Friday, December 31, 2010

Apple and Persimmon Crisp


Developed December 30, 2010. These luscious fruits with their vivid color and jammy sweet flesh have a short season, in Autumn in Northern Hemisphere.

1 ripe Japanese persimmon (also called, Sharon fruit or fuyu), trimmed and thinly sliced
2 medium eating apples (Pink Lady, Braeburn, or similar), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 T all-purpose flour
1 T vegetable oil
3 T brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly-ground pepper
1 to 2 T lemon juice, depending on sweetness of fruit
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground clove
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c rolled oats
3 T cold butter, cut into small dice
1/4 t ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Mix the filling ingredients thoroughly, let stand 15 minutes, and spread in a six-inch glass baking dish. As shown in the photo above, the recipe when doubled will fill a nine-inch pie pan. Mix the dry ingredients for the topping. With your fingers or a pastry cutter, work in the butter until no lumps of butter are visible. Cover the fruit with topping and firm into place. Place on baking sheet to catch any spill over, and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling. Let cool uncovered until just warm. Pair each serving with ice cream for an extra treat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quick Avgolemono Soup

Created April 1, 2007; revised December 28, 2010.
1-1/2 c cooked rice
3-1/2 c chicken stock
1 rib celery, diced
2 green onions, finely cross cut
1 T butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
juice of 1 lemon
1 t grated lemon zest
1 T minced parsley
Soften vegetables in butter in a deep pot over medium heat. To hasten cooking, microwave the diced celery for one minute in the microwave. Add stock and rice, and heat through. In a large bowl, beat eggs well and stir in lemon juice. Add hot broth to egg mixture in spoonfuls with stirring until quite hot. The egg mixture must be quite hot and dilute to prevent curdling. Stir hot egg mixture into soup. Add parsley and zest, and stir over medium heat until it thickens. Serves four.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Red Pears in Red Wine

First prepared December 22, 2010. Makes a refreshing starter at breakfast, or a healthy mid-day snack, or a light, natural dessert at supper.
1 large ripe red Bartlett pear
1/2 t sugar
1/8 t ground cinnamon
pinch salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
1 oz mellow red table wine
Mix the wine and seasonings together in a small bowl. Peel, core, and cut the pear into bite-size pieces, and add them to the bowl. Marinate for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 2.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beef Ravioli in Broth with Spinach

First prepared January 17, 2007. Modified from a Rachel Ray recipe on
2 c (1 large) white onion, sliced thinly through the poles
2 t minced garlic
2 T vegetable oil
25 oz package of frozen beef ravioli, prepared according to package directions
1 qt beef broth
8 oz fresh spinach, rinsed
pinch of grated nutmeg
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil, add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the garlic, and when fragrant, add the broth and nutmeg and heat for a few minutes. Add the drained and cooled ravioli and reheat thoroughly. Stir in the spinach, and cook for two minutes until wilted and cooked through. Do not overcook. Serves 3 or 4 for dinner. 
Variation 1: Substitute cheese, spinach, or seafood ravioli and use chicken, vegetable, or seafood stock.
Variation 2: Substitute bok choy or other tender greens and adjust cooking time as appropriate.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A recent breakfast

A midweek breakfast for a retired man.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oven Roast Potatoes III

 Oven Roast Potatoes as a side with French dip sandwich
First prepared February 22, 2008
2 medium russet potatoes, cut lengthwise into 6 or 8 wedges, skins on
1 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 t paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven and baking pan to 425 ºF. Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with oil and seasonings. Spread in a single layer in the hot roasting pan, and roast 20 minutes. With a spatula and tongs, turn each potato over and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until tender. Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.
NOTE: Sweet potatoes make a lovely substitute and change of pace.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eggs Bubba I

Recorded Nov 16, 2010
2 buttermilk biscuits (Pillsbury® Frozen, baked according to package)
2 oz rosemary ham
4 Perfectly Poached Eggs
4 oz sausage gravy (homemade or commercially prepared)
Cut the ham into strips, and warm through in a little butter and set aside. Split the biscuits on plates. Top each half with some ham. Place an egg on each, and spoon on generous dollops of sausage gravy. Serves two. In the variation known as Eggs Bubba II, a bed of grits replaces the biscuit. As starter, gussied up tomato juice matches well.

