Saturday, April 4, 2020

No-Knead Sandwich Bread

No-Knead Loaf Has a Soft Crumb
Isolate and bake. COVID Inspired. April 3, 2020.
Adapted from

250 ml warm water + 150 ml cool water
1 t active dry yeast
1 T sugar
2 t kosher salt
525 g all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 T vegetable oil
In a large bowl, add warm water (110 F, 43 C), sugar, salt, and sprinkle on yeast. Stir slowly with a stick or spoon handle. After 5 minutes, add the cool water. Stir in the flour, and when incorporated, add the oil, turning the dough over a few times to combine. Cover with plastic film and proof 4 hours in a warm place (about 80 F, 27 C). An oven with the light on is ideal. With the stick, degas, pull, stretch, and fold the dough, sprinkling flour on the outside to prevent sticking. Tip it into a greased 5x9 metal loaf pan and cover with plastic film. Proof a second time for about another hour, until dough rises an inch above the rim. Brush the top generously with olive oil, and bake in a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for 40 minutes or until top is browned. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pantry Pita Pizza

Put together from ingredients on hand. Wonderfully musical when spoken, this dish was COVID-inspired on the Ides of March, 2020.
2 pita loaves
1 T olive oil
2 T olive tapenade
1/2 c hummus
1/2 c diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, drained
1/4 c ripe black olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
onion powder
crushed red pepper
Steam the pitas until soft in the microwave under a moist paper towel or cloth. Preheat toaster oven to 400 F. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the oven pan and use it to coat both sides of the pitas. Divide the ingredients on each loaf. Spread tapenade on each, then the hummus thickly, and then distribute the cheese, tomatoes, olives, and the seasonings to taste. Bake 12 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Serves two.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Beef Vegetable Soup

Developed February, 2020 as a blending of familiar ingredients enriched with beef left over from an earlier meal or purchased at the deli.
2 T vegetable oil
1 c coarsely chopped green cabbage
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c diced celery
1/2 c diced carrots
1 c diced potato
2 T tomato paste
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
4 oz white or brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 t minced garlic
2 c hot water
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c beef stock (Better than Bouillon™ is good)
1 14.5 oz can seasoned black beans (Bush's Cuban™ is good)
2 green onions, sliced
1 T porcini powder
1/2 t fish sauce
4 oz cooked lean beef
Spread potato, carrots, cabbage, celery, and onion on a large plate. Salt lightly, cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until noticeably softened. Vent carefully. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high and add the tomato paste. When darkened, stir in the garlic and, after 30 seconds, add the blanched vegetables, the tomato, and the mushrooms. Cook until reduced and colored. Stir in the beans, stock, and the water. Heat to a fast simmer for 20 minutes, with occasional stirring. Stir in the beef and heat through. Serves four. Ripped and torn croutons make a nice side.

Beef Shank Braised in Red Wine with Root Vegetables

Developed March, 2020. This hard-to-find, economical cut was purchased at La Superior Carniceria, a Mexican supermarket in Durham during an OLLI 'Foodie Field Trip, an activity now on hold until the pandemic is brought under control.

Beef Shank Braised in Red Wine with Root Vegetables
4 cross-cut beef shanks
1 large onion sliced through the root into eighths
2 ribs celery, cut obliquely into large pieces
4 carrots, roll-cut into large pieces
1 T minced garlic
3/4 c red wine
1/4 c ketchup
2 T tomato paste
2 c hot beef stock
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
3 allspice berries
2 T paprika, divided
1 lb thin-skinned potatoes, quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 340 F. Salt shanks well, dust both sides with flour, and snip the outside fascia to prevent curling. Arrange meat in the bottom of a covered roaster and top with vegetables, wine, ketchup, spices, and stock. Dust generously with paprika. Roast 25 minutes. Turn meat and vegetables, cover, lower heat to 315 F, and roast for 30 minutes.  Turn, add the potatoes, dust with paprika, and continue roasting covered until the meat is fork tender, about another hour. Replace water as it's lost. Variations: Omit potatoes and serve over egg noodles, or substitute beef cheek or shoulder for shank.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Broccoli Steamed in Soy-Sesame Sauce

