Steve's Sautéed Green Beans

Cut ends off of green beans. Place in large flat-bottom pan with water, butter, salt and sugar. Cover and cook until beans start to turn tender. Remove lid and cook until almost tender. Do not cook to the point that beans turn dark green. If pan is removed from heat and left covered, beans will become more tender within about 10 minutes.

Steve's Mashed Potatoes

Peel potatoes and cut in half the flat way. Fill pot with enough water so that potatoes will be covered by one inch of water when they are added to the pot. (Do not put the potatoes in the water yet.) Add enough salt to give the water a very salty taste (usually about ¼ cup of salt). Bring the salted water to a rolling boil. Add the potato halves to the water and cover the pot leaving the cover slightly open. When the water comes to a full boil again, turn down the heat so that the pot does not boil over and continue boiling until a fork can be easily stuck into the potatoes. It is important not to let the potatoes sit in the water too long or they will become watery.

NOTE: If cooking a large quantity of potatoes it will be necessary to make several separate batches, since if too many potatoes are added to the water at one time it will take too long to bring the water back to boiling and the potatoes will become watery.

Pour contents of pot into a colander and allow the water to drain from the potatoes. Put butter and cream into a glass or plastic container and microwave until the butter is melted. Put the potatoes back into the pot with half of the melted butter and cream. Mash vigorously until very smooth, adding more butter and milk as needed for the proper consistency.

Potato Gorgonzola Gratin

Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 13”x 9” baking dish with cooking spray. Peel potatoes and cut into ⅛” thick slices. Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour and cook for 2 minutes to make a rue. Stir in thyme. Gradually add milk and cream while stirring, cooking over medium heat until slightly thick. Stir in gorgonzola and continue stirring until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Arrange ¼ of the potatoes at the bottom of the baking dish and spoon ¾ C of the sauce over the potatoes. Repeat layering potatoes with sauce two more times. Arrange remaining potatoes over the sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 more minutes or until potatoes are done. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Steve’s Potato Latkes

Hand grate the potatoes using a grater with large (about ¼”) holes. Grate the onions using a food processor with a grater blade. Add peeled garlic along with any remaining un-grated pieces of potato and onion to the food processor and chop finely with the normal processor blade. Combine the grated potato and onion, the processed garlic mixture, and the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Fry potato latke mixture in peanut oil over medium heat in small pans. Latkes should be about 5 to 6 inches in diameter and about 3/8” thick. Oil should completely cover the bottom of pan and come about half-way up the pancake. Allow each pancake to cook until fairly stiff before turning over. Keep adding oil as need during cooking to keep oil at proper level. Place cooked latkes between paper towels folded into quarters for about 1 minute before serving. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce mixed with brown sugar. Serves 16 people.

Apple Sauce for Potato Latkes

Mix brown sugar into apple sauce. Chill and serve with latkes.

Melanie's Sweet Potato Casserole

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously grease a 1½ quart Pyrex dish. Mix ingredients and pour into Pyrex dish. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is set. Cover casserole with aluminum foil if necessary to keep pecan halves from over browning. Serves 12

Steve's Creamed Spinach

Heat spinach in large sauté pan until completely thawed and hot. Allow most of the liquid to cook out. Melt butter in frying pan. Add flour to the melted butter and sauté for 5 minutes. Slowly add evaporated milk a little at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula each time the milk is added until no lumps remain. As sauce begins to thicken immediately add more milk so that it does not become too thick. After all the milk has been added. add heavy cream gradually while stirring until entire mixture is smooth. Add grated parmesan cheese. Stir the sauce into the pan with the spinach and cook for 10 more minutes. Add salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste. Serves 24 people.

Steve's Creamed Corn

Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Cut kernels from corn ears, place in pan, and sauté over very high heat until kernels start to caramelize and turn golden brown. Add flour to the corn and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Slowly add evaporated milk a little at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula each time the milk is added until no lumps remain. As sauce begins to thicken immediately add more milk so that it does not become too thick. After all the milk has been added, add heavy cream gradually while stirring until entire mixture is smooth. Add sugar and spices to taste. Serves 24 people.

Steve's Chestnut Puree

Cut each chestnut in half. Microwave 12 chestnut halves until steaming (about 30 seconds). Immediately remove shells and skins while still hot. If skin cannot be removed from a chestnut, then drop in boiling water until skin loosens. Repeat for additional groups of 12 chestnut halves until all chestnuts are shelled.

Cook peeled chestnuts in chicken broth, celery, and bay leaves until most of the liquid is evaporated, being careful not to burn chestnuts. Remove bay leaves and all but 1 stick of celery.

Place chestnuts and cream in food processor and puree. Add chicken broth as needed for proper consistency. The puree should be smooth but not soupy. Add Steve's magic paste, sugar, and salt (more or less to taste). Serves 24 people.

Steve's Sautéed Squash

Discard ends of squash and slice squash into ¾" thick disks. Place sugar, salt, butter and water in a large flat-bottomed pan and heat until the butter melts. Add the squash to the pan, cover with a tight lid so that the squash will steam, and cook over high heat. As individual pieces become soft, semi-transparent, and slightly browned, remove them and set aside in a colander which drains into a container to save the liquid. Continue cooking the remaining squash, removing individual pieces as they become cooked. Once all the squash is cooked and has been removed from the pan, uncover the pan, add the liquid which has drained from the colander, and reduce. When the liquid has become thick, replace the cooked squash pieces back into the liquid and sautee until all the pieces are coated.

Steve's Creamed Squash

Cook squash and remove squash from pan. Add flour to the reduced liquid and cook for 1 minute to make a roué. Slowly add evaporated milk and cream a little at a time, stirring thoroughly with a rubber spatula each time until no lumps remain. Cream sauce should be thicker than normal because later, as the squash continues to cook in the sauce, liquid from the squash will dilute the sauce.

