Zinfandel Pot Roast with Glazed Carrots & Fresh Sage


Zinfandel Pot Roast with Glazed Carrots & Fresh Sage
Cook time
Total time
I think of this as dinner-party pot roast. While the basic technique is the same as a regular Sunday night pot roast, the herb-flecked carrot garnish makes it dressy enough for company. Instead of braising along with the beef, the carrots are glazed on top of the stove in a bit of the Zinfandel braising liquid just before serving, so that they remain bright and crisp-tender—a fresh contrast to the gorgeously tender beef. If you like, use half parsnips and half carrots. The parsnips will cook in the same amount of time.
Serves: 6 servings
  • One 3½- to 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast, preferably top blade roast
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 8 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup Zinfandel or other robust dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef, veal, or chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • Three large 3- to 4-inch leafy fresh sage sprigs
  • Two to three 6- to 8-inch leafy flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 8 to 10 black peppercorns
  • 1½ pounds small to medium carrots, peeled, or ¾ pound each carrots and parsnips, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Tying the meat: Using kitchen string, tie the beef into a neat, snug shape according to the directions on page 258.
  3. Browning the meat: Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other braising pot (5-quart works well) over medium heat. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, turning it with tongs as you go, about 18 minutes total. Remove the beef and set it aside on a large plate or dish that will collect any juices that the meat releases. If there are any charred bits in the pot, remove them with a damp paper towel, but leave behind any tasty-looking drippings.
  4. The aromatics and braising liquid: Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any of the cherished cooked-on bits of caramelized beef juices, and boil to reduce the wine by about half, about 6 minutes. Add the stock, return to a boil, and boil to reduce by just about one third, another 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, and add the sage, parsley, and peppercorns. Cover with a piece of parchment paper, pressing down so that it nearly touches the meat and the edges of the paper overhang the pot by about an inch. Set the lid in place.
  5. The braise: Transfer the pot to the lower third of the oven and braise at a gentle simmer, turning the roast once halfway through braising, until fork-tender, about 3 hours. Peek under the lid after the first 10 to 15 minutes to check that the liquid isn’t simmering too vigorously; if it is, lower the oven heat by 10 or 15 degrees.
  6. The garnish: While the beef braises, cut the carrots into sticks by cutting them crosswise in half, then cutting the halves lengthwise into sticks about 3 inches by ½ inch. This typically means cutting the thicker tops into quarters and the skinnier tips in half. (If using parsnips, remove any woody core before cutting them into sticks.) (You can chop the sage and parsley for the garnish now as well.) Set aside.
  7. The finish: Remove the pot from the oven. Lift the beef out with tongs or a sturdy spatula, set on a carving platter to catch the juices, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the spent aromatics, and pour the liquid into a medium saucepan. Let the braising liquid settle, then spoon off and discard as much fat as you easily can with a wide spoon. Measure out ½ cup of the juices for glazing the carrots and set the rest aside in a warm spot.
  8. Glazing the carrots: Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet (12- or 13-inch) over medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the carrots (and parsnips, if using), season with salt and pepper, and cook briskly, shaking or stirring them, until lightly glazed and browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Add the ½ cup braising liquid, cover partway, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until tender but not at all mushy, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat, and bring back to a boil. Add the vinegar, sugar, sage, and parsley and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper.
  9. The finish: Heat the remaining reserved cooking juices over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 or 2 minutes to concentrate their flavor. Taste. You may not need to add any salt or pepper, but do so if the juices are lacking in flavor.
  10. Serving: Remove the strings from the roast. For a platter presentation, arrange the carrots (and parsnips, if using) around the pot roast. Alternatively, slice the roast into ½-inch thick slices and arrange the slices on dinner plates along with the carrots (and parsnips, if using). Spoon a bit of sauce over the meat and serve immediately. Pass any remaining sauce at the table.
Recipe from "All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking" (WW NORTON, 2004) by Molly Stevens

Roasted Cod with Lemon-Parsley Crumbs

Roasted Cod with Lemon-Parsley Crumbs
This first appeared in Fine Cooking Magazine in an article entitled "Quick Prep, Easy Roast" and it's become one of my most frequently requested recipes. It's quick enough for a weeknight supper and fancy enough for entertaining.
Serves: Serves 6
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Six 1- to 1-1/2-inch-thick cod fillets (about 6 oz. each)
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, butter, parsley, and lemon zest. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  3. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the cod fillets on the baking sheet and season all over with salt and pepper. Divide the panko topping among the fillets, pressing lightly so it adheres. Roast until the breadcrumbs are browned and the fish is mostly opaque (just cooked through), with a trace of translucence in the center (cut into a piece to check), 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately.
If you get thinner tail pieces of cod, you might want to fold them over to double the thickness so they don’t cook too quickly and dry out.