This dish is an adaptation of the same technique first applied with tender vegetables. Simply put, freshly-cut vegetables are seasoned, sauced, and steamed in a one-dish process. From improvised steamer to the table in a few minutes.
8 oz (250 g) broccoli crowns, cut into large florets
2 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t dark sesame oil
1 t chicken stock concentrate
1 T water
1 t tapioca (or corn) starch
Arrange the vegetables in a flat bowl. top with seasonings, add water, and sprinkle on the starch. Hint: tapioca or corn starch in a shaker jar facilitates this step. Place into an active steamer. After 4 minutes, with tongs, cautiously toss the ingredients together. Continue steaming another 5 minutes or until tender. Toss again and serve. Optional: Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No-Knead Bread in a Dutch Oven

This fail-proof recipe is a direct knockoff of one published by Mark Bittman in the NY Times Cooking section. I assert that placing this useful recipe outside the NYT paywall is fair use, as justified by the present National Emergency. Follow this recipe and virtually anybody can bake a loaf of delicious bread from flour, yeast, water and salt.
3 cups (385 g) all-­purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1⁄4 t instant yeast
1-1⁄4 t salt
1-5/8 c (385 g) water
Cornmeal as needed  
Step 1
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 18 hours, at room temperature, about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Step 2 
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.
Step 3
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a plain cotton towel with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
Step 4
At least a half-hour before dough is ready put a 6- to 8-quart covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven and preheat to 450 ºF (230 ºC). When dough is ready, carefully remove HOT pot from oven. Remove the top towel, lift the dough from below the bottom towel and turn the dough into the pot, seam side up. Shake HOT pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and return to oven for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a rack. Yields a 1-1/2 lb (680 g) boule with a firm crust and a tender crumb.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Cauliflower Steamed in Butter Sauce

This recipe, developed along the same lines as an earlier one, yields two servings of tender cauliflower in a smooth, rich sauce in about 15 minutes.
8 oz (250 g) cauliflower, cut into large florets
1 T butter, cut into small dice
1 t chicken or vegetable stock concentrate (Better than Bouillon™ is good)
1 T water
1 t tapioca or corn starch
Prepare an improvised steamer. Put the cauliflower in a shallow bowl, dot with butter, add the stock concentrate, the water, and sprinkle on the starch. Put the bowl in the steamer for 5 minutes. Cautiously, lift the top, and with tongs, toss the ingredients. Steam another 5 minutes or until tender. Toss again and plate. Serves two.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Steamed Vegetable Combo

Developed February, 2020, the method quickly produces a side dish in a savory Asian-style sauce. Vegan or not.
8 oz assorted tender raw vegetables, cut into serving size pieces
1 t soy sauce
1 t roasted sesame oil
1/4 t fish sauce (omit for vegan)
1 t chicken or vegetable stock concentrate
1 t corn or tapioca starch
Pile the vegetables into a shallow bowl. For example, bok choy, spinach; bean sprouts, green onions, shallots, snow peas, sweet peppers, sweet onions, summer squash, enoki mushrooms, and the like work well. Drizzle on the seasonings and sprinkle on the starch. Place into an "improvised steamer". After four minutes of active steaming, cautiously lift the lid and, with tongs, toss the vegetables to coat with sauce. Cover and steam another four minutes. Remove from steamer, toss again, and serve. Serves two.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Ingredient: Dry Shiitake Mushrooms

Recorded February, 2020. Sometimes known as 'forest mushrooms', they can be used in Chinese stir fries and other Chinese dishes. Shelf stable, they are available anytime. Hydrated, they take on a fleshy, savory quality and can be used like the fresh product. The soak water can be used as stock.
40 g (1-1/2 oz) dried shiitake
3 cups (750 ml) very hot water
1 t salt
1 t sugar
Rinse the mushrooms briefly to remove loose dust and place in a heat proof bowl. Pour the hot water over, add seasonings, stir, and cover. Occasionally stir until cool. Use as if fresh. Yields about 240 gram, or 8 ounces. Reserve the liquid for stock.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ripped and Torn Croutons