Tomato Juice, Gussied Up

Recorded November 18, 2010
8 oz chilled tomato juice
2 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 t A-1 sauce
1/2 t lemon juice
sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Add juice to a glass, stir in seasonings, and serve. Goes great with a zesty grilled cheese sandwich. Serves one. Add a jigger of vodka, ice cubes, and a celery stick garnish for a tasty Bloody Mary.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Recorded December 4, 2007.
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
juice, pulp, and zest of one orange
plus enough water to make one cup
1 c sugar
Combine ingredients in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and cook with stirring for about 5 minutes. Berries will burst. Mash the berries as they cook with a potato masher until crushed and well mixed. Cover and let it sit undisturbed to cool and gel. Store in a tightly-covered container in the fridge. Keeps well.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Easy 'O-T-C' Dressing

Adaptation of marinade used for onion-tomato-cucumber salad. Recorded November 2, 2010.
apple cider vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t mayonnaise
2 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t ground black pepper
1 t dry parsley flakes
vegetable oil
Follow the markings on a Good Seasons™ salad dressing bottle with a tight-fitting cap. Add vinegar to the “V” mark, and water to the “W” mark. Add mustard and mayonnaise, and shake well. When dispersed, add the dry ingredients, shake until dispersed  and let stand 10 minutes. Add oil to the “O” mark. Shake vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to combine oil and vinegar. Store covered at room temperature. Shake well before each use. Makes about 8 oz.
Variations: Use as a cole slaw dressing, or as a marinade for chicken breast or pork chops.

Avocado and Bacon Sandwich

Recorded February 5, 2007
1 English muffin
1 T mayonnaise
1/2 ripe Hass avocado
1/2 t lemon or lime juice
thinly sliced red onion
1 strip crisp bacon
ripe tomato slices
Toast bun. Spread mayonnaise on both interior surfaces. Place avocado in a small bowl, squeeze on the juice, mash lightly with a fork to leave small chunks, and spread on lower half. Top with bacon pieces, tomato, and onion.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Creamsicle (An alcoholic mixed drink)

Recorded October 10, 2005. Perfect light cocktail, bothin the summer and during the fall holidays. About 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) as mixed.
1 jigger orange liqueur
1 jigger light cream or half&half
2 jiggers orange juice
Combine and stir in a 12-ounce whiskey sour glass, filled with ice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Freshly Pickled Onion and Cucumber Salad

First prepared December 2, 2003. A Family Favorite and SIGNATURE DISH. Especially good with rich foods, such as grilled hamburgers, pork chops, or fried fish.
1 medium cucumber (choose a firm one with little or no yellow in skin)
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia or similar)
1/4 c + 1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 T salt
1/2 T sugar
Peel and thinly slice (1/8 inch) the cucumber. Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in 1-quart bowl, and add the cucumber slices. Peel the onion and thinly slice it parallel to the equator. A mandolin or V-slicer speeds this work. Bring 1-1/2 quarts (1.5 L) of lightly-salted water to a boil over high heat, add the onions, and cover. After it reboils for 30 seconds, drain into a collander and refresh with plenty of cold water. Drain well and add to the cucumbers and mix well. Chill before serving. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Poached Chicken

Transcribed and adapted 2-15-08 by Alan from a handwritten recipe by Merry Magid. Revised 2-16-08 to match Julia Child's original (Vol II, Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
1 small fryer, cut up, or 3 to 4 bone-in breasts, cut in half
3 T margarine or butter
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces diagonally
1 large onion, blossom cut
3 ribs celery, cut into large pieces diagonally
1 leek, sliced
2 c chicken broth
1 c white wine
1 t dry tarragon
Skin chicken parts, except wings, and remove all visible fat. Sweat vegetables in margarine in a heavy pot for 5 minutes. Add chicken, cover, and turn off heat for 5 minutes. Add broth, wine, and tarragon. Return to a simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Serve over steamed rice in a bowl, with the vegetables and broth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Our internet consensus recipe. Developed January, 2005. Great side for rich meat dishes such as oven-braised spare ribs.
1 medium head red cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 strips bacon, coarsely chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c water (approx)
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t dry mustard
1 large bay leaf
2 t caraway seeds
Fry bacon until crisp. Add onion, cook until lightly browned. Stir in the other ingredients. Cover and cook about 1/2 hour on medium-low heat, until tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Simple Brine

1 qt cold water
1/4 c kosher salt
1/4 c sugar
Soak meat (up to 2 lbs of fish, shellfish, pork, or chicken) for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours for thicker pieces) in the fridge. Drain and hold in a strainer under ice until ready to cook. For an example of use, see (Another) Seafood Stew.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Easy Steamed White Rice

Developed September, 2010 and prepared often. The method produces a product very similar to what is served in Chinese restaurants or that rice cookers produce.
1 c long-grain white rice
1-1/2 c water
1/2 t salt (optional)
Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. While water is heating, rinse rice in a mesh strainer until water runs almost clear; drain thoroughly. Stir in the rice, cover tightly, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 16 minutes. Fluff with a fork, cover for 10 minutes to steam, and serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eggs: Such a dandy food!

