Sunday, February 04, 2007

Annulla Cooks is Moving

For the past few weeks, I've been experiencing problems with is notorious for their lack of customer support and I've finally reached the point where enough is enough.

Annulla Cooks is moving.

Please visit my new home -

If you have bookmarked this site, please update your links.

Thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you over at WordPress soon.

Eggnog-Panettone Bread Pudding Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

A woman in the line at Sahadi's market told me about this recipe. She raved about it and told me to look it up online. I did and it sounds amazing!

1 loaf panettone, cut in half (enough for about 5 cups, diced)
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
1/4 cup rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Vegetable cooking spray

Optional accompaniments:
Vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Place a tea-kettle of water on to boil for a water bath. With a serrated knife, remove the side crusts from the half piece of the panettone. Cut into 3/4 to 1-inch dice. You should have 5 cups. Reserve the cubed panettone in a large mixing bowl.

For the eggnog custard, in another bowl thoroughly whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, half and half, rum, vanilla extract, and a healthy grating of fresh nutmeg. Pour this over the bread cubes.

Spray a 12 hole muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray. Ladle the bread/eggnog mixture gently and evenly into the muffin tins. The big cubes sticking up look nice. Place the filled muffin tin in a tall sided cookie sheet or roasting pan. Transfer to the preheated oven and carefully pour the hot water from kettle onto sheet pan, creating a water bath for the muffin tin to sit in.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the tops are nicely browned, and a toothpick comes clean from the center. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.,1977,FOOD_9936_32458,00.html

NOTE: Panettone is available in Italian specialty stores.

Joan's Secret Deli-Style Tuna Fish salad

1 can (6 oz) top quality solid packed white albacore tuna in water-no substitute for albacore
1 Tbs top quality mayonnaise (not salad dresssing) to start
1 Tbs. plain renedered pure schmaltz (approx) to start
a few tsp of finely shredded carrot
a few tsp of finelly shredded mild white onion
pinch salt, pinch pepper

Drain tuna and place in mixing bowl. Break up and mash tuna with fork to remove clumps and make a spreadable consistency. Mix in carrot and onion. Mix in the mayo. Then add and mix in enough schmaltz until tuna achieves a rich taste,

The important part:
Tuna should neither be flavored with either too much mayo or schmaltz. That is another part of the secret I think. You shouldn't be aware of any blatant schmaltz taste in the tuna. Salt carefully as the tuna should not have a salty taste either.

Eggplant Pomegranate Relish

From The Kitchen Grimoire by Celeste Rayne Heldstab.

1 large eggplant
2 T. yogurt
1 T. pomegranate molasses or other unsulphured molasses
1 T. lemon juice
Salt & pepper

1/2 red onion, cut in 1/4" dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (1/2 pomegranate)
2 T. finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat broiler. Place eggplant on baking sheet, pierce a few times with a fork. Cook, turning as skin blackens, until flesh is very soft (about 35 minutes). Let eggplant cool and scrape flesh into a bowl; discard skin. Add yogurt, molasses, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Chop or grind until still chunky but mostly smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Badridzhani Mtsvanilit (Please don't ask me how to pronounce it!)

1 1arge (1 1/4 pound) eggplant
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Generous 1/2 cup of walnuts
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon of dried fenugreek
Pinch of cayenne
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (cilantro, celery leaf, parsley and dill)
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

Slice the eggplant lengthwise, sprinkle it with salt, and leave it to drain on paper towel for at least TWO HOURS. Rinse and pat dry. Grill or broil until the "meat" of the eggplant is soft and the skin blackened. Alternatively, place the eggplant pieces cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 25 minutes or until soft.

Saute the onion in olive oil until golden. Set aside. Chop or grind the walnuts with the garlic and spices. Turn out into a bowl and stir in the cooked onion. Add chopped herbs and the wine vinegar.

Let eggplant cool, then scoop out the soft center and discard the skin. Cut the eggplant into small (1-inch) pieces and mix thoroughly with nuts/onion/garlic/spice mixture.


5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1 1/2-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cubed
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings in juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Black pepper

Optional garnish: chopped fresh basil or toasted pine nuts

Place cubed eggplant in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand AT LEAST two hours (preferably overnight). Rinse well with water and dry.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté until eggplant is soft and brown (about 15 minutes). Add diced tomatoes with juice, then red wine vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil, season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, garnish with fresh basil or pine nuts.

Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 T. tahini (sesame paste)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Optional garnish: chopped parsley, coriander or pine nuts

Slice eggplant in half. Place eggplant in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand AT LEAST two hours (preferably overnight). Rinse well with water and dry.

Grill or broil until the "meat" of the eggplant is soft and the skin blackened. Alternatively, place the eggplant pieces cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 25 minutes or until soft.

Let cool, then scoop out the soft eggplant and discard the skin. Chop/grind eggplant, beans, garlic & lemon juice together until mostly smooth. Slowly stir in olive oil. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley, coriander or pine nuts.


8 oz oatmeal, lightly toasted (brown in frying pan)
4 T fat or oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the fat or oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden brown.

Add the oatmeal and mix in well. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock and allowi it to be absorbed by the oatmeal. Season well and use as a stuffing for poultry or game, or serve as a side dish.

Annette Funicello's Peanut Banana Pudding recipe

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups nonfat milk
3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas, sliced

In a saucepan, stir together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; stir 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract.

Pour peanut butter pudding between layers of sliced bananas in individual serving dishes. Chill to serve. Yields 6 servings.

Peanut Noodles

A really easy recipe that tastes equally good served hot, warm, or cold. Good for a packed lunch. Fettuccini or spaghetti both work great!

8 ounces spaghetti
1 bunch green onions, sliced (white parts only)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until done. Drain. Meanwhile, combine oil and onions in a small skillet. Saute over low heat until tender. Add ginger; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix in peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Remove from heat. Toss noodles with sauce, and serve.


This is a classic Spanish soup. It is delicious and wonderful, especially in the summer when everything is so fresh. There are a lot of ingredients, but prep is really simple. Basically, you just throw everything in the food processor.

6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
4 cups tomato juice

Combine all ingredients -- don't puree smooth -- you want to leave the gazpacho a bit chunky. Place in non-metal container (metal will give it an "off" taste), cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend. Serves 8.

Sara Wade Robbins' Savannah Bisque (Pimiento Cheese Bisque)

2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium white potato, diced (about 2 cups)
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup sharp or extra sharp cheddar, grated or chopped
3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
4-ounce jar pimientos, chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a heavy saucepan, sauté the celery in the vegetable oil, stirring occasionally. When the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes or so, add the sweet potato, white potato, and stock. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, for about 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, add the cheddar and cream cheeses, and allow it to sit a few minutes to soften the cheese. In a blender or food processor, purée the soup with half of the pimientos. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, thin to the desired consistency using milk, water or vegetable stock. Stir in the remaining pimientos. Reheat gently, but do not boil. Serves 4 to 6.

Nava Atlas' Greek Spinach Soup with Orzo

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion or sliced leek
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
16-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 to 6 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped (I just use a package of frozen chopped)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or dill,
or a combination, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion or leek and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and garlic and sauté the vegetables for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion or leek turns golden and the red pepper softens.

In the meantime, cook the orzo in a separate saucepan until al dente. When done, drain. Add the 5 cups water, the bouillon cubes, and tomatoes to the soup pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the cooked orzo to the soup along with the spinach and herbs. Stir in the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Serve at once.

Coconut Rice

"The floral fragrance and subtle flavor of Thai jasmine rice make it a delightful choice as a side dish. But adding unsweetened Thai coconut milk makes it even more appealing, contributing a bit of creaminess and more perfume to the aroma. This is a long-grain rice that cooks up nice and fluffy, with distinct grains. It does need a longer resting time (20 minutes) than a short-grain rice requires, but that will ensure absolutely perfect rice every time." -- From "Staff Meals from Chanterelle" by David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips.

2 cups Thai jasmine rice or other long-grain rice
1 can (13 or 14 ounces) coconut milk, preferably a Thai brand
3 1/2 cups water

1. Combine the rice, coconut milk, and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer, without removing the cover, until all the liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 20 minutes more before fluffing and serving. Makes about 7 cups.

French Carrot Soup

"I love this soup, which is pure and full flavored. I make it often." -- From "French Farmhouse Cookbook" by Susan Hermann Loomis.

1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch rounds (you can just throw in a bag of baby carrots)
1 medium potato, starchy such as russet, or all-purpose such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into quarters
5 cups water
Sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the carrots, potato, water, and salt to taste in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, covered. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the carrots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the vegetables and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to a food processor and purée. Return the purée to the pan and add the butter, stirring until it has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. 4 servings.

