Monday, January 31, 2005

Nadine Kelley's Princess Potatoes (Christmas 2006)

Christmas 2006 note: make mashed potatoes pretty loose because they will tighten when they are heated in the oven. --Pamela

Nadine and Gene used to go to a steak place on Front Street in San Francisco call The Leopard. This restaurant served "Princess Potatoes" and, I guess, Nadine acquired the recipe.

Bake large Russet potatoes until done.

Carefully cut potatoes in half and scoop them out.

Mash the contents with a little milk, butter, and salt. Fill up the empty shells with your mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle the potatoes with Kraft American Cheese (the dried variety, which used to come in a blue round can like the Parmesan variety, but now can only be found in the packet accompaning the Kraft brand boxed Macaroni and Cheese) and dot with butter.

Heat in a 375 degree an oven until brown on top.

Can be made early in the day and reheated before dinner.

Nadine Kelley's Barbecued Beef on Buns

from the McCalls Cookbook, c1963

Nadine would wrap up some of these sandwiches in foil and freeze them. Then she would pop them frozen into a 350 degree oven and heat until warm.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon charcoal seasoning
1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups silvered cooked roast beef or pot roast
8 hamburger buns, split, toasted, and buttered

In hot butter in medium skillet, saute onion until golden--about 5 mintues.

Add chili powder, charcoal seasoning, tomato sauce, and salt, mixing well; simmer covered, 10 minutes.

Add roast beef; simmer 5 mintues longer.

Place about 1/2 cup roast-beef mixture on bottom halves of hamburger buns; top with other halves. Serve hot.

Makes 8 sandwiches

Pamela's Meat Loaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
4 slices bread, cubed
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper

Soak bread in milk, add eggs, worcestershire, salt and pepper. Beat with a rotary beater utnil well mixed.

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, pork, and onion. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into two loaves and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Last 15 mintues you can spread 1/4 cup chili sauce (or 1/4 cup catsup) mixed with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Serves 8

Nadine Kelley's New England Clam Chowder

2 cans chopped clams, liquid reserved
3 slices bacon or 2-inch cube salt pork
1 onion, chopped

Saute pork slowly. Remove and reserve scraps. Add minced onions and clams, and saute in fat about 5 mintues. Sft over them and stir into them, 3 tablespoons flour.

Heat and stir in clam juice (add enough water or chicken broth to make 3 cups of liquid).

Add 2 cups raw, diced potatoes and 1/2 bay leaf. Cover pan and simmer until potatoes are done.

Serves 4

Alberta's Savory Meat Sauce ....

Alberta has these four recipes, all using SAVORY MEAT SAUCE, hand-written on a large, very old piece of paper. She also has the same recipes typed on cards. SAVORY MEAT SAUCE is the common thread for each of the recipes.

Be sure to read my comments about how I prepared the lasagna.


1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef
3 #2 cans tomatoes (7 cups)--this is equivalent to 2 large (28-ounce) cans
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/1/2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil

There are no instructions for the cooking of this sauce. I assume from the order of the ingredients that it would be something like this:

In a pot, saute onion and garlic in oil until lightly browned. Add ground beef and brown. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hours.

The recipe appears to make enough for 1 batch of LASAGNE, a double batch of JIFFY CHILI CON CARNE, and 1 recipe of STUFFED CABBAGE BUNDLES.

Perhaps, Alberta thought this recipe was an easy way to prepare three separate dishes.


1 pound lasagne noodles, 1 1/2 inches wide
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups (1 pound) cream-style cottage cheese
2 8-ounce packages mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly oil 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.

Slide lasagna noodle strips without breaking into a large pot half filled with boiling water to which vegetable oil has been added (to keep noodles from sticking).

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until almost tender. Drain and cool with cold water.

Line the bottom of the baking dish with a single layer of drained lasagne strips, spoon over about 1/4 of the SAVORY MEAT SAUCE and cottage cheese, top with 1/4 of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat to make 4 layers, ending with cheese topping.

Bake in a moderate (350 degree) oven for 30 minutes or until hot.


2 cans (about 1 pound each) baked red kidney beans
2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes.


1 large head cabbage
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup (1/4 pound) grated sharp American cheese
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped

Cut out core of cabbage, peel off and discard imperfect leaves. Remove 8 large leaves, one at a time.

Steam cabbage in 1/2 inch boiling salted water in a large saucepan for 5 minutes.

Combine rice, cheese, egg, parsley, salt and worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl.

Melt butter in a small frying pan. Add onions and saute 3 minutes. Add to rice-cheese mixture.

Spoon stuffing into center of cabbage leaves, dividing evenly. Fold leaves up and over and fasten with metal skewers or wooden picks.

Place cabbage bundles in a 12 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish and pour SAVORY MEAT SAUCE over.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pamela's London Broil

from the McCalls Cookbook, c1963

This is one of the first things I learned to cook. We lived in Wayne, PA at the time, and Mom had just gotten this cookbook.

2 pounds flank steak
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspsoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon peppr
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients and brush on flank steak. Place in a pre-heated broiler and broil until brown and crispy.

Serves 6

Alberta's Steamed Chocolate Pudding

This recipe was copied from the Boston Cooking School Cookbook, c1917

3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 square Baker's chocolate (unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and egg, well beaten. Mix and sift flour with baking powder and salt, and add alternately with milk to first mixture, then add chocolate melted. turn into a butter mould. Cover and steam two hours. Serve with Cream Sauce.

Cream Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cream butter, add sugar gradually, vanilla and cream beaten until stiff.

Alberta's Fried Prawns

1 pound large prawns
1 or 2 eggs, beaten
cracker meal
vegetable oil

Shell and de-vein prawns. Dip them in egg and then in cracker meal. Fry them in a little vegetable oil. They only take a few minutes. Watch them carefully because they burn easily. Serve with ketchup and fresh lemon wedges.

Serves 2-3

Alberta's Potato Salad

Recipe for five pounds of new potatoes

6 to 8 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Pour 1 cup salad oil over 6 to 8 chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Slowly add to eggs and oil, 3/4 cup vinegar, 1 can evaporated milk, 2 cups mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop 1 or 2 red onions.

Cook 5 pounds thinly sliced unpeeled potatoes in boiling water just until tender.

Layer potatoes, onion, parsley and egg mixture alternately.

Aunt Claire's Sugar Cookies

Aunt Claire was Claire Moylan, Ed Sullivan's wife

2 cubes margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

Mix above ingredients and rool in balls. Mark with a fork.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Alberta's Whipped Cream Banana Cake

1 cup cream
2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour (I assume cake flour, but am not sure)
1 1/2 teaspoons Royal Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whip cream until it holds. Add egg yolks, well-beaten, then 1 cup sugar. Sift flour, baking powder, & salt together, & add to first mixture alternately with the beaten egg whites. Lastly add vanilla. Bake in an 8" square pan for 1 hour.

