Recipies for the winter

Published: Monday, January 18, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 1:20 a.m.

Curried Spinach Soup Shooters with CrÈme FraÎche and Black Caviar

Courtesy of Monica Albert Olive You Eat Well Catering


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water

2 small white potatoes, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)

2 cups milk

Salt and pepper

1 pint creme fraiche

1 small jar black caviar


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in leeks, with 1 tablespoon water, and sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sauté until fragrant, then stir in curry powder.

Add vegetable stock, potatoes and salt, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer until just wilted, about 1 minute. Cool slightly, then, working in batches, pureé soup in blender until almost smooth. Soup base may be made in advance and stored tightly covered in refrigerator for several days.

Before serving, return soup to saucepan, whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Pour soup into shot glasses and top with a small dollop of crème fraîche and black caviar. Makes 4 cups or 16 shot glasses (2 ounces each).

Butternut Squash Soup Shooters with Star Anise and Frizzled Leeks

Vegan Recipe Courtesy of Monica Albert, Olive You Eat Well Catering


2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

2/3 cup chopped shallot

1/3 cup chopped sweet onion

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

3 whole star anise

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced (about 5 cups)

6 cups vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 cup cornstarch

1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only

1/8 cup vegetable oil



Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, shallot, onion, garlic and star anise and stir until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in squash and vegetable stock. Simmer uncovered until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove star anise. Add salt.

Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Soup may be prepared in advance and stored tightly covered in refrigerator for several days.

Before serving, pour soup into saucepan and bring to a simmer.


Toss leeks in cornstarch and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Sauté leeks until lightly browned and crisp.

Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt. Leeks may be prepared in advance and stored, once completely cooled, between layers of paper towels in a tightly covered container at room temperature for one day.


Pour soup into shot glasses and top with frizzled leeks. Makes 5 cups or 20 shot glasses (2 ounces each).

Sesame Eggplant Salsa

Courtesy of Monica Albert

Olive You Eat Well Catering


2 large eggplant

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 1/2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small chile (serrano or jalapeño)

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

8 green onions, finely chopped

2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce eggplants several times with fork. Place on baking sheet and roast about 45 minutes, turning once, until eggplant is very soft. Cool slightly.

Cut roasted eggplant in half and scrape flesh into strainer set over large bowl. Allow to drain 30 minutes. Chop finely or pulse briefly in food processor.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and chile, sauté until garlic softens, about 45 seconds. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Mix in green onions and eggplant pureé and cook until heated through and green onions start to soften, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, chopped cilantro and sesame oil. Season to taste. Cool to room temperature.

Salsa may be prepared in advance and stored tightly covered in refrigerator for one day prior to serving.


Serve at room temperature. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with blue corn chips.

Mushroom BriePhyllo Rolls

Courtesy of Monica Albert,Olive You Eat Well Catering



1 cup of mushrooms, sliced thinly (shiitake, crimini, baby Portobello or a combination)

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Marsala cooking wine

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces triple cream brie cheese (8 tablespoons) cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped finely


1 pound phyllo dough (freezer section) thawed according to package directions

1/2-1 cup olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Stir in mushrooms and onion, sauté until onion is softened, about 5 minutes, add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with Marsala and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat. Stir in brie, parsley and thyme and mix well. May be made ahead, tightly covered and refrigerated for two days. Let sit at room temperature while preparing phyllo.


Unwrap phyllo and use a sharp knife to cut into 4-inch rectangles. Cover phyllo with a barely damp towel and keep unused portion covered while working.

Brush four sheets of dough with olive oil and stack on top of one another. Place about 1 tablespoon of mixture in a line near one side and roll up like a burrito, taking care to tuck in sides so the filling won’t leak out.

Place rolls seam-side down on a nonstick baking sheet. Continue making rolls with remaining filling. Unbaked rolls may be made ahead, covered with a dry towel and kept at room temperature for 6-8 hours if kitchen is air-conditioned.

Just before baking, mix sea salt and rosemary. Brush each roll with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Quick Shrimp “Ceviche” with Carrot, Orange and Fennel

Courtesy of Monica Albert

Olive You Eat Well Catering



1 quart fresh carrot juice

1 quart fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced crosswise

2 fresh Thai red chiles, minced, including seeds


6 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise

2 carrots, cut into very thin matchsticks

3 navel oranges

1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise

1 small red onion, halved lengthwise

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely

Salt to taste



Combine sauce ingredients in a large pot and boil 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 2 cups. Cool slightly, strain and chill.


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add shrimp and sauté shrimp 1 to 2 minutes – just until they start to turn pink and curl slightly. Set aside to cool.

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large, clean heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Stir in carrots and sauté about 3 minutes, until just tender. Spread carrots, with oil from skillet, on a plate and chill.

Grate zest from oranges into a large bowl. Cut away peel and pith, section oranges and add to zest.

Slice fennel and onion crosswise into thin strips.

Add shrimp, carrots, fennel, onion, lime juice, chives and mint to oranges, mix well and salt to taste

Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two days. Drizzle salad with carrot sauce before serving. Makes 16-20 servings.


Option One: Mound salad on platter and serve with organic blue corn chips.

Option Two: Spoon into martini or shot glasses and provide a cocktail fork.

Caramel Apple Empanadas

Courtesy of Lita Giampola

Olive You Eat Well Catering


3/4 cup water

4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins, softened in warm water and drained

1 pinch salt

1 package frouncesen puff pastry, thawed according to directions

1 can dulce de leche (found in canned milks section of the supermarket or in Latin markets)

1 egg, whisked with a little water

1/4 - 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar


Bring water to simmer in a large skillet. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon. Simmer until apples are fork-tender and water is evaporated. Add more water if necessary and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Mix raisins and salt into apple mixture. Stir well to combine.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out puff pastry dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 4-inch circles.

Place 1 tablespoon of apple filling and 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche in the center of the dough circle. Fold dough over to make a filled half circle and use a fork to press the edges together. Refrigerate uncooked empanadas for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush finished empanadas with egg wash and sprinkle generously with turbinado or raw sugar.

Bake until puffed and golden. May be made several hours in advance or served warm from oven.

Baklava Rolls

(Bride’s Fingers)

Courtesy of Lita Giampola

Olive You Eat Well Catering



1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons rosewater


1/2 pound walnuts, chopped finely

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


1 pound phyllo dough (freezer section) thawed according to package directions

3/4 pound unsalted sweet cream butter, melted (3 sticks)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, water, lemon juice and rosewater. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture becomes syrupy. Set aside to cool.

Combine walnuts, sugar, cardamom and cloves. Set aside.


Unfold phyllo and use a sharp knife to carefully cut phyllo sheets crosswise into thirds. Note: Be sure to cover phyllo not being used with a barely damp towel.

Take two pieces of phyllo – sheets are so thin they must be doubled – and with the narrow end towards you, brush with butter.

Place 2 teaspoons of filling in a line 1/4 inch from end nearest you, to within 1/4 inch of sides. Fold long sides in 1/4 inch – it will cover sides of filling. Fold over bottom to completely cover filling and roll into a cigar-like cylinder.

Place roll on parchment covered cookie sheet and brush generously with butter. Repeat with remaining filling and phyllo. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Use kitchen tongs to dip hot rolls into cooled syrup. Place on a flat surface to cool. Serve when cooled or cover and refrigerate.

Rolls may be prepared in advance. Double-wrap in aluminum foil, then place in zip-top freezer bag and freeze. Allow to thaw overnight before serving.

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