Orange & Olive Salad

"Sarah Elmaleh, the daughter of a rabbi, was born in 1898 in the seaport village of Essaouira in Morocco, and learned many of her cooking techniques from the family's Arab servants. She came to Brooklyn in 1939 with her husband, a businessman, their children, and an exotic repertoire of recipes that combined Moroccan and Sephardic cuisines. This recipe comes from her granddaughter, Lisa Craig Kuhr. It makes an alluring first course and is wonderful followed by lamb, grilled chicken, or a fish stew." -- From "New York Cookbook" by Molly O'Neill

5 navel oranges, peeled and diced*
3/4 cup black salt-cured (shriveled) olives, halved and pitted (I use oil-cured)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss well. Refrigerate to chill, then serve. Serves 4 to 6

Crisp Celery Salad

"Celery has that crisp snap that you get from pickles, but it is more subtle and acts as a counterpoint to the stronger flavors in this menu. Here celery is dressed with a simple vinaigrette and fresh herbs and it remains crunchy even the next day. Try serving it atop thinly sliced roasted beets." -- From "Celebrate!" by Sheila Lukins.

12 outer ribs celery, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
6 to 8 inner ribs celery, including the leaves, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup small flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

Place all the celery in a bowl. Add the olive oil and vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss with the parsley leaves and chopped mint.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mark Bittman's Fastest Pasta With Spinach Sauce

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
About 15 kalamata or other olives, pitted & chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 pound long pasta, like linguine
1 pound spinach, washed, tough stems removed, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Mince the garlic as finely as possible and combine it, in the bottom of a large bowl, with the red pepper, olives and olive oil.
2. Place the pasta in the pot, and cook until it is nearly done. Plunge the spinach into the water and cook until it wilts (less than one minute).
3. Drain the pasta and spinach quickly, allowing some water to cling, and toss the hot pasta and spinach in the bowl with the garlic and olive mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 3 or 4.

Add freshly grated cheese to taste. Try adding 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes or 2 T drained capers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Braised Leeks with Lemon

4 small - medium leeks (1 bunch)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
Salt & pepper

Discard the tough outer leaves and cut the leeks lengthwise into quarters or eighths, then trim into sections about 7 inches long. Place the trimmed leeks in a shallow dish and soak in cold water to cover 15 minutes, rubbing occasionally to remove any grit.

In a heavy skillet melt butter over moderate heat. Lift leeks out of the water and, with water still clinging to them, add to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, five minutes and add broth and zest.

Cover and braise leeks about 5 minutes or until very tender. Season with salt and pepper.

From Gourmet Magazine, February 1995
Mariquita Farm

Corn Lover's Vegetable Stew

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups 1-inch cubes peeled winter squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha, buttercup, etc.)
1 (16-ounce) can diced, peeled tomatoes
1 1/4 cups corn kernels or 1 (15-1/4 ounce) can whole corn kernels, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can golden or white hominy
1 red or green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut in 1-inch squares

In a large pot, bring 1/2 cup of the broth to a boil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion softens (about 5 minutes). Add the squash, tomatoes, corn, thyme, salt, pepper and remaining 2 cups of broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Add the hominy and bell pepper and return to simmer. cover and simmer until the squash and bell pepper are tender when pierced but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Serves 4.

Chef Chai Chaowasaree's Black Chicken Soup

"Chef Chai Chaowasaree says extracting the full benefit from a black chicken requires long, slow cooking. His method is similar to poaching, letting the chicken sit immersed in liquid over very low heat. "You don't want to rush the heat, you want all the nutrition to come out slowly, slowly, slowly."

"He makes soup using ginseng, ginger and garlic, also believed to have healing qualities and which lend the broth a peppery flavor. Don't bother peeling the ginseng or ginger, he says, and use whole heads of garlic, leaving the paper skins in place."

1 silkie chicken (about 2 pounds), whole or halved
3 thumb-sized pieces ginseng root
6-1/4 cups water
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, smashed
2 large heads garlic, halved
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Salt or soy sauce to taste
5 dried figs
Sliced green onion for garnish

Cut chicken in half if necessary to fit pot; otherwise leave whole. Soak ginseng in water 1 hour.

Place ginseng and its soaking water in pot; add chicken, ginger, garlic, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil and skim impurities. Reduce heat to a very low simmer (no bubbling at all) and cook until chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, 2 to 4 hours. Or cook in a crock pot on low heat, about 6 hours. In last hour of cooking, add figs.

Strain soup and debone chicken if desired, or serve with root pieces. Garnish with green onion.

From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2002.

