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Culinary poetry By Johnathan Samuel A big fat patato A big, fat potato lay down on a clod In the shade of some burdock and tall goldenrod, And he dreamed he were king of the whole garden plot, With a palace and throne, and a crown with a lot Of jewels and diamonds and gold till it shone Like the front of a show when the lights are turned on. He had to be minded by all of the plants; When he whistled the radishes knew they must dance; When he tooted his horn the cucumbers must sing To a vegetable crowd gathered round in a ring. He made all the cabbages stand in a row While a sunflower instructed them just how to grow; The bright yellow pumpkins he painted light blue; Took the clothes off the scare-crow and made him buy new. He strutted and sputtered and thought it was grand To be king and commander o’er all the wide land. But at last he woke up with an awful surprise And found a blind mole kicking sand in his eyes.

(Recipe) (roasted potato leek soup) Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • •

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks) 1/4 cup good olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 3/4 cup heavy cream 8 ounces creme fraiche 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish Crispy Shallots, recipe follows, optional

Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan. In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree. Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they're all done and combined in the large pot. Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings. When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots, if using.

Crispy Shallots: • • •

1 1/2 cups olive oil or vegetable oil 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. The temperature should stay below 260 degrees F. Stir the shallots occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days. (yield 1 ½ cups)

On top of spaghetti

On top of spaghetti, All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball When somebody sneezed. It rolled off the table And onto the floor, And then my poor meatball Rolled right out the door! It rolled in a garden And under a bush Now my poor meatball Was nothing but mush The mush was as tasty As tasty could be Early next summer It grew into a tree The tree was all covered With beautiful moss It grew lovely meatballs In a tomato sauce So if you like spaghetti All covered with cheese Hold on to your meatballs And DON'T EVER SNEEZE!

(Recipe ) Caesar spaghetti

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • •

Salt 1 pound spaghetti 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling 6 anchovy fillets, drained 4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, eyeball the amount 2 medium heads escarole, washed 1 lemon, halved Freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste 2 large egg yolks 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Directions Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, according to package directions. Heads up: you need to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining. While the pasta is cooking, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the anchovies and cook until they've melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, stir 1 minute then add in Worcestershire. Shred the escarole and add several handfuls at a time, wilting the greens in the garlic oil. Dress the greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg, then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pan. Add the reserved starchy cooking water to the eggs in a small bowl and beat together to temper them. Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta and the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Add half of the cheese and toss vigorously for 1 minute. Dress the pasta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and transfer to a serving dish. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.

The tarts

The Queen of Hearts, She made some tarts, All on a summer's day; The Knave of Hearts, He stole the tarts, And took them clean away. The King of Hearts Called for the tarts, And beat the Knave full sore; The Knave of Hearts Brought back the tarts, And vowed he'd steal no more.


Strawberry tarts

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced 2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco) 1/4 cup ice water 2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows 2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved 1/3 cup apricot jelly 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Directions Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream: 5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups scalded milk 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon Cognac 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon heavy cream In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold. Yield: 2 cups

Peter the pumpkin eater

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, Had a wife and couldn't keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell And there he kept her, very well.

(Recipe) Pumpkin pie

Ingredients For the Dough: • • • • • • •

11/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 2 tablespoons beaten egg (about 1/2 large egg)

For the Filling: • • • • • • • • •

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 3 large eggs 1 cup half-and-half 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves Whipped cream, for serving

Directions Make the dough: Pulse the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening; pulse until it disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Beat 2 tablespoons ice water and the egg in a bowl, then add to the processor and pulse once or twice. (Stop before the dough gathers into a ball.) Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface (or between 2 pieces of floured parchment paper). Ease into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish glass pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp the edges with your fingers. Pierce the bottom all over with a fork and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Line the crust with foil, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until the crust is golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Make the filling: Whisk the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a bowl. Pour into the crust; bake until the edges are set but the center quivers, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. (Cover the edges of the crust with foil if they brown too quickly.) Cool completely on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.

pumpkin pie

roasted patato leek soup

Strawberry tart Caesar spaghetti


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