When cake is cool, split into two layers. Frost with whipped cream and sliced bananas.

Alberta's Mock Crab Salad

1/2 pound vermicelli noodles
1 can shrimp or 1 cup of fresh bay shrimp
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion (red or white), finely chopped
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
enough mayonnaise to blend ingredients
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
freshly chopped parsley

Place vermicelli noodles inside of a clean kitchen towel and snap into smaller pieces (2 or 3 inches long). Cook Vermicelli until al dente in boiling, salted water. Drain, rinse, and place in a large bowl. Add chopped celery, onion, shrimp, lemon juice, seasonings, and mayonnaise. When thoroughly mixed shape into a mold-form and arrange on lettuce leaves. Decorate with hard-boiled eggs, parsley, and more shrimp.

NB: Add more salt & pepper & especially lemon juice than you think you need because as it sets up in the refrigerator it tends to mellow out.

Serves 12

Alberta's Petrale Sole

1 pound petrale sole (medium-sized pieces)
parsley, chopped
vegetable oil

Lighly flour sole. Heat butter and oil in a frying pan until hot. Add sole and cook until brown on one side (just a few minutes), turn over and cook until brown on second side. Remove to platter and keep warm. Wipe out pan, add some fresh butter, lemon juice and chopped parsley and cook until parsley starts to brown. Pour over fish and serve immediately.

Serves 3

Nadine Kelley's Creamed Tuna in Toast Cups

8 slices white bread, crust removed
2 cans tuna, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Grease muffin tin cups with Crisco (or spray with Pam). Trim crusts off sandwich bread and fit slices into the cups. Bake about until slightly crisp (about 15 minutes) in a 400 degree oven.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Blend flour into butter. Add salt and pepper, and cook over low heat, stirring for 3 or 4 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly and simmer until thickened. Add drained tuna and, if desired, frozen peas.

Serve tuna in toast cups.

Serves 4

Nadine Kelley's Porcupine Balls

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

1 pound ground beef
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
a little vegetable oil
1 can tomato soup

Mix ground beef, chopped onion, and rice into golf-sized balls. Brown in a little oil. When brown, pour in 1 can tomato soup. Cover the pot and simmer for about 1/2 hour.

Alberta's Fishermen's Grotto Chef's Special Salad Dressing

Gramma used to serve this in her pink glass compote dish. She used it
for her Crab Louis salad, which she arranged on her green frosted
"Pebble Leaf" plates manufactured by Indiana Gass Company. This recipe
was in a little booklet she obtained from Fisherman's Wharf in San
Francisco, where we would frequently go to eat on Sundays (usually
Castagnola's, but sometimes Tarantino's and later Scoma's).

1 1/2 cups Chili sauce
1/4 cup celery (ground fine)
1/4 cup sour pickles (ground fine)
2 cups mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon horseradish

Put all ingredients into bowl. Mix together until well blended.

Makes one quart.

Keep in cool place but not in refrigerator. It will keep indefinitely.
(This is an interesting comment--I guess I would make only enough for
whatever I was serving--Pamela.)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Nadine Kelley's Brown Rice

courtesy of Patrice Warto

1 stick butter (you can use less butter if you want)
1 cup white rice (Nadine used MJB brand)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 can beef consomme soup
1 can water

In a skillet melt butter and add the chopped onion. Fry until yellow,
not brown. Then add washed rice and let brown, stirring occasionally.
Then pour into casserole and add consomme soup and water. Bake for 1
hour in a 350 degree oven.

Alberta's Oven-fried Chicken

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

1/2 cube butter plus a little oil
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces

Heat oven to 350. Put butter and oil in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; place the
pan in the oven to melt butter.

Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, and pepper. Coat chicken pieces with the
dry mixture; place skin sides down in hot melted butter in baking pan. Place pieces of the green onions and the lemon slices around the chicken.

Bake chicken, uncovered, for 35 minutes; turn chicken pieces. Bake for
about 25 minutes longer, or until juices run clear from thickest

Serves 4

Pamela's Fettucine

1 stick butter, unsalted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Mix together to form a paste and place in serving bowl.

Pour cooked fettucine noodles (about 3/4 pound) over paste and throw in
1/2 cup chopped parsley and some salt and pepper.

Toss well (it will thicken as you toss it), check seasoning, and serve.

Serves 4

Alberta's Lamb Shanks with Herbs

6 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons shortening
1 11-ounce can tomato soup
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon marjoram, dried
1/4 teaspoon thyme, dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Brown lamb shanks in melted shortening in a large pressure cooker or
heavy kettle. Combine Tomato Soup, wine, soy sauce, worcestershire, bay
leaf, marjoram, thyme, salt and garlic salt. Pour over browned shanks.

If using a pressure cooker, put on lid and cook at 15 pounds pressure
for 30 minutes. Cook immediately.

If using kettle, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook in a slow oven
(300 degrees) for 3 1/2 hours or until tender.

Serve with rice.

Serves 3 to 4

Nadine Kelley's String-bean Casserole

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

1 can bean sprouts, drained
1 can water chestnuts, drained
2 cans mushroom, drained (or 7 or 8 large fresh)
1 can Aunt Penny's Cheese Sauce (large)
1 package French-cut frozen string beans (or 1 pound fresh)
1 can French-fried Onions

Cook frozen string-beans for 3 or 4 minutes (or fresh beans, cut up,
for about 10 minutes).

Place in casserole: sliced water chestnuts, sliced mushroom, and bean
sprouts. Add string-beans and mix so ingredients are distributed

Heat cheese sauce so that it will pour evenly. Pour over top of

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Last 10 minutes, add canned
onions on top.

Serves 6

Alberta's Broiled Zucchini and Squash with Cheese

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

Small zucchini and crooked-neck squash
Kraft grated cheddar cheese (processed, dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the ends of the squash and place in water, just enough to cover.
Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer. Cook about 10-15
minutes, just until soft. Drain and slice lengthwise (scoop seeds out
of crooked-neck squash). Sprinkle halves with salt and pepper, butter,
and cheese. Put under the broiler (middle rack) and broil until
slightly brown and cheese melts. These burn as soon as you turn
away--watch carefully.

Nadine Kelley's Santa Maria Beans

1 lb pink, red or pinto beans
1 strip bacon slice, diced
1/4 cup diced cooked ham
1 small garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup canned red chile sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt

In Santa Maria, California, famous for its barbecue, cooks prepare a
menu that includes these beans. Traditionally, small pink beans grown
locally would be used, but small red beans or pintos can be
substituted. (Nadine always used pink beans.)

Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and cover with fresh
cold water and simmer 2 hours, or until tender. Meanwhile, saute bacon
and ham until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute 1 or 2 minutes,
then add tomato puree, chile sauce, sugar, mustard, and salt. Drain
most of liquid off beans and stir in sauce. Keep warm over very low
heat, or in low oven until ready to serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Gertrude Rigg's Spareribs

Place 4 pounds of ribs in a shallow pan with rack. Salt and pepper
them, and roast at 450 for 30 minutes. Drain off fat and put on the
following sauce:

1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup sherry wine
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced (dehydrated) or chopped fresh onion (red or yellow)
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Bank at 350 for one hour.

Maxine Kelley's Chile Beans

3 pounds ground beef
4 pounds red beans
2 large cans tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
1 whole bud garlic
2 large white onions
1 3-ounce jar chile powder
about 1-quart Burgundy wine
1 cup sugar
salt to taste

Wash and soak beans overnight--soaking water should be about 2 inches
above beans. While soaking, mix tomatoes, garlic, and onion in
osterizer. Add to beans with paste and seasonings. Brown meat and add
this to beans. Simmer on low until tender--almost 1/2 day.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Gertrude Riggs' Zucchini

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

4 large or 7-8 zucchini
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Melt 1/2 cup butter and add 1/4 cup olive oil. Thinly slice zucchini, add salt and pepper, and cover, steaming until tender.

Remove cover and fry for a few minutes, stirring and watching constantly.

Remove from heat and add 7 eggs, well-beaten. Mix well.

Add 1/2 cup greated cheese.

Put into a pie dish and bake at 350 until soft.

Nadine Kelley's Fried Carrots

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

4 or 5 green onions
1 package fresh carrots
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Slice carrots thinly. Slice green onions likewise, using a few of the green ends.

Melt butter in saucepan and add carrots and onions (fry).

Cover and cook at medium heat, stirring frequently.

After carrots look browned, turn heat down and let them cook through; this should take approximately 20 mintues. I take cover off last 3 or 4 minutes and turn heat up a little to crisp them up. Watch carefully because they burn easily.

Nadine Kelley's Crab Meat Dip

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
6 1/2 canned ounces crab meat
2 teaspoons dehydrated minced onions
1/2 teaspoons cream-style horseradish
salt and pepper
sliced almonds

Blend cheese, crained crab meat, onions, horseradish, and salt and pepper.

Mix well and turn into a shallow baking dish.

Sprinkle with almonds and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Alberta's Roast Beef

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

Place roast beef in roasting pan. Cover the top of the roast with pieces of celery and onion stuck into it with toothpicks. Season meat with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 oven for 25 minutes to the pound for medium rare.

Maxine Kelley's Roquefort Dressing

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise plus 1 tablespoon
2 small Roquefort cheeses
dash Accent
garlic poder or 1 clove garlic, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk

Mix all ingredients in a blender until creamy.

Nancy Syneider's Rollup Pancakes

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs until light and fluffy; add rest of ingredients and blend thoroughly (I make them in the blender, but it shouldn't matter as long as everything is really well mixed). Frying pan must be very hot, but not so hot it will burn. Cover bottom of pan well with margarine, and pour enough batter to almost cover bottom of pan. Keep spreading batter around edges (as an omelet) until they is nothing runny. Turn and briefly cook other side. Sometimes you have to keep adding margarine if it looks like its going to stick.

Roll up and serve with butter and powdered sugar.

Alberta's Veal Stew

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

8 small veal loin chops
1 onion
green onions
chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper chops and dredge in flour. Brown in a little oil or margarine along with some sliced green onions, and finely chopped garlic.

Dissolve 1 chicken boullon cube in 1 cup water and add to stew. Add a little more water if needed. Pour over the meat and let cook, adding more water as needed.

About 1/2 hour before the veal is done, steam thinly sliced carrots, sliced celery, and potato cubes until till crispy. Add to stew including water in steamer.

About 15 minutes before the veal is done, add some sliced mushroom.

Right before it is done, add parsley.

If the stew needs thickening, thicken it with a little cornstarch mixed with water.

Nadine Kelley's Enchiladas

Courtesy of Patrice Warto

Meat Filling:

1 package corn tortillas
1 pound ground round
1/2 can refried beans
1/2 cup grated montery Jack cheese

Brown meat, season to taste, and let cool slightly. Add beans and cheese; set aside.


1 can chili without beans
2 cans enchillada sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons Grandma Seasoning (or more if desired)

Cover bottom of casserole with small amount of sauce. Place about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture on tortilla, roll up tortilla, and place in a casserole until all are used.

Spoon remaining sauce over each enchilla. Sprinkle 1/2 more grated monterey Jack cheese over the top of enchilladas.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Nadine Kelley's Graham Crackers and Goo

A Kelley tradition!


2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons ground chocolate
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons hot coffee

Combine ingredients, spread on a graham cracker, and cover with another graham cracker.

If too thick, add a little more coffee.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Alberta's Gimlets

Simple Syrup:

3/4 cup sugar combined with 1 cup of water; boil for 3 minutes.


Into a cocktail shaker, place ice, 1 jigger of simple syrup, 1 jigger of Sweet Rose lime water, and 3 jiggers of vodka.

Shake well.

Can be served over ice or straight up.

For company, add a thin slice of lime.

Marty Schmidt's Spaghetti Sauce

Saute 1 onion (chopped) and 1 pound of hamburger. Mix in 1 package of spaghetti seasoning, 1 can of tomato paste and 2 cans of water. Mix in 2 large tomatoes (diced), some basil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a large jar of Ragu, and 1 large can of tomato sauce.

Simmer for an hour.

Cornflake-crusted Baked Chicken

from Everyday Foods, Issue 19

This recipe looked really good; unfortunately, I didn't think it had much taste. I wouldn't make it again.

Sweet and Sour Pork

from WeightWatchers

Excellent and easy!

1 serving cooking spray (5 one-second sprays per serving)
1 1/2 pound lean pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
15 oz canned unsweetened pineapple chunks
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 medium green pepper(s), sliced
1 small onion(s), sliced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
3 cup cooked brown rice

Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.

Add pork and cook until golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside. Drain any remaining fat from skillet.

Drain pineapple chunks, reserving juice; set aside.

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, salt, soy sauce and reserved pineapple juice in a small bowl; add to skillet and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add pork; cook covered over low heat until meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Add peppers, onion and pineapple chunks; cook 5 minutes. Serve over rice. Yields about 1 cup of pork and 1/2 cup of rice per serving.

Serves 4 (7 points per serving)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Alberta's Lazy Daisy Cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter

Beat eggs well; add sugar and vanilla. Mix. Add flour sifted with baking powder and salt.

