Slow Cooker Spicy Red Beans
Courtesy of Lucy Gibson, Willy Street Co-op Owner
Who doesn’t love slow cooker recipes? Adjust the level of spiciness in this dish by adding more or less cayenne.

  • 2 1/2 cups dried red beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cayenne (to taste)

Directions: Pick over and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a slow cooker. Cover with at least two quarts of water. Stir in the spices, then cover and turn the heat to high. Cook on high for at least 12 hours. Add water as needed, stirring occasionally. When the beans are tender and the juice becomes syrupy and tastes sweet, the beans are ready. Makes 10 servings.

Star Recommends: Maculan Pino & Toi
Pino & Toi is intensely perfumed, offering refreshing notes of citrus and apples. It is well balanced on the palate with loads of fresh peaches and pears, followed by a crisp and fragrant finish.  


Carrot and Cilantro Fritters
Serve these fritters with a salad and you have dinner on the table in ten minutes.

  • 6 medium carrots, trimmed and washed, grated
  • 4 scallions, trimmed, both green and white parts, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more to serve
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions: Place the grated carrots in a large mixing bowl and stir in the scallions and chopped cilantro. Add the eggs, flour, Parmesan, and heavy cream, and stir well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Form the carrot mixture into thin fritters with your hands, then place in the skillet. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden-brown. Allow the first side to form a crust before flipping. Serve immediately, garnished with more cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Milbrandt Pinot Gris
Fresh aromas of figs, apples, pears, white peaches and nectarines. It is crisp, lively and fresh with a nice balance of fruit and acidity.


Savoy Cabbage Chips
This is an interesting variation on the (almost!) ubiquitous kale chip that has been popping up everywhere. Savoy cabbage, being the showiest of all cabbages with its crinkly leaves, makes a very elegant snack.

  • 1 savoy cabbage, cored, leaves separated, small leaves reserved for another use
  • Salt

Directions: Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then preheat to 200˚F. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl at least halfway with ice cubes, then filling with cold water. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Working in batches, blanch the cabbage leaves just until translucent and bright green, about 2 minutes per batch. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the leaves to the ice bath. Gently swish the cabbage in the ice water to ensure that they are cool. Drain well, and dry thoroughly.

Set a wire rack inside each of two large rimmed baking sheets. Arrange the cabbage leaves on the wire racks in a singe layer. Bake about 3 hours, until completely dry and crisp. Season to taste with salt. Makes 6 servings.

Star Recommends: Las Vides Torrontes
Crisp and clean, with lemon-lime and lychee aromas that are typical and well presented. There’s body to the wine but also streamlining acidity, resulting in a slick, smooth mouthfeel. Flavors of green melon, citrus and lychee are fresh and positive.


Potato Rosemary Strudel
Adapted from www.simplebites.net
This is one of those effortlessly delicious and good-looking dishes that’s great to have in your repertoire. It also re-heats really well, so bake it a day in advance if you’d like, then put in the oven to heat through.

  • 1 lb. puff pastry (thawed if frozen, according to package directions)
  • 2 lb. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced to 3/8-inch
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 Tbs. milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Roll out the pound of puff pastry on a sheet of parchment paper. The separate sheets will stick together as you roll. Roll it out into a 16x16-inch square. Transfer the parchment (with the pastry) to a large baking sheet. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Place the peeled potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the sour cream, and sprinkle with salt, rosemary, minced garlic, and a generous pinch of black pepper. Remove puff pastry from fridge, then arrange the potato and sour cream mixture in a long rectangular mound in the center of the puff pastry square. Fold the sides over to cover the potatoes, and gently press down the ends to seal. Run a very sharp knife crosswise over the strudel, creating several shallow diagonal slashes. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and the milk. Brush this over the top of the strudel and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

Bake for 45 minutes, occasionally rotating the pan to ensure even browning. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Star Recommends: E Guigal Cotes du Rhone
This full-bodied bottle possesses a bouquet of berry and spice, leading to a palate of black fruits, a touch of chocolate and green vegetation, all in a silky texture. The deep ruby color and a spicy character add to the overall appeal of this wine.


