Corn Bread with Parsley and Basil.

Corn bread is quick to make and it’s best eaten hot as an accompaniment to the main dish.


1 cup {125 g} cornmeal

1/3 cup {50 g} all-purpose flour

1/2 cup {50 g} oatmeal

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped basil

3 eggs, well beaten

scant 1 cup {200 ml} milk

4 tablespoons cream

4 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 C.
  2. Mix the cornmeal, flour, oatmeal, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the herbs.
  3. Add the eggs and enough milk to form a thick batter, beating well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the cream and melted butter.
  4. Liberally oil an 8-9 in [20-23 cm} cast iron skillet, the traditional pan for cooking cornbread. Pour in the batter and bake for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  5. Cut the corn bread into triangles or squares and wrap in a napkin to keep warm. Any leftover pieces can be cut in half and toasted or fried.

Kcal 1773 P 58 g C 182 g S 3017 mg SFA 52 g UFA 48 g {for total quantity of bread}



Bittersweet Chocolate Basil Tart with Honey Grapefruit Sauce

The sauce is a zesty complement to the tart’s rich chocolate filling.




  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1¼ c. cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • ⅓ c. whole milk
  • ½ c. finely shredded basil leaves
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 egg
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh basil sprig
  • 3 pink grapefruits
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water


  1. To make tart shell: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add flour and egg in two parts and beat just until combined. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in waxed paper, and chill 1 to 24 hours. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan, press in sides and bottom, and trim any excess dough around edges. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover dough with a large piece of foil and weigh down with uncooked rice or beans. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil and beans, and bake 10 minutes longer, or until light golden brown. Cool on a rack.
  2. To make filling, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream, milk, and basil just to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover, and steep 10 minutes.
  3. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour cream mixture through a strainer over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let cool 10 minutes, then whisk in egg.
  4. Pour chocolate into tart shell and bake 20 minutes, or until filling is just beginning to set.
  5. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with basil sprig.
  6. Meanwhile, to make sauce: Chop grapefruit segments into small pieces, saving juice. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring fruit, reserved juices, and honey to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and boil 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Serve with tart (or with lemon cake).

Eggplant “Parmigiana” with Saffron Custard.

Adapted from Deborah Madison, this recipe gives a face-lift to an old standby. Meaty eggplant slices are bathed in a zippy tomato sauce and then blanketed with a velvety saffron-scented custard.
Tasty? Yes.
Eggplant Parm “just like Grandma used to make”? Not exactly!
About 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 oz can imported Italian tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
3 pounds eggplant
Pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup ricotta
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and anise and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute longer. Add the canned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quite thick. Add more salt and pepper to taste and stir in the basil.
Meanwhile, slice the eggplant about 1/2-inch thick and lightly brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Arrange the slices on baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the slices and continue baking until the eggplant is lightly browned, another 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.
Dissolve the saffron threads in 1/4 cup hot water. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and milk, along with salt and pepper to taste. Add the saffron with its liquid. Generously oil a large, shallow casserole or baking pan. Arrange about half of the eggplant slices over the bottom and spoon half of the tomato sauce over them. Repeat, and then top evenly with the custard mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.
Serves 4 to 6.

For leftovers: This eggplant gratin goes great over pasta the next day. Reheat for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven and spoon over al dente penne or fusilli.

Lasagna with Arugula Pesto and Mushrooms.

This lasagna does away with the red sauce and relies instead on a pesto made from fresh arugula and basil to make the dish pop. A combination of dried and fresh mushrooms lends texture and flavor, and pecorino, a cheese derived from goat’s milk, offers a tangy zip.

For the pesto:

2 1/2 cups packed basil leaves, washed and dried
1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula leaves, washed and dried
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in the oven or a frying pan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine basil, arugula, garlic, pine nuts, and 2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the Pecorino and lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste, and blend until combined.
Set aside.

For the lasagna:

1 oz dried mushrooms {porcini, cremini, chanterelle}
2 lbs. fresh mushrooms, wiped clean
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles {flat, with no ruffled edges}
2 cups grated mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Cover the dried mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and set aside, straing and reserving the liquid. Slice the fresh mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the mushrooms, along with a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to release their liquid. Add the garlic and reconstituted mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mushroom liquid and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8-x10-x3-inch baking pan. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and add the flour, whisking to combine. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, but do not allow the mixture to brown. Gradually whisk in the milk, raise the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add nutmeg and salt to taste.
Spread 1/4-cup of pesto over the bottom of the pan and arrange 3 lasagna sheets on top {do not overlap}. Spread about one-fourth of the white sauce over the pasta, followed by one-fourth of the remaining pesto, one-fourth of the mozzarella, and about one-third of the mushrooms. Repeat this process twice. Add a fourth layer of pasta, and spread the remaining white sauce over that, followed by the rest of the pesto and mozzarella. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour, until the pasta is tender. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until brown and bubbly. {You can use the broiler to help this process along.} Let the lasagna sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.

For leftovers: Lasagna tastes delicious cold, but if you want it hot, cover and reheat at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.