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    This wonderfully refreshing soup has been on Higgins' summer menus at Maldaner's for as long as I can remember. The Sweet Sour Syrup receipe makes much more than you'll need, but it's handy to have in your refrigerator for sauces and salad dressings.

  • 3 c. seeded, peeled cucumbers, either English (a.k.a. burpless) or thin regular cucumbers, quartered and cut into approximately 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/3 c. finely minced celery
  • 1/4 c. finely minced red onion
  • 1 T. hosher or sea salt, plus additional if necessary
  • 3 c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. sour cream or Greek style yogurt
  • 2-3 T. Sweet Sour Syrup, recipe follows
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 -1 tsp. Tabasco sauce, optional
  • 1 lb. cooked salad shrimp or other small shrimp, cut into half inch pieces if necessary (about 1 1/2 c.)
  • 1/2 c. snipped fresh dill fronds (NOT packed), plus additional for garnish

  • Put the cucumbers, celery and red onion in a colander and toss thoroughly with the salt. Put the colander in or over a sink and let the vegetables drain for 30 minutes.
    Rinse the vegetables well under cold running water, then spread them evenly over a lint-free towel, roll the towel up and squeeze to remove as much excess moisture as possible Set aside.
    In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk and sour cream or yogurt until completely combined. Stir in 2 T. of the Sweet Sour Syrup, pepper, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire and Tabasco, if using.
    Add the vegetables, shrimp and dill fronds and stir to combine. Check the seasoning. You may want to add another tablespoon of the Sweet Sour Syrup, Tabasco, and/or additional sald and pepper.
    Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle. Serve cold, garnish with the additional snipped dill fronds. Serves 6-8.

  • 3 c. (1/2-inch diced) cooking pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 T. chili spice blend
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Salad greens with apple cider vinaigrette:
  • 4 c. baby greens
  • 2 bunches watercress, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 6 T. grape seed oil or any light tasting oil

  • 30 peeled and cleaned shrimp (jumbo 16/20 size)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chile blend
  • Sale and Pepper

  • Rub pumpkin with oil and chile spice blend and roast in the oven until pumpkin is just done, not too soft. Let cool to room temperature. Clean greens and watercress. Dry and mix. Store covered in refrigerator until needed. Rub shrimp with the olive oil, spice blend and salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 350 degrees until shrimp is just done. Put shrimp in a bowl with all the oil and juices from the roasting pan and cool shrimp to room temperature.
    To assemble: Divide pumpkin onto 6 plates, keeping pumpkin cenetered on plates. Top pumpkin with salad that has been tossed with vinaigrette. Make sure the pumpkin is showing under the greens. Top greens with shrimp, drizzling any juices left over from cooking the shrimp. Drizzle the plate with apple mole (see note) and top shrimp with very thin shaved tart apple.

    Per serving: 340 calories, 6 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 300 mg sodium.
    Note from Chef Higgins: For the mole, use equal amounts of lightly roasted ancho, mulatto and pasilla chiles (or any three dried chiles of your choice). Powder the chiles in a coffee grinder and add ground cumin, coriander, ground cinnamon stick and Mexican oregano or just find a good Mexican chili blend already made. I did not say this would be easy, but some of the fun of cooking is getting out and finding things in or out of town. Cooking is an adventure so go exploring and have fun.
    If you want my mole sauce recipe, send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope (Michael Higgins, Maldaner''s Restaurant, 222 S. Sixth, St., Springfield, IL 62701) and I''ll send you a copy. Warning: this is not easy to make and you have to go looking for the ingredients. So the mole can be an option for this dish, but it is so good when you make it. Serves 6.

  • 1 lb. or more of fresh scallops
  • Blanched bacon
  • Bottled sweet chile sauce (available at Asian markets)
  • 4 c. assorted Asian, baby or other mixed salad greens, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 c. each slivered red or yellow bell peppers, radishes and green onions

  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. salad oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1 T. minced green onion
  • 1 tsp. hoisin sauce

  • Wrap blanched bacon around each scallop and secure with skewer or toothpick. Brush with sweet chile sauce. Bake at 375 degrees approximately 5 minutes; turn and brush with more glaze and continue baking until scallops are cooked through, approximately 3 to 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Combine salad greens and vegetables and place in a large salad bowl. Place ingredients for dressing in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well blended. Toss greens with dressing and divide among four dinner plates. Place scallops on top of greens.