Onion-Braised Spare Ribs

First prepared December 12, 2005. Ribs in the Winter. The dish adapts the "gedaempteh" method used by my Jewish grandmother to slowly cook veal breast, a product similar to pork ribs but having the potential of being Kosher.
5 lb slab pork ribs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1- and 2-rib portions
3 c yellow onions, sliced
1/4 c ketchup
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c water

granulated garlic 
ground cumin
ground cayenne or crushed red pepper
ground paprika 
Arrange ribs in a covered roasting pan. Mix and pour liquids over and dust on seasonings to taste. Top with sliced onions. Cover. Roast 30 min at 350 F. Turn over meat, reduce heat to 325 ºF and roast 60 minutes more covered, turning once. Remove cover, turn meat, and brown for 30 to 40 minutes. Replace pan liquid as it evaporates. Serve over steamed rice. Fried apples and turnip greens make nice sides. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, September 27, 2010

(Almost) Instant Caramel-Maple Apple Topping

September 27, 2010
Bought a three-pack at Kroger. That’s a lot of candy apples, so now what?
1 nut-covered caramel candy apple
2 T water
1 t butter
1 T maple syrup
Remove stick! Quarter, core and thinly slice apple. Add apples and water to a small nonstick skillet and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and cook until apples are tender but not soft, about 6 minutes. Remove cover, add butter and reduce over medium heat. Add maple syrup and heat through. 
Uses: topping for waffles, pancakes, ice cream, puddings.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wok-Grilled Snow Crab

Developed during 2010 when crab was 3 bucks (USD) a pound locally. The problem with frozen cold-water crab is that it has been subjected to a roiling boil in sea water on the trawler and then frozen. This produces a product that needs to be prepared without further disruption of its texture and dilution of flavor. This stir-fry method uses gentle re-heating without water or steam. It yields a product that is flavorsome and satisfying. Serves 3. A SIGNATURE DISH.
about 3 lbs (about 1.5 kg) frozen snow crab clusters
canola oil
roasted sesame oil
soy sauce (Kikkoman™ is good)
granulated garlic
Old Bay® seasoning mix 
Thaw the crab completely in a colander over a container or sink. Keep it cold after thawing if necessary under a layer of wet newspaper, covered with ice. Prepare the crab by lightly striking the larger leg segments with the side of a heavy cleaver to crack the shell.
Heat a large wok over medium high
heat (setting 6 to 7) and add a few tablespoons of oil. When smoking, cautiously pile on the crab segments with tongs, and cover. Handle the crab with tongs and a wok paddle during cooking. With a gentle inverting motion (to keep the clusters intact), turn the stack of crabs from time to time as they fry. Add oil if necessary. After five minutes or so, drizzle on a few teaspoons of roasted sesame oil, and stir to coat. Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of soy sauce, the garlic powder, and Old Bay to taste. Continue to stir fry until crab is thoroughly reheated and invested with a mahogany sheen.
Serve with crusty warm sourdough bread and provide a range of opening and picking tools. My favorite is a heavy kitchen shears with a serrated bite and sharp tips. A young fresh wine is perfect with the dish. The leftover crab meat is well worth picking to make Quick Corn and Crab Chowder for a tasty lunch.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Our first Internet recipe collection

Before beginning this food blog, I accumulated hundreds of my own and others recipes at, a giant publishing server run by UNC-CH. 

At the time, Jonathan was the technical director of ibiblio, and he graciously allocated disk space and login in support of these posts. 

Subsequently, Jon left that post and in 2008, I lost my login privilege and the online collection stopped growing.

Here's the link:;O=A

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Butter Beans

Prepared September 2, 2010
1 lb fresh butter beans (baby limas), soaked, rinsed and picked over
1/4 lb smoked ham
2 T dry chopped onion
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 t sugar
dash or two of Louisiana hot sauce
2 c water
Bring to a boil all ingredients except for beans in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes to form a quick meat stock. Add the drained beans to the pot and continue to simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, replacing water as needed, until beans are tender and creamy. Mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon to form a thick sauce.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seafood Crepes

[Laura believes her creation is "Worthy of a special occasion…", and it was!]
The day before:
Make crepes, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  Shell, steam and chop the shrimp, lobster, scallops and crab, store in refrigerator.  Reduce water used for steaming until you have approximately 1/2 cup and refrigerate.
For the Crepes:

1-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
2 c milk
1 large egg
1/3 c vegetable oil
5 T melted butter
Place flour and sugar in medium sized mixing bowl.  Slowly whisk in milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter.  Let set in refrigerator for approximately 1 hour before cooking. Heat a nonstick pan or crepe pan over moderate heat. Brush the pan lightly with butter. Pour about 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the center of the hot pan -- tilt in all directions to cover bottom of pan.  After about 30 seconds, the bottom of the crepe should be lightly browned and ready to flip.  Shake the pan to release the crepe and flip to other side.  Cook crepe for approximately 15 to 20 seconds and turn out onto plate.  Repeat this process with the remainder of the crepe batter. Store cooled crepes in the refrigerator.
Filling the crepes:
Before starting the filling, heat oven to 250 F and turn off when it reaches temperature. Put chilled crepes on a cookie sheet and place in oven to warm through.

