Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Ben's recipe March 11, 2008.
1/4 c low-fat soft margarine (or butter)
1/2 c diced celery
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 c carrots, cut in rounds, par-boiled in microwave
1 leek, white parts, split, cleaned, and sliced
1 4-1/2 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained, reserve broth
1/2 c frozen peas
1 c red or yellow potatoes, cut in small cubes, par-boiled in microwave, reserve fluid
6 T all-purpose flour
3 c combined chicken stock + reserved mushroom broth + potato, carrot water
2 T chopped parsley
1 t dry thyme
1 lb cooked boneless chicken, cut in bite size pieces
salt and pepper to taste
8 frozen biscuits, thawed and rolled or pressed into 4-1/2 inch circles, or
2 circles, prepared pie dough (Pillsbury™ is good)
egg wash, optional
In a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, saute the vegetables, except for peas and potatoes in the margarine about 5 minutes until partly tender. Add the peas and potatoes, and heat through. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Stir in the broth gradually and heat until thickens. Add the chicken, herbs and seasonings. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish and top with biscuits in a 2 by 4 pattern or use two rounds of pie dough, trimmed to fit. Pinch edges of dough together and against walls of dish and slit with a knife.  Brush tops with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 8.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes Frying
Adapted from a family recipe. Traditional during the Jewish holiday, Chanukah because of the symbolic meaning of the oil. Don't use a food processor instead of a box grater or the latke will be too dense. Recorded January 21, 2006. Makes 15 latkes.
2 eggs
4 c (1 liter) russet potatoes, peeled, coarsely grated on a box grater

1 medium onion, grated and well drained
1 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
matzoh meal, as needed
vegetable oil
Drain the grated potatoes in a strainer, catching the potato juice in a bowl. Let it stand to permit the starch to settle, pour off the water, and add the drained potatoes and grated onion to the bowl. Beat eggs and add to potatoes. Add seasonings. Add matzoh meal as needed to absorb any liquid. Heat oil over medium heat and add large spoonfuls of batter. Fry about 3 minutes until golden brown, turn and complete cooking. Drain on paper towels before serving. Serve at once with warm apple sauce, cinnamon and sugar, or sour cream on the side. Latkes can be used as the starch portion of a meat-based meal.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cook Book, 1961 Edition. Recorded December 18, 2011. A lower protein all-purpose flour such as White Lily™ Bleached All Purpose make a tenderer pancake. These cakes rise high and can really soak up the maple syrup.
1 large egg
1 c buttermilk
2 T oil
1 c all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Combine egg, buttermilk, and oil in a bowl. Whisk in the dry ingredients until flour is moistened. Heat a non-stick griddle or skillet to 325 degrees F (165 C). Hint: A drop of water should dance on the griddle. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Using a ladle, pour a scant 1/4 c of batter onto the griddle for each cake. When bubbles have broken around the edges and the center has begun to gel, turn over with a spatula and bake the other side. When steaming slows, the cakes are done. Keep completed cakes in a warm oven until all the batter has been consumed. Yields 9 to 10 4-inch (10 cm) cakes
Variations: Stir 1/4 cup of toasted ground nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pistachios into the batter when it's prepared. Or, after pouring the batter, top each cake with fresh blueberries or toasted ground nuts, or both. For a special breakfast or brunch, construct Nutty Fruity Pancake Stacks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Matzo Balls

Recorded December 8, 2011. Adapted from a recipe by Manishevitz™.
4 large eggs
2 oz (60 g) schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or butter
1 c (240 ml) matzo meal
2 oz (60 g) stock or water
1 t salt
In a bowl lightly beat the eggs, mix in melted fat, and then stir in the matzo meal and salt.  Add broth and mix until uniform. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but several hours is better. Bring 4 quarts (4 liters) of salted water to a fast boil in a 6-quart (liters) pot with a tight-fitting cover. Moisten hands with cold water and form spoonfuls of chilled batter into one-inch (2.5 cm) balls, dropping each into rapidly boiling water as it is formed. Do not permit boiling to slow. Cover tightly and fast simmer for 30 minutes. Do NOT lift lid while cooking. Transfer matzo balls with a slotted spoon directly to hot chicken soup. Simmer a few minutes and serve. Serves four to six.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Roast Chicken with Easy Stuffing