Ancient Hippie Yogurt from The Last Whole Earth Catalog

Yes, you can make it at home and you don't need any thermometers or special equipment, either. This is a genuine ancient hippie recipe that really works; it was printed in The Last Whole Earth Catalog in 1971.

3 cups of instant powdered milk
1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 large can Pet Evaporated Milk
3 tablespoons yogurt (plain, unflavored)

1. Preheat the oven to about 275o F (between 250o and 300o). Soften the gelatin in measuring cup in a bit of water, then add enough boiling water to make one cup. If you want to add sugar, put it in the cup now. Let the mixture cool.

2. Mix the instant powered milk with three cups of water and stir well.

3. In a large glass or pottery ovenproof bowl, mix the evaporated milk with two cups of tepid water. Add the diluted instant powdered milk, the gelatin mixture and the yogurt. Stir thoroughly.

4. Cover the bowl, put it in the oven and turn the oven off. Leave it overnight or about 10 hours. Then, look in the bowl -- it's yogurt! Yield: two quarts.

Pineapple Yam Bake

3 medium yams (about 1 1/2 lbs.) sliced 1 inch thick
3/4 cup crushed pineapple (packed in juice), drained
4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 egg whites

Cook yams in boiling water for 25 - 35 minutes or until very soft and tender. Drain and mash thoroughly until consistency is smooth. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix pineapple and 3 Tablespoons maple syrup into yams. Spoon into a 9 inch round or 8 inch square non-stick baking pan. Beat egg whites to soft peaks; add remaining 1 Tablespoon syrup and beat until stiff; spread with a spatula, using a swirling motion, on top of yam mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until top is golden.
Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 176, Fat: 1%

From the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes (SOAR)
October, 1997

Orange-Acorn Squash

1 1-pound acorn squash, peeled
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cut acorn squash into 1/2-inch thick slices, discarding seeds. Combine orange juice, brown sugar, and ground nutmeg. Place squash and orange juice mixture in a large skillet. Bring juice to boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes or until squash slices are tender.

Yield: 4 servings. Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 25 minutes.
Calories per serving: 114, Fat: 0.3 g, Cholesterol, 0 mg, Protein: 1.9 g, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Dietary fiber: no data, Sodium: 8 mg.

From Sarah Schlesinger's 500 Fat-Free Recipes

October, 1997

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Watermelon, Feta and Oil-Cured Olive Salad

This summer I found this simple, refreshing recipe in "WestView," a freebie newspaper published by the [Greenwich Village] Charles Street Association. The dish originated with David Poran, who is the Culinary Director at Balducci's grocery store.

4 cups of seedless watermelon cut in 1/2" dice
1 cup of Greek feta, diced
1 small red onion, sliced paper thin and rinsed in cold water
2 Tablespoons pitted, oil-cured olives
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Black peper to taste

Just combine and serve. Serves four

Surinamese Mixed Rice (Moksi Alesi)

Way back in 1998 I participated in an international vegan mailing list where a member contributed this recipe. I'm pretty sure that I have never eaten an "authentic" version of Surinamese mixed rice, but even if it isn't the real thing, I think it is fairly easy, tasty and unusual.

This is her recipe and her explanation. The author's comments about "forbidden" foods refer to her original version of this dish (she didn't supply the original recipe), which must have contained non-vegan ingredients.

The original post:
Surinam has a very mixed population and thus a very varied kitchen. In daily life we eat "Surinamese" (=Afro-Surinamese), Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and since one year or so American food (Mc Donald, KFC and PizzaHut) as well...

I adapted a recipe that has its roots in the Afro-Surinamese kitchen, but now is appreciated by all inhabitants. I had to do a lot of adapting, for in the original recipe all what is forbidden in our opionon is used! I cook this recipe as a sundays meal.

The aim is that you make a gravy in which you cook rice, split beans and vegetables. In the end the rice is dry AND tasty. I cook from 1 to 5 on the stove. Then I put sauce and rice in the rice cooker, but perhaps it is for a start easier to finisch the cooking on the stove.

The recipe is not too easy to cook in the beginning. You have to develop the feeling how much gravy you need for your amount of rice. But keep trying, for in the end this recipe will be a favourite, espcially if you have to cook for a party.

1 pound brown rice
1/3 pound yellow split beans
1 1/2 pint of water (or a bit more or a bit less...)
1 big onion, in small pieces
1 tomato
2 spoons of tomato paste
1 hot pepper
1 vegan bouillon cube (optional, but it adds to the "Surinamese" taste)
1 cup cubed pumpkin
1 cup white cabbage, coarse cut
salt (optional)
black pepper (a lot!)

