A Repertoire by Amy Patterson

A peek inside of a recipe collection is revealing. Each recipe a star, a collection that inks out a distinct constellation over time – a personal roadmap of traditions, travels, relationships and memories.
 
My file after 20 years in my own kitchen is scattered amidst pages of heavily annotated cookbooks, dog-eared pages of Fine Cooking, vintage cards in my grandma’s ornate script and a healthy pinch of recipes gathered online. Of the thousands of recipes that could be unearthed in my home, there are a handful that reappear time and again – a motley mix that is a representation of my family’s tastes and sensibilities.  Years of experimentation have mined out our shining stars: an endlessly adaptable loaf of peasant bread, a dead-simple before school pancake recipe, an aromatic chipotle and cumin burger…  
 
Eggplant Dip is my favored appetizer for a party. Every time I whip this up, I am reminded of my Aunt Lois, who clipped this from the Chicago Tribune in the early 90’s. Or if there is a chill in the air, I’ll appear with a retro batch of Hanky Pankies ready to slide into the oven – a dish that could only be reproduced by someone time traveling from an early 80’s avocado-green kitchen in Minnesota. It invariably requires a dash to the supermarket in a clandestine search of Velveeta. (Not an ingredient that Daniel sources at Marché…)
 
Nothing makes me happier than sipping a glass of wine, tending a dish braising on the stovetop and daydreaming of the French countryside. Thus a Sunday dinner chez nous is likely Beef Bourguignon with mashed potatoes or a velvety celery root purée (a relatively recent addition to our repertoire).  Another (Italian) candidate would be a long-simmered Bolognese with fresh ribbons of fettuccine helped along by my daughter Lily.
 
A frenzied weekday often culminates with Salsa Chicken. Chicken thighs, 2 bottles of salsa – one red, one green. Gloriously simple and requested often; so little effort for a tasty taco. The award for most requested weeknight dinner is tied between my “signature” Sausage Pasta or Lily’s favorite – Korean Bulgogi Steak with Coconut Jasmine Rice.
 
Almond Cake from my battered and beloved copy of Cooking for Mr. Latte is my go-to dessert. This most delicious of cakes can be topped with seasonally appropriate fruit that improves with a leisurely nap on the countertop. If it is up to Gage, he will request Kahlua Vodka Cake, a nice slice of boozy and boxed Americana from my old colleague’s mother out East.
 
Open my fridge in the summer and you will find a pitcher or two of my Gazpacho – a vibrant melange of fresh vegetables lightly tempered by the addition of country bread and fruity olive oil. This never fails to transport me back to Southern Spain and is perfect for al fresco entertaining on the patio. As we are heading into summer, this is the recipe from my collection that I would love to share with you below.
 
Next week, we are moving to Idaho. As I pack up our home, I am paying extra care to my cookbooks and recipes. I’ve found several snippets from Marcel’s and I know that many of these recipes will slip into my time-honed repertoire and forever remind me of my connection with this magical and delicious little place.  These are the things that I will hold onto.
 
Editor’s Note: All of us at Marcel’s and Marché are going to miss Amy and her charming family in our midst.  Amy has been with us since the doors opened and her passion for food and eye for the creative have contributed so much. A bientôt, Patterson family!
 
Gazpacho
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups day-old country bread, torn into pieces
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. pinch of cumin (or more to taste)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  5. 3 pounds ripe in-season tomatoes
  6. 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  7. 1 red pepper, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons red onion
  9. 1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
  10. 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  11. 1/4 pound ham (or pancetta), cubed
  12. 1 thick slice of country-style bread, little cubes for croutons
Instructions
  1. Place the bread in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain the bread and squeeze out excess liquid.
  2. Place garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, mash them to a paste.
  3. Place the tomatoes (lightly sprinkled with kosher salt), cucumber, red pepper, red onion, soaked bread and cumin/garlic/salt paste in a large bowl. Toss to mix and massage everything together. Let stand for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Add to blender (it may need to be in 2 batches) along with olive oil. Purée until smooth.
  5. Transfer soup to a large bowl and season with sherry vinegar and salt to taste.
  6. Refrigerate the gazpacho, covered, until chilled. At least 2 hours.
  7. Heat a small skillet to medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and cubed ham and fry until crisp. Remove to bowl leaving olive oil behind. Add cubed bread and fry until browned. (No need for oil with pancetta)
  8. Garnish soup with cubes of ham, croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons Lemaster Family Kitchen TOSA seasoning mix*
  3. 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  4. 1 medium onion
  5. 1 zucchini
  6. 1 red pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk together oil and seasoning mix. Add chicken cut into chunks. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  3. Cut vegetables into chunks and toss with some more olive oil and TOSA mix to coat. Thread chicken and vegetables on skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked and vegetables are crisp tender.
  4. Serve with saffron rice.
  5. *Lemaster Family Kitchen TOSA seasoning blend available at Marcels
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/
 