Meant as an accompaniment that brings crunch, flavor, and complex shape, these crusts are inspired by a garnish in a potato soup served at Fearrington House restaurant, in the countryside south of Chapel Hill, NC. They're good for salads too, or as a hot, crunchy snack.
1 cup French bread, torn into irregular pieces
2 t olive oil
1 t grated Parmesan
a pinch granulated garlic
pinch of salt
Heat oil over high heat in a small non-stick skillet. When smoking begins, lower the heat to medium high and add the bread pieces. Keep moving for about a minute. When browning of the edges begins, toss with the cheese and the other seasonings. Remove to a plate to cool.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Italian-Style Meatballs

Developed January, 2020 as a versatile component of many dishes. Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, or, in a crusty roll topped with a spicy sauce, or, in a soft bun topped with caramelized onions, or as appetizers on a buffet come to mind.
1 slice white bread, finely diced
milk to cover the bread crumbs
2 T olive oil, divided
1 c onion, finely diced
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 t minced garlic
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t dried Italian herb mixture
1 T grated Parmesan cheese
Cover the crumbs with milk and stir to form a smooth paste and set aside. Slowly fry the onions in a tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, gently mix the meat with a large fork until it is broken up. Work the moist bread, beaten egg, garlic, and the seasonings into the meat, one addition at a time. When the sautéed onions are cool, fold them in, and chill the mixture for 30 minutes to firm up. Heat a heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium-high and add the olive oil. When shimmering, form meatballs, about 1-1/4 inch (3 cm) in diameter by rolling between your two palms. Rinsing your hands with cold water as you work helps form balls. Add each to the hot oil as you make them, and fry about 6 minutes after the last one was added. Shake the pan to loosen them as they cook but let them brown. With a spoon and spatula, turn to brown on the other side. Remove and cover for later use.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fresh Vegetable Noodle Soup

Quick first course in a soup and sandwich supper. Four fresh vegetables come together quickly to make a satisfying and nourishing soup.
1 T vegetable oil
6 oz napa cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c green onions, sliced into half-inch lengths
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c coarsely chopped tomato
1 t minced garlic
1 qt water
1 packet tomato-noodle soup mix (Knorr™ is good)
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1/4 t freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 t fish sauce (use soy sauce for vegan)
Heat the oil to shimmering in a three-quart saucepan. Add the cabbage and sauté over medium-high for a few minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and green onions, cook a few minutes more, and add the tomato and garlic. When heated through, add the water, bring to a gentle boil and stir in the soup mix. Cook gently 10 minutes, add the seasonings, and adjust by tasting. Serves four.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hint: Pretreat ice cube trays with Pam™

To help ice cubes easily pop out of plastic ice cube trays, pretreat the trays with Pam™ or similar product. Treat dry trays by spraying the interiors very lightly. Spray them in the sink or inside a dishwasher to restrict the spray. Then rinse the trays under running water and let them dry before filling. The treatment leaves no visible residue on the ice. Repeat treatment as needed to retain effectiveness.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Spaetzle (German-style noodle dumplings)

Spaetzle Maker (internet)
Developed Spring 2018 from a traditional recipe.
2 eggs
2/3 c milk
½ t salt
¼ t ground nutmeg
2 c flour
¼ c butter or schmaltz
beef gravy (optional)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir in the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Half-cup at a time, stir in the flour with a spoon, until all is incorporated.  Let stand 30 minutes to hydrate the flour and permit gluten formation. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil in a six-quart saucepan.  Fill the basket of spaetzle maker with the dough, and position over boiling water.  Pressing down on the dough mass, slide the basket back and forth over the grate until the water boiling slows.  Boil a few minutes until the spaetzlen rise and are firm. Lift out with a mesh strainer to a skillet of hot melted butter or rendered fat.  Fry until crusted on bottom, and top with gravy. Serves six.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Rant: Supermarkets Must Stop Drowning Our Veggies. How to Fight Back.