    Optional: Drizzle with a sauce made by mixing mayonnaise with just enough Sriraccha (a sun-ripened chile sauce available at Asian markets) to give it a nice pink color with a bit of heat. Serves 4 as an entree salad.
    Per serving: 370 calories, 35 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 20 g fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 680 mg sodium.

  • 2 c. diced Yukon Golad potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. Nicoise olives, drained (may substitute kalamata)
  • 3 roasted red peppers
  • 3 (3-ounce) tuna steaks
  • Fresh young green beans
  • 4 (1-inch) slices French bread baguette
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
  • Baby greens
  • Chopped green onions or chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 T. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 T. fresh chives, chopped
  • 3 anchovy fillets, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • To make the vinaigrette, blend all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil. When blended, whisk in olive oil.
    Boil and drain potatoes. While still warm, add mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.
    Roughly chop olives. Add 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.
    Dice red peppers. Add 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.
    Salt and pepper tuna steaks. Drizzle each steak with 2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette and then grill.
    Lightly blanch green beans. Drizzle on a little olive oil and then grill briefly to get a smoky flavor. Salt and pepper.
    Grill baguette slices. Rub surface of grilled bread with the skin of a lemon. Drizzle bread with olive oil.
    To assemble: In a 3-inch ring mold (at least 2 1/2-inches tall) on serving plate, place a tomato slice.
    On top of that, place 1/4 of the potatoes, followed by 1/4 of the red peppers, several slices of egg and then 1/4 of the olives. Remove the ring mold. Place tuna steak on top of olives.
    Place green beans and baby greens on the plate and drizzle both with vinaigrette. Drizzle tuna with olive oil. Place a slice of lemon bruschetta (grilled bread) on plate. Garnish plate with green onions or parsley.
    Dish can be made a day ahead and assembled before serving.
    Serves 4.

    Amount: 4-8" Cakes
    Oven: Turn on to 350 degrees. Plac a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Set the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
    Pans: Cut baking paper to fit in the bottom of each pan. Butter and flour each pan then knock out excess flour.
    Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe:
  • 1 T. Instant Espresso
  • 1/2 c. Brandy
  • 8 oz. butter, unsalted
  • 12 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 oz. white chocolate
  • 10 eggs, medium
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 c. Corn Starch

Combine the espresso, brandy, butte~chocolates in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water on med.low heat . Stir a couple of times as the chocolates and butter are melting. Set aside.
Separate the eggs. Place the egg yolks on the mixer with the wire whip. Whip on Medium until pale yellow. Slowly add 1 C. sugar then let whip on medium high until the yolks are at a ribbon stage. This means that when the beater is lifted from the yolk mixture they will fall on top of the yolk mixture in a thick ribbon and they will stay on top of the mixture for a few moments.
Beat the white on low until frothy. Add the salt and the cream of tarter turn the mixture to high and beat to soft peaks. Slowly add the 1/3 C. of sugar and continue to beat till shiny, pointed peaks.
Stir the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Add 1/4 of the whites and sift the corn starch on top of the whites. Stir this into the chocolate mixture to lighten the mixture up. This does not need to be mixed in completely. Put half of the remaining whites on the chocolate mixture and lightly fold in. Add the remaining whites and continue to fold just until the whites are incorporated.
Pour the batter into each pan. they should be a little more than half full. even the batter out in each pan so it is not mounded on in the center then tap each pan on the counter. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until the cake has puffed around the sides but is still shinny and a bit shaky in the middle. A tooth pick stuck into the cake will come out with cake crumbs on it. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When completely cool place in the freezer and freeze over night.

