Chef: Nadia Roden
So much prettier than guacamole, this frozen treat is composed of tiny crystals of potent tomato ice paired with a crisp chopped salad.
2 pounds ripe sweet tomatoes, peeled 1 Tbsp. sugar 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 red bell pepper, finely diced 1 green bell pepper, finely diced 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced 1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 To make granita: Quarter tomatoes and puree in a food processor with sugar and garlic. Strain puree through a sieve to discard seeds. Stir in basil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt.
2 Let mixture chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
3 Freeze granita as directed at right.
4 To make dressing: Whisk together all ingredients until blended.
5 To assemble salad: In a large bowl combine all ingredients; add dressing and toss to coat. Spoon granita on center of serving dishes. Arrange salad evenly around each.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
* CLASSIC GRANITA METHOD
Pour the granita mixture into a wide and shallow container, such as a stainless steel baking dish (the shallower the container, the quicker the granita will freeze).
Cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Freeze the mixture 1 to 2 hours, until it is solid around the edges. Take the container out of the freezer and scrape the ice with a fork, mixing it from the edges into the center.
Repeat this scraping and mixing process every 30 minutes or so (at least three times) until the entire mixture has turned into small, sequined ice flakes. When ready to serve, "rake" with a fork to loosen the granita and spoon into serving dishes.
* QUICK GRANITA METHOD
Note: This method is faster, but the granita will have a different texture-less icy and more slushy.
Pour the granita mixture into ice trays, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to freeze solid. Process the cubes in a food processor when you're ready to serve.
Seared Sea Scallops with Spicy Clementine Dipping Sauce
Chef: Debra Ponzek
Serve these scallops as hors d'oeuvres with this seductive sauce.
4 cups fresh-squeezed clementine juice, or orange juice 2 tsp. ancho chili powder Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 40 large sea scallops, patted dry Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 To make sauce: In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring clementine juice, chili powder, and lime zest and juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour; mixture should be thickened and syrupy
2 Remove from heat and whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated.
3 In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil until smoking. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Cook 10 scallops 1 to 2 minutes per side, until dark golden brown. Remove to paper towels and drain. Repeat with remaining oil and scallops in 3 batches. Serve scallops hot with warm sauce.
Makes 40 scallops.
Crushed Potato with Smoked Salmon, Caviar, & Chives
Chef: Daniel Boulud
We can't think of a better group of ingredients: potatoes, smoked salmon, caviar, and chives. Did we mention the caviar? Sublime!
1 cup coarse sea salt 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 14 ounces each), scrubbed and patted dry 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 Tbsp. finely chopped chives, plus additional chives for garnish 4 ounces sliced smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch diamonds 1 ounce of sevruga or osetra caviar
1 Preheat oven to 425��. Spread sea salt evenly on the bottom of a baking sheet. Place potatoes on top of salt and bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
2 Set potatoes aside to cool and discard salt. Peel potatoes while still quite warm. Place them in a bowl with butter and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mash potatoes or crush with fork (they should still be chunky). Stir in chives.
3 To serve: Place a small mound of warm, crushed potato on a Chinese soupspoon or nonmetallic tablespoon. Top with smoked salmon and a dab of caviar. Garnish with chive pieces.
Makes approximately 36 canap��s.
Roasted Potatoes with Chives, Bacon, & Maytag Blue Cheese
Created by Andre Walker
You can't eat only one of these potato hors d'oeuvres. They're that good.
12 small Yukon Gold potatoes 2 tsp, plus 1/8 tsp. salt 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon. cooked until crisp and crumbled 1 Tbsp. minced chives
1 Preheat oven to 350��. Place potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Once cooled, slice a small piece from the top and the bottom of each potato. Transfer to a medium bowl; toss with oil, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and pepper.
2 Place potatoes on a baking sheet. With a paring knife, score top of each potato. Top each with equal amounts of blue cheese and bacon. Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
Makes 12 servings.