Roast Young Chicken
Prepared November 28, 2011. Every cook should know how to  roast a chicken. Here's one way that works beautifully.
1 3-1/2 to 4 lb young chicken
1 pkg Stove Top™ Chicken Flavor dressing, prepared according to package directions
1 T general purpose dry rub
vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Prepare the chicken by rinsing under cold water, removing visible fat, and drying with paper towels inside and out. Season the cavity with dry rub liberally and fill with dressing, setting aside any extra. Truss the drumsticks with cotton twine and close the cavity with twine and skewers. Tuck the wings under. Prick the skin all over the fat on the breast, wings, and thighs with a sharp skewer. Rub vegetable oil over the skin and season liberally with dry rub. Set the bird on a V-rack in shallow dark roasting pan and place in the middle of preheated oven. Roast undisturbed for 1 hour. Check temperature of thickest part of thigh with a thermometer. When temperature reaches 165 degrees F (74 C) remove from oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest 15 minutes and carve into serving pieces. Deglaze roasting pan with a little wine or stock and serve, after defatting, on the side. O-T-C salad makes a nice side dish.

Pork Chops Grilled and Braised with Onions, Apples, and Cabbage

Prepared August 30, 2007. Adapted from Emeril Lagasse,
4 1-inch thick rib or loin pork chops, bone in
general purpose breader or seasoned flour
3 c yellow onions, thinly sliced through poles
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thick
2/3 lb cabbage, finely shredded
1 c apple cider
1 T cider vinegar
1 c chicken stock
6 pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T paprika
chili powder
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 T vegetable oil, divided
Trim fat from chops, dust with chili powder and bread lightly. Add 1 T oil to a heavy oven-proof 12-inch skillet, heat over medium high, and grill chops until nicely browned on both sides but not cooked through. Remove to a plate. Heat 2 T oil, and cook onions and apples until lightly colored. Add the cabbage and fry a few more minutes. Add the liquids, raise the heat, and deglaze the pan. Return the chops to the pan and cover with the cooked vegetables, and add the seasonings.  Cover tightly and oven roast 1-1/2 hours at 325 degrees F, turning once half way through the cooking. Serve over steamed rice. Serves 4.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rice Kugel

Recorded November, 2011. Adapted from The Settlement Cook Book, 1965 edition. Can be used in a Kosher meal. A Family Favorite.
1 c long-grain rice
4 c water
1 t salt
4 eggs
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
scant cup golden raisins
1/4 c butter or schmaltz, melted (for dairy or meat meals)
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a two-quart saucepan, stir in the rice, and boil slowly for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and spread on a plate to cool. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the rice and the other ingredients, and transfer to a well-greased 1-1/2 quart covered baking dish. Bake covered at 325 F for 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbling. Serve warm. Store in refrigerator tightly covered. Rewarm before serving leftovers

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Toasted Oatmeal with Roasted Nuts and Dried Fruit

Prepared November 3, 2011. Toasting the grain before cooking deepens the flavor and gives a toothsome texture to the dish. Adding dry fruit and roasted nuts boosts nutrition, fiber, and buttery flavor.
1 T butter or olive oil
1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 t salt
2 c hot water
2 T brown sugar
2 T light cream, milk, or vegan substitute
1/4 c ground roasted walnuts or almonds
1/3 c dried fruit such as raisins, figs, prunes  cherries, apples, blueberries, cranberries
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high, melt the butter. Stir in the oatmeal and salt. Toast for about 2 minutes with stirring until light brown in color. Stir in the water, sugar, and nuts. Simmer uncovered with occasional stirring about 12 minutes until thickened. When 5 minutes remain, stir in the dried fruit and continue cooking. Stir in the dairy, cover, and let stand 15 minutes to let the flavors mature. Serves 2 to 3 generously.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Veal Saltimbocca

Recorded October 16, 2011. Saltimbocca means 'jump into the mouth', a tribute to its speed of cooking and savor.
olive oil
8 oz (240 g) veal scallops
about 20 fresh sage leaves
about 1 oz (30 g) prosciutto, sliced paper thin
Pound the veal gently between sheets of plastic film until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into pieces about 3 x 1 inch. Place a comparable-size piece of prosciutto and then a sage leaf on top of the veal, and secure with a toothpick. Assemble all the veal pieces before beginning the cooking. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add butter and oil. When bubbling is over, add a few pieces of veal and saute on one side for a minute or two. Turn over each piece and finish cooking. Set aside to keep warm until the whole batch is cooked, adding more butter and oil as needed. Deglaze the pan with a little brandy or dry sherry and pour over the meat. Remove the toothpicks!  Serve over couscous and pair with a green salad for a light supper. Chicken breast cutlets can be substituted for veal if desired. Serves 2 to 3.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Rum Sour

Developed September 26, 2011. In readiness for the rare idyll by the sea with DrDaddy's sweetie. Und Frau und auch liebe.
3 jiggers (4-1/2 oz) margarita mix (Kirkland™ is good)
1 jigger dark rum
1/2 c ice
lime wedge
Add ice, mix, and spirits to a 14 oz glass. Squeeze lime juice into drink and add rind