4 T butter
2 medium shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c white wine
3 fresh bay leaves
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c chilled reserved steaming liquid
8 oz mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
8 oz lump crabmeat
1/2 lb raw shrimp, chopped
1/2 lb lobster tail, and scallops, chopped
2 T fresh chives, chopped
4 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t paprika
salt and white pepper to taste
In a large pan, melt butter over a low temperature.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent.  Add chopped mushrooms and sauté until tender.  Mix flour and reduced chilled seafood broth and set aside.  Add two cups of white wine and bay leaves to pan and cook until reduced by half.  Remove from burner, remove bay leaves and whisk in liquid/flour mixture into the pan.  Return to medium heat burner and cook mixture until thickened.  Slowly add in heavy cream and warm.  Add seafood and warm.  When all ingredients are warmed through and just before serving, add chives, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper.
Place two crepes on a plate and spoon 3-4 tablespoons of filling into the center of each and folding the sides up to the top.  Top with a small amount of filling.  Serve with a garnish of parsley and piece of seasonal fruit.
Spinach salad with nuts, dried cranberries, red onion and oranges topped with raspberry dressing is a nice side.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pan-Seared Grouper with Shrimp Sauce

Prepared by Laura for supper August 20, 2010, a Friday night!
1 lb grouper cut into 2-3 oz serving portions
1/2 lb raw peeled deveined shrimp, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves minced garlic
1 leek thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 green onion, green part only
1 large red bell pepper,thinly sliced
1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c dry white wine
1/3 c chicken stock
1/3 c half and half
2 t chopped fresh oregano
1 t fresh thyme
3 t chopped fresh dill
2 T tomato paste
1 t Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c flour with scant salt and pepper
6 T extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
3 T butter, divided
Add about 3 T EVOO and 2 T butter to a sauté pan and melt over low heat. Add garlic, leeks and shallot and cook about 1 minute over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and cook until nearly tender. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Add white wine and simmer to reduce the liquid. Add chicken stock and bring to a slow simmer. Turn heat down so liquid doesn’t boil, but added ingredients are warmed.  Add half and half, tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, and Old Bay. Taste to adjust salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
In a separate pan, melt remaining EVOO and butter and bring temperature up to sear the grouper. Very lightly coat the fish with flour, shaking off excess.  Add to pan to fry.  Cooking time depends on thickness of fish – watch for golden brown color and turn to other side.  Remove from pan and keep warm.
Serving suggestion:
Prepare buttered Basmati rice and put onto center of plate.  Arrange fish on rice and top with a generous serving of sauce. Goes well with a crisp dry white wine.
Serves 2-3.
Sauce would work well with any firm white fish or salmon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quick Somen Noodle Snack

Developed March 12, 2008, from Merry's dish.
1/2 lb somen noodles
2 T canola oil
2 t sesame oil
1/8 t garlic powder
1 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce (Kikkoman™ is good)
1/4 t sugar
1/2 t fish sauce (optional)
kim chee (optional)
Bring 1-1/2 quarts salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add noodles with stirring. Cook 3 minutes total, stirring frequently. Drain in a strainer and refresh immediately in several changes of cold water. Drain well and place in bowl. Gently combine with oils. Add other seasonings and turn gently to coat. Serve chilled, topped with kim chee. Serves 4.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Piquant Sandwich Sauce

First prepared and recorded August 7, 2010.
2 T prepared hot mustard (Colman’s or other spicy mustard)
1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T prepared horseradish (Kraft or equivalent)
1/2 t lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Mix thoroughly. Store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator. Excellent for beef, ham, turkey, chicken, lamb, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tartar Sauce

As developed and prepared over the years. A Family Favorite.
3/4 c (160 g) mayonnaise
1/4 c (60 g) dill pickle relish
2 T dried minced onion
1 t dried dill weed
1 T dried parsley flakes
1 t lemon juice
1 T capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
relish or pickle juice as needed
Measure mayo into a resealable container. Add the other ingredients, mixing between additions. Thin with relish or pickle juice as needed. Stored tightly-covered in the bottom rear of the refrigerator, this sauce will keep many months.
Note: To facilitate measuring the mayo and relish by weight using a digital kitchen scale, the volume measures have been converted to weight in grams taking account of product density. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Farmer’s Market Succotash

[Prepared and recorded July 15, 2010. Dish enabled by tiny, tender okra, sweet, juicy summer tomatoes, baby limas (butter beans), and sweet corn available from local farms. All perfect and cheap at the State Farmer’s Market in SE Raleigh. A long haul from Durham, but worth it. Laura loves the green eggs.]
3 T country ham, finely diced
2 T dry onion flakes
3 T low-fat tub margarine
Frank’s hot sauce
1 pt fresh butter beans
1 pt baby okra, cut into small pieces
1 pt ripe tomato pieces
1 cup freshly cut corn
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak, pick over, and drain the beans. Bring 2 cups of water, the margarine, dried onion flakes, ham, a 1/2 t of salt, and 2 t of hot sauce to a boil in a large saucepan, and cook for 5 minutes to form a broth. Add the beans, return to a boil, stir, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and okra. Mix and cook covered another 20 minutes. Add the corn, mix, and cook another 15 minutes. Stir in butter, correct seasoning and serve as a side dish in a country meal.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


1-1/2 c broth
1 t EVOO
1 t butter
1/2 t salt
dusting of coriander, cumin
1 c couscous
Bring the first five ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan. Off heat, stir in couscous. Cover tightly, and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving,
Serves 2-4. Very good topped with roast vegetables and parmesan cheese.

