Acquired Taste October 29 – December 8, 2011


Justin Perricone Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket Ingredients, 2010 Silkscreen



Layered Vegetable Torte  Tattfoo Tan

Serves 10

You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy this delicious torte, which celebrates all the color and magnificence that the vegetable garden has to offer.  The fact that it has a goodly amount of bread-crumbs on the outside, half of it is fried, and looks stunning on a platter will entice everyone to take a bite.  Plus when sliced into, beautiful and colorful striations catch the eye.  Serve with some delicious couscous to sop up any leaking juices and with a dab or two of room temperature goat cheese; this will delight the palate.  If you hate them (as so many do) omit the beets… but they’re quite good with this.

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

½ cup panko or other semi-coarse dried bread crumb

3 to 4 large eggplant

3 yellow bell peppers

1 large sweet potato

3 red bell peppers

8 roma tomatoes, sliced in half

1 bunch marjoram, stripped and leaves reserved (flower buds too)

6 zucchini

4 large beets

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil for frying


  1. Generously (and I mean this) butter a 10-inch springform pan, and distribute the panko over the bottom and sides by picking up the pan and rotating it so that every possible surface within the pan is coated with crumbs and butter.  Set aside.
  2. Pour enough oil to be 1 inch deep in a sauté pan or skillet, and heat to approximately 350 degrees.  Slice the tops off of your eggplant, and make 1/8 inch slices lengthwise, which will yield large, thin slices.  Repeat this same motion with the zucchini and sweet potato.  Fry the vegetable slices in the oil, a few at a time as not to overcrowd the pan, until they are lightly browned and kissed with little sizzles that pop when you remove them from the oil.  They should be fairly pliable, the object is to cook and soften the vegetables, not fry them into chips.  This completes your pre-work for the eggplant, zucchini and sweet potatoes.
  3. Over a hot barbeque or your stove’s gas-burners, char the yellow and red peppers until blackened on all sides, remove from heat, and seal in plastic wrap.  The peppers will steam while in the plastic, and once they’re cool enough to handle, remove from the plastic wrap and gently rub the peppers with your fingers to remove the charred skin.  You will be left with strips of cooked pepper.  Rinse under water to remove any seeds or ribs, and set on a plate for use later.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Place tomato halves on a cookie-sheet or half-sheet pan, coat liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cut the tops and bottoms off of the beets, and place into individual foil wrappers.  Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and seal the beets in the foil. Roast the beets and tomatoes together.  When done, the tomatoes should have reduced in size by half and appear almost dry, though with some measure of moisture left, approximately 1 hour.  The beets are done when a knife slipped into the largest beet meets no resistance.  When cool, peel and then slice the beets into 1/8 inch rounds, and set aside.  Set the tomatoes into a colander to drain for use later.
  5. Time to assemble the torte!  One at a time, take the eggplant slices and fan them out in a decorative pattern on the bottom of the springform pan.  Take additional slices and begin to work your way up the sides of the pan, in a single layer, overlapping as necessary.  The eggplant will create the “crust” for your torte.  Continue adding eggplant slices so that they come over the top edge of your pan, and allow the excess to fall to the outside; you will return to them.  Season the bottom of the tart with salt and pepper.  Now begin to create the layers of the torte.  Create the layers in the following order: yellow bell pepper, sweet potato, red bell pepper, roasted tomato, zucchini and finally beet.  Between each layer, strew a few marjoram leaves and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Once the beets are in place, bring the excess flaps of eggplant that have been dangling off of the sides of your pan over the beets, and follow with additional layers of eggplant to fully encompass the torte with eggplant.  Sprinkle additional bread crumbs on the top of the eggplant if you wish.
  6. Bake the torte in a preheated oven at 375 degrees until the breadcrumbs are browned and the torte is bubbling around the edges.  To serve immediately, invert the torte onto a plate or cakestand and release the torte from the springform pan.  To serve later (it will slice easier after a good chill), chill the torte for 4 hours and compress with a heavy plate.  In the same fashion as you would if serving the torte from the oven, invert and plate.