1. Cook the yellow split beans half done. Throw the cook water away.
2. Simmer the onion a few minutes, add the small cut tomatoe and the bouillon cube, simmer about five minutes. Add, if neccesary a bit of water.
3. Add the half cooked split beans and the tomato paste. Add the water. Stir, and simmer another five minutes.
4. Add the pumpkin and cook till pumpkin is half done.
5. Taste the sauce. Add black pepper. The sauce should taste rather strong.
6. Add the drained rice. The sauce level should be a phalanx above the rice. If necessary, add some water. Taste the gravy again! Stir, let the sauce cook, and put cabbage and hot pepper on top, and put the pot on the lowest possible gas. (The pepper gives a special flavour)
7. Simmer for about half an hour. Taste if the rice is nearly done. Sprinkle if necessary a bit of HOT water over the rice and cook another five minutes. Take the hot pepper out of the pot and stir the cabbage carefully - with a fork - through the rice. Put the pepper back.
8. Simmer for another five minutes. The rice should be dry and tasty.
9. Take the pot of the stove, take the lid of the pot and leave the rice five minutes untouched.
10. Cut the hot pepper in very small pieces (with a fork and knife, so that you don't burn your hands.)
11. Serve with cucumber, onions and tomatoes in vinegar.

Succes and have a good meal.

Myrna Laret
Paramaribo, Surinam

Hot Buttered Rum

4 oz boiling water
2 oz dark rum
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Dissolve the sugar into boiling water in a mug. Add rum and butter and stir. Garnish with nutmeg on top.

Mom's Passover Bagels

"Most of my mom's recipes have disappeared, but this one was written inside a 1949 edition of Leah Leonard's Jewish Cookery, a book that now sits on my shelf. Mom noted that she got the recipe from Dr. Evelyn B. Katz in March, 1952. These are light, airy rolls, nothing like bagels; they are called "bagels" simply because they have a hole in the middle. You can use these to make sandwiches during Passover and they are great right out of the oven and slathered with butter."

3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup matzo meal

Bring to a boil the water, sugar, salt and oil and remove from fire. Add matzo meal, stir well and cool. Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Roll into balls and put on a greased sheet and make a hole in the center with finger. Bake at 375o F for 45 minutes.

Shari Lewis's No-Fry Latkes

This low-fat version of traditional fried potato pancakes was created by the late Shari Lewis (mother to Lambchop), who starred in one of the best children's TV programs ever.

2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 3 medium potatoes)
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup toasted wheat germ
2 egg whites
4 to 6 turns of the pepper mill
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients into a batter.

Coat two baking sheets with oil spray. Drop 1/4-cup cupfuls of batter onto the prepared sheets; press the pancakes down with the back of your dampened hand.

Bake 15 minutes; then turn and bake 10 minutes longer, or until latkes are browned all over (but not blackened at edges). Serve with applesauce or sour cream (low-fat if you must). Makes approximately 14 latkes.

Trisha's Unbelievably Easy Dip

Trisha Baker gave me this recipe. Amazingly simple and good.

1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream

Stir the salsa and sour cream together and chill for at least an hour to let the flavors blend and mellow. Serve at room temperature. That's it!

Baked Cecci (Garbanzo Beans)

½ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 dried chili (mild or hot)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
3 cups cecci soaked at room temperature for 24 hours
5 - 6 cups of vegetable broth
10 threads of saffron
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450o F. Warm the olive oil over medium high heat in a large heat and oven-proof casserole. Add the onions, garlic, chili, coriander and bay leaves and sauté for 5 minutes. Drain the cecci and add to the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Cover, bring to a boil, and place in the hot oven. Bake until the beans are soft and cooked through, about 45 minutes to one hour. Season to taste and serve with a crusty loaf of bread.

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

2 pints (1 quart) strawberries
4 to 6 teaspoons sugar (as needed, to taste)
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to taste)

Clean the strawberries by wiping them with a damp paper towel.

Hull the strawberries, and halve or slice them, depending on their size. Place them in a shallow dish and sprinkle them with sugar. Cover and let sit for at least several hours, stirring them or shaking the dish every now and then. (If they are going to sit for much longer than 3 or 4 hours, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.)

Sprinkle on the vinegar, and serve in small individual bowls, with cookies alongside, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: The strawberries can be sliced and sugared up to a day in advance. The vinegar should be sprinkled on within 30 minutes of serving. This recipe was adapted from Mollie Katzen's book, "Still Life with Menu." Perfectly ripe berries taste exquisite like this, and it is also a magical way to salvage imperfect or underripe berries, too.