Supermarkets these days commonly display fresh vegetables such as parsley, lettuce, spinach, and the like moistened by overhead sprayers triggered by timers. Customers who see that think unwittingly that it is done to maximize the 'freshness' of the veggies. Oh no. Their purpose is perverse. Their true purpose, as we know it from its inevitable effects, is to shorten shelf life after purchase by maximizing spoilage due to bacterial and fungal growth. Water is life. Without 'free' water microorganisms, can't grow.

And so, water can be the great destroyer. What to do? When you get a bunch of parsley or a head of celery home, remove the rubber bands that kill cells by reverse osmosis and stand them up to dry in your dish drainer. When dry, wrap loosely in dry paper towels (paper is sterile) and then in a loose plastic bag. Check every few days. Replace wet paper with fresh. Let the veggies breath. They are alive. Because plants are loaded with water (up to 90%) and because of gravity pushing reverse osmosis, the paper will need replacement from time to time. Manage your foodstuffs and minimize spoilage!

Leg of Lamb Roasted with Potatoes and Garlic

Developed December, 2019. Adapted from a method shown by Ira Garten on Food Network TV.
Roast Lamb with Potatoes and Garlic
5 to 6 lb (2.5 kg) boneless leg of lamb, tied or netted
1/4 c (half stick) butter
2 T fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
2 T kosher salt, divided
1/2 T coarsely ground black pepper
3 T minced garlic
4 lb (2 kg) yellow or red potatoes, whole or quartered, skins on (omit for keto)
1/4 c olive oil
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
An hour before roasting, rinse and dry the roast. Place it in a large roasting pan. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave, stir in half the salt and the other seasonings and spread all over the top of the roast and let stand at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C) and position the rack to midway. In a bowl, combine the potatoes, the oil, half the salt, and mix well. Surround the roast with the potatoes and place in the oven uncovered. Roast for 75 to 90 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 135 F (60 C). Tent with aluminum foil and let rest 15 minutes. Cut thin slices horizontally along the roast. Arrange on a platter with the roast potatoes. Serves 10 or more. Roast asparagus are a good side dish.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Quick Radish Pickle

Developed December, 2019. Ideal when you want to add something tangy and colorful to a plate.
1 large red radish
1/2 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t water
1/4 t sugar
1/8 t salt
Shave the radish paper thin on a mandolin or V-slicer. Combine the other ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in the radish slices and hold 5 minutes. Drain and pile like petals as a garnish or accent. Serves 1. Increase proportions as needed to make more servings.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Greene's Onion Burgers

A Detroit tradition, once operating at many busy corner grills across the region, now reduced to a single suburban outlet. Greene's cranked out thousands of simple, tasty cheap onion burgers with a very limited set of sides. No deep fryer. DrDaddy made his supper from these 'trefedick' sinkers on the nights after public school when he attended Hebrew school as he pursued his Bar Mitzvah status, just 70 yards from the Greene's white-tile walls. Counter service and carryout only. Years later, he would return to take away burgers. Now, to simulate the experience of carryout and the drive home to deliver the goodies, the sandwiches are wrapped in wax paper, bagged, and held 10 minutes before serving.
8 1/6 lb (75 g) ground chuck, formed into balls
plentiful white onions, thinly sliced into rings on a mandolin
8 soft white buns (toasted, optional)
pickle chips
yellow mustard
12x12 inch wax paper squares
paper bags
Heat the griddle to 325 F (165 C). With a stiff spatula, press a large raft of onions into  each ball of meat and flatten them together. Salt well, and press again. Open each bun and put the top on the bottom. When juices appear on upper surface of patty, flip and place bun on top. After a minute, lift patty and turn top of bun over, and put top on bottom. Flip and drop. Lift top of bun, add three pickle chips, a squirt of ketchup and of mustard. Wrap each burger in wax paper and groups the sandwiches in a bag. Pour a beer if you like. Wait. Reheat the bag in µwave if you must.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Hint: How to Break Down an Onion

Recorded October 30, 2013. Revised November 25, 2019. Onions are used widely in cooking, and usually need to be broken down before use. The methods described here respect the anatomy of the onion, and exploit its properties for culinary purposes. Two forms of slicing are described, one which favors retention of form and the other its loss. A combination of the two slicing methods leads to dice or mince.

