John Anderson to Lodi Grape Festival

John Anderson, who’s marking his 37th year as an old-school country musician, performs Friday night on the main stage at the Lodi Grape Festival
Anderson, 59, originally from Opapka, Fla., is replacing Little Texas, a four-man country-rock band based in Nashville, Tenn., that had to cancel its scheduled appearance due to illness.
Since 1977, the deep-voiced Anderson — who performed at the San Joaquin County Fair in 1996 — has released 36 albums and 61 singles, six of them reaching No. 1.
Based in Nashville, he’s best known for recordings such as “Seminole Wind,” a platinum CD in 1992, and “I’ve Got a Feelin’ (Somebody’s Stealin’ ”), his 1977 debut single.
Brian Howe, 61, a blues-rock singer from Portsmouth, England, who replaced Paul Rodgers in Bad Company — a classic blues-rock band — performs two showsSaturday.
Fresno’s Jeremy Pearce, a monthly regular at Stockton’s Valley Brewing Company, does his full Elvis Presley tribute show with a four-piece band, memorabilia and a 1977 Cadillac El Dorado, Sunday night.

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Delicious, healthy desserts

FUDGY VEGAN BROWNIES (WITH BLACK BEANS)

Makes 12 brownies

Tested by Alison Sherwood

• 2 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

• 6 tablespoons water

• 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

• 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar or raw sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Optional toppings: Chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, unsalted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a standard-size muffin pan.

Pulse flaxseed meal and water in bowl of a food processor and let rest about 2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and blend about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed, until mixture is smooth. Batter should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting; if it appears too thick, add a tablespoon of water and blend again.

Evenly distribute batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger. Sprinkle with your desired toppings.

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 26 minutes or until tops are dry and edges start to pull away from the sides.

Remove from oven and let cool 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Refrigerate to keep longer.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH BITES (WITH CHICKPEAS)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Tested by Alison Sherwood

Ingredients

• 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut or almond butter, room temperature (see note)

• 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping sides as needed. Stir in chocolate chips. Mixture will be very thick and sticky.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down lightly on the balls so they become small mounds.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft and will not set like normal cookies. They’re best when served warm.

Note: Check the ingredients list and be sure to use nut butter that does not have added sugar. If it also does not have salt, add a pinch to the recipe.

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES (WITH AVOCADO)

Makes about 20

Tested by Alison Sherwood

Ingredients

• 1 medium ripe avocado

• 10 ounces dark chocolate chips

• 1/4 cup cacao nibs

• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Cut avocado and scoop out flesh. Use a fork, an electric hand mixer or a food processor to mash the avocado until there are no more chunks. Melt the chocolate chips by microwaving in 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted.

Scoop avocado mixture into the bowl with melted chocolate and mix until well-blended. Stir in cacao nibs, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball using your palms. Repeat with rest of mixture. Put cocoa powder in a shallow bowl and roll balls in the cocoa powder until they’re completely covered.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days, but note that they taste best when served fresh or at room temperature.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM (WITH CHIA SEEDS)

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Tested by Alison Sherwood

• 1/4 cup chia seeds

• 1 2/3 cups milk (unsweetened almond, coconut or cow’s milk)

• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

• 4 pitted Medjool dates or 8 pitted California dates

Stir all ingredients except for the dates together in a medium bowl until completely combined. Stir in dates then chill mixture overnight or at least four hours.

Pour the soaked mixture into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Mixture should be thick and creamy. Transfer mixture back to the bowl and chill until you’re ready to churn it.

Churn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to a lidded container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Note: If left in the freezer too long it will freeze solid and be difficult to scoop without first thawing.

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM (DAIRY-FREE)

Tested by Alison Sherwood

• 1 can (16 ounces) coconut milk (not light)

• 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Chill the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours.

Remove can from fridge and do not shake. Flip can upside down and open immediately. The cream should be concentrated at the bottom; pour off the translucent liquid from the top and reserve, if desired, for another use (it works great in a smoothie).

Scoop the thick cream from bottom of can into a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and whip using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.

ALMOST INSTANT CHOCOLATE PUDDING (WITH CHIA SEEDS)

Makes 2 servings

Tested by Alison Sherwood

• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (divided)

• 1/4 cup chia seeds

• 5 pitted Medjool dates or 10 pitted California dates

• 2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Pinch of fine-grain sea salt

Preparation

Pour 3/4 cup of the almond milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.