Party Potatoes

Party Potatoes (AKA Holiday Mashed Potatoes)
Think of this as a make-ahead potato casserole that masquerades as mashed potatoes. You can improvise as you like, but whatever you do, don’t skip the cream cheese. It adds richness and a nice tang, and its plasticity is what keeps these fluffy and light. I sometimes include another starchy vegetable (at a ratio of 4 parts potato to about 1 part “other”). Favorites include parsnip, rutabaga or winter squash. (The photo above is from my recipe that appeared in Fine Cooking magazine a few years back for Mashed Potato and Rutabaga Gratin). The original Party Potatoes appeared in One Potato, Two Potato (Houghton-Mifflin, 2001)
Serves: Serves 10 to 12
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
  • Kosher or medium-grain sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup milk, warmed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika
  1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by at least an inch, add a good pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover partway, and cook until the potatoes are very tender. Drain and return them to the pot. Set over medium heat for a minute or two, shaking and stirring so the potatoes don’t stick, until they are floury and have made a film on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the heat and break them up with a hand-held electric mixer on low speed. Gradually drop in 6 tablespoons of the butter and beat until it is absorbed. Refrigerate the remaining butter. Continue with the cream cheese and sour cream, beating well after each addition. Finally, beat in the milk, adding a little at a time. You want the potatoes to be fluffy and light; if they seem to be getting too wet, don’t add all of the milk. Season with salt and pepper. (If you don’t have an electric mixer, use a hand masher to start and then use a wooden spoon to beat in the butter, cheese, sour cream, and milk. Beat the milk into the potatoes one-third at a time, beating vigorously after each addition.)
  3. Butter a 9- X 13-inch baking dish and spoon the potatoes into it. Smooth the top and then, with spatula or fork tines, swirl or score the surface of the potatoes to leave little peaks that will brown up nicely during baking. Refrigerate, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days before baking.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Dust the top with paprika and cut the remaining butter into small pieces and scatter them over the surface. Bake until the potatoes are heated though and the top is lightly golden, about an hour. (Expect it to take only half the time if the potatoes haven’t been refrigerated.) Serve hot.
Recipe from One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore with Molly Stevens (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)


Fennel Braised with Thyme and Black Olives

Fennel Braised with Thyme and Black Olives
Cooking fennel is akin to cooking onions. Whereas raw fennel is crisp, and almost biting, braised fennel becomes tame and seductively tender. The sharp anise flavor of the raw vegetable mellows into a sweetness that even non–licorice lovers will appreciate. Don’t be at all put off by the anchovies in the recipe. They are discernable only as a bass note of flavor to match the higher tones of the sweet fennel. If you’re serving these to professed anchovy haters, don’t say a word. They’ll never guess what makes the dish taste so good. Serve the braised fennel warm as a side dish to meat or fish, or serve it room temperature as a salad or part of an antipasto.
Serves: 6
  • 3 large or 4 medium fennel bulbs (about 3 pounds total)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives, such as Nyons or Moroccan
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 to 6 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
  • ¾ cup chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Trimming the fennel: If the fennel came with the feathery green stalks attached, use a large knife to chop these off right down at their base, where the bulb begins. Reserve a few of the brightest and freshest-looking fronds for garnish, and save the rest for stock or discard. If the very base of the fennel bulbs looks brown or at all dried out, slice off a thin sliver. Check the sides of the bulbs as well, and trim off any brown parts with a vegetable peeler. Cut each bulb in half through the core and then halve again, into quarters.
  3. Browning the fennel: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add as many quarters of fennel as will fit without crowding, one cut side down. Leave the fennel undisturbed for 3 minutes—moving the pieces around will only slow down the browning process. With tongs, lift a few quarters to check to see if they’ve browned in spots. Because of its uneven surface, the fennel won’t brown evenly: you’re looking for patches of caramelization. Turn the quarters onto the other cut side and leave again until browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the quarters from the pan and arrange them browned side up in a large gratin dish or shallow baking dish (9- to 10-by-13- to 14-inches). Add the remaining oil to the skillet and brown the remaining fennel. Add this batch of fennel to the gratin dish, arranging it as best you can so the wedges line up in a single layer. It’s okay if the wedges are a bit cramped; they will collapse and shrink some as they braise. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the olives.
  4. The aromatics and braising liquid: Combine the garlic, anchovies, thyme, fennel seeds, and coriander in a small saucepan, and smash the mixture against the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to make a rough paste. Add the wine, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
  5. The braise: Pour the seasoned liquid over the fennel, cover tightly with foil, and slide onto the middle rack of the oven. Braise until the fennel has collapsed and a small knife penetrates the core of the wedges with no resistance, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. Serving: If you reserved the feathery tops, chop them to give you about 2 tablespoons, and sprinkle them over the top of the braise. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Spaghetti with Asparagus, Scallions and Bacon

