Café Ono’s Asian Sesame Dressing

Makes 3 cups:

6 Tbsp raw tahini
1/2 cup water or more to taste
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup minced scallions
6 Tbsp sesame oil
3-4 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup canola oil

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until absolutely smooth.
Chill, shake and serve. Will keep 3 weeks refrigerated

From Volcano Garden Arts
P.O. Box 112
Volcano, HI 96785

Goddess Dressing

1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup unchopped cilantro
1 cup unchopped parsley
4 T Braggs Liquid Aminos (or less tamari, if you don’t have Braggs)
1/2 t umeboshi plum vinegar (or other vinegar, if that’s what you have)
1/2 c olive oil

Blend all together, chill. Excellent for many uses, not just salad.

Tomato Basil Butter

From Just The Right Size.

This amazing compound butter is fantastic on fish, grilled vegetables, garlic bread, and heck even as a base for non-sauced pizzas. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg….stir it in to mashed potatoes, soups, sauces, rice, put a dollop on a searing, grilled steak, smear it on grilled corn, mix it with spinach and use it as a filling for chicken breasts or thighs, OH MY!

Heck, I’ve even just spread it on warm bread and dug in…mmmmmmmmmmm.

This freezes amazingly well, so you can dip into this lovliness until next summer!


1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/ 2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/ 2 cup sweet butter softened
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/ 2 tsp. salt
1/ 8 tsp. pepper
1/ 4 cup minced fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the tomatoes and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes form a puree that will mound. Let cool.

Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated but best served at room temperature so that it will melt quickly. Freezes well, make a “log”, wrap in waxed paper, then Ziploc bags.

My notes: This is spectacular. Perfect for potlucks — a loaf of bread and a jar of this butter and people will love you.

Sayaingen no gomayogoshi (String bean salad with sesame seed dressing)

From a much-mimeographed (yes, really!) set of recipes my mom got in a how-to-make-sushi class she took many, many years ago. These beans are to die for, they are that good. Truly. AT LEAST double the recipe, but I recommend quadrupling it.

1/2 lb string beans, boiled and then cut diagonally (cutting them after boiling keeps them from getting soggy, or so say the hand-written notes)
6 Tbs. sesame seeds, ground (Can use a mortar and pestle, if you’re crazy, or a blender or food processor if you enjoy modern conveniences and want to eat sometime this year. <- my notes) 3 Tbs sugar 3 Tbs shoyu (soy sauce. tamari will work too, of course) 1. Boil string beans in water with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes. 2. Drain the beans and rinse in cold running water, drain well. (Handwritten: important, to keep the color.) 3. In a bowl, combine sesame, sugar, and shoyu. Add beans. Mix well.

ajg’s brisket rub

4 parts brown sugar
1 part kosher salt
1 part black pepper
1/2 part ground cumin
1/2 part granulated garlic
1/2 part granulated onion
1/4 part cayenne
1/4 chili powder

10:10 < ajg> I measured nothing
10:10 < ajg> all by eye

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon

1 pound spaghetti or linguini
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
6-8 small, tender oung zucchini, sliced (4 C)
dash of salt and ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
6 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1-2 C grated Pecorino cheese (3-6 oz)

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the paste, stir briefly, and cover the pot until the water boils again. Uncover the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large heavy nonreactive skillet. Add the garlic and zucchini, and sauté on medium-high heat until the zucchini begins to brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and basil, stir, and remove from the heat. The zucchini should be done just before the pasta is ready. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and then toss the hot pasta in a large warmed serving bowl with about a cup of the cheese. Top with the zucchini and serve immediately. Offer more cheese at the table, if desired.

Per 8-oz. serving: 294 calories, 13.3g protein, 6.9g fat, 44.4g carbohydrate, 291mg sodium, 11mg cholesterol.

(From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, p. 195)

Pasta with Greens and Ricotta

1 bunch watercress (about 1 cup chopped), tough stems removed
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stalks removed (about 4 cups chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
dash of salt and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 C ricotta cheese
1 lb. pasta (fettuccine, penne, macaroni, fusilli, butterflies, or shells)
grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled ricotta salata
chopped fresh tomatoes
toasted walnuts or pine nuts (see p. 354)

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.