To make the pudding, add the almond milk ice cubes, the remaining 3/4 cup almond milk and the rest of the ingredients to a high-power blender. Blend on the highest speed until smooth. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge, where it will thicken up even more.

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Peach Salsa

Use the fresh fruit from your garden to create this refreshing dish

Peach Salsa

Yields 1.5 cups

Ingredients

• 2 ripe peaches

• ½ small onion, diced fine

• 1 serrano or jalapeno chili, seeds and veins removed, diced fine

• juice of one lime

• salt

• 1-2 Tbl minced cilantro

• 1 small avocado, cut into medium dice (optional)

Instructions

Dip the peaches in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Slip off the skins, cut the flesh away from the pits, and cut into medium dice.

Combine all ingredients, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning, adding lime juice and salt as desired.

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Stockton Beer Week kicks off today

Participating venues & businesses
These are the establishments participating in Stockton’s third Beer Week, today through Aug. 31.
Information: visitstockton.org
*The Abbey Trappist Pub
AVE on the Mile
Bagel Express
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
*Centrale Kitchen and Bar
David’s Pizza – Lincoln Center
Delta Bistro & Lounge
*Empresso Coffeehouse
French 25
*Lincoln Cellar
Macaronage Macarons
Midtown Creperie & Cafe
*Mile Wine Company
Valley Brewing Company
Waterloo Club
Whisky Barrel Tavern
* Serving Stockton Sessions, brewed especially for the event by Dust Bowl Brewing Co. of Turlock.
Businesses
Cal-Pine on the Ave.
Gluskin’s Photo
Green’s Nutrition
Haze Vapors
Home Thyme
Kharma Spa & Salon
Michelle’s Flower Cart
Moore’s Martial Arts and Yoga Dojo
Rae’s Rags & Riches Boutique
Southern Exposure
Sweet Shoppe

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Ice Cream Dreams

Sweet Cream Ice Cream

Prep: 50 minutes
Cook: 7-8 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Freeze: 4 hours
Makes: 1 quart, 8 servings
From “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts“ by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan, $23.95). Make sure to freeze the canister from your ice cream machine overnight. This base can be flavored with the variations below.

Ingredients
• 2 2/3 cups whole milk
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 2 ounces (4tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
• 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Directions
Mix about 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan; heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, 4 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Heat the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat; cook, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon zip-close freezer bag; submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Turn on the ice cream machine. Pour the ice cream base into the canister; spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface; seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Nutrition information per 1/2 cup serving: 340 calories, 22 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 78 mg cholesterol, 34 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 126 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
Chocolate: Combine 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup brewed coffee and 1/2 cup sugar in a small sacucepan; heat to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat; add 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55 to 70 percent cacao), finely chopped; let stand, 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. To make the chocolate ice cream, whisk the syrup with the cream cheese and salt in Step 1. Then proceed as written.
Roasted cherries: Toss 1 1/2 pints fresh sweet or tart cherries, pitted, with 1/3 cup sugar and about 1 teaspoon cornstarch on a rimmed baking sheet; roast at 375 degrees until cherries release some juice and it begins to thicken, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and crush with a fork or potato masher. To make cherry ice cream, add 1/2 cup crushed cherries to warm cream once it is removed from heat (end of step 2). Proceed with recipe. Serve the remaining cherries with the finished ice cream as a mix-in, topping or both.

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Tapas: Small plates bring big flavor

Baby Beets, Cucumbers and Feta Pintxos

Note: If you cannot find baby beets, use small beets. To make a vinegar reduction, simply simmer the moscatel vinegar until reduced by half.

Ingredients
• 8 baby beets, 1 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter
• Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
• 8 squares feta cheese, cut 3/4-inch square and 1/2-inch thick
• 8 pitted Kalamata olives
• 8 squares peeled English cucumber, cut 3/4-inch square and  1/2-inch thick
• Extra-virgin olive oil and moscatel vinegar reduction, for drizzling

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the stems of the unpeeled beets, leaving 1/2 inch intact. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them in a baking pan with 1/4 cup water. Roast for 30 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, top and tail them and slip off the skins. (Note: If you are using small beets, cut them into squares, as you did the feta and cucumber.)
Thread each of 8 skewers with a beet, a feta square, an olive and a cucumber square. Arrange on a small platter. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar reduction. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Makes 8
— Gerald Hirigoyen, “Pintxos”