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fried Grit Cakes

Fried Grit Cakes, Poached Egg, and Summer Fruits Salad
Recorded September 8, 2011.
1 recipe of cheese-onion grits with added sweet corn
canola oil
flour for breading
Pour the hot cooked grits into a well-greased 8 X 8 inch metal pan. Cover tightly and chill overnight. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high and add a small amount of oil. Cut grits into 9 squares, coat each on both sides with flour, and fry until nicely browned and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately. Top with poached or butter-steamed eggs, or sausage gravy. Serves up to 9.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Butter-Steamed Eggs

Butter-Steamed Egg on 
Cheese-Onion Grits with Fried Apples
Recorded August 25, 2011.
1 or 2 eggs
1 t butter
Heat a heavy 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan. When the foaming stops and the butter has colored a bit, crack in the eggs, careful not to break the yolks. Cover tightly immediately and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook covered 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. White should be soft set and the yolks cooked but still runny. Plate immediately and finish with freshly-ground pepper and sea salt. Serves 1. Variation: serve atop a mound of creamy, savory grits or cheese-onion grits. Fried apples complement the dish nicely for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

(Chicken) Vegetable Soup

Prepared August 17, 2011. A melange of fresh vegetables. Better the second day.
2 T canola oil
1 rib of celery, cut into large dice
1 medium carrot, cut into large dice
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 c leeks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T garlic, minced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 6 oz tomato, cut into large dice
1-1/2 c red or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 c green beans, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1 c frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 qt chicken stock, vegetable stock, or tomato juice
about 2 c water
2 c green cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 c rotisserie chicken white meat, cut into large dice (omit for vegan)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dry (or 1 t fresh) tarragon
4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 t dry
1/4 c parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 T lemon juice
1 T balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and leeks. Cook with occasional stirring for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato, mushroom powder, bay leaf, tarragon, thyme, salt, the stock and water. Bring to a slow boil, cook for 10 minutes, and add the green beans, potatoes and cabbage. Simmer until they are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken meat, pearl onions, parsley, lemon, vinegar, and pepper, and warm through. Adjust seasoning. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Pair with a hearty bread or rolls. Serves 6.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chile Relleno

Prepared August 14, 2011
2 large Poblano or Anaheim peppers
2 pieces asiago cheese, cut into 1/2 inch by 1 inch by 6 inch strips
canola oil
Place the peppers in a broiler pan in a toaster oven about 6 inches from the heat. Broil about 5 minutes, until skin blisters and chars. Turn over them over, and broil 3 more minutes. Remove the pan and cover with paper. When cool, peel skin off, make a lengthwise slit, and remove some seeds. Insert a cheese strip into a pepper, and gently roll in the breader. Heat 1/8 inch of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Test the sizzle with a pinch of breader. Carefully lower each pepper into the hot oil and cook 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Turn gently and cook the other side about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and serve topped with a salsa (Pace’s™ Picante Sauce is good). Serves 1 or 2.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greek Village Salad

Inspired by Taverna Nikos, a venerable Greek restaurant in Durham, NC, now sadly closed. Recorded June 28, 2005.
1 head of tender lettuce (red leaf, bib, Boston, etc) torn in pieces
1 large ripe tomato, cut in wedges
1-1/2 lbs small new potatoes boiled, chilled, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into rectangles
1 green pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 pepperoncini (brine-cured) seeded, halved
6 oz ripe Greek olives
1/2 c red onion, thinly sliced
1 15 oz can garbanzos (chick peas), rinsed, drained, and chilled
4 artichoke hearts, marinated in oil, quartered
Arrange attractively on a large platter and dress with best olive oil, wine vinegar, fresh or dry oregano, coarse salt & freshly-ground black pepper. Serves a large group on a buffet table.


Recorded August 5, 2001. Updated August 26, 2013. A great way to deal with all those tomatoes and other summer veggies. Blending the soup twice improves the textural range of the dish.
3 lbs (6 c, 1350 g) ripe tomatoes (about 4 large), trimmed and cut into large pieces
1 red sweet pepper and 1 green pepper or other mild chilies, trimmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
1/2 c red onion, coarsely chopped
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
2 t (or more, if preferred) minced garlic
1/4 c loosely-packed cilantro leaves, finely minced
2 T lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 t Louisiana pepper sauce
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
1 T salt, plus more to taste
tomato or V8 juice, as needed
In a food processor, on low power with pulsing, process the tomatoes until finely (but not too finely) chopped. Transfer to a large covered bowl. Process the other vegetables (cucumbers, peppers, and onions with the garlic) separately, and stir each into the bowl. Drizzle olive oil in with constant stirring, and stir in the lemon juice, cilantro, and pepper sauce. Return half the soup to the food processor and process until very smooth and add back to the coarser half in the bowl. Season with salt and vinegar, tasting after each addition. Thin with tomato juice if too thick. Chill and serve. Garnish with croutons, cilantro leaves, or thin lemon slices if desired. Serves 8.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mezze Platter