Bring 1/2 cup milk to boiling point with butter and add quickly to former mixture.

Bake in an 8 x 12 or 9 x 10 inch pan at 350 for 35 minutes.


3 tablespoons melted butter
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon cream (may be canned)
1/2 bup coconut

Place topping on cooked caked and broil until lightly brown.

Homemade Pasta

3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oil
2 large eggs
Water, as needed to bring liquid to 175 milliliters

Put 2 cups of flour into cuisinart bowl with salt and oil. Measure 3rd cup and place by bowl.

Prepare egg and water mixture.

Turn machine on and pour egg mixture into machine. Mixture should immediately start to form a ball that tends to clean the sides of the bowl as it spins.

Once ball forms, add a tablespoon of flour. The ball will come apart and form again. Process for 90 seconds. Stop machine, add remaining flour. Process for 15 seconds, scrape down and process additional 15 seconds.

Makes about 1 1/4 pounds

Green Bean Succotash

This makes a delicious and hearty vegetable. We had it last night with Marinated Salmon Seared in a Pepper Crust. The thyme and lemon give it a really nice flavor; the corn makes it hearty.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
sal and pepper
1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off, beans cut
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
1 teaspoon minced rfresh thyme
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil.

Add beans, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add corn, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is heated through and beans are very tender, 3 to 7 minutes. Remove lid; simmer briskly to further reduce cream if necessary

Stir in thyme and lemon juice and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Alberta's Buttercream Icing

These icing recipes are basis for the Buttercream icing Alberta used on her Buttermilk Chocolate Cake; they are typed on an old index cards.

Lemon Butter Cream Icing

Beat 1 egg yolk with a fork, adding 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; then beat in Sea Island Confectioners' powdered sugar sufficient to make the icing the right consistency to spread.

Coffee Butter Frosting

Cream 1/4 cup of butter, add 2 tablespoons of double strong coffee, then stir in 2 cups of Sea Island Confectioners' powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon dry cocoa.

The brand-name for Spreckels Sugar was "Sea Island Sugar". This is an unusal recipe (i.e., unusual because of the egg yolk) and probably came from the box of sugar itself. A little vanilla extract is substituted for the lemon juice when using it on the Buttermilk Chocolate Cake.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Alberta's Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Gramma always served this cake on her round pink depression cake plate, which is in a waffle pattern.

4 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 cube butter
1 cup boiling water
2 cups sifted Swans Down cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten lightly

Pour boiling water over butter and chocolate - in large bowl - dissolve well. Sift flour and then measure - add sugar, baking soda, and salt. Sift dry ingredients into chocolate-butter mix, then add buttermilk and, lastly, eggs and vanilla.

Pour batter into an 9-inch greased, floured and lined square pan. Bake for 1 hour at 325º.

Frost with buttercream frosting (1 egg yolk, about 1/2 cup melted butter, and enough powdered sugar to make a frosting consistency--mix it together with a fork not a whisk) or bake in 3 layers and frost with whipped cream.

Notes: An 8-inch pan is too small--if you use it, your cake will overflow in the oven. I have had the best luck with an 9-inch aluminum pan. Don't mix the cake in a mixer because you will incorporate too much air if you do. This is a very simple cake to make: all you need is a bowl and a spatula. Put the butter and chocolate in the bowl. Make sure you use Baker's chocolate; your cake will not have the same flavor if you use another brand. Also, you need to use cake not regular flour. Pour in the hot water and let it melt. Meanwhile sift and measure the flour (make sure your cake flour is not "expired"), then measure out two cups of flour and re-sift with sugar, baking soda, and salt (I sift it onto a piece of parchment paper like Gramma did). Once the chocolate mixture is melted, just pour the flour-sugar mixture into the bowl and stir well to incorporate everything. Then, stir in the buttermilk and incorporate again, and lastly the eggs and vanilla. Grease your pan really well; line it with parchment paper that extends a little up the sides of the pan, and grease and flour the parchment paper really well or your cake will stick to the pan. You may have to bake it for an hour and 5 minutes. It is done when it is set in the middle and has pulled away from the sides of the pan slightly. Also, don't open the oven. This is a very dense cake that has the tendency to fall if moved or disturbed while baking. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning it out to cool. I turn it out on a dish towel (what Gramma did) which allows me to rotate it from one side to the other until it is cool enough to plate. You frost it on the bottom side of the cake. --PKS

Fruit Cocktail Cookies

from Ruth Schmidt

1 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 large can fruit cocktail, drained (reserve liquid)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons reserved fruit juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon molasses

Cream eggs and Crisco. Add juice and molasses. Sift flour, salt, soda, and spices. Add to eggs and Crisco. By hand add walnuts, raisins, and fruit cocktail. Form into cookies.

Drop onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

100 year-old Scotch Raisin Cookies

from Ruth Schmidt

1 cup raisins
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups old-fashion or quick oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

combine raisins and water in saucepan. Cook 5 minutes. Measure 5 tablespoons of the juice and combine with baking soda.

Cream sugar and Crisco until floury. Beat in eggs. Stir in oatmeal, salt, cooked and drained raisins and nuts. Add jice and soda mixture. Stir in flour. Drop 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes.

Fruit Cocktail Cookies

from Ruth Schmidt

1 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 large can fruit cocktail, drained (reserve liquid)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons reserved fruit juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon molasses

Cream eggs and Crisco. Add juice and molasses. Sift flour, salt, soda, and spices. Add to eggs and Crisco. By hand add walnuts, raisins, and fruit cocktail. Drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Oatmeal Cake

from Ruth Schmidt's mother

Measure into a bowl and cool, 1 cup quick oatmeal and 1 1/4 cup boiling water.

Cream 1/2 cup Crisco, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, and 2 eggs.

Add oatmeal, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Add to other mixture.

Pour into greased 9 inch square baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 mintues.

Potato Bake

from Ruth Schmidt

2 pounds frozen hash browns (chunks)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (save out 1/2 cup)
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup grated onion

Thaw hashbrown and mix all ingredients together except reserved cheese.

Put in a 9 x 12 baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Good for potluck dinner too!

Fresh Apple Cake

from Ruth Schmidt

Slice 4 cups of apples. Put into a large bowl with 2 cups of sugar. Let stand 1 hour, stirring often.

Beat 2 eggs. Add 3/4 cup salad oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour over apples and mix.

Sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Add nuts. Add to apple mixture.

Bake in a 9 x 12 baking pan at 350 for about 40 mintues. Check with a toothpick to see if done.

Elsie's Cheese Bits

from Ruth Schmidt

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 pound margarine
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash salt

Have cheese and margarine at room temperature. Mix well and form into walnut-sized balls. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Good snack with beer and wine.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Alton Brown's Who Loves Ya Baby-Back? (Ribs)

adapted from Alton Brown

The trick to fabulous ribs is to start early! Be prepared to let them cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. When done, the ribs will be so tender that you'll only need a fork to get the meat off the bone!

