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

General Purpose Seasoning and Dry Rub

Recorded March 21, 2009. In use for many years. Reformulated 2011 to reduce salt by half and later rice starch was added to maintain free-flowing property.
1 T kosher salt (see Note)
1 T dried thyme
1 T ground black pepper
1 T granulated garlic
Combine ingredients by milling a few seconds in a spice grinder. As a rub, season both sides of meat thoroughly (about 1 t per lb) rubbing it in. Apply the rub about 1 to 2 hours before cooking, depending on thickness. Use the rub on pork ribs ribs, pork loin, pork tenderloin and pork butt. Also good on roast chicken, grilled chicken, roast turkey, fried chicken livers, omelets, and grilled beef. 
Variations: Dust a little ground fennel, five-spice powder, cumin, paprika, or cayenne on the meat after applying the rub. Note: Kosher salt is bulkier than table salt. If table salt is used, reduce salt to 2/3 T.

Air-Roasted Turkey Breast

Air-Roasted Turkey Breast Ready to Carve
repared February 24, 2010. A turkey breast cooks quickly and stays moist in this ada
ptation of the classic Chinese moist roasting method.
whole turkey breast, about 6 lbs
3 T poultry rub
vegetable oil
Prepare the Roast
To prepare the roast, r
emove any extra skin, fat bodies, membranes, or internal tissues. Rinse well in cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Spread all sides with oil, sprinkle on the rub and coat uniformly. Cover and marinate for 2 hours. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Position the roast skin side up directly on the middle oven rack, over 1-1/2 inches (5 cm) of water in a pan on the rack below (see also Air Roasted Chicken on this site). Roast until temperature in the thickest part reaches 160 degrees F, about 80 to 90 minutes. Let stand on a plate to cool for about 20 minutes before carving. Cut slices perpendicular to the skin down to the ribs. Suggested sides: Riced Yellow Potatoes, and Roasted Vegetables.

Beans and Greens

Beans and Greens at Their Wurst
Developed from an Internet consensus. Prepared with chard, February 14, 2009; prepared with escarole, February 22, 2009. A Family Favorite.
3 T olive oil, divided
large head escarole, or
large bunch Swiss chard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, sliced thinly
2 (15-1/2 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, undrained
2 T chopped fresh parsley
In a saucepan, heat a 1 T of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic. When fragrant, stir in beans with juices, and simmer until creamy, about 10 minutes. Keep covered off heat. 
To prepare chard, soak and rinse to remove any soil. Drain well. Trim and discard tough ends, cut off stems and slice into half-inch pieces. Slice leaves in half lengthwise and then into 1.5 inch-wide strips crosswise. Escarole: cut head in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1.5 inch-wide strips. While beans are cooking, heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Toss in chard stems, turning to coat with oil, and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chard leaf pieces. For escarole, add all at the same time. Season the greens with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until tender (about 5 minutes for escarole, 10 minutes for chard). When tender, stir greens and parsley into beans; simmer about 10 minutes more. Cover, and hold 10 minutes for flavors to mature and to thicken. Drizzle a little olive oil over each serving. 
Pairs nicely with a crisply-fried breaded pork chop, grilled baby-back ribs, or beer-braised sausage. For a vegan or vegetarian meal, substitute a crusty bread (e.g., Tuscan or baguette) or freshly-baked biscuits and butter.  Serves 4 to 6.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Recorded January 18, 2005.
1/2 lb ground pork sausage
3 T flour
2 c milk
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1 t dry sage, rubbed
1/4 t crushed red pepper 
Thoroughly brown sausage in a 10-inch stainless-steel sauté pan, chopping it into bits with a metal spatula as it cooks. Mix in flour and cook several minutes until 'blonde'. Stir in milk and seasonings, and fast simmer until gravy thickens, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the browned bits. Serve over a freshly-baked biscuit cut in half. Hint: Frozen Pillsbury™ biscuits (17 minutes at 375 degrees F in the toaster oven) are good. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Maria Cookie Sammies

Recorded 2-22-10
12 Maria cookies [look in Hispanic food section of your mega-mart]
2 T dark fruit preserves
2 T sunflower seed butter [Target and Trader Joe sells] or coarse natural peanut butter
1 T toasted walnuts or pecans [see NOTE]
Spread a teaspoon of nut butter on a cookie. Dip the sticky side into a dish spread with finely-chopped nuts. Spoon a teaspoonful of a rich dark preserves (black current, black raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, plum etc.) onto the nutty side. Complete the sandwich with another cookie.

Makes 6 sammies. Julian ate two quite willingly. He's two.