Dried Apricots Baked with Vanilla

You can serve this with cream or ice cream, but this is lovely and light just as it is.

1 cup dried apricots (about 25 small apricots)
1 inch long piece of fresh vanilla bean (halved lengthwise - use only the seeds) or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350o F. Cover the apricots with the warm water and let them stand for 15 minutes if they are already plump and soft, at least 30 minutes if they are hard and dry. Drain, but reserve the water.

Put the water and vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract in a small, ovenproof baking dish and mix well. Add the apricots, sprinkle them with the sugar, cover with foil, and bake until the water is nearly absorbed, about 1 hour. Turn each of the apricots over in the syrup, cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

Jacques Torres' Chocolate Mousse

You can buy prepared chocolate cups in most fancy-foods stores, or use the mousse to fill a cake or a sweet pastry shell. This recipe contains no sugar - if you want a sweeter mousse, you can use a sweeter variety of chocolate.

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 quart heavy cream
Prepared chocolate cups
Raspberries or other berries, to taste

Using an electric mixer or whisk, whip the quart of cream to soft peaks. Add about 1/3 of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate. Fold gently with a rubber spatula. Gently combine the mixture with the remaining cream (do not over-mix or you will deflate the cream). Spoon into serving dishes. If you are feeling ambitious, place the mixture in a large pastry bag or cornet (a piece of parchment paper rolled into a cone, with a cut tip) and pipe the mousse into the prepared chocolate cups or pastry shell. Top with berries and serve.

Yield: About 10 cups.

Chicken With Apricots

Also wonderful with prunes, dried peaches or dried cherries. If using organically-dried fruit, soak for a couple of hours before cooking.

1 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 T. butter (optional)

Combine the apricots in a bowl with vinegar, wine and 1/4 cup water. Let soak while you brown the chicken.

Turn the heat to medium high under a 12 inch nonstick skillet and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook, rotating (but not turning over) the chicken pieces so they brown evenly. When nicely browned (don't rush!), turn them skin side up. Make space in the pan to add the onion and cook it, stirring occasionally for a minute or two, until the onion has softened a bit.

Add the apricot mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute, then turn heat to low and cover. Cook until chicken is done (about 15 minutes). Uncover, raise the heat and season with salt and pepper. Boil the liquid in the pan to thicken; it shouldn't be watery. If using butter, add it as the sauce is cooking down. Serve with a cooked grain or bread.

Paglia e Fieno

I discovered this is amazingly rich and delicious dish in Venice. The name means straw and hay -- a reference to the pale yellow and green colors of the pasta.

1 cup (½ pint) heavy cream
2 egg yolks
2 cups cooked peas
1 cup coarsely chopped prosciutto (about 4 oz.)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
8 oz. green (spinach) fettuccine
8 oz. white fettuccine

In a large bowl, mix the cream, egg yolks, peas, prosciutto and cheese. Cook the fettuccine in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to bowl. Toss until well coated and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Creamy Curried Sweet Potato Soup

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, optional
2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 cups no-salt-added chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh goat cheese

1. Heat oil in a nonstick pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Sauté onion until it begins to brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for 30 seconds.

2. To make the curry flavoring, add ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and optional hot pepper flakes and stir well. Add sweet potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.

3. Remove the sweet potatoes from the soup and mash; return to pot (if you don't mind washing more stuff, you can puree the soup in a blender or food processor). stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot in mugs with a spoon of cheese on top and stir a bit to melt the cheese.

White Bean and Tomato Soup

Garnish with fresh herbs or croutons, serve with bread and a small salad for a great winter meal.

2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup leeks, chopped
Smoked ham hock or bacon (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lb. dried Great Northern white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed and drained
1 cup tomatoes, diced (canned is fine)
12 cups chicken stock or broth

Fresh basil or parsley (optional - as garnish)
Croutons (optional - as garnish)

Sauté the onions, garlic, celery and leeks in the olive oil; if using ham hock or bacon, add it to the pan. Add the beans, tomatoes, the juice from the tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 1 - 1 ½ hours and serve hot.,%20New%20York,%20USA)

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

I don't cook very often, but when I get in the mood - especially on a snowy winter day - this soup is one of my favorites. Simple, easy and it makes the whole place smell wonderful.