While the water heats, rinse the watercress and chard well, shake off any excess water, and chop coarsely. Sauté the garlic in the oil for a minute, until sot and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and sauté, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat. In a lender, purée the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook the paster until al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the sauce in a warmed serving bowl. Top with Parmesan or crumbled ricotta salata, tomatoes, and/or toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

Per 8-oz. serving: 313 calories, 12.2g protein, 7.5g fat, 49.3g carbohydrate, 200mg sodium, 12mg cholesterol.

(From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, p. 188)

A Big Tomato Sandwich

From Local Flavors, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. I haven’t made anything bad from it yet, and I’ve been using it for years now. Seriously, I recommend this cookbook to everybody who tries to live eating somewhat seasonally and locally.

From the cookbook:

Taking the feast or famine approach, we live on tomato sandwiches from the moment tomatoes appear in the market to the first killing frost. Then none until next year. Crusty, strong-textured ciabatta is the ideal bread. The holes drink in the juice, but the bread is strong enough that it won’t fall apart. Tomatoes of choice are brandywines, striped germans, carmelo, and costoluto genovese.

1 large (1-lb) loaf ciabatta
Herb vinaigrette, below
2 or more big, ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and quartered
4 oz fresh mozzarella, goat, or other favorite cheese, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Slice the top third off the loaf of bread and set it aside. Pull out the inside. (You can use it to make bread crumbs.)
2. Paint the inside of the bread with some of the dressing, then make layers of sliced tomatoes, pepper, and cheese. Bathe each layer with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the top, press down, then cut into quarters or sixths. This packs well if wrapped tightly.

Herb Vinaigrette
1/4 c basil leaves
1 T chopped marjoram
1 T chopped parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 C EVOO
4 t aged red wine vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the herbs with the garlic, then add the olive oil. Add the vinegar and 1/4 t salt and season with pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

My comments: This is very forgiving of improvization. I use different herbs all the time, depending on what I can find, and usually use less EVOO and more vinegar (and sometimes balsalmic instead of “aged red wine”). Sometimes I use a freshly-roasted pepper, sometimes jarred roasted peppers, sometimes no peppers at all. I often chop the peppers just to make biting easier. Oh, and I tend to use a bigger bread, more tomatoes of different varieties, etc, to make it really big because everybody likes it AND wants leftovers. It is SO pretty and SO tasty.

Lamb Kabob Marinade

Our kabobs.
From our friends at Shepherd’s Lamb.

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 c grated onion
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 T dried Italian Seasonings, OR 1 t thyme, 1 t marjoram
1 T plain yogurt (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

This is enough for 1-2 lbs lamb kabob meat.

My notes: The first time we made this, I think we used more lime juice than it called for, and we let it marinade for two days. It was so amazingly tasty. I could have eaten only lamb kabobs forever. (We made them with squash and eggplant, because that’s what’s in season now.) SO GOOD.

Frozen Italian Semifreddo

From NPR’s The Splendid Table, typed in by me so I could have missed something. It’s a cross between mousse and ice cream, they claim.

4 eggwhites
1 c sugar
1/4 c water
1 c cream
4-6 cups of fruit
vanilla bean

Puree 4-6 c berries w/vanilla bean and a bit of salt, then sieve it.
Whip and then refrigerate 1 c heavy cream.
Make an Italian Meringue and then freeze so it becomes like an ice cream. (It’s a meringue that you pour hot sugar syrup into – cooks eggwhites & stabilizes, so they’re like soft marshmallows.)

Put 4 egg whites in a large mixer bowl with a pinch of salt.
Put 1 c sugar in tiny saucepan with 1/4 c water; using a candy thermometer, boil to 240 degrees. At that point start beating egg whites (med for few secs, then up to high). When sugar gets to 248-250, take thermometer out, pour down the side of the mixer into the still-beating now soft-peak eggwhites. Keep beating on high for 5 minutes, lower to medium and keep beating until it’s at room temperature (4-5 more minutes). Fold in puree and cream, put in pretty bowl and freeze. 3 hours before serving put in fridge so it softens slightly.