Recorded August 10, 2011. A very satisfying, Mediterranean summer meal can be put together with minimal effort from ready-to-eat items offered in a large supermarket's deli bar. The only dishes that DrDaddy personally prepares are tabouli, zsatziki, and pita points. The others are chosen from the dozens available.
On the table, for example:
marinated mushrooms
feta cheese chunks
feta cheese cubes and ripe olives marinated in olive oil
pita points
oil-cured ripe olives
stuffed green olives
pequillo peppers
roasted pepper relish
marinated artichoke hearts
dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
fava bean salad
garbanzo bean salad
marinated cippolini onions
To make service and cleanup easy, one can present the foods in the plastic containers you brought them home in. Proletariat luxury! For more formal presentation, arrange the foods directly on fresh lettuce leaves or in small bowls and dishes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crispy Pita Points

Pita points, dolmas, tabouli, & hummus
Recorded July 27, 2011, after many decades of making them.
white pitas
olive oil 
coarse salt
granulated garlic
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spread a little olive on the hot surface. Refresh each pita with a light mist of water, place top down on the hot surface, and grill for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Turn over, and grill another 2 minutes. Remove and dust lightly with salt and granulated garlic. Cut each pita into 8 points with a sharp knife, and serve immediately. Great as platform for range of dips and salads, or with a mezze platter. Hint: A trigger sprayer filled with water is often handy in the kitchen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tzatziki (Cucumber-Yogurt-Garlic Sauce)

Recorded July 11 2000; revised July 24, 2011.
1 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, grated
2 T olive oil
2 t mashed garlic
1 t kosher salt, divided
1/2 t dried dill weed
1 to 3 t red wine vinegar
Mix grated cucumber with a 1/2 t salt. After 10 minutes press the cucumber through a sieve to shed excess water. Make a paste of garlic and salt and add it to a bowl. Stir in the oil, and then the yogurt. Stir in cucumber, a 1/2 t of salt, the dill, and vinegar until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Thin with a bit of milk if too thick but the sauce should not be runny. Chill and serve.
Great on felafel, a topping on cottage cheese, on a pita sandwich or as a dip for crispy pita points.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom and Leek Risotto

Prepared July 23, 2011. This method is much easier than the classic preparation. Rather than add the liquid a bit at a time and stir, you add it all at once, and stir it at the end. The product rivals the more labor-intensive method. Note the high ratio of liquid to rice. Some batches of rice may need even more than this. If not creamy enough, add a bit more stock at the end and stir.
4 T olive oil, divided
1 cup of dry shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
3/4 c sliced leeks, white part only
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T minced garlic
1 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T brandy
3 c hot chicken stock + 1 c of the reserved mushroom stock
1 t salt
1 T mushroom powder
1/4 T freshly ground pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
To reconstitute the mushrooms, put them in a bowl and pour 2 cups very hot water over them, cover and set aside to cool. Trim and discard the tough stems from the mushrooms [Hint: good kitchen shears make short work of this]. Chop into bite-size pieces. Heat a 12 inch metal skillet over medium. Add 3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the mushrooms and leeks. Saute until the vegetables are nicely browned. Stir in the rice and the last tablespoon of oil. Cook with frequent stirring until the rice is lightly colored. Add the sprigs of thyme, the garlic, the wine and brandy. Heat until most of the liquid is lost. Add the salt, pepper, seasonings, and ALL the hot stock. Mix well, lower heat to a fast simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Remove the thyme sprigs. Stir in the Parmesan. 
Pairs nicely with thin slices of roast chicken breast or pan-roasted salmon filets. Serves 6.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuna Salad

Recorded January 15, 2001. On toasted country white, topped with crispy lettuce and extra mayo with chips on the side. The perfect summer lunch or light supper. Add a cup of chilled cream of asparagus or cauliflower soup, to make a more substantial meal. It also makes a great base for a classic tuna melt.
2  7-oz cans white albacore tuna, water pack
14 oz celery, finely chopped in food processor

1 T lemon juice

1/8 t Louisiana pepper sauce
1 t celery seed
1/2 t white pepper powder
1 t dry dill weed
1 T dry minced onion

about 1/2 c mayonnaise
Squeeze water out of tuna using can lid. Finely chop in batches in a food processor. Process the celery and mix it with the tuna and then mix the seasonings in. Fold in the mayonnaise. Pat down level in bowl, cover tightly and chill. Makes six sandwiches.

