Pork Chile Verde

by Hilary Gauntt on January 18, 2017

Usually I wouldn’t dare make a double batch of a recipe I have never tried before and serve it to 9 guests. But I so trust my friend Terri’s judgement in the food department that when she sent me this recipe by both e-mail and text message, I went with it! Padma Lakshmi is a judge on Top Chef, and made this recipe on The Today Show as the perfect thing to serve for the football playoffs. I love that it’s better the next day, since I’m so much more relaxed when the major cooking is done ahead of time. Served with cornbread, green salad and coffee-flavored flan for desert. Leftovers great!

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and quartered

2 avocados, peeled and pitted

4 jalapenos

1 cup fresh cilantro

4 Tbs. lime juice


3 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbs. sesame seeds, divided

2 medium onions, diced

1 Tbs. dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds ground pork

1 shot Anejo tequila

1 pound cooked cannellini beans (Note: if using canned, rinse off canning liquid)

2 cups water or chicken stock

1 lime, juiced (optional)

In a blender or Cuisinart, combine the tomatillos, avocados, jalapenos, two cloves of garlic, cilantro, lime juice, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Puree until smooth. (Side note: this makes a great salsa verde sauce on its own; you may want to buy double the ingredients and use the extra as a dipping sauce for other savory treats.)

In a heavy soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Slice remaining two cloves of garlic in half, and cook for one minute. Ad the onions, oregano, cumin, remaining sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the ground pork and cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add in the shot of tequila.

Add the tomatillo sauce, beans, and water or stock to the pork mixture. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often.Stir in the lime juice just before serving. Serves 4-6.

Note: You might want to chop the onions in the blender or Cuisinart before beginning the make the sauce. Seeding the jalapenos will keep the heat down. I served it with grated cheese, sour cream,salsa and a lime squeeze. And whoops! As I am proof reading the recipe I realize that one pound of cooked cannellini beans means one 15 ounce can, not two! So I doubled the amount of beans, but honestly it seemed fine. Adding chicken broth when reheating it may be necessary to thin it; you can make it soupier if you wish.

last chili


World Peace Cookies by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan

by Hilary Gauntt on January 12, 2017

Chef Pierre Herme has a cutting edge restaurant in Paris where he developed this cookie, and Dorie tested and translated the recipe for the American kitchen. It’s a buttery cocoa dough with pockets of chocolate throughout, and a soft, sandy texture. Dorie’s neighbor loved these so much that she told her a daily dose of these cookies could inspire world peace! Using the best quality chocolate is important, and over-baking them is about all you can do to ruin them.

Dorie is world famous for her 12 cookbooks (2 were cook book of the year!), her 4 James Beard awards, and the numerous famous chefs she has helped compose their recipes, including Daniel Boulud and Julia Child. She claims she burned her parents kitchen down when she was 12, and then didn’t cook again until she was married. She gave up working on a doctorate in gerontology to bake cookies in a restaurant basement, a job she was fired from!

I found her instructions to be so precise – almost like a beloved aunt who so wanted you to get this right. Her new cookbook, “Dories Cookies” is already on the best seller list and contains the best of her 300 favorite cookies recipes! And guess which cookie in on the cover????

1 1/4 cup (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 stick plus 3 Tbs. (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cups (120 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (50 grams)granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. fleur del sel or 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips (no pieces bigger than 1/3 inch), or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Note: If measuring by volume, it’s important to measure the flour and cocoa lightly, as follows: Stir flour briefly in the container or bag, spoon into the measuring cup until it’s heaped above the rim, then level it with a straight-edged knife or spatula. If you dip the measuring cup into the container, you’ll have more flour and cocoa and a drier, crumblier, more difficult dough.

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the machine at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek- if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough – for best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added and don’t be concerned if the dough is a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that a 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you have frozen the dough, your needn’t defrost it before baking-just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rouds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them – don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookies.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes -they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooking rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Note: This was our Rose Bowl party dessert, but I can’t give you the recipe for the fabulous toffee shown with the cookies. It was a secret recipe handed down from Aunt Hattie to Kim, who makes up for not sharing it by giving it to everyone at Christmas time. Fine with me!!



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Pasta Bundt Loaf

by Hilary Gauntt on January 6, 2017

This cheesy pasta pie is fairly easy to make and looks spectacular when you bring it to the table! Like a mac and cheese dish poured into a bundt pan and baked until the cheese melts and the edges get brown and crispy. This was created by Food and Wine magazine’s Justin Chapple. I would save this for when I had 6 or 8 for dinner, although it reheats nicely in the microwave. I made it several hours ahead and baked it at dinner time.

Unsalted butter, for greasing

1 pound spaghetti

6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch bundt pan. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain well.

In a large bowl, mix the pasta with all of the remaining ingredients. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the loaf onto a platter, cut into wedges and serve.
Note: Grease the pan generously, even if nonstick! Mine popped right out but could take longer to unmold if stuck in places.



This is my favorite appetizer for the holidays; a rich layering of cream cheese, pesto and sun dried tomatoes all wrapped up in slices of provolone. It can be made several days ahead and looks very professional. Spreading the cream cheese layer I always found difficult until today, when for the first time I used whipped cream cheese! Not that it really matters because when the filling is wrapped up in the overlapping provolone slices no one can tell that your layers inside aren’t perfect. People always want this recipe!

I wasn’t sure what to name this appetizer for Heronearth, as in our house its called Terri’s Ho. I tried this years ago at Terri Stampley’s house and called her soon after for the recipe . Her friend Donna had read it to her over the phone and Terri had labeled it “Donna’s Ho” as she didn’t have time to write out the word “horsd’oeuvres”. (Or probably know how to spell it! Spellcheck gave me “horsehair!) So I labeled it Terri’s Ho and now it’s Hilary’s Ho to you!

“If the definition of poetry allowed that it could be composed with the products of the field as well as with words, pesto would be in every anthology”
Marcella Hazan, cookbook author and chef

8-10 round slices provolone cheese, cut in 1/2’s

For Pesto: (or purchase some)

1 bag fresh basil

2-4 Tbs. olive oil

1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cheese layer:

12 ounces cream cheese (8 ounces works too)

1 small fresh clove garlic, minced

4-6 sun dried tomatoes cut up (can use more)

Line a small loaf pan with saran wrap, leaving 3-4 inches extra sticking up. Line the bottom and part way up the sides of the pan with overlapping provolone slices.

Mix basil, olive oil and Parmesan in food processor for pesto layer. Mix cream cheese and garlic for cheese layer.

Layer cream cheese, then pesto, then tomatoes in the bottom of the pan on top of the provolone – 2 layers of each.Pack down and fold provolone over,then fold the saran over to cover, pat down and refrigerate. To serve, remove the saran and invert on a plate. Provide a small serving knife and crackers and
bagel chips.

Note: I have evolved into doing only one layer of each for the filling instead of two; just easier. Don’t worry about what the inside layers or the bottom
of the loaf will look like; no one will see anything but the top and sides which look charming with the overlapping slices of provolone.
Comment: 4 nights later….served the leftover portion with sesame crackers and my brother in law decided it was even better than the first go-round!




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