Braised Tripe  Victoria Reynolds

Serves 6

Tripe is not the easiest dish to sell.  It’s stomach lining, usually from a cow, and the thought of eating this part of an animal is hateful to most individuals.  Therefore I propose that in lieu of telling your guests what you’re serving, just serve it.  After having a generous helping of this incredibly flavorful and incredibly inexpensive dish, they’ll follow you willingly into your next food adventure.  Tripe can be found at most ethnic markets where it is pre-washed and scalded, though additional soaking (overnight preferred) may be to your benefit.  As tripe is rich with fat and gelatin, the gravy that you will end up with is flavorful and has a velveteen texture that will pair well with simple mashed potatoes,buttered noodles or polenta.

1 ½ pounds tripe, honeycomb preferred

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup 1/8 inch diced celery

1 cup 1/8 inch diced carrot

1 cup 1/8 inch diced yellow onion

¼ lb pancetta, cut into 1/8 inch dice

3 bay leaves

5 tomatoes, seeded, juices reserved, and cut into 1/8 inch dice

6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon piment d’esplette or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 quart homemade chicken stock

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. After rinsing the tripe, cut it as thin as possible.  It will come in sheets, and I recommend cutting those sheets into 3 x 3 inch pieces, and thinly slicing from them.  In a Dutch Oven, melt the butter and add the celery, carrots, onion and pancetta and wilt over low heat for about 10 minutes.  The contents of the pot should just barely begin to be touched with golden color.
  2. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, garlic, salt and piment d’esplette or cayenne, tripe reserved tomato juice and chicken stock to the pot.   Raise the heat and bring to a slow boil.  Reduce the heat to a slow, even simmer.  Cover the pot and cook for two hours..
  3. After two hours, check the consistency of your tripe.  It should be smooth, and when you bite into it there should be no resistance.  If at this time your tripe meets this criteria, move to the next step.  If not, continue to simmer until the tripe is as it should be.
  4. Once the tripe is ready, strain the solids from the pot (discarding the bay leaves), and leave the gravy in the pot, increasing the heat to medium-high an reducing the volume by half.  The gravy should be thicker, perhaps the consistency of heavy cream.  Once this is achieved, re-introduce the tripe and vegetable mixture to the pot.
  5. Just before serving, plate the braised tripe with potatoes or noodles, and garnish with parsley and parmesan.  A liberal grinding of black pepper will enhance the flavors.

Chicken Potpie with Lemon and Thyme Mary Parisi

Serves 8

This single-crust pie is the something that feeds your heart with warmth and memory, and piques your interest with a few twists and turns.  Growing up with Swanson’s Pot Pies, I decided to break out of the shell and try multiple recipes that would deliver just the right touch.  This is the pie that was at the end of my journey.  Gently cooked and focused on quality ingredients, it may be my favorite fall meal.  If pie crust frightens you, make the filling and place baking powder biscuits on top for something more cobbler-esque.

1 4-pound chicken

1 quart (4 cups) homemade chicken stock

1 large yellow onion, cut in half

4 dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

2 bunches fresh thyme

1 celery stalk, cut into thirds

8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 ¾  cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided

2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

24 tablespoons (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, divided

3 large egg yolks

9 ounces new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½ inch pieces (small is key)

12 ounces pearl onions, blanched and peeled

3 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds,

2 medium carrots (buy them with the tops on – they’re sweeter), peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

16 ounces white-button mushrooms, wiped clean, halved if large

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Zest of 3 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon heavy cream