Note: Reserve canning liquid (fish stock) as cat treat. Call out, "Treat". If your cat is within earshot, she'll come running.

Tabouli (Bulgur Wheat Salad)

Breakfast: Tabouli, Pita Points, Hummus, & Dolmas
ecorded 4 July 2000. [Hooray for Liberty!]
Tabouli makes a nice light summer lunch or snack, or as part of a mezze platter. Delicious way to add whole grains to our diet. Get the whole benefit of the grain that way.
1 c bulgur wheat, coarse 
scant 2 c water
1 t salt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely diced
1 ripe medium tomato, seeded, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, cut crosswise
1 bunch of flat or curly parsley, trimmed of stems, and chopped fine
about 1/3 c mild-flavor olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (reserve some)
salt to taste
Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in bulgur, cover and let stand until cool. Spread in large bowl and refrigerate. Gently combine the chilled bulgur wheat and the vegetables. Drizzle on two-thirds of oil, and gently toss to coat. Squeeze on lemon juice, mix, taste for seasoning, adding salt, lemon juice and oil as needed. Serve chilled with pita points crisped in olive oil and dusted with garlic powder as a tasty snack.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Super Soap Bubbles

Trail of bubbles from a large hoop
Developed as a compilation from multiple online recipes. Finalized in August, 2014. This recipe makes big, persistent bubbles. They are not edible, of course.

Small batch:
1 fl oz (30 g) liquid soap (Dawn® dish-washing liquid works well)
3/4 fl oz (30 g) light corn syrup
16 oz (0.5 L) water
Large batch
4 fl oz (125 g) liquid soap
3 fl oz (125 g) light corn syrup
1/2 gal (2.0 L) water   
Place water in a suitable container. Stir in the corn syrup, and then gently stir in the dish soap. Avoid foaming. Use of a digital scale makes measuring the amounts easier. Transfer to a rimmed dinner or pie plate. Dip a commercial bubble wand or fashion your own from coat hanger or similar wire.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Breaded Veal Chops

Recorded July 11, 2011. Based on a reconstruction of Dorothy Magid's method. Because she kept a Kosher kitchen (as least as long as Gramma was alive), she used rib chops. This prep used a pair of lovely thick loin chops.
vegetable oil
1/2 c yellow onion, polar cut
2 loin veal chops, about 3/4 inch thick
1/4 c AP flour, lightly salted
1 egg beaten with 1 T of water, lightly salted
1/2 c matzoh meal, lightly salted
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Season the chops well with salt and pepper. Coat lightly all over with flour, and shake off excess. Coat well in egg mixture, and then coat thoroughly with the matzoh meal. Let dry 15 minutes on a rack. Meanwhile, heat oil about 1/8 inch deep in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers but is not smoking. Add the onion, and fry slowly until tender. This seasons the oil. Move aside and add each chop; they should sizzle busily. Fry about 4 minutes undisturbed on one side. When nicely browned, turn and continue cooking for a few more minutes until done through. Do not overcook or meat will be tough.

Spicy Cheese Tortilla Crisps

Recorded July 11, 2011. Saw this many years ago at a summer party, but can't remember where. Easy, fast, and tasty. Serve them hot. They cook quickly.
2 6 to 8 inch flour tortillas
2 oz shredded Mexican cheese mixture
sprinkle crushed red peppers
Preheat a toaster oven to 425 degrees F. Place a tortilla onto a metal pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese, and then sprinkle on a fat pinch of pepper. Not too much, because the hot cheese amplifies the heat. Bake about 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese melts and begins to bubble. Cut into points and serve immediately. Repeat for second tortilla.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crushed Lentil Soup

Developed from a recipe published January, 2008 in Raleigh, NC News & Observer. Often served in Middle Eastern homes as a first meal when breaking the fast of Ramadan, it can be quickly prepared and carries light but substantial nourishment, flavor, and aroma. Do not substitute other lentils for red lentils because red lentils 'crush' easily when cooked.
3 T olive oil + some for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 T tomato paste
1 t ground cumin
1 t chile powder
1 t ground coriander
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly-ground black pepper
1 c red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 qt chicken or vegetable stock

2 c water
juice and zest of half a lemon
3 T chopped cilantro
In a three-quart pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Add onion and saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper and chili powder, and saute for 2 minutes longer. Add stock, water, lentils and carrots. Bring to a fast simmer, then partially cover pot and adjust heat. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Using an immersion blender, regular blender, or a food processor, puree half the soup and return it to the pot. The texture should be somewhat chunky. Stir in juice, zest, and cilantro and serve. Garnish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and a light dusting of cumin. Serves four, with warm loaves of pita bread on the side.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Review: Baba Ghannouj Restaurant - Every Morsel Delicious!