The globe of an onion plant, 'an onion', is formed by concentric layers of pale watery leaves, the lamellae, that grow from the root below ground, and continue above ground as green leaves.  Onions are monocots, meaning their vessels run parallel to each other from root to leaf tip. This means that a slice in the 'polar' direction, that is, parallel to polar axis along a radius, will cause the least cellular damage. I refer to this as a 'blossom cut' because it results in petal-like pieces. Use this when you want onion pieces to keep their shape after cooking. Alternatively, a cut in the equatorial plane, the 'cross cut', slices through all the cells that make up the vessels, the xylem and phloem, that conduct the watery solutions up and down the plant during growth. This produces maximal cellular injury (and release of syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the tearful chemical). Use this cut when you want the onions to break down, such as for caramelized onions.

By combining cuts in the polar and equatorial planes, of course, dice result. A single piece of onion can't be any thicker than the thickness of the lamella from which it was cut. The lamellae change in thickness across the radius and so uniform dice are not possible irrespective of the slicing strategy. For large dice, I cut thick, equatorial slices and then, holding the slices together, along the radii toward the center following the shallow grooves on the surface. Fast, safe, and optimal uniformity.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Quick Gravy

Developed November, 2019. A rapid microwave recipe for a gravy that is suitable for many purposes. It can top chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, or seafood dishes depending on which stock concentrate is used. We recommend the Better Than Bouillon™ product line.
1 c tap water
2 t stock concentrate
pinch of GP Seasoning
1 T tapioca (or corn) starch
Whisk the ingredients together thoroughly in a microwavable container. One that doubles for storage is handy. Heat on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture boils and thickens, taking care that it not boil over. Yields about a cup. Easily doubled.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Crusty Potato Puffs

Developed Summer, 2019. By adding oil and coarse semolina, frozen potato puffs become a special side dish.
8 oz potato puffs (Alexia™ is good)
1 oz vegetable oil
2 T coarse semolina flour
1 t onion powder
1 t salt
Preheat a toaster oven to 400 F. Let the potatoes thaw in a shallow baking pan. Drizzle on the oil, coat by rolling the pan, sift on the semolina, onion powder, and salt. Roll the pan again to cover the potato puffs with the seasonings. Bake 15 minutes. Stir, raise heat to 425, and bake another 5 minutes. Serves two but can be easily doubled.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Line-Cook Seafood Chowder

Developed November, 2019.This delicious chowder is adapted from a recipe posted to Reddit by a line cook who described it as a “signature soup at my restaurant Patrons love it, and I think you will too.” I agree. Well-balanced, creamy, and economical.
1 oz vegetable or olive oil
½ c (125 ml) chopped red onion
1 c (250 ml) diced celery
½ c (125 ml) diced carrot
3 c (650 g) diced yellow potatoes, skins on
1 T minced garlic
1 T salt
1 10-oz can baby clams with juice + 1.5 cans of water
1 T chicken stock concentrate
250 g cod fillet, or other firm white fish, cut into half-inch cubes
½ T ground black pepper
1 c (250 ml) half and half
2 c (500 ml) milk
1 T dry dill weed
1 T Old Bay seasoning
For the roux:
½ c (one stick) butter
½ c all-purpose flour
In a 6-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables, garlic, and salt. Heat thoroughly with stirring, cover, and turn off heat. Let the vegetables sweat for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the clams, clam juice, water, salt, pepper, and the stock concentrate. Cook over medium heat for 10 more minutes. Add the cod to the pot, and simmer for 5 more minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the bubbling stops, slowly stir in the flour. Cook about 4 minutes with constant stirring until the roux turns a light tan and is smooth. Combine the cream and the milk in a large measuring cup, and off heat, slowly pour half the cold dairy into the roux with continuous whisking. When smooth, mix with rest of the dairy remaining in the cup. Stir the roux mixture into the chowder, add the dill weed and Old Bay, and heat to a fast simmer with stirring until the chowder thickens into a smooth creamy texture. Yields about 2-1/2 quarts (liters). Serve with oyster crackers or hot biscuits.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Quick Black Bean,Tomato, & Spinach Soup