Albondigas with Wine Sauce

Ingredients
Meatballs:
• Olive oil
• 1/4 cup onion, minced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 pound each ground beef and pork
• 3 tablespoons fresh, flat-leaf parsley, minced
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 2 slices country bread, crusts removed, soaked in water, squeezed dry
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• Salt, pepper
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Wine Sauce:
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped, blanched almonds
• 2 tablespoons fresh, flat-leaf parsley, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
• A few saffron threads, warmed and crushed
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 1/2 cup dry white wine, dry fino or amontillado sherry
• 2/3 cup chicken broth

Instructions
Meatballs: Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Combine ground meats, parsley, egg, softened bread, spices, salt, pepper and onion mixture. Mix well. Fry a nugget of the mixture, taste and adjust seasoning.
Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread flour in a shallow bowl. Roll meatballs in flour, coating evenly and shaking off the excess.
In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear meatballs, turning as needed, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
For the wine sauce: combine the garlic, almonds, parsley, paprika, saffron, a pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a food processor; process until finely ground into a “picada.”
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add wine and broth; bring to a simmer. Add meatballs, reduce heat, cover and simmer until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add the picada and cook a few minutes more.
Serves 8
— Joyce Goldstein, “Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain”

Grilled Chorizo Kebabs with Cherries

Note: This recipe works equally well with fresh figs or apricots.

Ingredients
• 12 ounces cooking chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch circles
• 1/2 pound cherries, pitted
• 1 large red onion or bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
• Olive oil

Instructions
Preheat grill.
Skewer the ingredients together, alternating between the chorizo, fruit and onion. Place in a grill-safe pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
Grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, rotating the skewers periodically.
Serves 4
— Matchbox Wine and Tienda.com

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Cold soups for a hot summer

Farmers Market Gespacho

Farmers Market Gazpacho

Ingredients
• 1 quart tomato juice
• 1 quart chicken stock
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 6 medium tomatoes, diced
• 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
• 1 medium sweet onion, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• 1 zucchini, diced
• 1 green or red pepper, diced
• 1/2 bulb fennel, sliced thin, optional
• 2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped, optional
• 1/2 avocado, sliced, for garnish, optional

Instructions
Combine all ingredients except the optional avocado in a large bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours. When serving, float optional avocado slices on top of each bowl.
Yield: About 4 quarts
Per serving: 50 calories; 2 g fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 2 g protein; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 135 mg sodium; 15 mg calcium.
— Recipe by Mary Anne Pikrone

Summer Fruit Soup

Summer Fruit Soup

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon minced ginger
• 3 cups chopped strawberries, divided
• 2 cups chopped pineapple, divided
• 1 1/2 cups chopped mango, divided
• 2 pieces lemon peel
• 2 pieces lime peel
• 2 pieces orange peel
• 4 cups water
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 cup blueberries
• Mint sprigs, for garnish

Instructions

Saute the ginger in a medium pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes (no oil is necessary). Add 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and the lemon, lime and orange peels; cook for another 2 minutes. Add water, sugar and fruit juices and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Allow mixture to cool slightly and then transfer in batches to a blender or food processor. Puree and strain into a large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1 cup chopped pineapple, 3/4 cup chopped mango and blueberries. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with mint sprigs for garnish.
Yield: 8 servings
Per serving: 220 calories; no fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; 1 g protein; 55 g carbohydrate; 50 g sugar; 3 g fiber; 6 g sodium; 25 mg calcium.
— Recipe by Emeril Lagasse, via Food Network

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Whole fish and nothing but the fish

Hanoi-Style Fried Fish With Turmeric and Dill (Cha Ca Thang Long)

4 servings
Author Paul Greenberg says this light, summery meal is perfect for sharing.
Serve the fried fish atop the dilled vermicelli or wrapped in lettuce leaves, along with pickled carrots and a dipping sauce called nuoc cham (find the recipes at washingtonpost.com/recipes).
Make ahead: Once salted, the fish needs to sit for 15 minutes. The marinated fish needs to be refrigerated for 20 minutes.

