Here are the recipes for the lunch we had on Mah Jongg Wednesday. So much of this meal can be made in advance and, in fact, those make-ahead items are better if allowed to chill for a day or two.


This Gazpacho recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from my friend Patti Schrom – she is an amazing cook and any recipe from her is going to be fabulous!

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6 large ripe tomatoes (heirloom if you have them)
2 sweet red or yellow peppers (1 of each is nice)
1-2 jalapeno peppers
1 medium sweet yellow onion
1 large shallot
2 large cucumbers (I prefer hothouse)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups canned tomato juice (recommended: Sacramento)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
Wash and prepare the veggies, core and coarsely chop tomatoes; save the juice. Core, seed and coarsely chop peppers. Peel and coarsely chop onions and shallots. Coarsely chop cucumbers.
In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, reserved tomato juice, and canned tomato juice.
In the food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the vegetables in small batches, adding tomato juice mixture as necessary. I like to keep the veggies coarse but it’s OK to puree completely. Depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes, you may need more tomato juice. Put each vegetable separately into the food processor and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and stir in cayenne, salt, fresh ground pepper, and dill. Cover and chill for at least 4 hrs. It’s always better the next day. I stir and correct seasoning before serving and serve with a small dollop of sour cream. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
NOTE: I use a very flavorful olive oil from Olde Hudson (La Castellina Extra Virgin Novello) and a Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine vinegar.

The Roasted Tomatoes recipe is from – who else? – The Barefoot Contessa. I simply cannot have a meal without at least one part of it from Barefoot!


4 – 5 servings
12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lots of basil, juliennedPreheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Sprinkle the minced garlic into the tomato shells. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Julienne basil leaves and toss over roasted tomatoes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
IMG_1670 The Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing and Pickled Onions recipe comes from a Bon Appétit magazine recipe  published in 2013. This dish is inspired by a salad on the menu at Keens Steakhouse in NYC.
Serves 4
Steak Salad:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1-pound rib-eye, flank, or skirt steak
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)
Baby Tomatoes – sliced (optional)
Avocado  slices (optional)
Pickled Red Onions – recipe follows
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to  desired doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare rib eye, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.
While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.
Slice steak and serve with horseradish dressing, potatoes, cucumber, radishes, greens, and Pickled Red Onions.
Horseradish Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Whisk sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Pickled Red Onions:
Makes 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
Bring vinegar, salt, and 1 cup  water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in onion. Let cool. Drain before serving.
Last, but certainly not least, comes a slight variation on the Mixed Berry Pavlova recipe from Barefoot Contessa.
Serves 6
Make all the parts in advance and then assemble it just before dessert.  There are two tips for making whipped cream –first, if you accidentally over-whip it, just whip in a little extra cream and it will become smooth again.
Second, you can make whipped cream a few hours ahead by adding a tablespoon of mascarpone to the cream.
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ pint fresh blueberries
½ pint fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.) NOTE: I like to make individual meringues so I make smaller circles and then go on to follow the directions.
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft inside.
Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about ½ cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.
Sweetened Whipped Cream: 
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!
Triple Raspberry Sauce: 
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
Place the raspberries, sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill. NOTE: As I have written before, I like a seedless sauce and so I strain the finished sauce through a sieve before chilling.

This recipe is a slight variation on the Mixed Berry Pavlova by the Barefoot Contessa.