Tag Archives: Cathi Dicocco

Braised Escarole with White Bean Vinaigrette

By guest chef, Cathi DiCocco

A delicious whole foods dinner by restauranteur Cathi Dicocco.

Cathi grew up cooking in her fathers Italian restaurant in upstate NY.  She is a hidden gem we found in the Maine woods. If you’re ever in Bethel, Maine, stop and visit  Cathi’s restaurant and market

serves 4

To make the Beans:

1 cup of dry beans

1 sprig of rosemary

1 head of garlic, loose skin removed and cut in half through the middle

 Cover dry beans by three inched with cold water and soak in the refrigerator overnight. Drain beans and rinse well. Place the beans in a pot and add 3 cups of cold water. Add the rosemary and the garlic. Bring the beans to a boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for one hour or until the beans are tender.  Remove and reserve the garlic halves. Drain the beans, rinse and set aside.

 One cup of dry beans will yield 3 cups of cooked.


3 Cups cooked cannellini beans

¼ cup or more hot water

1 half bulb of the prepared garlic (more to taste)

Juice of ½ lemon

2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Process or mash 1 1/2 cup of prepared beans with the hot water. Try to get this as smooth as possible. The consistency should be thin but not watery. Take the prepared garlic and gently squeeze out the softened cloves into the bean “juice”. Mash and blend the garlic. Add the lemon juice, chopped rosemary, olive oil and vinegar. Mix well. Add remaining beans, mash slightly retaining a fair amount of bean texture and gently fold ingredients together in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Prepare escarole.


1 large head of Escarole, cut into quarters

Olive oil

 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in two quarters of escarole. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook the escarole for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile preheat a grill to 400 degrees or if you’re grilling the escarole inside preheat a cast iron grill pan for about 5 minutes on high. After 5 minutes lower the preheating grill pan to medium high.  The pan should be very hot but not smoking.

While the escarole is cooking and grill preheating fill a large bowl with cold water and 2 cups of ice.

Using large tongs remove the escarole from the pot, place them into a colander and then immediately plunge them into the cold water bath.  Alternatively you may rinse the escarole under cold running water.  When the escarole has cooled down, about 1 minute, remove the greens and blot very dry in a large clean cotton towel.  If preparing the full head of escarole or 4 portions repeat this process.

Brush one side of the escarole with olive oil and place onto the grill or grill pan, oiled side down. Grill for about 3-4 minutes or until grill marks are visible. Brush the top with oil and flip. Once the underside is nicely grilled, remove the escarole and set onto a serving plate.

Stir the white bean dressing and then spoon the beans onto the escarole. Season the escarole with a generous grating of black pepper and additional olive oil if desired. Serve with crusty garlic bread.


Fabulous Fourth of July Grilling ideas from Toni Fiore

I love when people ask, “Hey what do vegetarians cook on the grill anyway? Veggie burgers, corn, fake hot dogs??” Well, since all we hear about for the entire week leading up the Fourth of July are the recipes, stories and suggestions for grilling hundreds of pounds of burgers, steaks, chicken and ribs (did I say boring?) I guess it’s a pretty fair question! Let me tell you… there’s no limit to the delicious meatless main meals, side dishes, pizzas, salads and desserts you can make outdoors on the grill. Actually, what’s pretty amazing is that there’s virtually nothing you CAN’T prepare outdoors! And these days when you look at grill accessories there are all kind’s of special pans, grill tops and gadgets that are not only very inexpensive but make grilling a pleasure. Some of the most fun we’ve had filming have been our summer grill recipes. Following are my top picks for this holiday weekend or, really, all season long.

My Portobello- Arugula Salad Burger is always a hit. It’s hearty, colorful, packed with better-than-beef flavor and EASY. I top this recipe with the arugula salad, but you can use your favorite slaw or better yet try the cabbage slaw from my next Fabulous Fourth pick, Cathi DiCocoa’s Rasta Pups. These little gems are perfect for kids if you can snag them away from the adults first. For kids just you might just spare the jalapeno in the slaw, which is cool, cause that leaves more for you! Grilled Seitan 3 Ways is also a terrific choice. Made on skewers you can use any spice rub, jerk or barbeque sauce on these tasty meaty bites. If you’re looking for the best fluffy crispy giant french fries ever, grill em!

The Perfect Grilled Potatoes have an absolutely perfect (no more burned outside raw inside potatoes) texture and take all the mystery out of preparing potatoes on the grill.

For a side salad or for those folks eating REALLY light, try my Grilled Panzanella Salad with it’s nice little Mediterranean spin this recipe is a great way to feature garlic, fresh plump tomatoes and basil! Finally…you’ve got to grill fruit! Peaches on the Grill are absolutely succulent, especially topped with a little light non dairy ice cream or whipped topping. No peaches? No problem! You can substitute, pineapple, apples, pears, bananas or whatever fruit YOU like. This week why not try something new and give these recipes a spin! You, your family and friends will love them. So from our Totally Vegetarian table to yours, all of us at Delicious TV wish you a happy, healthy, compassionate and fantastic Fourth of July! Enjoy!

Garlic, roasted on the grill

Roasting garlic produces a complete change in flavor, the “bite” of raw garlic magically turns into a mellow sweetness you have to try to believe! I often roast up to half a dozen garlic heads at a time. They keep well — a month or more in the fridge — and in my house, they disappear quickly!

Several firm, tight heads of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse kosher salt
Fresh herbs such as lemon thyme or oregano

To prepare:

Peel off any the outermost layer of loose, papery skin, then cut off the top half or so of the pointed end of the garlic head, to expose the cloves.