Roasted Plum-Apricot Ice Cream

Roasted Plum-Apricot Ice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 4 plums
  2. 2 apricots
  3. ¾ cup sugar, divided
  4. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  5. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 3 drops almond extract
Instructions
  1. Halve the fruit and pull out stones. Set in a small baking dish, cut sides up. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the sugar. Roast in a 350 degree F. oven until fruit has collapsed, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Scrape fruit and juices into a food processor along with the remaining ½ cup sugar, cream and extracts; swirl until smooth. Press through a medium mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Chill.
  3. Place in an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer instructions, approximately 25 minuntes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound green beans
  2. 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  3. 1 can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  4. 1 large shallot
  5. 3 T. red wine vinegar
  6. salt
  7. freshly ground pepper
  8. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. basil or other herb, optional
Instructions
  1. Trim green beans and parboil them in salted water until tender. Drain and immediately spread them to cool. Cut tomatoes in half. These steps can be done in advance.
  2. For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot finely and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes with the vinaigrette; this can sit awhile.
  3. Do not add green beans or cannellini beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. Garnish with basil or another herb.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Herb Garden Harvest by Robin Nathan

I live in Roscoe Village, a great neighborhood in the city, a little west of Wrigley Field, in a house that was built in 1904. While many houses in my neighborhood are either new construction or gut rehabs, our house has only been updated over the past 116 years.  By city standards, we have a very large backyard – one of the biggest on the block, and the only one with the original trees. The oak tree is as old as the house, with an enormous trunk and towering branches. Our maple tree is a baby – a mere 60 years old. These trees provide lovely shade – but there is one downfall. Not enough sun for a true garden.

HerbPotsInstead, every spring, I line the stone fence surrounding the trees with pots of herbs.  They get enough sun to keep going through the summer months. There’s always basil, cilantro, and mint, sometimes rosemary, and this year there is also lavender and oregano. These herbs form the basis of many a weeknight dinner. Sometimes I’ll grab three and puree them with a little white wine vinegar and olive oil to drizzle over quickly grilled chicken, fish, or steak. Or I’ll throw in pine nuts or pistachios and make a quick pesto. Often I don’t even bother with the pureeing and just mince two or three herbs with a little arugula to toss into a quick summer sauté of grape tomatoes, sweet onions and bi-color corn. The fresh taste and color are welcome and delicious, and give new life to old weeknight standbys. You really can’t miss when you combine fresh herbs – just go a little easy on the mint so you don’t end up feeling like you’re eating toothpaste. Have fun and go a little herb crazy! In a few months, this freshness will be a only a memory.

5 Herb Purée
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  2. ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  3. ½ cup packed fresh arugula leaves
  4. 2 T. packed fresh mint leaves
  5. 1 T. packed fresh oregano leaves
  6. 2 T. white wine vinegar
  7. 1/3 cup olive oil
  8. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop all the herbs. Place in a blender or coffee grinder (my favorite, because it really pulverizes the herbs) with the vinegar and oil. Process until completely smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt.
Notes
  1. To turn it into a pesto, add a couple tablespoons of a nut and some Parmesan cheese.
  2. Serving Ideas: Drizzle on freshly grilled chicken, steak, fish, or pork. Stir into ratatouille or any other fresh veggie sauté. Drizzle over veggie crepes or breakfast eggs. Drizzle over goat cheese and serve with crackers.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Grilled Flatbreads

Grilled Flatbreads
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Ingredients
  1. 2 t. dry yeast
  2. ½ cup lukewarm water
  3. ¼ cup white flour
  4. ¼ cup rye or whole wheat flour
  5. 3 ¼ cup flour
  6. 1 t. salt
  7. ¾ cup cold water
  8. ¼ cup olive oil
Topping ideas
  1. Pesto and Parmesan or Ricotta
  2. Za’atar
  3. Onion and sage
  4. Rosemary and thyme
  5. Tomato
  6. Various cheeses
  7. or serve with hummus or other dips
Instructions
  1. Stir together the yeast and lukewarm water.
  2. Add the ¼ cups of white and rye (or whole wheat) flours and mix well. Allow this mixture to sit until bubbly.
  3. Mix the 3½ cup flour and 1 t. salt together in another bowl. Stir this into the yeast and flour mixture with ¾ cup cold water and ¼ cup olive oil. Mix together thoroughly and knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is soft and elastic (5 minutes). Add more water or flour as needed.
  4. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1-2 hours). Or refrigerate overnight, then remove from refrigerator 2 hours before shaping.
  5. Heat grill until hot.
  6. Divide dough into 8-10 pieces. Roll each piece into 1/8” thick round or oval. Lightly brush with olive oil and place the rounds directly on the grill grates, oil side down.
  7. Grill the flatbread until golden brown, flip, add oil (and toppings, if desired) and grill other side. About 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and add salt and pepper or additional toppings.
Notes
  1. Makes 8 - 10 flatbreads or 2 10-inch pizzas
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

For the Love of Tomatoes by Heidi Kise

My love for tomatoes developed at a young age. Undoubtedly our family garden had a little something do with it. We had an enormous garden every year that was home to everything from radishes to potatoes and always a plethora of tomatoes. My Dad was the main caretaker for this masterpiece. He was meticulous about the layout, spacing and weeding. He carefully and masterfully nurtured our garden all summer long. All of us kids begrudgingly helped out here and there. Enjoying the harvest as a family was the part we all loved. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of enjoying my Dad’s harvest of tomatoes will concur that his tomatoes are a little slice of heaven. I still savor each and every tomato that he gives me, often eating it with just a little sea salt. When I think back to those harvest days, I think of dinner on the patio that includes of my mom’s cucumber salad, BLTs, and cantaloupe. Still a favorite summertime meal of mine.

