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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sour Cucumber Soup (Ogorkowa)

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

JAN 9, 2013

In Poland, when they talk about cucumber soup, they don't mean the pallid white stuff. Ogorkowa (o-goor-KOV-ah) is made with sour cucumbers, otherwise known as dill pickles.

This works better if you use homemade sour pickles, but good sour dill pickles -- not the sweet kind -- from a jar are a fine substitute. They don't have to be kosher dills, but those are often high quality.

This recipe comes from Wlodek Szemberg, a Polish friend of co-author Danielle Crittenden, who first introduced her to the exotic possibilities of Polish cuisine by serving her this soup at a dinner party more than two decades ago; the memory of its surprise and deliciousness remained strong. The result is hearty and deeply fragrant of dill.

Served with dark bread and butter, it makes a complete meal.

Make Ahead: The soup (minus the dill) can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

SERVINGS: 6 - 12

Yield: Makes about 12 cups


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts, rinsed well, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium celery root (celeriac), peeled, or 2 celery stalks, trimmed; chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
5 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
3 large (about 1 1/2 pounds total) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
32 ounces/896ml homemade or store-bought sour dill pickles in brine
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Generous 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the leek and stir to coat; cook for about 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the carrot, parsnip and celery root, then add the broth. Once the liquid comes to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Place the potatoes in a separate pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 7 or 8 minutes or until they are cooked through yet still slightly firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, strain the pickles, reserving their brine. Use a cheese grater or grater attachment in a food processor to coarsely grate the pickles. Add to the cooked vegetables in the pot, along with the pickle brine and the cooked potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook (over medium-low heat) for 5 minutes.

Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup so its texture is not ultra-smooth; you want the end result to still be a little chunky. Mix in the heavy cream.

Add the chopped dill just before serving.

Rating *****[3]


Adapted from "From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food," by Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden (Chronicle, 2012).

Tested by Zofia Smardz.

Sour-Orange Chicken With Avocado-Orange Salsa

Dayna Smith for The Washington Post


When grilling's not an option in the winter, try these marinated chicken breasts done under the broiler. They are dressed up with a fresh fruit salsa and made easy thanks to time-saving freshly squeezed orange juice and thinly sliced chicken cutlets, both available at most grocery stores.

Make Ahead: The chicken needs to marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. The salsa should be assembled shortly before serving.



3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (see headnote)
Finely grated zest of 1 orange (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes (about 2 teaspoons zest and 2 or 3 tablespoons juice)
Finely greated zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon zest and 3 to 4 tablespoons juice)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat, then cut in half horizontally to create a total of 8 thin cutlets (may substitute 1 1/2 pounds thin chicken cutlets)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (see headnote)
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 or 2 limes (2 tablespoons)
Finely grated zest and segments from 1 orange (see NOTE), segments cut into 1/4-to 1/2-inch dice
Flesh of 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice
4 scallions, white and light-green parts, cut crosswise into thin slices (1/3 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil


For the chicken: Whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, the zest and juice from the limes and the lemon, cumin, salt, pepper and oil in a shallow dish.

Add the chicken cutlets one at a time, making sure to coat each one thoroughly in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

For the salsa: Combine the orange juice, lime juice, orange zest, diced orange, avocado, scallions, salt, sugar, pepper to taste and oil in a mixing bowl, tossing gently to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler; preheat the broiler. Have a broiler pan ready, or line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Discard the marinade. Arrange the drained chicken cutlets on the pan or lined baking sheet in a single layer. Broil for about 5 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned, then use tongs to turn over the cutlets and broil for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to the stove top (off the heat); let rest for 5 minutes.

Place 2 chicken cutlets on each plate. Top with equal amounts of the avocado-orange salsa. Serve immediately.

NOTE: To section citrus fruit, use a large chef's knife to slice off both ends of the fruit. Stand the fruit on 1 end and slice downward along the curve of the fruit, cutting away both the peel and pith but leaving as much of the flesh as possible. Using a paring knife, cut between the sections to detach each section of fruit from its surrounding membrane.


