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Video: Columbus Day feast

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    >>> need

    >>> this morning in "today's kitchen," a family of hot chefs. the scottos are preparing a dinner honor of christopher columbus and navigating the kitchen, marian, john, anthony and elena. nice to have you with us on this columbus day.

    >> we're very happy to be here with you.

    >> columbus day --

    >> yes, on every voyage he stopped --

    >> there we go, the history lesson begins.

    >> he stopped in the canary islands , picked up fresh water and this cheese was his favorite cheese. it's like a goat cheese . you know, the prosciutto he had on-board is a salted meat.

    >> she knows that.

    >> i'm very close to christopher columbus . so this is what he had as an antipasto.

    >> we'll talk about bean ravioli.

    >> you know on-board you had cod cakes. with our cod cakes we have potatoes, sauteed onion, and of course cod.

    >> fresh cod, of course.

    >> of course. and then we'll put some egg in for me and some salt. mix it through. this is already mixed.

    >> how do you make them into this perfectly shaped cod cakes?

    >> you know what? we put it all together, make like a cake. then we do it like a cookie cutter so it comes perfect. it's so delicious.

    >> just saute it in olive oil ?

    >> we saute it in olive oil and butter which brings out a great taste.

    >> bean ragu.

    >> which of course christopher columbus had.

    >> on 2 of the 3 ships. not all three. the santa maria and the pinta.

    >> how do you know that.

    >> because my mother's family was there. now i'm doing the bean ragu. olive oil with salt. and some butter. i'm going to put some onions. some garlic. i have now precooked the beans. using cannellini beans. when you're sailing, you have a long time to make food. stewed tomatoes. we then add the cannellini beans. about 15 minutes after this, it comes out like this. and they had the fighting power to keep going.

    >> let's keep going over here with anthony. making ricotta, mozzarella, spinach and mushrooms with ziti.

    >> when did christopher columbus -- because he discovered also pasta and cheese.

    >> it was really marco polo --

    >> oh, really?

    >> it was marco polo . just so you know. onions, stewed tomatoes. add mushrooms to that.

    >> all kinds of mushrooms.

    >> all kinds of mushrooms. once that's done, we're going to par blanch that pasta. add the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan mix. add this to it. mick it up together like that. put it in this baking sheet here.

    >> put spinach in there?

    >> yep, everything's going to go in here. bake together. because this has been so popular through schwann's home shopping center, this is available. and they delivered to christopher columbus on the boat! they did!

    >> christopherbus had these in stockpiles. elena, what are you making?

    >> we're doing baked apples. you know it is apple season. we started with amaretti cookie, walnuts, almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon, i'm going very fast because my family is very long-winded. this is milk actually. we're going to just mix this all together. then we're going to stuff our apples.

    >> you took the cores out.

    >> cores out, skin on because that's where all the vitamins and nutrients are, in the skin. so we stuff this. we pour apple cider on top. maple syrup . pat of butter on top, it always makes it taste better. bake it at 400 for about 35 minutes.

    >> christopher columbus loved this, too.

    >> and then we take the pan juice, reduce it once it's out and we just pour it right on top.

    >> yum!

    >> everybody say ooh!

    >> yum!

TODAY recipes
updated 10/12/2009 10:33:53 AM ET 2009-10-12T14:33:53

Recipe: Cod cakes with bean ragu

  • Cod cakes
  • 1 pound salt cod fillet
  • 4 large Idaho potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 medium size onion, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 10 tablespoons salted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bean ragu
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 (16 ounce) can Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter

Cod cakes
1. Soak cod in a large bowl with cold water, covering cod with 2 inches of extra water on top. Chill in the refrigerator, changing water three times a day for one to three days.

2. Drain cod and transfer to a 4-quart pot filled with water. Bring to just a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes until cod is flaky. Remove from heat and drain in a colander.

3. In a heavy skillet, add 1/2 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions and cook until golden in color, about 7 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

4. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and boil in a large covered pot from 18 to 20 minutes; drain in colander.

5. Add potatoes to the large bowl with the onions; add 4 tablespoons butter and mash.

6. Flake cod with a fork, stir into the potato mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs and mix.

7. Add breadcrumbs to a shallow dish. Using your hands, shape 1/4 cup of the cod mixture into a disc 2-inches high and coat with breadcrumbs.

8. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1/2 cup olive oil and 4 tablespoons butter; sauté cod cakes until golden brown then set aside in oven to keep warm.

Bean ragu
1. Cover beans in 5- to 6-quart pot, making sure beans are covered sufficiently with extra water; add 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Bring to a boil and stir frequently until the beans are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

3. In a large skillet over low heat, add 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until golden. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the beans to the skillet and simmer for about 10 minutes.

5. In a large platter, add the bean mixture, top with cod fish cakes, and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Recipe: Baked ziti with spinach and mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart canned plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and cleaned, stems removed, chopped rough
  • 1 pound uncooked ziti pasta
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over low to medium high heat, add mushrooms and onions, cook until brown. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, then add tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in spinach and set aside.

2. Cook ziti according to package directions and place in a large serving bowl.

3. Add 8 ounces cooked tomato sauce to the ziti and toss.

4. In the same bowl, add mozzarella, ricotta and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and mix.

5. Add a small amount of tomato sauce to cover the bottom of a baking dish, then add the entire ziti cheese mixture. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Baked apple stuffed with almonds, walnuts and Amaretti cookies with caramelized apple cider and maple syrup sauce

  • Stuffed apples
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups Amaretti cookies roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped sliced toasted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup melted sweet unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 large, firm baking apples, such as Cortland apples, cored but not peeled
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Mascarpone cream
  • Mascarpone cream
  • 1 container of mascarpone (500 g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stuffed apples
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, Amaretti cookies, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, Amaretto liqueur, egg, melted butter and milk. Soak all ingredients in the milk and mix well until all ingredients are soft to the touch.

2. Stuff apples with Amaretti cookie and nut mixture.

3. Place apples in a 13 x 9-inch glass baking pan. Pour in apple cider and maple syrup. Top each apple with a pat of butter and bake.

4. Baste apples every 5 to 7 minutes until apples are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. When apples are done, set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

5. Pour the pan juice into a small saucepan, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer mixture until it becomes a thick syrup. Pour syrup over each apple, top with mascarpone cream and serve.

Mascarpone cream
Mix 1 container of mascarpone with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.


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