This hearty soup makes a satisfying one-pot, one-dish meal. Adapted from an earlier recipe for bean and spinach soup. Developed July, 2019.
2 T tomato paste
1 T olive oil
1 medium tomato, coarsely diced
4 oz kielbasa or andouille sausage, diced
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander

pinch of red pepper flakes
1 t salt
1 t sugar
16 oz 
chicken stock
1 14.5 oz can Cuban-style black beans (Bush is good)

6 oz frozen or fresh leaf spinach 
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Brown the tomato paste in the oil, add the tomato and the sausage and cook until browned. Add the seasonings, heat for a few seconds to bloom the flavor, and then stir in the beans and stock. Cook at a fast simmer over moderate heat with frequent stirring for 20 minutes. Mash the beans with a potato masher. Add the spinach, return to a simmer, and cook for another five minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serves 3 to 4. Pair with crusty bread, tortillas, or hot biscuits, for a complete meal. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pork Cutlets

Developed June, 2019. From freezer to table in less than an hour, this recipe yields a meaty entree similar to wiener schnitzel for a quick mid-week supper from "pantry" ingredients.
4 boneless pork loin chops, about 4.5 oz (125 g) each
general-purpose breader (see recipe)
1/4 c (60 ml) vegetable oil
chicken gravy (see recipe)
lemon wedges (optional)
Pound thawed chops to a 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness between plastic wrap. Dredge in breader, shake off excess, and lay out to dry on a rack. Heat a 12-inch (30 cm) stainless-steel skillet over medium, add the oil, and when it reaches 325 F (160 C), carefully slide in the cutlets. Fry for about 5 minutes undisturbed but spooning oil over them. Turn over the cutlets and turn off heat. Let them cook through for 2 minutes. Cover with gravy and garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 4. Suggested sides: Peruvian rice and braised cabbage.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Quick Chicken Gravy

Adapted from our recipe for quick beef gravy, this recipe comes together quickly from pantry ingredients.
1 T vegetable oil
1 T wheat flour
1/4 t each sage, thyme, marjoram, and garlic powder 
8 oz hot water, divided
1 T chicken stock base
1/2 t shiitake powder
1 T tapioca (or corn) starch dispersed in 1 T cold water
In a small saucepan, mix flour and oil. Heat over medium until a blonde roux forms, about 4 minutes. Stir in herbs. Slowly stir in a ¼ cup hot water until a smooth slurry is formed. Stir in stock base and shiitake powder. When incorporated, add the remaining hot water. Stir and simmer 5 minutes. Pour through sieve to remove herb residue. Return to pan, stir in starch slurry, heat and stir until it thickens. Can be easily doubled.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Cabbage and Tomato Soup

A light, flavorsome soup makes an appealing breakfast. Add flour tortillas for a more substantial meal.
1 qt water
2 T tomato paste
6 oz Napa cabbage, cut into bitesize pieces
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1 t minced garlic
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t fish sauce (optional)
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, cut on bias
1 t vinegar
Combine all ingredients except green onions and vinegar in three-quart saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook 15 minutes with occasional stirring. Add the green onions and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Add vinegar and adjust seasoning to taste. Serves four.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Quick Scallion and Rice Soup

Developed May, 2019 in response to a need for an easy-to-digest, savory comfort food.
1 qt water
1/2 cup scallions, cut obliquely
1 oz tomato paste
1/4 c fried scallions (Thai import)
1 t salt
1 t fish sauce
2 T chicken stock concentrate
1 t butter
3/4 c rice
Gently boil all the ingredients together, except the rice, for 10 minutes. Add the rice and cook 15 minutes with occasional stirring. Adjust seasoning. Serves four.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Quick Vegetable Soup