  1. Combine the chicken, chicken stock, yellow onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, ¼ of the thyme sprigs, and celery in a stockpot, and add enough water to cover your chicken and any vegetables.  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  2. Pick enough thyme leaves to make a generous 3-tablespoons.  Reserve 2 tablespoons thyme for later.  In a food processor, pulverize the Parmesan cheese until it is completely processed and no large pieces remain.  Combine 2 ½  cups flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon thyme leaves in the bowl of the processor with the cheese.  Pulse to incorporate the dry ingredients.    Cut 16 tablespoons of chilled butter into small cubes, add to the dry ingredients in the processor, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  While the food processor is running, add approximately 6 tablespoons of ice water and 2 egg yolks, and process until the dough holds together.  Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a circle, and wrap well; refrigerate at least one hour.  Add additional water if you feel that your dough is too dry; but refrain from adding too much, (extra water + flour = chewy gluten = no flakes in your crust).
  3. Drain your chicken, discard the vegetable solids, and reserve the stock.  After the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chicken, and remove all the chicken from the carcass.  Shred the chicken meat into bite-size strips, and set aside.  Strain the stock through cheesecloth, which will catch any stray bits of debris.  Set aside 2 cups of the stock.  Reserve the remaining stock for another use.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat.  Add red potatoes and pearl onions; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until potatoes begin to turn golden.  Add leeks, carrots, and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes more.  Add remaining ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in the reserved chicken stock and the milk, and bring to a simmer.  Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of your pan, as the four will want to adhere to hot surfaces, and nobody likes burnt gravy!  Add the reserved chicken pieces, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons of thyme, the lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper; transfer to an ovenproof casserole.  Set aside.
  5. Roll out the dough until it is ¼ inch thick, and transfer to a baking sheet.  Transfer to the refrigerator, and allow the dough to chill 15 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining yolk and heavy cream to make an egg wash.  Working quickly, place the dough over the top of the chicken mixture, and tuck the extra dough around the edges.  Cut slits on the top to allow the steam to escape.  Brush with the egg wash, and place on a baking sheet.  Bake until the crust is golden, 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve hot.

Date Crumble  Dustin Wayne Harris

Serves 6

This recipe was passed on to me by my grandmother; no doubt a basic recipe that could be whipped up in a matter of minutes and likely given to her by her church buddies.  What I DO love about the recipe is the dates.  While dates may be outmoded, they reserve a special place in my heart as something sweet, chewy, and versatile for desserts or savory dishes.  This may not be a “date” cake, but who hasn’t experienced a crumbled date before?  I know I have…before my very own eyes.

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Sweetened whipped cream

Slivered orange peel or maraschino cherries


  1. Preaheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Butter and line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, greasing the parchment after you apply it.  Set aside.  Beat together the sugar and the egg yolks until fluffy, light, and almost the color of butter.  The mixture should leave a thick ribbon when lifted from the bowl.  Add dates, walnuts, flour and baking powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff.  Take care not to overbeat; the whites should be shiny and NEVER curdled.  Stop beating when stiff peaks form on the end of your whisk or beater.  Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and date mixture.
  3. Spread the batter into the pan, and bake for 15 minutes.   Cool on a rack , then run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crumble.   Turn the crumble out of the pan, remove the parchment lining, and break the crumble into six pieces, dividing amongst dessert plates.  Top with sweetened whipped cream and orange peel or maraschino cherries.


Mushroom Risotto of Farro with Herb Pesto and Rabbit  Greg Stewart

Serves 4

While one doesn’t always associate farro with risotto, it’s a great change of pace from Arborio or Carnaroli rice.  It is chewier, has excellent texture, and can you imagine the fiber!  This is a great, meaty dish but can also be made vegetarian.  In place of rabbit or chicken stock vegetable stock may be substituted, however in my experience a well rounded meat stock brings so much to the table where risotto is concerned.