From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving (with salsa): 349
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 13g 20%
Saturated Fat: 2g 10%
Cholesterol: 99mg 33%
Sodium: 263mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates: 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 41g

Spaetzle With Ham, Peas, Cream and Aged Gouda (Schinkenspätzle)

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Feb 4, 2015 

We agree with chef Jeremy Nolen of Brauhaus Schmitz in Philadelphia, who says this dish is about "as close as you're going to come to German carbonara."
The original recipe calls for homemade spaetzle, which takes about 30 minutes to make. So we used the store-bought kind here, which is available at Wegmans, Rodman's and some Aldi and Safeway stores.
Aged Gouda is firmer and sharper than regular Gouda and not as salty as Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Tested size: 4 servings

Kosher salt
10 1/2 ounces dried spaetzle
1 clove garlic
2 scallions
4 ounces/112g thinly sliced speck (Italian smoked, cured ham) or Westphalia ham
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup frozen peas (may substitute fresh when in season)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Leaves from 4 stems curly parsley
Aged Gouda, for serving (see headnote)

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the stir in the spaetzle. Cook for about 25 minutes or according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Trim the scallions, then chop them. Cut the speck or ham into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the speck or ham and the garlic; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring a few times, until the meat is lightly browned.
Stir in the scallions and peas; cook for about 5 minutes or until the light parts of the scallions become translucent.
Drain the spaetzle, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the cooked spaetzle to the saute pan, along with the cream, stirring to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat.
Use some or all of the reserved cooking water to develop the desired consistency of sauce.
Coarsely chop the parsley. Grate a small handful of the cheese for each portion.
Divide the spaetzle mixture among individual bowls or plates. Garnish with the parsley and cheese. Serve right away.

Coconut-Almond Granola

SEP 13, 1989

Tasting of almonds and coconut, this granola is every bit as good a breakfast cereal as it is a fine base for granola cookies. And a jar of Coconut-Almond Granola is a welcome bread-and-butter hostess gift if you are a weekend house guest.

Unsweetened flaked coconut and miller's bran (unprocessed wheat bran) are available at health food markets and at some Whole Foods Markets.


6 tablespoons safflower oil
6 tablespoons honey
4 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup miller's bran (see headnote)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/4 cups chopped almonds
1 1/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (see headnote)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lightly grease a jellyroll pan (measuring approximately 15 by 10 by 1 inch).

Heat the oil and honey in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring just until the honey dissolves.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, miller's bran, sesame seeds and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the warm oil-honey mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Spread out the oat mixture on the prepared pan. Bake (middle rack) for about 50 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool completely.

Use your fingertips to crumble the granola into chunks and flakes; stir in the flaked coconut. Transfer to a jar or tin, close tightly and store at room temperature.

From Washington cookbook author Lisa Yockelson.

Tested by The Washington Post.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per 1/2-cup serving: 277
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 18g 28%
Saturated Fat: 4g 20%
Cholesterol: 0mg 0%
Sodium: 175mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates: 27g 9%
Dietary Fiber: 6g 24%
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 6g

Cold Salt-and-Pepper Beef Roast

JUNE 22, 2005

Easy for a buffet, this recipe yields cold roast beef with a tangy edge.

SERVINGS: 8 - 14


4 to 6 pounds tied beef cross-rib (chuck) roast
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup prepared (grated) horseradish


Rinse beef and pat dry.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup salt and the sugar. Rub the mixture all over the meat. Place the meat in a shallow rimmed pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 3 to 4 hours.

Rinse the meat and pat dry; if desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

When ready to roast the meat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper and horseradish.

Place the meat on a rack in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Pat the horseradish mixture on the top and sides of the meat.

Roast the meat until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reaches 110 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (for rare). Remove from the oven and let stand in a warm place for at least 20 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a rimmed cutting board. Using a long sharp knife or an electric knife, cut the meat thinly, across the grain, into long slices. Place the slices on a large chilled platter. Top with pan juices from the meat and refrigerate until serving.

Rating *** [1]


Adapted from Sandy Lerner's Home Farm store in Upperville.