(Not So) Simple Syrup

Recorded July 6, 2010
1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
2 t lemon zest, finely grated
Combine sugar and water in microwavable container. Heat until steaming but not boiling. Add zest, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover, and let cool. Store refrigerated.
Use for Fresh Lemonade (see recipe), or mixed drinks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rum and Tonic

[Prepared July 1, 2010]
2 jiggers dark rum, divided
lime wedge
1/2 jigger maraschino cherry juice
10 ice cubes
maraschino cherry whole with stem
tonic water with lime flavor
Squeeze lime into a 16-oz glass, add 1-1/2 jigger rum, the cherry juice, the ice, and stir. Top up with tonic, stir, and layer 1/2 jigger of rum on top. 
Garnish with a cherry and a lime slice.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fresh Lemonade

[Recorded June 28, 2010]
1/2 t lemon zest
1 oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 oz simple syrup
water as needed
10 ice cubes
Place zest and syrup (sugar to water, 1:1) in a 16 oz glass. Let mull for a minute while crushing with a teaspoon. Add lemon juice, ice, and sufficient water to top up the glass. Stir vigorously to chill. 
Serves one.

Crostini in the manner of Elmo Barnes

Recorded June 28, 2010. Elmo cooks at their B&B with his wife Martha in Beaufort, NC.
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/4 t roast garlic paste
6 slices Italian Bread, 1/2 inch thick, cut on an angle
Heat the oil, butter, and garlic for a few seconds in the microwave to melt the butter. Brush both sides of the bread with oil-butter mixture generously. Grill on a panini press set to medium-high for five minutes.
Good with soups and salads. Top with salsa, pico de gallo, grilled queso blanco as a snack or appetizer.

Ingredient: Roast Garlic Spread

Recorded June 28, 2010. Yields a sweet, richly savory product useful for spreads, sauces, marinades, and the like. 
2 heads of garlic
2 t olive oil, divided
1/4 t kosher salt
Remove loose paper from garlic heads. Place each on a small square of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with a teaspoon of oil. Bring up foil from the sides and close tightly around the top.  Place directly on the rack of a toaster-oven preheated to 425 degrees F (218 C). Roast for 15 minutes, turn off heat but let the garlic remain in oven until they cool. Unwrap the roasted heads and separate into cloves. Squeeze each clove out the bottom of the skin by into the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind with the remaining oil until smooth and spreadable. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Uses: spread for grilled cheese sandwiches, add deep flavor to sauces, soups, gravies, roasts, crostini and bruschetta.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Air-Roasted Pork Tenderloin (Chinese Roast Pork)

Recorded June 23, 2010. This method adapts a traditional roasting method used widely in China to a conventional kitchen oven. No need to baste; the flavor has already penetrated, and the low heat and wet environment keep it tender and moist.

2 T minced garlic
1/4 c soy sauce (Kikkoman®)
2 T hoisin sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 t dark sesame oil
1 t brown sugar
1/4 c water
Orange, lemon, or tangerine zest, or grated ginger root (optional)
Trim any fat, cut away the silver skin, rinse, and pat dry two pork tenderloins. Place pork into a sliding tab 1 gal plastic bag and pour in marinade. Lay bag flat to cover meat and place in tray to catch any chance spills. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 10 hours, turning occasionally. Remove meat from bag, wipe surface dry, and discard the used marinade. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 C). Form or purchase eight metal S hooks. Place an oven rack in the 2nd highest position, and, using the hooks, hang the meat from the rack. On the lowest rack, place a pan to hold water. Fill the pan about 3/4 inch deep. Roast undisturbed for about 80 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice across, and serve garnished with sesame seeds, as part of a festive Chinese meal, or use in dishes such as soups, stir fries, rice or noodle or vegetable salads, and the like. Store unsliced and loosely wrapped in the fridge, or wrap tightly and freeze.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Recorded 11 March 2000. Adapted from several recipes found online. A Family Favorite. 
1 medium onion
1 lb asparagus
6 T low-fat soft margarine
4 T flour
1 t dry dill weed or 2 t fresh finely chopped
1/2 t dry tarragon
4 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
2 T lemon juice

1 c half-and-half (or whole milk to reduce fat content)
salt and white pepper to taste
Dice onion coarsely. Trim tough bottoms off asparagus and cut spears into one-inch pieces. Saute vegetables in margarine until onions are clear. Add herbs. Mix in flour and heat 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice and pepper. Simmer until asparagus are very tender (about 15 minutes). Puree soup with potato masher, food mill, or hand-held immersion blender (best). Pass through a strainer to remove tough fibers. Add light cream, adjust seasoning, and serve cold or hot. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives or dill. Variation: Cauliflower or broccoli can be substituted for asparagus.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pickled Beets

Developed March, 2006.
1 14-1/2 oz can of sliced beets, drained, reserve juice
1/3 c each beet juice and cider vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
Dissolve sugar and salt in liquid. Stir in beets. Chill at least 6 hours. Can easily be doubled. Serves 4. Variation: Add blanched or raw sweet onion slices.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ingredient: Chinese Black Mushrooms

A very meaty mushroom that can be stored indefinitely. This method yields a product that is an excellent ingredient in stir fries, soups, or risotto.

