Category Archives: First Course (Appetizers)

Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad

Photo of hurricane sandy for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Sunrise after Sandy! The calm after the storm wasn’t so calm.

Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs, and I truly admire her ability to create festive dishes that are perfectly appropriate for all four seasons. A few years ago, on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, Garten featured a butternut squash and arugula salad, dressed with a sweet reduction of apple cider and shallots. I RETAINED the recipe in my mental cookbook, for future reference. Last night, while preparing for the ZEPHYR winds to turn into high-speed GUSTS, I made this recipe for my family, and they loved it! You will too.

Photo of ingredients for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Ingredients: 1.5 lb butternut squash, olive oil, 1tbsp pure maple syrup, salt and pepper, 3 tbsp dried cranberries, 3/4 cup apple cider, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp minced shallots, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 4 ounces clean baby arugula, 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Photo of butternut squash for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Peel and scoop the seeds out of the butternut squash. Cut it into 3/4″ chunks.

Photo of roasted butternut squash for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, the maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in a 400ºF oven for about 15 minutes.

Photo of butternut squash and cranberries for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Remove the squash from the oven and place the cranberries on top. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cranberries have plumped.

Photo of shallots for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

While the squash is roasting, mince the shallots.

Photo of apple cider vinegar dressing for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider, apple cider vinegar and shallots. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture reduces to about 1/4 cup.

Photo of apple cider vinegar dressing for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Remove the dressing from the flame, season with salt and pepper, and whisk in the Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Photo of butternut squash and arugula salad for blog post, "Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Place the arugula in a large bowl and top it with the squash, Parmesan cheese and the dressing.

Stay tuned for a guest blog by my friend, Sofia, in a few weeks!

Happy Fall,

Charis

  • RETAIN= to keep
  • ZEPHYR = a gentle breeze
  • GUST = a short blast of wind

Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean And Cilantro

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip ingredients: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Ingredients: 32 oz can large lima beans, drained, 1/2 cup olive oil, 7 turns in a pepper mill, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

It’s a well known fact in my family that my mother cannot cook to save her life. In my fifteen years of knowing her, I only have two, very grim memories of consuming her “creations,” both of which involve eggs-gone-wrong. It will only be in times of great despair that I wish to eat what she cooks. I love you mom, but you can’t cook.

This summer, my parents opened up a bed and breakfast, “Cliff Walk Cottage on The Sea,” and I have been working on some recipes which can be served as pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres. I have a recipe for a “Lima Bean and Cilantro Salad” in my book, “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.,” that can easily be turned into a dip. This recipe only calls for measuring, counting, and opening some cans. It’s so simple, even my mom might be able to master it. Just kidding.

As Ina Garten would say, “How easy is that?”

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor.

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Pulse together until combined. Spread onto warm baguette and serve.

Photo of Hors d'oeuvres at Cliffwalk Cottage On The Sea: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Lima bean and cilantro dip served at Cliffwalk Cottage On The Sea.

Happy Cooking,

Charis

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Photo of quinoa for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

This recipe celebrates the earthy flavors of quinoa, one of my favorite ARTISANAL grains.

It’s not often that I find myself at a loss for what to cook, but when I do, I try to utilize what I have in my herb garden and pantry to create a STELLAR dish. Two days ago, I was having one of those moments  and needed some inspiration. With a little research, a look through the shelves in my kitchen, a glance at the herbs in my garden and some imagination, I came up with a fantastic  and tasty recipe for quinoa stuffed peppers that isn’t as OUTLANDISH and bizarre as it sounds!

Photo of quinoa stuffed peppers ingredients for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Ingredients: 4 cups cooked quinoa, 4 bell peppers (chop the tops off, remove the membranes and seeds,) 1 small red onion diced, 2 carrots peeled and diced, 3 stalks celery diced, 5 white mushrooms diced, 2/3 cup black beans, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 cup tomato sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Photo of vegetables for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Dice the onion, mushrooms, celery stalks and carrots.

Photo of diced vegetables for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

A classic mirepoix plus mushrooms.

Photo of cooked vegetables for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Cook the vegetables in a large pot on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Stir occasionally for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Place the cooked vegetables into a large bowl.

Photo of quinoa for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Add in the quinoa.

Photo of parsley for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

And the parsley.

Photo of black beans for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Next add in the black beans.

Photo of tomato sauce for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

And the tomato sauce for moistness.

Photo of quinoa mixture for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Stir together all of the ingredients. The mixture is good on its own but is even better inside the peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photo of prepared peppers for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Place the peppers into a baking dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil. For this recipe I used orange peppers but green bell peppers are my favorite.

Photo of quinoa stuffed peppers for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Stuff the quinoa mixture into the peppers, wrap the top of the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350ºF for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes.

Photo of cheese for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the peppers and broil for about 3 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Photo of quinoa stuffed pepper for blog post, "Quinoa Stuffed Peppers," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Remove from the oven and dig in! Who said healthy and delicious can’t be used in the same sentence?

Enjoy,

Charis

  • ARTISANAL = products made by workers in a skilled trade, especially making things by hand
  • STELLAR = exceptional
  • OUTLANDISH = unfamiliar, weird

 

Recipe: Sweet Cornbread

Photo of Cornbread for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Sweet cornbread is an ODE to Summer.

I have made it one of my new goals to create a COMPILATION of simple, traditional, no-fuss, homemade recipes to which I can always refer back. Sweet cornbread was the first side dish I AGONIZED over, (I’m a self-confessed perfectionist and some recipes just don’t come easily) and I’m proud to report back that I’ve come up with a successful outcome. I think you’ll love this one.

Photo of Sweet cornbread ingredients for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsps salt, 3 tsps baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 6 tbsps melted sweet cream butter.