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs
1 bottle of Leon's Bar-B-Q Sauce (spicy or mild)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Salt and pepper lightly, and brush each slab amply with Bar-B-Q sauce. Fold the tops and the sides of the foil to form a packet, and place the rib packets on a rimmed baking sheet Open the end of each packet, pour 1/2 cup of water under each slab, and close the packet. Tilt the baking sheet to equally distribute the liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

When tender, open each packet and drain off the liquid. Brush amply again with Bar-B-Q sauce and either place under the broiler or grill outside until the sauce caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions and serve with extra sauce.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon

and Balsamic Vinaigrette

adapted from Cook's Illustrated

I recommend the organic prewashed baby spinach as conventional spinach is one of those vegetables that is generally very high in pesticides. If you choose to use bunched baby spinach instead, make sure to wash and dry the leaves well. I also recommend the "aged in wooden barrels" Balsamic Vinegar of Modena that is sold under the 365 Whole Foods Market brand. It is only $4.99 a bottle and quite possibly the best Balsamic Vinegar I've tasted. I made this salad for Roroc, and we both gobbled down 3 cups of fresh spinach each. It is superb!

Serves 4 a first course or 2 as a lunch course

5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2-3 slices of bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion , minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon table salt (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place spinach in large bowl. Fry bacon in small skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Return skillet to medium heat and add oil, onion, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar; swirl to incorporate. Pour warm dressing over spinach and toss gently to wilt. Sprinkle bacon over spinach; serve immediately.

A note for Heidi and Joe and other bacon lovers...for more smoke, salt, and crunch, add one slice of bacon and eliminate the olive oil; however, please use caution as this adaption may not be suitable for all eaters.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

With chicken soup, you have more than just a simple folksy tradition--you have a full blown anit-misery strategy with 2,000 years of scrutiny behind it. An ancient Greek treatise from around 200 B.C. describes how chicken soup can be used to treat various respiratory disorders. In the 12th century, the physician and scholar Moses Maimonides wrote that chicken soup alleivates symptoms associated with colds, the flu and asthma.

Modern research is bringing credibility to the ancient assertion that chicken soup can help the common cold or upper respiratory tract infection.

1 whole chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 quarts water
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 sprigs parsley, fresh
salt to taste

In a large pot combine chicken and onions. Add water. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 1 hour. Add celery, carrots, parsley, and salt. Cook on low heat for 2 hours or until chicken is tender and falling off the bone. Strain the soup through a colander. Reserve the meat for another use. Skim off fat before serving, if desired. Serve both alone or with noodles, rice, matzo balls, or crackers.

Serves 4

Creamy Bacon Dip

from Emeril

8 slices bacon
6 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish root
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Frank’s Red Hot (hot sauce), to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the bacon in a layer on a broiler rack set over the broiler pan. Bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble or chop into small pieces.

In a bowl, cream together the remaining ingredients. Add the crumbled bacon and mix. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Serve with the sweet potato chips.

Alton Brown's City Ham

We tried this one Easter and thought the result was terrific.

1 city style (brined) ham, hock end*
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 cups dark brown sugar
1-ounce bourbon (poured into a spritz bottle)
2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies

Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Using a small paring knife or clean utility knife set to the smallest blade setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut. (If you're using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat). Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across. Once you've made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham. (Don't worry too much about precision here.)

Tent the ham with heavy duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F.

Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Dab dry with paper towels, then brush on a liberal coat of mustard, using either a basting brush or a clean paint brush (clean as in never-touched paint). Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated. Spritz this layer lightly with bourbon, then loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can.

Insert the thermometer (don't use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered). Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 1 hour.

Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.

*Cook's note: A city ham is basically any brined ham that's packed in a plastic bag, held in a refrigerated case and marked "ready to cook", "partially cooked" or "ready to serve". Better city hams are also labeled "ham in natural juices".

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

with Rosemary and Garlic

from Paul Deen

1 1/2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 15), scrubbed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pare a narrow strip of peel from the middle of each potato. In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary; add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve hot. These can also be chilled and served with fried chicken or ham.

Serves 6

Honey Game Hens

from Paul Deen

6 Cornish game hens (about 3/4 to 1 pound each)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced

Rinse hens, trim off excess fat, and pat dry; place in bowl. Put garlic and ginger in food processor and process until nearly smooth. In another bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, oil, orange juice, and zest. Add the garlic and ginger. Pour mixture over game hens, coating well. Refrigerate overnight, turning in marinade several times.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place game hens in shallow roasting pan; pour marinade on top. Bake for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. Remove hens to serving platter. Pour cooking juices into small, heavy saucepan and boil for 4 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Pour over hens just before serving. Serve with sesame noodles or rice pilaf. These hens can also be grilled; just remember to baste often.

Serves 6

Turkey gravy

Drain most of the fat from the roaster--leave about 1/3 cup. Put the roasting pan on the burner and blend in about 1/3 cup of flour. Cook it, while stirring, for a few minutes to rid it of a raw flour taste. Add about 4 cups of unsalted turkey giblet water and whisk vigorous until it thickens and there are no lumps. Taste for salt; if you use a brined or kosher turkey it won't need any. Pour it into a small saucepan and continue to cook it for about 20 minutes. Turkey gravy should be on the thin side since it thens to thicken up as it stands (the flour continues to absorb water for a while). It it is too thick add water; if it is too thin, thicken it with a paste of softened butter mixed with flour added a little at a time and whisked in.

Makes about 4 cups

Alton Brown's Better Than Grannie's Creamed Corn

1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent.

In a large mixing bowl, place a paper bowl in the middle of the bowl. Resting the cob on the bowl in a vertical position remove only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using long smooth downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.

Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the juice from the corn has tightened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, using a whisk to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 3 cups.

Alton Brown's Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce

1 pound frozen cranberries
2 cups orange juice
3 cups ginger ale
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 orange, zested

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan, (stainless steel) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Carefully puree with an immersion blender or blender until smooth. Check for seasoning and serve in small ramekins.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Use a V-rack to keep the bird elevated. Be careful to dry the skin thoroughly before brushing the bird with butter; otherwise it will have spotty brown skin. Rotating the bird helps produce moist, evenly cooked meat, but for the sake of ease, you may opt not to rotate it. In that case, skip the step of lining the V-rack with foil and roast the bird breast-side up for the entire cooking time. You don't have to brine the bird if you use a frozen Butterball (injected with salt and water) or a kosher bird (soaked in saltwater during processing).