¾ cup walnuts, toasted

1 cup fresh basil

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 garlic cloves

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

¾ cup olive oil

½ stick butter

24 ounces assorted fresh mushrooms, such as button, hen of the woods (maitake) and shitake

2 cups farro

¾ cup dried porcini mushrooms

¾ cup dry white wine

6 cups rabbit stock (chicken stock may be substituted)

1 lb. cooked rabbit meat (chicken may be substituted)

½ cup shaved parmesan cheese

  1. Make your pesto.  In the bowl of a processor, pulse the walnuts until coarsely ground.  Add the basil and parsley to the bowl, plus the garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pulse until a paste forms, and then drizzle the oil in a steady stream to finish the pesto.  Set the puree aside.
  2. Stem the fresh mushrooms, and fry over medium heat in a pan with the butter until the mushrooms are cooked (not limp!) and have donned a nice golden color.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Make your risotto.  In a Dutch Oven, add the farro, porcini mushrooms, and 2 cups of stock to a boil.  Reduce your heat to medium-high, and continue to cook the mixture until the liquid is nearly absorbed.  Continue to cook the farro mixture, adding a ladle full of stock at a time, cooking until the liquid is nearly absorbed before adding more liquid.  This may take 30 minutes, but keep your eye on the pot.  It will not be necessary to stir constantly, however don’t walk away for too long.  Stirring every few minutes is a good idea.
  4. Once you have exhausted the rabbit stock, check your risotto for doneness.  If it is too aldente, add more stock or water and continue to cook until the risotto is as soft as you prefer.  Remember, though, that farro has texture; do not expect the same results as if you were cooking traditional rice.
  5. Off the heat, stir in ½ of the pesto, the cooked rabbit and all of the sautéed mushrooms.  Plate, and garnish with an additional dollop of pesto and shavings of fresh parmesan cheese.  Serve with white pepper, which will ad depth to the rabbit and mushrooms without harshness.

Pecan Pie with Spiced Crust Jennifer Rubell

Serves 6

I love pie crust.   Now, butter reigns supreme for flavor, therefore you will not find shortening listed in the ingredients.  It is terribly important to keep your pie dough cool; the chilled butter will ensure that you are supplied with ample layers of delectable, crisp and unctuous crust that are the perfect accompaniment to a pie as rich as this.  Buy your pecans from a location that has quick turn-over… nuts are high in oil and therefore spoil quickly.  If you really want to impress, order your pecans from one of many sellers from Texas and/or Georgia, where massive, gargantuan pecans not only steal the show but provide maximum flavor.

The Pie Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sald

4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 large egg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

The filling:

1 cup dark corn syrup

¾ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter

3 large eggs

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons bourbon (plus a glass for yourself)

2 cups (about ½ lb) pecan halves


  1. For the pie dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all dry ingredients.  Add butter cubes and pulse to combine, until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Beat the egg with a fork and add to the processor bowl, pulse until the mixture comes together.  Flour a work surface, and place the mixture onto the board and knead 4 or 5 times until the dough is smooth.  Press the dough into a  disk and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Roll the dough to a 1/8 inch thickness,  and transfer to a 9 inch pie dish.  Crimp or flute the edges to your liking.  When I make a pie, I never worry.  If my “end product” looks like a 4 year old made it, I simply say that my dessert is rustic.  I suggest you do the same.  Once the pie shell is formed, throw it into the refrigerator to chill, at least 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling: combine the corn syrup and sugar in a saucepan and stir to mix.  Place over low heat and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Swirl the pan by the handle if you feel that the contents need to be agitated.  Remove from the heat, add the butter and allow it to melt.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg s until they’re blended quite thoroughly and whisk in the pinch of salt and the bourbon (not yours).  To the bowl with the eggs, and while whisking, drizzle in the syrup mixture to combine.  Work slowly, you don’t want scrambled eggs in your pie.  The heat from the syrup will still be quite hot.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set a rack on the lowest rung of your oven.  Place the pecans in one layer in your chilled pie crust, and then pour the custard mixture over the pecans.  Ensure that the pecans are coated with the custard by submerging them with a  fork or spoon; else they could burn in the oven.
  4. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is set, slightly jiggly, and puffed in the center.  Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.  A dollop of spiced whipped cream, or whipped cream slightly sweetened and flavored with additional bourbon wouldn’t be too bad either.


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