Ingredients

For the fish

• 1 1/2 pounds firm, skinned white-fleshed fish fillets, such as monkfish, red snapper or striped bass
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger root
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
• 1 1/2 cups rice flour
• Peanut oil, for frying
• 3 to 4 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
• 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped

For serving

• 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (optional)
• 1/3 cup nuoc cham (see headnote)
• 1 lime, cut into quarters
• Pickled carrots (see headnote)
• 12 large lettuce leaves
• 1 small bunch mint leaves
• 1 small bunch cilantro
• 1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions

For the fish: Cut the fish fillets into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle the pieces all over with the salt; let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the fish sauce, ginger, scallions, sugar and pepper in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Rub the mixture over the fish pieces so they are thoroughly coated, then place them on a plate. Sprinkle them with the turmeric, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels, then seat an oven-safe wire rack on top; place on the middle oven rack and preheat to 200 degrees.
Place the rice flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat each piece of marinated fish in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Pour enough oil into a wok to create a depth of at least an inch (1 to 2 cups; the oil will be shallower if you use a large skillet instead). Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is almost smoking.
Working in batches as needed (do not overcrowd the pan), add the fish and cook for 4 to 8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the pieces), using tongs to move and turn the fish as needed so that it becomes evenly cooked and golden brown. Use tongs to transfer the cooked fish to the wire rack in the oven.
Boil a kettle of water. Place the vermicelli in a heatproof bowl. Pour the just-boiled water over the noodles; let them sit according to the package directions. Drain, then toss with the chopped dill.
When ready to serve, arrange the dilled vermicelli on a platter along with the pieces of warm fried fish; soy sauce, if using, and/or nuoc cham for dipping; lime wedges; pickled carrots; lettuce; mint; and cilantro. Garnish with the peanuts.
— Adapted from “The Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine and Culture in Southern California’s Little Saigon,” by Ann Le (Globe Pequot, 2011).

Korean Spicy Fish Stew (Mae Un Tang)

4 servings
This is Korean comfort food: a hearty yet delicate fish soup. If you are buying a fish head rather than using one from a whole fish, ask your fishmonger for the “rack” or fish skeleton as well.
Ingredient-wise, the daikon radish, zucchini and chili peppers are a must. But you can add whatever other vegetables you like, including soybean sprouts, pumpkin, mushrooms and watercress, as well as other shellfish, such as oysters and clams.
Make ahead: The soup is best served the same day it’s made.

Ingredients

• 1 large fish head (about 1 1/2 pounds)
• 1 fish rack (optional; see headnote)
• 8 cups water
• 1/2 block (7 ounces) firm tofu
• 8 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces that are 1/8-inch thick
• 1/2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 small red chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
• 1 small green chili pepper, seeded if desired, then cut thinly on the bias
• 1 sweet onion, cut into strips
• 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
• 1 tablespoon regular or low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean crushed red chili pepper powder)
• 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
• 4 ounces edible chrysanthemum leaves (optional)
• Kosher or sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

Rinse the fish head and pat it dry.
Use your fingers and/or a small paring knife to extract any flesh from fish head and the collar. If you are also using a fish rack, you can extract a significant amount of flesh from it by holding one end and strumming your fingers along the bones. Reserve all of the flesh in a bowl.
Place the picked-over fish head and rack in a stockpot, then add the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 10 minutes, turning the head over once during that time. (If you like, you can use a spoon to remove the fish cheeks about halfway through cooking. Add them to the flesh reserved from the head and collar.)
Meanwhile, wrap the tofu in paper towels and use a heavy plate to weight it (to help extract any liquid).
Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate pot; discard the bones. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the radish, zucchini, chili peppers, sweet onion, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, gochukaru and gojuchang; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 or 7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the reserved fish flesh; cook for about 2 minutes or until it is tender and opaque.
Unweight/unwrap the tofu and cut it into large cubes. Add them and the edible chrysanthemum, if using, to the pot; cook for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with the cilantro. Serve hot.
— Adapted by author Paul Greenberg from a recipe by About.com Korean food expert Naomi Imatome-Yun.

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Ready for some rabbit?

Were you intrigued by today’s story about the resurgence of rabbit at the dinner table? Here’s a recipe provided by the LENS department:

Rabbit Stew with Preserved Pears with Ginger

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 3/4 cup dry white wine

• 1 cup unsalted chicken broth

• 3 large Bosc pears (about 11/2 pounds)

• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the ginger, sugar and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is reduced to 3 tablespoons. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring.

Meanwhile, peel, halve and core the pears. Arrange, cut sides down, in a single layer in a large buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the lemon juice. Pour the syrup over the pears.

Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and glazed, about 45 minutes. Baste often with the syrupy juices. Sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice. If not used at once, set aside at room temperature for up to 8 hours and reheat gently before serving; do not refrigerate.

4 hours, plus marinating time for the rabbit. Serves 4 to 8.

Rabbit Stew

Ingredients

• 3 large shallots, halved

• 2 cloves garlic, halved

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 3 cups dry white wine, divided

• 2 rabbits, cut into serving pieces (about 4 pounds dressed weight)

• 1/3 cup rendered duck or goose fat

• 5 ounces lean salt pork, blanched in water for 5 minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes

• 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

• 3 onions (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced

• Scant 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, divided

• 2 egg yolks

• Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 cup heavy cream

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

• Preserved pears with ginger

Directions

In a large glass or non-reactive bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, olive oil and half of the wine. Add the rabbit pieces and turn them over until well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning the rabbit pieces once or twice a day. If the rabbit is frozen, defrost it directly in the marinade.

About 3 hours before serving, remove the rabbit pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving the garlic and shallots separately from the liquid.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the fat. Saute the salt pork, transferring the pieces to a 4-quart casserole as they are browned. In the same skillet, brown the rabbit pieces a few at a time, on both sides, transferring them to the casserole as they are browned. Sprinkle the rabbit and the pork cubes with the herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the onions to the skillet along with the reserved garlic and shallots. Saute over moderately high heat, stirring to avoid burning, until soft and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in one-third cup of the mustard with the juices in the bottom of the casserole until well blended.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions, shallots and garlic to the casserole. Deglaze the skillet with the strained marinade liquid and bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Add the remaining 11/2 cups wine and return to a boil. Skim again and pour the boiling liquid over the rabbit and onions. Cover with crumpled wet parchment or waxed paper and a tight-fighting lid.

Set the casserole in the oven and cook until the rabbit is meltingly tender, about 2 hours. (To avoid stringy rabbit, do not rush the cooking; if the rabbit is not tender, let it slowly finish cooking in the oven.) Remove the rabbit pieces to a warm bowl; cover and keep moist. (The recipe can be done up to this point in advance. Leave the rabbit pieces in the sauce. Gently reheat, then remove the pieces to a warm bowl and continue with the recipe.)

Strain the cooking liquid, pushing down on the vegetables to extract all their juices. Quickly cool the liquid and remove any fat that surfaces. Place the juices in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat and bring to a boil. Shift the pan so that only half of it is over the heat. Slowly boil down to 1 cup, skimming often.

About 5 minutes before serving, whisk together the egg yolks, nutmeg, remaining mustard and cream in a small bowl until well-blended. Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot reduced cooking juices into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat gently, whisking until the sauce thickens. Do not allow the sauce to boil. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chives. Spoon the sauce over the rabbit and serve hot with the preserved pears with ginger.

NOTE: Adapted from “The Cooking of Southwest France” by Paula Wolfert, who writes, “This combination of mustard-flavored rabbit stew and gingered pears is most unusual and exciting to the palate. Though wild rabbits are particularly flavorful, this recipe will work very well with the farm-bred variety.”

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Make your own baklava at home

The LENS department passed along a baklava recipe just in case today’s story inspires you.

Baklava with Greek Pastry Syrup

BAKLAVA

  • 2 lbs. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 ½ lbs. phyllo dough
  • 1 lb. butter, melted
  • 1 recipe Greek pastry syrup, cooled (recipe follows)

In a bowl, add sugar, walnuts and spices. Butter an 11-by-17-inch pan and layer six sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, brushing the top of each with melted butter as you lay them in the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the walnut mixture over the dough. Add 6 more sheets of phyllo, again buttering between the layers. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the nut mixture, followed by a layer of 6 more sheets of buttered phyllo. Spread the final 1/3 of the nut mixture over, and top with the remaining phyllo sheets, buttering between the layers and buttering the top of the final sheet.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then use a sharp knife tip to score the score the top of the pastry into diamond shapes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Cut baklava along score marks. Pour cooled syrup onto hot baklava. Let set for several hours or overnight to allow pastry to absorb the syrup.

Makes about 4 dozen pieces, depending on size.

GREEK PASTRY SYRUP

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp. whole cloves

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes more. Set aside to cool. Strain to remove cinnamon stick and cloves before using.

Makes enough for 1 tray of pastry.

— Adapted from Treasures from Our Hope Chest, Elpis/Hope Society, Akron, Ohio

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