I used an frozen Empire turkey. Be careful about salt when using kosher or brine birds; I find that my gravy requires NO salt and that, in fact, I need to add 4 cups of unsalted giblet water so that isn't too salty. I undersalt the dressing as well.

Serves 20 to 24
2 medium onions , chopped coarse
2 medium carrots , chopped coarse
2 ribs of celery , chopped coarse
1 lemon , quartered
2 sprigs fresh thyme (3 to 4 inches each)
1 frozen turkey (Butterball or kosher turkey, 18 to 22 pounds gross weight), neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for gravy, turkey rinsed and thoroughly dried with paper towels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

A no-fuss recipe yields a beautiful bird that will please everyone around the crowded holiday table.

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; remove remaining racks. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and poke holes in foil; set V-rack in 15- by 12-inch roasting pan.

2. Toss onions, carrots, celery, lemon, and thyme in medium bowl; set aside. Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter, then sprinkle with half of salt and half of black pepper. Set turkey breast-side down on V-rack. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with remaining salt and black pepper. Fill cavity with half of onion mixture; scatter rest in roasting pan and pour 1 cup water into pan.

3. Roast turkey 1 hour; remove roasting pan with turkey from oven. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Using clean dishtowel or 2 potholders, turn turkey breast-side up; return roasting pan with turkey to oven and continue to roast until legs move freely and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 180 degrees, about 2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes. Carve and serve.

Marinated Salmon Seared in a Pepper Crust

from Sara Moulton, Gourmet Magazine

I prepare this outside on the side-burner of my gas grill and serve it with Tarragon Sauce (see recipe on blog).

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, pressed in a garlic press or minced and mashed to a paste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4-pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and halved or salmon steaks
4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a sealable plastic bag combine well the soy sauce, the garlic, the lemon juice, and the sugar, add the salmon, coating it well, and let it marinate, sealed and chilled, for 30 minute. Remove the salmon from the bag, discarding the marinade, pat it dry and press 2 teaspoons of the pepper onto each piece of salmon, coating it thoroughly. In a heavy skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it saute the salmon for 2 minutes on each side, or until it just flakes.

Transfer the salmon with a slotted spatula to paper towels and let it drain for 30 seconds.

Serves 2

Potato and Wild Mushroom Napoleons (New Year's Eve 2003)

from Emeril Lagasse

Dad & I had this for a first course, New Years Eve 2003

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, wood ear, shiitake, morel, cleaned, stems removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
2 teaspoons white truffle oil
Potato Crisps, recipe follows
1/2 cup finely grated aged Asiago (about 2 ounces)
12 slices fresh black or white truffle, optional garnish
Fresh arugula tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, as garnish

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots, salt and pepper, and saute until soft and most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken stock, cream and thyme, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by 50 percent in volume, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the truffle oil. Place 2 potato crisps on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon of mushroom filling on top, topped with 1 teaspoon of grated Asiago. Continue layering the napoleon so that you have 3 layers of potatoes and 3 layers of mushrooms in all, ending with mushrooms on top. Garnish the top of each napoleon with 3 slices of truffle, and sprinkle of Asiago. Arrange the arugula around the outer edge of the plate and serve.

Potato Crisps:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, like russets (about 1 pounds), peeled and sliced on a mandolin into 1/8-inch slices
1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush 2 large baking sheets well with oil. Arrange the potato slices in 1 layer on the sheets. Brush with the remaining oil, and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through baking.

Transfer with a spatula to cooling racks. Sprinkle with the Essence and salt, and set aside.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Melon and Prosciutto

from Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way

Melon and prosciutto is a classic first course, excellent as a summer starter. Depending on the quality of the melon and the ham, this dish can be great or ordinary. I favor muskmelons, known as contaloupes in the United States. Sometimes, at Connecticut farm markets, I can find the French cantaloupe, the charentais, of which threr are many types, some with netted and some with smooth skin, including the Cavaillon. My favorite ham is the Spanish Serrano, shaved very thin. Parma ham (prosciutto) is also excellent. Both are available at good delicatessens and specialty markets.

1 ripe melon (about 1 3/4 pounds)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3-4 ounces thinly shaved prosciutto or Serrano ham

Using a paring knife, peel the melon as you would an apple, removing the outer skin and any green parts underneath. Cut a slice from the melon to expose the seeds, then remove them. Cut the melon into 1 1/2-inch pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.)

At serving time, put 1 cup of the melon pieces on each of four plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, and divide the salt and pepper among the individual servings. Drape the prosciutto over the melon and serve immediately.

Serves 4

About melons

Make sure that you buy a ripe melon. It should be heavy and fragrant.

Note: you can also make apetizer sized balls wrapped with prosciutto and serve them with toothpicks.

Spareribs with Secret Chinese BBQ Sauce

From Hugh Carpenter's Pacific Flavors

Jim, Moshe, Amy, & I had these for our five-course New Years Eve 2005 meal. (The other courses included Melon & Prosciutto, Onion Bread, Eggplant Salad, and Santa Barbara Potstickers)

This barbecue sauce creates a wonderful, welcoming aroma as guests arrive for dinner. Spread it across any meat or seafood you plan to barbecue, broil, or roast; it adds a unique flavor. Secret Chinese BBQ Sauce can be made in large quantities and stored indefinitely in the refrigerator.

3 pounds spareribs

Secret Chinese BBQ Sauce

5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoon plum sauce
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

Advance Preparation

Have butcher trim cartilage and bone from the top of spareribs.

Cut off the flap of meat on underside of ribs. Aslo on the underside is a tough white membrane; using you fingernail or a sharp pointed knife, loosen membrane along the bone at one edge, then, gripping membrane with a paper towel, pull it away.

Combine ingredients for BBQ sauce.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Roasting Spareribs

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking pan with foil. Coat a wire rack with cooking spray, then place rack in baking pan.

Rub spareribs on both sides with BBQ sauce and place on the rack, meat side up. Bake until meat begins to shrink away from the ends of the bones, about 1 hour.

Cut into individual ribs. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Note: Pork baby back ribs and lamb ribs are also terrific cooked this way.

My First Dinner Party

After dad & I were married, I joined a cookbook of the month club. The first book I received was a huge book entitled "Great Italian Cooking" by Michael Sonino. Back in those days I 1) didn't know how to cook, 2) didn't know that I didn't know how to cook, 3) wouldn't eat onions, mushrooms, or make anything which contained said items (I soon realized that if the onions were pureed, and I couldn't see them, then they were OK), 4) didn't know anything about ingredients including where to find them, 5) didn't know that I could ask someone in the supermarket about where to find something (I used to wander around the market and leave without finding an ingredient), 6) thought that the best dish was long and complicated, and 7) vigorously sought out such a dish to make for a party.