At the Table with Colin Cowie
THE PERFECT HOST
Entertaining is not about making an impression, says this internationally known event and party planner. Instead, it's about being welcoming and calm and making your guests feel comfortable.
Colin Cowie, renowned for devising spectacular parties, has orchestrated some of the biggest and most elaborate bashes in the world, including events for Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Lisa Kudrow, Kelsey Grammer, and Michael Jordan. His weddings are legendary; his charity galas are magnificent. And on the evenings when he is not working, Colin entertains at home. He is the author of five style and entertaining books, most recently Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide to Life As It Should Be.
"I have people over nearly every night," he says, "and it's never about impressing them. It's about having a relaxed evening with interesting people. I don't entertain in restaurants because, let's face it, at the end of the day who wants to make choices? It's far more pleasant to entertain at home."
Colin loves the casual world we now inhabit and says his at-home parties are apt to take place around a big table in his New York City loft kitchen. That doesn't mean he has forsaken the finer things in life. On the contrary. "We get to do it all now," he happily explains. "Your presentation can still be chic and stylish and elegant, even in the relaxed environment of your own kitchen."
He reassures the home cook not to be intimidated by the icons of entertaining. "You don't have to perform," he advises. "You don't have to be perfect."
He recommends that when you entertain, you dim the lights, take out the candles, put on music, and greet your guests with a smile. He almost always offers his company a special cocktail and limits the cocktail hour to 45 minutes or an hour, tops. Dinner, he says, should last about one and a half hours. This way, the party moves and no one feels hungry or restless.
When it comes to the menu, Colin serves uncomplicated meals. He relies on organic and regionally grown produce whenever possible and has found gluten-free pasta and low-carb bread in local markets that say "comfort food" without the guilt.
"Cooking for your friends is not about cooking from scratch," he says. "It's not about chopping and dicing. It's about being resourceful. Select a good bakery, buy olives and cheeses from the market. Don't try to make it all yourself."
Inviting friends into your home is an intimate gesture, and when you do so, use your most cherished possessions and share their beauty with your guests. Colin says he learned this the hard way when he lost some of his most valuable - and valued - glassware in 1994 during the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles before he had the opportunity to enjoy it.
Finally, he encourages everyone to jump in and invite their friends over, whether it's a very small supper or a more formal dinner party. "Do your best," he says. "It is more than good enough!"
Colin Cowie's Recipes
* Sausage Rolls with Worcestershire Sauce (page 17)
* Vodka-Espresso Cocktail (page 46)
* Brown Rice Risotto and Variations (page 203)
* Chocolate Pots de Cr��me with Vanilla Ice Cream (page 261)
Sausage Rolls with Worcestershire Sauce
Chef: Colin Cowie
These are always a hit-who can resist a warm sausage roll? And the fact that they can be prepared ahead makes them a double winner.
3/4 pound lean ground pork or veal 3/4 cup finely diced boiled potato 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley 1 tsp. dried sage 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes One (17 1/4-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed Flour, for dusting 1 large egg, beaten 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Preheat oven to 350��. To make piping bag, snip 1 corner from a plastic food bag with scissors to make about a 3/4-inch opening.
2 Combine pork, potato, onion, parsley, sage, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes in a bowl; transfer sausage mixture to bag.
3 Unfold 1 pastry sheet; following fold marks, cut the sheet into 3 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise to make 6 strips. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each strip into a 12" x 2 1/2"-inch rectangle. Pipe sausage mixture along 1 long edge of each strip. Lightly brush opposite edge with egg. Starting at edge with sausage mixture, roll up each strip, gently pressing egg-brushed edge to seal.
4 With a sharp knife, cut each log crosswise into eight (1 1/2-inch-thick) rolls. Arrange rolls, seam side down, on a broiler pan; brush top with egg. Repeat with remaining pastry and sausage mixture.
5 Bake until golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm with Worcestershire sauce for dipping.
Makes 96 rolls.
Cornbread Bruschetta with Fresh Corn Salsa
Chef: Rori Trovato
What a surefire appetizer! Make this an hour or so ahead of time-but no earlier-for the best flavor.
2 Tbsp. bacon fat or vegetable shortening 1 3/4 cups cornmeal 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. salt 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk
2 red bell peppers
2 ears corn, kernels removed 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 tsp. minced garlic 1 Tbsp. minced cilantro 1 tsp. minced jalapeno (optional) Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 To make cornbread: Position rack on top third of oven and preheat to 450��. Rub bacon fat on bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" baking dish or a large cast-iron frying pan. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix eggs and buttermilk. Pour over dry ingredients and blend. Heat baking dish in oven until fat is very hot, then pour cornmeal mixture into pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack 10 minutes. Cut into 1" x 2" pieces or small wedges.
2 Meanwhile, roast peppers over an open flame until blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, remove skin with your fingers, wetting your hands in cool water to case the process. Remove stems and seeds and slice peppers into thin strips.
3 To make salsa: Combine corn, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper.
4 Spread a thin layer of sour cream on cornbread. Top with roasted pepper slices and corn salsa.
Makes 8 servings.
Prosciutto di Parma-Black Pepper Quesadillas with Rosemary Oil
Chef: Bobby Flay
The flavored oil adds an herbaceous finish to the prosciutto and cheese quesadillas.
1 Cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves 1/4 cup coarsely chopped chives Salt and freshly ground pepper
Twenty-four (6-inch) flour tortillas 1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella, shredded 1 small red onion, finely sliced, rinsed and dried 2 to 3 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper Salt and freshly ground pepper Olive oil 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 32 very thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1 Combine the oil, rosemary, chives, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour through a fine strainer; store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2 Preheat the oven to 450��. Place 16 tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread the mozzarella, onion, and coarse black pepper evenly on each, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Layer the prepared tortillas, 2 per stack, then top with the last 8 tortillas (you will have 3 layers). Brush the quesadillas lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese has melted.
3 Cut into quarters, top each with 1 slice of prosciutto, and drizzle with a little rosemary oil.
Makes 8 servings.
Baby Greens with Asparagus & Pistachios
Chef: Dan Barber
Light and full of flavor, these greens are simply inspiring!
Zest of 1 lemon 1 cup canola oil 4 fresh lemon thyme or thyme sprigs One (2-inch) piece fresh lemongrass, crushed
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 Tbsp. lemon oil 3/4 tsp. honey 3/4 tsp. sherry vinegar 1/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces 1 cup fresh fava beans or frozen lima beans, thawed 8 ounces mixed baby greens 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
1 To make lemon oil: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients; heat over medium-low heat until oil is hot and small bubbles begin to appear. Transfer to a bowl; cool to room temperature. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain before using.
2 To make vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until blended.
3 To prepare salad: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add asparagus; cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and then drain again. Repeat with beans, cooking about 1 minute before draining.
4 In a large bowl, combine greens, pistachios, asparagus, and beans. Add vinaigrette and toss. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Mint & Pea Hummus with Pita Bread
Chef: Rori Trovato
Everyone loves hummus, and when you stir in the bright flavor of mint, it's more appealing than ever.
1 Tbsp. olive oil 3 small leeks, thoroughly washed and chopped, green parts removed 4 cups shelled peas (fresh or frozen) 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth 2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste) 2 Tbsp. chopped mint 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste 1/2 tsp. black pepper 6 pitas, cut into wedges and toasted
1 In a large saut�� pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks, cover, and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add peas and cook uncovered 8 minutes (5 minutes if using frozen peas). Add broth and cook 3 more minutes.
2 Remove from heat, stir in tahini and mint, and spoon mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Process until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper, seasoning as desired. Place in a bowl and serve with toasted pita wedges.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Excerpted from THE OPRAH MAGAZINE COOKBOOKby OPRAH WINFREY Copyright © 2008 by Hearst Communications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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