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Scallions and Bacon
Few things are as comforting as a plate of spaghetti carbonara, but the rich bacon-and-egg sauce can be too indulgent for a weeknight supper. This vivid interpretation lightens and brightens things up by eliminating the raw egg, cutting back on the bacon, skipping the cream, and adding plenty of fresh asparagus and scallions. It’s like springtime in a bowl with just the right amount of smoky bacon flavor to recall the original and satisfy any appetite. A hint of lemon zest and a handful of fresh parsley complete the picture. Serve a simple tossed salad and/or a loaf of garlic bread to round out the meal.
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces (scant 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ to 1½ pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ½ cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the oil and bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions (leaving the bacon and fat in the pan), and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 4 more minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil, scraping with a wooden spoon to dislodge any caramelized bits. Simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place
  3. When the water boils, drop in the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.
  4. Return the water to a rapid boil and add the pasta. Boil until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Heat the bacon and wine mixture over medium-high heat. Add the drained pasta, the asparagus, and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss to combine. If the pasta seems dry, add a bit more pasta cooking water. Add the parsley, lemon zest, cheese and a generous amount of black pepper, and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve in warm pasta bowls, topping each with additional freshly ground black pepper and parmesan, as desired.


Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze

Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze
Ale-braised short ribs are thoroughly satisfying on their own, but finishing them with a rosemary-infused maple glaze makes them special enough for even your best company. To make things easy, they can be made ahead and briefly reheated and glazed under the broiler just before serving. Their flavor actually improves as they sit for a day or two in the refrigerator. For the braise, select an ale with some body and a smoky taste—all the better if you can find one that’s brewed locally. Stout will be too strong. The bit of horseradish in the maple glaze adds piquancy to balance the other elements in the dish.
Serves: 6
  • 3½ to 4 pounds meaty bone-in short ribs
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions (about 1 pound total), sliced about ½ inch thick
  • 1 carrot, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups porter ale, or more if needed
  • ¾ cup beef, veal, or chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, or water
  • One 3- to 4-inch leafy fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Two 3- to 4-inch leafy fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  1. Trimming the ribs: Trim any excess fat from the short ribs, but don’t take off any of the silverskin or tough-looking bits that hold the ribs together.
  2. Salting the ribs—1 or 2 days before braising (optional): Arrange the short ribs in a loose layer on a tray or in a nonreactive dish. Sprinkle them all over with 1½ to 2 teaspoons salt (there’s no need to rub the salt into the meat) and cover loosely with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
  3. Heat the oven to 300 degrees: Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, but don’t try to rub off the salt. Season with pepper. (If you didn’t salt the ribs in advance, season them with both salt and pepper.)
  4. Browning the ribs: Pour the oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy braising pot (4- to 6-quart) wide enough to accommodate the short ribs in a crowded single layer and heat over medium heat. Add only as many ribs as will fit without touching, and brown them, turning with tongs, until chestnut-brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the seared ribs to a platter, without stacking, and continue until all the ribs are browned. (Alternatively, you may want to brown the ribs under the broiler to avoid some of the spatter, although this will mean dirtying another pan. See directions that follow.)
  5. The aromatics: Pour off and discard all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pot. If there are any charred bits in the pot, wipe them out with a damp paper towel, being careful not to remove the precious caramelized drippings. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onions and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring a few times, until the vegetables start to brown and soften, about 5 minutes. 6. The braising liquid: Add the ale and bring to a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge and dissolve any tasty bits cooked onto it. Pour in the stock, bring again to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Return the ribs to the pot, along with any juices released as they sat. Tuck the rosemary sprig and bay leaves in between the ribs. The ribs should be partially submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add a bit more ale or water.
  6. The braise: Cover with a sheet of parchment paper, pressing down so that it nearly touches the ribs and hangs over the edges of the pot by about an inch. Set the lid securely in place. Slide the pot into the oven and braise at a gentle simmer, turning the ribs with tongs so as not to tear up the meat, every 40 to 45 minutes, until fork-tender, about 2½ hours. Check under the lid after the first 10 minutes to see that the liquid isn’t simmering too aggressively; if it is, lower the oven temperature 10 or 15 degrees.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: While the ribs are braising, combine the maple syrup with the rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse for 1 hour. (The glaze can be made up to a few days ahead and refrigerated.)
  8. Removing the ribs from the braising liquid: When the ribs are tender and the meat is pulling away from the bones, use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer them to a flameproof gratin dish or shallow baking dish that is large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Try your best to keep the ribs on the bones and intact, but don’t worry if some bones slip out. (Discard these clean bones, or save them for the dog.) Scoop out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and arrange them around the ribs. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  9. Finishing the braising liquid: Tilt the braising pot to collect the juices in one end and skim off as much surface fat as you can with a large spoon. If there is more fat than you care to skim off a spoonful at a time, transfer the braising liquid to a gravy separator and then pour the liquid into a medium saucepan leaving the fat behind. If the braising liquid exceeds ½ cup, bring it to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat and cook it down to close to ½ cup, 10 to 15 minutes; it should have a syrupy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  10. Glazing the short ribs: Heat the broiler on high. If the glaze has been refrigerated, warm it slightly so that it’s pourable. Remove the rosemary sprigs, lightly running your fingers down the length of the sprigs so you save every drop of glaze. Put the horseradish in a small strainer (a tea strainer works great) or in the palm of your hand and press or squeeze over the sink to eliminate as much liquid as possible, then stir the horseradish into the glaze. Brush the glaze on the tops of the short ribs. Pour the reduced braising liquid around the ribs—don’t pour it over the ribs, or you’ll wash off the glaze. Slide the ribs under the broiler and broil until the surface of the ribs develops a shiny, almost caramelized glaze and you can hear them sizzle, about 4 minutes.
  11. Serving: Transfer the ribs to serving plates—the number per serving depends on the size of the ribs. Spoon the braising liquid around, not over, the ribs, and serve immediately.
If you have the time and forethought, beef short ribs benefit greatly from advance salting (see Step 2). This mini-cure will tighten the meat a bit, improving its texture, help it to brown more readily in the first step of the braise, and deepen its hearty taste. If there’s no time for advance salting, simply skip Step 2 below, seasoning with a bit of salt along with the black pepper as directed. If you braise the short ribs ahead of time (from a few hours to a full two days) and then glaze them just before serving, the dish will taste even better. The flavors meld and develop as the ribs sit. Simply complete the recipe through Step 9 up to 2 days before you plan to serve them. Pour the strained and reduced braising liquid over the ribs, let cool, cover, and refrigerate. To serve, reheat, covered with foil, in a 350-degree oven until just heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and heat the broiler. Brush on the glaze and proceed as directed in Step 10.

