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Let's Get Cooking!!

I believe that it is always good to eat out every now and then. However, there is nothing like a home-cooked meal. It's like you can taste the love that your special loved one has put in the meal. As for me, I appreciate all types of food. I love soul food, chinese, greek, mexican, italian and country cookin'. I never have any problem trying anything new when it comes to food. So, I hope you like the recipes. They are Free! New recipes will be updated every week. If you would like to share your recipe(s) with us, please email me. I will be glad to post it. Now, let's get cookin'!

New England Boiled Dinner
(corned beef & cabbage)
by Marcia Passos Duffy

If you're like me, you save the corned beef & cabbage dinner for that one special day a year -- St. Patrick's Day.
(Incidentally, despite the Duffy surname, I am 'Irish' only by marriage.)

After a whole year, I always forget how to cook corned beef, but I always refer back to my favorite recipe - New England style with extra vegetables (you could add more veggies if you'd like, such as turnips and parsnips) -- that never fails to get rave reviews from my real Irish husband.

4-5 pound corned brisket of beef
Cold water
1 teaspoon dried basil
˝ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 carrots, peeled
8 potatoes, peeled
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 small head green cabbage, cut into quarters

Cover the beef with cold water and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out the excess salt. Remove beef and discard the water. Place the beef in a large pot and cover with fresh cold water. Add the basil, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim the fat from the surface as necessary. Cook gently for 3-4 hours until the beef is fork-tender.

About 30 minutes before serving, add all the vegetables, except the cabbage. Add the cabbage 15 minutes before serving. Turn up the heat when adding the vegetables so that the broth is boiling. Turn down the heat to a simmer once broth boils. To serve, place the beef on a large platter and surround with the vegetables. Traditional accompaniments to a boiled dinner are pickled beets, mustard pickles and corn bread.

About the author: Marcia Passos Duffy is the publisher of The Heart of New England online magazine. Subscribe today to her newsletter by sending a blank email to heartofnewengland - subscribe@ or visit

Saltimbocca By Charlie Burke

Veal saltimbocca is on nearly every Italian restaurant's menu in this country, and I have seen it in various preparations, usually containing cheese, along with the traditional prosciutto and usually accompanied by a good amount of sauce. Many traditional recipes underwent quite a transition when newly arrived Italians found abundant meat and dairy products here. One example is veal parmesan, which, to my knowledge, did not exist in Italy where meat was not plentiful or available for daily meals. There, the dish was made with fried breaded eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese. Veal was added here simply because it was readily available.

Dishes such as veal saltimbocca evolve over the years as restaurant chefs add their interpretations to the recipe. I was struck by the simplicity of the recipe for "Roman Saltimbocca" in The Silver Spoon, a wonderful and all encompassing Italian cookbook published by Phaidon Press Limited in New York. It is the first English translation of a compendium of recipes compiled in 1950 by Domus, an Italian magazine. It has never been out of print and is considered authoritative in Italy. It is said every bride gets a volume, and that they are handed down for generations. It has over 1,200 pages and over 2,000 recipes, some updated but most dating well back into the last century. I consider it a must in any serious cook's library and it will make a great Christmas present.

According to the book, this recipe is the only main course recipe in Italy which has been officially agreed upon and decreed. This occurred in Venice in 1962! It is a great example of true Italian cooking: a great dish simply prepared from a few high quality ingredients. For the cook, it has the advantage of being easily prepared well ahead and quickly fired up for serving. Because this is an "official recipe of Italy", I decided there would be no problem offering it here, nearly exactly as it appears in this book. The only change I made was to substitute pounded chicken breast for the veal: we do not eat veal because of the conditions under which commercial veal is raised.

Serves four:

3 1/2 ounces prosciutto slices, halved
1 pound 2 ounces veal scallopini or chicken breasts, pounded thin
(if chicken breasts are large, cut into 4-6 inch pieces when pounded)

3/4 cup cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon blanc)
8 - 10 fresh sage leaves
(those in our garden were fine, despite single digit temperatures here in New Hampshire)
1/4 cup butter
Salt to taste

Place a half slice prosciutto on each scallopini, top with a sage leaf and fold edges together. Secure with a toothpick. They can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.

Melt the butter over high heat in a sauté pan large enough to hold all pieces and cook, turning until both sides are browned. Veal may be served pink, but if using chicken, check to be certain it is cooked through, taking care not to overcook. Add the wine, cooking until it evaporates. Remove toothpicks and serve, pouring any juices over the meat.

We served this with fresh pasta and a green salad and found this authentic and simple recipe to be superior to any saltimbocca preparation we've had. Serve it to guests - they won't know how easy it is, but they will understand why "saltimbocca" translates "jump into the mouth"!