Photo of preheated oven for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

Photo of flour for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl.

Photo of cornmeal for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Add the cornmeal.

Photo of white sugar for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Then the white sugar.

Photo of brown and white sugar for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

And the brown sugar for a smoky sweetness!

Photo of salt for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Next the salt goes in.

Photo of baking powder for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Baking powder for leavening.

Photo of dry ingredients for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

And mix, mix, mix the dry ingredients until they are all combined.

Photo of milk, egg and half-and-half for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Pour in the milk, egg and half-and-half. Don’t stir just yet.

Photo of butter for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Then pour in the melted butter. Almost done, I promise.

Photo of sweet cornbread mixture for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Mix everything until just combined. Then put down the whisk and walk away for 10 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken up a bit.

Photo of completed cornbread for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Place the mixture into a sprayed, 9″ round cake pan, bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once done and cooled for 10 minutes, transfer the cornbread onto a serving dish.

Photo of sweet cornbread wedge for blog post, "Recipe: Sweet Cornbread," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Cut the warm bread into wedges and serve with a generous pad of warm butter. Yum.

Happy Summer,

Charis

  • ODE = a lyrical poem
  • COMPILATION = an assembled collection of things
  • AGONIZE =  undergo mental anguish

Book Review: “Zuppe” Celebrates Sustainable Eating

Photo of front cover of Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Available on Amazon, online booksellers and in local bookstores.

The recently published Zuppe features 50 soup recipes prepared by members of the Rome Sustainable Food Project, a mess hall serving the community of artists at the American Academy in Rome. As a diehard Italophile, I was predisposed to love this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Author Mona Talbott, a Chez Panisse and Alice Waters disciple, is a frugal foodie who proves (with grace and style) that healthy, tasty, economical meals can be prepared on a shoestring budget. She crowd sources the recipes from her staff and local food PURVEYORS, and demonstrates that institutional dining doesn’t have to be institutional.

Ingredient list for cauliflower soup from Zuppe cookbook for cookbook review by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

You can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano for the Grana Padano.

Starting with the fall, and following the academic year, the book is divided by season, insuring that the freshest produce forms the daily cuisine. The soups are HALE and hearty, using very basic ingredients that are readily available. The recipes are designed to serve either  4 – 6 or 6 – 8 and are offered in both American  and European weight systems (ounces and liters, pounds and kilos).

Photo of ingredients for cauliflower soup from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Cauliflower Soup Ingredients.

The recipes appear to be relatively simple, so I asked my Mom, who is severely cooking-challenged, to try two of the recipes. Even though we are ENSCONCED in spring, I chose two of the winter recipes, which seemed appropriate because it’s still cold in New England. My Mom prepared the “cauliflower soup” and the “lentil and carrot soup” during my long weekend home from school. She was stressed by less than exact directions, such as “a bunch of parsley.” How big is a bunch???

Photo of ingredients for chopped cauliflower and potato for cauliflower soup recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Chop the cauliflower and potato.

Photo of chopped celery and onion for cauliflower soup recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Chop the celery and onion.

Photo of chopped celery and onion sauté for cauliflower soup recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Saute the celery and onion.

Photo of simmering cauliflower soup from recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Simmering cauliflower soup.

Photo of Charis seasoning the cauliflower soup for recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Mom asked me to help with the seasoning.

Photo of cauliflower soup from recipe from Zuppe cookbook for book review blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Add parsley, cheese and black pepper just before serving the cauliflower soup.

We served the soups with artisanal bread and salad. The meal didn’t disappoint but Mom complained that the recipes were DECEPTIVELY simple.

The proceeds from sales of Zuppe support the Rome Sustainable Food Project, a very worthy cause. I love that the cover is faux-distressed to suggest that the book is a hand me down from Grandma. Soup is a staple meal for year round cooking, which makes Zuppe an INDISPENSABLE addition to your cookbook collection.

Charis

  • PURVEYOR = vendor
  • HALE = healthy
  • ENSCONCED = settled
  • DECEPTIVELY = deceivingly
  • INDISPENSABLE = essential

Spicy Margherita Bruschetta

Photo of Italian flag for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

This Italian recipe is inspired by the colors of the Italian flag. Tomatoes are the red component, mozzarella cheese is the white, and basil is the green. I chose red pepper flakes instead of basil to give this recipe some spice!

Photo of all ingredients for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Ingredients: 2-3 tomatoes, 1/2 sourdough loaf, 8 oz mozzarella cheese, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, freshly ground salt and pepper.

Photo of sliced and broiled sourdough bread for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Slice the bread into 3 pieces and broil on each side for 2 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.

Photo of tomato slices for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Chop the tomatoes into 3/4" chunks.

Photo of olive oil and red pepper flakes for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Measure the olive oil and red pepper flakes. If you don't like spicy food, don't use the flakes or use less of them.

Photo of seasoned tomatoes for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

In a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.

 

Photo of sliced mozzarella cheese for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Slice the mozzarella cheese into thin rounds.

Photo of prepared bruschetta for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

To prepare the bruschetta, place the bread on a sheet pan, top with the tomato mixture and finish off with slices of cheese. Broil for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Photo of spicy margarita bruschetta for blog on "Spicy Margarita Bruschetta Recipe," a blog on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

The delicious finished product. Oh so Italian!

As an all-things-Italian lover, AKA Italophile, my entire family, AKA the Freiman-Mendel CLAN, is ACCUSTOMED to eating dishes I prepare containing basil, tomatoes and bread. Spicy Margarita Bruschetta is an AMALGAMATION of these three basic Italian tastes, with just one revision: I replaced the basil with red pepper flakes to add a spicy kick!

  • CLAN = tribe
  • ACCUSTOMED = used to
  • AMALGAMATION = combination

Buon Appetito!

Charis