1-pound brick mozzarella cheese

3 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoon milk

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

Vegetable oil or light olive oil for frying

Cut the cheese into finger-size sticks (approximately 4-by- inches). Beat the eggs with milk and set aside. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and Italian seasoning and set aside. Blend flour with cornstarch and set aside.

Dip cheese sticks in flour, then in egg wash, and then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place in freezer for 2 hours to firm.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. When golden, remove from hot oil and drain.

Serves 4-6, with tomato sauce.



TOMATO SAUCE



½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

½ teaspoon kosher salt,

plus more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black

pepper, plus more to taste

Two 32-ounce cans crushed

tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be made a day ahead.

Yield: 2 quarts.



SPICY SHRIMP KABOBS



1 pound raw shrimp

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Pickapepper sauce,

or Tabasco

2 tablespoons peach preserves

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Peel and de-vein shrimp. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in shrimp. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Drain shrimp, thread on skewers, and barbecue over medium heat. Shrimp are done when they turn white throughout. Try not to overcook as it makes shrimp tough and chewy. Serves 4.



SALSA VERDE



12 medium tomatillos (about 1 pound) husked, rinsed, and chopped

½ cup chicken stock

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

½ cup chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Yields about 2 cups.



BLACK BEAN MANGO RELISH



1 cup cooked black beans

4 tablespoons diced mango

2 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and diced

1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced

2 scallions, thinly sliced (white parts only)

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

¼ cup roasted fresh corn kernels

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons fruity white wine

2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing

Salt to taste

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and let sit for a least 1 hour.

Yields about 2 cups.



GORGONZOLA CREAM SAUCE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS



2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large Spanish onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced

Pinch of sugar

¼ cup dry white wine

1½ cups heavy cream

4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, broken into pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and sugar, cover, and cook until very soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Stir in the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the gorgonzola, season with the salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring, until melted and fully incorporated. This sauce is best used right away.

Yields 1 cups.