Add lemon juice from ½ lemon, onion powder, white pepper, and salt to taste. Carefully add cooked squash to cream sauce and cook for another few minutes until the squash is completely cooked. Stir very gently, being careful not to break up the squash pieces.

Marilyn's Squash Casserole

Simmer squash until tender and drain. Combine sour cream, 6 Tbl melted butter, cheese, salt, and paprika. Stir mixture over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in egg yolk and chopped chives. Mix squash into mixture. Place mixture in buttered baking dish. Dot with remainder of butter, grated cheese, and bread crumbs. Bake at 350º until bubbly and brown, approximately 25-30 minutes. Serves 24.

Melanie’s Peas and Pearl Onions

Cook peas and onions according to package directions until done. Drain, set aside, and keep warm. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, tarragon, and flour until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes more. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked peas and onions to the cream sauce. Stir gently to combine and heat briefly. Serve immediately with a garnish of butter and fresh snipped mint.

Sue Brocaglia's Lima Bean Puree

Boil lima beans with the garlic and rosemary sprig in 6 cups water for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve cooking liquid. Discard rosemary sprig. Transfer bean mixture to food processor. Add butter and puree until smooth, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Richard Lee's Red Cabbage

Cut quarters of red cabbage, cut off the inner cabbage stalk and slice very thin and uniformly. Keep ready other ingredients - butter, pomace (low grade) olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper powder, cinnamon bark, sea salt, pepper mill, extra virgin olive oil and fresh red chili. Heat a heavy cooking pot, add generous amount of oil and then butter over medium heat. Temper slit chili and cinnamon bark for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add sliced cabbage and stir continuously with long wooden spoon. When the cabbage is wilted and the excess moisture of cabbage has evaporated (about 20 minutes), add balsamic vinegar just less than enough to cover the cabbage and cayenne pepper to your preferred level of spice. Add sugar in batches to adjust and to ensure that it does not caramelize too soon or get excessively sweet. Cover cabbage with a lid and continue cooking on low medium heat. Stir in regular intervals and make sure that the sides of the pot are clean. It takes about a 15 minutes for the vegetable to absorb the vinegar well. Taste to get a pickled sweet and soft cabbage and it is ready. Sprinkle sea salt to enhance taste and crack pepper over it. Add 2-3 dashes of extra virgin olive oil and give a final stir. One large red cabbage will feed 6 people.

Marilyn's Savory Herbed Cheesecake

Crust: Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, rosemary and butter in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch spring-form pan. Place in refrigerator to chill.

Filling: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the unpeeled cloves of garlic in a small ramekin or ovenproof dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft when tested with the tip of a knife. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.

Squeeze roasted garlic out of the skins and mash or chop the garlic, along with the olive oil to a purée. Combine the garlic, cream cheese, crème fraiche, eggs, flour and salt in a food processor and purée for 2 minutes. Add parsley, chervil, basil, oregano, and sage and process for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the red bell pepper and carrot and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Blend a spoonful of egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the chilled crust. To catch drips, line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place under spring-form Pan. Using additional herbs and vegetables, float a design on top of the batter.

Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. When done, the cake will have risen and the center will be almost set. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven for 1 hour longer, without opening the door. Don't worry if the cake is cracked. Remove the cheesecake and set it on a rack to cool for 1½ hours.

When cool, remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan. Loosen the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan, using a knife, and slide it onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature. To keep overnight, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. If desired, decorate the top of the cheesecake using herbs and or vegetables. Makes 12 servings.

Mexican Refried Beans

Sort dried pinto beans to remove rocks and wash. Place in small pot and cover with water. Bring to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover pot and let sit for at least 1 hour. Pour off water, add fresh water about 2 inches above beans. Cut salt pork and onion into quarters and add to beans. Simmer until beans are soft adding water as necessary to keep wet. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until water is almost gone. Puree mixture in a food processor. Reheat and serve.

Monica's Jamaican Rice and Peas

Grate meat from coconut, cover with warm water and soak overnight. Combine all ingredients (including coconut and its soaking liquid) except peas in pot. Simmer until rice is done. Add peas. Cover pot with plastic wrap and place lid over pot and plastic wrap. Place over low heat for 40 minutes to steam ingredients.

Steve's Portabella Pecan Sage Dressing

Preheat oven on convection broil. Slice portabella mushrooms into ½" thick slices, and cut each slice into 1" pieces.

Place ⅓ of mushroom pieces in a large flat baking tray and place in oven for 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from oven and transfer to large mixing bowl. Melt 1 stick of butter in a glass container. Add to the mushrooms and mix. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Transfer mushrooms back to the backing tray, place in oven and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Pour all the liquid from the mushroom liquid into large flat pan. Set aside cooked mushrooms in a separate container. Repeat this procedure for each of the two remaining ⅓ portions of mushrooms, each time adding another stick of melted butter.

When all the mushrooms have been cooked, add 4 Tbl of "Steve's Magic Paste", Swanson's chicken flavor booster and beef flavor booster to mushroom liquid in the large pan and reduce by one-half. Store liquid in a temporary container.

Lightly sauté onion and garlic in butter until onion is mostly translucent. In a large bowl, mix dry dressing, cooked onion and garlic, mushrooms and cooking liquid, chopped sage, parsley, and pecans. If more moisture is need, add chicken stock a little at a time, mixing each time until mixture is moist but not clumping. If too much liquid is added, the mixture will be clump and the dressing will become hard when cooked.

Place dressing mixture in glass or ceramic baking dish. Do not press into baking dish too firmly. Dressing should be light and fluffy. Uncooked dressing mixture can be kept refrigerated for several days. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered at 350º. Serve hot. Serves 24 people.