I would literally go through the cookbook page-by-page rejecting dish after dish. I was not an adventurous eater in those days, liking only chicken, steak, sole, roast beef, lamb chops, canned string beans, potatoes, corn, and bread. And all of them had to be prepared in a relatively plain manner without suspicious ingredients. I would not eat onions, beans, peas, salads, or anything in which the ingredients were not plainly visible.

Now the cookbook I received was not your run-of-the-mill type; it was for professional cooks, who had knowledge of Italian cooking. It is full of very strange names and even stranger-sounding dishes, many of which I have never nor would ever prepare or eat.

The recipe I selected and made from this cookbook was No. 1306: Pullet in Casserole with Spring Vegetables. It had some pearl onions in it but I'm sure I either omitted them or thought them somehow harmless since they were easily picked out owing to their discrete shape.

I had no idea what salt pork was or where it find it; I had a minimal set of light-weight, Paul Revere pans, which included one 5 quart casserole; I didn't know the meaning of "parboil" and wouldn't have known where to go to find out what it meant; and I certainly had never clarified butter or flambeed anything. Fortunately this book did have a "gastronomic dictionary" in it which enabled me to look up these terms although I'm not sure I fully comprehended their meaning.

But this was a spectacular dish with flames and smoke everywhere, and I made it a number of times without ever batting an eye, clueless that I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing and no equipment with which to do it, and I never had any doubt or fear about what I was doing. I set my table with a green checkered tablecloth--the only one I owned--and my Lenox plates--I only had four at the time--, and I always served our favorite wine: Mateus Rose (at some point we had made the jump to Mateus; we used to drink Boon's Farm). We always had a good time, owing, no doubt in part, to the large amount of liquior we consumed. We usually never did the dishes or even cleared the tabled, until the next day. I have a photo of this party; we invited the captain of Dad's ship, Captain Watkins. We bought a 5th of scotch or bourbon for this party and Captain Watkins finished it off.

1306. Pullet in Casserole with Spring Vegetables

1 3-pound roasting chicken, cleaned
6 sprigs parsley
6 tablespoon Clarified Butter (No. 102)
1/4 cup brandy
1 pound carrots, cut into the shape of olives
12 white onions, parboiled 5 minutes
1/4 pound salt pork, diced, parboiled for 10 minutes
1 pound small "new" potatoes, parboiled 2 minutes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Chicken Stock (No. 3)
1 pound string beans, parboiled 3 minutes in salted water
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, stuff it with the sprigs of parsley, and then truss in the manner described in the introduction. Heat the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat until it is golden and brown the chicken on all sides, being careful to adjest the heat so that the butter does not burn.

Heat the brandy in a ladle over medium heat, ignite, and pour over the chicken. Shake the pot until the frlames subside.

Add the carrots, onions, salt pork dice, and potatoes. Baste all of the vegetables with the butter and juices in the pot.

Add the wine and stock, season with salt and pepper, cover the pot, bring to a boil, and then place the pot in a moderate (350) oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting occasionally with the jiuces in th epot.

About 15 minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, add the string beans.

Remove from the oven when the chicken is tender and, if desired, serve in the pot.

Serves 4

3. Chicken Stock

Prepare a White Stock (No. 1), using 1 additional pound of chicken meat, bones, or giblets

1. White Stock

1/2 pound lean veal
3/4 pound veal shin (bone and meat), cracked
2 pounds chicken necks, backs, or wings
8 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 stolks celery with leaves, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 egg whites
2 eggs shells, crushed

Place the meat, shin, and chicken in a large soup pot, add the water and salt, bring slowly to a boil, and reduce the heat. Stir meat occassionally. As scum rises to the surface, skim frequently until the liquid is clear. Add the remaining ingredients, except the egg whites and shells, and again skim until clear. Simmer tgently for 3 hours., remove from fire, and strain grhough a fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined colander. For extra clarity, return stock to the pot and add the egg shells and egg whites, beaten until soft peaks form. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, then strain again through clan cheesecloth. Before using the stock, fat should be carefully removed from top. If it has been kept in refrigerator, the fat will have solidified and is easy to remove. Stock keeps better if crust of fat is not broken.

Makes about 1 quart.

Note: Carcasses of roast or fried (but not boiled) chicken may be substituted for the chicken parts, along with gizzards.

102. Clarified Butter

Melt any given quantity of sweet butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat (or in a low-200-oven) until white foam rises to the top. Skim off the foam and continue cooking until no more foam rises and all particles in the butter sink to the bottom of the pan. Be very carefully not to allow the butter to color too much, especially when using for cakes or pastries, as it will acquire a nutty flavor. Pour off the clear, purified butter from the top into a container or remove it with a bulb-baster. The residue may be used as a final enrichment for sauces and soups. Both may be stored for as long as a week in the refrigerator or kept frozen for several weeks.

Clarified butter may be used as is, or with the addition of lemon juice, salt, and pepper, as a simple sauce for a wide variety of vegetables.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Essential Oriental Ingredients

Cock Brand Delicious Hot Chili Garlic Sauce

Squid Brand Fish Sauce

Five-spice Powder purchased in an Oriental market

Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce

Lee Dum Kee Oyster Flavored Sauce, Old Brand

Koon Chun Plum Sauce

Sailing Boat Brand Rice Sticks

Marukan Rice Vinegar

Sona Sesame Oil (avoid Dynasty Semsame Oil)

Dark soy sauce: Mushroom Soy Sauce

Light soy sauce: Superior Soy Sauce, Pearl River Bridge Brand, and Kikkoman Soy Sauce (NB: Soy Superior is dark soy sauce)

White long-grain rice (not converted or minute brands) from an Oriental market

Curry powder from an Oriental market

A. C. Products coconut milk

Koon Chun Bean Sauce

Southeast Asian-Style Spring Rolls With Shrimp

with Peanut Dipping Sauce

If you can’t find Thai basil, do not substitute regular basil; its flavor is too gentle to stand up to the other, more assertive flavors in the filling. Mint makes a better substitute. If you are unable to obtain fish sauce, substitute an equal amount of rice vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spring rolls are best eaten immediately, but they can be held for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator, covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel.

Makes 8 spring rolls
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fermented fish sauce such as nuoc mam
2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice from one lime
1 teaspoon table salt
3 ounces rice vermicelli
8 ounces medium shrimp , peeled with tails removed
1 large carrot , peeled and grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 medium jalapeno pepper or 2 Thai chillies, stemmed, seeded, and minced, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large cucumber (about 12 ounces), peeled abd julienned
4 leaves of red leaf lettuce or Boston lettuce, halved lengthwise
8 round rice paper wrappers (8 inches in diameter)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves or mint leaves, small leaves left whole, medium and large leaves torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup cilantro, fresh , loosely packed

Combine sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in small bowl; set aside.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in medium saucepan. Stir in salt and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to small bowl. Stir in rice vermicelli. Cook until noodles are tender but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain again and transfer to medium bowl; toss 2 tablespoons fish sauce mixture with noodles and set aside.