This soup comes together quickly but delivers solid nourishment, savory taste, and appetizing aroma.
4 c water
1 oz tomato paste
2 c cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
2 T chicken or vegetable stock concentrate
2 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t fish sauce
1 t vinegar
1 envelope prepared lentils (Madras brand)
1 medium russet potato
Microwave the potato 3 minutes. When cool, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a three-quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the cabbage and tomato and boil slowly 20 minutes. Stir in the seasonings, the lentils, and the potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serves four.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning

Esteemed New Orleans cook Emeril Lagasse produces a creole spice blend and published the recipe widely. You can adjust the heat by how much cayenne pepper you include.
2-1/2 T paprika 
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried leaf oregano
1 T dried thyme
Combine the ingredients in a spice mill. Mill until smooth. Store tightly covered in the dark.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Beef Stroganoff

Developed March, 2019. After the slicing is done and the noodles are boiling, the dish comes together in about 10 minutes.
8 oz (250 g) flank or skirt steak
1/4 c (50 ml) flour
8 oz (250 g) brown mushrooms, sliced thickly
6 oz (175 g) frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 T (30 ml) butter
2 T (30 ml) olive oil
2 t (10 ml) minced garlic
3/4 c (175 ml) dry red wine
1-1/2 c (350 ml) beef stock
3/4 c (175 ml) sour cream
2 T (30 ml) paprika, divided
8 oz (250 g) tagliatelle or egg noodles, cooked al dente, and drained
Chill the beef 30 minutes in the freezer, slice thinly across the grain, and flatten each piece. With your fingers, mix the flour with the beef slices, season lightly with salt, and set aside. Heat the oil and butter over medium in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet until sizzling stops. Add the mushrooms and salt lightly. Cook until softened but not browned. Add the onions and continue frying until softened. Add meat, garlic and half the paprika. Lower the heat and cook until meat loses its rawness. Add the wine, cook until almost gone, and add the stock. Bring to a simmer, stir in the sour cream, the remaining paprika, and the noodles. Cook gently until the sauce has thickened and the noodles are done. Adjust seasoning. Serves 2 to 3.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Oven-Braised Country-Style Beef Chuck Ribs

Developed January, 2019. This cut, sometimes called 'country-style beef ribs' has recently appeared in local markets. It brings a rich beefy flavor, tenderness, and some connective tissue for unctuous mouthfeel.
1-1/2 lb boneless beef chuck ribs
4 T vegetable oil, divided
2 T tomato paste
4 large carrots, peeled, cut lengthwise, and quartered
2 large parsnips, peeled, cut lengthwise, and quartered

1 medium yellow onion, sliced through poles
6 oz large mushrooms, quartered
1 T minced garlic
1-1/2 lb green cabbage. cut into wedges, or 2 c cauliflower florets
3/4 c dry red wine

2 bay leaves
5 peppercorns
2 allspice berries 
about 2 cups beef stock
Heavily salt the meat strips and dust with flour. [Hint: Flour in a shaker jar is useful for this and related purposes.] Heat half the oil over medium high in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting cover until it shimmers. Carefully add the beef strips. Fry, turning as it browns on all sides. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Add the tomato paste, and then the vegetables in stages, adding oil and salt as needed, frying between additions. When all except the cabbage have been added and heated through, stir in the garlic, spices, and wine. Cook until reduced by two-thirds. Add enough stock to half cover the meat. Cover and roast about 90 minutes, turning every 30 minutes, until almost cooked. Add the cabbage or cauliflower, return to the oven, and roast until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve in bowls over boiled egg noodles or steamed rice if desired. Alternatively, add 8 ounces of prepared potato gnocchi with the cabbage or cauliflower.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ingredient: Boneless Chicken White Meat

Developed February, 2019. Many tasty dishes can be prepared from cooked chicken white meat. This method yields 8 ounces tender, recipe-ready meat.
8 oz boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch strips or chicken tenders
2 c chicken stock
In a small saucepan, heat the stock to 160 F (70 C). Place raw chicken in the hot stock, stir, and cover. Turn off heat, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Proceed with recipe or wrap and chill for later use.Reserve enriched stock for another use such as chicken enchiladas.