Garlic Pumpernickel Croutons

These garlicky nibbles are fantastic scattered on over soup or salads.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large minced garlic clove
3 cups torn pumpernickel bread
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave the butter and minced garlic clove in a microwave-safe bowl on high until butter is melted, about 30 seconds.

2. Spread the torn pumpernickel bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the butter mixture; toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp. Season with salt and pepper; store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Sweet Onion Confit

These buttery-sweet onions are fantastic mixed into scrambled eggs!

Ingredients:
2 sweet onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or sherry vinegar (optional)

Method:
1. Peel and slice the sweet onions. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

2. Add sweet onions, sprinkle with salt, reduce heat to medium low or low and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are extremely tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Keep heat low enough so onions are cooking but not browning; caramelizing will brown them inside-out rather than bits of browning on the outside first. Finish with a splash of balsamic or sherry vinegar, if you like.

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Smoky Italian Red Pepper & Eggplant Salsa

This smoky salsa is a wonderful boost for burgers, sausages and more.

Ingredients:
2 Italian red peppers
1 Italian eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Piment d’Espellete pepper, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

Method:
1. Roast the eggplant and peppers directly over the flame of a gas burner, or put under a preheated broiler, turning frequently, until completely blackened and soft. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sweat for about 10 minutes. Then, remove and peel off all blackened skin and discard. Remove stems and seeds from bell pepper and chop finely; cut stem off eggplant and chop finely.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet, add onion and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes until soft. Transfer to a large bowl and add bell peppers, eggplant, the remaining oil, chile pepper, sugar, salt, lemon juice, cilantro and dill, and mix well.

Sautéed Apples

Kissed with fragrant cinnamon and brown sugar, these apples are a sublime brunch side.


Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 apples, such as Akane, peeled, cored and sliced ⅓-inch thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon

Method:
1. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the apple slices and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes longer.

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