2 c very hot water (about 200 ºF)
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t sugar
1 c dried shiitake (dark forest mushrooms)
Stir seasonings into hot water. Stir in mushrooms until thoroughly wetted. Cover to hold in heat. Let stand until cool. Drain the mushrooms in a strainer, retaining the liquid to use as broth. Trim and discard tough stems. Use as fresh mushrooms.
Yields about 6 oz wet weight

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Best Damn Iced Tea, Bar None

The key is to keep the temperature below 200ºF. This minimizes tannin extraction, keeping the tea crystal clear when it chills and with negligible astringency. Recorded 19 May 2005. Have made many gallons every summer for decades. This lightly-sweetened beverage contains about 1.0 gram of carbohydrate per fluid ounce.
4 Luzianne family-size tea bags
1 regular size mint tea bag (Bigelow Mint Medley is fine)
1 gallon covered pitcher, two-thirds full of water
2/3 c granulated sugar
Tie the bags together for ease of handling. Place in a 1 quart saucepan. Add cold water to the top. Heat over medium-low until it simmers. Never let the tea boil! Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Top up the water, cover tightly and set aside to steep and cool. In the meantime, dissolve the sugar in the pitcher and chill. Stir the tea extract into the pitcher gently to avoid foaming, squeezing the bags dry with the back of a spoon. Add water to bring to a gallon. Cover and chill. Variation: Substitute Red Zinger, Raspberry Zinger, other fruit and herb teas for the mint.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: El Cuscatleco - A Salvadoran Eye Opener

Yesterday, a Sunday, about 5 pm, returning home along I-40 from the grand-girls dance recital in Smithfield (too cute for words), Laura and I were well beyond peckish. I found a discount coupon (one day expired) for El Cuscatleco (pronounced just like it looks -- but get ready for the second-to-last syllable *TLECK*) and figured it was on the way home off US-Hwy 15-501. Not much open on Sunday night but they are.
Their place is located in a low brick building set back from the street with parking in front. Just east of 15-501 at 4212 Garrett Rd. Durham NC
They have an extensive menu, including slo-n-lo dishes such as beef stews. They feature Salvadoran dishes, and the place is finished with many Salvadoran flags, folk artifacts and assorted chatzkes and chazarei. Prominent are the drink specials (Monday, Margaritas at 1.50!). We appeared to be the only non-Salvadorans there. Things seemed pretty busy for a Sunday night. Mostly, families with kids dining out.
The salsa and tortilla chips complimentary starters featured a delicious fresh tomato salsa with a nice kick. All their dishes strike you with their freshness and wholesomeness. Laura ordered the grilled bistek in the house marinade (a flavorsome skirt, $9.95) . Savory and sweet, citrus-based with a bit of heat. Luscious fresh salad of tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, onions and sour cream to top the tortillas. The Salvadoran tortillas were very different from Mexican ones. Thick, steamy, and fragrant with deep corn goodness. Fine renderings of arroz and frijoles refrito on the side as usual.
Mojarra frita
My entree was the mojarra frita, a whole fried fish, in this case, tilapia. The fish is simply scored deeply to admit the hot fat, dusted in flour and seasonings, and deep fried. A beautiful presentation on a huge platter. I ate less than half, and took home a box heavy with leftovers. The fish was moist, sweet, and nicely seasoned. Tilapia is mild and benefits from a bit of cayenne and cumin. The sides were the same as Laura's. Also, $9.95.
We both enjoyed a Negra Modelo ($3), served with the obligatory lime wedge and a nicely frosted mug. The beer was not too cold and tasted perfect with the food.
The atmosphere was festive with the typical confused assault of the three - THREE - different TVs, and non-stop Hispanic singing (which I enjoy) from a CD player somewhere, but conversation was not strained. Service was friendly, attentive, and competent. They did accept the expired coupon and the owner welcomed us to return with the spare expired coupon. He told me they have been at that location 10 years! Under the radar. They had a second place on N. Roxboro Rd in Durham but it has closed.
A truly wonderful meal. 3-1/2 stars, one dollar sign.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pan-Roasted Pork Porterhouse Chops with Fried Apples

2 loin (porterhouse) pork chops, 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick
General Purpose Breader (see Recipe)
1 medium cooking apple, peeled, cored, and cut in wedges

