By Brack Johnson


Matzo ball soup ladled out to friends perched on stools at your Cary counter. Leg of lamb presented to family in your Garner dining room. Holiday traditions often center on what comes out of the kitchen. Celebrate with recipes from popular cookbooks.



Field Peas to Foie Gras

Southern Recipes With a French Accent
Jennifer Hill Booker

Pelican Publishing









Scotch Eggs With Mustard Sauce
For the eggs
6 medium eggs
12 ounces ground pork sausage, sweet or Italian
1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
2 teaspoons (1 lemon) grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten
4 cups dry bread crumbs
2 quarts oil, for deep frying


For the sauce
1 medium egg
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar


Place 6 whole eggs in a saucepan, add enough water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the cooked eggs, let them cool enough to handle, then peel and set aside.


Combine the sausage in a bowl with the parsley, lemon zest, nutmeg, marjoram, salt and pepper. Use your hands to work all the ingredients into the sausage, and divide it into 6 portions. With wet hands, work the sausage around the eggs to form an even coating. Repeat for each boiled egg.


Put the beaten egg in a small bowl and the bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Roll each sausage-coated egg in the beaten egg, then dredge in the breadcrumbs, and transfer to a small pan. Cover the pan and refrigerate the eggs at least 30 minutes before frying.


Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees.


Using a slotted spoon, carefully slide the eggs into the oil, and fry, 3 at a time, for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are deep golden brown. Turn the eggs as they cook so that they brown evenly. Remove with the slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and repeat with the remaining 3 eggs.


To make the mustard sauce, crack 1 egg into a small saucepan. With the heat on low, stir in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. When the mixture just reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool. Transfer the mustard sauce to a serving dish and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.


Leftover eggs can be individually wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days, and the mustard sauce will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.


Makes 6 servings




Southern Fried Corn
6 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Slice the corn from the cob into a bowl, scraping downward to capture the "corn milk" and any remaining kernels left on the cobb.


Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the bacon fat and butter. When the bacon fat is hot and the butter has melted, add the corn, corn milk, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the flour, one teaspoon at a time, and cook an additional 20 minutes after all the flour has been incorporated.


Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve hot.


Makes 6 servings




Marcus Off Duty

The Recipes I Cook at Home

Marcus Samuelsson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt









Easter Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1-1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
5 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in leg of lamb, fat trimmed
2 lemons, halved
Vegetable oil, for brushing
2 preserved lemons, cut into pieces


Mix the yogurt, coriander, cumin, caraway, turmeric, paprika and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Transfer 1 generous cup to another bowl and stir in 1 minced garlic clove. Season the yogurt sauce with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.


To make the marinade, add the remaining 4 minced garlic cloves and the olive oil to the remaining seasoned yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the marinade to a 2-gallon zip-top bag. Add the lamb, close the bag, and massage to make sure all the lamb is covered with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight.


Take the lamb out of the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


Set the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast until the lamb reaches 125 degrees (for medium-rare). Start checking with an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the leg after 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it rest, tented with foil, for at least 20 minutes before carving.


Heat a small, heavy skillet over high heat. When it's very hot, brush the lemon halves with vegetable oil and sear in the skillet, cut side down, until dark brown, about 5 minutes.


Serve the lamb with the blackened lemons, pieces of preserved lemons and the yogurt sauce.


Makes 8 to 10 servings


–– Preserved Lemons ––

You can find preserved lemons in specialty shops and online, but they're so easy to make at home. You just need to plan ahead, because they take a month to cure. But they last forever, and you want to always have them in your refrigerator.


Cut scrubbed lemons into quarters from top to bottom, leaving them attached at the bottom. Fill the insides of each lemon with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and squeeze closed. Pack the lemons tightly into a sterilized Mason jar, leaving about an inch of headroom. Screw on the top, and put someplace out of the light for 3 days. Open the jar, push the lemons down, and add enough fresh lemon juice to cover them generously.


Close the jar again and refrigerate for 1 month before using.


When you need them, pull off and discard the flesh. You want the peel – sliced or chopped.



Passover Fennel-Matzo Ball Chicken Soup
For the matzo balls
2 smallish fennel bulbs (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons matzo meal if needed


For the soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 quarts chicken broth (homemade or good-quality, low-sodium store-bought)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced


Make the matzo balls
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Cut off the fennel stalks and reserve for another use. If there are some attractive feathery fronds, finely chop and set aside about 2 tablespoons to garnish the soup. Quarter the bulbs and trim away the hard core and any tough outer pieces.


Choose a shallow baking pan just large enough to fit the fennel. Drizzle the fennel with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange the fennel in one layer and roast until pale gold, about 20 minutes. Turn the fennel over and roast for 10 minutes longer.


Pour in the broth, add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and roast until the fennel is very soft and tender, about 35 minutes. Remove the foil, stir, and roast for a few more minutes to cook off all the liquid. Let the fennel cool slightly.


Scrape the fennel and any juices in the pan into a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste), a grind or two of pepper, and the fennel seeds, if using. With the machine on, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil through the feed tube.