2 cups butternut or buttercup squash, peeled, seeded & chopped
2 cups sweet potato, peeled & chopped
3 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored & chopped (Spartan, Macintosh or similar)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups water or just enough to cover apples and veggies
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice or pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Bring the vegetables, apples and water to a boil in a saucepan on high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the seasonings and use a blender to process the mixture. Heat in the saucepan again on low heat until hot. Keeps 3 - 5 days refrigerated. Serves 6.

Notes: "Winter squash" is used to denote a hard-shelled varieties that be stored for months; it is distinct from summer squash such as zucchini. Of course, these days, both types are available year-round. Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.

φακές (that's Greek for lentil soup!)

Well, I can't find my mom's recipe, but this is very similar.

1/2 pound of small brown/green lentils, soaked overnight
1 pound of ripe tomatoes or 1 large can of tomatoes
4 1/4 cups of water
2 - 3 medium onions, minced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
5-6 carrots cut in thin rounds
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 bay leaves
black pepper

Soak the lentils overnight, then rinse and drain. Pick through to remove any small stones or sticks, then set aside.

Puree the tomatoes in a food processor bowl or blender or open the can. Add tomatoes and liquid to a stock pot. Add water, bay leaves, onion, garlic, carrots, celery and some salt & pepper.

Bring to a boil & add the lentils and oil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook about 3 hours or until lentils are soft and starting to break apart.

Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste. Lots of people add a little vinegar when they serve this soup, but it is really up to you.

This tastes even better the next day.

Poached Salmon

I found a bunch of recipes for poached salmon and tinkered with them until I had a version that was simple enough to make in a few minutes yet still tasty.

1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 large salmon steak or 2 fillets
A few whole, black peppercorns

Place the lemons, onions and peppercorns in a shallow pan. Add a few inches of water and bring to a boil.

Wash the salmon, the gently add to the pan and cover.

Turn down the flame and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, lifting carefully from the water to avoid breaking. Cool & serve. Good with a bit of fresh dill.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mark Bittman's Pasta With Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, about 1 pound
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound penne, fusilli or other cut pasta
1 cup coarse bread crumbs.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the cauliflower, and divide it into florets. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, and boil the cauliflower in it until it is tender but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the cauliflower and set it aside. When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly into small pieces.

2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, saute garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Be careful with the garlic: it should not brown in the oil but just begin to color (to ''blond,'' as the Italians say). Start cooking pasta in same pot and same water as was used for the cauliflower.

3. When the garlic is ready, add the cauliflower and bread crumbs to skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally. When pasta is just about done -- it should be two or three minutes short of the way you like it -- drain it, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.

4. Add pasta to skillet containing the cauliflower, and toss with a large spoon until they are well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with just enough pasta water to keep the mixture moist but not soupy. When the mixture is hot and the pasta is tender and nicely glazed, serve.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings.

Optional variations:
1. Substitute broccoli, kale or collards for the cauliflower.
2. When you're simmering the garlic, add anchovies, capers, pine nuts or dried red pepper flakes -- some or all of them.
3. Toss crumbled cooked sausage meat or chopped shrimp into the garlic mixture along with the bread crumbs.
4. Garnish with chopped parsley, basil or grated Parmesan.

Pasta With Spicy Broccoli Rabe and Raisins

The farmer who sold me a huge bunch of broccoli rabe at the Greenmarket knew only one way to cook it -- sauté it using lots and lots of oil. No thanks! I found this recipe in SOAR: Searchable Online Archive of Recipes (which has since changed its name to RecipeSource). It is delicious, sweet, spicy, filling and fast. I think it would be just as good with any other strongly flavored, leafy, dark green vegetable. Try using spinach or collard greens instead of the broccoli rabe.

2 bunches broccoli rabe (1 lbs. each) ends stripped off and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. penne, ziti or other whole wheat pasta
4 teaspoons vegetable stock
6 Tablespoons raisins
8 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
4 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the broccoli and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry. Bring another large pot of salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the veggie stock in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the raisins and cook, tossing frequently, until lightly "toasted." Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, the water and the red pepper and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

Drain the pasta and add the broccoli, the remaining veggie stock, the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Yield: 4 servings

NOTE: The recipe posted on SOAR was adapted from an article by Molly O'Neill in the New York Times Magazine, March 20 1994.

Spaghetti With Fried Eggs

This is an old Neapolitan dish, cheap, fast and very easy - perfect on nights when it seems as though there is nothing in the house to eat. The eggs and oil produce a creamy sauce, sort of like a carbonara sauce.