  • 2 c. Cream
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 12 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the cream and the sugar in a sauce pan. place over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to simmer. turn the heat to low and let simmer without stirring for six minutes. (watch during this time that the mixture does not boil up and over on you.) Turn the heat off and add the chocolate to the cream mixture. Stir, do not whip, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is very smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.
Icing the Cakes
Remove two cakes from the freezer. Place them one on top of the other. With a sharp knife go around the cake trimming the edge so both cakes line up straight. Remove the top cake and place it aside. Fill the center of the cake with ganache.Replace the top layer and put a rough layer of ganache all over. Thin the ganache by heating it a bit if it has stiffened. Place a second coating on the cake evening up the sides if necessary.
Storing and Cutting
Place the iced cake in a container with a tight fitting lid and store in the freezer until ready to be cut. When ready to cut use a warm, dry knife and cut into 12 to 16 pieces. Store the pieces in a covered container at room temperature for about one hour before serving.

  • 3/4 c. Gram cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c. Chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 oz. butter
  • Combine dry ingredience. Add hot melted butter. Press into pan and chill one hour.

  • 1 1/2 c. pumkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 24 oz. cream cheese (soft and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 T. Bourbon (optional)
  • Mix together pumpkin, eggs, spices, salt and brown sugar. Set aside cream together cheese, granulated sugar. Beat in the cream, cornstarch, vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees approx 50 min.
  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla or 1 T. Bourbon
  • Spread on top of the cake. Bake 5 min. Chill over night.

    Serves Two - Any shape of cooked pasta for two people
  • 2 vine ripened romatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 c. roasted pinenuts (can be bought at La Cantina, Food Fantasies, and from the Food Co-Op)
  • 6 slices of prosciutto ham julienned
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 3 leaves of fresh sage chopped (can be bought at Food Fantasies, or through Maldaner's, where it's cheaper)
  • 1/4 c. good olive oil
  • 1 T. salted butter
  • Add oil and butter in hot saute pan. When the oil is hot but the butter has not browned, add ham and cook for one minute. Add pine nuts, green onions and stir. Add sage, stir, then add tomatoes, stir and cool until tomatoes are hot. Add pasta and cook until hot. Salt and pepper to taste. When serving, top with fresh Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

  • 2 Gamet Yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 4-6 Slices thick cut Bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples, cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 Scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) toasted
  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, to taste. Toss to coat and arrange them on a baking sheet. Roast the sweet potatoes until they are soft but not mushy, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and save

    Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil. Add the bacon and put the pan over medium-heat. When the bacon has started to get crispy and brown, add the onions, season with salt and sauté until the onions are very soft. Add apples and scallion whites and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes and sauté until they are cooked through and start to get crispy (about 7-8 minutes)

    Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the scallion greens and pumpkin seeds

  • 3 large Sweet potatoed diced to 1/2 inch
  • 2 diced apples
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. Orange Marmalade
  • 2 c. Canola Oil
  • 2 T. chopped Tarragon Leaves
  • 1/2 small red onion diced
  • 2 Bunches Swiss Chard or Kale or Mixture of both cut into strips
  • Salt and Freshly cracked Pepper
  • 4 T. roasted almonds
  • 2 c. cooked Faro
  • 1 c. Blue Cheese
  • Directions:
    Peel Sweet Potatoes and dice to ½”. Cook until Tender

    Vinaigrette: In a large mixing bowl add the Red Wine Vinegar, Mustard and Marmalade, whisk to blend. Slowly add Canola Oil and whisk until Emulsified. Add the chopped Tarragon and Red Onion.

    In a large bowl add the Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Swiss Chard (or Greens) and Faro.

    Pour in the Vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with Salt and Pepper. Top with Blue Cheese, Roasted Almonds and serve.

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 apple (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 c. red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 c. vegetable broth or water
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Directions:
    Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, apple and onion in the pot. Stir and cook the apples and vegetables until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes)

    Stir the lentils, ginger, black pepper, salt, cumin chili powder, paprika and vegetable broth or water into the pot with the apple and vegetable mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft. (about 30 minutes)

    Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a kitchen towel and carefully start the blender, using quick pulses to the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. (Or use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot)

    Return the pureed soup to the cooking pot. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat (about 10 minutes) Add water as needed to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Serve with yogurt as garnish.