Celery Root and Mushroom Lasagna
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com
This luxurious white lasagna made with an earthy, rich ragù, is worth every minute. For a vegetarian version, omit the prosciutto and use faux-chicken broth or mushroom broth instead of chicken stock.

  • 1 c. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 lb. thickly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 shallots, medium, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. celery root, peeled, finely diced
  • 3 leeks, medium, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped (about 3 c.)
  • 1/2 c. dry Marsala
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or low-sodium broth)
  • 2 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 lb. lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup basil leaves

Directions: In a small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in boiling hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the dried porcini and button mushrooms to the pot and sauté, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the rest of the butter and olive oil to the saucepan, and then add the prosciutto and chopped shallots. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-6 minutes. Tie the bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, sage leaves and thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine. Toss the herb bundle and the diced celery root into the saucepan, and cook about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leeks, and cook until celery root is tender, 5-7 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium, and return the mushrooms to the pot and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Pour the Marsala into the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock, stir, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a steady stream, pour in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Remove the bundle of herbs and discard. Heat the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of cream in a separate large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to 3 cups. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Whisk in the beaten eggs. Continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is smooth and the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove 1/2 cup of the sauce, and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cook the lasagna noodles until just barely al dente, then drain and transfer the noodles to the ice water. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of slightly overlapping noodles in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread 1/5 of the celery root ragù on top of the noodles, then 1/5 of the white sauce, 1/5 of the mozzarella, and a sprinkling of basil leaves. Repeat with four more layers, ending with a layer of noodles (you’ll have some noodles left over). Top with the reserved 1/2 cup of white sauce, then sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until bubbling and golden, about 1 hour. Allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Star Recommends: Tenuta Vitanza Chianti colli Sensi
Compact and easygoing, Tenuta Vitanza’s Chianti Colli Senesi offers well-dosed aromas of wild berries and raspberry backed by light shadings of almond and vanilla. The wine has tart berry flavors and a note of sour cherry on the close.


Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad
Adapted from www.101cookbooks.com
This salad is already quite hearty, with dried fruit, toasted nuts, and lots of fragrant fresh mint, but could be made even more substantial with the addition of couscous or bulgur.

  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 10 oz. carrots, shredded on a box grater, or sliced thin on a mandoline
  • 2 cups chickpeas (1 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2/3 cup pitted dates (or prunes), cut into chickpea-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, torn
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted        

Directions: Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and beginning to brown, 1 or 2 minutes. Let cool, then grind with a mortar and pestle.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne, then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, pitted dates, and mint. Drizzle in the dressing, and gently toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced almonds. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau Grand Ferrand
Round, full and elegant with a beautiful tannic structure—it will allow an interesting evolution. Made from a blend rich in Merlot, this sumptuous red is beaming with ripe, red berry fruit.


Salmon with Cabbage and Cider Vinegar
Adapted from www.saveur.com
Salmon, bacon, and cabbage come together in a perfect Irish dish. The apple cider vinegar is a nice counterpoint to the richness of the salmon.

  • 4 6-oz. salmon filets
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 lb. bacon (thick-cut), diced
  • 1 lb green cabbage, shredded to 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fish stock (or water)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives

Directions: Brush each side of the salmon fillets with olive oil. Heat a large skillet over high heat, and place the salmon fillets in it. Season with salt and pepper, and sear until evenly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a dish and set aside. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.

Cook the bacon in the skillet over medium heat until crisp, 9-10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan. Place the bacon on a layer of paper towels and set aside. Cook the cabbage in the bacon fat over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, vinegar, stock or water, and cream. Cover and cook until wilted, 12-15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and put the salmon filets in the pan on top of the wilted cabbage. Cover tightly and cook about 10 minutes, until the salmon is firm to the touch.

Spoon cabbage onto each plate, and top with bacon and a salmon filet and a spoonful of pan juices. Garnish with chopped dill and chives. Makes 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Montinore Estate Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir has a good color, an inviting, aromatic and sweet bouquet of black cherry, light blackberry and coffee notes. The wine texture is sweet and rich. The ripe fruity flavors that linger complement the spicy black pepper finish.