HeidiTomatoes1Having my own real garden for the very first time this summer has been a fun and interesting experience for my family. Everyone had a chance to choose a few items to plant…cucumbers for Katie, beans for Leo, zucchini for Ken and tomatoes for everyone! The kids, my Dad, my neighbors and the internet have helped plant our garden and we have watched plants grow, blossom, and bear fruit. Tonight the kids ate freshly plucked organic beans from the garden, raw. They were over the moon excited and my daughter asked if she could take them to school in her lunch. In addition to the beans, ironically, my Dad was here today to see the very first ripe tomato plucked from our garden! Thanks to my Dad, I know what ripe tastes like. And thanks to my Dad, my kids will also know where their food comes from and know what a real tomato tastes like.

Produce like this, eaten at its prime, needs little to dress it up. One of my favorite things to make is a batch of basil oil to enhance mayo for a BLT or to drizzle over either prosciutto and melon or tomato caprese. Take 10 minutes to make a batch and let me know how you like to use it!

Basil Oil
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  2. ½ cup grapeseed oil
  3. 1/8 t. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, add a cup of ice and fill with cold water.
  2. Drop basil leaves in small pot of boiling water and turn off heat.
  3. Immediately remove basil from hot water, strain and plunge into the prepared ice bath.
  4. After a few minutes, strain basil and squeeze dry between two dinner plates.
  5. Add basil, oil and salt to your blender. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. I like to use this flavorful oil as is unless I’m catering a fancy party, then I strain the beautiful, bright green oil through a cheese cloth.
  2. Store in refrigerator in a mason jar for up to 3 days.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Blueberry Gelato

Blueberry Gelato
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Blueberry Gelato
  1. Plain Base (Recipe below)
  2. 3 cups fresh blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 2 T. fresh lemon juice
Plain Base
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 4 large egg yolks
  4. 2⁄3 cup sugar
Blueberry Gelato
  1. Make the plain base and chill as directed.
  2. Place the blueberries in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle with the sugar, then add the lemon juice; toss until the sugar is dissolved and the blueberries are well coated. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the pan of blueberries over medium low heat and cook until the blueberries pop and soften completely and the syrup just starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Blueberries may be prepared a day ahead)
  4. Place the blueberries in a blender or food processor, add half of the base, and blend until fully incorporated. Whisk into the remaining base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
Plain Base
  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper egg yolks by very slowly pouring in hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return custard to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil.
  3. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Adapted from The Ciao Bella Gelato and Sorbetto Book
Adapted from The Ciao Bella Gelato and Sorbetto Book
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas
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Ingredients
  1. 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2-1/2 Tbs. sauce (from one can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  2. 1 T. vegetable oil
  3. 2 t. finely grated lime zest
  4. 1/2 t. dried oregano
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  7. 3 ears corn, husked
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream
  9. 2 t. fresh lime juice
  10. 8 tostada shells
  11. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  12. Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  13. cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
  14. scallions, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat (400°F to 475°F).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the minced chipotle and 2 Tbs. of the adobo sauce with the oil, lime zest, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat.
  3. Brush the corn lightly with oil and season generously with salt. Grill the chicken and corn, turning the chicken once and the corn a few times, until the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes, and the corn is charred in spots, about 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for a few minutes, and then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and cut the corn off the cob.
  5. Mix the sour cream with the lime juice, the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon Adobo sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly onto the tostada shells. Top with the corn, chicken, and cilantro. If using, scatter tomatoes and scallions on top and serve with the lime wedges on the side.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh

Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh
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Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes
  1. 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  2. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  3. freshly ground black pepper, to taste (about 5 grinds)
  4. ½ t. kosher salt
  5. 2-3 T. za’atar, to taste
Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh
  1. 1 long, narrow baguette
  2. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 T. za’atar
  4. 1 t. kosher salt
  5. few grinds of black pepper
  6. 1 cup labeneh, or substitute Greek yogurt
  7. 1 recipe Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes, recipe above
Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes
  1. Line a heavy sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the tomatoes in half. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir until they are well-coated. Place the tomatoes on the sheet pan, cut-side up, and top each with a pinch of za’atar.
  2. Roast the tomatoes in a 275 degree oven for about 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes. The tomatoes are done when they are meltingly soft and slightly shriveled. They can be used warm or cooled to room temperature.
To Make & Assemble Crostini
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice the baguette into ½” slices. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, and season them lightly with za’atar, salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on a sheet pan and bake for about 10 min, turning them over when the tops are light golden brown. Bake until both sides are golden brown.
  2. Place a dollop of well-stirred labeneh (or greek yogurt) on each crostini. Top the labeneh with 2- roasted tomato halves, then dust everything with more of the za’atar.
  3. Serve immediately!
Adapted from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
Adapted from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/