Met my youngest for lunch at the restaurant located on the outskirts of RTP in one of the malls that crowd the corners of NC-54 and NC-55. Bit of a run from West Durham, but had a "pay 8, get 16" Groupon to motivate the drive.

Naturally, we sampled the buffet. Some of the best Middle Eastern food I have eaten, and I grew up on the stuff. 'Nuff said. Nice folks too. Baklava! Save room. Plenty of veg choices. Tender savory meats. Outstanding hummus. Can't eat better.

Location: 2105 NC-54 E. Unit B. Same center as Meineke Muffler. NE corner of NC-54 and NC-55.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lox on a Biscuit

Recorded July 2, 2011. This easy, fast appetizer was invented by Laura about 10 years ago. It combines lox, cream cheese, and freshly baked frozen biscuits. A Jewish Southern snack. By a New York State farm girl. What a country!
3 frozen biscuits (such as Pillsbury® Buttermilk)
4 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon (lox)
4 oz softened cream cheese
1 oz thinly sliced red onion (optional)
1 T capers (optional)
Bake the biscuits following package directions. Let cool, and split each. Spread the insides heavily with cream cheese. Place four small pieces of lox on each half. Top with optional onion and a few capers. Cut each half into four pieces. Makes 24 bite-size snacks. They go fast! Bake extra biscuits just in case.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Denis' Potato Cake

Recorded June 11, 2011. Rathcormack, Co. Sligo, Republic of Ireland. A constant companion to supper at Denis' table. Rest in peace, my vivid Irish friend.
3 c Irish potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
safflower oil
Heat an 1/8th inch of oil in well-seasoned pan over a hot flame. Pile the potatoes in the middle, form into a compact patty but do not press down. Cover loosely and cook about 5 minutes until nicely browned on one side. Salt lightly and flip over using a plate as an aid. Continue frying until browned. Serves one hungy Irishman, or two to four North Americans. Grated onion may be included optionally.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beef, Bean, & Barley Soup

Prepared May 5, 2011. It was mighty comforting on a cold day in May. A meal in a bowl. soup Improves with time. Up to a point, like the rest of us.

3 lbs beef marrow bones
2 T canola oil
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
2 c carrots, cut in large dice
2 c yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1-1/2 oz tomato paste
12 oz skirt steak, flank steak, or beef plate, cut in 1/2 inch dice
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 14 oz can beef broth
4 c hot water
1/2 c dry navy beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
1 c ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
2 T mushroom powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 c pearl barley
2 T lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a heavy dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil, and the bones. Slowly brown the bones, turning frequently to color all sides. Add the mushrooms, and brown lightly. Add the carrots, and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, and cook a few minutes. Make room in the pan, and add the tomato paste. Cook it a few minutes. Mix in the beef, trimmed of fat and membranes, and continue cooking until lightly browned. Add the wine, and cook until almost evaporated. Add the water, broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaves. Heat to a fast simmer, cover, and cook 2 hours. Add the barley, cook until tender, remove bay leaves, and finish with citrus juice to brighten the flavor. Correct seasoning and serve. Serves 6.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Crook's Corner Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits is a Crook's Corner classic. The late Bill Neal influenced chefs across the South, and diners still enjoy this recipe at this landmark restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC. This tradition has been carried forward by Bill Smith. A lot of ingredients and steps, but quick, simpler than it looks, and worth the effort. Adapted from Southern Living magazine. Our recipe reverses from the traditional way of making grits. They come out lump-free.

Cheese Grits
2 c water
2 c chicken stock
3/4 c half-and-half
3/4 t salt
1 c white or yellow corn grits (not Quick or Instant)
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 T butter
1/4 t white pepper
Shrimp Sauce
3 bacon slices
1 lb medium-size saltwater shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t salt
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c chicken stock
2 T fresh lemon juice
3/4 t Louisiana pepper sauce
lemon wedges
Stir the first five ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a fast simmer. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just thickened. Off heat, stir in final four ingredients, cover, and keep warm.
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour. Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.
Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon; garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Agua Fresca de Melon

Adapted from Internet recipes. Summer, 2008. An always-welcome refreshing drink on hot summer days.
5 c (1,135 g) cubed and seeded melon (from about 3 pounds melon; see Note)
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar 
1/3 to 1/2 c lime juice
8 c cold water, divided
In a blender, whirl melon, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 cup water until very smooth. Pour into a large pitcher (at least 3 quart). Whisk in 1/3 cup lime juice, 7 cups water, and add more sugar and lime juice to taste. Chill until cold. Serve over ice. Makes about 2 1/2 quarts.
Note: Very ripe cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon all make delicious aguas frescas.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mexican-Style Rice – Microwave Method

