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Volume 41 Issue 18 • Sept. 8-14, 2011
now in our 41th season

Best Served Hot OR Cold

by Jenn Farmer - Chef and Food Fancier

Isn’t it a good feeling to find a recipe that is not only good, but is easy?  Then it gets even more exciting when the dish can be served hot or cold. I am not referring to cold pizza the next day for leftovers (though that is one of my favorites of all time!).  I am talking about food that is truly as good hot as when it is chilled down. 

Adding a simple level of diversity simply by serving it hot or cold changing the temperature, gives the cook a great deal of flexibility when catering a party or event.  If it gets made last minute, and it is still hot, “great serve it to the hungry guests.”  If the party is slow behind schedule, and everything needs to be chilled “great serve it chilled when everyone arrives.”  I also love the idea of a warm and cool element together on a plate.  For example one of my favorites is a nice warm steak, still juicy, on a cool and crunchy salad.   Some chefs I know are fabulous at taking this to a new level.  Once I had a delicious soup that was layers of flavors AND temperatures served to maximize the effect in tiny champagne shaped vials.  The soup was drunk in one gulp, it began with a warm soup on top that was mild in flavor, but very good, then it got cooler, and more heavily seasoned.  The temperature seemed to make the flavors more cohesive, and was also a very memorable experience.  It made me interested in returning and trying other unusual concoctions.  I could even cite a food most Americans are familiar with, apple pie with ice cream.  The warm spiced apples melting the cold vanilla ice cream.  It could be considered a real comfort food, and I think part of that stems from the fact that it is great together, but also the memory is triggered by eating something that has layers of flavor and temperature. 

It also helps out those of us who tend to be more frugal, and leftovers.  Got too much of that filet left?  Serve it for lunch the next day on a cold buffet.  Too much salad left, heat up a skillet and make a warm wilted salad to go with those chilled beef sandwiches.  In other words the sky is the limit.  So here are some hot and cold recipes (not just for the fickle mind you!). Don’t get cold feet, try heating things up (or cooling them down!).  

Roasted Vegetables over Crispy Romaine

  • 2 Parsnips, peeled and large diced
  • 10-12 small turnips, peeled and cut if necessary
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and large diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and large diced
  • 10-12 baby new potatoes, washed and cut if necessary
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 heads romaine, or other crisp lettuce- chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees, Toss all the vegetables and herbs except the romaine, in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Roast for about 45 minutes to 55 minutes.  The vegetables will be caramelized and tender, but not mushy.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme and discard.  This dish can be served hot or cold.  If you want to serve it cold, chill the vegetables before tossing with the lettuce.  Use the roasting juices to dress the salad, they are delicious.  Sometimes I add a couple tablespoons mayonnaise thinned with lemon juice and toss it with the chilled vegetables for a spin off on potato salad.  Serves 6

Easy Lentil Salad

  • 2 cups lentils
  • One onion, small diced
  • One clove of garlic, cleaned
  • One bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • One tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • One half teaspoon cayenne
  • One half teaspoon curry powder
  • One bunch green scallions, chopped
  • One bunch curly endive or other greens
  • One tomato, small diced
  • One quarter cup rice wine or white vinegar
  • One quarter cup salad oil
  • One teaspoon minced garlic

Cook the lentils with the onion, garlic clove and bay leaf, until tender.  Add the seasonings and taste.  Mix together the vinegar, oil, and garlic to make vinaigrette. Depending on your mood this dish can be served hot or cold.  Just chill the lentils and then toss with the greens, scallions, and tomato and garlic vinaigrette for the cold version.

Stuffed Squid

  • 12 large squid bodies, cleaned
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • One half cup sliced scallions
  • One quarter cup minced mushrooms
  • 4 ounces cocktail shrimp, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Basil, minced
  • Oregano, minced
  • Thyme, minced
  • Dry white wine like Chablis or Chardonnay

Leave the squid bodies whole, but rinse them off, clean if necessary.  Set the squid aside.  Combine all the remaining ingredients and taste.  Add salt and pepper if needed.  Stuff the squid bodies with this mixture, and chill.  A parchment or pastry decorator’s bag, or a heavy duty plastic bag with one edge cut off can aid in the stuffing process.  

Fill the bottom of a pan with about a quarter inch of white wine. Using a steaming basket or rack, steam the squid for 8-10 minutes.  Whisk a few pats of butter into the hot white wine for a quick and elegant sauce to serve with the squid.  Eat immediately or chill and slice for appetizers. Serves 6-12

Bourbon Beef

  • 1 whole beef filet , trimmed (should weigh about 2 and a half pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • One quarter cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

Put all the ingredients except the meat in a bowl and mix well.  Pour over the beef, and turn it over so it is submersed or well coated. Cover and chill for 2-24 hours   Heat the grill.  Shake off the excess marinade, and cook the meat for about 7 minutes per side for rare. If you like it more done, 9- 10 minutes per side is closer to medium.  Remove the filet from the grill and let it rest before slicing for about 10 minutes. It can r be chilled and served thinly sliced and cold for a buffet, especially if it is with rolls and condiments for sandwiches.  Or cold on a salad with mixed vegetables, like corn, tomatoes, and scallions.  Hot it is great sliced thick and served with buttery herbed mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Serves 4-8.


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