Tested by Michael Taylor.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving (based on 14, excluding salt-sugar rub): 145
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 6g 9%
Saturated Fat: 2g 10%
Cholesterol: 44mg 15%
Sodium: 390mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates: 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%
Sugar: n/a
Protein: 20g

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mozzarella-Topped Scaloppine With Rustic Tomato Sauce

Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

NOURISH FEB 16, 2011

This is my take on chicken Parmesan: a lighter, fresher version of the classic dish. Canned chopped tomatoes form the base of a quick sauce enlivened with onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. I broil the cutlets and save my calories for a fresh mozzarella topping.

I use Pomi brand chopped tomatoes, but feel free to use what you like best.



Four 4-ounce/112g, thin-sliced skinless chicken cutlets
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, cut into very small dice (3/4 cup)
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (see headnote)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
6 large basil leaves, rolled together tightly, then cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
4 ounces/112g fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices


Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper to taste and place in a shallow dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil over the cutlets; turn to evenly coat. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the onion is soft but not browned.

Add the garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat so the onion-garlic mixture does not brown. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and the sugar and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, for 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Stir in the basil.

Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning once, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Spoon the tomato mixture over each cutlet, then top each one with equal amounts of the mozzarella. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and just starts to brown.

Transfer to individual plates; serve hot.


From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving: 230
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 9g 14%
Saturated Fat: 3g 15%
Cholesterol: 80mg 27%
Sodium: 450mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates: 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%
Sugar: 4g
Protein: 31g

Mussels With Cream of Endive and Sweet Potato

Dayna Smith for The Washington Post


You can’t celebrate Belgian Restaurant Week without mussels, and so Washington's second annual Mussel Throwdown took place last weekend in the hall at Eastern Market. Seven chefs -- representing Belga Cafe, Brasserie Beck, Et Voila!, Marvin, Locolat, Granville Moore’s and the Embassy of Belgium -- delivered very different bowls to an enthusiastic crowd.

The judges' panel, which included me, tasted mussels with kumquats and grapefruit, with a creme verde sauce, with fennel and orange juice, and more. But we agreed that chef Claudio Pirollo’s mussels were the best of the day.

The dish was inspired by extra cream of endive that Pirollo had made for an event last week. He re-created it, adding extra caramelized endive. He initially experimented with lemon thyme, which made the broth a bit bitter, he says. So he used chives and sweet potato instead, even though “I never saw sweet potatoes in Belgium,” says the Belgian native.

"Americans like sweet potatoes, and I do sweet potato fries sometimes at the restaurant," the chef says. “I think they do the trick here. And when you’re done with the mussels, you’ve got a little soup to eat."

Pirollo reworked the recipe to shorten the preparation time. We’ve cut it in half here, but feel free to double.



8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 or 3 Belgian endives
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 pint heavy cream or half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds mussels, preferably Canadian Blue Bay or Prince Edward Island mussels
1/2 ounce chives


Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat in a pot large enough to hold all of the mussels.

Trim off and discard the root ends of the endives (to taste), discarding any discolored outer leaves. Cut each endive in half and discard the narrow heart (which can be bitter), then cut the endive crosswise into 1-inch chunks. Place them in the butter and stir to coat. Cook for 3 minutes, then sprinkle the sugar over the endive and stir to dissolve. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, so the endive is lightly caramelized. Reduce the heat to medium.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the broth. Peel the potato and cut it into small dice, then add to the saucepan. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice, so the potatoes become tender yet still hold their shape. Remove from the heat.

Carefully stir the vermouth into the endive, dislodging any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Slowly add the cream or half-and-half. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring a few times, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

While the endive mixture cooks, clean the mussels under running water. If any of them are open, tap gently on them. If they do not close, discard them.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer just the sweet potato to the large pot; discard its cooking liquid. Add the mussels. Cover and cook (still over medium heat) for 6 to 8 minutes.

While the mussels are steaming, finely chop the chives to yield a scant 3/4 cup.

Uncover the pot; divide the mussels and their creamy broth among individual wide, shallow bowls. Sprinkle each portion with the chives. Serve immediately.


From Claudio Pirollo, chef and co-owner of Et Voila! in the Palisades.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per serving (based on 3, using half-and-half): 780
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 41g 63%
Saturated Fat: 23g 115%
Cholesterol: 220mg 73%
Sodium: 1270mg 53%
Total Carbohydrates: 42g 14%
Dietary Fiber: 12g 48%
Sugar: 13g
Protein: 47g

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.