1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t sugar
Let the chops warm to room temperature. Lightly coat in the breader and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large saute pan until it's shimmering, but not smoking. Add the chops. Saute undisturbed 2 to 3 minutes on each side, and lower the heat. Move the chops aside and add the apples in a single layer. Cook over medium low heat about 6 to 8 minutes more, turning the meat and apples occasionally. When the chops are cooked but still juicy, remove to plate and tent with foil. Sprinkle the seasonings on the apples and raise the heat. When the apples are browned and softened, serve on the side with the chops. Serves two.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

[Another] Seafood Stew

First prepared April 15, 2008. 'Another' means one more seafood stew recipe, and also, for DrDaddy, one more try at a seafood stew.
2 T canola oil (or 4 T if salt pork is omitted)
2 oz lean salt pork, diced
2 ribs celery + leafy tops, sliced crosswise
1 leek, white part and tender green part, quartered and sliced crosswise

1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 carrots, peeled, quartered and sliced crosswise
1/2 medium yellow onion,
coarsely chopped
1/2 c, frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 c sweet red pepper, diced (or ancho chiles, soaked in warm water, drained well, and chopped)
2 medium russet potatoes (about two cups), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 c flour

1 qt fish stock + chicken broth, as needed to cover
1 lb firm white fish filets (e.g., whiting, catfish, cod, or tilapia) brined and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb frozen raw medium shrimp, brined, shelled (reserve for stock) and cut into bite size pieces
1 c milk
1 c light cream
1/4 c minced parsley
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 T lemon juice
sliced green onions or chives, as garnish
Brine the fish and shrimp for 30 minutes in a quart of cold water + 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c kosher salt. Drain in a colander and cover with ice  until ready to proceed. This treatment rinses, firms up and flavors the seafood. Prepare a stock by simmering shrimp shells, fish trimmings, vegetable trimmings, peppercorns, a bayleaf and sufficient water to yield a quart or soIn a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high and add chopped salt pork. Fry until crisp. Add the peppers, and fry until they begin to color. Add the corn, and continue frying until it heats through. Add celery, leeks, shallots, onions, and carrots. Cook about 6 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Stir in flour, and cook until the roux turns a light tan. Add potatoes, and cook until they are partly tender (test with a paring knife). Add the shrimp stock and additional chicken stock as needed and bring to a slow boil to thicken. When potatoes are tender, stir in the fish and shrimp. Add additional broth if needed to cover. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes. Stir in parsley, cream, milk, and lemon juice. Heat through gently. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Garnish each serving with green onions or chives. Serves 6 to 8 generously. Great with freshly-baked corn bread or dark pumpernickel.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quick Asian Rice Soup

[Prepared 4-9-10 for lunch]
1 12 oz pkg frozen rice and oriental veg (Kroger)
1 T canola oil
2 cups chicken stock (homemade)
1 t dark sesame oil
1 t soy sauce
1 t fish sauce
1/4 t granulated garlic
1 egg, beaten with 2 t water
1 T chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely sliced across
1 Chinese or Japanese fish cake, thinly sliced on an angle
Heat oil in a 3 qt sauce pan until it shimmers. Add the frozen mixture. Stir fry until beginning to get tender, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, heat to boiling, add the four seasonings, and lower heat to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the heat, and slowly stir in the egg to form threads. Add the cilantro. Plate in a bowl, arrange the fish cake on top, and garnish with the sliced green onions.

Serves 2 to 3 as a light meal

Friday, March 26, 2010

Braised Fresh Pork Shanks with Egg Noodles

Prepared March 25, 2010. Adapted from an online recipe for veal shanks.
1/2 c all-purpose flour
6 fresh pork shanks (hocks)
salt and pepper to taste
6 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 leek, white part, cleaned and sliced across
1 oz fresh dill, chopped
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
about 1-1/2 c chicken stock
1 12 to 16 oz bag egg noodles, boiled 8 minutes in salted water and drained
To skin the hocks, push a sharp narrow knife into the space between the skin and the meat. Always cut away from your hand. Cut all the way around the meat, freeing and discarding the ring of skin and fat. Season well with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C). Place flour in a 1-gal zipper-lock plastic bag. Heat 2 T of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add hocks to bag, tumble to cover, and shake excess free. Saute three pieces at a time, until thoroughly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes for each batch. Remove to a platter to rest when cooked. Discard the oil and wipe out the pan. Heat 2 T olive oil to pot. Add the vegetables and herbs and saute until vegetables brown, about 12 minutes. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. Place hocks atop cooked vegetables and add enough stock to half cover the meat. Bring to simmer; cover and place in oven. Roast about 90 minutes, turning the meat every 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the roast rest to let juices to settle. Remove the meat carefully from the pot to a bowl. Pour the pan drippings through a strainer into a bowl.  Put the liquid into a fat separator. Discard bay leaf and rosemary sprig from the strainer. Combine the roasted vegetables and the defatted liquid to form a pan gravy. Place cooked noodles in a serving bowl (or the dutch oven), arrange the hocks on top, and cover both with the pan gravy.
Serves 3 to 4. Paired with roast asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms. Original:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Turnip Greens with Country Ham