First prepared April 12, 2008. Approximates the rice dish served in Mexican restaurants.
1 c medium-grain rice
1 T vegetable oil
3/4 t tsp salt
2 c chicken stock
1/4 c prepared tomato salsa
1 t ground cumin
2 T dried onion flakes
1/4 t granulated garlic
Combine the rice, oil, and salt in a deep, microwavable container. Microwave uncovered on full power (1250 watts) for 2 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Loosely cover and microwave on high for 6 minutes, and then on #3 power for 10 minutes more.   Fluff, re-cover, and let steam for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Crab Cakes

As prepared in Margaux's, Raleigh, NC. Their recipe was published 2004 in the Raleigh News & Observer in response to a reader's request. Prepared and revised over the years by DrDaddy.
1 lb backfin crab meat
2 oz saltine crackers (whole wheat, if available)
2 large eggs
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T light cream
1/4 t Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1 t Old Bay® seasoning
1/2 c green onions, finely sliced
dry bread crumbs or matzoh meal for coating crab cakes
canola oil for frying
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Crush saltines in a plastic bag by hand until finely crumbled. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, cream, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce and Old Bay. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the green onions and fold in crab meat and cracker meal gently so that the mixture just holds together. Add more a bit more cream if too dry. Chill until ready to fry the cakes.   
Shape 1/3 cup of the crab mixture into an oblong cake.  Press firmly to hold together. Gently coat both side in dry crumbs. This will yield 10 to 12 cakes. Add 1/4 inch oil to a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (325 degrees F.). When the oil is hot, carefully lower each cake into the hot fat. Do batches of four cakes, frying about 2 minutes on one side, and about 1 minute on the second side. Accumulate the cakes on layers of paper towels in the warm oven in a baking pan. Offer a fresh tomato salsa, tartar sauce, and lemon wedges as condiments.
Variation: Minced raw catfish can substitute quite nicely but will need longer cooking.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Roast Meat Stewed with Onions and Garlic in Salsa Verde

First prepared May 23, 2005. Last modified April 8, 2007.
2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, coarsely diced
2 T garlic, finely minced
2 c roast or grilled meat, cubed (e.g., roast pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb)
16 oz jar salsa verde (Herdez™ is good)
1 t Mexican oregano
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
2 T vegetable oil

Brown onion in oil. Add garlic, cook lightly, and add meat. Brown the meat-onion mixture well. Add the seasonings and salsa. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender, about 90 minutes. Stir occasionally, and replace any water lost by evaporation. Serves 4 to 6, as part of a multi-course meal. Warm tortillas are a must on the side. Mexican-style rice, refried beans, salad — that's eating!  
VariationsAdd a 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes with mild green chilies (Rotel™ is good). Or, substitute prepared salsa casera for salsa verde.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crispy Oven-Roast Potatoes

Prepared April 20, 2011 as a side with grilled sirloin strips.
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
3 to 4 T olive oil
approx. 1/4 c General Purpose Breader
Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 to 12 wedges. Toss thoroughly with oil in an 8x8 inch dark metal baking pan. Sprinkle on the breader and mix to coat thoroughly. Roast 30 minutes in a 425 degree F toaster oven, turning once. Add more breader or oil as needed during roasting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chimichurri Sauce

Created April 8, 2011 by Laura for use with pan-grilled rib lamb chops. The herbs come from her garden. Other mild aromatic herbs, as available, can be used.
1/4 c flat leaf parsley
1 T fresh thyme
1-1/2 T garlic, minced
about 1 T olive oil
3 t fresh mint
1/8 t crushed red pepper
3 T fresh oregano
2 T shallot, finely chopped
2 t red wine vinegar
2 t lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Saute the garlic and shallot is 1 T of oil in a small sauce pan. Finely chop the parsley, thyme, mint, and oregano. Heat for a few minutes over moderate heat to bloom the herbs. Serve on the side with grilled beef or lamb.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Potato Frittata

Developed and prepared February 4, 2007.
1/2 lb pork sausage
2 T canola oil
2 T low-fat soft margarine
20 oz pkg frozen red potato wedges, thawed
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 green pepper, coarsely chopped
paprika, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/4 c minced fresh parsley
6 large eggs
1/2 c milk
In a large non-stick skillet, brown the sausage, remove and drain. Discard the fat. Melt margarine and oil over medium heat, and add the potatoes, peppers and onions. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until potatoes are browned and the vegetables are soft. Add the sausage and herbs and mix well.
Whisk the eggs and milk together until very frothy, and pour egg mixture over the other ingredients. Cover and lower heat. Pan bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a tomato salsa.
Makes a good brunch or dinner dish. Serves 4 to 8.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strawberries in Wine Syrup