When shrimp cool enough to handle, coarsely chop shrimp.

Combine carrot, peanuts, and jalapeño in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce mixture; toss to combine. Toss cucumber in remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce mixture.

Place lettuce on platter. Spread clean, damp kitchen towel on work surface. Fill 9-inch pie plate with 1 inch room-temperature water. Working one at a time, immerse each wrapper in water until just pliable, about 10 seconds; lay softened wrapper on towel. Scatter 6 Thai basil leaves and 6 cilantro leaves over wrapper. Arrange 5 cucumber sticks horizontally on wrapper (see illustration 1, below); top with 1 tablespoon carrot mixture, then arrange about 2 1/2 tablespoons noodles on top of carrot mixture. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chopped shrimp on top of noodles. Wrap spring roll according to illustrations 2 through 4, below; set on 1 lettuce piece on platter. Cover with second damp kitchen towel; repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Serve with dipping sauce, wrapping lettuce around exterior of each roll.

Makes 8 rolls

Peanut Dipping Sauce

The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
2 teaspoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
2 medium heads of garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk peanut butter, hoisin sauce, water, tomato paste, and chili sauce, if using, in small bowl. Heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in peanut butter mixture; bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors blend, about 3 minutes. (Sauce should have ketchup-like consistency; if too thick, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until proper consistency is reached.) Transfer to bowl; cool to room temperature.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Tandoori Chicken

with yogurt sauce

From Everyday Foods, Issue 19

We tried this last night and it was a real winner, both in taste and in ease of preparation.

1 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk Greek variety)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
kosher salt
ground pepper
4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts halves (I used boneless, skinless)
2 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 475. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup yogurt, garlic, turmeric, ginger, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat.

Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 160 (25 to 30 mintues).

Meanwhile, peel apple; coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add cilantro and remaining 1/2 cup yogurt; season with salt and papper. Serve sauce alongside chicken, with rice, if desired.

Serves 4

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

with Sage-Vermouth Sauce

from Cook's Illustrated

It is difficult to tell this chicken from a roasted chicken; the breasts are very moist and flavorful.

Split whole chicken breasts yourselves because store-bought split chicken breasts are often sloppily butchered. However, if you prefer to purchase split chicken breasts, try to choose 10- to 12-ounce pieces with skin intact. If split breasts are of different sizes, check the smaller ones a few minutes early to see if they are cooking more quickly, and remove them from the skillet if they are done ahead.

1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt)
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts about 1 1/2 pounds each, prepared as described above
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sage-Vermouth Sauce
1large shallot minced
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry vermouth
4 leaves of sage each leaf torn in half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 3 pieces
table salt
ground black pepper

Once the chicken breasts have been roasted, it takes just five minutes to make a sauce in the empty skillet.

Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season chicken with pepper.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; swirl skillet to coat with oil. Brown chicken skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; turn chicken pieces and brown until golden on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Turn chicken skin-side down and place skillet in oven. Roast until juices run clear when chicken is cut with paring knife, or thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, and let rest while making sauce. (If not making sauce, let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.)

Using potholder to protect hands from hot skillet handle, pour off most of fat from skillet; add shallot, then set skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add chicken broth, vermouth, and sage; increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour accumulated chicken juices into skillet, reduce heat to medium, and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time; season to taste with salt and pepper and discard sage. Spoon sauce around chicken breasts and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Cranberry sauce goes great with this dish.

Onion Bread

from Hugh Carpenter's Pacific Flavors

3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water plus (see note)
1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons finely minced green onions
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup peanut oil

Sold by street vendeors all across northern China, Onion Bread consists of layers of unleavened dough alternated with sesame oil, green onions, and toasted sesame seeds. Pan-fried and cut into wedges, it makes an excellent appetizer or picnic dish, or is a superb way to sop up gravy from pot roasts, curries, and stews. Easy to make in advance, the bread can be rolled out in the morning and refrigerated for hours before being cooked.

Advance Preparation

In a small, ungreased skillet set over high heat, stir sesame seeds until light golden. Tip out immediately and set asaide.

Place flour in a mixing bowl and add boiling water. Stir well, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, pressing with the palms of your hands until the dough is smooth and no longer stickey about 8 minutes. Let dough rest 15 minutes, covered with a towel. Note: you may need more water--perhaps another 1/4 cup; the dough should be soft, not stiff. As the dough is worked it gets stiffer--the flour absorbs the water slowly.

With the surface lightly floured, roll the dough into a circle 1/2 inch thick. Rub the top with sesame oil. Sprinkle on about 2 teaspoons salt, then evenly spread on the green onions, cilantro, and some sesame seeds.

Roll dough circle into a tight cylinder. Pinch the edges closed, then twist cylinder several times. Taking one end, wind the cylinder into a coil, tucking the end into the center of the coil. With your palm, flatten the coil. Sprinkle remaining sesame seeds on both sides.

With a rolling pin, roll the flattened dough coil into a 10- to 11-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place dough between waxed paper lightly dusted with flour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Last-Minute Cooking

Place a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When very evenly heated, add oil. When oil is hot (bubbles form around the tip of a wooden spoon), add dough and fry on both sides, turning frequently, until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut bread into wedges and serve as an appetizer, with soups, and stews, or at room temperature for picnics. It can also be reheated in a warm oven (but not in a microwave oven, which roughens the bread).

Serves 6 to 8 people as an appetizer.

Notes: Always add more salt than you think is necessary; without a generous amount of salt the bread will be tasteless.

There are many other ingredients you could place inside the bread, such as olive oil, garlic paste, chopped fresh parsley, greated Parmesan cheese, and finely chopped Chinese sausage.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Chicken in Milk (from Jaime Oliver)

1 small organic chicken
1 stick butter
olive oil, salt, pepper
2 cups milk
fresh sage
rinds of 2 lemons
1/2 a cinnamon stick
10 cloves of garlic in their skins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter and a little olive oil in a heavy pot (Le Creuset works great). Rinse chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper. Fry chicken in butter, turning on all sides until golden brown. Take chicken out of pot and place on a plate. Get rid of the butter in the pan (I like to pour it into old tomato cans until it cools). Put chicken back in pan and add milk, sage, lemon rinds, cinnamon, and garlic. Bake for 1.5 hours or until breast meat is 160 degrees.

Rest, carve, and serve with the curd-like gravy in the pot. Have some with greens and yams with it (you can bake the yams in foil in the oven while the chicken is going).

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