a heavy-duty pan about ¼ inch deep and turn on high heat. Once hot, drop in a handful of sage and fry for about a minute. Remove leaves with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all sage is fried.

Boil and drain pasta according to instructions on package.

Toss pumpkin, ricotta and pasta in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and top with fried sage.

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Sausage, Kale & Pumpkin Soup

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, the master of simple, elegant, seasonal cooking.

Serves 2–4

  • 4 cups pumpkin
  • 4 cups chicken or other stock
  • 2 links sausage
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place pumpkin in a saucepan with stock to cover and a pinch of salt. Turn heat to high and bring to boil. Cover pan, and adjust heat so the mixture simmers. Cook until pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. If time allows, cool.

Sauté sausage over high heat. When done, remove from pan and set aside. Sauté kale in the fat left from the sausage. Add more oil if necessary. When done, set aside with sausage.

Place pumpkin mixture in blender—in batches if necessary— and purée until smooth. This would also be a great time to use an immersion blender. Pour into a bowl and stir in sausage and kale.

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Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon allepo, if you have it
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the spices together with the oil at the bottom of a medium bowl. Put the seeds in the mixture and toss so all of the seeds are coated. Lay out on a baking sheet and place in oven at 350° for about 35 minutes, tossing occasionally. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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GATHER ’ROUND THE GRILL

Backyard cooking is key to savoring summer As children we are led to believe that for the rest of our lives “summer” will be synonymous with “vacation.” Despite our highest expectations, each and every time the days get longer and the trees get fuller, life speeds up and we’re whisked from June to September without so much as an afternoon on the playground. But the one thing we always count on—and take the time for—is a good barbecue. Summer is the best time to host a party: no-bake meals, disposable plates (compostable, of course) and the opportunity to unwind with good friends as the day cools around you. But it even for die-hard entertainers it’s tricky to find the time to put together a big meal, or the energy to stand in a hot kitchen for longer than it takes to pour a glass of lemonade.
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SIMPLE GRILLED CHICKEN

1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

2 whole chickens, cut into pieces Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle olive oil over chicken, and rub with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Place chicken on grill, skin side down. Close cover and grill 8 minutes. Flip chicken, and close cover again. Grill until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more.

Transfer chicken to a plate, and let rest 15 minutes. Serve with panzanella.

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GRILLED PANZANELLA

Panzanella  

1 fresh ciabatta, cut into 1-inch slices
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 whole shallot, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
4 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick quarters
1 cup chopped parsley and basil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil plus more for grilling

Combine shallots with vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Turn the grill to medium. As it heats, drizzle olive oil over
ciabatta, peppers and tomatoes. Add to the grill when it
reaches the proper temperature.

Char ciabatta, peppers and tomatoes on both sides. When
they are thoroughly grilled, remove from grill and place on
a large platter.

Break the bread into smaller chunks and toss together with
the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, shallots, vinegar, herbs
and olive oil.

Serve warm.

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