A Signature Dish. Recorded 4 July 2000; updated October, 2006 and January, 2009. Serves 4 generously. In this two-step recipe, first, a flavorsome stock is quickly prepared, and then, the greens are slowly cooked in this 'pot liquor'. Both greens and liquor are served together.
1 lb frozen chopped turnip greens + turnip pieces, or 1 lb fresh greens (turnip, kale, and/or mustard; collards) washed, drained, trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 c of water
3 T low-fat margarine
1 oz country ham trimmings, coarsely chopped
2 T dried minced onion
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t salt
1 T apple cider vinegar

1 t sugar
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 t mustard powder
Combine all ingredients except the greens in a covered 1-1/2 qt glass bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes on high, stirring once. Add the greens and stir. Microwave 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave another 2 minutes. Stir and microwave for 30 minutes on 20% power, stirring half way through.
Stove top:
all ingredients except the greens in a large saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add the greens, return to a gentle boil, turning a few times, for 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add water as needed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baked Fish and Rice

[Prepared February 2010]
1-1/2 lbs cod filets, or other firm white fish
1 c ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 small onion, blossom cut
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 c dry white wine
fish or chicken stock as needed
2 T fresh dill, chopped
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
zest and juice of half a lemon

1/3 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1-1/2 c boiled rice
Preheat the oven to 300 ºF. Place the fish, cut into serving-size pieces, in a large covered glass baking dish. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, and cook about 5 minutes, with stirring. Add the aromatics. Cook a few minutes to soften, and add the wine. Reduce by half, and add the herbs, lemon, and olives and enough stock to cover fish. Cook for a few minutes more to combine flavors. Pour the sauce over the fish, cover and bake 30 to 40 minutes until fish flakes easily.
To serve, push the fish out of the way, and fill the space with rice. Let stand 10 minutes for flavor to absorb. Serves 4.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buffalo Drums

Recipe inspired by Alton Brown's recipe for buffalo wings, 2007.
8 chicken drumsticks
3 T unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 c Frank’s Original Redhot Sauce™
1/2 t kosher salt
Steam the drums over 1 inch of vigorously boiling water for 20 minutes over medium heat. Remove the drums from the steamer and arrange on a wire rack set in a shallow pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil to keep the pan clean. Let stand a few minutes to cool and dry, turning once. Place on the middle rack of a preheated 375 degrees F (190 C) oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the drums and rotate the pan and roast another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is nicely browned. Then sauce the drums in the next step.
While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a large plastic or glass bowl along with the garlic in a microwave oven until it sizzles, and the garlic is aromatic. Stir in the hot sauce and salt and heat for another 1 minute. Add the drums to the bowl of hot dip and toss to cover. Serve warm. Offer cool blue cheese or ranch dressing as a dip. Serves 3 to 4.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

General Purpose Breader and Pan Fry Method

Devised July 20, 2007; revised August 31, 2007; revised November 16, 2008 again after Paul Prudhomme's recipe for chicken fingers on his PBS TV program by addition of baking powder. The semolina gives extra crunch but can be left out.

1/4 c each unbleached wheat flour, coarse semolina, yellow corn meal, and white rice flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 T salt
1 t paprika
1 t ground pepper
1 t granulated garlic
Measure ingredients in a one-gallon sliding zipper bag. Mix well. Store in the freezer. Made initially for pan-fried soft-shell crab. Also good for fish fillets, pork chops, whole trout, chicken breast, frog legs, hamburgers, chile rellenos, etc.
Rinse food pieces and dry lightly. Place moist food items into breeder, a few at a time . Tumble to coat thoroughly. [For extra crispness, allow the food items to sit covered with breader for 10 minutes.] Knock off excess breader and place food in bubbly hot butter-oil mixture. Pan fry 2 to 3 minutes, turn and finish cooking another few minutes. A bit longer for thick pieces. Remove to a hot platter. Don't overload the pan. Cook in small batches. Note: Prudhomme added baking powder to his breader to increase crispness. In his recipe, he seasons chicken strips, dredges in flour, dips in milk/egg mixture, and then into dry breader. Fries in 350 ºF oil in skillet 7 minutes total.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Riced Yellow Potatoes

Recorded February 28, 2010. Transcribed and modified from the video recipe on Cook's Illustrated PBS TV program.
4 to 5 medium yellow potatoes (Yukon Gold™, or similar)
1/2 c hot half and half
1/4 c low-fat soft margarine
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and cut into eight equal parts. Place in the basket of a steamer over boiling water and cover tightly. Steam vigorously for 20 to 25 min, until potatoes are soft to the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer to a potato ricer (see NOTE), and rice into a mixing bowl, batch by batch. Stir with a spoon, pouring in the hot cream (hot promotes a creamy and not grainy texture according to Alton Brown). Keeps it hot too of course. Mix until well combined. Add the margarine and keep stirring. Season to taste and whip by hand until smooth.
NOTE DrDaddy also likes the ricer identified in tests at America's Test Kitchen as the best around. RSVP™ International SPUD Potato Ricer 13.5-in