You can also sear the ribs under the broiler, not in the braising pan on top of the stove. In place of Step 4, preheat the broiler on high and adjust the oven rack so that it sits about 6 inches from the flames or heating element. Arrange the ribs 1 to 2 inches apart on a rimmed baking sheet (a half sheet pan) or broiler pan, and slide them under the broiler. Broil, turning with tongs as each side browns, until sizzling and chestnut brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a platter, without stacking. Pour off and discard the grease remaining in the pan, and deglaze to capture any precious caramelized beef drippings: Set the pan over medium-high heat, add a small amount of ale, stock, or water, and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up and dissolve the drippings. Reserve this liquid. Heat 1 tablespoon oil (you will only need 1 tablespoon in all if using this method) in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy braising pot (4-quart) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot to the pot and continue with Step 5 as directed above. In Step 6, add the deglazing liquid from the broiler pan, along with any meat juices, when you add the short ribs.


Red Cabbage Braised with Maple & Ginger

Red Cabbage Braised with Maple & Ginger
An old-fashioned dish that appears on my holiday dinner table just as it did on my grandmother’s table when I was a child. Braising cabbage this way renders it lusciously silky and aromatic with the flavors of spice and fruit. The enchanting sweet-and-sour taste comes from apple, cider vinegar and a shot of maple syrup. I add bacon at the beginning of the braise so it will lend its smoky savor to the dish. If you prefer, hold the bacon back and crumble it over just before serving for a crunchy contrast.
Serves: 6 to 8 as a side dish
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon (2 ounces), cut into ½-inch-wide strips
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion (6 ounces), thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 medium head red cabbage (about 1¾ pounds), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Frying the bacon: Combine the oil and bacon in a large deep ovenproof skillet (12- to 13-inch), set the skillet over medium heat, and fry the bacon until it renders its fat and begins to crisp, 5 minutes. Scoop out the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  3. Sautéing the aromatics and wilting the cabbage: Add the butter to the bacon fat in the pan and stir in the sliced onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring a few times, until the onion turns limp, about 2 minutes. Add the apple and ginger and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and begin adding the cabbage a few handfuls at a time. Once all the cabbage is in the skillet, sauté, stirring frequently, until the strands begin to wilt and have a moist gleam, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, and return the bacon to the pan. Stir to incorporate, and let the liquid come to a boil.
  4. The braise: Cover the pan and slide into the middle of the oven. Braise at a gentle simmer, stirring every 20 minutes, until the cabbage is tender and deeply fragrant, about 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
VARIATION: Red Cabbage Braised with Apple Cider, Maple & Ginger