1/2 pound thin spaghetti
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and split in half
4 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (optional)

Boil a large pot of salted water and add the pasta. A few minutes before the pasta is done, start working on the sauce. Put the garlic and 4 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the garlic until it is lightly colored but not yet brown, pressing it into the oil to release its flavor. Discard the garlic and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil.

Fry the eggs gently in the oil until the eggs are just about set and the yolks are still runny. Drain the pasta and toss with the eggs and oil, completely breaking up the egg whites as you mix it with the pasta. The heat of the pasta will continue to cook the eggs and form the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with grated cheese.

Nigella Lawson's Favorite Pastas #1: With Potatoes, Green Beans and Pesto

British food goddess Nigella Lawson calls this one of her two favorite pasta recipes. Nigella says that although "I have indicated that the serving is for one or two ... I find it all too easy to polish off on my own."

Pasta With Potatoes, Green Beans and Pesto
Time: 35 minutes

2 cups (8 ounces) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
8 ounces dried linguine
1 cup (2 ounces) green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water. Add potatoes, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Add linguine to pot and, a few minutes later, the beans. Cook pasta to taste.

2. While pasta cooks, prepare pesto: In a food processor, combine basil, garlic and cheese. Process until mixture is finely chopped. With motor running, pour oil down feed tube to make a coarse purée. (If you are pressed for time or ingredients -- or lazy -- you'll still achieve good results by substituting a jar of pesto sauce.)

3. Remove about a cup of cooking water from pasta pot, then drain pasta, potatoes and beans. With food processor running, add 1/4 cup cooking water to pesto. Dry pasta pan, and return potatoes, beans and pasta to it. Add pesto to ingredients in pan. If desired, add enough reserved cooking water to thin sauce so that it coats strands of pasta as it is tossed with a fork. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nigella Lawson's Favorite Pastas #2: Pasta au Gratin

Pasta au Gratin
Time: 30 minutes

Butter for greasing baking dish
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/8 cups (14 ounces) diced canned tomatoes
4 ounces small macaroni or other short pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh soft breadcrumbs.

1. Place a baking sheet in oven, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Butter a gratin dish 8 by 6 by 1 3/8 inches deep, and set aside.

2. Place a deep skillet over medium heat, and sauté bacon until it begins to release its fat. Add onion, and sauté until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add pepper flakes, tomatoes (with their liquid) and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

3. While tomato mixture simmers, add macaroni to boiling water, and cook until tender with a bit of a bite. Meanwhile place a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and sauté until garlic begins to color. Add breadcrumbs and stir until they have absorbed oil and are golden.

4. Drain cooked macaroni and add it to tomato sauce. Pour mixture into buttered gratin dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and place on baking sheet in oven. Bake until sauce bubbles and top of gratin is browned, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 1 to 2 servings.

Best-Ever Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Best-Ever Crusty Macaroni and Cheese

3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 pound elbow pasta, boiled in salted water until just tender, drained, and rinsed under cold water
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2/3 cup whole milk.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine grated cheeses and set aside two heaping cups for topping.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cheeses, cayenne (if using) and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Raise heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crusty on top and bottom.

Mark Bittman's Baked Ziti

According to Mark Bittman, "This is not a real Italian Dish, but consider it more Italian-American."

Salt and pepper
1 pound Italian sausage, ground
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic, optional
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
1 pound ziti or other large cut pasta
1 pound mozzarella, chopped
Olive oil or butter as needed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bring large pot of water to boil; salt it. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Distribute meat in large skillet over medium high heat and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir, cook another 2 minutes undisturbed, then add the onion and garlic, if using. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer while cooking pasta, stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste; do not let sauce become too thick.

Cook pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it (do not shake the colander; allow some water to cling to the noodles) and toss it with the sauce and half the mozzarella. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon mixture into it. Top with remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan if using. Bake until top is browned and cheese bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cool Cucumber Soup

This is wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer night. Delicious, simple and you don't have to go near the stove.

4 English (seedless) cucumbers (about 12 ounces each), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash hot pepper sauce
Crème fraîche and fresh dill sprigs for garnish (optional)

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except garnish. In food processor or blender, blend half of cucumber mixture just until cucumbers are finely chopped but not pureed. Pour mixture into soup tureen. Repeat with remaining cucumber mixture; add to soup in tureen. Refrigerate soup if not serving right away.

To serve, garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of crème fraîche and a dill sprig.

Note: If you don't have any crème fraîche, garnish the soup with plain yogurt or sour cream.