Spread a cupful of walnut or pecan pieces in a baking pan. Place in a preheated oven at 275 ºF. Toast for 10 minutes or at the first smell of nutty aroma. Let cool at room temperature. Chop very finely to the consistency of coarse sand. I keep a bowl of toasted walnuts in my mise en place. Great to toss into whatever you are eating or just nab a handful as a quick energy boost from high quality fats and proteins. Toasting enhances flavor and improves digestibility.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roast Asparagus, Sweet Peppers, and Cremini Mushrooms with Rosemary

Before roasting
Recorded February 8, 2010. Prepared many times.
1/2 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 c sweet peppers sliced into 1 inch pieces
4 oz brown button (cremini) mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
3 T extra virgin olive oil
generous grinds of black pepper
1 t fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 t soy sauce
1/8 t granulated garlic
After roasting
Place the pepper rings in a 8X8 metal pan in a cold toaster oven, and heat to 425 ºF. Dry roast for 5 minutes after it reaches temperature. Add the asparagus and mushrooms, and dry roast for another 10 minutes. Add the oil and seasonings, and mix well. Return to the oven for another 15 - 20 minutes until nicely roasted and colored. Salt lightly and serve. Serves 2 to 3. Variations: Use only the asparagus and leave whole. Combine with steamed rice or couscous as a side dish to roast and grilled meats. Use as a component of a risotto, such as roast wild mushroom and asparagus risotto.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, and Buttered Toast

Along with a juice glass of V-8, this is a typical breakfast for me, a maturity-onset diabetic. I dedicate this "recipe" to my beautiful, sweet-natured, and earnest young doctor MB, MD, from her manifestly favorite patient.
2 eggs
1 T light cream
pinch of salt
healthy grind of pepper
1 t butter
2 rashers of "low-fat" toaster-oven bacon
1 slice Arnold's™ Country-Style White
1 t low-fat soft margarine
Whisk the eggs, seasonings, and cream until frothy. Heat the butter until a bit brown in an 8 inch skillet. Add the egg mixture, and scramble lightly. When done but soft, plate as shown with a slice of hot "buttered" toast and crispy bacon. Coffee and juice of course.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Braised Cauliflower in Quick Cheese Sauce

Improvised on February 1, 2010 as a side dish for linguine in clam sauce.
2 cups cauliflower cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup low-fat soft margarine
1/3 cup grated mixed Italian cheeses or sharp cheddar cheese
1 t AP flour
salt and pepper to taste
Bring 3 cups of water with 1 t salt to a rapid boil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Add the cauliflower and return to a gentle boil. Cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly, dry the pan, and return to heat. Add the margarine and cook until the sizzling stops and it begins to develop a tan color. Return the par-boiled cauliflower to the pot and saute a few minutes. As it becomes tender, add the cheese and seasonings, and fold together gently. Sift in a bit of flour to hold sauce together. Let stand covered a few minutes to melt the cheese and meld the flavors.  Serves 2 or 3.
Hint: Keep a large shaker filled with all-purpose flour at hand. Use to add flour directly to a dish that needs a bit more body. 

Linguine in Clam Sauce, Pantry-Style

Conceived and prepared on Palindrome Day 01022010. Except for the parsley, the dish is prepared with pantry ingredients in less than 30 minutes. Hint: always keep parsley on hand. It brightens many dishes and is very nourishing.
3 T (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 T (25 ml) garlic, finely minced with 1/2 t kosher salt
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 6-!/2 oz (180 ml) cans chopped or minced clams, drained
reserved clam juice
2 T (25 ml) tapioca starch, suspended in 2 T clam juice
fistful chopped parsley
2 t (10 ml) fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
shredded or grated Parmesan
1 lb linguine, boiled 8 minutes in salted water
reserved pasta water
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic. When it is fragrant, add the wine, and mix to emulsify the wine, oil, and garlic. Reduce by half at a slow boil. Add the reserved clam juice and starch suspension and heat gently with stirring. When hot, stir in the clams and herbs. Stir in the hot undercooked linguine, add some pasta water, continue to cook, adding more pasta water until sauce is loose and the pasta is cooked al dente, about 6 minutes. Plate and finish with a drizzle of oil and a shower of cheese. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: This is the 50th contribution to this blog.

Oven-Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Olive Oil

Developed February, 2008. Prepared often, a family favorite, and solid performer.
1 lb russet, Yukon Gold®, or sweet potatoes
3 T olive oil
1 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 t paprika
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat toaster oven and baking pan to 425 ºF. Scrub, dry, and cut potatoes lengthwise into wedges. Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with oil and seasonings. Spread in a single layer, and roast 20 minutes. With a spatula and tongs, turn each wedge over and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until brown and crisp outside and tender inside. Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.