Place bulb in the center of a 6″ square of heavy duty foil. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place a fresh herb on top. Sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper.

Wrap foil snugly up and around bulb like a Hersey’s Kiss and place on hot grill. Flip it around occasionally till it feels soft and squishy on the inside, about 20 minutes or so.

Remove from foil and pour any excess oil back onto the top of garlic. The delightful little bulbs of roasted garlic will easily squeeze out of their skins.

Tuscan White Beans and Greens Soup

Zuppa di Fagioli e Erbezzone as it’s known in Italy, is hearty and delicious. This recipe is courtesy of friend of the show and frequent guest chef, Cathi DiCocco.

Makes 6 quarts

2 pounds fresh shelled cannellini beans OR 1 pound dried beans, soaked overnight & drained OR 3- 17oz. cans beans, rinsed & drained
1 whole garlic bulb, cut in half horizontally
3 bay leaves
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 sticks of celery, chopped
16 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
8 leeks, white part only, OR 3 med. onions, peeled & chopped
4 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and crushed OR 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 T. chopped fresh garlic (1 average bulb)
8 sprigs of fresh herb, leaves removed; rosemary, sage OR thyme
3 bunches fresh greens (Swiss chard, escarole, or collards), chopped
2 T. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cover beans with water. Add bay leaves and halved garlic bulb. Bring to boil and simmer till slightly soft. Cover and let sit 1 hour. Strain through colander, reserving 1/2 of the broth. Remove garlic and bay leaves. If using canned beans simply drain and rinse.

Blend half of the beans into a puree w/broth or water. Reserve the rest of the beans to add to soup near the end of cooking time.

In large stockpot sauté celery, carrots and onions in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes, chopped garlic, and herbs. After 5 minutes, add chopped greens, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook 10 more minutes. Add bean purée and enough broth or water to make a thick soup. Cook slowly for about an hour. Add water or broth as needed to thin. Ten minutes before serving, stir in whole beans to heat through.

Ladle into bowls and top with rustic herb croutons. Drizzle with the finest extra virgin olive oil you can find.

Fruit Chutney

Cathi Dicocco’s Fruit Chutney


Chutney is a wonderful way to use and preserve fruit when it’s plentiful and in season. This recipe shows you how easy to make and how truly delicious homemade chutney can be. You’ll love the mouth watering aromas and the special complement this chutney is to just about anything you serve all year.

8 fresh organic apples (any type of crisp apple works)
3 1/2 c. whole organic cranberries (frozen is fine)
2 oz. fresh ginger, chopped fairly small
1 c. plus 2 T. brown sugar
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
¼ t. cayenne pepper

To prepare:
Core and chop apples into rough quarter to half inch pieces. Peel and chop the ginger. Remember if the ginger is very firm and fresh you can skip peeling it.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and red wine vinegar and stir. Add the ginger and simmer everything for a 5 minutes or so. Next, add the apples, stir to combine them with the liquids and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the apples are fork tender. Be careful not to let them get too soft – we don’t want applesauce.

Strain the apples over a wide bowl to reserve the juice, then add the juice back into sauce pan and put the cooked apples into another bowl. Allow the apple juice to reduce for a minute or two, then add the cranberries and continue to cook just until the skin on the cranberries begin to pop.

After the berries have broken open, strain them over still another bowl and add that juice back into the sauce pan, just as you did with the apple juice. Simmer the juice mixture until it’s reduced to a thick-ish syrup. This should reduce to about a half a cup in volume.

Now combine the apples and cranberries and pour the syrupy juice over the fruit, fold together to combine well and you have chutney.

This chutney can be used immediately, stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or frozen for up to six months. If you’re going to freeze it, spoon chutney into serving size containers, then defrost any time of the year and enjoy the fresh burst of fruity flavor.

Use the chutney as an addition to muffins or scones, as a dessert or dessert topping, piled onto sandwiches, or as an accompaniment to any savory dinner. It’s absolutely wonderful with curries or served with cheese and crackers. We love it as a holiday accompaniment to Tofu Pot Pie. You can also substitute pears for apples, add raisins or nuts or other fruits. This is a great basic and buildable recipe destined to become a family favorite.

Cathi’s Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Cathi Dicocco’s Oven-Dried Tomatoes

These tomato gems are sweet, delicious, and a snap to make. Oven drying enhances the sweetness while preserving tomatoes at a time when they’re abundantly in season and affordable. You can also do this with cherry tomatoes and you don’t even need to scoop out the innards – Sungolds work well and are amazingly sweet and wonderful in a simple sauce over pasta. If using cherry tomatoes, make your cut across the “equator.”

Roma tomatoes (about three pounds)
Kosher salt
Sugar (optional)

To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut off the stem end and then cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the juicy insides. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, cut side up. Sprinkle with a little coarse kosher salt and a few turns of fresh black pepper. Some people like to add a little sugar to increase the sweetness of the tomato, but this isn’t usually necessary.

Set the pan in the oven and bake for two to three hours. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to speed up the process or the tomatoes will burn. Slow cooking dehydrates the tomatoes, which is what you want to accomplish.

For preserving the tomatoes you’ll want them dry, leathery, and flexible. Since tomatoes vary in size, some halves may remain a little moist, so simply return those to the oven to dry a little more, or you can use them immediately. To preserve the tomatoes in oil they need to be consistently dry. Water will cause the tomatoes to become rancid over a long period of time.

Cover the dried tomatoes with olive oil in a lidded jar to preserve or seal for longer storage.