Cook’s Corner

Avocado the secret ingredient in silky vegan pesto

 

Condiment

Basil Chutney

1 bunch basil (at least 10 large leaves)

3 sprigs parsley

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until chopped fine but not pureed. Serve on the side with crab cakes. Makes about 3/4 cup, 4 servings.

Per serving: 103 calories (89 percent from fat), 10.5 g fat (1.6 g saturated, 6.0 g monounsaturated), 1.1 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g protein, 1.6 g carbohydrates, .8 g fiber, 27 mg sodium.


More information

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Garnish with basil leaves. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 545 calories (45 percent from fat), 27.8 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 15.3 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 12.7 g protein, 63.8 g carbohydrates, 6.2 g fiber, 204 mg sodium.


Dessert

Lindy’s New York-Style Cheesecake

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Filling:

2 1/2 pounds (5 large packages) cream cheese, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

5 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

To make the crust, combine flour, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl. Form a well in the center and add egg yolk and butter. Work with a fork to make a dough. Add up to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary, to make a pliable dough. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. In the bowl of a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and citrus zests; beat well. Add the whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla; beat well. Add heavy cream and beat well.

Roll out one-third of the chilled dough on a floured surface; it will be very moist and fragile. Roll it out in pieces and press them with your hands into the bottom of the prepared pan. Don’t worry if it looks like it is going to fall apart. Roll out the remaining dough in pieces and evenly shape to fit the sides of the pan, a piece at a time. Make sure that there are no holes in the crust and try to keep the edges neat . Bake until golden, 15 minutes, and cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Increase the oven temperature to 550 degrees. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and keep the oven door open wide. Let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before refrigerating. When chilled, remove sides of pan and cut. Makes 16 servings.

Per serving: 470 calories (64 percent from fat), 33.8 g fat (19 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 191mg cholesterol, 7.7 g protein, 35.6 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fiber, 254 mg sodium.


Appetizer

Serafina Dream’s Polpette Di Granchio (Crab Cakes)

6 ounces lump blue crab meat

1 stalk of celery, minced

1 teaspoon minced parsley

1 teaspoon golden horseradish, or to taste

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 red bell pepper, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons bread crumbs, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine crab, celery, parsley, horseradish, egg yolk, Parmesan, bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs, being careful to keep the crab meat in large pieces. Form 8 round patties, equal in size, and sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs.

Heat a skillet on high and add the olive oil, tipping the pan to coat. Add the patties and sear quickly, about 40 seconds on each side. Serve warm with basil chutney (see recipe). Makes 4 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 98 calories (53 percent from fat), 5.8 g fat (1.1 g saturated, 3.1 g monounsaturated), 85 mg cholesterol, 7.8 g protein, 3.7 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber, 287 mg sodium.


Sleuth’s Corner

Q. When we were first married, my husband and would go to a wonderful restaurant in Coconut Grove called Kaleidoscope. They had a great salad served with a mustard and garbanzo-based dressing. Our anniversary is coming up, and I’d love to make it. Any chance anyone has this recipe or a similar one?

Ofi Osin-Cohen


Main Dish

Avocado Pesto Pasta

I found 1/2 cup to be a bit too much oil, and next time will reduce the measurement to 1/3 cup.

1 pound linguine

1 bunch fresh basil (reserve some leaves for garnish)

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 Hass avocados, pitted and peeled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil (see note above)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

While I was visiting my daughter, a longtime vegetarian who recently went vegan, she served the best pesto pasta I’ve ever eaten. It was amazingly rich, and I could not believe it contained no cheese or heavy cream. The secret ingredient, it turned out, was avocado.

The recipe came from Chloe’s Kitchen, a cookbook by Chloe Coscarelli, an award-winning vegan chef who won a top spot on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and has done guest appearances on the Today show. She came out with another cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, last month.

Q. I lost a recipe from your column for New York cheesecake that included flour and sour cream but no cracker crust. You also baked it at a higher temperature, then lowered it, and eventually turned off the oven but left the oven door open for several hours. Nothing I have tried since measures up to that one. Please, please tell me you have it.

Marie Barrientos

We have published a lot of cheesecake recipes over the years, but this one remains my favorite, with its bright citrus flavor.

Q. I am a big fan of crab cakes and recently had some that were amazingly different at Serafina Dream on South Beach. Can you get the recipe?

Andy

Executive chef Marco Zuccala’s crab cakes take on Italian flavors with a whiff of Parmesan and garlic in the cake and a basil chutney on the side for dipping. He suggests serving them on a bed of spring-mix greens.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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