About the author:
An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association ( His column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England's newsletter... get a free subscription by sending a blank email to: or visit

Seared Venison with Mushroom Ragu
By Charlie Burke

For the last two years the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection ( ) has sponsored Growers' dinners, featuring the finest New Hampshire products at leading restaurants in the state.

The first was held at the Bedford Village Inn, and the Inn's former Chef, Joe Brenner, served fabulous roasted venison from Bonnie Brae Farm in Plymouth, New Hampshire ( The entire meal was excellent, but the venison was clearly the consensus favorite, with diners' commenting on the tenderness and rich flavor which had none of the strong "gamey" taste so often found in venison which is improperly handle or cooked. This year, Chef Sebastian Carosi featured Bonnie Brae venison in a carpaccio at a Growers' Dinner held at The Shaker Table in Canterbury. It was so popular he kept it on his menu for the rest of the summer! Since 1994, Henry and Cindy Ahern have raised deer on their 200 acre family farm, improving their breeding stock of Red Deer descended from German, Scottish and Yugoslavian herds and producing meat of the highest quality. Their venison is served in high end restaurants throughout New England, and Bonnie Brae Farm was featured on Food Finds on The Food Network. Henry is a tireless promoter of farm raised venison and elk, as well as all locally produced agricultural products, and he is seen at agricultural meetings throughout New Hampshire.

We were discussing the high demand for loin and rib sections which are very tender and are easily cooked for steaks and roasts, and I asked Henry and Cindy for a less popular cut, believing we could adapt recipes for these, as well. We knew the shanks work well like lamb or veal shanks in osso buco type braises, but I wondered if the leaner, less tender cuts could be cooked like similar cuts of beef, such as flank steak.

Henry brought me a beautiful bottom round piece - deep red and free of fat and silver skin. The grain was easily seen, and I could tell it would be tender if cut into thin strips across the grain and seared at high heat. I fired up the sauté pan and cooked a few strips which had been lightly seasoned with only salt and pepper. Cooked to a medium pink, they were tender and flavorful, so it was clear they could be cooked without marinades or sauces and served like any red meat.

Like lamb or beef, however, this cut obviously would work with favorite seasonings, limited only by the cook's imagination. I decided to make a red wine reduction as a sauce and serve the venison with a rich mushroom ragu. I also set aside some of the slices to marinate in one of our favorite oriental style flank steak marinades using soy sauce, chopped ginger and garlic. We cooked both and sampled them for dinner last night and found the meat to be tender and flavorful, perfectly adapted to both preparations.

Four servings venison:

1 - 1 ˝ pounds bottom round venison,
sliced across the grain in 1/8 inch slices
2 shallots, chopped
˝ cup chicken stock
˝ cup red wine such as Shiraz or Zinfandel
2 tablespoons butter Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mushroom ragu:
1 pound mixed mushrooms,
such as button, portabella and shitake, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
(when using small amounts of tomato paste, buy it in tubes and store in refrigerator)

1/3 cup red wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
(substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano or herbes de Provence)

2 teaspoons salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare mushrooms:
Put sauté pan over high heat and add olive oil. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and herbs. Cook over high heat, tossing and stirring. When liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to brown, add tomato paste and garlic, stirring for 2 - 3 more minutes. Add wine and cook until it evaporates. Correct seasoning and set aside. Reheat over medium heat as venison finishes.

Sauté venison:
Heat second pan over high heat, add oil. Salt and pepper venison and add to pan when oil is shimmering. Do not crowd; if the pan is not large enough to hold the meat easily in 1 layer, do it in two batches because the moisture must evaporate if the meat is to brown. Watch closely, and turn the pieces as the edges turn light. Cook until slightly browned with pink interior. Remove venison from pan and add chopped shallots. Cook shallots for a minute or so until soft, add wine and chicken stock and reduce until slightly thickened - about half original volume. Turn heat off, swirl in butter and return meat to the pan. Quickly toss the venison so that it is well coated and serve with the mushrooms. Roasted potatoes or a potato pancake (see our recipe files for both) would go well, as would a salad with balsamic dressing. Serve the same fruity red wine used in the recipe.

Check out Bonnie Brae's website or find a source in your area for farm raised venison and see why leading chefs are so eager to serve this flavorful and healthy meat. The more tender cuts can be prepared just as you prepare lamb and beef, and, as this recipe shows, outstanding dishes can be had with bottom round and other less popular cuts of venison. This venison is of the highest quality, raised without hormones and other additives and is another great example of the healthy advantages of buying locally.

About the author:
An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association ( His column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England's newsletter... get a free subscription by sending a blank email to: or visit

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