In the fall when I have fresh apple cider on hand, I add some to the braise along with a generous measure of red wine vinegar to balance the sweetness. Follow the recipe above, substituting ¼ cup fresh apple cider combined with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar for the cider vinegar. The end result will be a bit sweeter and every bit as delicious.


Skillet Cornbread with Olives, Rosemary and Parmesan

Skillet Cornbread with Olives, Rosemary and Parmesan
Serves: Makes one 9 or 10-inch loaf
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Several dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • ½ cup brine-cured olives, such as kalamata or picholine, pitted and coarsely chopped
  1. Place a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet on the center rack of the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, tomato paste, rosemary, and hot sauce. Whisk in the olive oil and then the milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring just to combine. Stir in the cheese and the olives.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and add a tablespoon of olive oil, swirling so the oil coats the bottom and sides. Pour the batter into the hot skillet, return it to the oven, and immediately lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.


Orange Marmalade Tart

Orange Marmalade Tart
I especially like this with my homemade grapefruit marmalade, but store-bought preserves will do (Stonewall Kitchen Tangerine Marmalade works especially well). Grating a bit of the pastry onto the top of the tart before baking gives it a nice added crunch and eliminates the hassle of making the more traditional lattice. Makes one 8-inch tart
Serves: Makes one 8-inch tart

  • Crust:
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold milk, cream or water

  • Filling:
  • 1 heaping cup of your favorite marmalade or jam (one 13-ounce jar)
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Make the crust: In the workbowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal and salt. Whir briefly to combine. Add the butter, toss carefully with your hands to coat the butter cubes in flour. Pulse the food processor several times until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add the egg and 2 tablespoons of the milk, cream or water, and pulse until the dough begins to come together in a ball. Add the additional tablespoon of liquid if needed until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it briefly to shape it into a disk about 5 inches across. If the dough feels sticky or warm, refrigerate it to firm up.
  2. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Loosely fold the dough in half and transfer it to an 8-inch tart pan. Line the pan with the dough, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim any excess dough from the rim of the pan, leaving a blunt neat edge. Gather the trimmings into a ball (it should be about the size of a ping pong ball). Wrap the tart and the small ball of dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator, and spread the marmalade evenly over the crust. Grate the chilled ball of pastry onto the filling, and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven until the pastry is golden, the filling is bubbly and the almonds are toasted, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the tart is completely cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve at room temperature.


Fresh Oranges with Rosemary-Honey Syrup

Fresh Oranges with Rosemary-Honey Syrup
Fresh citrus with an herb-infused honey syrup makes a refreshing and bright wintertime dessert. If you wish, serve with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt. Serves
Serves: 4 to 6
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 to 3 leafy rosemary sprigs
  • 5 seedless oranges, such as navel, including some blood oranges if possible
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  1. Combine the water, honey and rosemary in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Just before serving: Finely grate the zest (use a rasp-style grater if you have one) from 1 orange to get about 2 teaspoons zest. Cut off the stem and blossom ends of the oranges, being sure to cut into some of the flesh; reserve the tops and bottoms for later. Then, one by one, stand an orange up and carve off the peel and white pith beneath it with arcing slices to expose the fruit. Trim away any bits of pith or membrane that you’ve left behind, until you have a whole naked orange. Discard the peels cut from the sides. Cut each orange in half vertically, trim out the pithy core, and then slice each piece crosswise into ¼-inch half moons. Arrange the slices on a large, shallow serving dish or deep platter.
  3. Chop together the reserved zest and crystallized ginger on a cutting board (or in a small food processor) until they’re well mixed. Scatter the ginger and zest evenly over the oranges. Squeeze the juice from the reserved ends of the oranges over all.
  4. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the honey, scraping with your fingers to get every last drop, and drizzle the honey syrup over the oranges. Serve.