Recorded May 12, 2008. Adapted from Made in Spain on PBS-TV, with Chef José Andrés.
1/2 lb ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
2 T sugar, approximate
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T mellow red table wine (e.g., carmenere, temparanillo, garnacha, pinot)
pinch freshly-ground pepper
1/2 t balsamic vinegar
Combine ingredients in a bowl, turning gently to combine and dissolve the sugar. Add more sugar if needed. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally. Serves 4. Excellent over vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream, or simply as a fresh fruit salad. So beautiful and delicious. Variation:  A sliced banana added just before serving boosts both flavor and nourishment.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Prepared March 27, 2011.
4 T olive oil, divided
3/4 lb assorted wild mushrooms (e.g, oyster, king oyster, shiitake, morel)
1/2 lb asparagus
1/2 c sliced leeks, white part
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T minced garlic, divided
1 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T brandy
4 c hot chicken stock (or, for vegan, vegetable broth)
1 t salt
1 T mushroom powder
1/4 T freshly ground pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan)
Cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces, place in an 8x8 inch metal pan. Trim the asparagus and roll-cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Add to the pan, along with the leeks, 1 T garlic, and thyme. Drizzle 3 T oil on the vegetables, season well with freshly ground pepper and 1/2 t salt, and turn to coat. Roast at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, turning when half done. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium until it shimmers. Add the rice and cook with occasional stirring until it's lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add 1 T garlic and heat 30 seconds. Add the wine and brandy, and cook until absorbed  Remove the thyme, and stir in the hot roast vegetables, and seasonings. Add enough stock to almost cover the rice. Continue cooking, adding hot stock as needed to maintain the level until all the stock has been added, about 20 minutes. Cover, lower heat until all the moisture is absorbed. Stir in the cheese. Pair with thin slices of roast chicken breast.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vinaigrette (for Sub Sandwiches)

Recorded June 14, 2008. Meant to emulate Dominick's hot sub sandwich dressing.
2 T (30 g) apple cider vinegar
2 T (30 g) red wine vinegar
1/2 t (3 g) Dijon mustard
1/2 t (3 g) mayonnaise
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dry mixed Italian herbs 
3/4 c (160 g) vegetable oil

Add all ingredients except oil to a squeeze bottle and shake to dissolve. Add the oil. Shake vigorously to disperse oil. Squirt generously onto sandwich before slicing.

Hot Sub Sandwiches

Inspired by Dominicks, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1960s. According to local lore, the Moynihan brothers who jointly ran this place bitterly fought on the issue of pizza delivery. Tom split to found Domino's®. The other brother stayed behind to make the best sub sandwiches I ever ate. A Proustian memory. Recorded June 14, 2008, after decades of making these. The hard part is finding good bread but thankfully it's getting easier.

narrow loaf of crusty Italian bread, cut lengthwise 
sliced boiled ham
Genoa salami
shredded mozzarella cheese 
Parmesan cheese
shredded iceberg lettuce
sliced ripe tomatoes
red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
pepperoncini, shredded
Italian herbs
Place rack about 8 inches below broiler. Place bread cut side up on cookie sheet. Layer ham and salami generously on both halves. Top with cheeses. Broil open face until cheese melts and browns and the meats begin to crisp. Cover the bottom half generously with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pepperoncini. Sprinkle lightly with herbs and dress with vinaigrette. Cover with top half, press down firmly, cut, and serve. Serves 2 to 4 depending on size of loaf. Cabbage salad makes an ideal side.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fried Matzos (matzo brei)

Recorded February 3, 2007. Recreating mother Dorothy Magid's dish.
1/2 medium white onion, sliced in half-blossom cuts (see Note)
2 T butter, divided
4 squares of plain maztos (Kosher for Passover, preferably)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste 
Melt 1 T butter in a large fry pan over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent and soft but not browned. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and seasonings. Break the matzos into 1 to 2 inch pieces in another bowl. Fill with cold water, mix, and let stand 60 seconds. Drain well in a colander and add immediately to the eggs. Combine thoroughly, mix in the onions and add the mixture to the fry pan with the remaining butter. Cook until just done but still moist, turning occasionally. Serves 2-3.
Half-blossom cut: Cut onion in half through poles. Trim ends and peel off skin. Slice in half through equator. Slice on longitudes toward the center at ~ 1/8 inch intervals.