Measure 1 cup of the fennel puree into a large bowl (any left over is a cook's treat). Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add 1/2 cup of the matzo meal and stir well. If you can form a lump of dough into a very soft, walnut-size ball that holds its shape, don't add any more matzo meal (the dough will become firmer when you chill it). If necessary, add just enough meal to enable you to do so. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.


Bring a large, wide pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.


Wet your hands, roll the matzo dough into walnut-size balls, and put them on a plate or baking sheet. When all the balls are rolled and the water is boiling furiously, turn the heat down to a gentle boil.


Carefully slide in the balls, one at a time, and cover the pot tightly. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the matzo balls for 30 minutes, without removing the cover. Test a matzo ball by cutting it in half. It should be light, fluffy and completely cooked through. If it isn't, simmer the matzo balls a few more minutes.


Remove them gently with a skimmer or large slotted spoon – they are too fragile to pour into a colander – and put them on a platter. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let them sit while you make the soup.


Make the soup

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onions, carrots and garlic, and sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and wine and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.


Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Add the mushrooms and matzo balls and simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the matzo balls hot, about 5 minutes.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to shallow soup bowls and ladle the hot soup and mushrooms over them. Garnish with the chopped fennel fronds.


Makes 6 servings




The New Passover Menu

Paula Shoyer
Sterling Epicure







Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Salsa Verde
For the roasted chicken
1 large whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus
more as needed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated,
not peeled


For the salsa verde
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, halved (remove
seeds for a mild flavor; keep seeds
for more heat)
Leaves from 1 large or 2 small
bunches fresh cilantro
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


To make the chicken
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Place the chicken pieces in a large roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the chicken and rub to coat. Shake the spice mixture onto the chicken and rub all over.


Place the garlic cloves in a small bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Scatter the garlic cloves and drizzle the oil over the chicken pieces. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until well browned and the juices run clear.


To make the salsa verde

Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until they soften. Add the jalapeno halves, open side down, and cook for 1 minute. Turn over and cook for another 4 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the jalapeno are fork-tender.


Let cool for 20 minutes. Place the jalapeno mixture in a food processor, add the cilantro leaves, water and salt, and process until pureed and smooth. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Serve the chicken on a platter and the salsa verde in a bowl alongside.


Makes 4 to 6 servings




Roasted Eggplant With Bell Pepper Vinaigrette
2 medium eggplants, not peeled, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ground cumin and turmeric for dusting eggplant
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper


To prepare the eggplant
Preheat broiler.


Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil on a grill pan or other baking pan and rub to coat. Add the eggplant slices in one layer and brush with another tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle a little cumin and turmeric on top. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.


Turn over the eggplant slices, sprinkle with some more cumin and turmeric, and add some black pepper. Broil for another 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter.


To prepare the peppers and onions

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced red and yellow peppers and onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 1 minute.


To assemble the dish, scatter the pepper and onion mixture over the eggplant slices, making sure to place some on top of all the slices as well as under them. Let the dish marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve at room temperature.


Makes 6 to 8 servings




The Perfect Egg

A Fresh Take on Recipes for Morning, Noon and Night

Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park
Ten Speed Press






Crème Brûlée
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup turbinado sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.


Stir together the cream and 1/2 cup of the superfine sugar in a saucepan. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the vanilla seeds from inside the pod haves and add them to the pan along with the pod haves. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Retrieve and discard the vanilla pod halves or rinse thoroughly and save for another use. Remove from the heat.


Whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of superfine sugar in a heatproof bowl until light and pale yellow. Pour about one-third of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup) into the yolks in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. Return the yolk-cream mixture to the saucepan, return the pan to medium-low heat, and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.


Remove from the heat, and strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Ladle the custard into four 8-ounce ramekins, dividing it evenly. Carefully transfer the ramekins to a baking pan. Pull out the oven rack, put the baking pan on the rack, and then carefully pour hot water into the pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins.


Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the custards are mostly set but still a bit wobbly in the center.


Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, and then carefully remove the custards from the water bath. Let the custards cool for about 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until cold, or for up to 3 days.


To serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the turbinado sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Slowly wave a kitchen torch back and forth over the sugar on each custard until it melts and changes color. Let the custards sit just until the sugar hardens, then serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings



Chocolate-Orange Soufflé
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1-1/2 tablespoons almond meal
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange (about 2/3 cup juice)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
4 egg whites, at room temperature
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Grated orange zest, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat 6-ounce ramekins with the butter, then coat them with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, tapping out the excess.


Combine the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Set aside, off the heat.


Whisk together the egg yolks, almond meal, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar for about 3 minutes, until pale yellow and fluffy. Whisk in the orange zest and juice until fully incorporated. Slowly add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly.


Return the yolk-milk mixture to the saucepan, return the pan to low heat, and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the melted chocolate. Let the mixture cool completely.


Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat with a stand mixer or handheld mixer on medium-high speed, or by hand with a whisk, until firm peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the chocolate-yolk mixture just until evenly incorporated and no white streaks are visible.


Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the rim. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Pull out the center oven rack, put the baking pan on the rack, and then carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.


Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the soufflés have risen significantly. Remove from the oven and top each soufflé with a light dusting of confectioners' sugar and a light grating of orange zest. Serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings